Cumnock's P4 squad travelled in strength down to Ayr for their eagerly anticipated derby. Biggar were also visiting ensuring even more hard, keenly contested games. Ayr fielded 3 teams, Biggar 1 & Cumnock put out our usual 2, Red & Black.
The Reds started off against Ayr 1, a strong team with some good attacking runners. A frustrating first half saw the Reds repeatedly stray into touch, surrendering valuable possession which Ayr efficiently converted into tries despite strong tackling from Logan & Izaak in particular. The turnovers meant that the Reds had very few attacking opportunities although Izaak & Ciara did both score after characteristically robust charges.
In the second half Cumnock managed the ball better with Logan, Aaron & Cuinn all attacking with purpose while Ewan also tested the home defence with his mazy running. Izaak powered over for 2 well deserved tries while Murray's fine support play brought him a score too. Ayr continued to attack with power despite determined defence from the Reds that often pushed them back. Finlay made the tackle of the day on a flying Ayr player but ultimately the home side edged a very close match 7-5.
The Reds played Ayr 2 in their next match. This Ayr side also boasted some strong runners who took advantage of holes in the Cumnock defence to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Logan & Izaak again tackled themselves to a standstill while Ciara, Aaron & Cuinn also defended well.
Cumnock also attacked with menace. Ciara crashed through for a fine try; Ewan was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle & Logan turned the Ayr defence inside out to cross for an excellent try. Finlay's excellent quick offloads helped to build continuity in attack allowing Cuinn to break through for an excellent brace. Izaak muscled his way over for a score too. Murray probed for gaps well but couldn't break through the determined home defence, being forced into touch a metre short of the line. The game ended 5-5 with Cumnock pressing forward to the end.
The Reds third game was against another strong tackling Ayr side. Possibly tiring, the Reds defence was porous, allowing Ayr some soft tries. Cumnock lost their shape in attack also, trying to force play through the determined Ayr defence & ignoring huge spaces out wide. Logan & Izaak both forced their way over for tries that their efforts in attack & defence deserved. Ciara & Cuinn also showed grit & determination in this dour battle that ended in a 6-2 reverse.
The last game was an unfortunate low note to end a day in which the Reds played a lot of great rugby, defending with skill & determination, & attacking with flair.
Game 1 saw the Blacks line up against a strong side from Biggar. Straight from the off it was evident that this was going to be a keenly contested battle. Cumnock got the game off and running and, through some determined attacking speed Mason powered over the line to score the opener. Biggar were in no mind to sit in though and worked their way up the pitch with a fine try of their own. This was the pattern for large portions of the match however some aggressive tackling and strength by Lewis alongside Kole, Reiley and Matthew, Cumnock started to get the upper hand. Matthew added a couple of fine tries of his own and Paul burst up the line at pace to add to the tally. Cumnock were now in top gear. Some determined play by Reiley got his rewards, side stepping his way over the line. A fantastic start to the day saw Cumnock run out winners with the match finishing Cumnock 8 v Biggar 5.
Scorers: Reilly, Mason 3, Matthew 3, Paul
Next up was a game against the hosts Ayr 1. Sure to be a cracker, Ayr won the toss and started the attack. Again, Cumnock being anchored in defence by Lewis who was crashing into tackle after tackle were fighting tooth and nail to keep Ayr at bay. Again, this match flowed from end to end. In attack, Cumnock were piercing through the Ayr defence regularly. Lewis, Mason, Matthew and Reiley all getting over the line. Some dogged work in the middle by Kole, Mason, Lewis and Reiley we’re forcing Ayr out wide where Mathew and Freya marshalled Ayr into touch on several occasions. Now back on the ball Cumnock were going route 1, powering through the Ayr defence with Lewis, Mason and Reiley adding to the score sheet. A real team effort this one and after a hotly contested match Cumnock again ran out deserved winners. Cumnock 7 v Ayr 5
Scorers: Lewis 2, Mason 2, Matthew, Paul, Reilly
In the 3rd and final match Cumnock Blacks lined opposite Ayr 2. Keen to overturn the odds from the last game Ayr B set out on the front foot and took the game to Cumnock notching 2 early tries. A fine solo effort from Freya up the wing got Cumnock off the mark. However, a lack of concentration in defence was allowing Ayr to break through the middle uncontested. Always strong in attack Cumnock were staying in the contest. Powerful runs from Mason got him over the line adding to his tally. Some neat footwork from Lewis glided him in and out of the Ayr defence for some fine tries. Kole showing strength in attack got him his own try and Reiley broke through several gaps to add more. Now switched on Cumnock’s defence was a wall of steel. Hard tackling by Lewis, Reiley and Matthew we’re keeping Ayr at bay, with Kole, Mason and Murray jumping on loose balls and winning valuable turnovers. A bursting run from Mathew who then gave a no look offload pass to Mason for the final try of the match was a fitting finish with Cumnock winning the match. Cumnock 10 v Ayr 4
Scorers: Mason 3, Lewis 3, Kole, Freya, Reiley 2
A super day’s rugby by Cumnock Blacks. A real team effort on defence and some fast, direct play in attack left the opposition teams chasing the Blacks all over the pitch. Super stuff.
Red team: Aaron, Ciara, Cuinn, Ewan, Finlay, Izaak, Logan, Murray
Black team: Freya, Lewis, Kole, Mason, Matthew, Paul, Reiley
Report by S Benzie & J Leitch