IT was the game that never was and led to a war of words from the two top rugby camps in Scotland.

The game between BT Scottish champions Ayr and cup holders Melrose should have kicked off at 2pm at The Greenyards, but even after an overnight frost, there was no indication of the drama that was to quickly follow.

Melrose said that they were left ‘dumbfounded’ after Ayr refused to play, but the visitors believed it was common sense due to the difficult conditions.

Now January 6 looks a potential date for the clubs to meet in the re-organised fixture.

With only minutes until the kick-off, it was revealed that the game would not be played as Ayr said the Greenyards surface was too dangerous and could lead to injuries.

But the decision did not go down well with Melrose’s Rugby Director Mike Dalgetty.

He said: “Ayr have said that some of the players felt that the pitch was too hard, which to me was absolutely ridiculous.

"We felt before the match that it was fine, but Ayr said that they were not prepared to play and the referee cannot interfere with that decision.”

Mr Dalgetty added: “I am absolutely dumbfounded.

"To be honest, I am angry. It is one of the worst things I have come across in my 20 years.

"We are very careful to look after our pitches and we would never ask a team to play on a dangerous pitch.

“I have a huge respect for Ayr, but that has now been slightly eroded.”

Calum Forrester, Ayr coach, added: “It is tough on a day like this for it had been cold.

"Our players went out hoping to kick off at 2pm. The pitch was soft in places, but also hard in places.

“We had prepared really well during the week and did a lot of ‘homework’ on Melrose and we gave it as long as we could (to make a decision).

"The players were unhappy and that is one we support as a club. We did not feel it was right (to play).”

Referee David Sutherland is not allowed to interfere in any decision-making until the game has definitely started.

Melrose played a quick trial match before retiring to the clubrooms, but Ayr had to wait for the 2nds XV match on a nearby pitch to be completed before returning to Millbrae.

Melrose Storm defeated Ayr 2nds on the Battery Dykes field, which was playable.