Friday, 16 November 2018

Preview: Currie Chieftains v Ayr RFC

There might not be much happening at Millbrae this weekend but there is still plenty pink and black action taking place the length and breadth of the country with the 1XV, 2XV and Ladies all taking to the field away from home. 
With a packed-out BT Murrayfield the backdrop Ayr 1XV will look to continue with their current vein of form when they face Currie Chieftains at Malleny. The Chieftains occupy the fourth and final play-off spot and with the season now in its second half know every point is crucial. Just the singular point separates them from fifth-placed Watsonians.
The two sides have already clashed in this years competition with Peter Murchie's men the deserved winners in round two, winning 30-17.
There is just a handful of changes to the side that found victory two weeks ago against Edinburgh Accies at Millbrae. 
In the backs Harry Warr earns his first start of the season at nine. Dewhirst, Anderson, Smith, Rowe and Climo all retain their spots.
Robbie Smith returns to the front-row with Alex McGuire dropped to the bench. Gregor Henry starts at 7 after a short spell with the 2XV.
On the bench club captain Peter McCallum returns after a long lay-off through injury and Jamie Bova comes up from the 2XV.
Wolf van Dijk and Amir Rademaker are both unavailable due to international duty for Holland - we wish them the best of luck when they take on Poland on Saturday.
The game kicks-off at 14.30 on Saturday.
It's Friday Night Lights on the west coast tonight when the 2XV travel to neighbours Marr. Away from Fullarton, the 2s will do battle under the floodlights of Marr Collage's 4G pitch. The game kicks-off at 7pm and Gordon Kotze's men will look to emulate the fine form that saw them emphatic 77-19 winners over Marr back in September. 
There is no rest come Sunday as Ayr Ladies set their sights on League glory on the final day of the season away to Oban Lorne. Oban currently sit atop the table with Ayr trailing by four. This means that a bonus point victory would bring the Tennents National 1 trophy back to Millbrae for the second time in three seasons. If Oban pick up a bonus point Ayr will need to win by more than 20 points to snatch it on points difference. 
The ladies game kicks-off at 14.00 and like the other two fixtures you can follow the action every step of the way on Twitter @OfficialAyrRFC.

1XV: G. Anderson, P. Dewhirst, O. Smith, D. McCluskey, K. Rowe, F. Climo, H. Warr; R. Sayce, R. Smith, S. Longwell, D. Corbenici, A. North, T. Spinks, G. Henry, B. Macpherson (C).
Subs: A. McGuire, C. Miller, P. McCallum, S. Lyle, J. Bova.
2XV: J. Baird, F. Bark, H. Lynch, Z. Howard, E. Hamilton, J. Rennie, C. Black; B. Paterson, S. Collier, C. Stillie, R. Arthur, L. Scott, K. Borland, S. Rae, C. Reece.
Subs: D. Bryce, D. Young, L. Richardson, M. Manning, S. Graham, S. Dunlop.

Ladies squad still TBC.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Ayr 29-3 Edinburgh Accies

Peter Murchie’s men got back on track on Saturday with an emphatic 29-3 victory over league newbies Edinburgh Accies. With last weekend’s agonising home defeat to Watsonians still fresh in the minds of the Millbrae faithful Ayr managed to bounce back with youthful exuberance, showcasing the strength and depth of their ranks. 

The younger pack were hungrier than their counterparts and very quickly managed to wrap the visitors in a choke hold, of which they couldn’t wriggle out of.

Forward superiority was evident within the first few phases of the game. A scrum after just eight minutes resulted in a penalty to the home side allowing Climo to launch the ball into touch. From the line-out a monstrous rolling maul marched Ayr from the 22 metre-line to the try-line, but Accies managed to get themselves between the ball and the ground to force the scrum-five. 

Three scrum-penalties later and all eyes were on the ref but after Accies’ formal warning Blair Macpherson managed to launch himself from the back of the scrum and score- no card needed. Climo’s conversion slipped just wide.

It didn’t take long until they were back in again. For as much fun as the forwards were having the backs looked equally as dominant when allowed the chance to play. Youngsters Ollie Smith and Paddy Dewhirst linked up superbly before the later fed veteran Grant Anderson, who ran through untouched. Climo brought the scoring to 12-0.

Ayr had dispelled any murmurings that last week’s shock defeat was anything more than just that. With the game starting to open up Ayr were able to stretch their wings and get creative. Frazier Climo pulled off his trademark gliding run through a barrage of bodies- none of whom were able to grab him. The fly-half found support in the form of Steven Longwell, who’s getting into a habit of being on Climo’s inside channel. We might just see the tight-head in a 12 jersey yet as he charged towards the line, pulling off a show ‘n’ go to dupe the covering defender. Just as he looked to have been brought down he threw an audacious offload over his head to keep the play alive. A few phases later he scampered over but once again the ref deemed the ball held-up.

The scrum remained dominant however, and a penalty-try moments later added to the home side’s lead.

Accies managed to grab their only points of the afternoon soon after, with Richard Mill slotting a routine penalty kick.

With the first half dwindling away Ayr pushed for the bonus. Ayr product Ruairidh Sayce, who has been enjoying a heroic run of games with the 1XV, latched onto the back of a rolling maul and bundled over to get his first senior try for the club. The score ignited an uproar of applause in the main stand as the ball boy-turned-star reaped the reward of his hard graft on the training paddock. 

Half-time: Ayr 24-3 Edinburgh Accies.

With the bonus point wrapped up and Ayr out of the sight the second half welcomed a change in pace. Alex McGuire dotted down for his first in pink and black minutes after the restart to land the knock-out blow to the visitors. From then on Accies did tremendously well to defend their line but couldn’t muster any threat going forward. Ayr saw out the game to secure all five points and assert their control at the top of the table.

Full-time: Ayr 29-3 Edinburgh Accies.

For tireless work around the park and playing his part in the pack’s domination display, David Corbenici was named Slaters Menswear POTM.

The  2XV also returned to winning ways,  seeing off Hamilton 2s 70-12. Prop Ben Paterson was named Man-of-the-Match. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Ayr 30-17 Currie Chieftains

Ayr made it two-from-two on Saturday when they downed Currie Chieftains 30-17 in front of a bumper crowd at Millbrae on Ladies Day.

Currie were out for revenge after Ayr snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in last year's BT Premiership semi-final- battling back from 21-3 down to win 21-23. They threatened from the first whistle to the last but it was Ayr's physicality that held out in a war of attrition.

Ayr kicked-off proceedings with a dream start much to the delight of the home crowd. Glasgow Warrior Paddy Kelly was able to shrug off his opposing number after just three minutes and charge to the line with no regard for the scrambling defence. Climo added the extras to make it 7-0.

Chieftains weren't deterred by this and managed to retaliate with a score of their own moments later. The bruising Thomas Gordon latched onto a faulty line-out and drove close to the line. On the following phase Fraser Watt managed to burrow over from close range. The conversion levelled the scoring.

Chieftains took the lead just briefly in the contest. A Gregor Hunter penalty on the 33rd minute saw the visitors on the front foot but a Kyle Rowe try on the stroke of half time ended their seven and only minutes in front. Armstrong spotted space and darted clear before feeding Kyle Rowe on an inside line.

Half-Time: Ayr 14-10 Currie Chieftains.

Ayr started the second half in the same vein as the first, this time scoring after four minutes. David Corbenici, in his first run-out at Millbrae, carved through an illusive defence and in for the score. The conversion slipped just wide giving Ayr a 22-10 lead.

The visitors had been enjoying the lions share of possession throughout all of the fixture but Ayr were able to absorb the pressure and make good use of limited possession. Powerful carries from Tommy Spinks and Blair Macpherson were puncturing Chieftains' line and creating space for the backs to flourish.

Currie still looked dangerous with ball in hand but were hit with a sucker punch on the hour mark. After looking almost certain to score and scrape back the deficit Ayr countered and soon Paddy Kelly was in for his second. Grant Anderson darted clear up the touchline and found the supporting Kelly on his inside shoulder. With twenty to play Currie now trailed by 17 points, the largest margin of the game.

A Currie try from the restart gave the travelling fans something to cheer about and almost forced a grandstand finale but a Frazier Climo penalty chalked off any hope of a losing bonus point.

Full-time: Ayr 30-17 Currie Chieftains.

In a game that was won upfront and at scrum time prop Steven Longwell was named Slaters Menswear man of the match.

It was also a successful day at the office for Ayr's 2xv who routed Marr 77-19. Scott Lyle was named man of the match after grabbing four tries and putting in an expert display from the boot.

Photos: George McMillian

Friday, 31 August 2018

PREVIEW: 2018/19 Opening Weekend

Alas, after a long off-season competitive rugby is upon us once more.

The 1XV kick off their 2018/19 season tomorrow with an away trip to Edinburgh Accies. Newly promoted Accies will be out to prove a point in front of a home crowd at Raeburn Place and have promised Premiership fans to expect a fast and expansive style of play.

Ayr will take confidence from a very strong preseason where they dusted off GHA, Marr and Hull Ionians- scoring 159 points in the process.

Danny McCluskey captains the side with Pete McCallum sidelined through injury. Millbrae new-boys Ollie Smith and Kyle Rowe start at 13 and 14 with some familiar faces completing the rest of the back line.

In the pack Ruairidh Sayce picks up his first start for the 1XV as a reward for some very strong preseason performances. Lee Scott makes his Ayr return after a few seasons riddled with injury and is joined in the engine room by Forsoc Scottish Rugby Academy Stage Three player Marshall Sykes. David Corbenici earns his competitive debut at six with Spinks and Macpherson completing the back-row.

On the bench former Millbrae-boy James Malcolm is released from Warriors for the weekend and Dutch Internationalist Amir Rademaker could make his debut if brought on. 

The 2XV are also in action tomorrow away to Hamilton in the National 1 reserve league. A youthful side, they will benefit from the experience of Craig Gossman who leads from full-back. New boys Alfie North, Alan Ferrie and Wolf Van Dijk start at 4, 5 and 7, respectively. 

If you can't make the trip to Edinburgh or Hamilton and don't fancy fighting the crowds at the Air Show Millbrae host Uddingston at Millbrae in what looks to be a close encounter.

On Sunday action continues when Ayr Ladies look to get back-to-back league wins as they travel to Howe of Fife. 

1XV: G. Anderson, K. Rowe, O. Smith, D. McCluskey (C), J. Bova, S. Lyle, D. Armstrong; R. Sayce, R. Smith, S. Longwell, L. Scott, M. Sykes, D. Corbenici, T. Spinks, B. Macpherson.

Subs: J. Malcolm, E. McLaren, G. Henry, A. Rademaker, P. Dewhirst.

2XV: C. Gossman, F. Bark, H. Lynch, J. Rennie, C. Black, H. Warr, L. Young; B. Paterson, S. Collier, C. Miller, A. North, A. Ferrie, C. Brown, W. Van Dijk, C. Reece.

Subs: L. Pentleton, L. Richardson, S. King. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Lewis Anderson Leaves for Hong Kong

Lewis Anderson has signed with Hong Kong Scottish ahead of the 2018/19 season and will depart Millbrae.

The Ayrshire boy who honed his craft at Marr RFC earned his 50th appearance in the pink and black in the BT Premiership Final against Melrose in May.

Lewis was also an integral cog in the 2016/17 BT Premiership winning side. 

All at Ayr RFC wish him the best of luck in Hong Kong. 

Photo: George McMillian 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

PRESEASON: Marr 7-76 Ayr

It was 'Derby Day' on Saturday when Ayr 1s, 2s and U18s travelled to Fullarton Park to take on neighbours Marr Rugby.

The 18s got the action underway at midday. On the main pitch Ayr A were humbled by a rampant Marr A side who cruised to a 24-0 victory in front of a home crowd. On the back pitches Ayr 18s found redemption when their Bs battled back from a 22-7 half time deficit to seal a 22-27 victory with seconds to spare.

At 14.00 it was the turn of the 2nd XV. Ayr centre Zac Howard broke clear to touch down within the opening minute to set the tone of the match- from then on, it became light work for the Millbrae men. Further tries from Harry Warr, Finn Bark, Craig Miller, Wolf Van Dijk, Logan Richardson, Grant Hutton, Harry Lynch and James Baird contributed to a 7-59 beating of Marr's newly-promoted reserves.

The main event got underway at 15.30 and although just a 'friendly' the people of Ayrshire came out in their droves to show their allegiance.-A sea of purple and gold was interrupted by a bold baby pink.

Ayr's intensity was on full display straight from the opening kick-off. Multiple bullish carries within the opening minutes put them inside Marr's 22 before speedster Ollie Smith darted in from out wide. The tricky touchline conversion skewed just wide of the posts.

On the ten minute mark Ayr doubled the score when Scott Lyle charged down a clearance kick. He managed to reclaim the ball and use his attacking prowess to glide through the scrambling defence.

Ayr's third came minutes later. Millbrae new boy David Corbenici punched through the line before feeding the supporting Ruairidh Sayce. The front rower looked for the try line before offloading to David Armstrong who breezed in under the posts. Lyle converted to make it 0-17 in just thirteen minutes.

Marr were able to grab one back when their number eight bundled over from a rolling maul.

As the game moved into it's second quarter Scott Lyle managed to break into the home sides 22. He found Craig Gossman outside him who pinned his ears back and dotted down in the corner. Gossman wasn't done yet however and just ten minutes later doubled his tally with another blitzing run up the touchline.

Just before half time Marshall Sykes- who's ball carrying was at the heart of all that went right in the first half- was rewarded with a try of his own. Craig Gossman danced along the touchline to get Ayr within arms length of the line before the second rower powered over.

HT: Marr 7-36 Ayr

With a comfortable lead at the break you would suspect Ayr may begin to slow down, but as the second 40 began they somehow found another gear. Fluid attack from Ayr found Grant Anderson out wide who strode home within the first thirty seconds of the restart.

On the 48th minute Frazier Climo, who had a try controversially chalked off in the first half, showed his illusiveness as he ghosted through three tackles and ran in from halfway. He converted his own try to make it 7-50.

The sustained pressure on Marr was proving to much and on 56 minutes a weak clearance fell into the hands of a striding Grant Anderson. He fooled his opposing number with a crafty show 'n' go before feeding Paddy Dewhirst on his outside. The youngster sprinted in to add to the already emphatic lead.

The next try came from another Ayr newbie. Gloucester Academy product Alfie North showed his power by carrying over the line, without regard to the three straggling tacklers trying to pull him down.

As the game descended into its' closing stages Ayr showed no sign in letting up. A crafty half-break from Harry Warr once more put Marr on the back foot. Warr was brought down but a offload out the back door fell in the hands of Kyle Rowe who showed no signs of being caught. Jack Rennie converted.

The final score of the day came from Jamie Bova. Ayr impressively swung the ball from side-to-side, keeping it alive in the face of what was stiff defence from a Marr side playing for pride. It eventually landed in the hands of Bova who managed to drive through a recovering tackle and into the corner.

FT: Marr 7-76 Ayr.

After the final whistle head coach Pete Murchie was delighted with his team's performance, stating: "We started off with real intent and got into our attacking shape really well. Our contact was also really sharp- we were pretty brutal at the breakdown...

"A pleasing thing for me was all of our players who came off the bench and our young players who made a real impact. There was a number of guys playing their first game of the season and for the club who played really well.

"There is a lot of people putting their hands up for selection".

Next week the first XV are back in preseason action when they travel down south to take on Hull Ioanians. As always you can follow the action every step of the way on Twitter @OfficialAyrRFC.

Monday, 9 July 2018

MacArthur Headlines Ayr Signings

Current Ayr Assistant Coach Pat McArthur is to dust off the boots for one more year and play for the pink and black in a player/coach role this season. 

Pat, who was instrumental in the club's first ever league triumph in 2009 has since enjoyed a wonderful professional career with both Warriors and Scotland but will return to Millbrae after announcing his retirement from the professional game at the end of last season. 

The front rower turned out for the Warriors 165 times making him their third most experienced player of all time. He was also instrumental in their successful Guinness PRO12 campaign in 2014/15.

Also joining this summer is David Corbenici. The Aussie-born Scottish-qualified back rower joins from GHA.

The the back-row is also bolstered by Alfie North who joins from Gloucester Academy. The blind-side flanker is equally as devastating in the engine room and will give the Ayr pack much needed versatility.

Ayr RFC will also benefit from BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage Three player Ollie Smith. A product of Ayr's youth system, Ollie rejoins after playing at Strathallan School. Although primary a centre, he can slot into any of the back three positions. 

This makes it six new signings so far this summer for Ayr RFC, with winger Kyle Rowe and BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage Three player Marshall Sykes announced last month.