Ayr Captain Pete McCallum admits he could not watch the moment that effectively won his side the BT Premiership final such were his nerves on the sidelines.
With two minutes to go at The Greenyards on Saturday, Ayr led hosts Melrose 12-8, but the Borderers were pounding their line in search of a winner.
After Ayr had given away a number of penalties, No.8 McCallum was the one who was sin-binned by referee Mike Adamson.
Having been yellow carded late on in the loss to Heriot’s at the same stage 12 months ago, McCallum could not believe what was happing, but thankfully for him his team mates stole the resultant lineout and went through a couple of phases before booting the ball to safety sparking celebrations.
“I couldn’t quite believe it when I was carded – it was déjà vu all over again – I was just about in tears on the sideline and I didn’t actually see it when Scott Sutherland got up there and stole that lineout. The guys did brilliantly to hold onto it under pressure,” the Club XV man who was named Man of the Match said.
“Credit to Melrose they put us under some pressure at the end, they were relentless. Throughout the second half they cranked it up a notch and we were just holding out and holding out and trying to take our opportunities when we got them.
“There’s a few things for us to work on this week ahead of the rematch in the BT Cup final, but well do that and then see what we can do.
“We obviously dominated the territory in the first half, but the scoreboard didn’t really reflect that. We just kicked points and struggled to cross the whitewash.
“We weren’t too despondent, at The Greenyards you are never going to be up by much at half-time unless something catastrophic has happened.
“So when it was 9-3 at half-time we went into the changing room saying: ‘We’ll take that’.
“We knew they were going to come out fighting, but we managed to hold on and generally play in the right areas to make them really work for everything they got.
“It was not a classic, but finals sometimes get like that because when there is so much at stake nobody wants to be the first to make a mistake.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) April 16, 2017
“In the second half I couldn’t quite believe it when I spoke to the ref and he said there was only 10 minutes left – I thought there was going to be 25 minutes.
“It was a very fast game. There wasn’t many lineouts except from penalties, the ball was in play for long periods so the lungs were pretty done by the end of the first half, but we came out, dug deep and thankfully came away with the goods.”
Pete McCallum is pictured by David Gibson/FOTOSPORT at The Greenyards
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