Friday, 26 April 2013

Robbie and D'arcy in U20s World Cup Squad

Congratulations to Robbie Fergusson and D'arcy Rae who have been selected for the Scotland U20 squad travelling to France in June to take part in the World Cup. Ayr favourite Mark Bennett is also in the squad.

Go here for the article on the Scottish Rugby website.

Well done lads.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U18s take on Hawks in semi-final

Ayr under-18s face their Hawks counterparts at Millbrae tonight in the Glasgow Cup semi-final.  Kick-off is 7.30pm and supporters are very welcome to come along and cheer on the youngsters.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Press round-up

As the dust settles on Ayr's most successful season ever, catch up on what the newspapers thought of the RBS Cup Final.  Click below to read articles from the national press.

Sunday Herald.

The Herald.

Scotland on Sunday.

The Scotsman.

Wednesday's Herald also has an interesting article about rugby in Ayrshire. 

You can see more of Rob Hardie's fantastic photos from the final at Touchline Images' Facebook page.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ayr U15s Win Final

More winners at the weekend. Ayr Under 15s were victorious in their regional Cup Final on Sunday.

More to follow...

Watch Cup Final highlights

Borders Rugby TV has compiled a seven-minute highlights video of Ayr's defeat of Melrose in the RBS Cup Final.  You can watch it here.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Melrose 25 Ayr 28

It was an RBS Cup Final of epic proportions as Ayr took on their old rivals Melrose and needed 100 minutes to secure the victory and ensure that the trophy cabinet at Millbrae would be fit to bursting.

When both teams took to the pitch at Murrayfield, silverware was already making its way back to Ayrshire thanks to Marr, who had just beaten Livingston to claim the RBS Shield.  It was good to see the purple and gold-clad fans stick around to swell the ranks of the already abundant pink and black army that had brought the beach party to the home of Scottish rugby.

Ayr got off to a good start, with scrum-half Peter Jericevich getting points on the board after just a minute of play with a successful penalty kick.  0-3.

Melrose, of course, were up for the challenge, stealing Ayr's line-out only for their flanker John Dalziel to get sin-binned for some foul play.  However, even down to fourteen men, they were dangerous, especially full back Fraser Thomson, who was keen to stretch his legs.

With ten minutes on the clock, Melrose got the opportunity to even up the scores, centre Joe Helps kicking a penalty.  3-3.

Ayr got right back into the thick of things though.  A move started off by outside centre Robbie Fergusson released winger Richard Dalgleish, who dived over in the far corner for the first try.  Jericevich couldn't make the wide conversion.  3-8.

Melrose were clearly getting frustrated and some back chat didn't help them, as they were told to retreat ten metres.  Their indiscipline gave Ayr another kick at goal, Jericevich slotting the penalty.  3-11.

Ayr were then pinged for not rolling away, and Helps took the three points.  6-11.

Both teams seemed fairly evenly matched, and every opportunity that Ayr got to release their backs was swiftly snuffed out by the Melrose defence and vice versa. Forward passes and knocks-on from each side didn't help matters, but these seemed more forced errors rather than silly mistakes, as they tried to battle their way into each other's halves.

At twenty-six minutes, Helps had another successful penalty kick to close the gap to 9-11

Ayr's flying winger Craig Gossman was heavily marked throughout, as expected, but made some lion-hearted tackles and had a couple of great takes in the air, one of which, unfortunately, saw him crash into team-mate Ross Curle.  After a few minutes on the ground, the diminutive winger was back on his feet, much to the relief of the players and fans.

Captain Calum Forrester did what he has done all season, and led from the front, with some spirited charges.  Full back Grant Anderson carried on his fine form from last week's Melrose Sevens, appearing all over the park and kicking well from hand.  Also showing good handling skills was hooker Hayden Wisnewski.

Half-time came with the scores unchanged and the game resumed with real tension in the air.  Everyone knew before the match how close it would be, and it really counted for nothing that Ayr had beaten Melrose twice in the league this season.  The men in black and yellow continued to swarm all over their opponents, and Helps' fourth penalty kick nosed them into the lead for the first time.  12-11.

Things got worse for Ayr as second row Scott Sutherland, who was later assisted off with a nasty-looking leg injury, was sin-binned at forty-eight minutes.  Helps' penalty hit the post but still went over.  15-11.

The addition of replacement prop Nick Cox bolstered Ayr, and along with flankers Andy Dunlop and Ross Doneghan, he worked hard to gain some territory.  Battering ram inside centre Dean Kelbrick also helped to get Ayr into Melrose's half, but the men from the Borders turned them over twice in quick succession.

Ayr regained possession and worked their way side-to-side to the try-line.  It was aptly Cox who finally managed to barrel over at sixty-four minutes.  With Jericevich off, Curle took over the kicking duties and deftly nabbed the conversion.  15-18.

Nobody in pink and black was heaving a sigh of relief, however.  Melrose continued to press on, getting another penalty chance, which Richard Mill duly kicked.  18-18.

Ayr were penalised for holding on, but somehow managed to steal Melrose's line-out, although they could do nothing with it.  Then, with a minute to go, they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position.  Curle stepped up, but booted it too far to the right.  The clocked ticked to eighty minutes, and the match went into extra time.

After a short break, both teams began again, and it was man-of-the-match Cox who hurled himself over the line for a try just two minutes after the resumption of play.  Curle narrowly missed the conversion.  18-23.

Again, nobody was taking this lead for granted, but Melrose caught Ayr on the hop, and a couple of minutes later chipped up the pitch, with Thomson collecting to dive over for a score that left everyone stunned.  Andrew Skeen's conversion saw Melrose edge in front.  25-23.

They nearly extended that lead in the second half of extra time with Bruce Dick going for a drop goal that floated wide. 

As the clock ticked away, it seemed that Melrose would be taking the cup home, but Ayr were not to be dismissed.  Roared on by their dedicated fans, the men in pink and black were patient, getting possession back from a wayward Melrose kick and working their way into their twenty-two and then camping out on the five-metre line.  Ruck seemed to follow ruck.  The Melrose defence was holding firm. 

Time was up, but Ayr carried on, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell eventually finding his backs, who got the ball into the hands of replacement winger Cammy Taylor.  In his fourth RBS Cup Final appearance, Taylor dived over in the far corner for a last gasp try that sent the fans, the players and the coaches into raptures and secured a remarkable victory to cap a remarkable season.

Nobody seemed to notice Anderson missing the conversion to make the final score 25-28.  Everyone was too busy celebrating but also commiserating with a hugely disappointed Melrose side.  They played their hearts out in a truly memorable final, but the spoils go to an Ayr team who showed great spirit, determination and mettle.

Elena Hogarth.

(All photos Rob Hardie/Touchline Images)

Friday, 19 April 2013

RBS Cup Final preview

It's time for the pink and black army to march on Edinburgh to support Ayr in their fourth straight RBS Cup Final.  Twelve buses of fans will take the beach party to the capital to see if their team can claim the cup in the same season they have secured the league title.  With Marr playing Livingston in the Shield Final immediately before Ayr's clash with Melrose, there will be a big Ayrshire presence at Murrayfield.

Ayr stalwarts Grant Anderson, Andy Dunlop and Scott Sutherland have played in three previous finals, but for others, this is will be their first trip.

"Nerves could play a part," says Ayr head coach Kenny Murray, "but the players and coaches are looking forward to what will be a fantastic day out and we will be determined to finish the season on a high."

Selection has been tough for Murray, with almost all players fit to play.  Prop Nick Cox and Ayr's top try scorer Craig Gossman have overcome recent injuries, as have centre Dean Kelbrick and flanker Graham Fisken.

"The players have trained well this week," enthuses Murray, "particularly putting their bodies on the line during a very physical contact element on Tuesday night."

Murray is expecting a real battle against Melrose, whom Ayr have faced twice before in the Cup Final.

"The previous finals have been very tight with only the odd point separating the teams.  No doubt this will be the same situation on Saturday."

As well as the chance of yet another opportunity to bag the cup for both sides, it is also the final time Melrose coach Craig Chalmers will marshal his men. 

"I look forward to locking horns with Craig for one last time before he moves on to pastures new," Murray says.  "We recognise the excitement surrounding this game but ultimately it will come down to which team performs best on the day."

15. Grant Anderson, 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Ross Curle, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. Hayden Wisnewski, 3. George Hunter; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Colin White; 6. Ross Doneghan, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Calum Forrester (capt).

16. Nick Cox, 17. Stuart Fenwick, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Graham Fisken, 20. Peter McCallum, 21. Murray McConnell, 22. Cammy Taylor.

Kick-off 4pm. 

Tickets will be available from the club until 10pm tonight and at the Murrayfield Ticket Office tomorrow, but if you are unable to make it, follow the scores live on Twitter or listen to commentary on BBC Radio Scotland.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

FAN FOCUS: Louise Mclauchlan

With the RBS Cup Final imminent, we catch up with another of Ayr RFC's most dedicated fans, Louise Mclauchlan.

Louise practically grew up at Millbrae, as her father, Edward Ecrepont, is a former Ayr player, as was her grandfather.  She is still ever-present at the club, as she is now a parent herself and her two young sons play for the P1 and P5 teams respectively.  She is also a child protection officer for the youth section and plays for Ayr Ladies, as well as being a vociferous supporter of the men's team. 

As a life-long fan of Ayr RFC, Louise can recall many great moments watching the 1st XV.

"I have hundreds of great memories from the club," she says.  "I remember the very wet day we won the league for the first time when, with all the hugging, most of the supporters were as dirty as the players."

Louise is looking forward to Saturday's RBS Cup Final against Melrose and is naturally backing the men in pink and black all the way.

"I do think it will be close," she ponders.  "But if the boys keep their heads and play the way we know they can, I definitely think we can win."


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ayr U16s win National Youth League Bowl

Ayr under-16s put in a gutsy performance to beat Highland RFC under-16s 19-13 and lift the National Youth League Bowl at Murrayfield on Tuesday night.  Tries came from full-back Sam Gray, centre Hamish McIntosh and stand-off Johnny McCorkindale, who also landed the conversions.  McIntosh was named player-of-the-match by Scotland internationalist and Glasgow Warrior Sean Lamont.

Read the full match report here.

Monday, 15 April 2013

CUP FINAL: Bus info

Murrayfield-bound buses will be marked with the following details:

- Juniors
- Family
- Adults
- Old To$$ers (bus #7)

Please choose your bus accordingly.  They depart at 11am.

Bus numbers to be confirmed by Thursday 18th April. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ayr U16s in Final at Murrayfield

Another Ayr team makes a Murrayfield Final with our impressive Under16s playing this Tuesday in the Bowl final against Highland.

Go here for details.

Ayr reach Melrose 7s semi-finals

Ayr sent a strong squad to the legendary Melrose Sevens tournament on Saturday, and some exciting and robust play saw them reach the semi-finals, where they were beaten by a slick Clermont side 22-12.  Grant Anderson, Robbie Fergusson, Ross Curle and Peter Jericevich, amongst others, put in strong performances throughout the day. 

Read a full report of the tournament in the Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman.

Calum Forrester in today's Sunday Herald

Ayr's captain Calum Forrester talks to Alasdair Reid in today's Sunday Herald about a new lease of life after professional rugby and leading his team-mates to the RBS Cup Final. 

Read the full story here.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

FAN FOCUS: Ronnie Fawbert

Ayr RFC would be nothing without its dedicated supporters, and in the run-up to the RBS Cup Final, we're having a chat with one of our most devoted fans, Ronnie Fawbert.

Ronnie, a retired businessman, has been an Ayr supporter for over thirty years, and this season has sponsored 1st XV player Kerr Gossman.  As well as never missing a match at Millbrae, Ronnie tries to attend all of the away ties, taking as many friends along with him as he can.

"It's tremendous fun, and I think the players appreciate the away support," he says.  "They're very personable and gracious."

Ronnie is too loyal (or possibly too diplomatic) to name a favourite player.

"It's hard to pick a favourite out of a team because that's just what it is - a team."

It's that team spirit that Ronnie feels is synonymous with the club, benefitting all at Millbrae, not just the successful 1st XV.

"The backbone of the club is the 300-odd youngsters," he continues.  "The success of the whole of the club has created interest not just in the rugby community but the whole of Ayrshire.  It's a wonderful thing to be connected with."

Ronnie has many fond memories of watching Ayr, but his best is of the club's promotion into the premiership.  He's hoping this Saturday will see Ayr make some more great moments to remember when they take on Melrose in the RBS Cup Final.

"It'll be difficult.  We're good enough to win it, but it's a one-off game.  I'm confident though.  It's a great day for Ayrshire with Marr playing in the Shield Final too."

Ronnie's last words of praise go to the committee.

"They put in a tremendous effort.  Credit to them, the players and coaching staff.  They do an awful lot for the supporters and we get a lot of pleasure from the club."


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Flashmob in Ayr today!

The pink and black army will be on the streets of Ayr today (Saturday) to publicise their trip to Murrayfield for the RBS Cup final.  Get your beach gear looked out and head to Cafe Ginger for 12pm or Ayr Central for 3pm to take part in a flashmob that will run through the streets of Ayr.  The League trophy and the Glasgow Cup will be on show for photo opportunities.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Nick Cox in Rugby World magazine

Our very own front row star Nick Cox is featured in May's edition of Rugby World magazine, talking Ayr, rugby and religion.  Get your copy before Nick's dedicated fans snap them all up.  It is currently available in all good shops, or, if you're technically-minded, to download on to your tablet or PC.

COAST TO CAPITAL: Cup final info

We are going for the double on Saturday 20th April, as we take on Melrose in the RBS Cup final at Murrayfield, and we want all the fans to get into the carnival spirit.  Going with the coast to capital theme, we'd love the pink and black army to dress in beach attire and bring their inflatables, buckets and spades and anything else seaside-y that springs to mind! 

The tickets have arrived from the SRU and they are available from the following places:

WG McHARG & CO (01292 283005) 5 Miller Road, Ayr  / AYR RUGBY CLUB (01292 441944) Millbrae, Alloway  / CAFÉ GINGER (01292 264108) 57 Fort Street, Ayr

... Ticket Options:     

1. £10 Adult Ticket Only 4pm KO
£5 Concession Ticket Only

2. £20 Adult Ticket & Bus* 11am Bus Departure
£15 Concession Ticket & Bus*

3. £25 Adult Ticket, Bus & Breakfast* 10am Breakfast
£20 Concession Ticket, Bus & Breakfast*

*Bus numbers to be confirmed by Thursday 18th April.

Concessions - OAP's, Students & U18's

Breakfast will be served at 10am and Louise Mclauchlan will be painting faces from 10.30am.  Get down to the club early to avoid disappointment.  Buses leave at 11am.

Please phone the clubhouse on 01292 441944 for more information and join the event on Facebook.