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.