Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ayr 29 Boroughmuir 23

Ayr had a fight on their hands on Saturday afternoon at Millbrae, as they took on Boroughmuir in a topsy turvy match.

After an early penalty miss by Muir's Ali Warnock, Ayr seemed to be in control, with Grant Anderson grabbing the home side's first try.  Peter Jericevich couldn't convert.  5-0.

Three minutes later, Ayr bagged another score, this time from galloping centre Richard Dalgleish.  Jericevich added the extras.  12-0.

Warnock was successful with his second penalty attempt, getting Muir on the board for the first time at twenty minutes.  12-3.

Anderson got his brace a few minutes later, taking a deft little flick from prop George Hunter.  Jericevich missed the conversion.  17-6.

Boroughmuir struggled to keep a hold of the ball, with Robbie Fergusson and Craig Gossman all too ready to take advantage with a kick-chase. 

Cammy Taylor seemed to cross the line in the second quarter, only for his namesake referee Cammy Rudkin to call him back for a knock-on.  It was Muir, however, who got the final try of the half, with hooker George Turner scoring after a series of stout scrums from the visitors.  Despite a charge down attempt from Jericevich, Warnock got the conversion.  17-13.

The Millbrae faithful were perhaps just a tad nervous when Boroughmuir started the second half with renewed vigour, and matters were not helped by the sin-binning of Ayr's second row Nick Campbell.

Ayr stood firm, with some typical bulldozing charges from prop Denford Mutamangira.  Jericevich had a chance for three points, but hit the post.  The pink and black army didn't have to wait long for something to cheer about, as flanker Andrew Dunlop was bundled over for a try.  Fly-half Finn Russell had a go at converting, but missed.  22-13.

Muir winger Jordan Webster showed a great bit of skill to get his team back within striking distance of Ayr, scoring an excellent try that was converted by Warnock.  22-20

Nails were being bitten to the quick, but Ayr didn't panic and fought hard to regain control.  Replacement back row Graham Fisken went on the charge, demonstrating a series of impressive hand-offs.

There were some worrying moments at the line-out, tidied up by Campbell, and it wasn't until four minutes before time that everyone could breathe easy again.  Gossman danced his way up the wing to seal a win for Ayr.  Russell's conversion bisected the posts.  29-20.

With a minute to go, Boroughmuir were awarded a penalty, kicked by Warnock.  The final score was 29-23.  Man of the match was hooker Hayden Wisnewski.


Victorious debut for Ayr Ladies

Women's rugby has really taken a hold at Ayr, and the senior ladies' team got off to a flying start in their first fully competitive match on Friday night.

The ladies showed no fear as they faced Strathclyde University at Millbrae in front of a large and rowdy crowd.  Meer minutes after kick-off the home side had touched down for their first try, leaving the visitors shell-shocked. 

Playing some excellent running rugby, the women in pink and black soon added another try from Ruthie Barcley-Paterson, but Fiona Potts' conversion unfortunately hit the post. 

Centre Emily Irving was a menace all evening, not only running all over Strathclyde, but bouncing off their tackles.

Gemma Swankie got the next score for Ayr, grabbing a try from the line-out.  This time it was Irving's conversion that hit the post. 

It was a true team effort, as backs and forwards combined to swiftly move play up the park.  Lindsey Smith scored under the posts for Ayr, with Irving's conversion successful.  Ayr led 22-0 at half-time.

Ayr continued to hoover up Strathclyde's mistakes, but the visitors weren't about to give up.  They managed to force their way over the line for a converted try after it seemed Ayr's tenacious defence had held them up. 

Ayr were back on top though, with a terrific show-and-go that led to another score under the posts.  Irving added the extras.

Strathclyde's talented full-back managed to get more points for the visitors with a try, but couldn't convert. 

Barclay-Paterson bagged another try for Ayr, converted again by Irving.  The pacy winger proved equally dangerous in defence, snuffing out Strathclyde's attempts to score another try. 

But it was Irving who stole the show in the dying minutes, with a superb try that saw her run the length of the pitch, much to the delight of the coaches and fans.  The final score was Ayr 41 Strathclyde University 12.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Ayr v Boroughmuir preview

After the nine-try victory over Aberdeen last week, Ayr look to continue their high-scoring ways with another home game this Saturday.  Boroughmuir are welcomed to Millbrae this weekend, and despite their eighth place standing on the RBS Premiership table, head coach Kenny Murray isn't underestimating them.

"Games against Boroughmuir are always tough and they will prove difficult opponents as they look for points," he says.  "At the start of the season, we'd have bitten off your hand if you had offered the top spot [on the table] at half way, but it counts for nothing if we don't keep working hard and improving our standards."

Despite the abundance of tries last week, Murray sees room for improvement.

"We were too loose and not focussed enough in the first twenty minutes of that game.  These are areas we have addressed during the week and we expect an improvement."

There is one change to the starting line-up with Colin White slotting into the back row in place of James Eddie, who returns to Glasgow Warriors.  Graham Fisken takes White's place on the bench.  Dean Kelbrick continues his return from injury, with another outing for the 2nd XV.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: D'arcy Rae, David Young, Ross Doneghan, Graham Fisken, Sylvain Diez.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ayr 51 Aberdeen 5

Ayr were more than happy to return home to Millbrae to take on Aberdeen on a sunny, mild day in Alloway.  The men in pink and black were looking to get back on track after last week's defeat at the hands of Currie, and after a slow start to the match, showed just why they are atop the RBS Premiership table.

Aberdeen were certainly up for the challenge, and it was their tenacious defence that caused the first quarter of the match to be scoreless.  They were itching to get on in attack too, with full back Steven Aitken ever-ready to shoot off with ball in hand.  But a mixture of poor support play and Ayr's own doughty defence meant the visitors never got anywhere.
If Aberdeen were attempting to be loud and in Ayr's face, the home side showed a quiet determination, with poaching very much on their mind at the start of proceedings.  Flanker Andy Dunlop was always ready to pinch the ball when Aberdeen took their eye off it, and the visitors' line-out was also the victim of theft on more than one occasion.
Fresh from Scotland 7s duty on Australia's Gold Coast, scrum-half Peter Jericevich was a bundle of energy all afternoon, sparking several attacks.  His half-back partner Finn Russell put in a solid tackling display, more than matching the efforts of his forwards.
Glasgow Warriors' flanker James Eddie enjoyed his afternoon in pink and black, making some crucial tackles and charging around the pitch whenever he could.  But it was the backs who got the home side on the board at 27 minutes, with young centre Robbie Fergusson slickly touching down after a good run from the fired-up full back Grant Anderson.  Russell couldn't convert.  5-0.
Three minutes later, Anderson set up another score, this time with a great hand-off and sprint.  His pass found Craig Gossman, who happily nabbed the try.  Russell's conversion sailed wide.  10-0.
Although Ayr's defensive efforts continued to do the trick, with captain Callum Forrester (pictured above) being particularly robust, their discipline let them down, with Dunlop finding himself sent to the bin shortly before half-time.
There was one hairy moment (no, not Stuart Corsar's beard) just before the whistle, when a stray pass from Fergusson almost found the hands of an Aberdeen back, but the player in question knocked-on to save Ayr's blushes.
Ayr began the second half with real purpose, and scored three tries within the first eleven minutes.  The first was from hooker Hayden Wisnewski, who managed to burrow over from a ruck.  Jericevich took over kicking duties, but didn't have much luck, as he missed the conversion.  15-0.
The versatile Frenchman Sylvain Diez, on for a hobbling Fergusson, took the next score in exuberant style, almost cartwheeling over the line after a scintillating break from Gossman.  Jericevich converted.  22-0.
Gossman was on the case again, firing up the wing, and in the time it took to swat away the last of the autumn midges, he had scored Ayr's fifth try.  Anderson again set this score up, with a breath-taking break from his own half.  Jericevich got the extras.  29-0.
The next ten minutes or so were fairly messy, as Aberdeen desperately tried to stop the rot, but it was no use.  Ayr pressed for the line, and after what seemed like an age, Gordon Reid bundled over for Ayr's sixth try.  Jericevich couldn't manage the touchline conversion.  34-0.
Despite the efforts of Aitken and winger Ade Hales, Aberdeen couldn't get anywhere near the Ayr line.  Gossman zipped up the pitch once again and found centre Richard Dalgleish.  Always so solid in defence, the big centre was no doubt delighted to get on the score sheet.  Jericevich converted.  41-0.
Aberdeen weren't done yet, and they caught the home side napping - no wonder after such a frenetic thirty minutes.  Replacement back Sam Knudson appeared out of nowhere to score for the visitors.  It went unconverted, taking the tally to a more respectable 41-5.
Anderson, having created two tries, was determined to get one himself, and four minutes after Aberdeen's score, jinked round a few defenders and flew over the line with such ferocity that he nearly ended up over the advertising boards.  Thankfully, he managed to touch down.  It wasn't Jericevich's day with the boot, as he missed another conversion.  46-5.
Millbrae favourite Reid couldn't come back to Ayr without getting a brace of tries.  While everyone else's eyes were on Jericevich at the base of a ruck on the 22, Reid calmly picked up the ball and snuck up the wing to claim his second score of the day and the last of the afternoon.  A missed conversion saw the final score 51-5.
Man of the match was awarded to Grant Anderson, but all twenty players involved played their part in a great afternoon of rugby.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Ayr v Aberdeen preview

It's back to the home comforts of Millbrae this Saturday, after two away games on the trot, the last against Currie proving Ayr's undoing.  They face Aberdeen in what is expected to be yet another difficult encounter in a highly competitive season.

The coaches and players have gone through a review of last week's defeat, with head coach Kenny Murray concluding that it was a frustrating afternoon but acknowledging the superior play of Currie.  Everyone is now looking ahead.

"We are fully focused on Aberdeen, who will be confident following their first win of the season at the expense of Accies," muses Murray.  "We have a strong team and a strong bench and we intend to get right back on track at Millbrae and extend our lead at the top of the table."

Despite injuries amongst the squad, there is still competition for places.  Notable changes include influential scrum-half Peter Jericevich returning from Scotland 7s duty, and James Eddie who has been released from Glasgow Warriors for the weekend. 

Squad rotation sees hooker Hayden Wisnewski promoted from the bench, where he is replaced by Stuart Fenwick.  George Hunter returns from Heineken Cup duty with Glasgow Warriors, with Scotland under-18s prop D'Arcy Rae dropping back to the replacements.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Cammy Taylor; Finn  Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; James Eddie, Andrew Dunlop, Callum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: David Young, D'Arcy Rae, Colin White, Ross Doneghan, Sylvain Diez.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ayr Rugby Girls v Strathclyde Uni

Ayr Rugby Girls are preparing for their first fully competitive match on Friday 26th October, and it would be great if as many Ayr fans as possible could get along to Millbrae to support them. 

After training hard in all weathers for the past few months and competing in friendlies, the girls are now ready to face Strathclyde University, kicking off at 7.30pm.  As well as supporting the girls, you'll be supporting our sponsored charity Renal Cancer Research Fund.

The team is still recruiting players of all ages and abilities, so please get in touch on Facebook or call rugby development officer Stuart Fenwick on 07736320624.


Charity fashion show

Ayr RFC is delighted to be hosting a fashion show at Millbrae on Saturday 24th November to raise funds for our sponsored charity Renal Cancer Research. 

The fun-filled night will include a main course dinner, a glass of wine and sweet nibbles.  You can choose between poached breast of chicken with seasonal vegetables or spaghetti carbonara with garlic cream, shaved parmesan and grilled herb bread.  The catwalk performance will then follow.

So far, there are two shops confirmed to showcase their clothes, Unique and Nancy Jean, but we are looking for others, so if you know of anyone, please contact Eilidh at the e-mail address below.

We are also in need of models.  You'll get the chance to have your picture taken, dress up, get your hair and make-up done (male models won't be wearing make-up unless required!) and show off for a good cause.

Things will kick off at 7pm and continue to midnight, with Jen from Westsound keeping everyone entertained.  Tickets are £20 and are being snapped up fast!  Please contact eilidhr@hotmail.com to avoid disappointment.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Currie v Ayr preview

Ayr again travel east to Edinburgh this Saturday, this time to take on Currie at Malleny Park.  Currie are currently lying fourth in the RBS Scottish Premiership table and, after a high-scoring away win over Stirling County, will be full of confidence.  But, still atop the table and unbeaten this season, Ayr will be looking for an eighth victory on the trot.

There are a number of changes from last week's team, most noticably the return of Finn Russell after several weeks out injured.  Byron Schmidt makes his debut from the bench.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Ross Curle, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Sylvain Diez; Denford Mutamangira, Stuart Fenwick, D'arcy Rae; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Ross Doneghan, Andrew Dunlop, Callum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Hayden Wisnewski, Byron Schmidt, Colin White, Graham Fisken, Robbie Fergusson.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Edinburgh Accies 18 Ayr 20

Ayr eeked past Edinburgh Accies for their seventh consecutive victory of the season.  On a sunny day at Raeburn Place, the visitors ran in three tries to keep their unblemished record going in this year's RBS Premiership.

Proceedings did not immediately go Ayr's way, as Accies set their stall out early, with a break from number eight Callum Reid.  But some clever play from Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski and a huge tackle from second row Scott Sutherland turned things around.  Within five minutes, Ayr had their first score with stand-off Ross Curle flying in for a try.  Scrum-half Sylvain Diez knocked over the conversion.  0-7.

Diez had another shot at goal four minutes later, as he attempted to slot a penalty but hit the post.  Accies were undaunted by Ayr's pressure and worked hard for a turn-over, but it came to nothing.  Centre Robbie Fergusson proved why he's one of the most exciting young prospects in the country with some marvellously jinky running. 

However, it was winger Gavin Lowe, recently called up the Scotland under-18s squad, who got Ayr's second try (pictured above).  Aged just seventeen and gaining his first start of the season, Lowe had a superb game.  Diez's conversion was just short, leaving the score at 0-12.

Accies pressed on, with some impressive running from winger Sam Pecqueur.  They couldn't find their way to the try line, but they had their first chance for points at thirteen minutes when stand-off Ruairidh Bonner kicked a penalty.  3-12.

He might be one of the smallest players in the squad, but winger Craig Gossman has shown himself to be as effective in defence as attack, and he brilliantly brought down Accies full-back Ruairidh Young as he tried to break out of his own half.  Ayr's defence held up well in a pressure-filled period at the mid-point of the first half.

The two sides tusselled and matched each other for much of the half, and Ayr's next opportunity for points only came at thirty-two minutes when Fergusson crossed for a well-deserved try, following a break from flanker Graham Fisken.  Diez missed the conversion.  3-17.

Just before half-time, Bonner had another shot at goal but missed.  Although Ayr seemed to be leading comfortably, Accies were not done yet. 

The second half saw the home side raise their game and Ayr supporters' blood pressure.  Their mobile prop Alex Allan caused all sorts of problems, as did flanker Dan Teague.  Their defence managed to contain Gossman, who was itching to break away every time the ball came to him.

It was Ayr's indiscipline that let them down, with Curle committing a sufficiently serious high tackle on winger Josh Pecqueur at fifty-three minutes near the line to warrant a penalty try.  Bonner easily converted to make it 10-17.

Ayr were impressive at the line-out with a few good steals, but they couldn't take advantage.  Diez, however, pushed the score on with a penalty at fifty-six minutes to give Ayr a bit more breathing space.  10-20. 

Two minutes later, however, Accies scored a try, Josh Pecqueur touching down.  Bonner missed the conversion.  15-20.  They weren't so much creeping back into the game as charging their way into it.  Bonner had another chance at a penalty goal five minutes after the try and was successful.  18-20.

It was an extremely tense final quarter with Ayr desperate for a bonus point-securing fourth try and Accies looking for a home victory.  Back row replacement Ross Doneghan and Sutherland both looked to be heading for the score sheet but the referee called them back on separate occasions. 

Gossman then seemed to be over for a try but was ajudged to be in touch.  It was only some solid Ayr defence that prevented Accies from snatching a win in the dying seconds of the game.  There was relief among the travelling pink and black army when the final whistle was blown.  Seven matches and seven victories;  it's back to the east coast next Saturday for an encounter with Currie to see if the Millbrae men can make it eight from eight.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Edinburgh Accies v Ayr preview

Ayr hit the road this week to take on Edinburgh Accies at the historic Raeburn Place for a chance to lift the Bill McLaren Shield.  After last Saturday's narrow win over Heriot's, Ayr will be looking for an improved performance but know that Accies will be full of confidence in the wake of their high-scoring victory against Dundee.

Ayr's head coach Kenny Murray knows the opposition will be no pushover.

"They have proved difficult to beat at home, and we expect another quick game," he said, "but we go into this  with the best defensive record in the league and will be looking to maintain it."

Murray acknowledges that last week's performance wasn't Ayr's best. 

"We were disappointed with how we played.  Heriot's made us work for everything and we did well to hold on.  Although we scored three well worked tries, we squandered several opportunities of getting a bonus point.  We also let ourselves down in terms of discipline."

There are several changes to the team this week.  Winger Kerr Gossman broke his arm and dislocated his wrist during the Heriot's match.  He has had surgery and won't play until December.  He is replaced by Gavin Lowe, who was called up to the Scotland under-18s squad this week, with Cammy Taylor taking his place on the bench.

Scrum-half Peter Jericevich is on Scotland Sevens duty and is replaced by Sylvain Diez.  Nick Campbell, a Glasgow Warriors Elite Development player, returns to the bench after injury, and D'Arcy Rae takes over as substitute prop from Denford Mutamangira.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Anderson, C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, Lowe; Curle, Diez; Cox, Wisnewski, Hunter; White, Sutherland; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Rae, Fenwick, Doneghan, Campbell, Taylor.

Score updates will be available on twitter.com/OfficialAyrRFC.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lowe called up to U18s training camp

Ayr's latest teenage star Gavin Lowe is one of thirty young Scots named in the under-18s training camp.  Taking place this month at Murrayfield, the camp will prepare the squad for next year's international encounters with England and Ireland, and the European Championships. 

Gavin made his senior debut for Ayr against Stirling County last month, and followed up that impressive performance with another promising showing against Heriot's last week.

Ayr's Ewan Bulger was unavailable for selection.

Read the full story here.