Thursday, 26 February 2015

February 2015 POTM open!

This month's player of the month online poll is now open!

Vote for your favourite player for February here.

The results will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Ayr Ladies host 7s tournament in May

Saturday 9th May will see Ayr Ladies host their first rugby sevens tournament at Millbrae.

The Ladies are currently looking for teams to enter and encouraging as many spectators as possible to come along as all proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research UK.

Find out more here or contact Robbie Fergusson on 07921 437431/

Three Ayr players in Club XV squad

Winger Craig Gossman, hooker Fergus Scott and prop Fraser Watt have been named in the Scotland Club XV squad to face the English Counties tomorrow.

Gossman and Scott are in the starting line-up, with Watt amongst the replacements, for the match at Fylde RFC near Blackpool.

Gossman retains his place from the previous Club International against Ireland, which the Scots won, whilst Scott moves from the bench and Watt is called up for the first time after a dominant display in the front row for Ayr at the weekend.

We wish them and the whole squad the best of luck!

Read the full story here.

Curle suspended

Following at disciplinary hearing at Murrayfield on Wednesday evening, Ross Curle has been suspended for five weeks for a dangerous tackle during last Saturday's game against Heriot's.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Under-18s host race night

The under-18 boys are hosting a race night at Millbrae on Saturday 28th February at 7.30pm.  This is their final fundraising event for their forthcoming tour to South Africa, so do support it if you can.

Tickets will be available on the night.  They are £5 and include food.  Take a look at their Facebook page for more information.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ayr 25 Heriot's 23

Ayr overcame mud, rain, snow, sleet, hail and the BT Premiership leaders Heriot's to record a much-needed win at Millbrae.

It was the club's fourteenth Ladies' Lunch, so over a hundred extra female fans added to the expectant atmosphere, and both teams certainly gave the crowd a lot to cheer about.

Ayr got on the scoreboard early on, with a Ross Curle penalty.  3-0.

However, it wasn't long before Heriot's evened things up thanks to a penalty by scrum-half Graham Wilson.  3-3.

There was trouble on the horizon as Heriot's marauding backs spotted a gap in the home defence and winger Colin Goudie flew over for a try.  Wilson couldn't manage the wide conversion.  3-8.

With the Millbrae faithful roaring them on, the men in pink and black kept their composure, and soon had another penalty chance when Heriot's strayed off-side.  Curle struck it perfectly from forty metres.  6-8.

Heriot's were on the scent of another try, but excellent defensive work from outside centre Robbie Fergusson, number eight Graham Fisken and Curle put a stop to it.  Alas, it was Ayr's turn to be off-side and Heriot's took the line-out, where they knocked-on.

The visitors then gave away a penalty at the scrum, and a good take at the line-out from Scott Sutherland allowed flanker Andrew Dunlop to unleash the backs.  The ball found its way to Sutherland's second row partner Rob McAlpine, whose enthusiasm in attack almost knocked over referee Cammy Rudkin.

Fergusson then made a scintillating break and kept going with several Heriot's tackles clinging on to him.  Scrum-half David Armstrong and Fisken moved things along and it looked like full-back Grant Anderson had dived over for a try, but the referee adjudged he had been held up.

A couple of scrums for Ayr let flanker Peter McCallum burst to the line but the ball got away from him before he could ground it.

It was winger Craig Gossman's turn to try and make it to the line.  He couldn't get there, and neither could Fisken as he was tackled high.  Curle stepped up to the tee and kicked the penalty.  9-8.

The slim lead didn't last for long as a drive from a line-out led to Heriot's hooker Dave McGregor grabbing a try.  Wilson missed the conversion, possibly distracted by Ayr winger Richard Dalgleish charging at him.  9-13.

Heriot's shot off into Ayr's half once again but they turned it over and Gossman hacked on for Dunlop to chase.  He was beaten to it by the visitors.

A penalty moved Ayr into Heriot's twenty-two and they launched an attack from the line-out.  The ball bobbled over the line and Curle pounced for the try.  He couldn't convert his own score though.  14-13.

Another exciting run from Fergusson had the crowd on their feet, but despite support from hooker Fergus Scott, it came to nothing.  Soon after, Heriot's were off-side again and Curle's kick sailed over the crossbar.  17-13.

With the rain now lashing down, Curle, in the last play of the half, had another penalty attempt from well inside his own half but it was short.

More wintery showers at half-time turned the turf into a mire, and the second half began with several kicks back and forth before Heriot's tried to run it.  They didn't get far as Armstrong was hot on their heels.  But Ayr then infringed and Wilson kicked the penalty.  17-16.

Wilson's talents weren't just restricted to the boot; he showed off his handling skills with a cheeky pass through his legs at the back of a Heriot's scrum.  His backs would have been away but for yet another tackle by Armstrong.  Heriot's then gave Curle another shot at goal and he took it.  20-16.

A kick from Armstrong was beautifully caught by Gossman, but McGregor was hurt in the ensuing melee and both sets of fans were saddened to see him leave the field.

The ball was getting slippery in the mud and it was up to Anderson to tidy up the spills.  Heriot's dismissed their own handling errors to propel second row Russell Nimmo towards the line and he scored at the base of the post.  Wilson converted.  20-23.

The visitors then lost their heads, with winger Charlie Simpson clearly obstructing Curle as he chased a kick, and second row Daniel Levison finding himself in the sin bin, where he was joined by one of the props.

With a two-man advantage, Ayr trundled to the line and prop Stuart Fenwick claimed the try.  Tempers frayed but it erupted into nothing more than some shirt-pulling.  Curle couldn't get the conversion.  25-23.

The final few minutes were tense, to say the least.  Heriot's had the majority of the possession and Ayr worked hard to pin them to the half-way line and not give away any penalties.  It looked like centre Josh Laird might squeeze through the home defence, but his side infringed to bring the match to an end.

Curle claimed the man-of-the-match award, but it was a terrific all-round performance from the entire squad.

Final score: Ayr 25 Heriot's 23.

- Elena Hogarth.

View Alan Graham's photos of the match here.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Ayr v Heriot's preview

It's the final home league game of the season for Ayr on Saturday and they will be aiming to put in a big performance against current BT Premiership table-toppers Heriot's.

After exiting the BT Cup at the quarter-final stage last week, the men in pink and black now turn their attention back to the league and trying to gain as many points as possible to secure a position in the play-offs.

"The target is still a home semi-final and nothing less than a win will do this weekend," states Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.

But he knows his players face tough opposition.

"Heriot's have been playing some good rugby this season and we will need to be at our best on Saturday."

Coached by Phil Smith, who steered the Scotland Club XV to victory at Netherdale two weeks ago, Heriot's have a very strong team, with their number eight Jason Hill having joined Glasgow Warriors for training in recent weeks.

There are some changes to the Ayr squad, with Peter McCallum starting at openside flanker, meaning Graham Fisken moves to number eight.

In the backs, Ross Curle starts at inside centre, with Danny McCluskey partnering David Armstrong at half-back after the latter's red card from last week was overturned by the SRU.

It's Ladies' Day on Saturday, so there will be a great atmosphere at Millbrae.  Make sure you're there to add to it!

15. Grant Anderson (capt); 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Ross Curle, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Stuart Fenwick, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Peter McCallum, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Graham Fisken.

16. David Young, 17. Gordon Sykes, 18. Blair Macpherson, 19. Jack Preston, 20. Dean Kelbrick.

15. Keith Buchan; 14. Charlie Simpson, 13. Liam Steele, 12. Josh Laird, 11. Colin Goudie; 10. Stuart Edwards, 9. Graham Wilson (capt); 1. Nathan Borel, 2. Dave McGregor, 3. Struan Cessford; 4. Russell Nimmo, 5. Daniel Levison; 6. Jono Armstrong, 7. Jack McLean, 8. Jason Hill.

16. Stewart Mustard, 17. JP Ward, 18. Jamie Syme, 19. Jamie McNeish, 20. Max Learmonth.

Kick-off 3pm!

Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Armstrong red card overturned

The red card received by Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong during last Saturday's match against Glasgow Hawks has now been overturned by the SRU Disciplinary Panel after viewing video footage of the incident.

The card has been removed from Armstrong's disciplinary record and he is available to play again.

Mixed fortunes for the youngsters

It's been a busy few days for Ayr's young players, with the under-16 boys travelling to Italy with Glasgow Warriors and the under-18 girls competing in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

Unfortunately, it was a 42-17 defeat to Oban Lorne on Wednesday for the girls, but they move into the semi-finals of the bowl competition.

There was better news for the boys in Parma on Sunday, as they beat local side Reggio 19-15.  They came from 0-15 at half-time to win before the Warriors played Zebre in the Guinness Pro12.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Glasgow Hawks 22 Ayr 13

Ayr went to Old Anniesland looking to progress to the semi-finals of the BT Cup but left disappointed after Glasgow Hawks came away with the win.

The visitors had the better start, nullifying the threat of Hawks' rampaging centre Brendan McGroarty and mopping up the home team's early errors.  These errors led to penalties and Ayr stand-off Ross Curle stepped up to the tee with a few minutes on the clock and duly took the three points.  0-3.

Things took a turn for the worse for Ayr though when winger Kerr Gossman had to helped from the field with a lower limb injury.  Soon after, Hawks stand-off Jack Steele evened things up.  3-3.

Hawks pressed on thanks to some strong running from winger Paul Ramsay, but he was hauled down by Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong.  Moments later, the visitors were penalised for not rolling away and Steele again kicked the penalty, which, despite an odd-looking strike, bobbled over the crossbar.  6-3.

Curle had the chance to draw level when Hawks were off-side.  6-6.

Curle was having a good day kicking from hand, the line-out was steady in the early stages, Gossman's replacement Danny McCluskey was busy dragging down Hawks' attackers and Armstrong was leaping superbly under the high ball, but the match wasn't igniting like previous encounters between these two west coast rivals.

Curle had another kickable penalty but it was wide.  Second rows Rob McAlpine and Scott Sutherland were trying to blast their way into Hawks' half, but neither could get anywhere.  Hawks looked the more threatening with ball in hand and would have been away for a try were it not for the attentions of Ayr centre Robbie Fergusson, McAlpine and McCluskey.

The home side did think they had slid over for a try in the corner but it was disallowed.  Ayr were out of danger, but not for long.  Hawks hooker Jack Macfarlane put in a late tackle on Armstrong and the scrum-half retaliated.  The referee sin-binned Macfarlane but reached for the red card for Armstrong.

The match hit a frantic patch after that, with Hawks flanker Stephen Leckey almost making it to the try-line before McCluskey got to him.  Ayr turned over and cleared only for Hawks to take the quick line-out and then knock-on a few phases later.

Scrums, line-outs, penalties, missed kicks and turnovers all followed, with Ayr hooker Fergus Scott doing some good poaching.  It looked like Ayr were in the ascendency, especially after a great break from prop Fraser Watt, but Hawks regained possession before Ayr gave away a penalty.  Scrum-half Paddy Boyer scurried away from the ensuing line-out and nabbed Hawks' first try.  Steele missed the conversion, possibly distracted by Ayr winger Richard Dalgleish charging at him.  11-6.

Ayr tried to hit back through Sutherland, prop Stuart Fenwick, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell and captain Dean Kelbrick, but they could do nothing before half-time.

Kelbrick and Curle led the way at the resumption, but despite trying to move the ball swiftly, it all looked a bit laboured from the Millbrae men.

Hawks' plan was clearly just to nest in Ayr's half for as long as possible and it worked, McGroarty and full-back Andrew Fleming pushing things ever closer to the try-line.  McConnell and Dalgleish did their best to stop them but Ayr were pinged for off-side and a solid Hawks line-out let replacement Brendan Cullinane burrow over for a try.  Steele missed the conversion.  16-6.

Ayr weren't for throwing in the towel just yet.  Blindside flanker Graham Fisken had been looking lively all afternoon and soon got a chance to stretch his legs, cantering off into Hawks' half, but his pass reached opposition hands.  After a good scrum from Ayr, openside flanker Andrew Dunlop decided to follow Fisken's example and shot off too.  Replacement hooker, and Glasgow Warrior, Dougie Hall was next to have a go before Fergusson chipped on, but the Hawks defender carried the ball into touch before the young centre could get to it.

A good take by Sutherland at the line-out allowed Ayr to drive on and Fenwick emerged from the pile of bodies on the line to claim the try.  Curle easily converted.  16-13.

Hawks were back in attack mode pretty quickly, but McAlpine and replacement Peter McCallum were on hand to keep them at bay.  Curle ripped the ball from a Hawks forward and safely got it into the hands of Sutherland but a few phases later and Ayr knocked on.

Hawks had their fair share of handling errors too, but Ayr were beginning to struggle at the scrum and Hawks got themselves a penalty, which, bizarrely, they decided to kick straight into the hands of McCallum, who gladly took it and charged away.  Sadly, another knock on brought that move to a halt.

Ayr were still stuck in their own half and gave away another penalty for holding on, which Steele slotted between the uprights.  19-13.

An exchange of line-outs and Ayr were again infringing.  Steele missed the penalty.

Ayr had one last hurrah with a huge shove at a Hawks scrum but they couldn't capitalise on it and were pinged a final time.  Steele got this one.  22-13.

Time was up and Ayr's BT Cup campaign was over for another year.

Final score: Glasgow Hawks 22 Ayr 13.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 13 February 2015

U16s hit the road with Glasgow Warriors

Ayr's under-16s boys are off on their travels this weekend as they accompany Glasgow Warriors to Italy.

Thirty-four of the youngsters, along with seven coaches and some family members, are joining the Guinness Pro 12 side as they take off to Parma in northern Italy to face Zebre.  Former Millbrae man Pat MacArthur starts for the Warriors and current Ayr player Will Bordill is on the bench.

Whilst there, the under-16s will play local side Reggio before the Warriors' match.

Read the full story here.

Busy weekend at Millbrae

There's a festival of rugby this weekend at Millbrae.  It all begins tonight where we welcome our friends from Llanishen RFC.  The contest for the Les McCall trophy kicks off at 7pm.  An Ayr Select XV is on show so please come along and give your support.
On Saturday the 1st XV are away to Glasgow Hawks.  A supporters' bus is leaving from Millbrae, so if you want to use this service please put your name on the list ASAP.  This is available at the club.
The 2nd XV play Boroughmuir at home on Saturday.  Millbrae are also at home against Isle of Arran.
For those not going to Murrayfield on Sunday, the Scotland v Wales game will be shown on all screens in the club.  Pies are on the go at half time.  A great atmosphere is sure to be had, especially with our Welsh supporters in attendance.

Glasgow Hawks v Ayr - BT Cup quarter-final preview

All's fair in love and rugby, and Ayr and Glasgow Hawks will be battling it out with head and heart on St Valentine's Day when they meet in the quarter-finals of the BT Cup at Old Anniesland.

There's almost nothing these two west coast rivals don't know about each other, having exchanged players and coaches over the years, as well as competing in some entertaining and tense matches, none more so than last year's cup quarter-final which Hawks won.

Ayr's head coach Calum Forrester is keen to see his troops lace up their boots for something more than training after a few weeks away from competition.

"It has been a very frustrating period with a lack of matches," he says.  "But the players have trained very well throughout and there is no better match to look forward to than a cup quarter-final derby clash against the Glasgow Hawks."

He continues: "So far this season we have had two very close and physical encounters with them and we expect the same again this weekend.  Our intensity at training has increased as we have built towards this match, looking to avenge last season’s quarter-final defeat."

In the squad, Ross Curle starts at stand-off after leading the Scotland Club XV to victory against their Irish counterparts last week.  Richard Dalgleish moves on to the wing, with Robbie Fergusson taking Curle's outside centre berth.

In the forwards, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Blair Macpherson make up a speedy back row, whilst Stuart Fenwick adds pace to the front row.

Glasgow Warriors have released Dougie Hall and Murray McConnell as they continue to make their comebacks from injury and they take their place on the bench, from where long-time Ayr favourite Gordon Sykes will hopefully make his first appearance in a pink and black shirt this season.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Ross Curle, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Stuart Fenwick, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Blair Macpherson.

16. Dougie Hall, 17. Gordon Sykes, 18. Peter McCallum, 19 Murray McConnell, 20. Danny McCluskey.

Glasgow Hawks:
15. Andrew Fleming; 14. Neil Herron, 13. Brendan McGroarty, 12. David Milne, 11. Paul Ramsay; 10. Jack Steele, 9. Paddy Boyer; 1. Steven Findlay, 2. Jack McFarlane, 3. Gary Strain; 4. Andrew Linton, 5. Andrew Kirkland; 6. Stephen Leckey, 7. Finlay Gillies, 8. Tommy Spinks.

16. Grant Stewart, 17. Brendan Cullinane, 18. Mateusz Bartoszek, 19. Jonny Agnew, 20. Sean Yacoubian.

Kick-off 3pm!

Follow the scores live on Twitter.

There is a supporters' bus leaving from Millbrae on Saturday for this match, so see our Facebook page for details.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Join our Six Nations fantasy league!

With the RBS Six Nations almost upon us, join us for some fun fantasy rugby.  Pick your fantasy Six Nations team and compete for ultimate bragging rights!
Register here with ESPN, pick a team and the winner gets the brilliant prize of the admiration and respect of fellow leaguers.
League Name: Millbrae
League PIN: 91433
Once you've registered your team, come and join the Millbrae League.

Millbrae trio in Scotland squad

Three former Ayr players have been named in Vern Cotter's Scotland squad to face France in their opening clash of the RBS Six Nations.

Stand-off Finn Russell and outside centre Mark Bennett start, claiming their sixth and third caps respectively, whilst prop Gordon Reid will hopefully make his seventh international appearance from the bench.

The match kicks off at 5pm GMT/ 6pm local time.

Very best of luck to Finn, Mark, Gordy and all the team!

Read the full story here.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Pilates classes at Millbrae

Get fighting fit at Millbrae with Body Design by Alida.

Regular pilates classes are held at the clubhouse by this fully qualified and insured level three instructor and personal trainer, who is also a level three pre- and post-natal instructor.

Find out more here.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ayr Ladies 12 Broughton 44

It was a difficult afternoon at Millbrae for Ayr Ladies on Sunday as they were overrun by a slick and dominant Broughton in the BT Women's National League Division 1.

The visitors from Edinburgh were straight into action and the ladies in pink and black had to get stuck into defensive mode, with number eight Lynda Morgan, full-back Catherine Shennan, flanker Laura Somerville and centres Daryl Paterson and Laura Turner putting in the tackles.

When the home team did secure possession, the wily forwards of Broughton managed to turn it over and pin Ayr in their own half.  But Paterson, along with prop Lindsay Dick, was on hand to stop their attackers getting too far.

It wasn't enough though, and before too long, Broughton's flying full-back was dodging her way round the defence to score the opening try.  It went unconverted.  0-5.

Ayr captain Gemma Swankie had a good day kicking from hand and was able to punish Broughton's infringments by getting some great distance as she searched for the corner.  But the visitors were all over them and again turned over possession, leaving prop Louise McLauchlan, winger Jackie O'Neil and flanker Eilidh Thomson to try and limit the damage.

Broughton's slick passing was causing Ayr problems too, but winger Phoebe McDowall, replacement hooker Megan Thomson and Eilidh Thomson, in particular, drew gasps from the sizable crowd with their determined tackling.

They just couldn't contain Broughton's speedy backs though and they were over in the corner for their second unconverted try.  0-10.

Ayr were pinged for not rolling away but Broughton sent their kick for the corner straight into the arms of Megan Thomson, who shot off on a terrific run.  Broughton were offside and again Swankie booted it for the line-out.  Morgan had a great take that allowed Ayr to launch a promising attack, but the visitors' defence forced the knock-on from Ayr.

Before anyone knew it, Broughton were away again, their full-back getting another unconverted try.  0-15.

Ayr Ladies didn't let their heads go down and produced two solid scrums to let stand-off Rachael Mulholland, second row Ashleigh Nelson and McLauchlan make for the try-line.  They were just held up.  A few moments later and Mulholland took the quick one to burrow over for an unconverted try.  5-15.

Tempers flared at the end of the first half after some good work in attack from Mulholland and Eilidh Thomson and defence from Paterson and lively replacement scrum-half Rachel Morrison.

It was a sunny yet bitterly cold day in Alloway and the second half began messily with hands no doubt numbing on both sides.  There were some unintentionally clumsy tackles from each team too.

More good work at the line-out from Swankie and Morgan let Ayr drive on but somehow Broughton turned it over and they were racing away for a converted try.  5-22.

Moments later, the visitors crossed again.  This try was unconverted.  5-27.

Ayr were continuing to get stuck into the tackles, Nelson and her second row partner Zoe Montgomerie dragging down the opposition, but once Broughton spotted even the tiniest of gaps, they were slipping through and dancing over the line for another converted try.  5-34.

Ayr were getting bullied at the scrum, but they held steady at the line-out and this let Turner break away up the wing.  She couldn't escape the clutches of Broughton's defenders though.

The visitors then scored two unconverted tries in very quick succession.  5-44.

But still Ayr Ladies wouldn't throw in the towel, scrum-half Niamh Durnan managing to close down the Broughton fliers.  Three turnovers in a row kept the crowd guessing and when Ayr secured possession they camped out on the visitors' try-line until the referee had had enough of Broughton's infringements and awarded Ayr the penalty try, which O'Neil duly converted.  12-44.

Turner, both Thomsons, Montgomerie and Mulholland pressed on, but Broughton closed them down.  A scrum apiece followed, but the visitors kept the home team trapped in their own half until the referee blew the whistle for full-time.

Final score: Ayr Ladies 12 Broughton 44.

- Elena Hogarth.