Ayr ladies first action of 2018 was a narrow defeat to Cartha Queens Park Ladies yesterday at Dumbreck. Ayr got off to a flying start taking the lead in the first 15 minutes but it was Cartha who managed to tough it out in the second half.
With the season reaching its business end it was a game neither side wanted to lose. Ayr's number 8 Joanne Jones opened the scoring with a crafty chip-and-chase wrong-footing Cartha's defensive line. Catherine Shennan converted to make it 0-7.
Cartha weren't down for long. Ayr's defence held up well throughout the contest but they had no answer for Cartha's menacing outside centre who ran in two tries to put them on top- their stand-off converted both.
The biggest point in the match came with ten to play when Cartha's 10 punished Ayr with a penalty to cushion their lead. 17-7.
As both teams entered the closing stages of the game Ayr began to fight back. Connie Griffths proved to be a menace breaking the gain-line with her runs. A consolation for Ayr finally came as scrum-half Rachel Morrison sniped in from close-range to guarantee the losing bonus point- Shennan converted to conclude the scoring at 17-14.
Shania Irvine picked pop MOTM.
Ayr Ladies now have a weekend off to re-group and prepare for Stewartry Sirens in two weeks time.
Ayr continued with their winning ways yesterday beating Stirling County 16-25 at Bridgehaugh. Stirling came out of the blocks quickly but as the game moved into the later stages Ayr's steely resolve showed, marking their second win of 2018.
The game went to the script of the home side straight from kick-off with Stirling's first chance coming in the opening minutes. They looked poised for a score when the ball was shipped out wide but a stray pass found Grant Anderson who was able to break clear and end the threat. Not long after, a routine kick from Stirling full-back Jonny Hope put the home side up three.
Stirling added to their lead minutes later, with Hamilton Burr charging down an Ayr clearance kick. From there, he marched under the posts falling onto the ball. Hope's conversion put them 10-0 up after 12 minutes.
Ayr began to assert themselves in the next 10 minutes, with bulldozing runs from Blair Macpherson off the back of the scum chipping away at a sturdy Stirling defence. Their momentum reaped no reward however and on the 27 minute mark Hope added another three onto Stirling's lead.
Five minutes from half-time Ayr found themselves down 13-0 and in need of a score. They began to build phases deep in Stirling's 22 and finally found the line who Steven Longwell barged over from close range. Lyle's conversation made it 13-7
Hope received another chance to add three more shortly after but wasn't able to connect.
Ayr started the second half with much more intensity with their forward pack bullying Stirling off the ball. After multiple infringements by the home side Ayr decided to go for the posts. Lyle made no mistake, narrowing the gap to 13-10.
Almost immediately Stirling cancelled out the three. Ayr were pinned for entering the ruck from the side and Hope punished the error- they now lead by six.
Lyle was at the heart of everything and on the 58 minute played a crafty grubber intended for Craig Gossman. Gossman couldn't reach it, but Hope could only carry it over his try line resulting in a scrum five. From the scrum Ayr decided to go wide. a twisting run from Climo carved up Stirling's defence. He offloaded to Lyle who blitzed up the touchline and in for Ayr's second try. He couldn't convert, bringing the scores to 16-15.
Ayr took the lead for the first time in the match minutes later. Stirling's lack of discipline at the ruck awarded Ayr with a penalty, Lyle stepped up to put them up two.
From then on Ayr dictated the play- David Armstrong was elementary in Ayr's movement. Their attack began to spark but it was only out-done by incredible defence from the home side.
With three to play Ayr finally got breathing space. A knock-on at half way fell to the boot of Scott Lyle who kicked through. From there it was a footrace for the try line- Lyle won. He added two more from the tee which brought the scoring to 25-16.
Ayr's 2XV were also in action at Bridgehaugh, falling to Stirling 2XV 20-14. Ben Paterson picked up his second MOTM in as many weeks.
Now all eyes move to next weekend's action with near-neighbours Marr coming to town. With Marr hell-bent on avoiding relegation and Ayr in the hunt for a home semi-final it's a match neither side will want to lose.
This weekend's BT Premiership action takes Ayr to Bridgehaugh where they will face Stirling County.
Ayr started the new year with a massive win over league leaders Melrose and will look to emulate that inspiring form this weekend.
A Stirling side sprinkled with ex-millbrae men, including former captain Ross Curle, will know Ayr's personnel inside-out which will lend itself to a fiercely competitive match-up. With the regular season beginning to reach its natural conclusion both sides know every point is vital in the hunt for a play-off spot. Ayr are currently in fourth, with their eyes on a home semi-final and Stirling sit in sixth, 12 points off the play-off pace.
Ayr will find great confidence in more players returning from injury. Frazier Climo returns to start at fly-half and Danny McCluskey will be looking to inject some pace into the game from the bench.
The 2nd XV are also away to Bridgehaugh and will look to get back to winning ways after a narrow defeat to Glasgow Hawks 2s last weekend- Harry Warr drops down to captain the side.
Ayr's 1XV: Grant Anderson (C), Paddy Dewhirst, Scott Lyle, Stafford McDowall, Craig Gossman, Frazier Climo, David Armstrong; Robin Hislop, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, Jonathan Agnew, Rob McAlpine, Tommy Spinks, George Stokes, Blair Macpherson.
Subs: Lewis Anderson, Ryan Grant, George Hunter, Danny McCluskey, Matt Davidson.
Ayr's 2XV: Johnny McCorkindale, Sam Gray, James Armstrong, Sam Graham, Jamie Bova, James Pinkerton, Harry Warr (C); Fraser Miller, Stuart Collier, Ruairidh Sayce, Michael Badenhorst, Alan Miller, Craig Brown, Seth Rae, Cameron Reece.
Subs: Ben Paterson, Zander Howie, Zac Howard, Lewis Young.
Ayr inflicted Melrose’s
first defeat of the season yesterday with a 12-20 victory at the Greenyards. The
two sides saw plenty of each other in 2017 and the first action of the new
year proved to mimic the ferocious intensity which has become a trademark of
the fixture in previous games.
Ayr’s youngsters showed how menacing they can be in the
opening phases with Paddy Dewhirst wriggling along the touchline and Scott Lyle
nailing a perfect kick for touch. Ayr won a penalty from the following line-out
which Lyle sent back into the crowd. A catch and drive put Steven Longwell over
the line- Scott Lyle converted making it 0-7 after just five minutes.
Straight from the restart Melrose looked to bounce back, but
after building multiple phases a stray pass wandered forward allowing Ayr to
get rid of the threat.
The next breakthrough came in the 20th minute,
when another Melrose penalty allowed Lyle to kick to touch. Ayr aimed to drive
but intense pressure from the home side forced a knock-on allowing Baggot to
clear his lines from a scrum.
Melrose began to build, playing more like the side we have
become accustom to this season. Momentum was in their favour when a yellow card
to Grant Anderson gave them a big penalty opportunity- they went to the corner.
George Taylor scored in the following play, with centre Craig Jackson evening
Ayr received another big blow minutes later with Jonathan
Agnew being sent to the bin for a late tackle.
Melrose grabbed their second try just after, with Richard
Fergusson falling over from a maul- Jackson pushed the conversion wide which
brought the scoring to 12-7.
On the stroke of half-time Lyle got a chance to scrape back
the deficit when Melrose were marched back 10 yards on a penalty, bringing him
into kicking range- he made no mistake, 12-10 at half-time.
The second half continued with the same intensity as the
first, David Armstrong proving to be the ever-present thorn in Melrose’s side-
they had no answer for him. He conducted Ayr’s backline deep into Melrose’s 22
but the attack dwindled with another knock-on. Melrose didn’t capitalise
however and utterly dominating scrummaging from Ayr won a turnover and a
penalty- realising how commanding they were in this area, Ayr opted for another
scrum on Melrose’s five metre line.
The next ten minutes of play began to get repetitive with
Ayr winning four penalties in a row from the scrum. Everyone at the Greenyards
attention turned to the possibility of a penalty try, but referee Keith Allan
was reluctant to give, instead sending McLeod to the sin bin.
On the fourth scrum Ayr decided to break and bulldozing
carries from prop pairing Steven Longwell and Robin Hislop inched them closer
and closer to the line. A try looked imminent, but the ball was lost forward
and somehow Melrose had escaped the barrage unscathed.
Ayr weren’t rattled by coming away empty handed and the next
five minutes continued in the same vein as before, with Melrose constantly pushed
deep into their own half.
Ayr’s breakthrough came just after the sixty-minute mark
when a chip from the Melrose full-back Fraser Thompson landed in the hands of
Craig Gossman. Gossman darted back at Melrose before a perfectly timed offload put
Rob McAlpine through the defensive line. The home side tried to bring him down
but a massive hand-off was enough to spring him forward for the score. Scott
Lyle maintained his 100% strike rate to bring the scoring to 12-17.
After barely touching the ball in the second half Melrose’s
heart started to show and they mounted an attack in the last ten minutes which
almost mimicked the gut-wrenching closing stages of last year’s final. They’re
chance came with five minutes left to play when a penalty gifted Baggot a kick
to touch inside Ayr’s 22- but errors cost them again. A faulty throw in brought
to an end Melrose’s biggest opportunity of the half, and Ayr could enjoy
The final nail in the coffin came in the dying embers of the
match when a composed Scott Lyle slotted three more points to take the result away
from Melrose- this would conclude the scoring. After 12 rounds of rugby
dominance league leaders Melrose had been toppled by a familiar foe, Ayr took
The 2nd XV were in action at Old Anniesland
against Glasgow Hawks 2nd XV. The game swung like a pendulum with
neither side able to keep the other at more than arms left. In the end it was
Hawks who toughed it out 31-25 but Ayr picked up two big BP’s in the process.
Ayr’s 25 came from tries by James Pinkerton, James Armstrong, Lewis Young and
Jamie Bova. Armstrong also added five points from the boot.
Ayr RFC return to action this weekend with an away trip to the Greenyards to face current BT Premiership leaders Melrose.
The two sides are more than familiar with each other having clashed four times over the course of 2017. The most notable of the encounters was on the 15th of April where the two sides met at the Greenyards in the BT Premiership final. A gritty affair, neither side gave an inch on defence and the game went down to the wire. Ayr managed to hold onto a four point lead come crunch time, with a stolen line-out on our own five metres by Scott Sutherland securing a 12-8 victory.
The 2017/18 season so far has
gone in Melrose's favour, with the borders side yet to drop a point in 12 matches.
Ayr will take great confidence in some of their players returning from injury, with David Armstrong and Frazier Climo back in the starting line-up after time on the sidelines. George Hunter also returns and finds himself on the bench for Saturday's clash.
The game kicks-off at 2pm.
Ayr's starting line-up: 15. Grant Anderson 14. Paddy Dewhirst 13. Scott Lyle 12. Stafford McDowall 11. Craig Gossman 10. Frazier Climo 9. David Armstrong; 1. Robin Hislop 2. Robbie Smith 3. Steven Longwell 4. Blair Macpherson 5. Rob McAlpine 6. Tommy Spinks 7. George Stokes 8. Pete McCallum (C).
Substitutes: 16. Ruairidh Sayce 17. George Hunter 18. Jonathan Agnew 19. Harry Warr 20. Matt Davidson.
More closer to home Ayr's 2ndXV takes on Glasgow Hawk's 2ndXV at Old Anniesland.
The second XV starting line-up: 15. Ross Gilmore 14. Zac Howard 13. Sam Graham 12. Jamie Bova 11. Euan Hamilton 10. Sam Gray 9. Lewis Young; 1. Ben Paterson 2. Stuart Collier 3. Euan McLaren 4. Ross Arthur 5. Cameron Reece 6. Craig Brown 7. Seth Ray 8. Zander Howie.
Substitutes: 16. Bill Lyburn 17. William Chan 18. James Pinkerton