Thursday, 30 March 2017

Easter Kids' Camps

Ayr RFC Kids' Camps return for the Easter holidays.

From Monday 3rd tp Friday 7th April and Monday 10th April to Friday 14th Apri, boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 are welcome at Millbrae, 10am-2pm, for fun games and learning about the sport of rugby.

The camps are run by Ayr Community Rugby Trust development officer Stuart Fenwick and are £10 a day or £40 for the week.

Please email stuart.fenwick@south-ayrshire.gov.uk to book your child's place.

Climo captures March POTM

Frazier Climo is the March 2017 player of the month.

The stand-off secured 29% of the online vote after excellent performances in Ayr's two BT Cup matches this month. He receives a £50 voucher courtesy of Slaters Menswear.

Frazier is sponsored by Bob and Alistair Steel.


If you or your company would like to sponsor a player in 2017/18, please contact elenahogarth@ayrrugbyclub.co.uk for more information.

Photo copyright George McMillan.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

March player of the month poll open

The March player of the month poll is now open!

You have until Thursday at 12pm to vote for your favourite player. The winner receives a £50 Slaters Menswear voucher.

Three players took the title last month, David Armstrong, Blair Macpherson and Craig Gossman. Who will win is up to you!

Vote here.


Ayr-Wellington U18s 37 Hamilton U18s 17

Ayr-Wellington U18s overcame a spirited Hamilton to retain the West Regional Cup on a sunny Saturday at Millbrae.

Playing on the main pitch, the youngsters lapped up the noisy atmosphere provided by the squadron of Hamilton fans and it was the visiting side who were spurred on by their travelling support.

Ayr were busy trying to contain them, second rows Declan Bryce and Jack Burns and number eight Euan Hamilton putting in the tackles.

The Laigh Bent team had an early shot at goal after an Ayr infrigement, but the ball bounced off the up-right. They gathered it and headed over the line for the opening score. It was unconverted. 0-5.

Ayr were undaunted, flanker Seth Rae selling a dummy to get the attack going. There was a knock-on, but Ayr later regained possession, stand-off Ross McCorkindale and hooker Stuart Collier working together to blast through the Hamilton defence,

The home team were on song at the set-piece, Hamilton's penalties giving them plenty to work with at the line-out. Two such instances let Ayr attack the Hamilton line and Rae went over for the try. Scrum-half Jack Gaw struck the conversion perfectly from the touchline. 7-5.

The backs began to get a hold on the game, full-back Cameron Black and wingers James Baird and Craig Hunter setting off, with centres Harry Lynch and Mac McInnes in support, and Euan Hamilton appearing in midfield to power through the tackles. But Hamilton (the team, not the player) were fired up and fired into the action, turning over and racing away for another unconverted try. 7-10.

Things became frantic with possession changing and play moving between the two halves of the pitch at speed. Ayr settled themselves with some sturdy scrums, but the ball came bouncing out of one set-piece. Scrum-half Gaw was on it though, taking the ball into Hamilton's twenty-two before flanker Calum Gaw scored in the corner. It was unconverted. 12-10.

Hamilton were determined to get another try before half-time, but they hadn't reckoned with the defence of props Jack Yuille and Craig Miller, who were all over them, not to mention Lynch and McInnes.

The second half started with two penalties in quick succession by Jack Gaw, who had a great day with the boot. 18-10.

Hamilton also had two shots at goal, but one hit the upright again and the other was wide. They refused to let their heads drop though, and even some wonky passes didn't unsettle them. Much to the delight of their fans (and the anxiety of the groundsman, who must have thought the back of the stand was going to be severely dented, such was the hammering on it from Hamilton supporters), they scored a superb converted try. 18-17.

It only seemed to inspire Ayr-Wellington though, as seconds later McCorkindale sold a beautiful dummy, the ball was propelled through the hands and Hunter scored out wide. Gaw struck another spot-on conversion. 25-17.

It looked like Hamilton might reply through their speedy backs, but a flying tackle from Hunter stopped them in their tracks. Replacements Kerr Borland and Jack Rennie got stuck into defence too and Ayr were soon on the attack again, McCorkindale and Rennie showing great hands.

Hamilton were defending their hearts out on their own five-metre line and did well to turn over, but they were back in the same place pretty soon when Ayr stole their line-out and once again made for the line.

Ayr emptied their bench in the second half, with front row replacements Jack Finnie, Jack McDougal and Calvin Stillie making their presence felt in the scrums.

A period of kicks from both teams gave the fans a breather at least, but Hamilton were soon trying to break out of their own half. Replacement William Chan led the defence for Ayr, with Lynch, McCorkindale, Collier and Calum Gaw tackling with might.

Hamilton chipped through the defence but Rae claimed the ball and Lynch broke through midfield. Collier was in support and it was Jack Gaw who raced away for the try, which he converted. 32-17.

Ayr gave away a penalty, which Hamilton took quickly, heading into the twenty-two, but a pass sailed into the hands of McInnes, who charged up the wing. Running out of space, his backs changed play to the other side of the pitch, the ball in the hands of Lynch, who found Chan and he resisted the Hamilton tacklers to score. It was unconverted. 37-17.

Time was up and Ayr-Wellington celebrated their win against an enthusiastic, energetic and determined Hamilton side who did their club proud.

Final score: Ayr-Wellington U18s 37 Hamilton 17.

- Elena Hogarth.

Image courtesy of Alan Graham Photographs.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Ayr 28 Glasgow Hawks 10 - BT Cup semi-final

Ayr sealed their place in the BT Cup final with a controlled, composed victory against Glasgow Hawks on a sunny day at Millbrae.

Before kick-off, both teams and supporters held a minute's applause in appreciation of former Ayr club captain Kirk Murdoch, who passed away recently.

Ayr were straight into the thick of the action, stand-off Frazier Climo having an early but unsuccessful kick at goal. He would get another chance soon after.

Winger Danny McCluskey was busy from the off, chasing a loose ball to the line but being unable to take it over. Like Climo, another chance was just around the corner. The stand-off spotted his awaiting winger and perfectly kicked cross-field for McCluskey to pluck out of the air and dot down for the first try. Climo added the extras from the touchline. 7-0.

Ayr were full of energy and impetus, props George Hunter and Steven Longwell leading the way in the loose. Captain Pete McCallum and hooker Lewis Anderson teamed up to move play deep into Hawks' half before Climo stepped up to the tee again. He nailed the penalty. 10-0.

The visitors claimed some possession, hurrying out of their own half, but Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong scurried after their attacker and dragged him down.

Hawks got themselves into a good attacking position but one of their passes found the hands of Ayr flanker Will Bordill and he hared away, kicking on. Richard Dalgleish - temporarily on for McCluskey, who needed a stitch or two in the medical room - chased after the ball and ushered it, and the Hawks player who had scooped it up, into touch.

The Old Anniesland side were sturdy at the scrum, the set piece launching their powerful centres Brendan McGroarty and Jack Steele into attack. Their opposite numbers Ross Curle and Archie Russell had them well wrapped up though.

Ayr sprang for the line again through Bordill and Russell but the ball was knocked on.

Hawks' full-back Hagen Schulte and second row Greg Peterson led them out of their own half but they knocked on too.

McCallum broke from the back of the ensuing scrum, with flanker Blair Macpherson and second rows Craig Stevenson and Scott Sutherland in support. Hawks gave away a penalty and Climo went for the posts and was successful. 13-0.

Ayr were turning the screw, Sutherland poaching line-out ball and McCallum steering a dominate scrum. The visitors couldn't get a handle on the game at all. They defended their hearts out as Ayr battered them in attack, but they couldn't stop Russell getting the ball away to Grant Anderson, and the full-back went over for the try. Climo couldn't convert. 18-0.

Hawks' winger Kerr Gossman took a trip to mid-field, dodging his way round Ayr defenders before number eight Tommy Spinks had a go, but Stevenson and Sutherland stopped him in his tracks.

Scrums were exchanged, and Ayr strayed offside, giving Hawks an opportunity to attack their try-line for the first time. But they were held up just before the break.

Ayr started the second half still in dominant mode, Sutherland again stealing Hawks' line-out ball. Climo was on poaching form too, but from his own team-mate. Curle had homed in on a Hawks kick before Climo swooped in and nabbed it, much to the centre's baffled amusement.

Hawks regrouped and got on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty by stand-off Josh Henderson. 18-3.

Their flanker Stephen Leckey made a superb break but it came to nothing. Gossman had another go but again Armstrong came to the rescue for Ayr.

Grant Anderson got himself under a high ball and raced away, with Lewis Anderson and Climo in support. Sutherland and Macpherson blasted into the Hawks defence after a penalty line-out, before Hawks were pinged again and Climo took the kick at goal. 21-3.

Russell took his leave, with Stafford McDowall replacing him and getting stuck into defence with Craig Gossman. The diminutive winger drew gasps from the crowd with a juddering tackle on someone twice his size, as is his wont. His brother was on the receiving end moments later, and was then flattened by Stevenson.

Ayr turned over and Hunter steamrollered his way through the red shirts, before Armstrong kicked on. Hawks gathered and cleared, giving Ayr the line-out, and from there, McCluskey shot up the middle of the pitch and found Climo who barged over the line and converted his own try. 28-3.

Hawks were determined to get a try, but in the end, it was Ayr's illegal play that handed it to them, referee Sam Grove-White performing the jog of doom to the posts to signal a penalty try. David Young, only just on for Lewis Anderson, was sin-binned in the process. Henderson summarily converted. 28-10.

Djustice Sears-Duru took to the field for Hunter, with Dalgleish reappearing, this time for Gossman, just as McDowall fired into the Hawks defence. Moments later, Dalgleish would propel himself up the wing but neither he nor McDowall got near the try-line.

Hawks infringed at the line-out twice in quick succession, and the second from Spinks - pulling down Sutherland in the air - saw him yellow-carded. They made amends at Ayr's line-out, stealing the ball, but they just couldn't do anything with it.

Ayr emptied the replacements' bench, Adam Prentice, Gregor Henry and Harry Warr joining the fray, the latter for man of the match Climo, meaning Armstrong moved out to stand-off and Warr went to scrum-half.

Things were getting scrappy, but Hawks had one last go, getting over the line only to be held up by Ayr as the final whistle went.

Ayr now play Melrose in the BT Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 22nd April. They will, however, return to Millbrae next Saturday (1st April) to face Glasgow Hawks once again in the BT Premiership play-off semi-finals.

Final score: Ayr 28 Glasgow Hawks 10.

Slaters Menswear man of the match: Frazier Climo.

- Elena Hogarth.

More photos to follow.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks BT Cup semi-final preview

Ayr welcome Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae on Saturday for their BT Cup semi-final, kicking off at 3pm.

It's a highly anticipated clash between two west coast teams who know each other extremely well, and with a place in the BT Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 22nd April up for grabs, both sides will be battling it out until the very end.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester has his troops ready to go.

"Our preparation has gone well over the last few weeks. Hawks are a dangerous side and pose threats throughout their team, so our defence is going to be key."

A full strength squad has been available to Forrester and his coaching team of Glen Tippett, Scott Forrest and Pat MacArthur to select from.

Pete McCallum leads the side from number eight, with centre Ross Curle returning to the starting line-up.

Scotland under-20 cap Stafford McDowall is on the bench alongside Glasgow Warriors' Djustice Sears-Duru.

Forrester commented: "There will be a few disappointed individuals who have not made the match-day twenty-two but the attitude and effort from the entire senior squad to keep the quality of training high is testament to the spirit, strength and depth we have at the club."

Ayr
15. Grant Anderson; 14. Danny McCluskey, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Steven Longwell; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum (c).

Replacements
16. David Young, 17. Djustice Sears-Duru, 18. Adam Prentice, 19. Gregor Henry, 20. Harry Warr, 21. Stafford McDowall, 22. Richard Dalgleish.

Glasgow Hawks
15. Jack Steele; 14. Junior Bulumakau, 13. Paddy Kelly, 12. Brendan McGroarty, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Josh Henderson, 9. Adam Lowry; 1. Steven Findlay (c), 2. Grant Stewart, 3. Gary Strain; 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Andrew Kirkland; 6. Ross Miller, 7. Stephen Leckey, 8. Tommy Spinks.

Replacements
16. Scott Rodgers, 17. Chris Barnes, 18. Andy Linton, 19. Tjiuee Uanivi, 20. Erland Oag, 21. Sean Yacoubian, 22. Hagen Schulte.

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

Please note that as this is a cup game, the admission price is £10 for adults, with under-18s free.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kirk Murdoch

We are saddened to hear of the death of former club captain Kirk Murdoch.

Kirk was a prominent lawyer and passed away after battling illness, as reported in the Scotsman.

He was educated at Ayr Academy, where he was head boy and played rugby, before becoming captain at Ayr RFC in the 1980s. He was also a talented golfer.

Our thoughts are with Kirk's family and friends.

Prior to our BT Cup semi-final at Millbrae on Saturday 25th March, we will be holding a minute's appreciation for the life of Kirk and his commitment to the club.