Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Ayr Youngsters Selected for U20 Championship

Bryan Redpath has announced his first ever Scotland U20s squad ahead of their World Championship starting at the end of this month in France.

Amongst the few that have been selected are four Ayr Players; Euan McLaren, Robbie Smith, Stafford McDowall and Paddy Dewhirst.

Smith, McDowall and Dewhirst were all involved in the recent U20s Six Nations and will look to replicate the heroic performance that saw them fell England when they arrive on the world stage in a few weeks.

Smith and McDowall both lead from the front in the Six Nations, with them being named captain and vice, respectively.

Prop McLaren missed out on a chance at the Six Nations due to injury but has been called straight back into the squad now fit.

We would all like to congratulate the four youngsters in an incredible achievement, and know they will do both Ayr RFC and their country proud.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Ayr Announced as Super Six Team

Scottish Rugby have announced that Ayr RFC have been successful in their bid for a Super Six spot.

Joining Ayr in the super six league will be Boroughmuir, Heriots, Melrose, Stirling and Watsonians. The sides who failed in their bid were Currie Chieftains, Dundee, Edinburgh Academicals, Gala, Hawick and Glasgow Hawks.

The change in league structure is set to come in for the 2019/20 season.

Speaking exclusively to ayrrugbyclub.co.uk President Billy McHarg expressed his delight in the announcement with: "I am grateful that all the hard work done on and off the pitch at Ayr RFC has been rewarded with a 'Super Six' franchise.

"The future of the club at the top end of Scottish Rugby has been secured for the next five years".

Callum Kerr
Media Manager

Monday, 30 April 2018

Ayr 2018 Award Winners

Another fantastic season of rugby over the last ten months culminated in the 2018 Awards dinner on Friday night.

Held within the familiar surroundings of Ayr Racecourse rugby excellence was celebrated from all of those who have donned pink, black and green this campaign.

In the U-16 boys Michael Lafferty picked up two awards for his performances and commitment to the team, coming away with Clubman of the Year and Players' Player of the Year. Matthew Fripp was awarded Most Improved with Dylan Wilson named Player of the Year. Wendy Short was also commended for her unwavering commitment to hospitality duties.

The U-18 boys awards followed with Mathew Field and Dale Molenaar winning hardest trainers. Andy Morrison picked up Most Improved and Olly Mossie was celebrated by his teammates, who selected him as Players' Player of the Year. Club Captain Harry Lynch lead by example all campaign and was awarded Player of the Year.

It has been a troublesome season so far for Millbrae but with four games still to play they are starting to build some serious momentum, catapulting themselves to league safety. Lee White picked up their only award of the night- Player of the Year.

In the ladies section Cieron Bell was awarded U-18s Player of the Season. In the senior team Neve Findlay won Young Player of the Year with Robyn Gibson picking up Most Improved. Joanne Jones capped off a scintillating run of form this season with both Players' Player of the Year and Player of the Year.

The penultimate awards of the night were for the Ayr 2nd XV. Stuart Collier was awarded Young Player of the Year with Euan Hamilton picking up Most Improved. Utility front row Ben Paterson was voted Players' Player of the Year by his teammates and Cameron Reece won Player of the Year.

Before the 1st XV awards a special thanks was made to departing players Scott Sutherland and George Hunter, along with Head Coach Calum Forrester. All three men have been paramount in the club's success over the last decade and will be thoroughly missed around Millbrae. Club physio Helen Reid also received a bouquet of flowers, as she leaves the club on maternity leave.

Scott Lyle has had a barnstorming debut year at Ayr and was awarded with Young Player of the Year, with Robbie Smith picking up Most Improved. Tommy Spinks was named Players' Player of the Year and Steven Longwell ended the night with Player of the Year.

Photos: George McMillian 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Weekend Review

The 1st XV season may have drawn to a close but their was still plenty pink, black and green action over the weekend.

On Saturday Millbrae continued their rich vein of form with an impressive 27-31 win over Lenzie RFC. The away victory moves them out of second-bottom and further into relegation safety. They will look to emulate their heroic performance this Saturday when they host Birkmyre. The match kicks off at 15.00 at Millbrae.

On Sunday our ladies battled hard in their last game of the season away to Watsonians but errors cost them dearly. Playing on the back-pitches at BT Murrayfield they struggled to pull out of second gear and fell 97-0. The defeat marked Laura Turner's last game as skipper.

There was also plenty action for our Ayr-Wellington Youth teams on Sunday. Through in Stirling our primary 4s and 7s won the 'Fair Play Award' in their respective year groups and William McHarg won 'best floss dance' in a dancing competition between all at the tournament.

In Dumfries our U-15s cruised to the West of Scotland Cup Final with a 0-55 victory. The final is scheduled for Sunday April 29 where they will face GHA at Millbrae. KO is at 2pm.

Closer to home the U-16s followed in the footsteps of the year below, seeing off Hawks 27-26 to secure a spot in their West of Scotland Cup Final. Coming from behind, the game went down to the wire where a penalty kick stole victory in injury time.  The U-18s face GHA away from home, kicking-off at 2pm.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tartan Touch Spaces NOW AVAILABLE

Tartan Touch, Scottish Rugby's community-based initiative, kicks-off at Millbrae on Friday May 11 and will run for ten weeks.

The scheme welcomes people of all ages and ability.

You can now book your spots online at eventbrite for both individual sessions and for a season pass. The season pass costs £20 with session set at £3 each.

U-12s go free, however need parents to sign them up online prior to the session.

The initiative which is derived from simple, non-contact rugby started last summer and was a real hit. Aimed at getting more individuals involved with rugby, last years 20 host clubs generated £14,000 and welcomed 1,800 individuals. This year ten more clubs have joined the scheme, including Ayr.

Save £10 and book your season passes here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tartan-touch-summer-pass-ayr-rfc-registration-44872681398

To book individual sessions go here:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tartan-touch-single-pass-ayr-rfc-registration-44980892059

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Free Bus to Melrose 7s

Melrose's annual sevens event takes place this Saturday at the Greenyards and always proves to be quite the sporting spectacle.

Ayr have a bye from round one and will face the winner of GHA v Gala in round two.

Ayr RFC will be running a FREE bus to the event from Millbrae on Saturday with 20 spaces available. The bus is scheduled for an 11am departure and you can boom your space via Colin at the bar on 01292 441944.

The Ayr squad will be announced tomorrow morning.

Monday, 9 April 2018

BT Premiership Final: Melrose 16-13 Ayr

It wasn't to be for Ayr RFC on Saturday in the BT Premiership Final when they fell 16-13 to a powerful Melrose side.

Booked as a 'war of attrition', the match at times lacked flare and execution, but gut-wrenchingly tense rugby made it box office.

A persistent rain plagued proceedings and soggy conditions underfoot limited running rugby- it was clear from the off this contest would be won up front.

It didn't take long for Ayr to register their intent. Mere minutes into the game a lofting throw from hooker Lewis Anderson- winning his 50th appearance for the club- landed perfectly into the hands of Blair Macpherson. The ball was shipped wide and several phases chipped away at a sturdy Melrose defence but they eventually forced a penalty. Lyle slotted the routine three pointer to take the lead.

Throughout the opening period David Armstrong's game management had Ayr on the front foot. Multiple box kicks continued to test Melrose before Fraser Thompson misjudged his jump and the ball landed in the grateful arms of Craig Gossman. Gossman darted clear but was eventually brought down and isolated. A penalty for holding on in the ground soon followed which Jackson capitalised on. After 12 minutes the scores were tied 3-3.

Melrose started to enjoy more of possession but Ayr didn't give them an inch- monstrous hits from George Stokes could probably be heard from Gala.

Scrummaging has been a strong suit of Ayr this season but it was clear early on that they weren't getting the rough of the green from referee Keith Allen. A scrum-penalty against the head gifted Melrose another chance for three points on 21 minutes and Jackson duly converted.

Melrose's 6-3 lead wasn't to stay for long however and just four minutes later Ayr mustered up their only try of the contest. From the base of a scrum- one of the few where the ball was allowed to be played- David Armstrong sniped in field and hit the stampeding Stafford McDowall with a flat pass. McDowall carved through the defensive line and brought in the full-back before placing a pass into the supporting hands of Rory Hughes. Hughes touched down to the jubilation of an impressive travelling support and Lyle slotted the conversion. Ayr now lead 6-10 at the Greenyards.

Ayr began to exert themselves with a spring in their step and looked comfortable. Melrose tried to retaliate immediately with some forward carries of their own but Tommy Spinks snuffed out the danger- getting over the ball and forcing the penalty for not releasing.

With just five to play in the half Lyle took aim at the posts from about 50 metres out. A mammoth kick in any conditions, the fly-half made no notice of the dreary weather and nailed it. 6-13.

Ayr were in cruise control but just as the half withered away Melrose were gifted an opportunity to stay in contention. Another scrum penalty sent Robin Hislop to the sin bin and Jackson managed to capitalise with another three points in the 40th minute.

Half-time: Melrose 9-13

Ayr had played the better rugby for the first 40 but a lack of discipline haunted them, allowing Melrose to stay within arms length.

The second half was soon upon us and a revamped pack due to the prior yellow card saw Club Stalwart Scott Sutherland take to the field for the final time.

Melrose were unrecognisable in the second half. A faulty line-out which had leaked possession was starting to click and on 47 minutes a resulting driving maul put the home side in touching distance of a score. The maul sucked in Ayr jerseys which allowed them to ship wide and take full advantage of an overlap. Runciman didn't need the extra man and cantered over to take the lead. Jackson added the extras to make it 16-13.

From then on primitive rugby was the order of the day. Possession swung like a pendulum and defence continued to come out on top. Melrose enjoyed long periods of the ball and continually came close to landing the sucker punch but Ayr didn't budge. Heroic last-gasp defending on the try line kept them in the contest and gave the travelling support hope of a late winner.

Throughout the season Ayr and Melrose have went toe-to-toe in meteoric battles and you could contribute the last half hour to knowing the enemy. A series of blows and counter-blows were snuffed out by two sets of 15 players familiar with how each other play- stalemate.

This battle of wits resulted in no more scoring and Melrose held on for BT Premiership glory.

Full-Time: Melrose 16-13 Ayr.

For departing stalwarts George Hunter, Scott Sutherland and head coach Calum Forrester it means no fairytale ending to their illustrious Ayr careers. The three have contributed immensely during their time at the club and from all at Ayr RFC we say thank you.

Callum Kerr
Photo: George McMillian