Currie skipper Ross Weston insists that Saturday’s impressive 31-19 victory over BT Premiership pacesetters Ayr was nothing more than a step along the road to securing a play-off spot. And, the Malleny Park stalwart admits that he and his colleagues must reproduce that form if they are to negotiate three more tough encounters and secure a top-four finish.
Coach Ben Cairns has urged his men to adopt a patient build-up and the success of that approach was evident on Saturday. Currie struck first then conceded three tries in 20 minutes, but they refused to panic and calmly fought back into the match before going on to dominate proceedings in the final half-hour.
Weston personified that calmness, leading by his actions rather than vocal urgings, as Currie battled back from 19-8 down after half an hour to take all five league points and steal a march on rivals Hawick – whose match against Boroughmuir was postponed – for a spot in the leading quartet.
With a strong wind behind them, the hosts opened the scoring with a try from full-back Blair Kinghorn, the 18-year-old Edinburgh pro whose mature decision making was at the heart of his team’s success.
Ayr went into the match with an eight-point lead at the summit and underlined why they are favourites to finish the regular season in top spot as they struck three tries in a 20-minute spell. The first came from hooker Lewis Anderson and that was followed by solo efforts from Junior Bulumakau and Frazier Climo, who was on target with two of the conversions.
Between those scores, James Semple had landed a penalty. By half-time, the stand-off had kicked two more three-pointers, trimming the deficit to five.
Playing into the wind, Currie snatched back the lead when Weston drove over and Semple converted. Then a yellow card for Ayr’s Craig Gossman added to the momentum and the hosts cashed in on their numerical advantage to bag two more scores.
The first came with 20 minutes to play when an Ayr clearance kick was charged down and the ball ricocheted over the line. The Currie players reacted quickest and pounced for the score, with Kinghorn credited with applying the final touch.
And the full-back was also instrumental in the bonus point score, breaking from deep and then releasing Ruaridh Smith, whose impressive pace saw him home in the corner.
“It was an outstanding second half. Ayr are obviously a quality side – they are not top of the league for no reason, so we really had to dig deep,” said Weston. “I don’t think we played well with the wind in the first half but we kept the ball really well in the second half. The sin-binning played a part but it was a great effort by the guys.”
Despite Saturday’s post-match euphoria, the 32-year-old number eight, who has been a model of consistency as the Currie squad has developed over the season, will not allow his team-mates to deflect their attention in a difficult run in to the campaign, where a variety of outcomes from second place to missing out on the play-offs remain possible.
“We have some massive games after the year. We have Melrose away – the Greenyards is a difficult place to go – then we have Gala and Hawick at home. Gala are coming on to a game and Hawick are obviously very strong as well. It’s three massive games but we have to take them one at a time,” added Weston, who is delighted with the mix of youth and experience in the Currie squad.
“We are getting there. I won’t say we are perfect by any stretch of the imagination. We still have a lot of work to do and we will take it one week at a time,” he added, before commenting on Kinghorn, “Blair is some player already, and he is going to be a great player.”
Currie: Tries: Kinghorn (2), Weston, Smith. Con: Semple. Pens: Semple (3)
Ayr: Tries: Anderson, Bulumakau, Climo. Cons: Climo (2).
Currie: B Kinghorn, H Elms, F Efthymiou, R Nelson, R Smith, J Semple, C Shiel, J Cox, M Goodwin, A Hamilton, M Vernel, K Low, L Crosbie, T Brooke, R Weston. Subs: G Carson, S Ruwers, S Ainslie, M O’Neill, M McPhillips.
Ayr: G Anderson, J Bulumakau, R Dalgleish, R Curle, C Gossman, F Climo, D Armstrong, S Longwell, L Anderson, D Rae, S Sutherland, G Peterson, B Macpherson, G Fiskin, P McCallum. Subs: S Kenny, G Hunter, R McAlpine, C Taylor, J Preston.
Referee: K White.