Sunday, 27 October 2013

Vote for your October player of the month

It's time to vote for your first XV player of the month.  We have a longer list than last month due to the extended squads for British and Irish Cup fixtures.  Players who have featured in two or more squads in the last four matches appear on the list.

Scott Sutherland was voted player of the month for August/September, pipping Robbie Fergusson to the title.  Who wins this month is again up to you.  You can only vote once.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday 30th October.

Vote here.

Ayr 29 Stirling County 0

Ayr overcame Stirling County and torrential rain on Saturday at Millbrae to score four exciting tries and claim a much-needed bonus point win in the RBS Premiership.
With both sides on the receiving end of back-to-back losses in the British and Irish Cup, it was expected that yesterday's match would be a close affair, and despite the final scoreline, Ayr didn't get it all their own way.
Stirling came out of the blocks pretty quickly and winger Rory Hughes was perhaps too revved up, taking his opposite number Craig Gossman out of the air as they both went for the ball.  Referee Gary Gordon had a stern word.
However, County's discipline let them down and after four minutes, Ayr had a penalty in a kickable position and stand-off Finn Russell duly got the three points.  3-0.
The visitors got themselves together and a familiar face to Ayr fans in scrum-half AJ Macfarlane led the attack.  Strong tackles from home centres Robbie Fergusson and Dean Kelbrick meant Stirling didn't get very far.
Ayr had struggled in their first few line-outs but settled down with some good takes from second rows Peter McCallum and Scott Sutherland.  Their handy work let flanker James Eddie make some effectual breaks, one of which released prop Nick Cox, whose barrelling charge allowed Fergusson to score the first try.  Russell converted.  10-0. 
Sutherland was on poaching form at the line-out but Stirling managed to gain the advantage a few times, in the first half at least, at the scrum.  With Macfarlane firing the ball out to the backs, Stirling were on the attack again but Ayr's defence didn't let up.  Neither did the rain, which began to batter down and didn't stop for the rest of the match.

The wind was getting fairly gusty too and may have been responsible for County stand-off Stuart Edwards' penalty kick at twenty-two minutes going well wide of the posts.

Whether it was the wind and rain or the pressure from the visitors, Ayr had a few wobbles, including a couple of knocks-on, scrum-half Murray McConnell and Kelbrick bashing into each other as they both went to catch the ball and McConnell being penalised for not putting the ball in straight at the scrum.  But Edwards again missed his penalty kick at thirty-two minutes.

Three minutes later and McConnell more than made up for his previous error as he shot away from the back of a scrum near the fifty-metre line like, appropriately for the day Ayr were hosting their Hallowe'en party, a bat out of hell.  It looked like he wasn't going to make it to the line but he held off several Stirling defenders to fight his way over for a well-deserved try.  Russell got the extras.  17-0.

Players were getting tetchy and fisticuffs broke out right in front of the referee and Gordon had no choice but to send Ayr flanker Andrew Dunlop and County prop Jamie Bhatti to the sin bin just before half-time.
The second half started at a blistering pace with McConnell kicking ahead for Gossman to chase only for the diminutive winger to be once again shunted out of the way by Hughes, this time legally, according to all but the Ayr players and fans.
Mere seconds later and Ayr whipped the ball across the pitch for Eddie to bundle over in the far corner for the day's third try.  Russell couldn't convert from such a wide angle.  22-0.
Ayr upped their game in spite of the horrible weather and strong runs from full-back Grant Anderson and more hefty tackles from Fergusson and Kelbrick frustrated Stirling further until Macfarlane got his team sent back ten metres for his backchat.
When the visitors did get possession, it was turned over by Dunlop and kicks were charged down by Eddie.  Cox was on bulldozing form and it took several Stirling defenders to stop him in his tracks.
County did buck up their ideas with a quick line-out which allowed winger Graham Lindsay to dash off, with prop Colin Hutton in support but they couldn't get through Ayr's defence, Kelbrick in particular putting in a very big hit to stop them reaching the line.
The match came to a standstill for a few minutes whilst Hughes hobbled off with his leg in a splint and County's luck didn't improve when the game resumed, as they knocked-on just at the try-line.
Ayr's forwards were keen to stretch their legs, with hooker Fergus Scott demonstrating great mobility and replacement back row Graham Fisken showing off his sidestepping skills and tremendous pace.
The men in pink and black were sniffing out a fourth try to get a bonus point and a ruck on Stirling's five-metre line looked to be fruitful until the wily Macfarlane somehow ended up with the ball. 
Another attack from Ayr resulted in a knock-on and the clock was ticking.  Suddenly, replacement centre Ross Curle came out of nowhere and flew through Stirling's shell-shocked defenders to touch down in the corner with just a few minutes to go.  Russell nicely converted from a very tight angle.  29-0.
Stirling could do no more and Ayr didn't need to as the referee blew the whistle for full-time.
Ayr 29 Stirling County 0.
- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ayr v Stirling County preview

Ayr's RBS Premiership campaign resumes at Millbrae tomorrow when they welcome Stirling County.  After last week's dispiriting loss to Cornish Pirates in the British and Irish Cup, Ayr are glad to get back to league business against County, who have also been competing in the cross-border competition. 

Ayr opened their season against Stirling County at the end of August with a fine away win but with several games under both teams' belts, another victory is no foregone conclusion.

"We have enjoyed, if that's the word, some stirring battles in recent seasons and fully expect a tricky game at Millbrae," says Ayr head coach Peter Laverie.  "Stirling is an ambitious club and they'll be keen to reverse the result of the opening match of the season."

Laverie continues: "It's another tight RBS Premiership campaign and we're well aware of what's needed to succeed and so we'll be fully focussed on our performance as we approach the half-way stage."

The squad continues to be rotated and Murray McConnell claims the scrum-half spot this week and Kerr Gossman returns on the left wing.

Glasgow Warriors have once again released James Eddie, who partners the returning Andrew Dunlop at flanker.  Fergus Scott is back at hooker, with Nick Cox starting at loosehead prop.

"The changes for this game leave us with a very strong bench," explains Laverie, "which reflects the competition for places."

15. Grant Anderson (capt), 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Murray McConnell; 1. Nick Cox, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Peter McCallum, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. James Eddie, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Callum Templeton.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. George Hunter, 18. Graham Fisken, 19. Peter Jericevich, 20. Ross Curle.

Kick-off 3pm.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fireworks on Friday 1st November

Join us for a spectacular fireworks display on Friday 1st November at 7.30pm at Millbrae.  Entry is free for under-5s and £5 over-5s. 

Former Millbrae men in Scotland squad

The training squad for Scotland's autumn international tests was announced today and former Ayr players Pat MacArthur and Mark Bennett have been included. 

Pat has made one appearance so far for his country - in South Africa over the summer - but 20-year-old Cumnock-native Mark is uncapped.  After some solid performances for Glasgow Warriors, it's no surprise to see both named in the squad for the training camp to be held in Glasgow next week.

Well done to both!  Read the full story here.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Ayr Ladies 59 Grangemouth Women 0

Ayr Ladies enjoyed a tremendous home debut as they ran in nine tries against Grangemouth at Millbrae on Sunday in the RBS Women's National League Division 2.

The ladies in pink and black started well, with strong showings in defence and attack, with great tackles from flanker Ashleigh Nelson and some determined running from prop Louise McLauchlan.  They were soon on the score sheet after a superb try by inside centre Emily Irving from her own fifty metre line.  She also converted.  7-0.

Two minutes later, outside centre Laura Turner was off like a shot to score in the corner.  Irving missed the tricky wide conversion.  12-0.

Irving very quickly got her second try of the day, this time running from her own 22 to touch down under the posts.  She added the extras.  19-0.

That score was replicated minutes later when number eight Lisa Croniken also went on the charge from well inside her own half and outstripped the flagging Grangemouth defence.  Irving converted.  26-0.

Grangemouth strung together a few phases but were under pressure from Ayr's defence and the constant threat they posed with ball in hand.  McLauchlan was on the charge again just before half-time, deftly offloading to put Irving in for her third try, which she converted.  33-0.

There was just enough time for Turner to fight her way free of the Grangemouth defenders to sprint in for yet another try.  Irving's conversion brought the first half to a close.  40-0.

The second half started with a huge downpour to compound Grangemouth's misery.  Turner scored from the restart, neatly gathering the kick and motoring off for the posts.  Irving converted.  47-0.

Full-back Laura McTaggart made an excellent break to take Ayr back into Grangemouth's half and replacement hooker Megan Thomson went over for the home side's eighth try.  Scrum-half Ann-Marie Connolly took over kicking duties but couldn't convert.  52-0.

A break and a lovely pass from flanker Kerry Steel set up Ayr's ninth try, McTaggart scoring under the posts.  Connolly converted.  59-0.

Despite pinning Ayr into their own half for the rest of the match, Grangemouth couldn't manage any points.  Ayr Ladies will be pleased with their defensive and attacking efforts.  They go to second place in the division two table with a game in hand, just a point behind Stewartry Sirens.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ayr 10 Cornish Pirates 53

It wasn't just Ayr's new shirts that were luminous on Saturday afternoon at Millbrae.  Whilst the sun wasn't exactly out, the rain had cleared - for the first half at least - and the home side got off to a bright start against Cornish Pirates in round two of the British and Irish Cup.

The match started at a gallop, with Ayr stand-off Ross Curle looking for an early interception and the Pirates sniffing around the home 22 with intent.  It was the visitors who gave away the first penalty five minutes into the game and Curle summarily kicked it.  3-0.

Ayr displayed some great ambition, with excellent running and handling from Curle and outside centre Robbie Fergusson to shift proceedings to the five-metre line.  The ball travelled through the backs before finding the hands of flanker Peter McCallum but the Pirates' tough defence stopped him centimetres from the line.  It was quickly fired out to the backs again and wing Craig Gossman spotted a gaping hole to shoot through for Ayr's first - and sadly only - try at eight minutes.  Curle converted.  10-0.

It wasn't long before the Pirates replied, with stand-off Angus Sinclair wriggling over under the posts, despite the ball looking like it had wobbled its way there unaided.  He converted his own score to bring the visitors within three points.  10-7.

The Penzance-based team cranked things up a notch or two and were showing exceptional speed with ball in hand.  Curle was again on the look-out for an interception, but this time the referee adjudged his efforts to be cynical and sin-binned him, much to the confusion of the large crowd. 

Two minutes later, the referee made yet another decision to baffle the fans when he awarded the Pirates a penalty try which Sinclair converted.  10-14.

The game still seemed within Ayr's grasp, despite being down to fourteen men and the Pirates beginning to out-muscle the forwards.  Whilst Gossman wasn't getting a lot of ball, he was more than making his presence felt with some crunching tackles, as was Glasgow Warriors' James Eddie.

The Pirates' Canadian international wing Matt Evans was a thorn in Ayr's side all day with his tremendous pace, and at twenty-eight minutes he squirmed his way through the home defence to release his fellow Maple Leaf, hooker Aaron Carpenter, who scored.  Sinclair missed the conversion.  10-19.

Ayr captain and full-back Grant Anderson gave the crowd something to cheer about as he danced along the touchline with Fergusson and wing Richard Dalgleish in support, but it came to nothing.  Ayr's efforts in the scrum were also proving fruitless, as the forwards were continually shoved back by the Pirates' noticeably larger players.

The line-out wasn't going particularly well either, although second rows Scott Sutherland and Graham Williamson along with number eight Callum Templeton were managing to disrupt the Pirates' throw-ins at times.  But when they did steal the ball, it wasn't long before the visitors turned it over.

The final say before half-time went to the Cornish Pirates, with Sinclair kicking a penalty.  10-22.

Ayr got stuck in at the start of the second half, with some solid work from prop George Hunter, Eddie and Sutherland and nifty interplay between Fergusson and his partner in the centre Dean Kelbrick.  There were a few heated exchanges between the sides, with one tussle resulting in Hunter having his shirt pulled off. 

Ayr, through their own errors and the Pirates' higher level of play, couldn't get anywhere.  They held off the Pirates for the first fifteen minutes, but the writing was on the wall after number eight Joel Conlon ran in another try for the visitors.  Sinclair got the extras.  10-29.

Eddie and Gossman continued to defend well and there was an outstanding cover tackle from Dalgleish and Fergusson on Evans, but Pirates' replacement Darren Barry soon scored an unconverted try.  10-34.

Evans got himself on the score sheet at sixty-two minutes, with replacement Keiran Hallett adding the conversion.  10-41.

It was becoming miserable viewing for the home crowd, especially with the rain falling hard.  Ayr gained a few chances to get a score, but the visitors' superior defensive efforts couldn't be overcome.

Keiran Goss crossed the whitewash for the Pirates, but Hallett couldn't convert.  10-46.

Ayr didn't give up though, with a brilliant break from replacement hooker Stuart Fenwick getting the crowd roaring, but he was off at such a speed that no-one could keep up with him and he was turned over. 

The final try went to inside centre Tom Hendrickson, with Hallett converting.  10-53.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Ayr v Cornish Pirates preview

English Championship side Cornish Pirates make the long trip from Penzance to Alloway to face Ayr in the second round of British and Irish Cup matches.

Ayr are looking forward to getting back to Millbrae to play in front of their loyal fans after a difficult opening match against Jersey last weekend on the Channel Islands.

"Despite playing with thirteen men for fifty-two minutes, we showed what kind of rugby we can play and I was proud of their performance," says head coach Peter Laverie.  "The Pirates are a strong, physical side so another huge effort will be required to get a result.  We will have to deal with the physical intensity, defend well and keep our game speed up but that's the challenge and the players will be desperate to have a go."

After a tremendous performance against Jersey in which he scored all the points, stand-off Finn Russell is rested and Ross Curle replaces him.  Dean Kelbrick returns at inside centre with Robbie Fergusson moving to his usual spot at outside centre.  Richard Dalgleish starts on the left wing with Kerr Gossman dropping to the bench.

Glasgow Warriors have released flanker James Eddie, so he will make another welcome start for Ayr.  Nick Cox and Graham Fisken return to the squad after overcoming injuries.  Grant Anderson continues to captain the side.

Laverie concludes: "The B&I Cup really tests the players but it is great for their development and learning and I look forward to the day when all the Premiership clubs get to compete in a cross-border competition."

15. Grant Anderson (capt), 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick, 11. Richard Dalgleish; 10. Ross Curle, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. David Young, 3. George Hunter; 4. Graham Williamson, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. James Eddie, 7. Peter McCallum, 8. Callum Templeton.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. Nick Cox, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Graham Fisken, 20. Murray McConnell, 21. Kerr Gossman, 22. Danny McCluskey.

Kick-off 3pm.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Kids' Camp this week

The Ayr RFC kids' camp is on this week for the October holidays.  It takes place 10am to 2pm at Millbrae until Friday and is priced at £10 a day including tuckshop.  Contact us via Facebook for more details.

Jersey 28 Ayr 16

Welcomed by the Jersey Pipe Band on to a perfect playing surface in front of a large crowd in warm sunshine, Ayr started their British and Irish Cup sortie minus 5 first-team regulars – which was balance out by Jersey’s inclusion of a number of 1st team debutants.

The opening exchanges were shared, then a charge by Callum Templeton aided by Peter Jericevich (a constant thorn in Jersey’s flesh) brought Ayr on the attack. A break by Robbie Fergusson went close and sustained pressure led to the first points of the game, a penalty by Finn Russell.

The Jersey backs committed several handling errors but their powerful pack rumbled over the Ayr line with a perfect rolling maul. Penberthy’s conversion gave Jersey a 7 -3 lead. After 20 minutes Ayr received their first yellow card for Scott Sutherland, then hooker Fergus Scott went off injured.

The game changed after half an hour when Andy Dunlop received a red card for a swinging punch in retaliation to a forearm smash, the decision being made by the touchline official who drew the referee’s attention. The players and both sets of supporters were surprised and perhaps the 22-year-old referee from the Welsh RFU could have been more lenient, especially as he ignored other offences during the game, particularly a no-arms, crash tackle which floored Robbie Fergusson in the second half.

Undaunted, the Ayr backs continued to impress with superb, defensive tackling and scintillating breaks, one of which by Kerr Gossman with backs support swept down the entire field only to be foiled five meters from the Jersey line. However, 5 minutes from half-time Ayr pressure told when a superb line-out catch by Scott Sutherland and feed by Jericevich led to Finn Russell’s dummy and dart to the posts for a try which he himself converted – fine reward for a player who had an outstanding match, impressing with his kicking, tackling, distribution and coolness under pressure.

A yellow card for George Hunter meant that Ayr reached half-time with a 10 -7 lead but with only 13 players on the pitch. The depleted team moved into a 13 – 7 lead after 48 minutes with a Russell penalty. However, after 55 minutes referee Jones gave Hunter a second yellow (and resultant red card), leaving Ayr to play the remaining 25 minutes with 13 men.

A herculean effort was going to be needed and resolute tackling kept Jersey at bay until the big Jersey pack powered over again from another rolling maul. The conversion put Jersey into a one-point lead. The lack of numbers showed when the Jersey backs spun the ball along their line for a Fidler converted try. Score 21 – 13 for Jersey.

However, back came Ayr again and a superb Russell penalty put them into bonus-point position at 16-21 with 5 minutes remaining. Despite stout defence by the 6-man pack, they could not hold out and a late try by winger Dempsey was well converted from the touchline.

A 28 – 16 defeat was rough justice for the Ayr team. The 40-odd travelling supporters expressed pride at this performance – the forwards stuck to their task with great resilience against a massive pack and the backs were magnificent in defence and constantly prepared to attack, often initiated by the enterprising Grant Anderson at full back.

Make no mistake, with 15 men, Ayr would have been in with an excellent chance of winning this game.  The return match is looked upon with great anticipation.

- Brian McNally

Friday, 11 October 2013

Jersey v Ayr preview

Ayr begin their British and Irish Cup campaign with a trip to the Channel Islands on Saturday.  Whilst it's exciting to be back in the competition after missing out last year, taking on Jersey will be a tough proposition.  Of course, the men in pink and black are more than ready.

"It's a step up for us playing against a fully-professional outfit," says Ayr head coach Peter Laverie.  "Obviously we will have to set out our stall physically right from the beginning of the match, as well as work hard and fast in both defence and attack if we are to do well."

He continues: "These games present a different intensity and physicality and we fully expect a hard match down in Jersey following their excellent win against Nottingham last weekend."

There will be a familiar face amongst the English Championship side in the shape of former Ayr and Glasgow Warriors second row Nick Campbell who joined Jersey this season.

"The players can't wait to meet up with Nick and to make sure he sees plenty of action on the pitch."

The Ayr squad increases to twenty-two for the British and Irish Cup.  Grant Anderson continues to lead in the absence of Calum Forrester and Finn Russell returns at stand-off.  Despite barely being out of his teens, Robbie Fergusson is a B&I Cup veteran and is named at inside centre.

There's a bit of a reshuffle in the forwards, with former Cartha QP captain Graham Williamson partnering Scott Sutherland in the second row, whilst Peter McCallum moves to flanker.

D'arcy Rae and Danny McCluskey join the replacements after taking part in the Scotland under-20s training camp in Edinburgh.  Colin Dunn continues to make a welcome return to rugby and takes his place amongst the substitutes, including experienced hooker Stuart Fenwick and speedy winger Cammy Taylor.

"While the game throws up a difficult contest," muses Laverie, "it's a great opportunity and there's plenty to learn from the experience while enjoying the occasion. We have a good band of supporters flying down so it would be nice to give them something to cheer about."

15. Grant Anderson (capt), 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Richard Dalgleish, 12. Robbie Fergusson, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. George Hunter; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Graham Williamson; 6. Peter McCallum, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Callum Templeton.

16. David Young, 17. Stuart Fenwick, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Colin Dunn, 20. Murray McConnell, 21. Cammy Taylor, 22. Danny McCluskey.

You can listen to the match live on BBC Radio Jersey and follow the scores on Jersey's Twitter page.

We'd like to wish Gala, Stirling and Edinburgh Accies all the very best in their fixtures too.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hallowe'en Party

We're hosting our legendary Hallowe'en party on Saturday 26th October this year after our home game against Stirling County.  Tickets are £5 if you come in fancy dress and £10 if you don't - so a perfect excuse to dress up! 
Tickets will be available to buy from the bar at Millbrae from Monday 14th October.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Danny McCluskey at Scotland U20s Camp

Young Ayr star centre Danny McCluskey has been called into the Scotland U20s camp this Wednesday at Murrayfield.  He joins fellow Ayr players D'arcy Rae and Ben Cogley in the forty-three-strong squad.

Ayr Ladies climb Ben Lomond

Several of Ayr Ladies prepared for their competitive debut in the RBS Women's National League Division 2 by bagging a Munro on Sunday.  Niamh Durnan, Ann-Marie Connelly, Laura Turner, Emily Irving, Amy McGillivray, Claire McGill, Laura Summerville and Victoria Birrell climbed Ben Lomond and proudly unfurled an Ayr flag in celebration at the top.

Ayr Ladies open their league campaign on Sunday with an away match against Stewartry.  We'll keep you up-to-date with their progress.

Dunny attends B&I Cup launch at Murrayfield

Andrew Dunlop represented Ayr at the Scottish launch of the British and Irish Cup today at Murrayfield.  Along with Chris Auld of Gala, Alex Blair of Edinburgh Accies and Jamie Swanson of Stirling County, Andrew posed for photos with the cup and spoke to Scottish Rugby Online.

Watch the video of the launch here.

Ayr's B&I Cup campaign starts on Saturday with an away match against Jersey.

Four Ayr under-16s in national development squad

Ayr youngsters Ryan Dunlop, Michael Manning, Aaron Tait and Gregor Paxton are among fifty-two talented youngsters from around the country who will gather for a five-day residential development camp next week. 

Well done to the boys for their hard work and good luck at the camp!

Read the full story here.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Ayr 48 Hawick 10

It was a try-fest at a sunny Millbrae yesterday, as Ayr crossed the whitewash seven times to beat Hawick 48-10.

The match started at a canter - literally, with Ayr flanker Graham Fisken charging about in attack and defence.  Hawick had an early penalty but full-back Neil Renwick missed his kick at the posts.

Fisken was on the move again, running almost half the pitch to get Ayr within scoring distance.  However, Hawick's defence was doughty and home stand-off Ross Curle had to put in a lovely cross-kick to enable wing Craig Gossman to collect and score.  Curle converted.  7-0.

A few minutes later, Ayr were again on the wrong side of the law and Hawick had another shot at goal, which Renwick got this time.  7-3.

It wasn't long before Fisken was superbly taking the ball out of the air to release full-back and captain Grant Anderson.  Despite the dry, bright day in Alloway, the pitch was a little greasy, and Gossman, taking the pass from Anderson, slipped near the line, although he was able to offload to flanker Andrew Dunlop, who unfortunately knocked on.

Ayr struggled in the line-out during the first half but Hawick couldn't make any ground with ball in hand and gave away a penalty in a kickable position at twenty minutes, which Curle summarily booted between the posts.  10-3.

Fisken was on fine form, swatting away Scotland international Nikki Walker like a midgie, before barrelling onward.  There was a great sigh of disappointment from the crowd when the flanker had to hobble off at the end of the first quarter.

There were several knocks-on from both sides, but Anderson, after a quick break, made a neat flicked pass to inside centre Robbie Fergusson, who flew over for a try at thirty-one minutes.  Curle very quickly converted.  17-3.

Two minutes later, Curle shot off in a bizarre diagonal run, confusing the crowd and the Hawick defence, that culminated in him dotting the ball down in the corner for Ayr's third try.  Unsurprisingly, he couldn't convert from such a tight angle.  22-3.

There were more slips and slides from Ayr, as well as nifty running from Kerr Gossman and a big drive from the forwards for the line.  Hawick were getting stroppy, particularly Bruce McNeill, arguably their most dangerous player in the first half.  The hirsuit second row found himself in the sin bin at the end of the first half.  Curle had a penalty chance but just missed.

There was no respite for Hawick, and a minute into the second half, Dunlop charged over the line for try number four.  Curle grabbed the extras.  29-3.

Play continued in a frenetic fashion for the next few minutes, with Hawick number eight Keith Davies suddenly appearing on the wing alongside Craig Gossman to chase down a kick, and he very nearly beat him to it. 

If that display pepped up Hawick, their positivity was quickly snuffed out by strong running from Fergusson and number eight Callum Templeton and a try at forty-nine minutes from Anderson.  Curle's missed conversion made the score 34-3.

Four minutes later, Anderson was like a bullet out of a gun again, shooting nearly fifty metres before sliding over the line.  A short discussion was had between the referee and touch judge before the try was awarded.  Curle was on target with the conversion.  41-3.

Hawick gritted their teeth and worked hard to regain possession.  Ayr outside centre Richard Dalgleish put in some excellent tackles but the visitors wouldn't be denied.  Wing Steven Anderson eventually went over in the corner and Renwick converted.  41-10.

Although there was some lively play from replacements Murray McConnell, Glasgow Warriors' Ed Kalman and Cammy Taylor, the game couldn't maintain its speed in the final quarter.  Ayr settled down at the line-out, with assured throwing from substitute hooker Fergus Scott and some poaching from Dunlop, and put Hawick under pressure at the scrum. 

The home side were keen to finish with a flourish but it was more of a fumble as the ball bobbled over the line before Craig Gossman managed to dive on it for the final try.  With man-of-the-match Curle substituted, scrum-half Peter Jericevich took over kicking duties and successfully slotted the conversion.  48-10.

Ayr camped out in Hawick's half for the next few minutes until the referee blew the whistle for full time.  The seven tries were a treat for home fans and will provide confidence before Ayr travel to the Channel Islands next week for their first British and Irish Cup match against Jersey. 

Final score: Ayr 48 Hawick 10.

- Eléna Hogarth

Friday, 4 October 2013

Ayr youngsters in Scotland U20s squad

Ayr players D'arcy Rae and Ben Cogley have been named in the extended Scotland under-20s squad.  Glasgow Warriors Elite Development Player Rae joins fellow Ayr young gun Cogley and former Millbrae age-grade player Ewan Bulger in the forty-three-strong group who will gather for a three-day camp in Edinburgh next week. 

Well done to them.

Read the full story here.

Ayr v Hawick preview

Ayr are back at Millbrae after three weeks on the road and are ready to face Hawick.  With a bonus point win under their belts last week against Glasgow Hawks, the men in pink and black will be keen to keep the momentum going and give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Despite Hawick's place at second bottom of the RBS Premiership table, Ayr know that the Borderers are a tough side in what continues to be a highly competitive league. 

"Hawick enjoyed a good win against Stirling County last week and will be keen to get another result at Millbrae," says Ayr head coach Peter Laverie.  "They work very hard for each other and pride themselves on making life difficult for the opposition, so the challenge for us is to impose our style of play on the game."

Laverie hopes that style of play will be the "high-tempo rugby" that Ayr demonstrated in last week's second-half against Hawks which saw some excellent tries being scored. 

With injuries and squad rotation, there are a few changes to the line-up.  Captain Calum Forrester is injured, so full-back Grant Anderson will be leading the team, whilst Callum Templeton moves to number eight and Peter McCallum partners Scott Sutherland in the second row.

Ross Curle starts at stand-off while Finn Russell takes a well-earned rest for the week, having played throughout the summer on the McPhail Scholarship in New Zealand.  Richard Dalgleish takes over at outside centre.  David Young starts at hooker.

It's an exciting bench, with Glasgow Warriors' Ed Kalman providing cover at prop, Graham Williamson featuring for the first time this season and the highly experienced Cammy Taylor returning to the squad.

15. Grant Anderson (capt), 14. Craig Gossman, 13. Richard Dalgleish, 12. Robbie Fergusson, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Ross Curle, 9. Peter Jericevich; 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2. David Young, 3. George Hunter; 4. Scott Sutherland, 5. Peter McCallum; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Callum Templeton.

16. Fergus Scott, 17. Ed Kalman, 18. Graham Williamson, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Cammy Taylor.

Kick-off 3pm.