Sunday, 19 October 2014

Forrester recruits Fergus and Finn

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester has secured the services of his current charge Fergus Scott and former team-mate Finn Russell to help coach the University of Glasgow teams.

As well as taking the reins at Millbrae, Calum has been putting the students at Glasgow through their paces since last season, having taken over from former Ayr player Peter Jericevich.  With Fergus and Finn now helping out, the pink and black influence continues.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Heriot's v Ayr preview

Ayr travel to Goldenacre on Saturday to take on Heriot's with another British and Irish Lion in the line-up for a tough tie in the BT Premiership.

After Sean Maitland pulled on the pink and black shirt a fortnight ago, this time it's Ryan Grant who has been released by Glasgow Warriors to begin his injury comeback and makes up a new look front row along with James Malcolm and Stuart Fenwick.  His fellow Warrior Jon Welsh is on the bench, as are the returning Will Bordill and Craig Gossman.

Murray McConnell starts at scrum-half and Robbie Fergusson takes the full-back berth in place of the injured Grant Anderson.

Head coach Calum Forrester was pleased with Ayr's defensive efforts last week in their win over Currie and knows that his team will have to be just as good again this Saturday.

"Heriot's are one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the league," he says.  "They showed from their result last week that they will keep fighting to the end, so we will need to be more clinical in attack and take advantage of the few opportunities that will come our way."

15. Robbie Fergusson, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. Murray McConnell; 1. Ryan Grant, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Stuart Fenwick; 4. Callum Templeton, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Ben Johnston, Blair Macpherson.

16. George Hunter, 17. Jon Welsh, 18. Will Bordill, 19. David Armstrong, 20. Craig Gossman.

15. Glenn Bryce, 14. Harry Boisseau, 13. Liam Steele, 12. Rory Carmichael, 11. Charlie Simpson; 10. Gregor McNeish, 9. Graham Wilson; 1. Nathan Borel, 2. Davy McGregor, 3. Struan Cessford; 4. Russell Nimmo, 5. Ben Toolis; 6. Jono Armstrong, 7. Jack Turley (capt), 8. Jason Hill.

16. Blair Couper, 17. Gavin Cameron, 18. Joe Naya, 19. Jack McLean, 20. Stuart Edwards.

Kick-off 3pm!

Ayr on West FM

Last week, first XV player Robbie Fergusson and assistant coach Glen Tippett popped into West FM to chat about upcoming fixtures and Robbie's return to rugby after his successful treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Listen to a short clip of Robbie talking to Fiona Shields here.

Every week, someone from Ayr RFC will be on West FM to discuss the previous weekend's match and preview the next game.  Listen out for club president Billy McHarg in the next couple of days!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ayr 20 Currie 11

Ayr again had a slow first half but rallied to overcome Currie in week seven of the BT Premiership and move into second place on the table.

Currie have been Ayr's banana skin team in the past few seasons, usually at Malleny Park, their ground in Edinburgh, but their tenacity at Millbrae yesterday showed they can be just as much of a handful away from home.

They were on the charge, and it was only some flying tackles from Ayr's returning second row Callum Templeton and centre Ross Curle that closed them down.

Just like last week, Ayr's discipline was a worry and Currie centre Joe Reynolds had a kick at goal at ten minutes, which he missed.

Ayr gave themselves a shake and got stuck in, scrum-half David Armstrong taking a superb high ball, flanker Graham Fisken rising to the occasion in the line-out and prop George Hunter blasting his way through defenders.
Teenage flanker Ben Johnston cantered through a gap in Currie's defence at seventeen minutes, flipping the ball on to Curle, who deftly took it off his bootlaces, and he found winger Richard Dalgleish ready and waiting to dive over in the corner for Ayr's first try.  The conversion angle was too wide for full-back Grant Anderson.  5-0.

Currie replied a few minutes later when Reynolds got a second shot at the sticks.  5-3.

Despite good handling from Templeton and his second row partner Scott Sutherland, the game entered a rather boring period of kicking until Currie decided they had had enough and wanted to run it.  They couldn't out-run Fisken and Curle though, who snuffed out the attack as it crept increasingly closer to Ayr's line.

Ayr wobbled at twenty-five minutes though, giving away another penalty which Reynolds slotted.  5-6.

Four minutes later, Reynolds had yet another chance but missed.

Number eight Blair Macpherson, winger Kerr Gossman and hooker Stuart Fenwick livened things up for the home team, but there was no way through Currie's solid defence.
Their right winger Fidias Efthymiou had been itching to make his mark on the game from the start, and he got his opportunity as he sprinted off up the touchline, but Gossman quickly tracked him down and forced him off the pitch.

Urged on by some incomprehensible gutteral shouts from stand-off James Semple, Efthymiou and flanker Malcolm Peacock launched another attack, which was extinguished this time by Ayr captain Dean Kelbrick.
The ever-robust Anderson was also involved in containing Currie, but injured himself in the process, and as he was escorted off the pitch by the medical team towards the end of the first half, Robbie Fergusson made his return to competitive rugby after fighting and beating Hodgkin Lymphoma.  There has probably never been a cheer like it at Millbrae as he ran on.

An unsuccessful penalty attempt by Curle was the only other incident of note in the first half.

Ayr were certainly fired up at the resumption of play, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell headed for the tryline, as was Fergusson.  It was Curle, though, who shot over after a slick pass from Kelbrick, and he converted his own score.  12-6.

Curle added a penalty a few minutes later.  15-6.

Both teams mirrored each other slightly for a period, each knocking on after working hard to secure possession.  It was Ayr who mopped up a Currie mistake to their advantage, letting Curle, Templeton and Gossman loose and eventually Fenwick tried to wrestle his way over the line, but he was well wrapped up. 

A couple of Ayr scrums followed and Macpherson looked to be over at sixty minutes, when Currie captain Ross Weston was summarily sent to the sin bin for illegally interfering.
Shortly after Weston's dismissal, Dalgleish was flying up the wing for a try when an excellent double tackle forced the ball from his hands just as he was about to touch down.

More tedious kicking threatened to lull the supporters into an afternoon nap, but they quickly woke up when Fergusson, arms outstretched like someone was about to lob a sack of tatties at him, caught a Currie kick and shot off on a fifty-metre run.  He could only chip ahead as two defenders looked to close him down, but the fans loved seeing the young man raring to go.

With ten minutes to go, a solid Ayr scrum provided the platform to fire the ball out wide to Kelbrick, who dived over in the corner for the third try of the day.  The conversion attempt by Curle was unsuccessful.  20-6.
Ayr were keen for more, with McConnell fighting his way out of his own half and Fenwick selling a terrific dummy, but Currie were managing to pin them back.  A burst by Fisken made the difference and Ayr made metres, but Currie turned them over.

Efthymiou was again the danger man for the visitors, but Fisken and Hunter had him under control.  However, Reynolds was Currie's point-scorer for the day and he added a try to his tally at the end.  He may have been distracted by the entire Ayr team charging at him as he attempted to convert.  20-11.

The referee blew the whistle to bring the tricky encounter to a close, and although they missed the four-try bonus point, Ayr will have been glad to get through it and leapfrog Heriot's, whom they face next week, in the BT Premiership table.

Final score: Ayr 20 Currie 11.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by Rob Hardie of Touchline Images.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Ayr v Currie preview

Ayr welcome Currie to Millbrae on Saturday for the men in pink and black's fourth home game of this season's BT Premiership.

Although Ayr had a heartening away win over Boroughmuir last weekend, head coach Calum Forrester knows his team will need to get out of the blocks quicker tomorrow.

"Matches between Ayr and Currie have been hard-fought physical encounters recently and we cannot afford to start this week the way that we started last."

He adds: "Ben (Cairns, Currie head coach) has a well-drilled side and we will need to be at our best on Saturday."

The players' minds will no doubt be firmly on the match, but for everyone else involved at Millbrae, the return of Robbie Fergusson will be at the forefront of their thoughts ahead of this fixture.  The twenty-one-year-old was due to play his first game for the second XV last week after his successful treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma but the match was called off.  Now he's named on the bench to face Currie tomorrow.

"Robbie has been an inspiration to everyone who knows him with his positive attitude and the determination he has shown to get through the past eight months," says Forrester, "and he has looked as sharp as ever in training."

Also making comebacks are Ross Curle, who starts at outside centre, with Richard Dalgleish moving to the wing, and Callum Templeton, who partners Scott Sutherland in the second row.

George Hunter and Stuart Fenwick start at prop and hooker respectively and Glasgow Warriors have released Murray McConnell, who takes his place amongst the substitutes.

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle, 12. Dean Kelbrick (capt), 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Stuart Fenwick, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Callum Templeton, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Ben Johnston, 8. Blair Macpherson.

16. James Malcolm, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Craig Brown, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Robbie Fergusson.

15. Matt McPhillips, 14. Fidias Efthymiou, 13. Richie Vernon, 12. Joe Reynolds, 11. Ruaridh Smith; 10. James Semple, 9. Richard Sneddon; 1. John Cox, 2. Matt Goodwin, 3. Alistair Hamilton; 4. Romain Denonain, 5. Jamie Gray; 6. Mike Vernel, 7. Malcolm Peacock, 8. Ross Weston (capt).

16. Graeme Carson, 17. Mike Erskine, 18. Travis Brooke, 19. Marko Mladenovic, 20. Chris Logan.

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

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ten in Glasgow U18s and U16s squads

Ayr have several players in the Glasgow under-18s and under-16s squads for their fixtures against their Edinburgh counterparts at the weekend at Netherdale.

Kyle McNulty, Matthew Northcote, Ross Hay, Sam Gray, Gregor Paxton, Gregor Lynch and Sam Graham will line up on Sunday at 5pm for the Warriors under-18s, whilst Calum Gaw, Cameron Reece and Matt Davidson will take part in the under-16s match at 3.30pm.

Northcote, Hay and Paxton were yesterday named in the Scotland under-18s training camp squad for next week, so it will be a busy few days for them.

Good luck to all!

Youngsters in Scotland U18s squad

Ayr youngsters Ross Hay, Matthew Northcote and Gregor Paxton have been named in the forty-two-strong Scotland under-18s squad for an upcoming training camp.

They will be joined by Aaron Tait, now of Merchiston Castle School, for four days of training at Loretto School next week, led by Scotland under-18 head coach Eddie Pollock.

Read the full story here.