Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Oval Ball & Hallowe'en Party

Two of our most popular social events are just weeks away, so make sure you don't miss out!

On Saturday 24th October, the Oval Ball in aid of the Ayr Community Rugby Trust takes place at Ayr Racecourse.  This black tie evening will feature Kevin McKenzie as guest speaker and tickets are £50.

Call Matthew Young on 01292 570237 to secure your ticket.

Our Hallowe'en Party will be held on Saturday 31st October, the same day as our BT Premiership match with Hawick and the Rugby World Cup final.

We always have a brilliant time at Hallowe'en at Millbrae and past parties have seen some imaginative costumes.  This year, we're asking party-goers to dress in the colours of whichever two teams make the RWC final.

With our live screening of Scotland v Samoa on Saturday 10th October, as well as all other RWC matches that are on during clubhouse opening hours (Tuesday to Sunday from 4pm), it's going to be a very busy month!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Changes to Six Nations tickets

If you have completed your form for Six Nations tickets, please return it to Millbrae by the start of October, as the SRU has requested club ticket allocation numbers be sent to them as soon as possible.

Ticket prices have also changed for the England and France games.  Tickets for England are now £90, £65 or £45, whilst France tickets are £80, £55 or £35.

If there are any problems, please get in touch with our administrator Gus McKay on 07710 483607.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ayr 55 Stirling County 21

After some near misses in recent weeks, Ayr blew away the cobwebs on Saturday with a nine-try win against Stirling County in round five of the BT Premiership.

The visitors got off to a good start and coupled with Ayr straying offside, took the lead through the boot of stand-off Shaun Treweek.  0-3.

Treweek was good with ball in hand too and raced away to within centimetres of Ayr's line.  Captain Ross Curle was on hand to prevent the score but landed in the sin bin and Treweek got another three points.  0-6.

Ayr got into their groove thanks to a swerving run from stand-off Frazier Climo.  Prop Javan Sebastian was also quick on his feet and was the only chaser when scrum-half Ali Price chipped ahead.  County beat him to it, but number eight Pete McCallum and George Hunter, starting at blindside flanker after his foray into the second row last week, put in the hefty tackles.

Stirling's captain Struan Robertson was full of menace in the loose but his team received a ticking off for repeated infringements in Ayr's half.  The home team took the line-out and drove on only for the ball to come bobbling out of the maul.  It went backwards though, Climo scooped it up and fired it to Robbie Fergusson who went over for the first try.  The conversion attempt from Climo was wide.  5-6.

Price and wingers Haddon McPherson and Cameron Taylor were on the look-out for opportunities to get into County's half but it was Climo who found another gap and slipped through the defence to release McCallum, who squeezed in at the corner.  Climo converted.  12-6.

Stirling's powerful number eight Vaka Manu had a good first half and almost got on the score sheet with a strong run to the line but the Ayr defence was solid and they turned over and cleared.  

The visitors did add to their points tally when Ayr were off their feet at the ruck, Treweek kicking the penalty.  12-9.

Ayr's forwards had a busy afternoon, with some superb turnovers from prop Steven Longwell and a hand-off by openside flanker Blair Macpherson getting some oohs and aahs from the busy crowd on Ladies' Day at Millbrae.

Stirling were pinged for not rolling away, second row Robert McAlpine took the line-out and McPherson sped off for try number three.  It went unconverted.  17-9.

Climo more than made up for his missed conversions with his brilliant vision for gaps and the ability to slide through them.  His good work let Taylor loose and the winger flew over the line for the bonus point, leaving the now beleaguered County defence in his wake.  Climo got the extras this time.  24-9.

And he did it again moments later, jinking his way from his own half to let Hunter smash his way over for the fifth try.  Climo converted.  31-9.

There was more to come from prop-second-row-flanker Hunter.  County were feeling the pressure and giving away penalties.  An Ayr line-out saw a repeat performance from Hunter and Climo.  38-9.

Birthday boy Danny McCluskey was nearly over the line to mark his twenty-first but the ball was spilled.  Ayr exerted their dominance by taking the scrum against the head and Hunter got his hat-trick.  Climo's failed conversion brought the half to an end.  43-9.
The second half just couldn't compete with the first.  County had a bit more possession but couldn't do anything with it.

The home team were called up for some knock-ons too, one in particular upsetting the crowd.  Curle, largely quiet at full-back, looked to be off on one of his exciting runs and chipped on.  The Millbrae faithful were convinced it came off his knee but it was deemed a knock-on.

County were so close to scoring after a squint put-in at the scrum from Ayr but the ball went awry just at the line.  

Sebastian went on another charge and got Ayr into a great attacking position.  It was McCallum who crossed in the corner for his second try of the game and fifth in five matches.  Climo's conversion was short.  48-9.

Ayr emptied their bench and replacements Samuel Kenny, Lee Scott and Russell McKeown got stuck into the tackles as County searched for a try.  They didn't score it themselves but they did get the points as the referee awarded a penalty try and replacement hooker Lewis Anderson found himself in the sin bin for collapsing the maul.  Treweek converted.  48-16.

Ayr's second half siesta syndrome reared its ugly head again and their napping, plus a penalty against them for not rolling away, let County replacement Mark Hunter barrel over for an unconverted try.  48-21.

McCallum and Macpherson mopped up a sloppy Stirling line-out but their fancy footwork was all for nothing as Ayr were pinged for crossing.

The match was slowly stumbling to an end but there was one last burst of energy from both teams.  Stirling's efforts in Ayr's half were snuffed out as they were shoved off the park.  The fans were still waiting for that little bit of magic from Curle and it seemed that he'd saved his best till last.  Alas, what appeared to be him throwing a pass to himself was forward, according to the referee.

Ayr wanted to get beyond that fifty-point mark though and some strong running from McKeown, second row Scott Sutherland and replacement back Archie Russell moved them closer.  From an Ayr line-out, Longwell crashed over for the final try of the day, which Curle converted.  55-21.

Final score: Ayr 55 Stirling County 21.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Pink and black Warriors

Glasgow Warriors take on the Army at Scotstoun tonight (Friday 25th September) and there are several Ayr players involved.

Hooker Fergus Scott and prop D'arcy Rae start for the Warriors, with hooker James Malcolm, prop George Hunter, scrum-half Ali Price and centre Robbie Fergusson named in the long list of replacements.

Good luck to all!

Quiz & Curry Night

Ayr RFC & Wellington Youth Rugby are holding their Quiz & Curry Night at Millbrae on Saturday 3rd October.

This is their first fundraiser and get-together of the new season, so it would be great to see as many supporters there as possible.

There will be a variety of curries prepared by Mike Jeanes and James Ledgerwood will be quiz master.  Teams of six to eight people are suggested and you will be required to 'drop off' your phones prior to the quiz commencing!

Things kick-off at 7.30pm and it's £7.50 per person.  If interested please get in touch with Gillian Thomson ( or comment on the Facebook group (Ayr RFC & Wellington Youth Rugby Institution) by 27th September at the latest.

Ayr v Stirling County

Heart rates may still be getting back to normal after last week's palpitation-inducing match against Gala at Netherdale, but there will be no rest this Saturday as Ayr welcome Stirling County to Millbrae for round five of the BT Premiership.

Once again, the Cairdeas Quaich will be up for grabs, and Ayr are hoping to claim this piece of silverware - which marks the friendship between the two clubs - for the third time in a row.  But County have been putting together some determined performances in the last few games and will be looking to cause Ayr some serious problems.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester has recovered after his players put him and his back room staff through the emotional wringer in the Borders and is focused on this match.

'We were delighted to come away from Gala with the win last week, but for us it's about building on that performance against Stirling this weekend.'

After several players starting out of position over the past few weeks, it's back to a more settled-looking squad this Saturday, although captain Ross Curle moves to full-back to cover for Grant Anderson, who has been suspended.

Second row Robert McAlpine returns, as do inside centre Danny McCluskey and scrum-half Ali Price.  Andrew Dunlop has shaken off an ankle injury, and hooker Lewis Anderson could make his first XV debut from the bench.

It's Ladies' Day at Millbrae on Saturday and there will be three hundred extra female fans ready to cheer on the men in pink and black, as well as raising funds for the charity Connor's Journey.

15. Ross Curle (capt); 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. Alistair Price; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Lewis Anderson, 17. George Hunter, 18. Lee Scott, 19. Archie Russell, 20. Russell McKeown.

Stirling County:
15. Dylan Tailkato-Simpson; 14. Matt Lamb, 13. Danny Gilmour, 12. Nick Griggs, 11. Jack Urquhart; 10. Shaun Treweek, 9. Alex Black; 1. Billy Dineen, 2. Reyner Kennedy, 3. Colin Hutton; 4. Callum Hunter-Hill, 5. Ruairidh Leishman; 6. Struan Robertson (capt), 7. Mike Dewar, 8. Vaka Manu.

16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Mark Hunter, 18. Ed Howgate, 19. Shaun MacDonald, 20. Luke Earle-Wright.

Kick-off 3pm!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Golf Day at Belleisle

It was the annual Ayr RFC Golf Day at Belleisle on Sunday and while it was a successful round for some, others may want to brush up on their game for next year.

Ex-presidents Gus McKay, Brian McNally and Andrew Pickles and their playing partner George Allan made up the winning four-ball.  They won four tickets to Scotland's Six Nations match with France at BT Murrayfield.

The best individual scratch score was recorded by Stuart Howie, with +6, winning him a voucher for the Balgarth Pines.

The Famous Grouse sponsored the longest drives, which were hit by Dava Courtney and David Armstrong.

Closest to the pin (sponsored by Kenny McPherson through Meridian, Caprice and the Ayrshire & Galloway) was Nigel Howard, with Gus McKay and John King tied for second.

Richard Gordon, Belleisle's pro golfer, sponsored the worst individual scores. Blair Macpherson recorded an extraordinary +66, which isn't entirely surprising as he seemed to be under the impression that you hit the pin with the ball rather than get it in the hole.

Kerr Gossman was also confused as to how to finish a hole, and Martin McHarg and David Parker will be taking some golf lessons in the near future.  

Grateful thanks go to Kenny McPherson for sponsoring the scorecards, the Balgarth Pines for hosting the post-round prize-giving and meal, and all the players who took part, no matter their score!

Finally, thank you to Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson and Andrew Dunlop for organising the day.

You can see all of Amy McGillivray's photos from the round here.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Ayr Ladies 31 Aberdeenshire Quines 19

Ayr Ladies and Aberdeenshire Quines entertained a large crowd on Sunday in their BT Women's National League Division 1 tie, with both teams scoring excellent tries.

It was a brilliant start from the home side as Daryl Paterson almost made it to the line with mere minutes on the clock, only to be shoved into touch.  But seemingly seconds later, flanker Rachael Mulholland fought her way over for a try, which was converted by stand-off Catherine Shennan.  7-0.

The Ladies have been working hard in pre-season and a vast improvement in handling was evident in the first quarter, with backs and forwards moving the ball quickly and accurately.  They were determined to keep it away from Quines and when the ladies from Aberdeenshire did get their hands on the ball, Ayr quickly turned it over.

There was some very strong running from second rows Zoe Montgomerie and Phoebe McDowall, and centre Laura Turner burst through the defence to race away for a try.  Shennan, on assured form with the boot, got the conversion.  14-0.

Quines were struggling to get out of their own half and they were being dominated at the scrum too.  When they did retain possession, Paterson and flanker Ashleigh Nelson put in some huge tackles to dislodge the ball.

Turner continued to shake off tackles and it was another break from her which allowed Paterson to get the try.  Shennan converted from out wide.  21-0.

There were some teething troubles at the line-out for Ayr, but they managed to mop up the mistakes.  Both sides were brave in the tackle, with Mulholland, Paterson, McDowall and scrum-half Kelsey Swift throwing themselves into the thick of the action.

Scotland under-20s cap Lisa Croniken was also tough in defence but there was a brief stoppage as she caught her breath after a particularly stinging tackle.

Turner and Mulholland combined to move within inches of the try-line but Quines found their composure after such a quick start from their hosts, and turned it over.  Number eight Lynda Morgan led the defensive effort, with Nelson, Shennan and prop Lindsay Dick getting stuck in.

Quines flew off into Ayr's half but winger Lisa Main caught up with the attacker to force her into touch.

Morgan showed great speed to race round the Quines' defence but they swarmed all over her eventually.

Ayr Ladies didn't have long to wait for another try-scoring opportunity.  Turner, prop Michelle Nelson, Croniken, Paterson and Swift were patient on Quines' five-metre line before Paterson spotted the gap and dashed over.  It was another wide conversion and Shennan nudged it to the side of the post this time.  26-0.

Quines started the second half with a real cutting edge to their attacking play.  They scythed their way through Ayr's defence and a lovely dummy allowed them to dive over for their first try.  The visitors, too, had a skilful kicker and added the extras.  26-7.

Ayr were still putting them under pressure at the scrum and took several against the head.  Shennan made a nice break to get into Quines' twenty-two and replacement prop Louise McLauchlan forced her way further, but with drizzle beginning to fall, the assured handling from the first half wasn't as prevalent.

The two teams had some heated encounters last season, but discipline was good from both sides.  Shennan took a whack to the face from a hand-off gone wrong, but the referee was in the right place at the right time to see there was no malice intended.

Replacement back Connie Griffiths, who recently represented Scotland at the Sainsbury's School Games, livened up proceedings with a slicing run and Croniken took a lovely pass to crash over for a try.  Shennan's conversion was short.  31-7.

It looked like the ladies in pink and black were home and dry, but Quines weren't done yet.  They converted another fine try to double their points haul.  31-14.

They were determined to get more, but Turner and Griffiths both put in flying tackles to stop them in their tracks.  They stayed put in Ayr's half and a very frantic period ensued as the home side desperately defended.

Some infringements by Ayr didn't help, but Croniken and Morgan worked well at the line-out to steady things.  It wasn't enough, unfortunately, as Quines regained possession and muscled their way over for an unconverted try to bring the match to a close.  31-19.

- Elena Hogarth.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Gala 35 Ayr 36

There was almost too much going on in Ayr's BT Premiership match against Gala at Netherdale on Saturday afternoon.  It was no wonder that long after the final whistle had gone, players were still sprawled out on the pitch, and supporters from both sides were wandering around, scratching their heads at what they had just witnessed.

It was a beautiful day in the Borders, but Ayr's preparation had been marred by yet more injuries and late changes to the match day squad.  Not that it seemed to bother them that much.

Early scuffles between the front rows were quickly smoothed over, Ayr swarmed all over Gala, forcing successive turnovers and stand-off Frazier Climo spotted a huge hole in the home defence to break through.  Scrum-half Cameron Taylor, starting in his third different position in four matches, was on Climo's shoulder and took the pass to fly over in the corner.  Climo couldn't get the extras.  0-5.

A few minutes later, Ayr secured their line-out; the ball was fired out to centre Robbie Fergusson, who deftly chipped on and winger Richard Dalgleish tracked it until he could touch down over Gala's line.  The conversion was almost in the same place as the first one and Climo couldn't make it again.  0-10.

Cheered on by their passionate crowd, Gala picked up the pace, with full-back Ruairi Howarth dancing his way up the park, but George Hunter, a prop playing in the second row, and Fergusson were on hand with some hefty tackles and managed a turnover.

Gala got a turnover of their own, only to throw away all their hard work when flanker Craig Borthwick, in possession, charged at prop Steven Longwell with a forearm.  The thud was heard up in the stand, with everyone gasping.  Longwell seemed unharmed but Borthwick was yellow-carded for his recklessness.

Moments later and he was joined in the sin bin by prop Luke Pettie, who was treading a fine line with the referee all afternoon.

Ayr took the line-out and from the ensuing ruck, flanker Andrew Dunlop burst forth and Longwell rumbled to the base of the post for a try.  Climo converted.  0-17.

And they were off again.  Climo made another lovely break, chipped ahead and Pete McCallum, playing at number eight, out-sprinted the defence to grab the bonus-point try.  Climo bashed the conversion over the crossbar.  0-24.

Gala stayed upbeat despite the scoreline and they turned over, winger Craig Robertson racing off for a try.  Howarth missed the conversion.  5-24.

A few handling errors crept in from both teams, but there was strong running from prop Javan Sebastian and full-back Grant Anderson with ball in hand.  It all got a bit heated, both on and off the field.  With the crowd getting fiery, some silly pushing and shoving and shirt-pulling broke out.

Gala kept their cool for long enough to work their way into Ayr's half and with the visitors giving away penalties, the men in maroon took their chance from a line-out to get their second try.  It was hooker Matt Carryer who dived over.  Howarth converted.  12-24.

Climo found himself in the sin bin for a professional foul, but Gala couldn't capitalise on the extra man.  Their line-out throw went wonky and Ayr captain Ross Curle, on his return from injury, tidied up.

Despite a sniping break from scrum-half George Graham, Gala couldn't get anywhere.

The referee had to have a word with Pettie and Sebastian, as the two were getting on each other's nerves.  A handshake cleared the air though and they scrummed down without any nonsense.

A powerful run from the scrum by McCallum released Fergusson, who popped a pass to his captain, with Curle skipping over for try number five.  Unfortunately, his conversion attempt hit the post.  12-29.

Gala returned to the pitch for the second half full of determination.  Ayr weren't helped by an injury to winger Haddon McPherson, but it allowed Russell McKeown to make his first XV debut.

Dunlop's sin-binning was another headache, and Graham dashed over for a try, which Howarth converted.  19-29.

Dunlop was soon joined by Curle, another perpetrator of the professional foul, and with a two-man advantage, replacement prop Gary Adams barged over for a try.  Howarth's kick hit the post.  24-29.

It looked like it was going to be an unholy trinity of three losses for Ayr from winning positions when Robertson ran in for his second try.  It went unconverted.  29-29.

A defeat looked certain when Anderson was red-carded for a high tackle.

Ayr didn't quite go to pieces, but they gave away a penalty for holding on and Craig Dods teed up the kick and easily booted it over.  32-29.

Another penalty followed, for offside this time, and Dods repeated his assured kicking.  35-29.

That was it, surely.  Gala's iconic second row Opeta Palepoi was on the charge and it took two Ayr defenders, Fergusson and McPherson, back on after shaking off a foot injury, to bring down the big man.

A wayward Gala kick gave Ayr a glimmer of hope but their line-out was overthrown and although they reclaimed it and Dalgleish streaked away, he had no support.

It was frantic and disorganised from both sides and each showed a lack of patience and composure.

Ayr got a line-out from a Gala infringement and tried and tried to get through that tough Borders defence to find the line.  They didn't lose their heads this time though and Longwell muscled his way over.  It was down to Climo's conversion and he got it.  35-36.

The clock may have ticked past full time, but they played on.  There was just time for eighteen-year-old Lee Scott to make his debut as Dunlop crawled off the pitch with an ankle injury.  Ayr secured their line-out and Taylor happily booted the ball away to bring an exhausting afternoon to an end.

Final score: Gala 35 Ayr 36.

15. Ruairi Howarth; 14. Graham Speirs, 13. Dwayne Burrows, 12. Alan Emond, 11. Craig Robertson; 10. Rex Jeffrey, 9. George Graham; 1. Luke Pettie, 2. Matt Carryer, 3. Chris Keen; 4. Opeta Palepoi, 5. Callum Rowlandson; 6. Craig Borthwick, 7. Liam Scott, 8. Kris Mein.

16. Richard Tod, 17. Gary Adams, 18. Stephen Cairns, 19. Craig Dods, 20. Iain Ross.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Ross Curle (capt), 11. Haddon McPherson; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. Cameron Taylor; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. George Hunter, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Fergus Scott, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Lee Scott, 19. Archie Russell, 20. Russell McKeown.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Ayr Ladies v Aberdeenshire Quines preview

Ayr Ladies have their first home game of the season on Sunday, as they welcome Aberdeenshire Quines to Millbrae for their BT Women's National League Division 1 clash.

It's proving to be a highly competitive league already, so the Ladies know they will have to give it everything against the visitors.  The Quines began their campaign last week with a 29-17 win against Watsonians at home.  But Ayr Ladies have one more match under their belts having started their new season a week earlier than the Quines.  

Ayr Ladies' young back Emily Irving is currently in the Scotland Women national training squad and everyone at Millbrae wishes her well on the comeback trail from a year of injury troubles.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Lauren McBride; 14. Erin McSorley, 13. Daryl Paterson, 12. Laura Turner, 11. Lisa Main; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Kelsey Swift; 1. Lindsay Dick, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Gemma Swankie; 4. Zoe Montgomerie, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Ashleigh Nelson, 7. Rachael Mulholland, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Louise McLauchlan, 17. Michelle Nelson, 18. Jackie O'Neil, 19. Sarah Paterson, 20. Connie Griffiths.

Kick-off 2pm!

Gala v Ayr preview

After two disappointing home games in a row in the BT Premiership, Ayr hope to get back on track against Gala at Netherdale.

It's always a daunting task to go to this Borders stronghold, but the visitors have a good recent record, racking up the tries in the last two visits.  Matches there are never anything but full-blooded and hard-hitting affairs.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester and assistant coaches Glen Tippett and Scott Forrest have put their players through their paces in training this week, and Forrester is sure they're ready for a tough match.

'We are expecting another very physical encounter against a Gala side who will be hurting following last week's defeat at Hawks,' he says.  'For us, we have played a lot of good rugby in the last two weeks but this Saturday it is important that we put in the performance for eighty minutes and take our chances when they come.'

The injury merry-go-round continues, with players hopping on and off the match-day squad list.  Returning is full-back Grant Anderson, who takes over at captain too.  Cameron Taylor moves to his normal position of wing, with Richard Dalgleish dropping to the bench.

In the pack, Will Bordill is back and replaces the injured Graham Fisken, meaning Pete McCallum shuffles along to number eight.

15. Grant Anderson (capt); 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. Alistair Price; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Andrew Dunlop, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Fergus Scott, 17. George Hunter, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Blair Macpherson, 20. Richard Dalgleish.

15. Ruairi Howarth; 14. Graham Speirs, 13. Dwayne Burrows, 12. Alan Emond, 11. Craig Robertson; 10. Rex Jeffrey, 9. George Graham; 1. Luke Pettie, 2. Matt Carryer, 3. Chris Keen; 4. Opeta Palepoi, 5. Callum Rowlandson; 6. Craig Borthwick, 7. Liam Scott, 8. Kris Mein.

16. Richard Tod, 17. Gary Adams, 18. Stephen Cairns, 19. Craig Dods, 20. Iain Ross.

Kick-off 3pm.  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

The 2nd XV kick off at 3pm too, and you can follow their match via the Ultimate Rugby app.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Watch Scotland v Samoa at Millbrae!

Millbrae is the perfect place to watch Scotland's Rugby World Cup match against Samoa if you haven't been lucky enough to get tickets to go in person.

For £10 per person, you can a bucket of beer and a plate of food and there are tables of ten available.  It's a 2.30pm kick-off on Saturday 10th October, and you're welcome at the club from 1.30pm.

See Facebook for more information or contact Colin, our bar steward, on 01292 441944 after 4pm.

During normal clubhouse opening hours (Tuesday-Sunday, from 4pm), all Rugby World Cup matches will be shown at Millbrae throughout the tournament.

Spaces left for Ayr RFC Golf Day

Ayr's annual golf day takes place this Sunday (20th September) and there are two tee-off times spare.  
It's a four-ball Stableford, with a best ball scoring format.  The cost is £50 per person (£15 less if you have a municipal membership), which includes a pre-round breakfast at Belleisle and a post-round pint and two-course meal at the Balgarth Pines.  There will also be a prize-giving at the end of the round.

Get in touch with Andrew Dunlop if interested:

Monday, 14 September 2015

Mixed results for Ayr youngsters

The Ayr youth section welcomed their counterparts from Currie at the weekend in round two of the Club President's competition.

On Saturday, the U18s beat Currie Colts 17-14.  On Sunday, the U16s enjoyed a 60-0 win, while the U15s were unfortunately beaten 12-17.  The S1s and S2s had a tough afternoon, with Currie S1s and S2s triumphing 18-0 and 24-7 respectively.

It's the first of the away fixtures next weekend, as the youngsters head to Stirling County.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Ayr 19 Melrose 23

It was another bad day at the office as Ayr let a 19-3 lead slip and saw a second-half resurgence by Melrose snuff out any chance of a first home victory of the 2015/16 BT Premiership.

The Millbrae men got off to a terrific start, with full-back Cameron Taylor and prop Javan Sebastian making their way into Melrose's half with ease.  The visitors were quick when they did have ball in hand, especially full-back Fraser Thomson and winger Nyle Godsmark, but they gave away a penalty.  Ayr took the line-out, winger Richard Dalgleish flew up the middle of the park and off-loaded perfectly to Frazier Climo, who raced over the line for a superb try on his first appearance in a pink and black shirt in a number of years.  Unfortunately, he couldn't convert his own score.  5-0.

Melrose were certainly up for the challenge and thought they had driven over for a try only to knock on.  The following period of play was marked out by an inordinate amount of line-outs as each side searched for territory.  Ayr got pinned in their own half, though; Melrose were pushing on into their twenty-two and would have got further had it not been for an excellent tackle by winger Haddon McPherson which forced a turnover.
Out of their own half, Ayr stole Melrose's line-out and number eight Graham Fisken charged off with centre Robbie Fergusson in support.  A couple of kicks back and forth worked in Ayr's favour and Fergusson and McPherson dashed up the wing, with prop Steven Longwell and flanker Pete McCallum putting in some fancy footwork too.  But the Melrose defence was ferocious and Ayr were penalised for holding on.

Ayr found themselves down to fourteen men when flanker Andrew Dunlop found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and was sent to the sin bin.  Melrose centre Joe Helps got his team on the scoreboard with a successful penalty kick.  5-3.

The crowd was getting antsy with just two points in it, and it seemed the players were too, with mistakes from both teams.  Second row Scott Sutherland settled the nerves with a solid take at the line-out and Ayr drove on.  A lovely flick pass from Climo to Dalgleish drew the oohs and aahs from the supporters but the nice move was brought to an end by a knock-on.
Dalgleish was on spirited form in the first half and a kick bounced perfectly for him on the wing, but he drifted into touch.  

Another Ayr attack was disrupted by a deliberate knock-on from Melrose, but seconds later, scrum-half Alistair Price took the ball from the line-out, sold a beautiful dummy and shot through a gap in the defence for try.  Climo converted.  12-3.

The second half began in spectacular fashion with replacement prop George Hunter leading the attack.  His strong running along with fantastic handling from hooker Fergus Scott let Fergusson scramble over the line for try number three, which Climo converted.  19-3.

But Melrose slowly clawed their way back into the game, with another penalty by Helps pushing up their score.  19-6.

Climo had a shot at goal too, but the flags didn't go up.

Dalgleish looked like he was about to get on the score sheet as he muscled his way to the try-line, but with two defenders about to pounce, he hacked on.  Alas, he couldn't get to his own kick.  

Fergusson then stepped up to the tee, with Climo on the sidelines.  Despite the crowd cheering, this kick didn't go over either.

Climo's replacement Archie Russell, Price, Dalgliesh and McPherson orchestrated a promising-looking attack, but the ball bobbled off the pitch, and another kick-and-chase up the wing was grounded by the Melrose defence.
Second row Rob McAlpine and centre Danny McCluskey showed a deft touch in the loose, whilst replacement back row Blair Macpherson put on a display of brute force to barge his way through the defence, Melrose flanker Grant Runciman being dragged along the ground behind him.

But mistakes from Ayr were creeping in and combined with Melrose's forward strength gave the visitors the upper hand.  A powerful drive from the line-out saw number eight Graeme Dodds go over for a try.  Replacement back Richard Taylor couldn't convert.  19-11.

Ayr's defence was then caught napping and Thomson motored up the wing for a fine try in the corner.  Taylor again missed the conversion.  19-16.

Price was injured trying to prevent the score and Climo had to be brought back on, with Cameron Taylor switching to scrum-half and Fergusson moving to full-back.  

Ayr worked hard to regain possession, with replacement front row players James Malcolm and D'arcy Rae doing well, but the home team kicked it away.  Melrose's marauding backs took full advantage of Ayr's obvious indecision and winger Sam Pecqueur ran off to the try-line.  Taylor converted.  19-23.

There was one last chance for Ayr as they got into Melrose's half but the line-out was overthrown and although they retrieved it, it was too little too late and a knock-on a few phases later brought to an end what should have been a winning afternoon.

Final score: Ayr 19 Melrose 23.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Kirkcaldy v Ayr Ladies preview

Ayr Ladies have their second away fixture in a row of the 2015/16 BT Women's National League Division 1, as they visit Kirkcaldy on Sunday.

They kicked off the new season last weekend with a hard-fought 17-10 win against Watsonians at Myreside, scoring three tries.  Kirkcaldy, however, did not play last Sunday, and will no doubt will be keen to get their league campaign started with a strong performance at home.

Ayr Ladies were boosted last week by the return of their young back Emily Irving after a lengthy period on the sidelines with injury, and she starts again at scrum-half.  The dynamic back row of Ashleigh Nelson, Jackie O'Neil and Lynda Morgan, who opened the scoring against Watsonians, will be looking to cause Kirkcaldy all kinds of trouble.

The squad continues to develop and expand, and there will be some new faces for fans to see in action when Ayr Ladies have their first home game of the season against Aberdeenshire Quines at Millbrae on Sunday 20th September.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Sammie Morrison; 14. Daryl Paterson, 13. Laura Turner, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Sarah Paterson; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Lindsay Dick, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Gemma Swankie; 4. Rachael Mulholland, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Ashleigh Nelson, 7. Jackie O'Neil, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Michelle Nelson, 17. Zoe Montgomerie, 18. Lisa Main, 19. Lauren McBride, 20. Erin McSorley.

Kick-off 2pm!

Ayr v Melrose preview

Ayr have their second home game in a row this Saturday, as they welcome Melrose to Millbrae for round three of the BT Premiership.

After the disappointment of last week's loss to Boroughmuir, Ayr will be eager to put in a strong performance and provide their loyal supporters with some entertaining rugby.  But teams don't come much tougher than the men from the Greenyards.

'Games between these two clubs are always close and we expect the same again in what will be a physical battle,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester.  'We were extremely disappointed to lose our first home game of the season but spirits are high as we look to get back to winning ways.'

There are still some injury-enforced absences, with Grant Anderson and Ross Curle spending another week on the sidelines.  Cameron Taylor again starts at full-back, David Armstrong at stand-off and Danny McCluskey at inside centre.  Richard Dalgleish comes in for an injured Kerr Gossman.

Robbie Fergusson returns to outside centre after his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors last week.  His fellow Scotstoun debutant Fergus Scott starts at hooker, whilst another young pink and black Warrior, D'arcy Rae, is among the replacements.  Pete McCallum is promoted from the bench after his recent impressive performances.  Scott Sutherland captains the side.

15. Cameron Taylor; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Richard Dalgleish; 10. David Armstrong, 9. Alistair Price; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Javan Sebastian; Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland (capt); 6. Pete McCallum, 7. Andrew Dunlop, 8. Graham Fisken.

16. James Malcolm, 17. George Hunter, 18. D'arcy Rae, 19. Blair Macpherson, 20. Archie Russell.

15. Fraser Thomson; 14. Nyle Godsmark, 13. Bruce Dick, 12. Joe Helps, 11. Sam Pecqueur; 10. Jason Baggott, 9. Murdo McAndrew; 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. Nick Beavon; 4. James Head, 5. Alistair Grieve; 6. Neil Irvine-Hess, 7. Grant Runciman (capt), 8. Graeme Dodds.

16. Ruairi McLeod, 17. Dan Elkington, 18. Andrew Nagle, 19. Tom Galbraith, 20. Richard Taylor.

Kick-off 3pm!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Youngsters off to a good start

It was a busy opening weekend of 2015/16 for Ayr's youth section, with the youngsters recording three wins, a draw and a defeat in the President's Competition.

They were all taking on counterparts from Boroughmuir and on Saturday, the U18s won 61-10.  The rest of the games were played on Sunday, with the U16s winning 27-20 and S1 16-3.  S2 were unfortunately beaten 7-52 and the U15s drew 12-12.

They face teams from Currie this weekend.

The South Ayrshire Schools Conference begins this week, so there's going to be even more youth rugby played throughout the county in the coming months.

SASC kicks off this week

The South Ayrshire Schools Conference gets underway this week, with the new competition spreading the word about rugby throughout the county and giving young talent in the area the chance to compete for their schools.

It begins tomorrow (Wednesday 9th September) with a girls' rugby festival at Queen Margaret Academy.  Then, on Thursday, the boys' competition starts with Belmont Academy taking on Ayr Academy at Rozelle and Girvan Academy hosting QMA.  Prestwick and Kyle Academies take each other on next week.

We'll keep you up-to-date with the competition's progress throughout the autumn.  Finals Night takes place at Millbrae on Friday 13th November.  Find out more here.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Ayr 19 Boroughmuir 22

There was disappointment for Ayr on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Millbrae as they struggled to contain Boroughmuir in the BT Premiership.

Ayr looked full of promise in the opening exchanges, with number eight Blair Macpherson and winger Haddon McPherson shooting off, but a forward pass was called.  The home team had their first chance at points with a penalty, but stand-off David Armstrong pushed the kick wide.

McPherson had another chance when he caught Boroughmuir's twenty-two drop-out and released Armstrong and prop Javan Sebastian.  They were helped by the visitors giving away another penalty, but they just couldn't keep a hold of the ball.  They were either turned over by Boroughmuir's strong forwards or knocked-on.

Winger Kerr Gossman, a late addition to the starting line-up as Cameron Taylor moved from the left wing to full-back in place of an injured Grant Anderson, had a great chance in Boroughmuir's half but tripped on his way to the line.  Armstrong, Taylor and centre Archie Russell looked to be on to something, but Boroughmuir's defenders were on top form.  Another turnover was claimed and they raced off to the try-line, hooker Sean Crombie claiming the score.  Chris Laidlaw slotted the penalty.  0-7.
There was good work from prop Steven Longwell as he managed to charge down a kick by the visitors.  Ayr nabbed the ball, flanker Graham Fisken went on the charge and McPherson sped over in the corner for their opening try.  Armstrong missed the wide conversion.  5-7.

Line-outs were exchanged and although second row Scott Sutherland, scrum-half Ali Price and Macpherson were on the ball, Ayr couldn't get anywhere.  Even the opportunities presented by Boroughmuir's infringements couldn't be capitalised upon.  

The visitors' backs were starting to get into gear and Armstrong, Russell, flanker Will Bordill and hooker James Malcolm had their hands full trying to contain them.  They took their chance at an odd Boroughmuir line-out when nobody from either side jumped for the ball and it was chucked on the ground.  Ayr scooped it up and managed to work their way into a good attacking position, only for it to end up in touch.

Armstrong dislodged the ball from a Boroughmuir attacker shortly after the ensuing line-out and Longwell picked it up, danced his way round two defenders and handed off another.  But yet again, the ball ended up in the hands of a Boroughmuir player.

The Meggatland side infringed again and when Price was pushed trying to take a quick tap-and-go, they were marched back ten metres into their own half, giving Armstrong another penalty chance, which he unfortunately couldn't make just as aircraft roared over as part of the nearby Scottish Airshow.

There seemed to be a general malaise around the home team and their attacking efforts lacked impetus, whilst the visitors, led by their dangerous centres Greg Cannie and Alex Cox, were looking evermore lively.  Laidlaw increased their lead before half-time with a penalty.  5-10.
The second half started with Boroughmuir's menacing number eight Magnus Bradbury causing a headache for Ayr until McPherson put in an excellent low tackle to quickly nullify his threat.  More knocks-on for Ayr followed though and after a long period of pressure, Craig Marshall scored for Boroughmuir.  Laidlaw missed the conversion.  5-15.

Their tails were up and they easily found their way back into Ayr's half, but the men in pink and black turned over and cleared.  Possession switched hands much to the frustration of the crowd until replacement back row Pete McCallum got his hands on the ball and flew off.  Richard Dalgleish, on for an injured Gossman, used his strength and speed to elude the defenders and passed at just the right moment for man of the match Taylor to race in under the posts.  Armstrong converted.  12-15.

Ayr had finally got a spring in their step and when the ball went loose, Bordill kicked it on for Dalgleish and replacement centre Aidan Holland to chase.  They made metres but the referee called everyone back for an infringement.  

Boroughmuir secured possession and Ayr worked hard to pin them in their own half and then earn themselves a scrum.  Sutherland charged off but the lack of support saw him pinged for holding on.  

Boroughmuir were looking edgy, knocking on at the subsequent line-out.  A couple of scrums followed, and a few line-outs too, until Ayr worked their way up to Boroughmuir's line and showed patience until McCallum found a tiny gap to get the ball down for a much celebrated try.  Armstrong brilliantly struck the conversion just as the Red Arrows began swooping about.  19-15.
It was a false dawn for the Millbrae men though.  Boroughmuir were not about to let this one go and they willed themselves into Ayr's half and camped out on the five-metre line.  A pile-up under the posts brought a try, scored by whom, nobody was quite sure.  Their head coach Bruce Aitchison told the press box just to put his name down on the score sheet, much to his own amusement and the dismay of the home crowd.  Laidlaw converted amidst the Boroughmuir celebrations.  19-22.

The referee blew for full-time as soon as the conversion went over.  It was a well deserved victory for Boroughmuir, who went home to Edinburgh happy with their start to the season.  It will be a tough week of training for Ayr as they prepare for another stern test at Millbrae next week, when they welcome Melrose.

Final score: Ayr 19 Boroughmuir 22.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos courtesy of George McMillan.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Watsonians v Ayr Ladies preview

Ayr Ladies start their season with an away fixture against Watsonians at Myreside in Edinburgh on Sunday.

It was a good season for the ladies in pink and black in 2014/15, reaching the BT Plate final at BT Murrayfield and finishing third in the BT Women's National League Division 1.  They've had a tough pre-season, with training resuming at Rozelle and Millbrae under the watchful eye of head coach Stuart Fenwick and Thursday night fitness sessions.  There were challenging warm-up matches with Hillhead/Jordanhill and Cartha Ladies too.

Meanwhile, their opponents are coming off the back of a successful season after winning the BT Bowl and they'll be keen to get off to a winning start at home.  Ayr Ladies, though, are always up for the challenge.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Sammie Morrison; 14. Lisa Main, 13. Laura Turner, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Sarah Paterson; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Lindsay Dick, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Gemma Swankie; 4. Rachael Mulholland, 5. Phoebe McDowall; 6. Ashleigh Nelson, 7. Jackie O'Neil, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Michelle Nelson, 17. Kelsey Brown, 18. Laura Sommerville, 19. Zoe Montgomerie, 20. Erin McSorley.

Kick-off 2pm!

Pink and black weekend!

It's going to be a very busy weekend for several people connected with Ayr RFC.

As well as the 1st and 2nd XVs having their first home league matches on Saturday, Robbie Fergusson and Pat MacArthur have been named in Glasgow Warriors' squad for their opening match of the Pro12 at Scotstoun.  Hooker MacArthur starts, whilst young back Fergusson is amongst the substitutes.  Everyone at Millbrae is very proud of Robbie's progress and will be crossing their fingers that he gets on and shows the Warriors crowd what he's capable of.

At 8pm UK time, Scotland will kick off against France in Paris for the last of their World Cup warm-up matches.  Finn Russell and Mark Bennett start, with Gordon Reid on the bench.

Several of our youth teams are in action this weekend too, as is Ayr Ladies' Connie Griffiths, who will represent Scotland U19s at rugby 7s at the Sainsburys School Games.  Ayr Ladies' 1st XV then get their season underway on Sunday, as they travel to Edinburgh to take on Watsonians.

We wish everyone the very best!

Ayr v Boroughmuir preview

Ayr welcome Boroughmuir to Millbrae on Saturday for the first home game of the season and the visitors' opening encounter in this year's BT Premiership.

'Muir were in action last weekend at BT Murrayfield, where they were narrowly beaten by last year's league champions Heriot's in the BT Charity Shield.  Shortly after, Ayr kicked off their BT Premiership campaign with a heartening 32-3 win against Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland.

Despite the five tries scored last Saturday, Ayr head coach Calum Forrester is keen for further improvement.

'There is still plenty to work on.  It is about building on our performance from last week, and with it being our first home game of the season, we want to put a marker down at Millbrae.'

There are some changes to this week's squad.  After hobbling off injured last week, captain Ross Curle is replaced at inside centre by Danny McCluskey, whose stand-off berth is taken by David Armstrong, with Ali Price starting at scrum-half.  Full-back Grant Anderson takes the captaincy.

The only change in the forwards is Will Bordill's inclusion in place of an unavailable Andrew Dunlop.  Bordill was in Canada with Glasgow Warriors last week, as was George Hunter, who is named on the bench for Ayr.  Aidan Holland, who returned to Ayr from Hull RFC over the summer, is also named in the substitutes.

15. Grant Anderson (capt); 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. David Armstrong, 9. Ali Price; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Graham Fisken, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.

16. Fergus Scott, 17. George Hunter, 18. Pete McCallum, 19. Aidan Holland, 20. Kerr Gossman.

15. Craig Marshall; 14. Ed Farquharson, 13. Alex Cox, 12. Greg Cannie, 11. Jordan Edmunds; 10. Chris Laidlaw, 9. Robbie Smith; 1. Robby Wilson, 2. Sean Crombie, 3. Craig Bachurzewski; 4. Fin Field, 5. Kay; 6. Callum Reid, 7. Andrew Rose (capt), 8. Magnus Bradbury.

16. Leigh Robertson, 17. Cal Davies, 18. Craig Keddie, 19. Johnny Adams, 20. Mark Hare.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live on Twitter.

Please be aware that due the nearby air show, traffic will be heavy in the area, so leave some extra time for your journey to Millbrae.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Connie off to Sainsburys School Games

Ayr Ladies youngster Connie Griffiths will be pulling on the dark blue jersey of Scotland this weekend as she sets off for the Sainsburys School Games.

Connie was voted Ayr Ladies under-18s player of the year at the Ayr RFC end of season awards in May.  She'll be playing in the rugby 7s with her international team-mates and we wish her all the best!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

New lunch deal for the season

We're launching a new scheme for pre-match lunches this season.  For £210, you can attend seven lunches at Millbrae, including entry to the match, and get a seat on a bus to league away fixtures.

Please email or call Jim McLintock on 07771 628636 if interested.