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.

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).

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.