Friday, 12 November 2010

Big Weekend at Millbrae

It's all go at Ayr Rugby Club this weekend. The 1st XV take on Dundee HSFP at home - Saturday afternoon 2.45pm kick-off - in a crucial Premier 1 League match then both the Under 18s and Under 16s play critical league matches on Sunday at 1.00pm and 2.00pm respectively. If you get the chance come along and support the teams in their bid to win their leagues.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ayr u16s v West of Scotland u16s 11/11/2010

This Sunday Ayr u16s will meet West of Scotland in a top of the table clash at Millbrae. Both sides are currently undefeated and share pole position along with Glasgow Hawks. The winner of this match will have the upper hand in the race to be crowned league champions, so a huge support is encouraged to come along and support the boys. Kick off is 2pm.

News after the break. 08/11/2010

Perthshire 10 Ayr 57

It was a homecoming of sorts for Ayr’s captain as the Millbrae crew headed for North Inch and Skippy’s first Scottish club, Perthshire. The first round of the pool section of the Scottish Cup was never, in theory, going to present Ayr with their toughest task of the season but the Premier 3 outfit had made Melrose sweat last season before the Greenyards side finally got the win, only to fall at the final Murrayfield hurdle to you-know-who.

In the end Ayr ran out comfortable 57-10 winners but all credit to the home side, they made Skippy’s troops work for their points and not only did hey show enormous guts in defence but when they did get the ball, they showed some delightful touches, their try coming from a particularly skilful piece of play.
“Perthshire have some very good players and the way they defended heroically made it a pretty good work out for our side” said Ayr assistant coach Peter Laverie. “We had set targets after what happened at Currie last week where we have to admit to being a bit complacent and in terms of our breakdown play and go-forward we did what we set out to do. We had a full side out and we could have scored more points but all credit to Perthshire, they didn’t make it easy for us at all and when you look at how some of the other Premier 1 sides fared against Premier 3 opposition, we have to be happy with that scoreline.”

Ayr’s points had come from tries by Scott Forrest, Grant Anderson, Jono Crossan, Andy Wilson, Cammy Taylor and a beauty of a solo effort from Anderson to notch his second. Frazier Climo landed three out of the six conversion attempts then AJ MacFarlane, Richard McCallum and Climo had second half tries with Climo converting the lot but Perthshire’s try by Erlend Oag was probably the pick of the bunch. Graeme Clow converted that one to add to his earlier penalty and Ayr collected the bonus point to go into the new year with Dunfermline and GHA to play to qualify from Premier Cup Pool B to the quarter finals in their defence of the trophy.
“Everybody had the chance to put last week behind them” continued Laverie “and they did that and with Frazier Climo working back to match fitness and Grant Anderson in particular looking really dangerous, we are coming back to form and will have players coming back as well at just the right time.”

The fixtures for the championship play offs, imaginatively titled Premier A –Saatchi and Saatchi couldn’t have come up with a better one than that!-are now in the public domain which means the club, supporters and anyone else involved can start planning their second half of the season.

The eight teams in the championship play offs will carry forward the points they had after eleven games in the opening section so Ayr will be in third spot behind Hawks and Melrose. The first match is on Saturday first November 13th at Millbrae against Dundee HSFP with a 2.45pm kick off, Scotland having a wee joust scheduled with New Zealand at 5.15. On November 20th, Hawks come to Millbrae, this time with a 12 noon kick off since the international side will have dusted themselves off after the AB encounter to take on South Africa. The following week Ayr are faced with what will be the most significant match of the season so far when they travel to Melrose with a 12 noon kick off since Scotland will be playing Samoa in Aberdeen at 2.30 that afternoon and in order to give themselves the best possible chance,
Ayr will travel down the night before for this one given the early kickoff .
Ayr then face Currie at Millbrae on December 4th with a 2pm kick off so with Currie, Melrose, Hawks and Ayr all in opposition over that period as well, the league could well be decided before Christmas and indeed before Ayr, Currie and Melrose embark on their British and Irish Cup campaigns on December 11th although not in the opinion of Peter Laverie who figured that teams would pick each other off resulting in a thrilling climax in 2011.

Finally, the re-draft of the pro players from Premier B to Premier A sees Ayr with Ed Kalman who put in some hefty shifts for Ayr last season, Al Kellock and Bernie Stortoni. I watched big Al put in a very handy fifty minutes on his return from four months injury for Glasgow against Aironi on Friday night but the victorious Scotland skipper in the two Argentina Tests in the summer looked as though a couple of matches to get him up to speed would do no harm so outings at Millbrae against Dundee and Hawks? Could be interesting!

Things get hot at Currie 03/11/2010

Currie 24 Ayr 12

Over the past few seasons the clashes between Ayr and Currie have thrown up some memorable encounters and Saturday was no different but it is one which will live longer in the Currie memories this time and one which Ayr would prefer to forget.

There is without doubt an expectation now among the Ayr support based on the success of the last two seasons and when the team fall below that then the fans feel let down and watching the side go from 8-7 down at half time to taking the lead before being blown away was particularly disappointing. The feeling has always been in recent times that if you put a bunch of Currie strips in front of an Ayr player, he would play with a broken leg but it was the other way round this time with Ally Donaldson’s side fired up and completely focussed on not only beating Ayr but winning so comprehensively that for the first time in a long time they would go away with nothing.

“We were pretty poor right from the kick-off” commented Ayr Director of Rugby Jock Craig “and only one team wanted it. The Currie committee as well as coach Ally Donaldson all agreed that was the best they had played all season and it is hugely disappointing that we didn’t rides to the challenge.”
“We had the chance in the first half to play a territory game and put the ball in the corners behind their back three but we didn’t do that but when Currie had the breeze behind them they used it pretty well.”

“Currie had the better of the line out and although I felt that the referee was a bit inconsistent, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we were lethargic and we are going to have to raise our game a lot from that sort of performance if we are gong to challenge for the title or do anything in the British and Irish Cup. Make no mistake, Melrose and Hawks might now be first and second in the table but Currie are back in the mix and will certainly have a big say in who wins the championship.”

Hayden Abercrombie put Currie ahead with a penalty in fifteen minutes then Andy McMahon scored a try which will come back to haunt the Ayr defence as the center made the break then fended off two tackles on his way to the line.  That one stung and Ayr responded by shifting up a gear or two and camping in Currie territory with malicious intent which culminated in a swanky move by the pack as they followed the lead of Damien Kelly and Andy Dunlop to cut a swathe through he Currie forwards who were unable to stop a surge which saw the ball end up with Gordon Reid who sold an outrageous dummy-what is it with props these days?-and crashed over.

Ross Curle slotted the conversion and although that ended the scoring in the first half the pink and black contingent settled down for more to come after the break.
It seemed as though it was all going to plan when Mark Bennett latched onto a long floater of a pass to go over from the twenty two but the score did nothing to inspire the Ayr game and that was their final contribution to the scoreline having nudged ahead by 12-8

Bennett’s score came in the middle of a flurry of yellow cards with first Currie flanker Mike Entwhistle then Dean Stewart and finally Gordon Reid ending up in the sin-bin.
That enforced change of personnel inevitably has an impact on any game and Currie adapted the better to first their depletion then their player advantage as Abercrombie made Ayr pay for their misdemeanours with three penalties which took the home side to 17-12 and looking confident.

That confidence was boosted further when Mark Cairns took the ball at a Currie line out, the pack swarmed round him and drove over with lock Ryan Wilson the man to claim the touchdown. At that point, Ayr were not going to come back, Abercrombie’s conversion shut the door ensured that they wouldn’t and although Ayr suddenly realised their predicament and attempted to at least salvage a bonus point, the Currie defence and referee Neil Paterson, who did Ayr few favours and will have better games overall, denied them even that.

Ayr now have to re-group and travel north to Perthshire to face the Premier 3 side in the first round of their three cup pool matches before going into the final seven games of Premier 1 on November 13th.
The fixtures will be announced this week and we will comment on them then but Ayr have work to do if they are going to be serious players in the title race since, when the two big questions have been asked so far in away matches, at Hawks and at Currie, they have failed to deliver