Ayr start their BT Cup campaign away to Hamilton Bulls on Saturday 3rd January (kick-off 1.30pm) and our opponents are offering a hospitality package. It includes entry to the match, a three-course meal and four hours of drinks at the bar (from 12pm-4pm) for £50. Please contact Hamilton Rugby Club on 01698 2000021 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
For anyone driving to Laigh Bent for the match, the postcode of ML3 6PY is preferable for sat-nav. The train station of Hamilton Central is also within easy walking distance.
It was a busy weekend for the women and girls in pink and black.
The youngsters had a run around on the main pitch at Scotstoun during half-time between Glasgow Warriors and Munster on Saturday afternoon as part of a girls' mini tournament, and gave a good account of themselves against Hillhead/Jordanhill in front of the appreciative Warriors crowd.
Some of the senior Ayr Ladies took part in a West v East fixture on the back pitches at Scotstoun earlier on Saturday. It ended in a 24-24 draw.
Remember that Ayr Ladies are always looking for new recruits of any or no experience, all shapes, sizes and ages. Training resumes at Millbrae in the New Year. Contact them via their Facebook page.
Glasgow A take on their Edinburgh counterparts on the back pitches at BT Murrayfield tonight, kicking off at 7pm, and there are a number of familiar faces involved.
Ayr forwards coach Glen Tippett has been assisting former Ayr head coach Kenny Murray in the preparation of the fixture.
Fergus Scott and Will Bordill start in the forwards, whilst the large group of replacements includes George Hunter, James Malcolm, Rob McAlpine, Blair Macpherson, David Armstrong, Gavin Lowe, Danny McCluskey and Robbie Fergusson.
If there was any proof needed that rugby as a sport for everyone is on the up-and-up in the county of Ayrshire, the under-15s girls teams from Ayr and Carrick met at Millbrae on Monday night.
The home side came away with a fine 44-25 win against their tough opponents from Maybole.
As well as the under-15s, Ayr Ladies have an under-18s and senior teams and are always looking for new recruits of all abilities and experience. Visit the Ayr Ladies page on our website for more information.
We've had two new televisions installed in the clubhouse at Millbrae and all televised sporting fixtures will be screened, so if you can't watch your favourite teams and athletes at home, come along to the club and watch in our relaxed, friendly bar.
The clubhouse is open from 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
Don't forget that our lovely function room is available to hire out for free for any parties or gatherings. Call the clubhouse on 01292 441 944 to find out more!
Another slow start from Ayr almost got them into trouble but they managed to make a good comeback to overcome a determined Stirling County in the BT Premiership at Millbrae on a wintery afternoon.
The crowd had barely settled into their seats when County were awarded a penalty, drove from a line-out and sent second row Ruaridh Leishman over for a try, which was converted by full-back Jeff Hope. 0-7.
There was some crafty work at the line-out by Ayr and a good early jinking run from man-of-the-match David Armstrong, and it wasn't long before the visitors infringed at the scrum, giving Ross Curle a kickable penalty, which he duly took. 3-7.
County were proving very slippery in the damp and cold conditions and Ayr couldn't contain them. The home side's penalty count didn't help either, and Stirling were charging for the line again, centre Danny Gilmour going over for try number two. Hope again converted. 3-14.
Curle had another chance at goal but his second attempt flew away to the side of the post.
Ayr settled for a while, with second row Rob McAlpine, flanker Callum Templeton and prop George Hunter leading the attack. Returning full-back Grant Anderson was superb under the high ball but the game began to lose its shape for a few minutes, with errors from both sides.
The scrums held well considering the muddy pitch and Ayr's number eight Blair Macpherson made the most of it to launch himself into attack, but he was well wrapped up by County and unable to get the ball away to winger Robbie Fergusson.
It was fired out of the ensuing ruck and kicked on, with flanker Will Bordill taking it brilliantly in Stirling's half and charging on. From there, it was moved through the hands and chipped on for winger Craig Gossman to chase but the opposition defenders took it into touch.
The resulting line-out led to Ayr's most promising-looking attack where they pressed for the try for several minutes, but again that solid Stirling defence prevented them from crossing. The visitors ended up off-side though and Curle booted the penalty. 6-14.
County had one thing on their mind in the first half and that was to score tries and Gilmour was almost over again when he shot through the Ayr defence and sprinted fifty metres. Anderson was hot on his heels though and dragged him down a metre from the line.
It was a nail-biting period for the crowd as County refused to capitulate, despite the excellent defensive efforts of Fergusson, Curle and Gossman. Again, Ayr didn't help themselves by giving away penalties and it got worse when second row Scott Sutherland found himself in the sin bin for repeated infringements.
The man-advantage allowed Stirling hooker Reyner Kennedy to dive over for their third try, which went unconverted. 6-19.
Despite being a player down, Ayr kept their heads up and pushed play right into County's half and a fantastic charge down from Templeton as the visitors tried to clear got Ayr a scrum. Centre and captain Dean Kelbrick became a makeshift flanker to add some heft and the ball was fired out to Fergusson who skipped through a gap to get a much-needed try. Curle converted. 13-19.
Another knock-on from Stirling put a stop to a good period of attack from the visitors, and yet again Macpherson was great from the back of the scrum. That allowed Curle, Hunter, prop D'arcy Rae, hooker Fergus Scott and Bordill to go roaming but County turned it over.
The two sides traded line-outs but Ayr gave Stirling the upper hand just before half-time with a knock-on. County's scrum got nowhere, though, after an enormous shove from the Ayr forwards.
More knocks-on marked the start of the second half to bring groans from both sets of supporters, but they were soon laughing in disbelief at Gossman's unique tackling style which saw him jump into the arms of a Stirling attacker, legs flailing, before finally dragging him down.
The errors and infringements continued from both sides, with Stirling giving Curle another chance in front of the posts, which he took to close the gap. 16-19.
The visitors' discipline let them down and not long after they got a ticking off for taking Sutherland out of the air, flanker Shaun McDonald was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Gossman.
From the line-out, Hunter, replacement prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Curle pressed for the line. They were twice held up and when the ball did go out wide, it was knocked on by Gossman.
With both teams tiring, or perhaps numbing in the plummeting temperature, the handling errors were ever more prevalent and the kicks increased. A beautiful take from Armstrong let stand-off Danny McCluskey sprint from his own half for a thrilling try, converted by Curle. 23-19.
McCluskey had a good second half, proving himself just as deadly in defence as attack and he was quick to put a stop to anything by Stirling.
A good take at the line-out by Sutherland let the man who threw it, Dougie Hall, score Ayr's third try after a determined drive for the line. Curle couldn't convert this time. 28-19.
County wouldn't lie down and roll over and they were soon ripping the ball from Hall's hands and making off into Ayr's half. It came to nothing though and they gave away another penalty.
The fans and the players thought Anderson had raced away for the bonus-point fourth try but the referee called him back for a forward pass. Ayr took the scrum against the head and went for the line and yet again the referee and his assistants deemed a forward pass had been thrown.
The visitors had one last dash into Ayr's half, determined to close the gap and get a bonus point of their own. They couldn't get a try, largely thanks to the defensive efforts of Templeton, Fergusson and Anderson, but they had a penalty and Hope took the three points. 28-22.
That brought the game to a close. Ayr remain in second place in the BT Premiership table. There's going to be a tussle for the top spots when the league resumes in January.
Everyone will be hoping that the festive good cheer at Millbrae won't just be confined to the club's Christmas party on Saturday night as Ayr take on Stirling County in the final match of 2014.
The BT Premiership has only six remaining rounds, and with Heriot's having supplanted Ayr at the top of the table after the latter's loss to Hawick last weekend and County trying to dislodge Gala from fourth place, there really is all to play for.
"Last week was very disappointing for us with regards to how we started the game," says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester. "We were slow to get going and Hawick took their chances well. We cannot afford to do the same again this week against a strong Stirling, who are now within touching distance of the top four and a play-off spot."
Ayr will be boosted by the return of full-back Grant Anderson after several weeks on the sidelines through injury, meaning Craig Gossman moves back to the wing.
Glasgow Warriors have released hooker Dougie Hall and prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa, who bolster an already strong bench.
The Cairdeas Quaich, provided by County's main sponsor United Auctions to mark the friendship between the two clubs, is again up for grabs, and the men in pink and black will be eager to retain the trophy and get the Christmas break off to a good start.
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Robbie Fergusson; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.
Dougie Hall, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Andrew Dunlop, Graham Fisken, Kerr Gossman, Cameron Taylor.
15. Jeff Hope; 14. Matt Lamb, 13. Cammy Hughes, 12. Danny Gilmour, 11. Rory Hughes; 10. Fraser Lyle, 9. Ali Price; 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Reyner Kennedy, 3. Gerry Mountford; 4. Ruaridh Leishman, 5. Euan Dewar; 6. Struan Robertson, 7. Shaun McDonald, 8. Lewis Wynne.
Glasgow under-18s travel to Meadowmill Sports Centre in Tranent to take on their Borders counterparts tonight and nine players from Ayr have been included in the squad.
Second row Ross Hay, scrum-half Sam Graham, stand-off Paddy Dewhirst, centre Gregor Paxton, winger Mark Conlan and full-back Johnny McCorkindale start, whilst Ruairidh Sayce, Gregor Lynch, and Lewis Young are on the bench.
Thank you to everyone who came shopping last Wednesday evening at Millbrae. Feedback was that you would like another one! So, Sarah will be there again this coming Wednesday 10th December 7pm till 8.30pm.
Strips, shorts, socks, hoodies, half zips, windcheaters, beanies, trackies, fleeces, mugs, calendars, polos and t-shirts are available for purchase. Some sizes are running low now so if you would like to reserve something, please let Sarah know before Wednesday by either messaging our Facebook page or emailing her (email@example.com).
There was no doubting the commitment of Ayr Ladies and their opponents Morgan yesterday, not to mention the coaches and supporters of both teams, as the wind howled, the rain fell and hail stones battered down at Millbrae for this BT National Women's League Division 1 match.
How nine tries were scored between the two sides in such appalling conditions is astonishing. It was the home team who got the first points on the board, with outside centre Daryl Paterson fighting her way through the defence to score. Full-back Catherine Shennan easily converted. 7-0.
It wasn't long before the ladies in pink and black were off again, this time number eight Lynda Morgan making a break from her own half. The move was carried on by inside centre Laura Turner, who released stand-off Rachael Mulholland to go in under the posts. Shennan again converted. 14-0.
Morgan Ladies were undaunted though and even with a slippy ball, managed to demonstrated nice hands to move proceedings into Ayr's half. They couldn't breach the tough defence though.
Ayr showed the spirit of adventure, kicking from their own half for number eight Morgan to hack on and chase. The opposition defence gathered but a knock-on resulted in an Ayr scrum. Morgan the player, not the team, picked up from the base and ran all the way for Ayr's third try. Shennan couldn't manage the tricky conversion. 19-0.
A great catch from Paterson at the restart put Ayr in a good position but they were penalised for holding on. A few phases later though and they reclaimed possession and got themselves a scrum, which stayed solid despite the increasingly slippery surface.
Again, Paterson and Morgan were marauding their way all over the park but the visitors were quick to pounce on any errors. Ayr didn't help themselves by being caught off-side deep in their own half and in the midst of a hail shower, Morgan Ladies took the opportunity to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try. 19-5.
It was no surprise that both sides racked up knocks-on with the temperature dropping, and the visitors also struggled with their line-out throws as hands numbed in the cold.
Ayr Ladies kept going though, with scrum-half Niamh Durnan, Mulholland, Turner, Paterson and Shennan combining well to move the action close enough to Morgan's line for Mulholland to go over for her second try, which was unconverted. 24-5.
This put a spring in their soggy step and moments later flanker Eilidh Thomson fired on to a ball in her own half and took off, bashing a defender out of the way in the process, to get the last try before half-time. It was unconverted. 29-5.
Conditions worsened in the second half, but Turner still managed to display some strong running and Paterson put in a series of excellent hand-offs to get into Morgan's half.
The Dundee-side wrestled back possession, although any attacks they attempted were snuffed out by prop Louise McLauchlan, winger Sarah Paterson and replacement forward Amy McGillivray.
Ayr were putting the Morgan scrum under pressure too, the scrummaging tutorial earlier in the week from Scotland international prop Gordon Reid clearly paying off. The visitors refused to capitulate though and scrambled over for their second unconverted try. 29-10.
Lynda Morgan was on fine form all afternoon and again she sprinted from her own half to get her second, and Ayr's sixth, try. The conversion attempt was short. 34-10.
Moments later and Turner emulated her speedy team-mate by running more than fifty metres for the final try of the day, which was converted by replacement Jackie O'Neil. 41-10.
Play continued for a few more minutes, but after a consultation with the captains, the referee decided to call the game early and everyone gladly went back to the clubhouse.
Ayr Ladies will be happy to have ended 2014 with a good win in very difficult conditions.
Ayr Rugby Club received some very sad news yesterday. Neville Clark's family contacted us to let us know that Neville passed away unexpectedly on Saturday.
Nev was a regular at our home games and his grandson Aiden played with our minis and youth for several years. More recently Aiden played with Carrick and Nev headed up the fundraising for the Italy tour.
A big man with a big heart. Our thoughts are with Pat, Fiona, Aiden and Callum.
Neville's funeral will be on Monday 15th December at Girvan South Parish Church at 1pm. All are welcome at the church.
Our Christmas party takes place on Saturday 13th December in the marquee at Millbrae.
The festive fun begins at 7pm, so get on your Christmas jumpers and dresses and join us. Tickets for this over-18s event are only £5 and are available from the bar in the clubhouse. Get yours soon to avoid disappointment!
Ayr travel to the Borders tomorrow to take on eighth-placed Hawick in the BT Premiership.
Ayr will be looking to consolidate their position as top dog in the league with Heriot's snapping at their heels. Although the Millbrae men top the table, they will be very wary of playing at Mansfield Park after Hawick inflicted a one-point defeat on them at home earlier in the season.
"Mansfield Park is one of the toughest places to go in the league and this weekend will be a huge challenge for us," says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester. "We will need to be at our best if we are to get a result."
He continues: "It was good to get back to league action against Hawks last week and the boys put in a big effort to get an important win for us."
That big effort has resulted in a few casualties, winger Richard Dalgleish being the main one. He is replaced by Kerr Gossman, whose place on the bench is taken by Grant Anderson. Ayr fans are unused to seeing their team without the powerhouse full-back Anderson, so no doubt the travelling support and the man himself will be glad of his return from injury.
After a late call-up from Glasgow Warriors meant flanker Will Bordill missed out last week, he is back in the starting line-up this Saturday, with Andrew Dunlop moving to the substitutes, where Fraser Watt also features after an absence last weekend.
15. Craig Gossman, 14. Robbie Fergusson, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.
16. James Malcolm, 17. Fraser Watt, 18. Andrew Dunlop, 19. Graham Fisken, 20. Grant Anderson.
Former Ayr scrum-half Peter Jericevich has been appointed strength and conditioning coach development officer with Scottish Rugby.
PJ left Ayr last season after two successful years at Millbrae to become player-coach at GHA. He moves from community coach at Glasgow Warriors to his new role at BT Murrayfield, where he'll work with BT Sport Academy and age-grade coaches.
Fancy a spot of Christmas shopping? Our shop manager Sarah will be at Millbrae on Wednesday 3rd December and has shirts, shorts, socks, hoodies, trackies, lambswools, tees, polos, fleeces, warm-up tops, windcheaters, beanies and mugs all in stock ready for you to purchase! Sarah will be in the dining room between 7pm and 8.30pm ready to help you with your Christmas purchases.
Calendars are arriving this week and we will have a team of players at Rozelle on Sunday morning and Millbrae on Sunday afternoon with stocks of calendars. Photos of teams from the wee ones right up to the 1st XV for the unmissable price of £5. There will be stocks at the bar in the clubhouse at Millbrae from mid-week too.
Ayr beat west coast rivals Glasgow Hawks in an odd match at Millbrae on Saturday to stay top of the BT Premiership.
As the dark descended, the floodlights came on and the stand filled with expectant fans, things looked all set for a cracker of a match, but not a point was scored in the first half. It was still full of incident though.
Ayr had the early possession and opportunities, thanks to some charging runs from hooker Fergus Scott and centre Ross Curle. Winger Richard Dalgleish got the crowd on their feet with a few minutes on the clock when a Hawks attempted clearance kick was charged down and he chased it to the line. Unfortunately, the visitors got to it first. It was a fleeting appearance for Dalgleish, who was replaced by Kerr Gossman.
Hawks gained possession thanks to a penalty against Ayr, but the kick for touch didn't get them out of their own half and the line-out throw went too far, landing in the hands of Ayr flanker Andrew Dunlop. It was swiftly fired through the backs but was knocked on.
Hawks had the first kick at goal after another Ayr infringement, but stand-off George Horne missed with five minutes on the clock. Two minutes later and he lined up another, which hit the post.
Ayr's scrum-half David Armstrong had a good day under the high ball, and second row Scott Sutherland was on form, finding gaps in Hawks' tough defence. He unleashed winger Robbie Fergusson for a break up the touchline, but the visitors' were ready with some ferocious tackles.
Although Ayr had the majority of the possession, they couldn't get anywhere, even with Armstrong taking a quick line-out to set former Hawks players Craig and Kerr Gossman loose. They made some ground, but another knock-on handed a scrum to the visitors.
Hawks winger Tom Steven looked like their most threatening back but he found himself in the sin bin on the twenty minute mark after a late tackle on Ayr captain Dean Kelbrick. Centre Kelbrick is another former Hawks player who joined Ayr three seasons ago and he had a not so friendly reminder of his old club as Steven slammed into him with his shoulder. The match was quickly forgotten about as Ayr physio Helen McManus attended to the pole-axed Kelbrick and both teams took matters into their own hands. Referee Lloyd Linton and his assistants calmed everyone down, and with Kelbrick back on his feet and Steven on the sidelines, play continued.
A superb kick for the line-out from Curle got Ayr deep into Hawks' half but the throw was not straight, and the home side lost their advantage by infringing at the resulting scrum.
They camped out in Hawks' half though and regained possession, Craig Gossman, Armstrong and Kerr Gossman combining to almost send Curle over for a try, had he not slipped chasing the ball. Hawks gathered, but Kerr Gossman charged down the clearance, allowing Scott and second row Rob McAlpine to make for the tryline. McAlpine was over but knocked on before grounding the ball.
Hawks had a few knocks-on too, as the ball and the pitch got a bit greasy in the autumn evening. Despite good work from stand-off Danny McCluskey, Curle and props George Hunter and D'arcy Rae, Ayr couldn't hold on to the ball either.
With Steven back on, Hawks pushed into Ayr's half and it was only some very tough Ayr defence, led by number eight Blair Macpherson, Dunlop and flanker Callum Templeton that prevented them getting past the five-metre line.
The two sides continued to cancel each other out and the first half came to a conclusion with another yellow card for Hawks, this time lock Andy Kirkland finding himself dismissed for handling in the ruck.
Ayr took to the pitch for the second half with focus and purpose, driving from a line-out and releasing Kerr Gossman to dance his way through the defence to get into Hawks' twenty-two. Curle, putting in another virtuoso performance, appeared from nowhere to fly on to a pass and just touch down under the posts for a try which he converted, with forty-three seconds on the clock. 7-0.
Curle made another break, with the move carried on by Templeton, Horne clinging on to his jersey and being dragged along the mud behind him. Hawks found themselves off-side and Curle easily kicked the penalty. 10-0.
Knocks-on and forward passes followed, but Craig Gossman livened things up with a fifty-metre run from his own half.
Hawks sharpened up their attack too, but strong tackles from Fergusson and Curle, who seemed to be everywhere at once, quelled any try-scoring ambitions.
It wasn't until the final quarter that Hawks registered any points. Ayr were pinged at the scrum for not binding and Horne duly took the kick. 10-3.
A few minutes later and Ayr again infringed at the scrum. Replacement back Jack Steele stepped up for the long-range penalty and struck it beautifully. 10-6.
It was Ayr's turn to have someone sent to the naughty step, with Templeton yellow carded.
The final ten minutes seemed to go on for ever. Hawks got their tails up after Steele's kick and displayed some slick attacking moves, but Ayr turned them over and Kerr Gossman was again zig-zagging his way through the defence. Older brother Craig, Armstrong and Kelbrick also looked good with ball in hand.
When Hawks did turn over, they kicked away possession and later knocked on, allowing Ayr back into their half, where Armstrong and replacement prop Stuart Fenwick pressed on. The home side were patient and when McCluskey couldn't get the ball away to Craig Gossman, they simply waited for another chance.
Fenwick and Armstrong mopped up a spill at a Hawks line-out in their own twenty-two and made for the line but couldn't cross it.
Again, they bided their time in Hawks' half and after some toing and froing, Armstrong, replacement flanker Graham Fisken and Craig Gossman took play ever closer to the tryline. A line-out in a prime position let McAlpine crash over in the misty gloom for a much-needed try. Curle couldn't manage the wide penalty. 15-6.
A few minutes later and Curle had another kick at goal, this time a penalty, which he got. 18-6.
Time was up and Ayr headed back to the clubhouse glad to have got through a very tricky encounter with their old foes.
Ayr Ladies hit the road to Castle Douglas on Sunday to take on Stewartry Sirens at Greenlaw in the BT Women's National League Division 1.
The two sides have already played each other this season, with Ayr winning 22-12 at Millbrae in September. But it will be a tough prospect away from home and Stewartry will be in buoyant mood, having recently beaten league leaders Cartha.
"We know what we need to do if we want to come back victorious," says Ayr Ladies assistant coach Sylvain Diez. "Our collective defense will be key. Line speed and one-on-one tackling has been very good so far. We need to keep this up and make sure we don't give the Sirens any space as they have some really good runners such as their full back Hannah Sloan, who's been playing for Scotland recently."
He continues: "In attack we want to carry hard and go over the gain line early in the game. Support will have to be quick; winning the race to the break down will be crucial to retain possession and score tries."
The ladies in pink and black will be bolstered by the return of captain Gemma Swankie, winger Lisa Main, forward Megan Thomson and back row Eilidh Thomson, who has recovered from a broken nose.
"We've got a strong squad and we, the coaches, had to make some tough decisions regarding the team selection, which is the kind of dilemma we would like to face more often," says Diez.
Ayr's Gavin Lowe has been called up to the Scotland sevens squad for the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in Dubai and South Africa in December.
Gavin re-joined Ayr this season after a short spell with Glasgow Hawks and played for the second XV last week in their win over Boroughmuir second XV after recovering from a broken jaw earlier in the season.
We wish him all the best in his international sevens debut!
Ayr welcome west coast rivals Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae for their second clash in this season's BT Premiership.
It was a close contest when the two sides met at Hawks' temporary home of Balgray back in September, with Ayr edging the win 20-18, and Ayr's head coach Calum Forrester is expecting another such encounter tomorrow.
"This is going to be a physical derby match. Hawks come into it full of confidence off the back of two good wins in the league and cup."
He continues: "The November break has been a positive for us in that it has allowed the players to have a rest and get over a few niggles from the first half of the season. The intensity of training has remained high throughout in order to best prepare us for this weekend's match."
These two sets of players know each other very well, but there's also a familiar face behind the scenes as Ayr's former head coach Peter Laverie is now assisting at Hawks.
The squad has a familiar look to it, with Forrester naming an unchanged backline from the previous two matches.
In the forwards, openside flanker Will Bordill takes the place of Andrew Dunlop, who moves to the bench.
Ayr field a youthful front row in twenty-three-year-old George Hunter, twenty-two-year-old Fergus Scott and nineteen-year-old D'arcy Rae, all of whom, however fresh-faced, have plenty of experience of Premiership clashes.
15. Craig Gossman, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Robbie Fergusson; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.
16. James Malcolm, 17. Stuart Fenwick, 18. Andrew Dunlop, 19. Graham Fisken, 20. Kerr Gossman.
15. Andy Fleming, 14. Tom Steven, 13. Brendan McGroarty, 12. Davie Milne, 11. Paul Ramsay; 10. George Horne, 9. Paddy Boyer; 1. Steven Findlay, 2. Jack McFarlane, 3. Gary Strain; 4. Jonny Agnew, 5. Andy Kirkland; 6. Stephen Leckie, 7. Finn Gillies, 8. Tommy Spinks.
16. Grant Stewart, 17. Brendan Cullinane, 18. Scott Cummings, 19. Mateusz Bartoszek, 20. Jack Steele.
The first squad for the Scotland Club International fixtures has been named and five Ayr players have been included.
Hooker Fergus Scott, second row/back row Callum Templeton, second row Scott Sutherland, winger Craig Gossman and centre/stand-off Ross Curle are amongst the twenty-eight players who will work with coaches Phil Smith, Gordon Henderson and Jamie Parker to prepare for the matches against Ireland and England in February 2015.
Ayr Ladies found themselves in a fiercely contested second round match of the Sarah Beaney Cup on Sunday at Millbrae. You only had to hear their opponents, Cartha Ladies, roaring at each other in the changing room before kick-off to know that it was going to be a tough encounter.
It was the home team who got off to the better start, with inside centre and captain Laura Turner taking advantage of the visitors' early handling errors to run round the defenders and score a try in the corner. Jackie O'Neil couldn't manage the wide conversion. 5-0.
Considering Ayr had lost by more than fifty points when they faced Cartha in the league last month, it was a terrific start and a wake-up call for the visitors.
Ayr held their own at the early scrums, but they gave away a penalty in a kickable position and although it hit the crossbar, it bounced over for Cartha. 5-3.
Cartha displayed their good handling and running and put Ayr under pressure in their own half, but determined tackling from scrum-half Niamh Durnan, hooker Saara Vakiparta and number eight Lynda Morgan ensured they never got near the try-line.
When Ayr did get their hands on the ball, they were pinned into their own half by Cartha, who were perhaps over-zealous as they were warned several times about high tackles.
The visitors dominated the line-out at times, but again their open play only got them so far before they ran into the ladies in pink and black, outside centre Daryl Paterson and winger Ann-Marie Connelly leading the way with some determined tackling.
Ayr's strong defence was forcing Cartha handling errors, but their full-back held on to the ball to take off on a dangerous-looking run only to find Vakiparta and stand-off Rachel Mulholland waiting to shove her into touch.
Mulholland was also on form in attack, proving a strong runner, as was full-back Catherine Shennan, but handling errors were creeping into Ayr's game too.
It was already proving a bruising encounter; after a couple of the Cartha players were attended to by the physios, Ayr winger Sarah Paterson took a crack to the face, but got up and carried on.
It wasn't long before Cartha regained possession and out-ran the Ayr defence to an unconverted try in the corner. 5-8.
Ayr Ladies didn't get despondent though. A fine restart kick put Cartha under pressure and the Ayr defence quickly swarmed round them to push them into touch and claim a line-out which they easily secured.
It got slightly ragged from both sides, as the ball was knocked-on a few times more. Cartha found themselves in a difficult position as Ayr stayed solid in the scrum in their opponents' twenty-two and the ball came flying out and bobbled around tantalisingly close to Cartha's try-line. They gathered but knocked-on, giving Ayr the scrum this time. Morgan picked up from the back and it was fired through the hands only for the referee to claim a knock-on, much to the chagrin of the crowd.
Ayr had another opportunity a few minutes later when Cartha were pinged for coming in from the side, but they couldn't get past the defenders.
The second half began with an exchange of line-outs and it was Cartha who managed to launch the first dangerous attacks. They were well snuffed out by Daryl Paterson and Connelly though, with Mulholland, Turner and O'Neil in on the act too.
The home team was once again trapped in their own half, with Turner making the only foray into enemy territory from a quick tap-and-go which unfortunately led to nothing.
There was an enforced break as Ayr's second row Ruth Barclay-Paterson, who had been terrorising the opposition up until that point, was injured in a ruck and an ambulance was called.
With Barclay-Paterson safely carried from the field and off to hospital, play resumed and Ayr were under the cosh again. Cartha had two scrums in Ayr's twenty-two and when desperate defence led to a tap-and-go for the visitors, they barged over for a converted try. 5-15.
Ayr Ladies could have gone to pieces at this point, but they put their heads down and worked hard. Props Louise McLauchlan and Lindsay Dick, flanker Laura Somerville and second row Zoe Montgomerie steadied the ship, whilst Vakiparta again put in some tough tackles.
But they were not happy when Shennan was the victim of a nasty-looking tackle and after replacement Megan Thomson and Daryl Paterson charged for the try-line, a scuffle broke out with the crowd accusing the visitors of foul play.
Tempers were quickly calmed by both teams' back room staff and Ayr were awarded the penalty. They couldn't make use of it, but moments later Cartha were again on the wrong side of Ayr, the crowd and this time the referee, who brandished a yellow card.
With the one-player advantage, Turner dived over for her second try of the day, which almost resulted in yet more scrapping. O'Neil lined up the conversion and despite half the Cartha team roaring and charging at her, calmly booted it between the uprights. 12-15.
Ayr pressed on for the remainder of the match, but good work from Daryl Paterson, Durnan and Mulholland couldn't get them another try. But they did themselves proud with a very determined display against a vastly experienced side.
Ayr Ladies welcome Cartha Ladies to Millbrae tomorrow for their second round clash in the Sarah Beaney Cup.
The visitors currently top the BT Women's National League Division 1 and have already defeated Ayr Ladies in that league last month. But they come into this match on the back of their first loss of the season and combined with the home advantage, the ladies in pink and black will be hoping to put in a strong performance.
"We can expect Cartha to come to Millbrae with a lot of intent and the desire to win this game," says Ayr Ladies assistant coach Sylvain Diez. "They have a strong forward pack and our biggest challenge will be to match them in the set piece. Our defense has been outstanding so far, so we need to keep this up and take any opportunities. We must be clinical if we want to win this game."
Diez reckons the sixteenth (wo)man will be crucial for this tough encounter.
"We hope a good crowd will turn up and help the girls to go through to the next stage of the Cup."
In the squad, Diez cites an absence and a return which could affect the Ladies' cause.
"We've lost our new backrow player Eilidh Thomson, who was injured last week in our win against Aberdeenshire. But Ann-Marie Connelly is coming back from injury and will add some speed and magic to our back line."
Mark Bennett and Finn Russell again start for Scotland on Saturday at BT Murrayfield, this time taking on New Zealand. Their fellow former Ayr player Gordon Reid keeps his place on the bench, meaning he'll get the chance to add to his four caps.
All three played well in Scotland's 41-31 defeat of Argentina last week and will no doubt keep up their high standards against the All Blacks. We're looking forward to a Finn and Gordy dance-off should Scotland pull off the victory!
Former Ayr players Mark Bennett, Finn Russell and Gordon Reid have been named in Scotland's squad to play Argentina on Saturday.
Bennett makes his international debut from outside centre, whilst Russell will run out at Murrayfield for the first time to earn his third cap and Reid will be hoping to make an impact from the bench and add to his three caps.
Ayr secured a very heartening away win over Gala to top the BT Premiership.
Nothing less than everything and the kitchen sink is expected at Netherdale, and that's what Gala threw at Ayr in the opening quarter. The home side launched into attacking mode from the get-go, a clever cross-kick the pick of their tricks.
Ayr were sniffing out opportunities too, number eight Blair Macpherson starting things off from the back of a solid scrum. Centre Ross Curle and full-back Craig Gossman then took over, allowing winger Robbie Fergusson to chip on, but Gala winger Lewis Young was on hand to ground the ball before an Ayr player could get to it.
And that was all in the opening three minutes. Gala made the first infringement shortly after and Curle stepped up to knock over a penalty. 0-3.
The rain began and proved more of a problem for the Maroons, who knocked on several times. When they held on to the ball, a nice slip pass unleashed centre Alan Emond and pushed them into Ayr's half.
A couple of penalties against Ayr helped Gala's cause further and at thirteen minutes Young nipped over for a try. Craig Dods easily converted in front of the posts. 7-3.
Ayr set to work, with captain Dean Kelbrick acting as a battering ram in the centre and flanker Andrew Dunlop and prop George Hunter crashing around the pitch. Glasgow Warrior Jon Welsh made another welcome appearance for the men in pink and black and was on the charge.
It was a good day for the mobile front row, with hooker Stuart Fenwick making breaks and superbly handing off a Gala defender, and combined with Hunter and Welsh, put Gala under pressure at the scrum.
The rain eased off and so did the match, with the intensity of both sides dipping. Ayr received a blow when stand-off Danny McCluskey hurt his arm putting in a flying tackle and had to be escorted from the pitch. He was replaced by Kerr Gossman.
At twenty-six minutes, Ayr gave away a penalty just inside their own half and Dods stepped up to the tee. His kick had the distance but was wide.
Gala then infringed at the scrum and Curle's huge kick for the corner put Ayr in prime position to go for the try-line. Hunter and Fenwick both went for it but couldn't get past the stubborn Gala defence.
An Ayr scrum moments later allowed Macpherson to launch himself at the line, clattering his way over an unfortunate Gala defender in the process, and get the ball down for a try. Curle converted. 7-10.
Centre Gregor Young looked like he would get Gala back on track when he found himself in acres of space, but decided to kick on instead of passing to his team-mates. Another attack from the home side a few minutes later looked promising but Ayr flanker Callum Templeton wouldn't be out-run by a back and hauled the Maroon to the ground.
With Gala not releasing, Ayr got a line-out that allowed Fergusson to break away up the left wing, where good hands from Dunlop and Curle put Craig Gossman over for a try at thirty-eight minutes. Curle missed the wide conversion. 7-15.
The second half began in a messy fashion with stolen line-outs and knocks on. Dods summed up his team's afternoon when he kicked the ball straight into the backside of second row Opeta Palepoi.
Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong, second row Scott Sutherland, Fergusson and Curle put Gala under pressure in their own half and the home team were soon off-side, handing Curle another penalty chance at fifty minutes, which he took. 7-18.
Number eight Euan Dods cheered up the crowd, firing past the Ayr defence, but was tracked down by Armstrong and the ball was spilled, allowing Kerr Gossman to jink his way round the defenders.
Fergusson, Curle and Kelbrick showed off their nice hands in Gala's half, and Fergusson's deft little chip bounced sweetly for Craig Gossman to collect for his second try. Curle converted. 7-25.
Gossman the elder soon found himself in trouble when he put in a dangerous tackle on Lewis Young, who after a few minutes on the ground thankfully got to his feet and played on. Gossman spent ten minutes in the sin bin.
With the man advantage, and their devoted fans shouting them on, Gala ran amok and Euan Dods crossed for a try, after juggling the ball. His full-back namesake got the conversion. 14-25.
It got a bit frantic after that, with breaks and chips and hacks. Curle and Dunlop were in the thick of things, as was Kerr Gossman, who put in a much-needed bear-hug of a tackle to snuff out Gala.
Second row Robert McAlpine and replacement prop Fraser Watt looked to be on to something but a knock-on brought it to a premature end. Gala found themselves off-side again with ten minutes to go, but Curle couldn't manage the penalty kick.
Curle delighted the crowd when he was set on his backside by the slippery conditions but that was the last thing they had to laugh at as their team drifted away. Craig Gossman, winger Richard Dalgleish and Kerr Gossman had them groaning in despair as they marauded their way round the pitch.
A small scuffle broke out but nothing came of it. An Ayr line-out let them trundle towards the try-line and Hunter looked to be over but was held up.
A couple of scrums for Ayr followed and after some patient play, McAlpine slammed his way through the defence to get the bonus point try, converted by Curle. 14-32
Gala still pressed on with the clock ticking towards eighty minutes. Replacement Grayson Hart set off on an exciting run, supported by Euan Dods and Gary Graham. Emond couldn't continue their good work though as he was felled by Fergusson. The whistle for full-time went soon after to send the crowd home disappointed and the visitors home happy.
Ayr's Ross Curle talks to Gary Heatly in the sports section of today's Scotsman. Ross discusses Ayr's prospects against Gala at Netherdale and his experiences of playing professional rugby in Italy as a teenager.
Ayr go on their travels to the Borders tomorrow to face Gala in the BT Premiership.
After a great win over Gala's neighbours Melrose at Millbrae last Saturday, Ayr would have been in buoyant mood throughout the week but danger lurks at Netherdale.
"We are expecting another close encounter like there was earlier this season," says head coach Calum Forrester. "We were delighted with the way we started against Melrose which was exactly the response that we were looking for following a disappointing display the week before. This week we will be looking to build on that."
Forrester has chosen the same squad as last week, with Glasgow Warrior Jon Welsh again donning the pink and black shirt.
The only change is Andrew Dunlop swapping from the bench to the starting line-up in place of Will Bordill. Bordill and Murray McConnell, also amongst the substitutes, have been named in the match day twenty-three for Warriors' Pro12 game tonight against Treviso.
15. Craig Gossman, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Robbie Fergusson; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Stuart Fenwick, 3. Jon Welsh; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland, 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Blair Macpherson.
16. James Malcolm, 17. Fraser Watt, 18. Will Bordill, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Kerr Gossman.
An unprecedented eleven Ayr players have been named in the Glasgow under-18s squad to face Caledonia at Murrayfield, kick-off 6pm.
Prop Kyle McNulty, second row Matthew Northcote, flanker Ross Hay, stand-off Paddy Dewhirst, centres Gregor Paxton and John McCorkindale, winger Sam Gray and full-back Mark Conlan all start, with Ruaridh Sayce, Gregor Lynch and Sam Graham taking their places on the bench.
Matt Davidson, Cameron Reece, Robbie Nicol and Calum Gaw start for Glasgow under-16s in their match against the Caledonia under-16s on Wednesday.
The BT Premiership is shaping up to have more drama than an entire series of Downton Abbey.
Whilst ITV's Sunday night ratings winner is happy to let its plots plod along like a snail going uphill, Scotland's club rugby scene has twists and turns aplenty, with Ayr and Melrose two of the main characters pushing along the storylines at pace.
After last week's disheartening loss to Heriot's, it was hoped the men in pink and black would bounce back once they stepped on to their home turf against Melrose, and did they. Barely had the whistle gone when the back row of Callum Templeton, Will Bordill and Blair Macpherson were throwing themselves around like men possessed.
Melrose were also in on the act, but took things too far when flanker Peter Eccles put in a high tackle on outside centre Ross Curle. A few minutes later and Melrose got another ticking off, giving Curle his first chance at goal, with he duly took. 3-0.
The two sides each had a line-out and it was Ayr's which was the platform for the first try. The ball flew through the hands of captain Dean Kelbrick and stand-off Danny McCluskey before being fired back to Kelbrick, who crossed the whitewash with eight minutes on the clock. Curle converted. 10-0.
Two minutes later, and the home side was flying again. A huge kick from scrum-half David Armstrong was deftly caught by Bordill and he set off full-back Craig Gossman, who found Curle and he was over the line before anyone knew what had happened. He easily converted his own score. 17-0.
Melrose didn't let their heads go down, and a beautiful dummy from number eight Graham Dodds allowed him to make metres, but he was isolated and the Borderers knocked on a couple of phases later.
A squint line-out throw didn't help the visitors and Ayr were ready to pounce. Gossman put his opposite number Fraser Thomson under pressure with a kick which, despite the Melrose man claiming it, ended up in Ayr hands. Macpherson, second row Scott Sutherland, hooker Stuart Fenwick and McCluskey all had a go at getting over the line, but the latter was illegally prevented by winger George Taylor and he was sent to the sin bin at sixteen minutes.
This resulted in an easy penalty in front of the posts for Curle. 20-0.
There was hardly time for the players, never mind the crowd, to catch their breath and Ayr were off again. Templeton stole a Melrose line-out and a few minutes later, used one of his big paws to casually pat aside winger Callum Anderson and outstrip the Melrose defence to sprint over for Ayr's third try. Curle converted. 27-0.
The match then took an odd turn as it went from the ceaseless excitement of the first quarter to a period of at least ten minutes messing about at the scrum in Ayr's half. The referee was not happy with the home side and prop George Hunter found himself yellow carded.
Melrose took advantage and wily prop Nick Beavon transferred his tricks from the scrum to open play and grabbed a try. Joe Helps converted. 27-7.
Ayr moved play back in Melrose's half and after a couple of line-outs, a pile-up in the corner ensued. The ball somehow spilled out and was tidied up by Ayr winger Richard Dalgleish. Despite the best efforts of Curle, McCluskey and Kelbrick, they couldn't get over the line.
Melrose's line-out throw was again not straight, but they kept their composure and Thomson launched a promising-looking attack, with stand-off Austin Lockington in support. He couldn't escape the clutches of the marauding Bordill, who clung on to his shirt.
The visitors wouldn't be stopped though, and young flanker Neil Irvine Hess charged up the wing for a well-earned try. It was unconverted. 27-12.
The torrential rain at the start of the second half quelled the excitement and both sides trundled back and forth for a few minutes before anything really happened.
Melrose looked threatening, stealing an Ayr line-out and Lockington was again charging around. But they couldn't stop Hunter, who leapt on a kick charged down by second row Rob McAlpine at the back of a scrum, nicely caught the ball and sped over the line for the bonus-point try at forty-eight minutes. Curle missed the conversion. 32-12.
Macpherson was putting in some big tackles and gaining Ayr a turnover but they were getting on the wrong side of the referee, sparking some hisses of dissatisfaction from the crowd.
There was more disappointment at fifty-three minutes when Dodds crossed for an unconverted try for Melrose. 32-17.
Those were the last points for the visitors, although they didn't give up trying. Thomson again led the way, but he was unceremoniously set on his backside by Gossman whenever he tried to breach the Ayr defence.
Dalgleish and his fellow winger Robbie Fergusson were also quick to snuff out any attacks, and Fergusson thought he was in for a try at one point only to be called back for a knock-on.
Replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell was buzzing around as usual, trying to cause havoc and his neat little kick almost did, but for Thomson managing to ground the ball before substitute Kerr Gossman could get to it.
It was a good day all round for the bench, with James Malcolm, Fraser Watt and Andrew Dunlop making valuable contributions.
Melrose were either tiring or getting tired of being over-run and shut down, because the errors were ever-more prevalent. They missed their kick for the corner when Ayr had infringed in their own half, booting the ball in the direction of the Burns Monument instead of the Brig a Doon Hotel. They then knocked on when trying to catch Ayr's drop-out.
Despite nice hands from Sutherland and Templeton, Ayr knocked on twice too. Frustration spilled out on a couple of occasions, with the front rows squaring up to each other before the scrum was even set.
The match finished with Curle teeing up a penalty, despite grumblings from the crowd who were keen to see another try. But the hard work had been done and Curle quickly slotted the kick before the whistle went. 35-17.
There's sure to be more dramatic goings-on next week when Ayr head to Netherdale to take on Gala, but for now they'll be delighted with a good win which puts them second in the BT Premiership table.
Final score: Ayr 35 Melrose 17.
- Elena Hogarth.
Man of the match Danny McCluskey receiving his bottle of Famous Grouse from head coach Calum Forrester. Danny is sponsored by Boyd Digital.
Ayr face an extremely stern test tomorrow in round nine of the BT Premiership as they welcome Melrose to Millbrae.
Each team comes into the clash on the back of two very different results; Melrose swatted aside Gala and Ayr had something of a nightmare against Heriot's. The Millbrae men have to be at their very best this week to overcome the visitors.
"We are under no illusion of the task in hand against a Melrose side full of confidence," says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester. "We will need to front up in what is going to be a very physical encounter."
Although the squad is full of familiar faces, it has been shuffled around somewhat. Craig Gossman starts at full-back whilst Robbie Fergusson takes the left wing berth, with Kerr Gossman moving on to the bench.
The front row is comprised of George Hunter, Stuart Fenwick and Glasgow Warrior Jon Welsh. Returning from injury is the towering Robert McAlpine. He teams up with Scott Sutherland in the second row, meaning Callum Templeton moves to blindside flanker. Andrew Dunlop is also making a comeback from injury, taking his place amongst the substitutes.
15. Craig Gossman, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Robbie Fergusson; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Stuart Fenwick, 3. Jon Welsh; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.
16. James Malcolm, 17. Fraser Watt, 18. Andrew Dunlop, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Kerr Gossman.
15. Fraser Thomson (capt), 14. Callum Anderson, 13. Tito Mua, 12. Joe Helps, 11. George Taylor; 10. Austin Lockington, 9. Murdo McAndrew; 1. Nick Beavon, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. TBA; 4. James Head, 5. Lewis Carmichael; 6. Neil Irvine Hess, 7. Peter Eccles, 8. Graham Dodds.
16. Nicky Little, 17. Ross Miller, 18. Ruiri Knott, 19. Bruce Colvine, 20. Richard Mill.
Ayr head coach Calum Forrester has secured the services of his current charge Fergus Scott and former team-mate Finn Russell to help coach the University of Glasgow teams.
As well as taking the reins at Millbrae, Calum has been putting the students at Glasgow through their paces since last season, having taken over from former Ayr player Peter Jericevich. With Fergus and Finn now helping out, the pink and black influence continues.
Ayr travel to Goldenacre on Saturday to take on Heriot's with another British and Irish Lion in the line-up for a tough tie in the BT Premiership.
After Sean Maitland pulled on the pink and black shirt a fortnight ago, this time it's Ryan Grant who has been released by Glasgow Warriors to begin his injury comeback and makes up a new look front row along with James Malcolm and Stuart Fenwick. His fellow Warrior Jon Welsh is on the bench, as are the returning Will Bordill and Craig Gossman.
Murray McConnell starts at scrum-half and Robbie Fergusson takes the full-back berth in place of the injured Grant Anderson.
Head coach Calum Forrester was pleased with Ayr's defensive efforts last week in their win over Currie and knows that his team will have to be just as good again this Saturday.
"Heriot's are one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the league," he says. "They showed from their result last week that they will keep fighting to the end, so we will need to be more clinical in attack and take advantage of the few opportunities that will come our way."
15. Robbie Fergusson, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. Murray McConnell; 1. Ryan Grant, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Stuart Fenwick; 4. Callum Templeton, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Ben Johnston, Blair Macpherson.
16. George Hunter, 17. Jon Welsh, 18. Will Bordill, 19. David Armstrong, 20. Craig Gossman.
15. Glenn Bryce, 14. Harry Boisseau, 13. Liam Steele, 12. Rory Carmichael, 11. Charlie Simpson; 10. Gregor McNeish, 9. Graham Wilson; 1. Nathan Borel, 2. Davy McGregor, 3. Struan Cessford; 4. Russell Nimmo, 5. Ben Toolis; 6. Jono Armstrong, 7. Jack Turley (capt), 8. Jason Hill.
16. Blair Couper, 17. Gavin Cameron, 18. Joe Naya, 19. Jack McLean, 20. Stuart Edwards.
Last week, first XV player Robbie Fergusson and assistant coach Glen Tippett popped into West FM to chat about upcoming fixtures and Robbie's return to rugby after his successful treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Listen to a short clip of Robbie talking to Fiona Shields here.
Every week, someone from Ayr RFC will be on West FM to discuss the previous weekend's match and preview the next game. Listen out for club president Billy McHarg in the next couple of days!
Ayr again had a slow first half but rallied to overcome Currie in week seven of the BT Premiership and move into second place on the table.
Currie have been Ayr's banana skin team in the past few seasons, usually at Malleny Park, their ground in Edinburgh, but their tenacity at Millbrae yesterday showed they can be just as much of a handful away from home.
They were on the charge, and it was only some flying tackles from Ayr's returning second row Callum Templeton and centre Ross Curle that closed them down.
Just like last week, Ayr's discipline was a worry and Currie centre Joe Reynolds had a kick at goal at ten minutes, which he missed.
Ayr gave themselves a shake and got stuck in, scrum-half David Armstrong taking a superb high ball, flanker Graham Fisken rising to the occasion in the line-out and prop George Hunter blasting his way through defenders.
Teenage flanker Ben Johnston cantered through a gap in Currie's defence at seventeen minutes, flipping the ball on to Curle, who deftly took it off his bootlaces, and he found winger Richard Dalgleish ready and waiting to dive over in the corner for Ayr's first try. The conversion angle was too wide for full-back Grant Anderson. 5-0.
Currie replied a few minutes later when Reynolds got a second shot at the sticks. 5-3.
Despite good handling from Templeton and his second row partner Scott Sutherland, the game entered a rather boring period of kicking until Currie decided they had had enough and wanted to run it. They couldn't out-run Fisken and Curle though, who snuffed out the attack as it crept increasingly closer to Ayr's line.
Ayr wobbled at twenty-five minutes though, giving away another penalty which Reynolds slotted. 5-6.
Four minutes later, Reynolds had yet another chance but missed.
Number eight Blair Macpherson, winger Kerr Gossman and hooker Stuart Fenwick livened things up for the home team, but there was no way through Currie's solid defence.
Their right winger Fidias Efthymiou had been itching to make his mark on the game from the start, and he got his opportunity as he sprinted off up the touchline, but Gossman quickly tracked him down and forced him off the pitch.
Urged on by some incomprehensible gutteral shouts from stand-off James Semple, Efthymiou and flanker Malcolm Peacock launched another attack, which was extinguished this time by Ayr captain Dean Kelbrick.
The ever-robust Anderson was also involved in containing Currie, but injured himself in the process, and as he was escorted off the pitch by the medical team towards the end of the first half, Robbie Fergusson made his return to competitive rugby after fighting and beating Hodgkin Lymphoma. There has probably never been a cheer like it at Millbrae as he ran on.
An unsuccessful penalty attempt by Curle was the only other incident of note in the first half.
Ayr were certainly fired up at the resumption of play, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell headed for the tryline, as was Fergusson. It was Curle, though, who shot over after a slick pass from Kelbrick, and he converted his own score. 12-6.
Curle added a penalty a few minutes later. 15-6.
Both teams mirrored each other slightly for a period, each knocking on after working hard to secure possession. It was Ayr who mopped up a Currie mistake to their advantage, letting Curle, Templeton and Gossman loose and eventually Fenwick tried to wrestle his way over the line, but he was well wrapped up.
A couple of Ayr scrums followed and Macpherson looked to be over at sixty minutes, when Currie captain Ross Weston was summarily sent to the sin bin for illegally interfering.
Shortly after Weston's dismissal, Dalgleish was flying up the wing for a try when an excellent double tackle forced the ball from his hands just as he was about to touch down.
More tedious kicking threatened to lull the supporters into an afternoon nap, but they quickly woke up when Fergusson, arms outstretched like someone was about to lob a sack of tatties at him, caught a Currie kick and shot off on a fifty-metre run. He could only chip ahead as two defenders looked to close him down, but the fans loved seeing the young man raring to go.
With ten minutes to go, a solid Ayr scrum provided the platform to fire the ball out wide to Kelbrick, who dived over in the corner for the third try of the day. The conversion attempt by Curle was unsuccessful. 20-6.
Ayr were keen for more, with McConnell fighting his way out of his own half and Fenwick selling a terrific dummy, but Currie were managing to pin them back. A burst by Fisken made the difference and Ayr made metres, but Currie turned them over.
Efthymiou was again the danger man for the visitors, but Fisken and Hunter had him under control. However, Reynolds was Currie's point-scorer for the day and he added a try to his tally at the end. He may have been distracted by the entire Ayr team charging at him as he attempted to convert. 20-11.
The referee blew the whistle to bring the tricky encounter to a close, and although they missed the four-try bonus point, Ayr will have been glad to get through it and leapfrog Heriot's, whom they face next week, in the BT Premiership table.
Ayr welcome Currie to Millbrae on Saturday for the men in pink and black's fourth home game of this season's BT Premiership.
Although Ayr had a heartening away win over Boroughmuir last weekend, head coach Calum Forrester knows his team will need to get out of the blocks quicker tomorrow.
"Matches between Ayr and Currie have been hard-fought physical encounters recently and we cannot afford to start this week the way that we started last."
He adds: "Ben (Cairns, Currie head coach) has a well-drilled side and we will need to be at our best on Saturday."
The players' minds will no doubt be firmly on the match, but for everyone else involved at Millbrae, the return of Robbie Fergusson will be at the forefront of their thoughts ahead of this fixture. The twenty-one-year-old was due to play his first game for the second XV last week after his successful treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma but the match was called off. Now he's named on the bench to face Currie tomorrow.
"Robbie has been an inspiration to everyone who knows him with his positive attitude and the determination he has shown to get through the past eight months," says Forrester, "and he has looked as sharp as ever in training."
Also making comebacks are Ross Curle, who starts at outside centre, with Richard Dalgleish moving to the wing, and Callum Templeton, who partners Scott Sutherland in the second row.
George Hunter and Stuart Fenwick start at prop and hooker respectively and Glasgow Warriors have released Murray McConnell, who takes his place amongst the substitutes.
15. Grant Anderson, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Stuart Fenwick, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Callum Templeton, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Ben Johnston, 8. Blair Macpherson.
Ayr have several players in the Glasgow under-18s and under-16s squads for their fixtures against their Edinburgh counterparts at the weekend at Netherdale.
Kyle McNulty, Matthew Northcote, Ross Hay, Sam Gray, Gregor Paxton, Gregor Lynch and Sam Graham will line up on Sunday at 5pm for the Warriors under-18s, whilst Calum Gaw, Cameron Reece and Matt Davidson will take part in the under-16s match at 3.30pm.
Northcote, Hay and Paxton were yesterday named in the Scotland under-18s training camp squad for next week, so it will be a busy few days for them.
Ayr scored five tries to beat Boroughmuir at Meggatland in week six of the BT Premiership.
Whilst the visitors were simmering away nicely in the second half, they were a bit undercooked in the first. Ayr's infringements didn't help their cause and there were only two minutes on the clock when Boroughmuir's stand-off Graeme Blackhall kicked a penalty. 3-0.
Ayr held firm at the set pieces and when Boroughmuir were launching attacks from the likes of centre Chris Hardie, Blair Macpherson, Kerr Gossman and Danny McCluskey were on hand to put a stop to it.
However, at ten minutes, they were penalised for not releasing and Blackhall stepped up to the tee again. 6-0.
After a couple of knocks-on from both sides, Ayr gained the possession and quickly moved to within five metres of the tryline. But Glasgow Warriors' Sean Maitland's pass found no-one.
There was a lengthy stoppage as Ayr prop Nick Cox was unfortunately stretchered off with a broken ankle. He was replaced by Stuart Fenwick.
Ayr had a chance to get on the scoreboard and full-back Grant Anderson successfully kicked a penalty. 6-3.
Boroughmuir were in attacking mode again, with prop Simon Bergham rumbling ominously close to Ayr's line, but Gossman got there in time to haul him to the ground.
Further knocks-on occurred before a great take at the line-out from flanker Graham Fisken allowed Fenwick and centre Richard Dalgleish to charge head-first into the home defence, but alas nothing came of their hard work.
Some chat from Boroughmuir irritated the referee and he sent them back ten metres, and Ayr had a scrum on their five-metre line, although the ball somehow ended up in blue and green hands.
Despite a steal at the line-out and some great work from Glasgow Warriors' hooker Dougie Hall, Ayr were twice penalised for holding on.
Boroughmuir were roaring themselves on, but perhaps got a bit over-excited as they knocked-on again and later threw a wonky ball at the line-out. The ensuing scrum for Ayr allowed them to trundle to the tryline and after showing great patience, Anderson nipped over in the corner. He converted his own score. 6-10.
At the start of the second half, Hall was again making metres and Gossman got his hands on the ball, fought his way up the wing and scored in the corner. Anderson couldn't manage the wide conversion. 6-15.
Boroughmuir worked their way out of their own half and a great break from replacement prop Cal Davies, backed up by winger Frank Yawayawa and scrum-half Johnny Adams, almost resulted in a try but for a determined tackle by Ayr's scrum-half David Armstrong.
Ayr retained possession for the next few minutes and captain Dean Kelbrick led the attack, bashing his way through and over the Boroughmuir defenders. A pile-up on the line followed but the home team turned over and cleared.
Boroughmuir weren't giving Maitland any space at all but their own mistakes were helping the visitors along. A kick straight out gave Ayr a line-out in a nice position and a blast from Macpherson gave Anderson the chance to skip over for his second try, which he converted. 6-22.
There were uncontested scrums for the rest of the match after a clash of heads forced Fenwick off to get stitched up.
Ayr showed ambition and speed in their quest for a four-try bonus point but it wasn't to materialise just yet. They had Yawayawa to contain and more personnel changes to deal with as Maitland gave way to Cameron Taylor and second row Graham Williamson was replaced by Craig Brown.
Boroughmuir demonstrated their ambition too, as they refused to lie down and roll over. They bided their time in Ayr's half, spotted a gap in the defence and full-back Ian Martin raced through it for their first try. He couldn't convert it. 11-22.
There was another long break in play as Ayr lost their third front row player of the afternoon, with Fraser Watt treated for a neck injury. He thankfully was able to get up and walk off the field, and was replaced by Tom Hiddleston.
A back coming on for a prop didn't seem to upset Ayr too much, as Armstrong whipped the ball out of an uncontested scrum and fired it to Macpherson who ran over for that all-important fourth try. Anderson got the conversion. 11-29.
Again, the home team came back at Ayr, this time number eight Magnus Bradbury escaping the clutches of the defenders to cross the whitewash. Martin's conversion attempt was wide. 16-29.
There was time for one last attack from Ayr as they turned Boroughmuir over and Fisken, Dalgleish, Taylor and Hiddleston showed brilliantly quick hands to send Gossman over for his second and Ayr's fifth try. Anderson's drop-kick conversion attempt was unsuccessful. 16-34.
No matter, as the whistle went for full-time and Ayr and their supporters could go home happy.
Ayr welcome Scotland international and British and Irish Lion Sean Maitland into the team for a tricky encounter with Boroughmuir at Meggatland in week six of the BT Premiership.
Boroughmuir are currently mid-table and recorded a heartening win over Melrose in week three, so cannot be underestimated. After a close call against Edinburgh Accies at Millbrae last weekend, head coach Calum Forrester knows Ayr will need to up their game in the capital.
"We were not clinical enough in attack last week and we wasted a number of opportunities to score. We will need to be more accurate at Meggetland where chances to score will be limited," he says. "Boroughmuir will be looking to bounce back after losses in recent weeks, so we are expecting another hard battle this weekend."
As well as Maitland pulling on the pink and black, his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Dougie Hall again turns out for Ayr after a strong performance last week. George Hunter is travelling with the Warriors this weekend, so his place in the front row is taken by a returning Nick Cox.
Kerr Gossman has recovered from injury and lines up on the wing with Maitland, and Danny McCluskey starts at stand-off.
On the bench, Craig Brown returns and Stuart Fenwick takes Cox's spot.
15. Grant Anderson, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Richard Dalgleish, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Nick Cox, 2. Dougie Hall, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Graham Williamson, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Ben Johnston, 8. Blair Macpherson.
16. James Malcolm, 17. Stuart Fenwick, 18. Craig Brown, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Tom Hiddleston.
Kick-off 3pm! You can follow live scoring on Twitter.
Our annual Hallowe'en Party takes place on the night itself, Friday 31st October, at 7pm at Millbrae. Tickets are £5 and include a buffet, party games, best home-made fancy dress competition and the fantastic Stefan Janik as DJ for the night.
Everyone of all ages welcome!
Tickets are available from Gordon Kotze (tel: 07774739797), behind the bar in the clubhouse and our online shop or you can message our Facebook page.