Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ayr v Boroughmuir Match Report

Gutsy performance secures crucial bonus for Ayr.

It was back to league business for Ayr this weekend in a must win game against Boroughmuir. Incredibly, 10 weeks have passed since Ayr last played at home in front of their loyal fans. On that day the boys fought out a well-deserved victory against a high flying Hawks side….the same would be required today in order to overcome Boroughmuir

Ayr came into this game on the back of 2 solid performances in the British & Irish Cup and were hopeful that they could continue the intensity and physicality of their play that they had shown in previous weeks. Boroughmuir’s only game in recent weeks was an impressive away win in the cup at Stirling County.

The squad welcomed back Ross Curle, Glen Tippett and Andy Dunlop for this Premier 1 clash.

The men in pink and black attacked towards the Burns Monument in the first half and made their intentions clear in the opening minutes with some strong running and expansive rugby. The forwards drove the visitors back to their own line but some strong defence by Muir and a lack of composure by Ayr prevented the hosts getting their first points on the board.

Boroughmuir seemed to relax as the game progressed and with Ali Davidson commanding the lineout they started to put together some good attacking plays that asked questions of the Ayr defence. Both defences seemed to be coping well at this stage with some thunderous hits being made in equal measure. “Hit of the day” however must go to the outstanding Robbie Colhoun who almost halved his opposite number late in the first half.

The first points of the game came courtesy of a Muir penalty in the 11th minute. Following some good attacking phases by the visitors an Ayr defender breached the off-side line and referee Healy was quick to penalise. Ally Warnock stroked the ball between the posts to put the visitors 0-3 ahead.

Ayr bounced back straight after the kick-off with Andy Dunlop making an outstanding line-break from an AJ MacFarlane pass. Despite some poor lineout play by the home forwards Ayr continued to play at pace and with width. Eventually the visitors struggled to cope with the attack and infringed at a ruck.  Ross Curle took advantage of this and struck the penalty to take the score to 3 – 3 with 15mins played.

The next points of the game went to Muir. The visiting backs opened up the dis-organised home defence and attacked deep into the Ayr 22. The home defence was caught off-side and Warnock again took advantage. His well-stroked penalty took the score to 3 – 6 with 17 minutes played.

At this stage in the game referee Healy had warned both teams about slowing down the ball at the breakdown. So when the Muir No8 killed the ball during an Ayr attack Healy had no option but to yellow card the big forward.

Ayr capitalised of their numerical advantage by stealing the ball at a Muir scrum. A blistering break by young stand-off Robbie Ferguson saw him link with Ross Curle but a knock-on at the ruck stopped the pacey attack. Ayr continued to pin the visitors back in their own 22 and finally managed to breach the visitor’s line. From a lineout deep in the visitors half the ball was spread wide to the backs. An accurate long pass by Ferguson eventually found Anderson who burst through the visitors defence to send Steven Manning in at the corner. Ross Curle narrowly missed the wide conversion and score stood at 8 – 6 to Ayr with 25 minutes played.

With 30 minutes played Ayr were reduced to 14 men. Mark Stewart made a solid tackle on a visiting back but referee Healy judged that the Ayr centre had interfered with the ball on the ground and sent him to the sin-bin for a break.

Muir didn’t waste time to take advantage of Stewart’s departure. The visitors stepped up the pace and intensity of their play and following a poor clearance kick by Ross Curle the Muir backs sliced through the home defence to send Ally Warnock in for the try. The stand-off converted his own try and took the score to 8 –13 with 38 minutes played.

Ayr’s repost was quick and clinical. AJ MacFarlane took a high Muir kick just inside the visitors half. The impressive scrum-half then darted past 3 visiting defenders before off-loading to Andy Dunlop who drove over in the corner. Ross Curle missed the conversion and the score was level at 13 – 13 with 40 minutes played.

Half-time score: Ayr 13 Boroughmuir 13

Muir started the 2nd half well and put the home defence on the backfoot during the opening exchanges. With Ally Warnock controlling things at 10 and Sean Crombie carrying the ball well for the visitors the Ayr line was under threat. It wasn’t long therefore before Muir got on the score-sheet again. From a 5-metre scrum the Muir No8 picked the ball and beat some sloppy defending to drive his way over the line. Warnock converted the try, taking the score to Ayr 13 Boroughmuir 20 with 51 minutes played.

Ayr reacted well to this try and immediately stepped up their game. There was a noticeable improvement in both physicality and urgency in how the home team was playing. Some strong running by the Ayr forwards and slick movement of the ball by the backs put the visitors under severe pressure deep in their own 22. This pressure became too much for the visiting defence and eventually their only way to stop the attack was by using illegal means. A Muir back-row clearly handled the ball on the ground during an Ayr attack and referee Healy had no hesitation in handing out the 3rd yellow card of the day. Ross Curle converted the penalty and took the score to Ayr 16 Boroughmuir 20 with 59 minutes played.

The home side continued to press and the visitors were struggling to deal with the strong running of Mark Stewart. The big centre looks back to his powerful best and was linking well with Ross Curle at centre. The Ayr attack eventually caught the visiting defence off-side and Ross Curle converted the penalty to narrow the score to Ayr 19 – Boroughmuir 20 with 65 minutes played.

With most of the play now taking place in the visitor’s 22 Ayr were really getting a stranglehold of the game. The Ayr forwards were exerting enormous pressure on their counterparts and Muir’s only response was to slow down the ball by infringing at the ruck. Referee Healy continuously penalised the visitors but eventually lost patience and yellow carded a Muir forward.

Ayr were quick to take advantage of this and following a series of scrums and some effective driving play the ball was released to Robbie Ferguson who showed maturity beyond his years to ghost past the visitors defence and score close to the posts. Ross Curle converted the try to take the score to Ayr 26 Boroughmuir 20 with 72 minutes played.

It wasn’t long before Ayr secured the bonus point. A great break by Ross Curle took play deep into the Muir 22. Curle offloaded to Anderson but the Ayr full-back was tackled before he caught the ball and Ayr were awarded the penalty. From the resulting scrum Ayr set up a ruck 5 metres from the Muir line and Skippy took advantage of some weak defence to tip-toe in at the corner. The big lock almost had the ball down before the defender knew what was happening. Curle missed the conversion and the score was increased to Ayr 31 Boroughmuir 20.

Full-time Ayr 31 Boroughmuir 20

This win was a strong team effort but a mention must go to Man-of-the-match Andy Dunlop who missed last week with a foot injury but bounced back today with an outstanding performance in the back row.

Ayr assistant coach Peter Laverie was pleased with the win;

“ This was a good win against an under-rated Boroughmuir team. With former pro players in Ali Davidson, Sean Crombie and Ali Warnock they are a good side and have the ability to play some very good rugby.

We scored some good tries today but maybe should have showed more composure early in the game to get our noses in front. I felt that there were some outstanding individual tackles today but we must tighten up our defence and stop conceding easy tries”

Director of Rugby Jock Craig commented;

“I was pleased with the players efforts today, particularly in the second half where we showed great physicality and skill to overcome a resilient Muir defence. It’s also good to see our young stand-off, Robbie Ferguson, continue to improve with every game and we are really excited about the potential the youngster is showing”

With the other Premier 1 results going as expected nothing really changes at the top. Ayr’s next league game is against Hawick on Feb 19th at Mansfield Park and this is another must win game for the team. There are now 4 league games remaining and all of the top 4 teams have a chance of claiming the title…an exciting end to the season awaits.

Before that however there is the small matter of the British & Irish Cup and the Scottish Cup. Ayr will play Llandovery at Millbrae on Feb 12th (12noon KO) and GHA in the Scottish Cup. This date has still to be confirmed but is likely to be played midweek over the coming weeks. Keep checking the website for confirmation.

Finally, Ayr would like to wish the following players and coach every success in the forthcoming international matches against France:

Mark Bennett              Scotland U20

Damien Kelly              Scotland Club International
Andy Dunlop              Scotland Club International
Robbie Colhoun          Scotland Club International
Gordon Reid               Scotland Club International
Ross Curle                   Scotland Club International

Peter Laverie               Scotland Club International (Coach)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ayr RFC Forthcoming Fixtures

Ayr RFC looking forward to an exciting run in of games.

The only games Ayr have played in the past 8 weeks have been British & Irish Cup games against Pontypridd, Birmingham and Rotherham. The poor weather conditions have virtually wiped out the domestic league and cup programmes with only a handful of games managing to beat frost.

Ayr return to league action this coming Saturday with a must win home game against Boroughmuir RFC. This game will start an intense programme of games including league, cup and B & I Cup matches.

Ayr President Billy McHarg is excited at the prospect of the team competing in 3 major competitions between Feb-April;

“The British & Irish Cup games in December and January have provided stern competition for the boys and have been our only competitive games due to poor weather. The coming months will see Ayr compete in some huge games including Llandovery and Doncaster at home in the British & Irish cup, GHA at home in the Scottish Cup and Currie and Boroughmuir at home in the Premier 1 title race.

I hope that the huge Ayr support will make an effort to get along to these games and provide the team with the vocal backing that has helped the team to victory in previous games”

The updated programme of fixtures is as follows:

Jan 29            Boroughmuir              Millbrae
Feb 5              No game due to Club International
Feb 12            Llandovery (B & I)    Millbrae
Feb 19            Hawick                      Away
Feb 26            Doncaster (B & I)     Millbrae
March 5          GHA (Cup)                Millbrae  (TBC)
March 12       Dunfermline (Cup)    Away
March 19       Cup Quarter             
March 26       Cup Semi
April 2             Heriots                       Away
April 9             TBC
April 16          Cup Final

The remaining games against Currie and Melrose have still to be confirmed.

Rotherham v Ayr Match Report

Late penalty miss denies Ayr a memorable win in the B & I Cup

Ayr traveled to Rotherham for their 3rd away game in the 2010/2011 British & Irish Cup knowing that a win would put them in a great position to challenge for an historic quarter-final place. Despite scoring 3 excellent tries they could only manage a respectable 20 – 20 draw against a physical Rotherham team.

Ayr came into this game on the back of a good win against Birmingham last week whilst Rotherham lost narrowly at Pontypridd.  Due to injuries picked up against Birmingham, Ayr were forced into changes and included 4 Glasgow Hawks players in their squad. Johnnie Beattie was once against released by Glasgow Warriors and despite suffering severe sickness in the early hours of Saturday morning performed well for 40 minutes before being substituted at half-time due to illness.

The game started at a blistering pace with both teams enjoying an equal share of possession. This was always going to be a physical encounter and Scott Nimmo put his mark on the game in the 2nd minute with a thunderous hit on a Rotherham forward that demonstrated Ayr’s commitment to this crucial game.

The first points of the game went to Rotherham courtesy of a penalty by the home side’s new stand-off, Matty James, recently signed from Sale Sharks. Ayr infringed at the ruck following some good pressure exerted by the home forwards.

This seemed to bring the Ayr forwards to life and following some strong running by Dean Kelbrick the forwards drove their way into the Rotherham 22.The home side struggled to deal with Ayr’s effective pick and go play and the ball was eventually released to 17 year old Robbie Fergusson who beat his man and slid in at the corner. This put Ayr into a 3-5 lead with 13 minutes played. Grant Anderson missed the conversion.

The Ayr traveling support, including Jack and Victor (AKA Lymburn and McLintock), hoped that the try would settle the team and allow them to create more attacking opportunities but Rotherham reacted well and straight from the kick-off put Ayr on the backfoot. Following several phases of play the Rotherham backline beat a lazy Ayr defence to send right winger Will Du Randt in at the corner to make the score 8 – 5 with 15 minutes played. Matty James missed the conversion.

Ayr again reacted well to the score and raised the tempo of the game. The forwards asked some questions of the home defence with strong ball carries by Colhoun and Beattie. Rotherham eventually infringed at the ruck and Grant Anderson successfully converted the penalty to take the score to 8 – 8 with 26 minutes played.

This seemed to ignite Ayr’s attacking play and following some clever midfield play Robbie Fergusson drilled a searching cross-field kick that agonisingly rolled into touch before an Ayr player could get to it. All was not lost however as following a poor lineout throw by the Rotherham hooker the ball landed in the hands of Ayr no8 Johnnie Beattie who drove over for his first Ayr try and to take the score to 8 – 13 in Ayr’s favour with 33 minutes played. Anderson made the conversion to take the score to 8 – 15.

Half-time score: Rotherham 8 – Ayr 15

Ayr made several changes at the break with Steven Manning replacing Dougie Steele on the wing and Glasgow Hawks No8 Grant Strang replacing Johnnie Beattie in the back row.

After finishing the first half in the ascendancy Ayr had high hopes that they could extend their lead in the 2nd half and create some daylight between themselves and their hosts. Rotherham however had different ideas and began what was easily their best quarter of the game. The Rotherham forwards stepped up both the pace and intensity of their play and put the big Ayr pack on the backfoot. With Matty James slickly controlling Rotherham’s attacking play it wasn’t long before the hosts turned their pressure into points. With 45 minutes gone the home forwards drove deep into the visitors half and a fine long pass from the Rotherham centre found right wing Will Du Randt who darted over for his 2nd try of the afternoon. James missed the conversion and score stood at 13 – 15.

This try seemed to rattle Ayr and their attacking play seemed fragmented and loose. Panic seemed to set in and this was to lead to Rotherham’s 3rd try. Following some close quarter forward play on the left side of the pitch the ball was released to stand-off Robbie Fergusson. With no support and a fast approaching defence the youngster tried to clear his lines but it hit a Rotherham hand and landed in the hands of the impressive home full-back, Peter Swatkins, who raced 40 metres to score in the corner. James converted the kick taking the score to 20 – 15 with 53 minutes played.

Ayr made further changes with Hawks scrum-half, Kris Hamilton replacing AJ MacFarlane, Steven Adair replacing Stuart Fenwick at hooker and old warhorse Gordon Sykes replacing Andy Kelly at prop.

This seemed to add some vitality to the Ayr attack and with Grant Strang making some storming runs from no 8 - it wasn’t long before Ayr put themselves in a good attacking position. With 71 minutes played Ayr secured a scrum on the right side of the pitch. The ball was released to the backs and a sweet training ground move sent outside centre Dean Kelbrick  bursting through the home defence and send Grant Anderson over in the left corner for Ayr’s 3rd try. Anderson failed to convert the conversion and the score was level at 20 – 20 with 9 minutes to play.

The last 9 minutes were very tense with both teams keen to attack and take the points. Ayr got on top in this part of the game and created some good attacking opportunities. The home defence remained strong and some last ditch tackling kept Steven Manning from reaching the try line following some good play by Grant Strang on the right touchline.

Ayr continued to press and a ridiculously late tackle on Cammy Taylor resulted in a penalty against the home side 30 metres from the posts. Grant Anderson stepped up to take what would have been a match winning kick but his strike went wide and the score remained at 20 – 20.

Full-time : Rotherham 20 Ayr 20

Ayr coach Kenny Murray could not hide his disappointment at not securing the away win:

“ I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get the win today. The boys worked hard but a poor 20 minutes after the break allowed Rotherham to get into the game and get their noses in front. Some poor defensive lapses gifted Rotherham 2 scores and we need to learn that at this level we must be sharper in everything we do.

I was pleased with some of our play today particularly our physicality and set piece. We have some things we need to work on including our speed of re-organisation in defence and protection of the ball at key times in the game.

I was also pleased with the performance of Robbie Fergusson who played his first adult game of rugby at 10. Not a bad feat for a 17-year-old schoolboy!!”

So, Ayr now have 2 B & I cup games remaining, both of which are at home against Llandovery (Feb 12) and Doncaster (Feb 26). They must win these games if they are to push for that historic quarter-final place.

Before that however attention turns to Premier 1 matters with Boroughmuir visiting Millbrae next week for the crucial encounter. This is a must win game for Ayr if they are to keep their title hopes alive. The squad hopes to welcome back Ross Curle, Glen Tippett and Andy Dunlop to bolster their squad for next week’s game.

Finally, Ayr RFC would like to wish Johnnie Beattie every success in the 6 Nations and hope that his involvement with Ayr RFC has been enjoyable and has helped in his comeback.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Team Arrived Safely in Yorkshire

The squad have arrived safely at their hotel in Doncaster in preparation for the British and Irish Cup tie against Rotherham Titans tomorrow at 2.00pm. A full house is expected for this eagerly-awaited clash and the players turned in early after dinner. Once again Glasgow Hawks have been very supportive of this tournament and helped us out with players - the club is delighted that some of them have the chance to play in this exciting competition and is sure they will really enjoy the challenge.

The team for tomorrow is:

1. Gordon Reid
2. Stuart Fenwick
3. Andy Kelly
4. Nick Campbell
5. Damien Kelly (capt)
6. Scott Nimmo
7. Robbie Colhoun
8. Johnnie Beattie
9. AJ Macfarlane
10. Robbie Fergusson
11. Cammy Taylor
12. Mark Stewart
13. Dean Kelbrick
14. Dougie Steele
15. Grant Anderson
16. Stephen Adair
17. Gordon Sykes
18. Dean Stewart
19. Grant Strang
20. Kris Hamilton
21. Gibson Siwo
22. Steven Manning
23. Peter McCallum

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Five Ayr Players in Scotland Club Team

The Scotland Club International Team will head to France at the beginning of February with five Ayr players in the squad; Gordon Reid, Damien Kelly, Robbie Colhoun, Andy Dunlop and Ross Curle. The match against France takes place in Orleans on Friday 4th February kick-off 7.00pm. Ayr is also represented on the coaching team by Peter Laverie.


Alan Dymock  (Heriots)                                      

Gordon Reid  (Ayr)

Finlay Gillies (Currie)

Eric Milligan  (Hawks)

Alan Brown  (Dundee)

Damien Kelly  (Ayr)

Rory McKay  (Hawks)

Nick Campbell (Hawks)

Andy Dunlop  (Ayr)

Rob Colhoun (Ayr)

Ross Weston  (Currie)

John Dalziel  (Melrose

Richard Snedden  (Currie)

Andy Dymock  (Dundee)

Scott Wight  (Melrose)

Matt Scott  (Currie)

Dean Kelbrick  (Hawks)

Ross Curle  (Ayr)

Harry Duthie  (Dundee)

Fraser Thomson  (Melrose)

Tom Brown  (Currie)

Dougie Fife (Currie)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

3 Ayr Under 18 Players in Glasgow Squad

Beckwith, Fergusson and Singh in Squad

Murray Beckwith, Robbie Fergusson and Burns Singh have been named in the Glasgow Under 18s Squad for this season's fixtures. Murray has played 1st XV rugby this season of course and is recovering from an injury whilst Robbie Fergusson scored in last week's British and Irish Cup Tie against Birmingham. Burns Singh was in the Scotland U17s squad last season and the winger is continuing to show promise.

Well done lads.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

6 Ayr U16s Players in Glasgow Squad!

Young Ayr Stars make Glasgow Under 16 Squad

Congratulations to the following Ayr players who have been selected for the Glasgow Under 16s Squad:

Ruaraidh Bottomley
Ewan Bulger
Lewis Glass
Ben Johnstone
Gavin Lowe
Andrew Mill

Well done lads the club is delighted with your success and efforts - keep up the hard work.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Back Row Bamboozle Birmingham in B/I Cup Battle

Birmingham/Solihull 12-18 Ayr.

Early pressure in the first quarter was equally met by both teams until Mark Stewart was sin binned for not rolling away from the tackle.During this power play the home side chalked up 2 tries ,one of which was converted to lead 12-3.Cammy Taylor read the attacking team's intentions , intercepted and ran all of 50 metres to score his try, closing the gap to 12-8.A further penalty award closed the difference between these two Titans , to 12-11.Kenny Murray, Ayr's head coach,  must have had a few choice words to say to his team at Half -Time.This exhortation would probably include a few choice adjectives that would make a sailor blush.In the third quarter play was 50/50 , with the Ayr back row in tremendous form both in attacking opportunities and especially in defensive proficiency.Late in the fourth quarter,Johnnie Beattie, Glasgow No.8 ,after a great surge near the home touch line, popped a pass to our young hopeful Robert Ferguson to score a well deserved try for the visitors.This was converted by Grant Anderson to secure the lead and eventual victory over a well organised home team which had  recently beaten Doncaster.No doubt this tremendous performance and result will be built on by Ayr as they go to face Rotherham next Saturday.An excellent showing after our long spell of 6 weeks without a game.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Ayr v Whitecraigs Training Game - Tuesday

The top team in Premier 3 heads for Millbrae

Whitecraigs Rugby Club travel down to Millbrae tomorrow night to take part in a training game giving both clubs some much-needed action after a matchless period of four weeks. The West Lodge outfit are well ahead in Premier 3 and have an important league tie against Perthshire on Saturday whilst we head south to Birmingham for our British and Irish Cup fixture.

The players will look forward to a decent workout and some contact to get the legs and bodies back into working order.

Kick-off is set for 7.30pm to allow players to travel down.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Mark Bennett in Scotland U20s

Outstanding young Ayr centre Mark Bennett has made the initial squad for Scotland U20s as they embark on their preparations for the 6 Nations.
Everyone at Millbrae wishes him all the best for selection and the campaign.

Snow Happening

Like most of the rugby card in Scotland Ayr's cup tie against GHA fell foul of the weather. Both clubs are looking to reschedule this week if possible as the backlog problems are already looking like another extension to the season as with last year.

We'll keep you posted and hopefully the weather may be kinder.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Cold Snap Again!

Covers Down

The frost protection covers are down again at Millbrae but the cold snap has been very severe overnight. Hopefully there'll be some thaw today and tomorrow and the covers will do their job as the much anticipated first game of 2011 takes place tomorrow against GHA in the Cup.

Here's hoping.

Happy New Year to all our members and supporters!

Crackles Returns to Taranaki

This Saturday sees Frazier Climo's final game of the season as he returns to New Zealand with his girlfriend and the opportunity of a training contract with Taranaki. We wish him all the very best as one of our outstanding players over the last two and a half years and hope to see him back at Millbrae in the near future.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Marr take the New Year Derby

Marr RFC v Ayr Select

In an impressive high-tempo display Marr RFC 1st XV dispatched an Ayr Select by 7 tries to 4 during today's New Year fixture. There were several notable Marr performances, none more so than the elusive pace of full back Connor Bickerstaff.

Thanks to our hosts for arranging the fixture and organising the event.