Heriot’s left devastated as Ayr snatch the Scottish Cup with final kick of game
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith hailed the efforts of his men after they came within seconds of landing the Scottish Cup, only to have their hopes dashed in the last action of the tie.
The Goldenacre men went down 27-25 at the hands of Ayr in the showpiece encounter at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
But, for Smith, the performance was evidence of their ability to learn from their previous mistakes. And, he is confident that most of the team will go on to make an impression in the new Super 6 semi-professional set up.
Smith had urged the players to work on the weaknesses that contributed to defeat in the Tennent’s Premiership play-off against the same opponents three weeks earlier. And they responded with a performance that looked to have sealed the silverware.
“Our first up defence at Ayr wasn’t as good as it has been, so that was one area. We knew we had to improve our scrum, which we did.
“The third part was our discipline – we gave away ten penalties to four down at Ayr, so we knew we had to cut that down,” he said. And, he admitted that his players had largely done all that was asked of them. “They kept the ball, they got in the right areas and then just lost that possession with seconds to go.
“As a game, when they reflect back, they will think they didn’t leave much out there because they again played really well and I thought they scored some wonderful tries.”
Heriot’s bounced back from conceding tries to Kyle Rowe and Robbie Smith, either side of a Ross Jones penalty to bag touchdowns from Charlie Simpson and Struan Dewar for a 15-12 interval lead.
Jones booted another three points and added the conversion after Jack Blain showed his finishing skills. That left Heriot’s 25-12 ahead with 14 minutes to play. Ayr battled back with a self-converted score from Frazier Climo and a try by Stafford McDowall that left the gap at one point with five minutes to play. Heriot’s attempted to run down the clock, but with only seconds left they were penalised. Ayr kicked for touch from their 22 and earned another penalty that was within range for Climo. And he was equal to the task, banging over the kick to snatch the win.
“It’s probably the lowest it’s been in my seven years,” said Smith of the mood in the Heriot’s changing-room. after the final whistle.