Sunday, 20 December 2015

December POTM poll open!

The player of the month poll for December 2015 is now open!

One of the men's 1st XV will get an early Christmas present of a £50 Slaters Menswear voucher for topping the online vote.

There have only been two games this month, so all players who have featured in match day squads for both are included.

The poll closes on Christmas Eve at midday, with the winner announced shortly after.

Vote here.

Currie 31 Ayr 19

A second-half slump saw Ayr squander a lead against Currie in the last game of the BT Premiership before the festive break and continue the Malleny Park hoodoo that has seen the visitors win there only twice in the last twelve years.

Despite early good work with ball in hand by centre Richard Dalgleish, prop D'arcy Rae, full-back Grant Anderson, winger Junior Bulumakau and number eight Pete McCallum, Ayr couldn't get anywhere and kicking away possession didn't help.

Currie were clearly full of Christmas cheer, and as soon as their stand-off James Semple scooped up the ball, he burst forth on an exciting break.  It was full-back Blair Kinghorn, on impressive form all afternoon, who finished off the move to score the first try.  Semple couldn't convert.  5-0.

But it wasn't long until Ayr replied.  Flanker Graham Fisken whipped the ball away from the line-out and second rows Scott Sutherland and Greg Peterson barged their way through the defence before McCallum used all his strength to crash over the whitewash.  Frazier Climo converted.  5-7.

Ayr got on a roll, with hooker Lewis Anderson scurrying away up the wing, only for his pass to be intercepted.  It wasn't long until Bulumakau was doing the same after Peterson stole a Currie line-out.  The Glasgow Warriors winger displayed tremendous strength and speed to fend off tackles and hare away for the try.  It was too wide for Climo to convert.  5-12.

Currie got straight back into it, but Ayr put in the defensive hard yards, with scrum-half David Armstrong, prop Steven Longwell and replacement back Cameron Taylor on hand to repel Currie's attackers.  The hosts were almost over the try-line but centre Fidias Efthymiou knocked on thanks to a crunching Ayr tackle.

A couple of scrums were exchanged before Ayr strayed offside and Semple lined up a long-range penalty and struck it perfectly.  8-12.

Ayr's line-out began to wobble while Currie's stayed strong, and they were getting too many opportunities thanks to more penalties being given away by the visitors.  But the home side knocked on and Ayr held firm at the scrum in their own twenty-two before Climo shrugged off tacklers and raced away for a brilliant individual try.  It looked like the conversion wouldn't go over in the strong breeze but a moment's gust helped the ball between the uprights.  8-19.

From that opening half-hour, despite the problems at the line-out and the penalty count, it would have been difficult to imagine that Ayr would score no further points, but that's what happened.

Semple kicked two penalties before half-time.  14-19.

Currie resumed the match at a canter, Kinghorn finding gaps in the Ayr defence before number eight and captain Ross Weston went over for a try, which Semple converted.  21-19.

Prop George Hunter, who replaced flanker Blair Macpherson, was doing his usual wrecking ball routine in the loose, but nothing was going Ayr's way.  Even some excellent snaffling from McCallum couldn't be capitalised on, and things got worse when they were defending their own try-line and winger Craig Gossman ended up in the sin-bin.

A try by Currie seemed inevitable but it came cruelly.  Ayr managed a turnover after some terrifically sturdy defence.  A solid scrum followed, but as they tried to clear, the kick was charged down and the ball just stayed on the pitch long enough for Kinghorn to get to it.  With Semple off injured, the young full-back took over kicking duty but couldn't convert his own try.  26-19.

A scintillating score by winger Ruaridh Smith, ripping the defence to ribbons, was the final nail in the coffin for Ayr.  Kinghorn missed the conversion.  31-19.

The visitors tried to come back through breaks by Bulumakau, McCallum and the restored Gossman, but to no avail.

Captain Ross Curle had hobbled off early in the first half and having overcome a bash to the leg, returned for the final quarter.  But not even his influence could get Ayr over the line for a fourth try and a bonus point.

The large crowd, so oddly quiet for most of the game as though not wanting to get too excited at the prospect of beating the league leaders, erupted as the ball was booted off the park to bring a fine game for the home team to an end.

Ayr still lead the BT Premiership by five points, and with the final three games of the league coming up in January, they will be putting all their energy into keeping a hold of the top spot going into the play-offs.

Final score: Currie 31 Ayr 19.

-Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas opening times

Ayr Rugby Club will be closed for a number of days during the festive season.

It will be closed from Wednesday 23rd December to Monday 28th December.

Tuesday 29th December, open 5pm-11pm.
Wednesday 30th December, closed.
Thursday 31st December, closed.
Friday 1st January, open 1pm-7pm.
Saturday 2nd January, closed.

Opening hours will go back to normal from Sunday 3rd January.

Currie v Ayr preview

It's the last round of the BT Premiership before the Christmas and New Year break, and Ayr travel to Malleny Park in Balerno to take on Currie on Saturday.

The hosts are currently fourth in the table but Hawick are hot on their heels in fifth place with an equal forty-two points.  So, with only a few matches left, Currie will be determined to cement their place in the top four to qualify for the play-offs.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester know his men, despite their position at the top of the table, will be in for a difficult afternoon in that picturesque part of Edinburgh.

'Malleny is one of the toughest venues to play at in the league and given Currie's recent run of results, we expect that challenge to be even greater this weekend.'

The visitors are again bolstered by the presence of Glasgow Warriors' second row Greg Peterson, who put in a man-of-the-match performance in his Ayr debut last week.  His Scotstoun team-mate Junior Bulumakau moves from the bench to the starting line-up for his third appearance in the pink and black shirt.

Archie Russell drops out with an injury and his outside centre berth is taken by Richard Dalgleish.  In the forwards, Graham Fisken is at openside flanker in place of the unavailable Andrew Dunlop, and Steven Longwell and D'arcy Rae join Lewis Anderson in a dynamic front row.

Young prop Sam Kenny takes his place on the bench after some try-scoring exploits for the 2nd XV, along with scrum-half Jack Preston and winger Cameron Taylor.


Currie:
15. Blair Kinghorn; 14. Ruaridh Smith, 13. Fidiad Efthymiou, 12. Robbie Nelson, 11. Harvey Elms; 10. James Semple, 9. Charlie Shiel; 1. John Cox, 2. Matt Goodwin, 3. Alistair Hamilton; 4. Mike Vernal, 5. Kieran Lowe; 6. Luke Crosbie, 7. Travis Brooke, 8. Ross Weston (c).

Replacements:
16. Graeme Carson, 17. Shaun Ruwers, 18. Stephen Ainslie, 19. Chris Davies, 20. Matt McPhillips.

Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Junior Bulumakau, 13. Richard Dalgleish, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Greg Peterson; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Graham Fisken, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. Sam Kenny, 17. George Hunter, 18. Rob McAlpine, 19. Jack Preston, 20. Cameron Taylor.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

The 2nd XV are away to Watsonians, kicking off at 2pm.  Their match can be followed live via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

More Christmas shopping at Millbrae

Ayr RFC shop manager Sarah will again be on hand to help you pick out Christmas presents this Wednesday (16th December) between 6pm and 7.30pm at Millbrae.

There will be an exclusive 20% discount on all kids' wear on Wednesday.

Other merchandise available includes beanie hats, mugs, money boxes, cuff links, kit, socks, gym wear, jumpers, fleeces and swim shorts.  There is something for everyone!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Townsend full of praise for Malcolm

Ayr's young hooker James Malcolm had his first start for Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, scoring a try in their 43-6 victory over Scarlets in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Scotstoun.

The 21-year-old put in a great performance and Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend was delighted by the youngster's contribution to the six-try win.

'He is tough.  He puts in low tackles, he runs hard and he is physically good.'

Read more in the Scotsman.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Ayr 20 Heriot's 8

Ayr made their final home fixture of 2015 count as they beat Heriot's to stretch their lead at the top of the BT Premiership to eight points with a game in hand.

They began at a canter, turning over from the kick-off and prop Javan Sebastian galloping away into Heriot's half before second row, and man of the match, Greg Peterson scored on his debut.  Climo added the extras.  7-0.

It was a false dawn though as what had been expected to be a cracker of a match between the league leaders and the chasers became a bit of a slog of handling errors, infringements and moments of indiscipline.

Passages of play were still compelling though, with Sebastian leading the charge for Ayr along with number eight Pete McCallum, flanker Blair Macpherson, centre Ross Curle and winger Haddon McPherson.

McPherson put in an absolutely thumping tackle on an unsuspecting Heriot's attacker who probably thought he could swat aside the slight-looking back.  His efforts left him crumpled on the try-line, but he got up and carried on for a spell before he was replaced by Peterson's Glasgow Warriors team-mate Junior Bulumakau.
The visitors were getting the better of Ayr at the scrums and managed to steal a few line-outs before scrum-half Graham Wilson booted over a penalty in front of the posts.  7-3.

Huge hits by the likes of flanker Andrew Dunlop, second row Scott Sutherland and stand-off Frazier Climo and a line-out steal and break by prop George Hunter gave the crowd something to cheer about, and they were roaring when it looked like Ayr had got over the try-line only to be held up.  But they knocked on after the ensuing five-metre scrum and were then penalised at Heriot's scrum.

Craig Gossman, on his first appearance in seven months after battling back from a serious knee injury, was springing about all over the place, remarkably pristine-looking, despite the muddy conditions.
He leapt into action when a Heriot's clearance kick sailed over his head, managing to keep it in play by patting it to scrum-half David Armstrong.  He got it to the other side of the pitch where Climo was ready with the cross-field kick for Gossman but it went just too far.

Heriot's snaffled Ayr's line-out again and Wilson hoisted a huge kick which Armstrong brilliantly took, propelling himself up above half the Heriot's team.  Ayr were working hard but again the handling errors spoiled any scoring chances.

The visitors were marauding at the start of the second half but Climo managed to get Ayr right down into their half with a huge kick for the corner.  They knocked on again though.
Gossman, Armstrong, Bulumakau and Peterson moved the ball side-to-side but couldn't get through the Heriot's defence.

Ayr were helped when Heriot's winger Max Learmonth found himself in the sin bin.  Climo tried a cross-field kick again and struck it perfectly for Bulumakau to spring on and score a fine try.  It was a wide conversion, but Climo got it.  14-3.

The sin bin got rather crowded when an unfortunate incident on the far touchline involving players from both sides going for a high ball resulted in full-backs Grant Anderson and John Semple getting a yellow card each.

Climo extended Ayr's lead with a successful penalty.  17-3.

Heriot's were pressing through flanker and captain Jack Turley but he was tracked down by a determined Macpherson.  It wasn't long until they got a penalty, took the line-out on Ayr's five-metre line and second row Russell Nimmo piled over for a try.  Wilson missed the conversion, perhaps due to Bulumakau charging at him.  17-8.
Climo was on good form with the boot, adding another penalty.  20-8.

It was the last score of the game, but it wasn't for want for trying by both teams.  Each was desperate to get more points and things became a bit fraught.  Ayr had to finish the match with fourteen men after Curle was sin-binned.

Heriot's fought their way over the try-line at one point but replacement forwards D'arcy Rae and Graham Fisken, amongst others, held them up.  They tried again as the clock ran down but gave away a penalty and Ayr booted the ball off the park.

Final score: Ayr 20 Heriot's 8.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.  

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Ten teams turn out against Strathallan

Ten teams from the Ayr RFC youth section will play Strathallan School on Saturday, with the S1s, S2s, U15s, U16s and U18s fielding two teams each.

The U16s and U18s will be at Doonside and Marr College playing fields respectively, with the remainder of the fixtures at Strathallan in Perthshire.  All games kick off at 2pm.

Ayr have played independent school teams before in one-off matches, but it is thought to be the first time an entire youth section from one club has turned out against one school.  It shows just how far Ayr has come over the seasons and is a reflection of all the hard work put in by the players, coaches and parents.

U18s A
15. Mark Conlan; 14. Craig Hunter, 13. Calum Gaw, 12. Zander Howie, 11. Jamie Roberts; 10. Paddy Dewhirst, 9. Angus Boyle; 1. Gavin Hollins, 2. Robbie Smith, 3. Ruairidh Sayce; 4. Ross Arthur, 5. Tony Hall; 6. Logan Richardson, 7. Seth Rae, 8. Robbie Nicol.

U18s B
15. Ruaridh Moss; 14. Greg Walker, 13. Rory McMurray, 12. Harry Lynch, 11. William Chan; 10. TJ Bunten, 9. Lewis Young; 1. Lee White, 2. James Miller, 3. Calvin Stillie; 4. Jordan Cochrane, 5. Paddy McCahill; 6. Jack Dewey, 7. Sam Lewis, 8. Fyfe Paterson.

U18s reserves
Ronan McDowall, Adam White, Evan Wilson.

U16s squad
Grant Hutton, Stef Naczk, Jack Harris, Alfie Young, Jack Gaw, Max Wilson, Cammy Black, Matthew Shanks, Ollie Smith, Lewis McLeay, Ross McCorkindale, Tom Scott, Jake Jacobson, Jack Yuille, Jack McDougall, Jack Finnie, Scott Clelland, Alex Cheng, Jack Rennie, Jack Cassidy, Jack Burns, Callum Eccles, Kammy Beck, Hamish Ablett, Mitchell Wyllie, Sean McLarty, Rollo Press, Blake Dreghorn, Ollie Mossie, Bailey Hannah, Gerard Downie, Calum Penman, Kerr Borland, Lewis Hall, Declan Bryce.

U15s squad
Andy Morrison, Caleb Rae, Conrad Lynch, Craig Doolan, Dylan Wilson, Euan Bulloch, Glen Scott, Aiden Scott, Gregor McPherson, Jason McGuiness, Johnny Easton, Lawrence Walker, Mark Brennan, Ross Watson, Stephen McLarty, Tom Lanni, Devin Lee Tucker, Bobby Walker, Kasem McCarthy Khan, Sean Searle, Dale Dreghorn, Conan McCluckie, Ben Cree, Harry Ledgerwood, Luke Taylor, Lindsay Shaw, William McFadzean, Lee Thorburn.

S2 (U14s) A
1. Laurie Shinn, 2. Jack Lynch, 3. Ryan Easdale, 4. Paul Mulrainey, 5. Cameron Muir, 6. Luca Hall, 7. Fraser Penman, 8. Callum Shinn, 9. Hamish Simpson, 10. Lucas Short, 11. Daniel White (c), 12. Archie Galbraith, 13. Andrew McMillan, 14. Ryan Morrison, 15. Scott Grossom, 16. Nikon Tajali.

S2 (U14s) B
15. Lewis White; 14. Kian Kennedy, 13. Archie Kerr, 12. Llevi Chambers, 11. Findlay Williamson; 10. Liam Forbes, 9. Josh Martin; 1. Kian McGhee, 2. Michael Lafferty (c), 3. Josh Dickie; 4. Mark Crossan, 5. Kieran Nicholson; 6. Jonny Faulkner, 7. Sam Ivory, 8. Blayne McCreedie.

S1 (U13s) squad
Nathan Field, Billy Yuille, Joe Paterson, Toby Devilish, Louis Doke, Jamie McLauchlan, Ryan Parry, Calum Byres, Ollie Ledgerwood, Fraser Thomson, Alex Jeans, Jack Edwards, Kori Howard, Aiden O'Connor, Fin Lanni, Aaron Blair, Ben Lewis, Jamie White, Rory McCluskey, Jonny Lynch, Daniel Woods, Louis Gow, Robbie McCutcheon, Ruben Linsey, Euan Graham, Ethan White, Jack Napier, Max Munro.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Ayr v Heriot's preview

It's the final game of 2015 at Millbrae and what a cracker it's going to be as BT Premiership leaders Ayr welcome second-placed Heriot's for a battle royale.

Heriot's are always an extremely tough side to face, home or away, and they will be hoping to bounce back from their defeat to Glasgow Hawks last week, as well as mete out some revenge after Ayr beat them at Goldenacre earlier in the season.  They are now only four points off the top spot, but the men in pink and black do have a game in hand.

Ayr will be going all-out to extend that lead and are champing at the bit to get back to action after their game at Stirling County was called off last week thanks to Storm Desmond.  It's going to be a jam-packed day, with a £100 cash give-away at half-time and the Christmas party later.

'We are looking forward to playing at a busy Millbrae again,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'Heriot's will be disappointed after last weekend's result but we expect them to lift their performance in what is a huge game for both clubs.'

Ayr will be boosted by the return of the hugely experienced Scott Sutherland, who will partner 6'8" Australian-born USA international Greg Peterson in the second row.  Peterson's Glasgow Warriors team-mates Junior Bulumakau and Ali Price are on the bench.

Winger Craig Gossman starts for the 1st XV after a couple of outings for the 2nds on his comeback from a serious knee injury.  Archie Russell moves up from the bench to outside centre, pushing captain Ross Curle to the inside berth.


Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Greg Peterson; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. Steven Longwell, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. Ali Price, 20. Junior Bulumakau.

Heriot's:
15. John Semple; 14. Charlie Simpson, 13. Max Learmonth, 12. Cameron Ferguson, 11. John Rae; 10. Gregor McNeish, 9. Graham Wilson; 1. Murray McCallum, 2. Stewart Mustard, 3. Struan Cessford; 4. Russell Nimmo, 5. Roan Van Heerden; 6. Jack Turley (c), 7. Ian Wilson, 8. Struan Dewar.

Replacements:
16. Chris Mulligan, 17. Martin Bouab, 18. Jamie Syme, 19. Tom Wilson, 20. Liam Steele.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Ayr 2nd XV v Heriot's 2nd XV kicks off at 2pm, with scores updated via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ayr Ladies to host Melrose Ladies in January

Ayr Ladies have reached the Sarah Beaney Cup quarter-finals after Aberdeenshire Quines conceded this Sunday's match.

The ladies in pink and black are the only BT National 1 side to make it to this stage and will take on BT Premiership team Melrose Ladies at Millbrae on Sunday 10th January, 2pm.

Melrose visited Alloway earlier in the year when they won the inaugural Ayr Ladies Sevens tournament.  But it will be a different encounter altogether in January with the home team trying to reach the cup semi-finals.

Make sure you're there to cheer on Ayr Ladies.  Your support really can make all the difference!

Christmas shopping at Ayr RFC

Get a gift they'll love for the Ayr RFC fan in your life.  Sarah, our shop manager, will be at Millbrae between 6pm and 7pm tonight (Thursday) to help you choose the perfect present.

Shirts, shorts, socks, hoodies, half-zip tops, gym t-shirts, gym shorts, polo shirts, undershorts, trackies, fleeces, mugs and money boxes are in stock, so you're bound to find something!

Email Sarah for more information: shop@ayrrugbyclub.co.uk.

The shop is open on match days too and you can buy online too.

Monday, 7 December 2015

SASC success for Belmont

Belmont Academy won both the S2 and U16s events in the inaugural South Ayrshire Schools Conference.

Competing against teams from Girvan, Ayr, Kyle, Queen Margaret and Prestwick Academies, Belmont beat QMA in the play-offs before beating Kyle in the finals.  They then went on to play at Rugby Park against the winners of the North and East Ayrshire Schools Conferences.
Although Belmont didn't win in Kilmarnock, they have made great strides in their skills and knowledge of the game, as did all the schools taking part.
The aim of the SASC was to promote and encourage rugby at schools where the sport wasn't already established and to give the players week-in week-out competition.
Unfortunately, the girls' competition has not yet been completed due to the weather.  The remaining fixtures will be rearranged for a later date.

Girvan, Carrick, Ayr, Belmont, Kyle, Prestwick, Queen Margaret and Auchinleck Academies have all fielded a high number of female players and it has been great to see so many taking up rugby and competing every week.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Ayr Ladies v Glasgow University preview

Ayr Ladies are hoping the weather is kind to them for their BT Women's National League Division 1 tie with Glasgow University on Sunday after several postponements due to waterlogged pitches.

The ladies in pink and black are currently at the top of the table, whilst the visitors are at the other end with only one win under their belt this season and they will be desperate for their second this weekend.

Ayr Ladies scored a half-century of points against Aberdeenshire Quines last Sunday and will be raring to go again this weekend.  Get along and support them!

Ayr Ladies:
15. Lauren McBride; 14. Erin McSorley, 13. Laura Turner, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Linsey Bunten; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Michelle Nelson, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Lindsay Dick; 4. Zoe Montgomerie, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

Replacements:
16. Louise McLauchlan, 17. Shona McHarg, 18. Alice Allan, 19. Daryl Paterson, 20. Connie Griffiths, 21. Samantha Morrison, 22. Nattalie Rooney.

Kick-off 2pm!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Seven Ayr players in Club XV squad

The initial squad for the Scotland Club International fixtures in 2016 and there are seven Ayr players involved.

Forwards George Hunter, James Malcolm, Rob McAlpine, Will Bordill and Pete McCallum and backs Haddon McPherson and Ross Curle are amongst thirty-one players who will take part in three training sessions in preparation for a warm-up game against Scotland U20s and the two international matches with England and Ireland.

The announcement comes on the same day as young hooker Malcolm was named in the starting line-up for Glasgow Warriors' Guinness Pro12 tie with Leinster.

Read the full story on the Club XV squad from the SRU.

Stirling County v Ayr preview

Stirling County welcome Ayr to Bridgehaugh on Saturday and the Cairdeas Quaich will again be up for grabs in this BT Premiership clash.

The visitors currently hold the silverware - introduced to the tie last season by sponsors United Auctions to reflect the good relationship between the two clubs - after a 55-21 win at Millbrae in September.  But now seventh in the table and following some close-run matches, the home team will desperately want to get their hands on the quaich in front of the Bridgehaugh crowd.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester is looking for consistency from his men this week after what he described as a 'scrappy performance' against Gala last Saturday.

'This will be difficult against a Stirling side who have been tough to break down in recent weeks and we anticipate it being a much closer encounter than the previous fixture at Millbrae earlier in the season.'

After Glasgow Warriors' Junior Bulumakau made his debut for Ayr last week, he is joined in the starting XV by fellow Scotstoun man Greg Peterson, who lines up alongside a returning Rob McAlpine in the second row.  Peterson has three caps for the USA and is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs more than 19 stone.

With McAlpine and Peterson starting, stand-in locks Blair Macpherson and Andrew Dunlop move back to blindside and openside flanker.

Prop Steven Longwell moves up from the bench and Craig Gossman makes a welcome return to the 1st XV, starting at full-back, after two appearances for the 2nd XV on his road back from a serious knee injury.


Ayr:
15. Craig Gossman; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Junior Bulumakau; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Greg Peterson; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. David Young, 17. George Hunter, 18. Callum Templeton, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Archie Russell.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Ayr 2nd XV v Stirling County 2nd XV kicks off at 2pm and you can follow the scores via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

November POTM open!

The November player of the month poll is now open.

After Pete McCallum's landslide victory last month, who will claim the Slaters Menswear £50 voucher this time round?

Vote here.

The poll closes on Friday at midday, with the winner announced shortly after.

Coach Calum in the Sunday Times

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester talks to Mark Palmer in the Scottish edition of the Sunday Times.

The 29-year-old, the youngest head coach in the BT Premiership, discusses all things Ayr RFC and muses on the end of his own promising playing career, the transition from 'one of the boys' to the man in charge and dealing with some of the 'cheeky' players who pull on the pink and black shirt.

Ayr 20 Gala 13

Ayr maintained their position at the top of the BT Premiership after grinding out a mud-splattered win against Gala at Millbrae.

Anyone who had seen the forecast for heavy rain and high winds knew this encounter was not going to be pretty, but there was a good number of pink and black and maroon devotees in the crowd, despite the awful conditions.

There was lively play from Ayr props George Hunter and Javan Sebastian, flanker Will Bordill and scrum-half David Armstrong early on, but Gala were the first on the scoreboard after their stand-off David O'Hagan struck a penalty.  0-3.

As expected, there was a lot of kicking and a number of handling errors, but second rows Blair Macpherson and Andrew Dunlop blasted their way through the visiting defence and number eight Pete McCallum was almost over the line, only for the ball to be dislodged in the tackle.  Ayr had the advantage though and stand-off Frazier Climo lined up the kick.  3-3.

Climo had another shot at goal shortly after, but pushed it wide.  O'Hagan, too, had another opportunity but the wind was swirling and the ball drifted wide.

Ayr went on the attack via centres Danny McCluskey and Ross Curle and Glasgow Warriors' Junior Bulumakau, in his first outing in the pink and black shirt, but the ball went loose and some quick thinking from Curle saved the day as he chased down the hacked on ball from Gala and cleared.

Gala were hacking all over the place but their best chance was grounded by Armstrong, who had a busy afternoon, as did his counterpart in maroon, George Graham.

Armstrong led his men out of their own half with a sniping run from the back of a scrum and it was powerfully carried on by Macpherson and Sebastian, but the slippery conditions caused more knocks on.

Ayr were getting themselves into trouble at the scrum, giving away a penalty for the front row coming up and then getting marched back ten metres.  Gala took it quickly through Graham, but an enormous tackle on second row Callum Rowlandson by McCluskey shoved them back.

Ayr then strayed offside and were punished by O'Hagan's boot.  3-6.

It was the visitors' turn to have scrum trouble.  The home side proved steady at their set pieces and after a few phases, Macpherson plunged through the bodies and the mud for the try, which Climo converted just before half-time.  10-6.

Ayr's line-out continued to work well in the second half, with hooker Lewis Anderson looking assured with the throw-ins and flanker Callum Templeton deftly securing ball in the air.

Gala put the scrum under pressure though and they capitalised on Ayr's mistakes.  A line-out let replacement front row Gary Robertson burrow over for a try, converted by O'Hagan.  10-13.

The industrious Bordill had to leave the field injured and Ayr fans were getting a bit uneasy as Gala found gaps in the defence to charge into the opposition half and turned over when Ayr did have possession.  But they didn't help themselves by missing kicks for touch.

One such error allowed Armstrong to tidy up and release Climo, who ghosted through flailing maroon defenders and sped off.  Curle was in support and flew in under the posts for the try.  Man-of-the-match Climo converted.  17-13.

Climo added another three points moments later.  20-13.

The clock was ticking down (metaphorically - the wonky Millbrae timepiece cryptically displayed the word 'UP' throughout the match) and Gala can never be counted out in these situations.  They had a last-minute penalty thanks to Ayr holding on, but they knocked on.  Ayr happily scooped up the wayward ball and booted it off the park for the win.

Final score: Ayr 20 Gala 13.

- Elena Hogarth.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Aberdeenshire Quines v Ayr Ladies preview

It will be an early start for Ayr Ladies on Sunday as they travel north to take on Aberdeenshire Quines in the BT Women's National League Division 1.

There will be no complaints from the players, though, as they're champing at the bit to get back to action after three postponed matches in a row.  But they will be ready for the challenge of the Quines after some dedicated training over the past few weeks.

The squad is bolstered by the return of Emily Irving from Scotland duty in Spain, and she partners stand-off Catherine Shennan at half-back.  Laura Turner starts at prop, and there's a mixture of speed and strength on the bench.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Samantha Morrison; 14. Lauren McBride, 13. Linsey Bunten, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Erin McSorley; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Laura Turner, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Phoebe McDowall, 5. Sarah Paterson; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

Replacements:
16. Lindsay Dick, 17. Michelle Nelson, 18. Nattalie Rooney, 19. Sarah P Paterson, 20. Lisa Main.

Kick-off 2pm!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Millbrae men in Warriors squad

Ayr tyros Ali Price and James Malcolm have been named on the bench for Glasgow Warriors' Guinness Pro12 clash with Treviso at Scotstoun on Friday evening.

22-year-old scrum-half Price and 21-year-old hooker Malcolm have already featured for the Warriors this season, as well as several successful outings for Ayr.

Former Millbrae men Mark Bennett, Finn Russell and Gordon Reid start for the current Pro12 champions.

Read the full story from Glasgow Warriors.

Best of luck to all!


Ayr v Gala preview

Ayr welcome Gala to Millbrae on Saturday for round thirteen of the BT Premiership, kicking off at 3pm, and the home team will be boosted by the presence of Glasgow Warrior Junior Bulumakau.

The Fijian-born, Scottish-raised winger was signed by the Scotstoun side from the British Army in the summer, and has previously played in the BT Premiership for Heriot's.  He'll no doubt get a warm welcome from the Millbrae faithful as he makes his Ayr debut.

The fans will be keen to see their team get back to winning ways after a frustrating afternoon at the Greenyards last weekend, where injury, illness and the might of Melrose combined to inflict upon Ayr their first defeat in eight games.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester sees this week's match as the perfect opportunity to bounce back, but knows that although Gala are currently ninth in the table, there are never any easy games in this league.

'Gala will be coming to Millbrae full of confidence following their victory over Hawks.  Our fixture earlier in the season was a close encounter and our defence will need to improve from last week if we are to get the win.'

Partnering Bulumakau on the wing is returnee Haddon McPherson, whilst Frazier Climo has overcome an eye injury sustained during the first half last week to remain at stand-off.

Blair Macpherson and Andrew Dunlop team up in the second row, with Callum Templeton starting at blindside flanker after making a very welcome return from a long-term ankle injury as a substitute last week.

There's a very sturdy bunch of forwards on the bench, with Cameron Taylor and Archie Russell adding speed.

Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Junior Bulumakau; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Blair Macpherson, 5. Andrew Dunlop; 6. Callum Templeton, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. David Young, 17. Steven Longwell, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Archie Russell.

Gala:
15. Graham Speirs; 14. Frankie Robson, 13. Dwayne Burrows, 12. Alan Emond, 11. Keith Young; 10. David O'Hagan, 9. George Graham; 1. Luke Pettie, 2. Richie Tod, 3. Chris Keen; 4. Callum Rowlandson, 5. Chris Weir (c); 6. Rob Louw, 7. Gary Adams, 8. Euan Dods.

Replacements:
16. Gary Robertson, 17. Josh Irvine, 18. Craig Borthwick, 19. Ross Livingston, 20. Craig Dods.

Kick-off 3pm!

Ayr 2nd XV v Gala A kicks off at 2pm and you can follow their scores live via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Win a 2015/16 season mug!

Our new season's mugs have arrived and we're giving ten away to some lucky Tweeters who will be at Millbrae for our game against Gala on Saturday.

All you have to do is tweet a picture of yourself at Millbrae on game day to twitter.com/OfficialAyrRFC and the first ten will receive a mug.  Come up into the stand at full-time and you'll get your prize from our media co-ordinator Elena.  

Don't worry if you're not on Twitter, we're running another competition via Facebook for a £100 cash give-away on Saturday 12th December.

Get tweeting and we'll see you all on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off! #mugforamug 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Melrose 35 Ayr 24

It was a freezing cold Greenyards that welcomed Ayr on Saturday and a scorching hot Melrose that ran in four tries to beat the BT Premiership leaders.

The hosts started as they meant to go on, with full-back Fraser Thomson ripping through the Ayr defence to fly in for a try with barely a minute on the clock.  Joe Helps converted.  7-0.

A raft of last-minute injuries saw six changes to Ayr's squad, with prop George Hunter again playing in the second row.  There were welcome returns to action for winger Kerr Gossman and replacement lock Callum Templeton, who has been on the sidelines for several months with an ankle injury.

A chip and chase from centre Ross Curle and winger Cameron Taylor livened things up for the visitors, and after some hard work in the loose from number eight Pete McCallum and flanker Blair Macpherson, stand-off Frazier Climo got Ayr on the score board with a penalty.  7-3.

Climo brought them within a point moments later with another successful kick at goal.  7-6.

Melrose sent their restart straight out and then failed to bind properly at the resulting scrum on the half-way line.  This let Ayr kick for touch and make for the line.  Scrum-half David Armstrong led the way, with Climo, Macpherson, McCallum, centre Danny McCluskey, hooker Lewis Anderson and Gossman trying to reach with whitewash before Curle crashed over only to be held up.  Another penalty by Climo sailed over the crossbar shortly after.  7-9.

Melrose were on the prowl and speedy winger Sam Pecqueur was nearly over in the corner.  Helps nudged them back in front with a penalty.  10-9.

Pecqueur did get his try - the first of two - when he slipped through three tackles.  Helps' conversion was wide.  15-9.

Ayr were dealt a blow when Climo had to leave the field with an eye injury.  He was replaced by Archie Russell, with Curle moving to stand-off.

Helps' penalty was the only other score before half-time.  18-9.

Melrose put Ayr's defence under enormous pressure at the start of the second half.  Centre Andrew Nagle would have been away for a try were it not for a forward pass.

Ayr's line-out wobbled but the scrum was sturdy for the most part.  Melrose delighted their home fans with a long, slow, determined drive out of their own half that led to a penalty, but Ayr managed to turn over and clear thanks to some tough work by flanker Graham Fisken and second row Andrew Dunlop.

McCallum, Ayr's danger man in so many of the previous games, was heavily marked in the first half, but Melrose eased their grip on him after the resumption and it was his scintillating break after a perfect pass from Armstrong that got Ayr into Melrose's twenty-two.  Terrific support from Dunlop almost saw him reach the line, but it was hooker Anderson who crashed over.  Curle superbly struck the conversion from the touchline.  18-16.

But there was no respite for the visitors.  The home backs were churning up the hallowed Greenyards turf with their fast feet and Pecqueur was over again, Helps adding the extras.  25-16.

Ayr wouldn't lie down though, Macpherson claiming the restart and letting full-back Grant Anderson loose to muscle his way up the wing for the try.  Curle couldn't get the conversion.  25-21.

Silly infringements were cancelling out Ayr's good work and Helps punished them with the boot.  28-21.

Another swift break by McCallum got Ayr into the opposition half and Curle struck back with a penalty.  28-24.

It seemed like the visitors were going to stage a comeback, especially when Melrose duffed their penalty kick for the line-out and Ayr bossed the ensuing scrum.  The ball was quickly fired through the backs and into the hands of Taylor, who shot off only to be dragged into touch.

It went from bad to worse with McCallum sin-binned and Melrose flanker Grant Runciman barging over for a try.  Helps converted.  35-24.
There was still time on the clock for Ayr to search for the losing bonus point, but they couldn't get past the determined Melrose defence.

It was a disappointing afternoon for Ayr and their travelling fans, but they still lead the BT Premiership by five points, with Heriot's in second after their huge win against Selkirk, and Melrose just two points behind in third.  There's all to play for as the league moves to its conclusion and Ayr will be firmly set on returning to winning ways when they welcome Gala to Millbrae next week.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Melrose v Ayr preview

It's the second week in a row that Ayr hit the road, this time travelling to the picturesque Greenyards to face Melrose in the BT Premiership.

Last week's bonus-point win against Boroughmuir at Meggatland saw the men in pink and black stretch their lead at the top of the table to ten points, but third-placed Melrose will be looking to narrow that gap and leap-frog second-placed Heriot's.

Melrose beat Ayr 23-19 at Millbrae in September and this week's visitors are undoubtedly keen to turn the tables on what is forecast to be a very cold day in the Borders.

'Matches between Melrose and Ayr are always hotly contested,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'We will need to continue our good form this Saturday for the full eighty minutes in order to come away with the result we desire.'

There are only two changes to the starting line-up, with Lewis Anderson coming in at hooker for the unavailable James Malcolm and inside centre Danny McCluskey moving up from the bench, with his spot there taken by Archie Russell.

Kerr Gossman joins Russell amongst the substitutes after two excellent appearances for the 2nd XV in which he scored three tries.  David Young fills the replacement hooker spot.

Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Andrew Dunlop; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. David Young, 17. Javan Sebastian, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. Kerr Gossman, 20. Archie Russell.

Melrose:
15. Fraser Thomson; 14. Joe Helps, 13. Nyle Godsmark, 12. Andrew Nagel, 11. Sam Pequer; 10. Tom Galbraith, 9. Bruce Colvine (c); 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. Gary Holborn; 4. Graham Dodds, 5. Lewis Carmichael; 6. Neil Irvine Hess, 7. Grant Runciman, 8. Ally Miller.

Replacements:
16. Cammy Mackay, 17. Dan Elkington, 18. Ally Grieve, 19. Murdo McAndrew, 20. Richard Taylor.

Kick-off 2pm for the 1st and 2nd XVs.  Follow the 1sts' scores live on Twitter and the 2nds' game via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Ayr players in Glasgow 'A' game

Ayr's Ali Price and James Malcolm will start for Glasgow 'A' in today's game against Edinburgh 'A' at Broadwood Stadium, kicking off at 3pm.

Javan Sebastian, Will Bordill and Archie Russell have been named on the bench for the sixty-minute match.

Read the full story from Glasgow Warriors.

Monday, 16 November 2015

£100 cash give-aways at Millbrae!

Fancy winning £100 in cash?  All you have to do is go to a rugby match!

We're giving away the prize to one lucky spectator at Ayr's BT Premiership match with Heriot's on Saturday 12th December.  Confirm your attendance via the Facebook event, go to the match and listen for your name over the tannoy at half-time.  You'll receive your prize on presentation of ID.

You'll have three more chances to win throughout the season:

Saturday 9th January - Ayr v Selkirk - BT Premiership
Saturday 6th February - Ayr v Selkirk - development game
Saturday 12th March - Ayr v Currie - development game

See you at Millbrae!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Boroughmuir 10 Ayr 32

Ayr got another bonus-point win on Saturday after they ran in four tries to beat Boroughmuir 32-10 at Meggatland in the BT Premiership.

Ayr set out their stall early, muscling their way into Boroughmuir's half, full-back Grant Anderson, prop D'arcy Rae, number eight Pete McCallum and flanker Will Bordill bashing through the defence.

It looked like winger Cameron Taylor would get the first score after he collected a deft chip from stand-off Frazier Climo, but he was in touch as he scampered to the try-line.

There were struggles at the line-out for the visitors, but their scrum held firm and the hosts couldn't cope, their front row popping up on more than one occasion.  McCallum and second row Robert McAlpine pressed for the line, but it was prop George Hunter who rumbled over for the try.  Climo converted.  0-7.

Former Ayr player Dougie Steele led the attack for Muir from stand-off, with prop Karl Fuey in support.  They got to Ayr's five-metre line but Anderson and scrum-half David Armstrong put in some hefty tackles.

Bordill getting sent to the sin bin helped Muir at the scrum, and there was no-one home for Ayr as winger Jordan Edmunds scurried away under the posts.  Steele converted.  7-7.

Muir flanker Craig Keddie slipped through a gap to get his men back into Ayr's half but a later line-out was stolen by the visitors.  McCallum charged off, with Anderson, centre Archie Russell and winger Haddon McPherson in support, but the home defence closed them down.

Another line-out for Muir went awry as hands numbed in the increasing cold and Ayr then camped out in Muir's half until the interval.  Four scrums in a row for Ayr let Bordill, then McCallum, go for the line before Armstrong and Climo combined to send centre Ross Curle over.  The conversion from Climo came just before the players trotted back to the changing rooms.  7-14.

Curle almost scored again at the resumption, but McCallum's pass, after another storming run, was deemed forward.

Boroughmuir's forwards were on lively form too, hooker Cal Davies stampeding away before Armstrong tracked him down.  But the hosts couldn't cope with Ayr's pack and they were flattened in the scrum.  In the loose, flanker Blair Macpherson and second row Andrew Dunlop used all their strength to barge through defenders.

Penalties were traded, with Climo and Steele both successful.  10-17.

Another try was on the cards as Ayr's forwards broke through the defence, but a wayward pass couldn't be retrieved by Curle.

Quick and dexterous handling by McAlpine and Armstrong confused Muir before Climo lined up another penalty.  10-20.

Muir centre David Reekie made a foray into Ayr's half but Taylor and replacement centre Danny McCluskey wrapped up the attackers before another huge shove demolished the home scrum.

A fumble from Boroughmuir gave Ayr a scrum in their own half and McCallum made his now trademark break from the back to get right into the hosts' twenty-two.  Some juggling from Armstrong kept the move going and terrific support play by replacement back row Graham Fisken saw the latter go over in the corner.  The conversion was from too wide an angle for Climo.  10-25.

The bonus point came when McCluskey flew on to a Boroughmuir pass and sprinted away from his own half for the try in the blink of an eye.  Climo booted over the conversion.  10-32.

The home team tried to get another score before the final whistle but Ayr held firm.  The win now sees the men in pink and black ten points clear at the top of the BT Premiership.  Another challenging away fixture beckons next week as they go to the Greenyards to face Melrose.

Final score: Boroughmuir 10 Ayr 32.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Emily at Scotland camp in Spain

Ayr Ladies' Emily Irving has been named in Scotland Women's ten-day training camp, which begins in Valladolid in Spain this weekend.

Irving, who has one senior cap, joins thirty-six other players in being put through their paces by head coach Shade Munro, his assistants Peter Jericevich (a former Ayr scrum-half) and Graeme Young, and Spanish Rugby Union coaches.

Read the full story from the SRU.



Boroughmuir v Ayr preview

Ayr visit Meggatland this Saturday to take on Boroughmuir in the BT Premiership and will be aiming for a win to make up for letting a lead slip against the Edinburgh side at the start of the season.

The tables have turned since that game at Millbrae in September, with Ayr now topping the league and Boroughmuir currently eighth.  But the home team will be desperate to get a victory in front of the Meggatland crowd, so there is no room for complacency.

'Boroughmuir have won the last couple of encounters between these two sides and we are fully aware of the task ahead,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'We have started slowly the last couple of matches, so we'll be looking to put in a full eighty-minute performance this weekend.'

In the squad, hooker James Malcolm returns to the starting line-up after his debut from the bench for Glasgow Warriors last weekend.  Scott Sutherland is injured, so Andrew Dunlop moves into the second row, with Blair Macpherson taking his place at blindside flanker.

Archie Russell earns a start at outside centre after some impressive performances as a replacement.

The 2nd XV play their Boroughmuir counterparts at 2pm.


Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. James Malcolm, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Andrew Dunlop; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. Lewis Anderson, 17. Javan Sebastian, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. Jack Preston, 20. Danny McCluskey.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Robbie off on loan and into action

Robbie Fergusson has travelled south to Richmond in Surrey to begin his loan period with London Scottish.

He joins three other young Scots, George Horne, Andrew Davidson and Jack Cosgrove, in gaining some invaluable experience with the English Championship side.

He has been named to start at outside centre for Scottish's British and Irish Cup game against Munster A on Friday night.

Robbie follows in the footsteps of his Ayr team-mates D'arcy Rae and George Hunter who have spent spells at the Athletic Ground to develop their games.

He'll certainly be missed at Millbrae, where he's been a development officer and coach with Ayr Ladies, but we're looking forward to watching him progress and wish him all the best for the next few months.

Read the full story from London Scottish.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Girls' rugby taster at Millbrae


Ayr RFC under-18 girls are hosting an open taster session for girls interested in trying rugby.

It doesn't matter if you've played before or not; everyone is welcome!  Even if you just want to find out a bit more about the sport, gather together your friends and come along to Ayr RFC.

It will be held at Millbrae on Monday 16th November, 6pm-7pm.  Sign up on Facebook.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Ayr Ladies v Kirkcaldy preview

Ayr Ladies take on Kirkcaldy for the second time this season and will be looking to right some wrongs after a 5-12 away loss in September.

Since then, the ladies in pink and black have climbed to the top of the BT Women's National League Division 1 after some excellent performances and they will hope to continue the good form in front of their home fans.

Ayr Ladies now have a larger senior squad with a heartening mix of youth and experience.  Due to the increased numbers, there are a few changes in the match day squad for Sunday's game.

Michelle Nelson starts at loosehead prop.  In the backs, Kelsey Swift partners Daryl Paterson in the centre and Sarah Paterson is named at full-back.

There is a strong group of substitutes with Lindsay Dick, Phoebe McDowall and Laura Turner poised to make an impact from the bench alongside newcomers Linsey Bunten and Lynsey Turner.


Ayr Ladies:
15. Sarah Paterson; 14. Nattalie Rooney, 13. Daryl Paterson, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Erin McSorley; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Michelle Nelson, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Zoe Montgomerie, 5. Ashleigh Nelson; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Jackie O'Neil, 8. Lynda Morgan.

Replacements:
16. Lindsay Dick, 17. Phoebe McDowall, 18. Laura Turner, 19. Linsey Bunten, 20. Lynsey Turner.

Kick-off 2pm!

Ayr 23 Glasgow Hawks 15


The day after the club fireworks night, sparks were expected to fly between Ayr and west coast rivals Glasgow Hawks, but the muddy Millbrae pitch put a dampener on proceedings.

It had rained all morning and after a short break, it began bucketing down just after kick-off.  It seemed near impossible for either side to keep a hold of the ball.

Ayr got stuck in their own half and Hawks' Gregor Hunter punished their infringements with an early penalty.  0-3.

He had another two shots at goal in the first half, but missed both.  The second came after Ayr's full-back Grant Anderson was sin-binned for tackling the man without the ball.

There were a lot of kicks, some good, some wayward.  Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong was on form with his kicking from hand, as was winger Cameron Taylor.

Hawks were boosted by the presence of Glasgow Warriors James Eddie and Jerry Yanuyanutawa, and the former was able to make metres with ball in hand when others couldn't - until Ayr flanker Will Bordill felled him with an almighty thwack.

Ayr lost experienced second row Scott Sutherland to injury and his replacement Blair Macpherson got stuck straight into a scrum, which Hawks wheeled, giving Ayr their first chance at points.  Stand-off Frazier Climo got the kick.  3-3.

There were no more scores in the first half, but plenty of spills and some excellent charging around, from Bordill in particular, to cause handling errors from the visitors.  His fellow flanker, and man of the match, Andrew Dunlop was also throwing himself into the defence along with October player of the month Pete McCallum.

With the rain off, things picked up in the second half.  Climo put Ayr in front with another penalty.  6-3.

It didn't last long as Hawks quickly pushed their way into Ayr's half and after a steady line-out, the ball flew across the park for their captain Brendan McGroarty to go over for a try.  Hunter missed the conversion.  6-8.

Ayr replied soon after, despite Hawks guarding their line ferociously.  A solid scrum on the greasy surface allowed replacement prop Javan Sebastian to rumble from the twenty-two and some careful handling from the men in pink and black got them into a good position to pile over.  Prop George Hunter emerged as the scorer.  Climo converted.  13-8.

They almost had another after a superb turnover orchestrated by Macpherson sent winger Haddon McPherson scurrying for the line, but the referee didn't give the score.  Moments later and Climo nailed a long-range penalty.  16-8.

Some fancy footwork from Anderson got Ayr into Hawks' half and Climo raced over in the corner.  He did well to get the conversion from such a tight angle.  23-8.

The Old Anniesland side are never ones to capitulate, especially against Ayr, and once again it was Eddie who was on the attack.  Armstrong just got to him in the nick of time, hauling down the big man before he could do any damage.

There's always a bit of friction between these two sides and the tiniest of scuffles broke out, but all players concerned looked too done-in to take it any further.  Running around in mud is tiring stuff.

Hawks' winger Paul Ramsay looked full of energy though and his jinking run got his team into Ayr's half.  There were a few more handling errors and a great tackle by Ayr replacement scrum-half Jack Preston before Hawks could get any more points.

A beautiful kick and catch from the visiting Hunter released full-back Robbie Houliston and he would have got to the line were it not for Taylor, who appeared out of nowhere to drag him down.  Hawks wouldn't be denied, however, and replacement Erlend Oag claimed the try, which Hunter converted.  23-15.

Hawks thought they had time to stage a comeback, or at least get the losing bonus point, but the clock and those pesky knocks-on did for them.

It wasn't pretty but Ayr will be glad to have got the win to increase their lead to nine points in the BT Premiership.  It's back-to-back away games now, and they face two stern tests against Boroughmuir and Melrose.

Final score: Ayr 23 Glasgow Hawks 15.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks preview

West coast rivals Ayr and Glasgow Hawks play each other for the second time this season and the visitors to Millbrae will be eager to mete out some revenge after the hosts ran away with their first encounter back in August.

Hawks have put together some consistent performances to get to fourth in the BT Premiership and with Heriot's just above them in third place, they will be focussed on gaining as many points as possible on Saturday afternoon, while Ayr will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of the table.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester is all too aware of the threat the Old Anniesland side poses.

'Hawks will come to Millbrae with a point to prove.  They have been playing some good attacking rugby, but our defence has been strong in recent weeks and will need to be so again.'

The squad isn't much changed from the previous week, with exception of Blair Macpherson taking his place on the bench after scoring four tries for the 2nd XV last Saturday.

David Armstrong starts at scrum-half with Jack Preston taking his place amongst the substitutes alongside Javan Sebastian, whose tighthead starting berth is filled by D'arcy Rae.

Hawks are led from the centre by Brendan McGroarty, with Glasgow Warriors James Eddie and Jerry Yanyanutawa - who have both pulled on the pink and black shirt in past seasons - in the squad.  Former Ayr head coach Peter Laverie is jointly in charge with Gary Mercer, so there will be no secrets between the teams.


Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Andrew Dunlop, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. David Young, 17. Javan Sebastian, 18. Blair Macpherson, 19. Jack Preston, 20. Archie Russell.

Glasgow Hawks:
15. Robbie Houliston; 14. Robert Beattie, 13. Brendan McGroarty (c), 12. Jack Steele, 11. Paul Ramsay; 10. Gregor Hunter, 9. Paddy Boyer; 1. Gary Strain, 2. Jack Macfarlane, 3. Brendan Cullinane; 4. Andrew Linton, 5. Andrew Redmayne; 6. James Eddie, 7. Fin Gillies, 8. Andrew Hill.

Replacements:
16. Grant Stewart, 17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18. Matt Smith, 19. Sean Yacoubian, 20. Erlend Oag.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Ayr 2nd XV v Glasgow Hawks 2nd XV kicks off at 2pm at Rozelle.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Oct 2015 POTM now open!


The October player of the month poll is now open.

You have until Friday at midday to vote for your favourite player of the past month.  Last month's poll was topped by Cameron Taylor, who received a voucher from Slaters Menswear.  With thanks to the Ayrshire Post for the photo.

Vote here.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Ayr 32 Hawick 20


Ayr overcame a tricky first half to their BT Premiership clash with Hawick to score five tries and lead the table by seven points as the league competition reaches the half-way mark.

There was certainly a lively start from young Ayr hooker Lewis Anderson, who went on a thirty-metre charge into Hawick's half.  His energy was matched by his fellow front rowers George Hunter and Javan Sebastian and flanker Andrew Dunlop.

However, the home side gave away penalties and found themselves stuck in their own half.  Hawick worked hard, as expected from one of the toughest teams in the league, and their flanker Rory Scott, scrum-half Sean Goodfellow and winger John Coutts were on determined form.

There were some particularly crunching tackles from Hawick, with Ayr winger Haddon McPherson momentarily crumpled on the soggy Millbrae turf, but centre Danny McCluskey, young scrum-half Jack Preston and number eight Pete McCallum showed that Ayrshire men are just as physical as the Borderers.

The first chance for points came Ayr's way when Hawick's experienced captain Bruce McNeil put in a high tackle on McPherson, but stand-off Frazier Climo's long-range penalty attempt drifted to the side.

A try followed very quickly when McCallum burst through the defence to race over the line in the corner.  Climo was kicking into the sun and couldn't make the conversion.  5-0.

Ayr looked to be getting into their groove with a very exciting phase of play that started with a line-out steal.  Captain Ross Curle did his usual dancing through the defence, with McPherson, winger Cameron Taylor, Hunter, rangy lock Robert McAlpine, Sebastian and Anderson all in on the action.  Had the pitch not been so slippery, they may have got to the try-line.

Two penalty kicks for Climo followed.  The first missed, but Hawick grabbed the ball and were then penalised for holding on, leading to the second, which was successful.  8-0.

Hawick replied moments later when Ayr were offside, stand-off Lee Armstrong on kicking duty.  8-3.

Shoving and shirt-pulling broke out and Ayr second row Scott Sutherland found himself in the sin bin.

Fourteen-man Ayr did well to contain Hawick and there were great tackles by McPherson and flanker Will Bordill, as well as some expert poaching by McCallum.

It got messy as the half came to a close.  Both teams had clearance kicks out on the full and possession changed hands regularly, with each side darting about all over the place without actually getting anywhere.

Another long penalty attempt by Climo, this time in his own half, went wide but McPherson tried to pounce for the try.  He didn't get it, and lay hurt in the dead ball area when everyone had trotted off to the clubhouse for the break.  Thankfully, he soon got up and followed.

Things were frantic at the resumption, but McAlpine and McCallum showed great strength and speed to get Ayr into Hawick's twenty-two.  Preston was off from a free kick only to be illegally impeded by Hawick prop Shawn Muir as he headed for the try-line.  Muir was yellow carded and Ayr took the scrum.

Full-back Grant Anderson, not to be outdone by his young bearded namesake Lewis, shot off and, as is his wont, muscled his way over for the try.  The referee checked with his assistants that it was good and awarded the score, which Climo converted.  15-3.

Preston took his leave after a commendable first start at scrum-half to be replaced by David Armstrong on his comeback from injury just as Hawick's Armstrong lined up a penalty, which was unsuccessful.

Ayr's Armstrong was straight into the thick of things, taking a high ball and releasing his backs.  Curle, like a bat out of hell on Hallowe'en, flew up the wing and perfectly passed to McCallum for the number eight's second try of the game and eighth in nine matches.  Climo converted.  22-3.

Hawick can never be counted out.  It was almost a blink-and-you-missed-it try from replacement prop Terry Skeet, as he burrowed his way over under the posts.  Armstrong converted.  22-10.

Man of the match McCallum somehow ploughed his way through the defence with three men in green clinging to him and there was great support from replacements D'arcy Rae and Graham Fisken, who later combined to put in a few hefty double tackles.

Thrills and spills followed, with both teams unable to control the ball at times.  It looked like Anderson the younger was headed for a try to cap a memorable performance only to be called back as the line-out was deemed not straight.

Hawick were creeping back with another penalty by Armstrong.  22-13.

Ayr's Armstrong fired the ball from a line-out and his forwards then moved it swiftly to full-back Anderson who went over for his second try.  Curle stepped up to the tee in the absence of Climo, but the conversion hit the post.  27-13.

The visitors wouldn't be subdued though.  Centre Wiaan Griebenhow made a beautiful break up the middle of the park, shrugging off tackles and offloaded perfectly to flanker Nick McTaggart who almost slid head-first into the post on his way to getting the try.  Armstrong converted.  27-20.

The clock was ticking down and with just a converted try away from a draw, Hawick were pressing on.  But Ayr got a turnover and replacement back Archie Russell spotted a gap and scurried through, bashing a defender out of the way in the process.  Curle then blasted his way over for a final try.  He couldn't convert his own score though.  32-20.

It's another home game for Ayr next week, as they welcome west coast rivals Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae.  With the Old Anniesland side now in fourth place in the table, and no doubt looking to even things up after a comprehensive defeat at the start of the season, it will be another difficult game for Ayr.

Final score: Ayr 32 Hawick 20.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Ayr Ladies v Broughton preview

Ayr Ladies welcome Broughton to Millbrae today for their sixth match of the BT Women's National League Division 1.

After last week's table-topping win against old foes Stewartry Sirens, the ladies in pink and black will be looking to repeat their confident and assured play against the second-placed visitors from Edinburgh, who come into this match on the back of a narrow home defeat to Watsonians last weekend.

Ayr lead the league by three points, but crucially Broughton have a game in hand, so this is a vital clash.

The squad has a familiar look, with young talent again rubbing shoulders with now seasoned campaigners.  The lively centres of Daryl Paterson and Laura Turner are sure to turn on the pace, whilst second rows Ashleigh Nelson and Phoebe McDowall will be key at the set pieces.  And yes, there are two players called Sarah Paterson on the bench.


Ayr Ladies:
15. Sammie Morrison; 14. Lauren McBride, 13. Daryl Paterson, 12. Laura Turner, 11. Erin McSorley; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Lindsay Dick, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Ashleigh Nelson, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Jackie O'Neil, 8. Lynda Morgan.

Replacements:
16. Michelle Nelson, 17. Zoe Montgomerie, 18. Sarah Paterson, 19. Sarah P Paterson, 20. Lisa Main.

Kick-off 2pm!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Ayr v Hawick preview

League leaders Ayr welcome fourth-placed Hawick to Millbrae for round nine of the BT Premiership, kicking off at 2pm.

They don't get much tougher than Borders teams, and after a hard-fought win away at Selkirk last weekend, it's another difficult prospect in the shape of the men in green.

'Hawick were the only team to defeat us home and away last season,' says head coach Calum Forrester, 'so we are under no illusions as to the task in hand this weekend.  They come to Millbrae on the back of four straight wins, so we'll have to be at the top of our game again this Saturday.'

Ayr lead the BT Premiership by six points, but Heriot's, Melrose and Hawick are bunched together in second, third and fourth place respectively and all will be looking to scramble over each other to track down Ayr.

There are a few changes in the squad, with two youngsters earning starts: Lewis Anderson at hooker and Jack Preston at scrum-half.  Anderson has made some impressive appearances as a replacement in recent weeks and Preston has been on great form for the 2nd XV.

Danny McCluskey takes Ross Curle's inside centre berth, with the captain moving to the outside.  Andrew Dunlop returns at blindside flanker, whilst on the bench Davids Young and Armstrong take their place.


Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. Jack Preston; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Andrew Dunlop, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. David Young, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. David Armstrong, 20. Archie Russell.

Hawick:
15. Ali Weir; 14. John Coutts, 13. Wian Griebenhow, 12. Rory Hutton, 11. Craig Russell; 10. Lee Armstrong, 9. Sean Goodfellow; 1. Shawn Muir, 2. Lindsey Gibson, 3. Matt Landels; 4. Bruce McNeil (c), 5. Craig Charters; 6. Nick McTaggart, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Keith Davies.

Replacements: 16. Gary Douglas, 17. Terry Skeet, 18. Stuart Graham, 19. Greg Cottrell, 20. Sean Chapman.

Kick-off 2pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.  The 2nd XV play Hamilton 2nd XV at 1pm and scores will be updated via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Selkirk 11 Ayr 33


Ayr cemented their position at the top of the BT Premiership with a bonus-point win against Selkirk at sunny Philiphaugh on Saturday.

There are no easy games in the Borders, and the bottom-of-the-table hosts were well organised and determined, especially in the first half.  It was unfortunate that their sturdy defence broke down in the final quarter.

Ayr were disrupted at the outset, not least due to the power of Selkirk's scrum.  Hooker James Malcolm had to temporarily leave the field after just a few minutes with a bloody ear.  Home scrum-half Michael Davies was troubling them too, dashing about here and there.

It wasn't long, though, until stand-off Frazier Climo spotted a gap, dummied beautifully to slip through and offloaded nicely to centre Robbie Fergusson for the opening try, which Climo converted.  0-7.

There were a few tentative moments from Selkirk, but winger Darren Clapperton looked assured with ball in hand.  They were helped by Ayr straying offside and, shortly after, a yellow card for George Hunter.  The prop pushed flanker Ewan McDougall at the breakdown, with the Selkirk man treating the crowd to a theatrical performance worthy of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Winger Rory Banks got Selkirk on the scoreboard with the resulting penalty.  3-7.

Ayr's line-out wasn't going to plan with some off-target throw-ins and Selkirk capitalised, repeatedly kicking for touch.  They crept into Ayr's twenty-two but replacement hooker Lewis Anderson nailed his throw when it mattered and scrum-half Ali Price and winger Richard Dalgleish raced off into Selkirk's half only to knock on.

There were lively breaks by Selkirk's stand-off Dashton Wellman and McDougall and Ayr's full-back Grant Anderson and number eight Pete McCallum, but numerous penalties by both teams, as well as injury assessments and some incredibly slow set-ups at the scrum, took all the zip out of the game for a time.

Selkirk again took their time to sneak into Ayr's half.  Some hefty tackles from flanker Will Bordill and Malcolm, back on with his ear stitched up, stopped them in their tracks.

A try was coming though and a couple of free kicks for Selkirk saw them push for the line, despite McCallum and flanker Blair Macpherson leading the Ayr defence.  Full-back Josh Welsh scored for the hosts, diving over in the corner.  Banks missed the conversion.  8-7.

Hunter, McCallum, Fergusson, Anderson and winger Haddon McPherson all had a go at breaching the Selkirk defence before half-time but got nowhere.

Selkirk extended their lead just after the resumption, with a Banks penalty, which made up for a disallowed drop-goal by Wellman, which everyone in the crowd thought had sailed between the posts.  11-7.

Ayr turned on the power, prop Javan Sebastian barrelling his way up the park, with Bordill, Fergusson and captain Ross Curle in support.  Selkirk managed a turnover and Ayr were pinged for not rolling away.  But the kick for the corner was kept in thanks to an astonishing limbo-esque pat back by McPherson.

Second row Robert McAlpine used those long legs to propel himself onwards, but the visitors were making heavy weather of it.  Just as one thing was going right, another would go wrong.  A penalty attempt by Climo hit the post to make matters worse.

No panic from Ayr though.  They steadied themselves at the set-pieces and Fergusson and Curle began to unravel the defence.  McPherson charged for the line and did well not to get dragged into touch.  The ball went flying through the hands to the other side of the pitch and Anderson muscled his way over.  Climo converted.  11-14.

It was a real blow to the home team that they lost too many of their front row players and scrums became uncontested, as they had been getting a great shove on throughout the match.

They could do nothing as Curle shot over for a try, converted by Climo.  11-21.

Ayr's tails were up, and replacement back Cameron Taylor flew up the wing for a certain try only to be called back for a forward pass.

With second row Andrew Renwick in the sin bin, it was all downhill for Selkirk.  Fergusson, McCallum and Macpherson - spinning his way out of tackles - pushed play right up to the five-metre line and a wonderful pass from Anderson let Curle get his second try of the day and Ayr's bonus point.  With Climo off, Curle stepped up to the tee but couldn't get the wide conversion.  11-26.

There was time for one more, and after a rumbling break from replacement prop D'arcy Rae, Fergusson cut a superb angle to claim the fifth try.  Curle converted.  11-33.

Ayr now lead the BT Premiership table by six points, but with fourth-placed Hawick visiting Millbrae this Saturday, and Heriot's and Melrose loitering in second and third place, there's still all to play for.

Final score: Selkirk 11 Ayr 33.

- Elena Hogarth.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Stewartry Sirens v Ayr Ladies preview

Ayr Ladies travel to Castle Douglas to take on Stewartry Sirens in the BT Women's National League Division 1.

The last time these two south-west rivals met was at BT Murrayfield in the final of the BT Plate in April, when the Sirens got the upper hand and took home the silverware.  So the Ladies will be looking to put in a strong performance, especially as they are sitting a place behind Stewartry in the table and would dearly love to leapfrog the Greenlaw side.

The squad continues to be a mixture of youth and experience.  Young half-backs Catherine Shennan and Emily Irving will be looking to pull the strings, whilst the tough yet mobile back row of Rachael Mulholland, Daryl Paterson and Lynda Morgan will be keen to put their opponents under pressure at the breakdown.

The teams know each other extremely well and this will be a closely fought contest.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Sammie Morrison; 14. Erin McSorley, 13. Laura Turner, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Connie Griffiths; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Lindsay Dick, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Phoebe McDowall, 5. Ashleigh Nelson; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Daryl Paterson, 8. Lynda Morgan.

Replacements:
16. Michelle Nelson, 17. Sarah Paterson, 18. Jackie O'Neil, 19. Lauren McBride, 20. Nattalie Rooney.

Kick-off 2pm.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Selkirk v Ayr preview

Ayr hit the road on Saturday as they travel to the Borders to take on Selkirk at Philiphaugh in the BT Premiership.

It will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the hosts were promoted from BT National League Division 1.  They had an extraordinary campaign last year, remaining undefeated in their league.  It's been a difficult transition to the BT Premiership for them, but with the irrepressible Peter Wright as head coach, they will be expertly prepared for this clash and will be ready to give Ayr the run-around.

'Philiphaugh is one of the toughest places to play in the league,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'Selkirk's performances have been improving each week.  We will need to be at our best to come away with the result that we desire.'

There are a few changes to the squad, with Richard Dalgleish and Cameron Taylor swapping places from the bench to the starting line-up and Scott Sutherland returning to the second row.  Glasgow Warrior D'arcy Rae is among the substitutes.

The 2nd XV are away to Edinburgh Accies, with Millbrae RFC at home to Uddingston.  The Rugby World Cup semi-final between South Africa and New Zealand will be shown live in the clubhouse at Millbrae.

Ayr:
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Richard Dalgleish; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. Alistair Price; 1. George Hunter, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

Replacements:
16. Lewis Anderson, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Danny McCluskey.

Selkirk:
15. Josh Welsh; 14. Rory Banks, 13. Craig MacDougall, 12. Ross Dixon (c), 11. Darren Clapperton; 10. Dashton Wellman, 9. Michael Davies; 1. Kieran Cooney, 2. James Bett, 3. Damian Byrne; 4. John Everitt, 5. Andrew Renwick; 6. Ewan MacDougall, 7.Callum Johnston, 8. Craig Marshall.

Replacements:
16. Callum McEwan, 17. Ross Purves, 18. Bruce Riddell, 19. P Forrest, 20. M Gordon.

Please note the early kick-off of 1.30pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.