Sunday, 27 February 2011

Murray Delighted With Result

Coach Happy With A Quality Team Performance

Happy Coaching Team at Millbrae

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray declared his delight at Saturday's historic win over Doncaster.

"That first half was the best display of rugby I have ever seen in my time here. The players defended quickly and heroically but equally pleasing was the pace and variety of our attack, which at times left Doncaster wondering what was happening. I'm sure our supporters enjoyed what was on show but we put Scottish club rugby on the map again on Saturday, " he pointed out.

"The team performance was the product of a lot of effort, determination and skill by the players but it's also the result of many years hard work by volunteers and I'm pretty sure people like Billy McHarg, Jock Craig and Norrie Lymburn will be very happy and proud this week as will the many other club supporters who give of their time and money."

He added, " This is also an enjoyable win for us as coaches. Peter Laverie and I shared a taxi home to Glasgow on Saturday night. Well we were a bit tired! However, we'd had a text straight away from Ally Donaldson of Currie with his congratulations, the same from Colin Thompson at Murrayfield and Craig Chalmers was on the phone as we drove home. It's a big result for Scottish Rugby as clubs continue to improve and develop their standards. Last season very few in the game gave us a chance in this competition, and here we are in the quarter-finals it's great!"

Murray was out watching Glasgow Under 18s take on Edinburgh this morning at New Anniesland with Hawks head coach Jamie Dempsey while Laverie was at Dumbreck coaching Glasgow Under 17s with West's head coach Keith Robertson and Hamilton's Richard Maxton.

No rest for the wicked, we hear you all say!

Anyway, back to normality....he's got a few nappies to change for daughter Zara before next week's game rolls around.

Ross Curle Man of the Match

Classy Performance from the Stand-off

Ross Curle claimed the man of the match award in yesterday's clash against Doncaster in the British and Irish Cup. With a try in the first half, a conversion and two second half penalties his contribution was significant in points, but what an effort in controlling the game with some superb territorial kicks and real quality passing in open play.

A former Viadana, Scotland Sevens and this season's Club International centre he showed all his ability during the stirring win in front of a large home crowd at Millbrae.

The final score; 23 - 17 was quite flattering to the visitors who scored late on to bring the tally closer, but this was a fine team performance in both defence and attack and sets up an intriguing quarter final against Bristol who were run close in their match against Melrose yesterday.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Congratulations Johnnie Beattie!

Ayr's B&I Cup Star Back

Ayr's 1st XV players are delighted that Johnnie Beattie has been selected to play for Scotland against Ireland this week. The No. 8 played for Ayr in the British and Irish Cup against Birmingham and Rotherham as part of his comeback from injury in January, and dug very deep to take part in the second game as he had been ill the night before.

Good luck for Sunday Johnnie from all the players, officials and members at Millbrae.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

So How Do I Get to Millbrae?

That may be the question Andy is asking. He'll probably be busy on Saturday afternoon however, if he travels down the A77 and turns off at Alloway he'll definitely find McHarg, Murray and Laverie there engrossed in the all-important British and Irish Cup tie against Doncaster.

Hopefully all four will be smiling at the end of this weekend!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Team Chucky's Back for B&I Cup

Following his trip to southern California to visit family Ayr President Billy McHarg is back at the helm for the final run-in to this season's competitions.

In particular he is very much looking forward to this Saturday's clash against Doncaster in the B&I Cup. " This is our second year in the competition and as I've said before it's a step up for the players. Last year no one really expected us to do much and a bit of interest developed when we won a couple of games, and also our colleagues at Heriots found it a real boost for their squad taking part in this event. This season we've put ourselves in an interesting position with Saturday's game presenting an opportunity to go through to the quarter-finals," he said.

He went on to say," This will be our toughest test against a Doncaster side who are full-time professionals but rest assured we will be giving it our all. Any degree of success in this competition is important for our club but also for the Scottish Rugby community as it represents the pinnacle of our club game. Hopefully we can get more teams into this tournament as it certainly helps drive up standards."

Monday, 14 February 2011

Frank Hadden and Hugh Campbell Coaching at Ayr

Former Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow coaches Frank Hadden and Hugh Campbell will be at Millbrae tomorrow night, Tuesday 15th February to coach the 1st XV squad from 7.00pm - 8.30pm. All club coaches are more than welcome to come down and watch the session as are young players.
Preparation this week and next is crucial for our league match away to Hawick on Saturday and then the massive opportunity with the British and Irish Cup against Doncaster the following week. 

Danny and Robbie in Glasgow U17s Squad

McCluskey and Mackie in Glasgow Squad

Glasgow U17s Head Coach Peter Laverie confirmed that Danny McCluskey and Robbie Mackie had been selected for this season's squad.

"This is another great tribute to the hard work of the volunteers who coach and manage our young players at the club. Danny and Robbie have done very well - add them to the three players in Glasgow Under 18s and six in Glasgow Under 16s and it marks a tremendous achievement for the club."

He added, " We have a tremendous set-up for young players at the club and whilst they can't all make District squads there are still large numbers of them playing a very good standard of rugby, enjoying the game and contributing to the life of the club. With teams thriving at every level it really is a credit to the efforts of everyone involved."

Ayr v Llandovery Match Report

Ayr leave it late to see off Llandovery in Millbrae thriller.

Llandovery travelled to Millbrae for the second time this season, the initial B & I fixture in December being called off due to heavy frost. The tie had all the promise of being an exciting affair and both teams did not let the crowd down by contributing to an end-to-end game that could have gone either way right until the final whistle.

The Millbrae men knew that only a win would be enough to keep their quarter final hopes alive.

Ayr welcomed back their 5 Club international players for this tie as well as influential forwards Scott Sutherland and Paul Burke. With no game last week coach Kenny Murray was hopeful that his men would hit the ground running and get the all important win.

Ayr kicked off towards the Burns monument and immediately put the visitors under pressure. With the forwards and backs linking well together the home side put 10 phases together before Llandovery illegally interfered with AJ Macfarlane at a ruck. The referee signalled for a penalty and Ross Curle stepped up to stroke a lovely 45 metre penalty to get Ayr’s first points on the board. Ayr 3 Llandovery 0.

This lead didn’t last long however as straight from the kick off Andy Dunlop obstructed an opponent and the referee awarded a penalty in front of the posts. The kick was successful and the score was leveled at Ayr 3 Llandovery 3.

Llandovery extended their lead less than a minute later when poor play in the back field saw a Grant Anderson clearance kick charged down and Ayr were forced to carry the ball over their own line. From the resulting Llandovery scrum Ayr were penalised for taking it down and Llandovery accepted the 3 points. Ayr 3 Llandovery 6.

This penalty seemed to inspire Llandovery and they started to exert pressure on the Ayr defence. Their big strong running forwards were proving a handful and their backs were showing that they were capable of creating space with limited ball. Ayr seemed to be a bit lackluster, making poor decisions with ball in hand and struggling to dominate the contact against their bigger counterparts.

It wasn’t long before the first try came and on the 18th minute Llandovery made the break through. Ross Curle fielded a kick midway in his own half and drove a cross-field kick straight into the hands of a Llandovery player. The big back row sprinted back at the Ayr defence and bounced off Gordon Reid before off-loading to the right-winger who went in at the corner. The conversion was missed and the score stood at Ayr 3 Llandovery 11.

Ayr reacted well to this try and started to get themselves back into the game. They put together some good passages of play with Colhoun and Dunlop both looking hungry for the ball. The Llandovery defence stood firm however with some outstanding defence from flanker Nio Aiono.

The Ayr forwards started to get on top a little and were unlucky not to score following series of lineouts in the visitors 22. They were also starting to get an advantage in the scrum and forced 2 turnovers as a result of the scrum turning 90 degrees.

It was from a turnover at the scrum that helped create Ayr’s first try. The scrum was reset after it had gone 90 degrees and a clever blindside move involving Dunlop and MacFarlane created space for full-back Anderson to burst through the Llandovery defence and send Manning over the whitewash. Ross Curle hit the post with the conversion and the gap was closed to Ayr 8 Llandovery 11 with 34 minutes played.

Half-time: Ayr 8 Llandovery 11

Llandovery started the 2nd half well and played some good rugby at a high tempo. It was significant even at an early point in the 2nd half that the visiting scrum was starting to creak. A foot injury to Ayr number 8, Glen Tippett, forced an early change and he was replaced by influential flanker Paul Burke.

Ayr were soon reduced to 14 men when Stuart Fenwick collapsed a driving maul close to the Ayr goal-line. The referee had a clear view and sent the player to the bin fro 10mins.

Llandovery took advantage of the extra man advantage straight away when following a turnover from an Ayr lineout the welsh stand-off dropped a goal to take the score to Ayr 8 Llandovery 14 with 45 minutes played.

Ayr’s 14 men worked hard during this stage of the game but Llandovery were proving to be a handful and the visitors eventually breached the home try line. From a lineout on the right touchline Llandovery got Ayr on the back foot with some effective pick and go play. As the ball was spun wide the Llandovery centre came back on an angle and beat a lazy Ayr defence to send the right winger in at the corner. The conversion was missed and the score was extended in the visitors favour to Ayr 8 Llandovery 19 with 50mins played.

Ayr made further changes at this point with Scott Sutherland replacing Dean Stewart, Scott Nimmo replacing Damien Kelly and Stephen Adair replacing Stuart Fenwick This seemed to give Ayr a second wind and they started to dominate the visitors at scrum and at contact. Most of the play was taking place in the Llandovery 22 and only some poor final decision-making stopped the hosts getting the much needed try.

The home forwards eventually became too much too handle and forced Llandovery into submission. On the 61st minute Llandovery were awarded a scrum on their own 5 metre line. The Ayr pack attacked the visitors scrum and a skillful strike against the head by Stephen Adair allowed Andy Dunlop to pick up at the base and crash over the Llandovery line. Ross Curle converted the kick and the gap was closed to Ayr 15 Llandovery 19 with 19 minutes remaining.

Ayr continued to pressure the Llandovery defence and by this stage the home forwards were on fire. Their close contact defence was stopping every attack and their dominance in the scrum resulted in a turnover almost very time. The pressure became too much for the visitors and on the 70th minute Ayr camped on the visitors 5 metre line. Following a series of scrums Andy Dunlop powered over to put Ayr ahead with 10 minutes to play. Curle missed the conversion and the score stood at Ayr 20 Llandovery 19.

The final 10 minutes were not for the faint hearted with both teams determined not to lose the game. Llandovery forced their way into the Ayr half and had several lineouts in good attacking positions. They continued to go through the phases but the Ayr defence was outstanding and could not be broken.

Final Score: Ayr 20 Llandovery 19

This was an excellent cup-tie that could have gone either way even until the final whistle.

Head Coach Kenny Murray was pleased with the win:

“ I’m really proud of the way the players dug deep to win this huge game. In all honesty we didn’t start playing until about the 30th minute and we allowed Llandovery to dictate the game in the first half. I felt that our application and attitude in the 2nd half was outstanding, particularly in the forwards where we dominated the scrum. It was great to see Paul Burke and Scott Sutherland back in action and I felt that they, along with Stephen Adair and Scott Nimmo, made a huge impact when they came on.

This win now gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reach the quarter-final of the B & I Cup if we can get past Doncaster when we play them at the end of February”

Ayr now must beat Doncaster to become the first Scottish team to reach the quarter-final of the British & Irish Cup. This game will take place at Millbrae on Saturday 26th February. This will undoubtedly be one of the biggest games in the clubs history and your support on the day will no doubt spur the boys on.

Before that however Ayr return to Premier 1 business when they travel to Hawick next Saturday for another must win game.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ayr Under 16s in Scottish Cup Quarter Final

Ayr draw rivals in West of Scotland derby.
Following Ayr u16s tremendous victory against Hawick in the Scottish Cup quarter final on Sunday they have now been drawn against West of Scotland in the semi final. The game wil be played at Millbrae with the date yet to be confirmed.
The coaches and players have a good knowledge of the West team as they have already played them twice this year in the Glasgow District League --- both teams having won 1 game a piece. Both teams have excellent players, with many of the youngsters involved with the Glasgow U16 squad.
Ayr will be hoping to build on their performance against Hawick but know that they must improve key aspects of their game if that are to reach the final and get to play on the main pitch at Murrayfield.
They will be hoping that talented stand-off Gavin Low continues his superb run of form that saw him destroy Hawick with 2 first half tries.
Everyone at Ayr wishes the coaches and players the best of luck for this huge game.

Scott Sutherland Returns

Influential lock returns from OZ
Ayr favourite Scott "Queenie" Sutherland has returned from his travels down under and could play a crucial role in the forthcoming league and cup games. Scott played a season of rugby in Australia before doing some travelling with his girlfriend.
As many of you will know Scott played a crucial role in the league winning team of 2008/2009 and the Scottish Cup winning side the following year.
Scott, a favourite in the Ayr changing room, is an excellent lineout player and will add an extra dimension to the Ayr pack in the weeks to come.
We hope that you will get an opportunity to welcome Scott back on Saturday against Llandovery.
Welcome back Queenie.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Ayr U16s beat Hawick Albion

Ayr Under 16s beat Hawick Albion this afternoon to go through to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

Scotland Club International XV v France

The Scotland Club International XV went down to France 30 - 18 in Orleans on Friday night. Ayr captain scored an interception try from the halfway line. The squad contained five Ayr players; Skippy, Robbie Colhoun, Gordon Reid, Andy Dunlop and Ross Curle all of whom featured in the match. Peter Laverie the assistant coach was the other Millbrae rep.