Monday, 30 September 2013

Vote for your Ayr player of the month

We're excited to be launching our player of the month poll for August/September.  Just click on the link below to vote for your favourite player of the last six matches.  You can only vote once. 

It was tough to select a shortlist after some fine performances, so we have chosen players who were part of four or more first XV match day squads. 

The poll closes on Tuesday at 11pm.  The winner will be announced on our homepage on Wednesday.  Happy voting!

Vote here.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Glasgow Hawks 26 Ayr 32

Ayr overcame a stubborn Glasgow Hawks and a tricky first half to secure a bonus point away win, scoring five tries along the way.

It was billed as a west coast derby and with several former Hawks players in the Ayr ranks, there was always going to be an edge to the contest. 

The home side were the more nervous, knocking on at the kick-off.  Ayr used the possession superbly, stand-off Finn Russell kicking on and outside centre Ross Curle and wing Craig Gossman moving the ball to the line.  A pile-up ensued and second row Callum Templeton burrowed over for a try with just a minute on the clock.  Russell couldn't get the extras.  0-5.

Hawks settled down and inside centre David Milne and number eight Ross Miller ventured into Ayr's half.  At four minutes, full-back James Gormley successfully kicked a penalty.  3-5.

Despite the quick start, proceedings slowed, the scrums in particular taking an age until both front rows were given a lecture by the referee.  The line-outs, too, weren't working well for Ayr, with a few knocks-on.  Losing captain Calum Forrester to an injury didn't help either.

Hawks camped out in Ayr's half but couldn't break through the visitors' defence, Gossman in particular putting in some lion-hearted tackles on nippy Gormley.  Ayr were caught off-side at twenty-one minutes and Gormley kicked another penalty.  6-5.

Four minutes later, Ayr full-back Grant Anderson brought the attack to life with some strong running and a neat pass to unleash Gossman before scrum-half Murray McConnell darted unchallenged through Hawks' defence and scored.  Russell's conversion curled in.  6-12.

Stylish running from Kerr Gossman got Ayr out of their own half and an exciting dash up the wing from his elder brother brought the crowd to life, but with Curle tackled minus the ball, the move came to nothing.  The stop-start nature of the match meant it wasn't living up to the hype.
Just before half-time, Hawks nosed in front with a try from scrum-half Paddy Boyer and conversion by Gormley.  13-12.
Ayr sharpened up their line-out in the second half, with assured takes from Templeton and Scott Sutherland.  But Hawks stretched their lead after Gormley stormed up the wing and dived over for a try.  There was just no stopping him.  He couldn't convert his own score though, nicely distracted by Ayr's replacement scrum-half Peter Jericevich charging at him.  18-12.
A few minutes later and, thanks to some clever running from Russell, Ayr worked their way to Hawks' line and Jericevich dug the ball out of a pile of bodies and dotted down.  Russell was unsuccesful with the conversion.  18-17.

 Man-of-the-match Curle was leading in defence and attack, as was Templeton, who seemed to be enjoying stretching those long legs.  A gallop from him took Ayr into Hawks' 22 and it looked like Anderson would score only to knock on. 
The visitors didn't have long to wait for another try.  Some poaching at the line-out got the ball to Craig Gossman, who kicked up the wing and collected neatly to touch down in the corner.  Curle converted.  18-24.
Things really livened up with tremendous tackling from prop Denford Mutamangira and flanker Graham Fisken leading to turnovers.  Ayr began to unsettle Hawks' scrum too and the home side got sloppy.  At sixty-eight minutes, Jericevich had a shot at goal after Hawks were penalised for being offside, but the ball hit the post.
Two minutes later and inside centre Robbie Fergusson sliced his way through the Hawks defence with some brilliantly angled running to score a well-deserved try.  Curle couldn't convert.  18-29.
Ayr weren't breathing a sigh of relief just yet.  Gormley was again applying pressure in attack and the extremely mobile Miller was managing to outstrip the Ayr defence.  He appeared from the back of a maul and crossed the whitewash with a few minutes to go.  Jericevich's charge again put Gormley off his convervsion attempt.  23-29.
Gormley, Miller and hooker Finlay Gillies were rumbling about the pitch but to no avail.  The match ended with an exchange of penalties, Curle and Gormley each successfully getting three extra points for their teams.
It may not have been the rip-roaring derby everyone was hoping for, but it was another good away win for Ayr.
Final score: Glasgow Hawks 26 Ayr 32.
- Eléna Hogarth

Photos by Rob Hardie of Touchline Images.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Hawks v Ayr preview

It's the holiday weekend in Glasgow and Ayr head to Old Anniesland for a derby with Hawks.  This is the first time the two have met since Ayr beat Hawks to win the Glasgow Cup last season, as well as being the first match between the two since Hawks' re-instatement into the Premiership.

With several former Hawks players flying down to Millbrae last season, the two sides know each other well and Ayr head coach Peter Laverie believes there will be "a bit more of an edge" to the match.

"There'll be plenty of touchline coaching banter too as we lock horns with the Sinclair-Dempsey combo," Laverie says.  "Generally one of them will be trying to be louder than the other!"

He continues: "It promises to be a good spectacle as both sides will play a fast, open game while the contact area will be key as the teams look to secure the league points.  It's a big game and we'll need to work hard to earn a victory at but it should be an excellent game to watch."

Laverie identifies Hawks half-backs Paddy Boyer and Mike Adamson and forwards Steven Findlay and Ross Miller as the danger men, and is looking forward to the contest between hookers Finlay Gillies and Fergus Scott, who are both Glasgow Warriors.

The Ayr squad is much the same as last week's, with the exception of Dean Kelbrick's absence.  He is being rested as a precaution after taking a knock to the knee.  Ross Curle comes into the starting line-up, with Richard Dalgleish providing cover on the bench after some excellent performances for the 2nd XV.

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Robbie Fergusson, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Murray McConnell; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Nick Cox; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Callum Templeton; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Calum Forrester (capt).

16. David Young, 17. George Hunter, 18. Peter McCallum, 19. Peter Jericevich, 20. Richard Dalgleish.

Kick-off 3pm.  Live scoring will be available on Twitter.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pro draft for B&I Cup announced

With only a few weeks until the start of the British and Irish Cup, the SRU has split players from Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh and Scotland 7s among the four clubs competing in the competition. 

As well as former Millbrae men Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur and Mark Bennett, Ayr has been drafted Warriors captain Al Kellock, British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg and former Scotland captain Chris Cusiter, amongst others.

Read the full draft here.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Peter reigns supreme at Ayr RFC Golf Day

Ayr head coach Peter Laverie led the team that successfully defended their title at the Ayr RFC Golf Day at Belleisle Golf Club on Sunday.  A great day was had by all.  Huge thanks go to Kenny McPherson who looked after the players at the Balgarth Pines and Ross Curle, Glen Tippet, Richard Gordon and Euan Logan for their generous support.
Visit our Facebook page for more photos of the day.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25

It was another close encounter for Ayr on the road, but this time they were on the winning side against Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw on Saturday.

The visitors got off to a flying start with some sterling work from full-back Grant Anderson, wing Craig Gossman and scrum-half Peter Jericevich to swiftly move proceedings into Grammar's 22 before strong play from the forwards allowed outside centre Robbie Fergusson to nip over for the first try.  Finn Russell was unsuccessful with the conversion.  0-5.

Minutes later, Grammar had a penalty in a kickable position after Ayr were pinged for holding on, but home stand-off Mark Ryan pulled it wide.  He quickly had another attempt as the visitors were penalised for obstruction but missed again.

Ayr managed to put together a few good phases of play but their penalty count was creeping ever higher, and Ryan finally booted one over to get Aberdeen on the scoreboard at fifteen minutes.  3-5.

Anderson and the elder Gossman were as busy as ever in attack but a combination of handling errors and a doughty Grammar defence saw nothing come of it.  Scott Sutherland was again playing well until he had to be substituted due to injury, but his second row partner Callum Templeton proved to be just as sure at the line-out and fleet-of-foot in the loose.

Despite some strong running from Russell and wing Kerr Gossman, things became messy and at twenty-seven minutes, inside centre Dean Kelbrick found himself in the sin-bin for a professional foul.  Predictably, Grammar took advantage and flanker Tony McGinness scored the home side's only try.  Ryan converted.  10-5.

Grammar's backs perked up a bit, outside centre Will Wardlaw side-stepping Jericevich brilliantly.  It wasn't just the home side's lively runners scuppering Ayr but their own indiscipline - again.  Ryan got another penalty kick at thirty-three minutes.  13-5.  A few minutes later, it was 16-5 after another successful penalty from Ryan, and things weren't looking good for Ayr.

Luckily, they were able to profit from an Aberdeen error and flanker Andrew Dunlop barrelled over for a much-needed try.  Russell converted to make the score 16-12 at half-time.

Ayr and Grammar almost cancelled each other out in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half, both teams making errors but proving to be determined in defence.  Replacement forward Peter McCallum put in some crunching tackles, as did Fergusson and Kelbrick.  However, Ayr's mistakes played right into Grammar's hands.  At fifty-seven minutes, Ryan's successful penalty kick brought the score to 19-12.

This spurred Ayr into action, though, and they quickly moved play up to Grammar's five-metre line.  The ball squirted out of the ruck and Grammar scooped it up, only to lose it and watch as Ayr's terrier-like replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell pounced on it and bounced over for a try.  Substitute stand-off Ross Curle easily converted.  19-19.

It got worse for the home side as Ryan received a yellow card for a high tackle on Fergusson.  Five minutes later, his team-mate Sean O'Connor joined him in the bin after his large paws were in places they shouldn't have been.  Curle slotted a penalty to ease the pressure for the visitors.  19-22.

Ayr captain Calum Forrester had been stretching his legs all afternoon and his burst out of some tough Grammar tacklers was a terrific sight.  Although they couldn't capitalise on it, Ayr stayed in Grammar's half long enough to get a kickable penalty.  Curle struck it superbly from a difficult angle.  19-25.

Grammar tried to mount a comeback, but they hadn't reckoned on Ayr prop Denford Mutamangira's ability to put in huge tackles whilst on one leg.  He wasn't the only one hobbling in the final minutes, but whilst he could carry on, referee Lloyd Linton couldn't, limping off with a lower leg injury.

A replacement was found but Grammar's last attacking effort came to nothing.  Ayr breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle, glad to get a confidence-boosting away win.

Final score: Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Aberdeen Grammar v Ayr preview

Ayr take the long road north to face Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw on Saturday.  In the second of three away games in a row, the Millbrae men will be hoping to return to winning ways after the frustrating one-point loss to Heriot's last weekend.

"We had so much of the game in our favour," reflects head coach Peter Laverie.  "However, you can't fault Heriot's defensive effort and work rate."

Laverie is looking forward to a "right good contest" against Grammar.

"Kevin (Wyness, Aberdeen head coach) will have his players ready to give us a going over no doubt and our guys love the challenge."

The squad, once again, has a few changes as competition for places is as competitive as ever, especially with such a stong second XV at Ayr.  Flanker Andrew Dunlop returns after a short injury.  Finn Russell and Peter Jericevich renew their half-back partnership.  On the bench, prop George Hunter is back from a spell at London Scottish and back row Peter McCallum has overcome an injury.

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Nick Cox; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Callum Templeton; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Calum Forrester (capt).

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. George Hunter, 18. Peter McCallum, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Ross Curle.

Kick-off 3pm.  Score updates will be available on Twitter.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Colin White in today's Herald

It probably wasn't the final match for Ayr that Colin White was hoping for on Saturday at Goldenacre, not least because of the one-point defeat by Heriot's.  The second row left the field early on with a nasty injury to his hand and thus ended his two-and-a-bit seasons with Ayr.  As well as being a stalwart in the first XV, Colin was instrumental in the success of the Ayr Rugby Academy.  He now moves on to do Christian youth work in Italy and everyone at Millbrae wishes him well.

Dolph tells The Herald what the future has in store for him in Mestre.  Read the article here.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Heriot's 20 Ayr 19

It was another frustrating afternoon of rugby for Ayr and their fans as the men in pink and black left it too late to come back against Heriot's at Goldenacre.

The dry, sunny conditions were perfect for some running rugby, and the home side shifted the ball with ease in the opening minutes.  It wasn't long before Ayr got frustrated and inside centre Dean Kelbrick found himself in the sin bin.  Heriot's scrum-half Graham Wilson had a penalty in front of the posts.  3-0.

Heriot's backs pressed on, taking advantage of being a man up, but Ayr managed to close them down and regain possession.  A great take from second row Scott Sutherland in an Ayr line-out in Heriot's 22 led to a determined drive for the line at sixteen minutes and hooker Fergus Scott dotted the ball down for a try.  Stand-off Sylvain Diez couldn't get the conversion.  3-5.

Heriot's got straight back to pressing for Ayr's line and commitment to the tackle unfortunately saw second row Colin White leave the field in his final match for Ayr with a suspected fractured hand.  His loss was felt, as Ayr couldn't contain some excellent running from Heriot's winger James Fleming and inside centre Keith Buchan.

It was outside centre and captain Cameron Ferguson who capitalised on a messy line-out to pounce on the ball and dart over for Heriot's first try at twenty-one minutes.  Wilson converted.  10-5.

Ayr were starting to string together some good moves in the backline, ably assisted by the ever-sure hands of Sutherland and trademark barrelling runs of props Nick Cox and Denford Mutamangira.  Outsite centre Robbie Fergusson had a few good breaks, but more often than not passes were dropped or thrown to no-one.

The rest of the first half was disjointed, with both sides knocking on, missing kicks for touch and making mistakes at the set pieces.  Ayr couldn't get into their groove, despite the best efforts of the Gossman brothers on the wings.  The closest they got to doing an damage to Heriot's was Craig accidentally hitting their physio with the ball (a hug was given in apology).

Fergusson had an exciting chip, chase and collect but there was no space for him to do anything with it.  Full back Grant Anderson could also find no way through a tough Heriot's defence.  By the end of what seemed like a very long first half, it looked like the home team would surely score another try after a good break by Wilson, but Heriot's were indecisive and eventually knocked on.

Ayr made three changes at half-time, with half-backs Peter Jericevich and Finn Russell coming on, as did Glasgow Warriors' Jerry Yanuyanutawa (much to the discomfort of the Goldenacre stadium announcer).

The start of the second half was ragged, again with knocks on from both teams.  Ayr began making progress but were pinged on more than one occasion for holding on and irritating errors, such as players not calling who was going to take a high ball, marring their efforts. 

Heriot's stretched their lead to 13-5 with another penalty from Wilson after Craig Gossman was sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident with Fleming which couldn't be smoothed over with a cuddle.

Younger brother Kerr restored family pride with a try almost seconds later, flying in under the posts.  Russell grabbed the extras.  13-12.

There was no respite for Ayr, however, as Heriot's quickly replied with Fleming showing good hands and feet to dive over in the corner.  Wilson impressively converted from a tricky angle.  20-12.

Ayr gritted their teeth and Anderson and replacement hooker Stuart Fenwick moved proceedings into Heriot's half, but again their efforts came to nothing.  They stayed focussed though, and it wasn't long before a deft chip by Russell was collected by Fergusson and the youngster finally got a chance to score.  Russell swiftly converted.  20-19.

With only seconds remaining, Ayr had a line-out in the opposition half but knocked-on and the referee brought a difficult afternoon to an end for the visitors.  Heriot's celebrated another close win and Ayr headed home to rue their mistakes. 

Final score: Heriot's 20 Ayr 19.


Friday, 13 September 2013

Heriot's v Ayr preview

Ayr go east for their second away match of the season as they face Heriot's at Goldenacre.  Despite a very encouraging 29-0 win over Currie last week, Ayr won't be going into this game with any complacency.  The last time they played at Heriot's ground, it was an extremely difficult encounter which the visitors just managed to survive.  Much the same is expected this weekend.

"Heriot's always pose a difficult challenge as they play a good brand of open rugby," says Ayr head coach Peter Laverie.  "Jason Hill and Murray Douglas are key players up front and they have plenty of threat in the back line with Graham Wilson, Colin Goudie, Liam Steele and Cammy Ferguson."

Laverie continues: "Our performance last week against Currie was very pleasing and the key lesson will be to exercise patience and not try to force play.  Our players are keen for a win and I think this game could be a real cracker to watch."

There are a few changes to this week's squad.  Prop James Malcolm sustained a broken wrist in a gym accident, so Zimbabwaen international Denford Mutamangira moves up from the bench.  His place is covered by Glasgow Warriors' new Fijian signing Jerry Yanuyanutawa.

Sylvain Diez returns to the stand-off position and scrum-half Murray McConnell gets his first start of the season, as does Callum Templeton in the back row.  Colin Dunn takes his place amongst the substitutes after two years of heavy work commitments prevented him from training.

This game marks the final time Colin White will wear the pink and black shirt, as he heads off to pastures new in Italy.  The former age-grade international, Glasgow Warriors and Scotland 7s player has been the head of Ayr Rugby Academy and has laid the foundation for the next generation of players in Ayrshire to thrive. 

Laverie pays tribute: "Colin has been a real stalwart of the side over the past few years and has been a significant part of our success.  We wish him well."

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12, Dean Kelbrick, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Sylvain Diez, 9. Murray McConnell; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Nick Cox; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Colin White; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Graham Fisken, 8. Calum Forrester (capt).

16. David Young, 17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18. Colin Dunn, 19. Peter Jericevich, 20. Finn Russell.

Kick-off 3pm.  Score updates will be available on Twitter.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Emily named Scotland U19s 7s captain

Ayr Ladies' Emily Irving has been appointed Scotland under-19s sevens captain, with Emma Wassle of Murayfield Wanderers as her deputy.  Emily's Ayr team-mate Lisa Croniken is also in the squad.  They will be competing in the Sainsbury's Games. 

A huge well done and good luck to Emily and her team.

Keep up to date with Ayr Ladies Rugby on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Donate kit and boots

The P7s are busy raising funds for their tour to France.  At the Mini Tournament, the mums will open a thrift stall with pre-loved rugby clothing and boots on sale for donations to tour funds.  If you have used but good kit to pass on and raise tour funds, please message our Facebook page or catch Sarah at Millbrae most evenings.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ayr 29 Currie 0

Ayr set things right at Millbrae on Saturday with a convincing win over Currie.  After last week's deflating defeat to Melrose, the men in pink and black had a point to prove.  Alas, they couldn't prove it in the first half.

With the rain bucketing down and thunder and lightning forecast, it wasn't the environment for running rugby - or scoring points at all - in the opening forty minutes.  Both teams began with knocks-on in the slippery conditions.  Currie had the first chance to get on the board but stand-off Joe Reynolds missed his penalty kick.

Currie were in a determined mood, chasing their first win of the season, and their backs were as lively as they could be in the downpour.  But so were Ayr's.  Winger Craig Gossman made his return from injury and quickly had the crowd oohing and aahing with his trademark jinky runs. 

Finn Russell had his first start for Ayr since his trip to Canterbury on the McPhail Scholarship and put in a good shift.  Kerr Gossman was making inroads until he had to be replaced by Ross Curle, and full-back Grant Anderson displayed his usual strong running.

The forwards, too, are to be commended for keeping things steady in a very frustrating first half.  Glasgow Warriors' James Eddie, in for an injured Andrew Dunlop, certainly made an impression, barrelling around in the attack.  Second rows Scott Sutherland and Colin White not only showed skill at the line-out but also in the loose, Sutherland a safe pair of hands when others were - unintentionally - dropping the ball.  White put in some crashing tackles and tremendous drives before hobbling off to be replaced by Callum Templeton in the second half.

Currie had another unsuccessful shot at goal at twenty-eight minutes, and despite Ayr making for their line on several occasions, half-time came around with both teams scoreless.

The Millbrae faithful was getting a bit twitchy when Currie started the second half with a penalty kick, but it was again unsuccessful.  Ayr came to life shortly after, with an exciting kick-and-chase from Gossman and some sterling work to secure turnover ball from Eddie, White and Nick Cox.

At forty-six minutes, inside centre Dean Kelbrick blasted his way up the wing to get Ayr's first try.  Russell got the tricky conversion.  7-0.  Sighs of relief all round.

Currie lost a forward to the sin bin at fifty minutes for a high tackle on Curle.  Ayr applied the pressure, with Eddie and captain Calum Forrester throwing themselves into the attack, as did flanker Graham Fisken, who found himself on his knees to take a wayward pass from Russell.  There was good interplay between White and scrum-half Peter Jericevich, and even with Currie's scrum back to eight, Ayr managed to cause them all sorts of trouble. 

At sixty-five minutes, Kelbrick was bursting through again, this time releasing Curle to fly in for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it try.  Russell converted.  14-0.

A minute later, Templeton appeared on the wing and the big man stretched his legs to score a well-deserved try, with some help from fellow replacements Denford Mutamangira and Murray McConnell, who threw a couple of deft passes.  Russell's conversion was short.  19-0.

As the sun came out, Currie began to wilt and Ayr looked for the bonus point, getting it six minutes later, with Anderson sliding over the line.  He couldn't converted his own try.  24-0.

Kelbrick had been on fine form all day and got Ayr's fifth try four minutes before full time.  Anderson couldn't make the conversion. 

Despite Reynolds trying to create some scoring opportunities for Currie in the dying minutes of the match, there was no way through for the visitors.  The final score was Ayr 29 Currie 0.


Friday, 6 September 2013

Annual Golf Day on 22nd September

Ayr Rugby Club's third annual Golf Day takes place on Sunday 22nd September at Belleisle Golf Club.  This is yet another great event in Ayr RFC's social calendar, so don't miss out.  For £180 per team of four, a pre-round breakfast roll and post-round meal at the Balgarth Pines are included along with a round of golf.

Phone Andrew Dunlop on 07746677423 or Stuart Fenwick on 07736320624 for more information and to book a place.

Ayr v Currie preview

After last week's disheartening defeat at the hands of Melrose, Ayr remain on home ground and prepare to welcome Currie to Millbrae.

Another tough match is expected as the Edinburgh club look for their first win of the season.  Ayr will be desperate to get their league campaign back on track after what head coach Peter Laverie has called an "important wake-up call".

"Last week's disappointing performance against a good Melrose side has certainly focussed our minds," he says.  "Despite some excellent passages of play our standards were not set high enough and discipline let us down, none of which is to take anything away from Melrose's deserved victory."

He continues: "We must look at ourselves and where improvements are needed.  The players have worked hard in training and they will be keen to put on a good show in what will be another test against a difficult Currie side."

Ayr's cause will be helped by the return of talented young stand-off Finn Russell who spent the summer in Canterbury on the McPhail Scholarship and featured in Glasgow Warriors' pre-season friendlies.  He's joined by Warriors team-mates flanker James Eddie, who has turned out in the pink and black before, and hooker Dougie Hall, who provides cover on a very strong bench.

Craig Gossman has recovered from injury and takes his place on the left wing with younger brother Kerr on the right.  Inside centre Dean Kelbrick returns to the line-up and Scotland under-20s prop James Malcolm starts at loose head.

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Kerr Gossman, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. James Malcolm, 2. Fergus Scott, Nick Cox; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Colin White; 6. James Eddie, 7. Graham Fisken, 8. Calum Forrester (capt).

16. Dougie Hall, 17. Denford Mutamangira, 18. Callum Templeton, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Ross Curle.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ayr 11 Melrose 33

It was a difficult day at Millbrae as Ayr were resoundingly beaten by Melrose.  A huge crowd had gathered on Ladies' Day to see the men in pink and black take to the field for the first time in five months.  But there was to be disappointment as the hosts conceded five tries and received two yellow cards.

Melrose set out their stall early on with some determined attacking play and despite the best defensive efforts from Ayr forwards Scott Sutherland, Andrew Dunlop and Nick Cox, the visitors scored after just five minutes, wing Austin Lockington grabbing an unconverted try.  0-5.

Ayr got going with some good work at the scrum and an exciting kick-and-chase from centre Ross Curle and wing Kerr Gossman, and soon had their first chance to get points on the board.  Scrum-half Peter Jericevich's penalty kick took the score to 3-5.  Another shot at goal a few minutes later, however, was unsuccessful.

Curle and Gossman, along with Robbie Fergusson, were again making inroads but their fancy footwork came to nothing and things were starting to get a bit messy from Ayr, with errors becoming more frequent.

Strong running from last week's double try-scoring full-back Grant Anderson looked promising but Melrose were somehow managing to turn over the ball.  Ayr head coach Peter Laverie had predicted a physical encounter, and there were more than a few pink and black-clad figures slumped on the ground at various points.

A penalty from Andrew Skeen stretched Melrose's lead to 3-8 at twenty-three minutes, but Ayr's forwards were applying pressure.  Locks Sutherland and Colin White showed good hands to move things up the park and it looked like prop Nick Cox had managed to barrel his way over for a try, but it was not to be.

Jericevich's third attempted penalty went over to make the score 6-8 and this seemed to galvanise Ayr's attacking spirit.  A few minutes later, stand-off Sylvain Diez released Curle with a slick pass and the centre flew in for a much-needed try.  Jericevich missed the conversion.  11-8 at half-time.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half.  Melrose missed a penaly in the forty-first minute but quickly followed it with an unconverted try from flanker Peter Eccles.  11-13.  Nine minutes later, prop Nick Beavon was bundled over the whitewash.  Harry Leonard's conversion made the score 11-20.

If Ayr had any hopes of staging a comeback, they were snuffed out when Sutherland and Curle were sin-binned within minutes of each other.  Leonard's penalty put more daylight between the pink and blacks and black and yellows.  11-23.

Ayr did well to turn Melrose over with just thirteen men but there was no way they could stop full-back Fraser Thomson motoring up the wing to score the visitors' fourth try.  Leonard missed the conversion.  11-28. 

A few minutes later, scrum-half Bruce Colvine made it five tries for Melrose.  Leonard again couldn't convert, but it didn't matter as Melrose claimed an 11-33 victory to go home happy and leave a very disappointed home side and crowd.