Ayr 33 Stirling County 13
Stirling County will now concentrate on the RBS Premiership after too many unforced errors against newly crowned league champions Ayr saw them bow out of the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
County were forced to make an early change with Benji Barsanti replacing Steve Swindall after only three minutes.
And eight minutes later they went ahead with a penalty try after the ball was moved wide left to Brian Archibald. He kicked ahead, only to be taken out by the chasing Ayr defender as the County centre was about re-gather and touchdown.
Archibald converted to put the visitors into an early seven-point lead.
Ayr responded and former County youngster Finn Russell kicked a penalty after 18 minutes to reduce the leeway, before Stuart Edwards notched an opportunist drop-goal for County on 25 minutes to give the visitors a 10 – 3 advantage.
Slack field kicking by County gave possession and territory to Ayr, and after a spell of concerted pressure on the visitors’ line, the ball was spun right for Andy Dunlop who found a gap in the stretched County rear-guard to score a try, converted by Russell on 36 minutes, to tie the scores.
County took the lead again with an Archibald penalty after 48 minutes before Ayr showed why they were champions with a three-try burst in 12 minutes.
The first came on 51 minutes from winger Richard Dalgleish after Ayr attacked down the left channel before moving the ball right for the winger to score.
Straight from the restart, Ayr gathered another loose County field-kick and Craig Gossman sprinted through the gapping visitors’ defence to touch down unopposed.
Then Gossman side-stepped the County cover to score the Millbrae side’s fourth try.
All were converted by Russell.
Ayr: Anderson, Dalgleish, Fergusson, Kelbrick, C Gossman, Russell, Jerecevich; McConnell; Mutamangira, Fenwick, Rae, Sutherland, White, Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester. Replacements: Wisneski, Sykes, Doneghan, McCallum, McConnell.
Stirling County: Hope, Addison, Hogg, Archibald, Aitken, Edwards, S. Kennedy; McDonald, Moffat, Hutton, Leishman, Deacons, Clarke, Boswell, Swindall. Replacements: R. Kennedy, Robertson, Barsanti, Gilmour, Black.
Referee: D. Changeling.
On Saturday, County return to RBS Premiership business when they travel to Raeburn Place to take on Edinburgh Accies in a key match with a 12.30pm kick-off.