Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ayr Ladies v Melrose Ladies preview

Ayr Ladies relocate to Marr College playing fields for their Sarah Beaney Cup quarter-final against Melrose Ladies today after Storm Gertrude rendered the Millbrae pitches unplayable.

The change of venue could be a good omen as one pink and black team has already beaten a Greenyards side in Troon this weekend - the U18 boys, who overcame Melrose Wasps 10-7 yesterday in the National Youth Cup semi-final.

The ladies in pink and black are the only BT National 1 team to make it to this stage of the national cup and they have their sights fully set on giving as good as they get against the BT Premiership visitors.

With women's participation on an upward curve at Millbrae, there is now a very strong pool of players to choose from, and today's match squad is an encouraging mix of youth and experience.

Half-backs Catherine Shennan and Emily Irving will be pulling the strings, with some speedy backs to rely on.

In the forwards, there's a tough yet mobile front row in the form of Laura Turner, Lisa Croniken and Louise McLauchlan, and the bench is similarly comprised.

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. Ashleigh Nelson, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Lindsay Dick, 17. Michelle Nelson, 18. Zoe Montgomerie, 19. Sarah Paterson, 20. Jackie O'Neil, 21. Connie Griffiths.

Kick-off 4.45pm at Marr College playing fields!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January POTM poll open!

The January 2016 player of the month poll is now open until Tuesday, when the winner will be announced after midday.

Frazier Climo won last month, receiving a £50 voucher from Slaters Menswear.

Get voting! 

Ayr represented at U20s v Club XV friendly

There were eight Ayr players turning out at BT Murrayfield last night, but not all were on the same side.

Lewis Anderson started for Scotland U20s, with Lee Scott amongst the replacements as they took on the Scotland Club XV as part of their three-day training camp in preparation for the U20s Six Nations, which begins next week.

For the Club XV, Ross Curle, George Hunter, Rob McAlpine, Will Bordill and Pete McCallum were in the starting line-up and Haddon McPherson was on the bench.

The U20s eventually won 31-26.  Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Gavin and Junior at Wellington 7s

Ayr's Gavin Lowe will again be on duty with Scotland 7s this weekend, as they compete in New Zealand at the Wellington 7s, where he will be joined by Glasgow Warriors' Junior Bulumakau, who has been named in the squad for the first time.

Lowe has been with the 7s squad all season, whilst Bulumakau has featured for Ayr three times in recent months when not required by Warriors.

The third round of the World Rugby Sevens Series begins on Saturday and we wish Gavin, Junior and all of the Scotland squad the best of luck.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Stirling County 6 Ayr 10

It was an odd match between Stirling County and Ayr at Bridgehaugh on Saturday afternoon, as the scoreboard remained unchanged for half an hour and it was well into the second half before a try was scored.  But the visitors were glad to come through a tricky encounter with the very tough hosts.

It all started so promisingly with fancy footwork by winger Craig Gossman and centre Ross Curle and a few deft touches from stand-off Frazier Climo.

Ayr got into Stirling's twenty-two and camped out there for the first quarter without success.  It wasn't for wont of trying.  Gossman, second row Rob McAlpine and centre Archie Russell made for the line only for County winger Matt Lamb to nearly intercept.

Curle got held up after hard work by number eight Pete McCallum and Climo, and then it seemed like the whole team plunged for the whitewash to no avail.  The home defence was outstanding.

County's attack was pretty impressive too, with centre Danny Gilmour's rip-roaring break whipping the large crowd into a frenzy.

Ayr were found offside and County winger Jonny Hope stepped up to the tee with twenty-nine minutes on the clock.  3-0.

The rest of the half was messy, with aimless kicking by both sides and handling errors from Ayr.

County pushed on into Ayr's half at the resumption and Hope had another kick at goal.  6-0.

The Millbrae men were managing to break through the County defenders thanks to barging by winger Richard Dalgleish and flanker Blair Macpherson.

The visitors' line-out went awry on a few occasions, but they were solid in the scrum.

A huge effort by Ayr got them back into County's half and they showed real patience in the twenty-two before Macpherson refused to be dragged into touch and just dotted the ball down in the corner.  It was an extremely difficult conversion but Climo got it.  6-7.

Climo was lining up another kick a few minutes later when he slotted a penalty.  6-10.

Stirling were determined to get back into Ayr's half and could scent a score.  But replacement centre Danny McCluskey and Dalgleish put in excellent tackles to bring any chance to an end.

Ayr launched a final attack themselves through scrum-half David Armstrong, Dalgleish, prop George Hunter and McCluskey but another couple of handling errors scuppered their hopes.

It was a very tense final four minutes as Dalgleish was sin-binned for an unfortunate-looking tackle and County got right up to Ayr's five-metre line.  But it was the visitors' turn to defend with might as the clock ticked past eighty minutes.

Ayr are now twelve points clear at the top of the BT Premiership table with just one more game to go - the delayed match against Hawick, provisionally rescheduled for the end of February - before the play-offs in April.

Final score: Stirling County 6 Ayr 10.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Lee Scott added to Scotland U20s training camp

Another Ayr young gun will train with Scotland U20s in the run-up to their Six Nations campaign as second row Lee Scott joins hooker Lewis Anderson.

Anderson was at the first training camp at BT Murrayfield a fortnight ago and Scott has been added to John Dalziel's squad for their next block of preparation beginning on Monday.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Stirling County v Ayr preview

Ayr head to Bridgehaugh for their penultimate BT Premiership match, kicking off at 3pm against Stirling County on Saturday.

The fixture was postponed at the start of December after Storm Desmond caused havoc, and both teams will be keen to take to the pitch, especially after all league ties were cancelled last week.  They last met in September when Ayr won 55-21, but it will be a different kettle of fish this time as seventh-placed County play hosts and will be eager to put in a strong performance to keep them out of the danger zone in the table.

'Bridgehaugh is always a tough place to go,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester, 'and we expect much the same this weekend against a Stirling side looking to try and secure their place in the BT Premiership.'

Although there has been no competitive run-outs since the start of the month, Ayr have been training well over the last couple of weeks and name an almost unchanged side from the one that beat Selkirk a fortnight ago.

The only addition is Lewis Anderson, who takes the place of the unavailable James Malcolm at hooker.  Flanker Andrew Dunlop and front row replacement Stuart Fenwick add experience to the bench.

For the second season running, the two sides will compete for the Cairdeas Quaich, kindly provided by sponsors United Auctions, which marks the long-time friendship between the clubs.  With Ayr having won it three times, Stirling County have the added incentive of trying to claim the silverware for themselves.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. Steven Longwell, 18. Andrew Dunlop, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Danny McCluskey.

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

Ayr 2nd XV v Stirling County 2nd XV kicks off at 2pm, with updates available via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Monday, 18 January 2016

'Competitive on the field, collaborative off it'

Sunday saw Scottish Rugby host its inaugural Club Development Conference at BT Murrayfield.

Over two hundred representatives from clubs right across Scotland, including three from Ayr RFC, attended to share and learn from each other in four different workshops and hear from a variety of speakers.

Ed Crozier welcomed everyone before Al Kellock spoke passionately about creating a positive, inclusive culture for your club, as well as discussing his own career and the journey Glasgow Warriors have been on for the past few years.

There were four workshops before lunch, concentrating on promoting your club, being a community club, making the most of your clubhouse and recruiting volunteers.

The afternoon brought an engaging and informative talk on player safety from Dr James Robson before former Scotland international Tony Stanger spoke about player development and the dangers of narrowing the talent pool too early.

Nick Rennie, head of club services, discussed the challenges of retaining players at club level with so many other activities to tempt them away, before Jim Littlefair of the Scottish Rugby Council brought the day to a close.

It was a helpful and informative event that hopefully sent away club representatives full of ideas on how to get the best out of their organisations.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Hawick v Ayr preview

It's the penultimate game of the BT Premiership on Saturday and it's going to be a tough test against Hawick at Mansfield Park, kicking off at 2pm.

The hosts have slipped back to sixth in the table but do have two games in hand and will be chasing every point to get into the top four.

'This Saturday will be a huge challenge for the squad against a Hawick side fighting for a play-off spot and looking to bounce back after last week's defeat at Hawks,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'We will be looking to build on our performance against Selkirk and will need to raise it again in order to get a result down at Mansfield.'

For the first time this season, Ayr are fielding an unchanged starting line-up, 'a just reward for the team's performance last weekend,' Forrester believes.

There are two additions to the bench, with youngsters Lee Scott and Danny McCluskey taking over from the unavailable Andrew Dunlop and Jack Preston respectively.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. James Malcolm, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Lewis Anderson, 17. Steven Longwell, 18. Lee Scott, 19. Cameron Taylor, 20. Danny McCluskey.

Kick-off 2pm.  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

The 2nd XV kick off at 2pm away to Hamilton and scores will be available via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Lewis at U20s training camp

Ayr's young hooker Lewis Anderson is currently at BT Murrayfield on a three-day training camp with Scotland under-20s.

The nineteen-year-old, fresh from his appearance as a replacement for Ayr on Saturday, joins a squad of thirty players who are getting ready for the U20s Six Nations, which begins on Friday 5th February.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Ayr 78 Selkirk 0

With matches cancelled across the country, Ayr and Selkirk were just glad their BT Premiership fixture was going ahead at Millbrae.  But by the end of the eighty minutes, one team would've wished it had been postponed.

It's been an extremely difficult season for the promoted Borders side; after winning every league fixture last year, they have recorded only one win in the BT Premiership.  Their relegation already confirmed, and recalling the run-around they gave Ayr at Philiphaugh back in October, the hosts were anticipating a tough match.

However, once Ayr captain Ross Curle opened the scoring after touching down a ball he had hacked on, there was no looking back for the Millbrae men.  Frazier Climo added the conversion.  7-0.

Number eight Pete McCallum - who shared the man-of-the-match award with flanker Blair Macpherson - scored the first of his three tries shortly after Ayr had been held up.  Climo converted.  14-0.

Selkirk tried to make their way out of their own half with some strong running from full-back Dashton Wellman, but their good work was undone by unforced errors.

Ayr had their fair share of mistakes too, with handling suffering in the slippery conditions.  But Selkirk couldn't capitalise.  No sooner had number eight Callum Marshall run off than Ayr turned over.

The visitors struggled at the scrum and Ayr were ruthless.  The next try came from Climo after full-back Grant Anderson knocked over defenders like skittles.  The stand-off converted his own score.  21-0.

Selkirk were understandably frustrated and tempers boiled over as lock Peter Forrest and Ayr prop D'arcy Rae engaged in some non-verbal arguing that resulted in a ticking-off from French referee Ludovic Cayre.

Selkirk set off with ball in hand again but the tackles from Ayr were too tough and the hosts soon had possession again.  Scrum-half David Armstrong made a break before Ayr got a penalty and Macpherson scored from the line-out.  Climo added the extras.  28-0.

Winger Craig Gossman was next on the score sheet, sliding over in the corner from a Curle chip.  It was too wide an angle for Climo to convert.  33-0.

Ayr's forwards were bashing their way up the park, with prop George Hunter and hooker James Malcolm leading the way, and second rows Rob McAlpine and Scott Sutherland stretching those long legs to gallop away.
Forrest and Rae were again at loggerheads, with the former's attempt to get away with the ball brought to an end when he was flattened by eighteen stone of Troon's finest.

It went from bad to worse for the visitors with hooker Damian Byrne in the sin bin.  Ayr centre Archie Russell scurried away and there were again some handling woes until Gossman scored out of nowhere.  Climo's conversion drifted wide.  38-0.

Ayr then stole Selkirk's line-out just before half-time and excellent running from Anderson, winger Richard Dalgleish and flanker Will Bordill saw Anderson over line.  Climo converted.  45-0.

The home team reached their half-century just after the resumption when McCallum flew over unopposed from the back of the scrum for an unconverted try.  50-0.

All credit must go to Selkirk, who couldn't have been feeling any lower, for attempting to attack.  But they couldn't get out of their own half and once Ayr regained possession, the hosts camped out in their twenty-two and Macpherson crashed over for his second try, which Climo converted.  57-0.

Long, loopy passes didn't hurt Ayr and McCallum was over for his hat-trick.  It was a tiring day for the mascot, trotting through the mud with the kicking tee, but Climo was still full of energy and got the conversion.  64-0.
Next to score was replacement scrum-half Jack Preston, who spotted a gap in the defence and strolled over.  Climo converted.  71-0.

Selkirk had their chances as Ayr gave away some silly penalties, but again could get nowhere.  With the clock ticking down, Dalgleish ran through some very tired defenders and got the twelfth and final try, with Climo racking up his ninth conversion.  78-0.

There was a bright spot for the visitors as their vice-president won the £100 half-time draw and gave the cash to his players for refreshments on the long journey back to Selkirk.

Ayr, still at the top of the table, will be on the road to the Borders next week, as they head to Mansfield Park to take on Hawick in the penultimate league game.
Final score: Ayr 78 Selkirk 0.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Ayr v Selkirk preview

Ayr are refreshed and recharged after the festive break and will need to be on their guard against Selkirk on Saturday at Millbrae in the final home game of the BT Premiership.

The hosts are determined to stay at the top of the table and secure a home play-off with only three league fixtures left, while the visitors, whose relegation has already been confirmed, will want to sign off their campaign with a strong performance.

'Selkirk will be coming with a point to prove and nothing to lose, so we expect a tough battle,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'But we are looking forward to welcoming them and playing in front of a home crowd again.'

In the squad, James Malcolm starts at hooker after some heartening appearances for Glasgow Warriors.  Will Bordill and Archie Russell return from injury at openside flanker and outside centre respectively.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. James Malcolm, 3.D'arcy Rae; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Lewis Anderson, 17. Steven Longwell, 18. Andrew Dunlop, 19. Jack Preston, 20. Cameron Taylor.

15. Dashton Wellman; 14. Scott Hendrie, 13. Craig MacDougall, 12. Ross Nixon (c), 11. Darren Clapperton; 10. Rory Banks, 9. Scott Tough; 1. Lwando Mabenge, 2. Damian Byrne, 3. Fabian Tetart; 4. Peter Forrest, 5. Jordan McGowan; 6. Ewan MacDougall, 7. Leon Du Plessis, 8. Callum Marshall.

16. Frazer Anderson, 17. Dave Allan, 18. Cata Graur, 19. Scott McClymont, 20. Michael Davies.

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

Ayr 2nd XV v Edinburgh Accies 2nd XV kicks off at 2pm at Millbrae and scores will be updated live via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Remember to sign up for our half-time cash give-away.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Ayr Ladies warm up for quarter-final

It's a big week for Ayr Ladies as they prepare for their Sarah Beaney Cup quarter-final against Melrose Ladies on Sunday at Millbrae, 2pm.

With weather having scuppered many of their matches before Christmas, they gathered at Millbrae yesterday to have a friendly game against a combined Cartha and Stewartry side.

The visitors won 49-19 but it gave the home team a chance to get some game time ahead of their clash with Melrose.

Ayr Ladies are the only BT National 1 side to have made it to the quarter-final stage of the national cup and they have a great chance of progressing.  But they need all your support, so please come along to Millbrae on Sunday to cheer them on.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Andrew to captain Co-Optimists

Ayr's Andrew Dunlop will lead the invitational side the Co-Optimists at Goldenacre tomorrow for a friendly match against Heriot's, kicking off at 2pm.

'I'm delighted to be made captain,' says Dunlop, who is making his first appearance for the team.  'It's going to be a great honour.'

Junior Bulumakau, who recently played for Ayr, starts on the wing, with young prop D'arcy Rae on the bench.

15. Gavin Parker (Exeter); 14. Junior Bulumakau (Glasgow Warriors), 13. Chris Dean (Edinburgh Rugby), 12. Sam Beard (Edinburgh Rugby), 11. Grant McConnell (Boroughmuir); 10. Fraser Lyle (Glasgow Warriors), 9. Hugh Fraser (BT Academy/Heriot's); 1. Grant Shiells (Edinburgh Rugby), 2. George Turner (Edinburgh Rugby), 3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby); 4. Torrie Callandar (Watsonians), 5. Callum Hunter Hill (Glasgow Warriors Academy); 6. Andrew Dunlop (Ayr), CAPT, 7. Anthony Reen (RHC), 8. Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks).

16. D'arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), 17. Jack McFarlane (Glasgow Warriors), 18. Patrick Kelly (BT Glasgow), 19. Will Wardlaw (Howe of Fife), 20. Robbie Lavery (Biggar), 21. Chris Laidlaw (Boroughmuir), 22. Nathan Fowles (Edinburgh Rugby).