Sunday, 28 February 2016

Stirling County 18 Ayr 32

It was at times an extraordinary match between Stirling County and Ayr in the third round of the BT Cup at Bridgehaugh.

With a call-off last week due to a waterlogged pitch and late confirmation that it would go ahead this weekend, plus Ayr having several key personnel involved in Scotland Club XV and Scotland U20s games, there was an odd atmosphere to the fixture before it had even kicked off.

All the uncertainty seemed to initially affect the visitors, naturally, even if they did have three of their six absentees available in the end.

Despite some snaffling at the first line-out and breaks by flanker Graham Fisken, scrum-half David Armstrong and winger Craig Gossman, they knocked on.

From Stirling's scrum, the hosts shot off and there was no-one at home for Ayr.  Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson streaked away for a try.  Winger Jonny Hope's conversion attempt hit the post.  5-0.

The first of Ayr's casualties was helped from the field, Cameron Taylor limping away to be replaced by centre Ross Curle, fresh from a full eighty minutes as captain of the Scotland Club XV the night before.

Johnson wasn't the only Warrior in the County ranks. New Scotstoun signing Jarrod Firth started at prop and he had a welcome to Scottish rugby that he wouldn't have been expecting when diminutive winger Craig Gossman slammed him to the ground.

Scott Sutherland was escorted to the sidelines with a lower limb injury, and Rob McAlpine - another club internationalist - came off the bench.

Ayr got on the scoreboard thanks to a Frazier Climo penalty.  5-3.

Tempers frayed as the scrum broke up and home hooker Cameron Fenton leapt on prop Javan Sebastian, pinning him to the ground.  Further foul play followed and the referee and his assistants had a short conference before deciding to red card Fenton.

Ayr showed patience in County's twenty-two until Sebastian plunged over for a try.  Climo converted.  5-10.

Stirling kept positive, with number eight Vaka Manu causing all sorts of trouble in the loose.  Ayr centres Danny McCluskey and Richard Dalgleish put in some tough tackles along with Curle but the visitors gave away a penalty.  Hope duly kicked it over.  8-10.

Ayr didn't help themselves by infringing again, holding on this time.  Stirling went for the line-out, allowing speedy full-back Dylan Taikato-Simpson to race off to the try-line.  He didn't make it, but moments later, Hope did, converting his own score.  15-10.

It was scrappy from both sides, with kicks going too far and not far enough.  Ayr full-back Grant Anderson was in his usual steamroller mode, but County managed to turn over.  They were struggling at the set pieces though, their line-out going awry without Fenton.

Ayr's hooker David Young was largely accurate with his throws throughout the afternoon, and McAlpine and Craig Stevenson - the 2nd XV captain on his 1st XV debut - did well in the air.

Ayr had a chance for more points just before half-time but the penalty attempt by Climo was short.

Injuries were mounting up, and County's Hope, who had been having a great game, was seen getting a piggy-back from the field just after the resumption.  Ayr then lost Fisken to a knee injury, although he managed to walk to the sidelines.  He was replaced by Craig Brown.

Handling hit a low for both teams and there were several scrums after knocks-on.  Ayr held firm and flanker Blair Macpherson blasted his way out of his own half.  But they were leaking penalties.  Stand-off Shaun Treweek took over kicking duty.  18-10.

Fourteen-men County had done valiantly in defence for so long, but couldn't keep out Ayr indefinitely.  Armstrong skipped through flailing Stirling bodies before Ayr got a penalty.  From the ensuing line-out, Pete McCallum repeated his try-scoring success from the night before at the club international and got over the line.  Climo converted.  18-17.

Still, the hosts kept their heads up, marauding through Ayr's defence, but it was the handling again that scuppered them.

Ayr fired the ball through the hands of Armstrong, McAlpine and prop Steven Longwell but could get nowhere.  They had a penalty though and got their nose in front when Climo's kick sailed over the cross bar.  18-20.

There were more twists and turns ahead though as Gossman found himself in the sin bin after a misjudged attempt to challenge in the air.

County pressed for Ayr's try-line but strong defence by Curle and Anderson stopped them.  They tried again from another penalty line-out and although they got over, it was disallowed when the assistant referee alerted the referee to a misdemeanor in the run-up to it.  Stirling lock Ed Howgate joined Gossman in the bin.

Even with thirteen players, Stirling would not be bowed.  McCallum and Longwell tried to break away but County threw themselves into defence.

They couldn't catch Climo though.  A beautiful pass from McCallum just on the half-way line let the stand-off loose and he sped away up the wing for a spectacular try.  He left himself a difficult angle to kick the conversion from and he couldn't make it.  18-25.

Everyone began to tire, unsurprisingly, and turned to kicking.  Climo perfectly judged his kick for touch, just on Stirling's five-metre line.  It appeared County had secured the line-out but McAlpine turned bulldozer and before the small crowd knew what had happened, Stevenson had scored a try in the corner.  Climo didn't miss the conversion this time.  18-32.

County, again, found a way through Ayr's defence but Armstrong scurried back to put in a last gasp tackle before they could get to the line.

Ayr gave away a penalty but Stirling over-threw at the line-out.  They did the same moments later when Anderson was sin-binned for a high tackle.

The game disintegrated in the final few minutes, with penalties given away and tired players making mistakes.  Brown charged down a Stirling kick but Ayr could do nothing with it.  Gossman chased a chip all the way to the try-line but couldn't scoop up the ball with Stirling finding something in the reserve tank to swarm round him.

The final whistle went and Ayr were glad to have got through such a tough game against such a determined County side.  They now play GHK in the quarter-finals at Millbrae on Saturday 5th March.

Final score: Stirling County 18 Ayr 32.

15. Grant Anderson (c); 14. Cameron Taylor, 13. Richard Dalgleish, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Steven Longwell, 2. David Young, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Craig Stevenson, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Graham Fisken, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Rob McAlpine, 19. Craig Brown, 20. Ross Curle.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Ayr Ladies v Kirkcaldy Women preview

Ayr Ladies are back in action at Millbrae this Sunday, taking on Kirkcaldy in BT Women's National League Division 1.

Women's fixtures have been hardest hit by the weather and this match is a postponed tie from all the way back in November. After last week's game at Millbrae against Watsonians was cancelled, Ayr Ladies are more than keen to get back on to the field.

They will also be eager to gain some revenge after Kirkcaldy beat them in September, their only defeat of the season so far. The ladies in pink and black are currently joint top of the table with Stewartry Sirens, and, with a game in hand, they will be looking to assert their dominance.

There are some changes to the squad, with Laura Turner returning to inside centre after a few outings in the front row, and Lauren McBride starts at stand-off.

Amongst the substitutes are Gemma Swankie and Ann-Marie Connelly, who could be making long-awaited comebacks after lengthy spells on the sidelines.

15. Samantha Morrison; 14. Sarah P Paterson, 13. Rachael Mulholland, 12. Laura Turner, 11. Nattalie Rooney; 10. Lauren McBride, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Michelle Nelson, 2. Lindsay Dick, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Zoe Montgomerie, 5. Ashleigh Nelson; 6. Jackie O'Neil, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Gemma Swankie, 17. Alex Mailey, 18. Sarah Paterson, 19. Ann-Marie Connelly.

Kick-off 2pm!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Stirling County v Ayr - BT Cup 3rd round preview

Ayr's delayed BT Cup third round clash with Stirling County will go ahead this Saturday at Bridgehaugh, kicking off at 3pm.

The Millbrae men have been training hard throughout the week in preparation for what is sure to be a tough match, made all the more difficult by the inclusion of several players in Scotland matches.

Captain Ross Curle, prop George Hunter, lock Rob McAlpine, flanker Will Bordill and number eight Pete McCallum pull on the dark blue jersey on Friday night for the Scotland Club XV game with the English Counties at Netherdale, whilst hooker Lewis Anderson is on Scotland U20s duty in Italy, where he will start in their Six Nations match.

However, the coaching team of Calum Forrester, Glen Tippett and Scott Forrest have their charges prepared and ready to go.

'Both teams are hoping for a home quarter-final with GHK,' says head coach Forrester, 'so we expect a close match.'


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

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ayr U18s 12 Stirling County U18s 17

It was an enthralling seventy minutes as Ayr U18s took on Stirling County U18s in the National Youth League Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Sunday.

A repeat of last year's U16s' final that ended in a draw, it was just as close this time round.  Both had early attacking opportunities and Stirling had a kick at goal that was unsuccessful.

Props Ruairidh Sayce and Gavin Hollins pressed on out of their own half before a good Ayr line-out allowed winger Jamie Roberts to make for the line.  It was hooker Robbie Smith who rumbled over.  Stand-off Paddy Dewhirst's conversion just missed. 5-0.

Dewhirst and full-back James Baird led the attack, with scrum-half Angus Boyle shoring up the defence.

But Stirling were upping the ante and lock Duncan Hendry sprinted away for a try in the corner which was superbly converted by full-back Logan Trotter. 5-7.

Ayr's second row of Tony Hall and Logan Richardson was working well at the line-out and there was good support play by flanker Seth Rae and captain Alexander Howie.

County had another penalty attempt but missed this one too.  They were slick with ball in hand and Smith, Boyle, winger Mark Conlan and centres Calum Gaw and Harry Lynch were busy in defence.

They were stuck in their own half for much of the end of the first thirty-five minutes, but at the start of the second, they escaped into Stirling's in dramatic fashion as flanker Cameron Reece homed in on a wayward County pass and shot off for a fine try.  Dewhirst converted from in front of the posts. 12-7.

A few minutes later and County almost did the same, but Ayr's defence, led by Boyle, tracked down the attacker before he could reach the line.

Some errors crept into both teams' games and they traded turnovers.  It was Stirling who kept their composure, flanker Wallace Nelson scoring in the corner, with another excellent conversion by Trotter. 12-14.

Roberts sold a brilliant dummy to sneak into Stirling's half but could get no further.  The Bridgehaugh side gave away a penalty for holding on but it was long-range and Dewhirst's kick floated away.

It got scrappy as the clock ticked down and both teams brought on fresh legs.  Ayr's bench of Stuart Collier, Partick McCahill, Fyfe Paterson, Ross Arthur, Lewis Young, TJ Bunten and Rory McMurray was busy all afternoon, and they made their mark in the second half when the team needed a boost.

Stirling County, however, were just too good.  Another kick at goal, a penalty, by Trotter stretched their lead. 12-17.

There was a valiant final push by Ayr as they camped out in the opposition half, but that tough defence couldn't be broken down and County happily booted the ball out to secure the win and the cup.

After the U16s' final, this was another heartening display of quality rugby with both Ayr and Stirling County playing their part.

Final score: Ayr U18s 12 Stirling County 17.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos copyright Alan Graham.

Ayr U16s 36 Highland U16s 13

Ayr U16s put on a dominant display in the second half of an entertaining game against a determined Highland U16s side to lift the National Youth League Cup on Sunday at BT Murrayfield.

Ayr started well with their lively wingers, Ollie Smith and Chris Easton, on the attack and good poaching by second rows Kameron Beck and John Neil at the line-out.

Outside centre Cammy Black and full-back Grant Hutton were speedy, and scrum-half Jake Jacobson superbly handed off a tackler before Easton made for the line, only to be forced into touch.

There was good scrummaging from both teams but Highland gained the upper hand and got the first points on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty by stand-off Jamie Carson. 0-3.

Ayr hooker Scott Clelland burst through the defence but stand-off Ross McCorkindale was hurt in the melee and was replaced by Jack Harris.

Forwards and backs combined well to push Ayr into Highland's twenty-two, and showed great patience until Harris flew over in the corner for the opening try.  Inside centre Jack Gaw's conversion was just short. 5-3.

Despite steady set pieces by both teams, play became rather frantic as the first half drew to a close.  Another penalty by Carson put Highland in the lead. 5-6.

Ayr moved up a gear at the resumption, with energetic play by captain Rollo Press and replacement Declan Bryce.

Smith and prop Jack McDougall were jinking their way through the defence until Jacobson darted over for a try that Gaw converted. 12-6.

Flankers Mitchell Wyllie and Olly Mossie had been instrumental at the break down and Black was getting in on the act too before Gaw stepped up to kick a penalty. 15-6.

Highland got a few good turnovers but couldn't clear, with Hutton secure under the high ball.  Again, it was patience that helped Ayr and they eventually breached the defence for McDougall to score.  Gaw's conversion hit the post but went over. 22-6.

Highland didn't let their tails drop and showed pleasing creativity to make their way into Ayr's half with a deft chip.

Despite strong tackling by Ayr prop Craig Miller, Highland found the try-line, winger Jack Doherty going over.  Carson's conversion just cleared the crossbar. 22-13.

There were exciting bursts by Gaw and replacement Harris, who, like Harry Ledgerwood and the three Jacks of Yuille, Rennie and Burns, made a real impact from the bench.

It was another substitute, Kerr Borland, who barged through the Highland defenders to get Ayr's fourth try after they had twice been held up.  Gaw was on song with the boot, converting with ease. 29-13.

There was just time for a last try as Black raced off from the fifty-metre line and dotted down to the delight of his team-mates and the travelling support.  Gaw again converted. 36-13.

It was a game fit for the main pitch at BT Murrayfield and both teams can proud of their high standard of rugby.

Final score: Ayr U16s 36 Highland U16s 13.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos copyright Alan Graham.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

National Youth League Cup finals day preview

Ayr will be hoping to turn BT Murrayfield pink and black on Sunday afternoon as the U16s and U18s aim to win their respective National Youth League Cup finals at the home of Scottish Rugby.

Both matches will be played on the main pitch, with the U16s first up at 2pm against Highland.

It's sure to be a close contest as they have played each other twice in the Club President's Conference this season and each side had a victory. But Ayr will be boosted by their 43-5 win against Boroughmuir to reach this final and will be hoping for a similar performance.

The U18s take to the turf at 4pm against Stirling County, and it is a repeat of last year's exciting U16s' final when they drew 17-17 and both clubs shared the silverware.

Ayr will want to claim the cup outright on Sunday, but County have one of the best youth sections in the country and it will be a difficult task.

The Millbrae boys, however, are used to tough matches, none more so than their 10-7 semi-final win against Melrose last month that was played in a howling gale. The forecast is more favourable for Sunday and some excellent rugby in both finals is predicted.

Everyone at Ayr RFC wishes the players and coaches the very best and is extremely proud of all their hard work over the season.

Ayr U16s:
15. Grant Hutton; 14. Chris Easton, 13. Cammy Black, 12. Jack Gaw, 11. Ollie Smith; 10. Ross McCorkindale, 9. Jake Jacobson; 1. Jack McDougall, 2. Scott Clelland, 3. Craig Miller; 4. Kameron Beck, 5. John Neil; 6. Mitchell Wylie, 7. Olly Mossie, 8. Rollo Press.

16. Jack Yuille, 17. Jack Rennie, 18. Kerr Borland, 19. Harry Ledgerwood, 20. Jack Burns, 21. Declan Bryce, 22. Jack Harris.

Ayr U18s:
15. James Baird; 14. Mark Conlan, 13. Calum Gaw, 12. Harry Lynch, 11. Jamie Roberts; 10. Paddy Dewhirst, 9. Angus Boyle; 1. Gavin Hollins, 2. Robbie Smith, 3. Ruairidh Sayce; 4. Logan Richardson, 5. Tony Hall; 6. Cameron Reece, 7. Seth Rae, 8. Alexander Howie.

16. Stuart Collier, 17. Paddy McCahill, 18. Ross Arthur, 19. Fyfe Paterson, 20. Lewis Young, 21. TJ Bunten, 22. Rory McMurray.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Five Ayr men in Club XV opener

Ayr captain Ross Curle will lead the Scotland Club XV when they face the English Counties next week, with four other Millbrae men in the starting line-up.

George Hunter, Rob McAlpine, Will Bordill and Pete McCallum will join Curle on Friday 26th February at Netherdale for the first of the club internationals, with McCallum making his debut.

Kick-off is 7.30pm. We wish them all the best.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Supporters' buses for youth finals at BT Murrayfield

Ayr U16 and U18 boys have reached their respective National Youth Cup finals at BT Murrayfield this Sunday (21st February) and the club will be organising buses for supporters.

The U16s play Highland at 2pm, and the U18s taking on Stirling County at 4pm, with both matches on the main pitch at the national stadium.

Buses will leave Millbrae at 11.30am on Sunday and return from BT Murrayfield at 6pm.  It will be £10 per person (no concessions).  All those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  The matches themselves are free to attend.

To book your place, please call Elena on 07788 824835 by Thursday at 6pm, or

If anyone is looking for some new kit for the finals (players or supporters), please email Sarah at to order items.

There are plenty of shorts and socks in stock, and there is a 20% discount on all Puma training wear.

You can reserve your order to collect this week or on Saturday or Sunday before the finals.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

U16s reach national final

Ayr U16 boys last night followed in the footsteps of the U18s by reaching the National Youth Cup final.

They took to the artificial back pitch of BT Murrayfield for their delayed semi-final with Boroughmuir and won 43-5.

They will return to the home of Scottish Rugby for the final on Sunday 21st February.

Unfortunately, the U18 girls won't be progressing in their national cup after they were beaten 58-0 by a combined Hillhead and Stirling team in the quarter-finals on Wednesday evening.  It was a great effort by the girls in pink and black against such a strong side.

Thanks to John Yuille for the photo.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ayr Girls in U15s and U18s Cup action

Ayr Girls will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ayr Ladies by progressing to the semi-finals of the U15s and U18s National Cups.

The U15s face Cartha Queens Park at home on Sunday 21st February, 2pm, and the U18s are away to Hillhead/Stirling on Wednesday 10th February, 7pm.

We wish both teams the best of luck!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Ayr Ladies at Scotland U20s camp

Ayr Ladies' Catherine Shennan, Kelsey Swift and Phoebe McDowall have been at a training camp with Scotland Women U20s.

It culminated in a friendly match on Sunday against RAF Ladies, which the young Scots won 25-5.

Three other Ayr Ladies players were in action at the weekend, as they competed in an East v West match at Scotstoun on Sunday.

Michelle Nelson and Jackie O'Neil turned out for West, whilst Lindsay Dick stepped in to help out East when they found themselves without a hooker.  East won 28-20.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Gossman named January POTM

Ayr's flying winger Craig Gossman has been voted January's player of the month, taking 27% of the online poll.

The quintessential pocket rocket scored two tries against Selkirk and put in a mighty defensive display against Stirling County last month to impress fans and supporters.

Craig receives a £50 voucher courtesy of Slaters Menswear.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

BT Cup draws made

The BT Cup is already underway and Ayr will join the action at the third round stage.

They have been drawn to face Stirling County away on Saturday 20th February.

After Ayr Ladies' terrific win over Melrose last Sunday, they have been drawn to play Hillhead Jordanhill Ladies at home in the Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final on Sunday 27th March.

Anderson in U20s squad for England match

Ayr's young hooker Lewis Anderson has been named in the Scotland U20s squad for their opening match of the Six Nations against England.

They kick-off at 8pm on Friday at Broadwood Stadium, and Anderson is among the replacements of a very experienced team.

We wish him and his team-mates the best of luck.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Smith in U18s squad

Ayr's Robbie Smith has been named amongst the forwards in the Scotland U18s squad of home-based players who will play in a friendly at Peffermill on Sunday.

They will take on Scottish U18s players who are based elsewhere before the large squad is narrowed down in time for their game with England next month.

Read the full story from Scottish Rugby.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Ladies' lunch pushed back to next season

Ayr RFC's hugely popular ladies' lunches have been a regular fixture on the local social scene, with two events organised a season.  Unfortunately, the lunch scheduled for the latter half of 2015/16 will not now take place.

Due to cancellations and postponements of fixtures thanks to the weather, it's been decided that the next ladies' lunch will be at the start of the 2016/17 season, and it's going to be the biggest ever.

It will be in a marquee at the club and tickets will be between £30 and £35.  Please get in touch with organiser Eilidh Goodwin to secure your place as there are seven tables already booked!

Eilidh would also like to hear your ideas about charities, food, drink and entertainment for the event as she aims to keep Ayr RFC ladies' lunches at the top of the social calendar.

Drop Eilidh an email ( or give her a call, 07879 671272.

Six Nations half-time pies

We will be screening all of the Six Nations games live in the clubhouse at Millbrae, and there will be free half-time pies during Scotland's matches.

Saturday 6th February - Scotland v England, 4.50pm.
Saturday 13th February - Wales v Scotland, 4.50pm.
Saturday 27th February - Italy v Scotland, 2.25pm.
Sunday 13th March - Scotland v France, 3pm.
Saturday 19th March - Ireland v Scotland, 5pm.

Ayr Ladies 24 Melrose Ladies 18

Ayr Ladies put in a calm, mature performance to overcome Melrose Ladies under the floodlights at Marr College and reach the semi-finals of the Sarah Beaney Cup for the first time.

On paper, it looked like the BT Premiership visitors should have eased to the next round of the national cup, facing a team from the league below.  But the ladies in pink and black were ready for the challenge posed by the big hitters from the Borders.

The early exchanges were all Melrose, as they took the ball with pace and were helped by several penalties given away by the hosts.  But, as with Ayr Ladies, they were slightly caught unawares by the artificial surface in Troon, their kicks bouncing too far.

With a few weeks to prepare for this clash after it was postponed at the start of January, the ladies in pink and black had clearly been focussing on their set pieces, as they were sturdy at the scrum and confident at the line-out.

But they kept leaking penalties, although Melrose couldn't capitalise, a kick at goal hitting the crossbar.

They got into gear in attack, captain Laura Turner leading the way and flanker Rachael Mulholland charging through the defence.  A few handling errors - to be expected on such a dreich day - from both sides crept in.

When Melrose strayed off-side, Ayr quickly took the penalty, with full-back Samantha Morrison heading for the try-line, backed up by Mulholland.  They couldn't get over, but fired the ball through the backs until centre Kelsey Swift dotted down.  The conversion was too wide an angle for stand-off Catherine Shennan.  5-0.

Melrose were desperate to get into the game, but Ayr's defence was strong, with second rows Phoebe McDowall and Ashleigh Nelson and prop Louise McLauchlan putting in huge tackles.

With no way through the pink and black wall, the visitors took the chance to get on the scoreboard with a sweetly struck drop goal.  5-3.

Ayr got the ball moving again, with great hands by Shennan, Nelson, centre Linsey Bunten, hooker Lisa Croniken, scrum-half Emily Irving and wingers Lauren McBride and Erin McSorley.  Melrose showed their pedigree, though, poaching back possession.

Croniken found herself in the sin bin for a professional foul and Melrose's classy backs created a converted try.  5-10.

Melrose - and the artificial pitch - put Morrison under pressure, but she made some great catches throughout the match.  It was one such take just before half-time that got Ayr out of their own half and allowed Irving to race away for a try, which Shennan converted.  12-10.

Ayr didn't tire in the second half, their scrum remaining strong, and players looking fresh in the drizzle.  Flanker Lynsey Turner made several darting runs in Melrose's half. 

With one of the ladies from the Greenyards yellow-carded, Ayr took their chance and it was Scotland international Irving who found her way over, scoring at the base of the post.  Shennan duly converted.  19-10.

Melrose closed the gap with a penalty moments later.  19-13.

Ayr weren't about to defend their lead, but increase it.  Number eight Lynda Morgan led the way, with Irving, McDowall and Lynsey Turner in support.  They punished Melrose at the scrum and Morgan charged for the line.  Shennan couldn't convert.  24-13.

Some enormous tackles by the visitors stopped Ayr momentarily, but they were back up at the try-line again, Shennan, Mulholland and Irving trying to find a way through.

There was a blow for Ayr as Irving was attended to and then carried from the pitch with a lower leg injury.  She brought a real cutting edge to the game, and her team-mates carried on that vein.

Another knock for Ayr was the loss of captain Turner to the sin bin for a professional foul and it was a tense final ten minutes as they finished the match with only fourteen players.

Replacement back Connie Griffiths put in a sterling effort in attack, but a try by Melrose was inevitable.  It went unconverted.  24-18.

With no pitch-side clock at the school playing fields, neither team knew how much time was left.  But the visitors continued to work hard to salvage a game that had been wrested away from them by the tenacious and spirited Ayr Ladies.

The hosts pinned them in their own half, so despite some good possession, they couldn't get any further points. 

There was a bit of confusion at the end, as the referee's whistle - no doubt sodden after eighty minutes of non-stop rain - was barely audible to the large crowd of supporters on the sidelines.  But the players heard it and celebrated a great achievement for everyone involved.

Final score: Ayr Ladies 24 Melrose 18.

- Elena Hogarth.

Ayr Ladies wish to thank their sponsors for all their generous support: Imrie Sawmill, Bryce Thomson Builders, Dermalounge, Solway Systems, Lynda Morgan Fitness, McColm Engineering, Arran Energy, DF Hamilton Timber.