Ayr and Heriot’s reach Scottish Cup Final
Ayr will meet Heriot's in the 2018/19 Scottish Cup Final after defeating Melrose and Hawick at the semi-final stage of the competition
Melrose hosted Ayr at the Greenyards on Saturday as both teams hunted for a place in the Scottish Cup Final and an appearance at BT Murrayfield on Silver Saturday on April 27 2019.
Melrose enjoyed early possession in the visitor’s territory after both teams looked to employ a kicking game throughout the first half with the wet conditions making ball handling difficult.
Ayr showed some stoic defence after being reduced to 14-men after David Corbenici was yellow carded with Melrose bearing down on the line after 14 minutes.
The home side, who dominated the majority of the first half, earned their opening score after 22 minutes through Conor Young after the forward collected the ball and displayed a fine bit of leg-work to shrug off several tacklers and power over the line. Craig Jackson successfully converted. (7-0).
Melrose then extended their lead with a second try of the afternoon. Full-back Donald Crawford collected the ball on the left wing to go over in the corner. Jackson’s conversion just missing from wide left. (12-0)
For all the dominance by the home side in the first half Ayr found a way back into the contest right on the stroke of half-time, much to the delight of the travelling support.
The hosts had Michael Muelace-Julyan sin binned and from the resulting penalty Frazier Climo picked an excellent line to open the scoring for his side before converting his own try from left of the posts.
Half time – Melrose 12 – 7 Ayr
The rain stopped at the beginning of the second half and there was no doubt it was the visitors who made the brightest start in the Borders sun.
Ayr were awarded a penalty try with their first foray into their opponents half after the restart. After two reset scums, referee Keith Allan adjudicated that the home forwards had prevented a certain score. (12-12)
The Millbrae men then led for the first time in the contest with Glasgow Warriors’ Paddy Kelly finding space to break and then produce a clever off-load to find Kyle Rowe who dived over the line. The conversion attempt drifted just wide by Climo. (12-19)
Melrose looked to find a way back into things as both teams started to throw the ball about as ball carrying conditions improved with the Greenyards men searching for gaps to level the score.
As the game went into the final 10 minutes Ayr looked to slow proceedings down with a berth at Silver Saturday in sight.
Climo had a penalty in the final moments of the match which went just wide to allow Melrose one last throw of the dice. Eventually the ball found the hands of Rowe who swiftly kicked to touch to ensure the team from Millbrae would claim the first spot in the 2019 Scottish Cup Final.
The second semi-final produced an encapsulating encounter between Heriot’s and Hawick at Goldenacre.
It was the capital side who made the early inroads with tries from Jack Blain and Alex Bell, however, the men from the Borders came roaring back through Matt Carryer and two tries from Keith David giving them the slenderest of leads, 21-22, at half-time.
Carryer doubled his try count to put his side 24-29 ahead, but Hawick hearts were broken with a try by Josh Scott and a successful conversion by Ross Jones as Heriot’s edged ahead.
The home side held out for the final 12 minutes to win 31-29 and confirm an Ayr v Heriot’s final in both the Tennent’s Premiership and the Scottish Cup.
Tickets for Silver Saturday on 27 April can be purchased HERE