Thursday, 31 March 2016

Ayr v Melrose - BT Premiership semi-final preview

Another week, another semi-final with Melrose at Millbrae, this time with a place in the BT Premiership final up for grabs.

There's an optimistic mood in the Ayr camp after a good week of preparation, and a determination to put on a big display for the loyal pink and black army of fans.

'This weekend cannot come quickly enough for the players,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester. 'After reviewing Saturday's match, training has been extremely positive, and the focus for us will be on putting in a full eighty-minute performance.'

He continues: 'There is no bigger carrot for us than to host the BT Premiership final.'

There are two changes to the starting line-up, with Glasgow Warriors' winger Junior Bulumakau moving from the bench and prop Javan Sebastian taking his place in the front row alongside George Hunter and David Young.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Junior Bulumakau, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. David Young, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.


15. Fraser Thomson; 14. Joe Helps, 13. Nyle Godsmark, 12. George Taylor, 11. Sam Pacqueur; 10. Tom Galbraith, 9. Bruce Colvine (c); 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. Nick Beavon; 4. James Head, 5. Lewis Carmichael; 6. Neil Irvine-Hess, 7. Grant Runciman, 8. Graeme Dodds.

16. George Turner, 17. Ruaridh McLeod, 18. Ewan McQuillan, 19. Ally Miller, 20. Ruaridh Knott, 21. Murdo McAndrew, 22. Richard Mill.

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

McCallum is Feb/Mar POTM

Number eight Pete McCallum has been voted player of the month for February and March, taking 17% of the online poll.

It was a close-run vote in the end, with Frazier Climo, Craig Gossman, David Armstrong and Steven Longwell all vying with McCallum for the title.

The versatile back row player was also POTM for November 2013 and October 2014. He receives a Slaters Menswear voucher.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Ayr Ladies 0 Hillhead/Jordanhill 108

Premier League side Hillhead/Jordanhill ran in eighteen tries against Ayr Ladies in the Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final at Millbrae on Sunday, but the home team can still feel proud of getting to the last four of the national cup for the first time.

It was always going to be an enormous challenge to go up against one of the best women's teams in the country, but Ayr were up for the challenge from the start. The scrum held steady in the early stages and there were attempts to run the ball out of their own half. Hills turned over and sprinted away for their first try, which they converted. 0-7.

The visitors tried to put their foot down, but Ayr number eight Lynda Morgan, flankers Rachael Mulholland and Lynsey Turner and winger Erin McSorley put in solid tackles.

It was a worry for the Millbrae ladies when vice-captain Laura Turner went down with a knee injury. She managed to carry on but was later substituted.

There was good work in the loose by front row Louise McLauchlan, Lisa Croniken and Gemma Swankie, but Hills raced off again for an unconverted try. 0-12.

Mulholland and Morgan displayed great hands, with scrum-half Emily Irving and stand-off Catherine Shennan trying to jink round the Hills defence, but another turn-over followed and Hills scored. It went unconverted. 0-17.

Another three scores quickly followed, despite tough tackling by McLauchlan and second rows Ashleigh Nelson and Phoebe McDowall. 0-34.

Croniken was on form at the scrum and in attack but Hills were in control at the breakdown. It was a tough match, with Irving and McSorley needing treatment by Hills' physio. They played on though, typifying Ayr Ladies' spirit.

Hills scored just before half-time and converted. 0-41.

They added another after the resumption, but Ayr were still tracking them down. Ann-Marie Connelly, on for Laura Turner, centre Kelsey Swift and Lynsey Turner combined well to bundle a speedy attacker into touch.

Two further tries followed, and despite a kick and chase by Shennan, Ayr just couldn't get through the water-tight Ayr defence. 0-60.

Winger Lauren McBride and full-back Samantha Morrison were tackling well, but again Hills raced away for another four tries. 0-82.

Three more took the team from Hughenden past a century. 0-101.

Fresh legs for Ayr helped, with forwards Zoe Montgomerie and Michelle Nelson taking the ball out of their own half. Shennan and Swift, both back in a pink and black shirt after a spell in a dark blue one for Scotland U20s, showed off some fancy moves to cheer the large crowd.

Hills had the last say, getting a converted try to bring the game to an end and send them into yet another Sarah Beaney Cup final. 0-108.

Ayr Ladies can hold their heads high, knowing they gave it their all, and did Ayr RFC proud with their cup run.

- Elena Hogarth.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

February/March POTM poll open

The player of the month poll, sponsored by Slaters Menswear, for February and March is now open.

The public vote will close on Thursday at midday, with the winner announced via social media and on our website shortly after.

Vote here.

Ayr 13 Melrose 20

There was disappointment on Saturday as Melrose beat Ayr in the BT Cup semi-finals on a rainy afternoon in front of a full house at Millbrae.

Although there had been pre-match drizzle, the wet weather had subsided and early on it looked like the two teams might attempt some form of running rugby, but the first points on the board came from a Joe Helps penalty for Melrose. 0-3.

Ayr knew they were in for a tough afternoon, and number eight Pete McCallum, centre Danny McCluskey, stand-off Frazier Climo, hooker David Young and flanker Will Bordill put in the hard graft with tackles. There was some impressive play by scrum-half David Armstrong as he acrobatically juggled to keep the ball in play.

There were lots of kicks and line-outs and turnovers and knocks-on as expected on such a soggy surface and although it was absorbing to watch in terms of tension, it wasn't pretty at times.

Ayr worked their way steadily to Melrose's five-metre line thanks to a dummy by Climo, but captain Ross Curle's chip for the line was gathered by the visitors. They couldn't clear, however, Armstrong taking the kick well. Full-back Grant Anderson and second row Rob McAlpine were let loose before the ball got to the hands of winger Craig Gossman. He danced along the touchline for a try. Climo had a horribly angled conversion, but it sailed over. 7-3.

Curle was trying to make some magic happen and he ran on to a long pass from winger Richard Dalgleish and set off to gasps from the crowd but couldn't get through that sturdy Borders defence.

Climo had the chance to extend Ayr's lead but his penalty hit the post. Melrose gathered but couldn't clear, the kick caught by flanker Blair Macpherson, with prop D'arcy Rae taking it on and bashing through the black and yellow shirts. Climo had a second chance and took it. 10-3.

The rain was now battering down but Melrose centre George Taylor set off on an excursion that went dangerously close to Ayr's line, Armstrong sprinting through the mud to stop him just in time. As Melrose camped out within millimetres of the whitewash, Bordill infringed and found himself in the sin bin.

Ayr couldn't cope without him at the scrum and the referee awarded a penalty try, converted by Helps. 10-10.

Prop George Hunter, Rae and Macpherson tried to get Ayr moving, and Armstrong flicked a gorgeous pass to Gossman on the touchline; he released Curle, but the captain could only pass it to the opposition.

Possession went back and forth as the half drew to a close, and Melrose impressed with their intrepid attempts to run the ball. Armstrong, who, along with second row Scott Sutherland, seemed to be everywhere all afternoon, shut them down.
Climo had another shot at goal just after the resumption but it went wide. Moments later, after some zig-zagging through the defence by Armstrong, he had another go and got it. 13-10.

Ayr brought on fresh legs in the form of prop Javan Sebastian and winger Junior Bulumakau, who both carried well.

The home team couldn't take advantage of the visitors' indiscipline and ill-advised comments to the referee that saw them marched back ten metres. Bordill went for the line but was pinged for holding on.

Ayr began to exert pressure but it mattered not as Curle ended up in the sin bin for a tackle lacking in arms. Melrose went for the posts after a lengthy discussion about which ball to use and unfortunately Helps missed. Just like Climo, another opportunity presented itself and he took it. 13-13.

It looked like extra time loomed, especially when Helps missed another kick at goal. But this Melrose team can never be counted out. After what seemed like an eternity of them lurking on Ayr's five-metre line, prop Nick Beavon barged over for a try under the posts. Helps converted. 13-20.

There was no coming back for Ayr, try as they might. A few minutes remained on the clock but they got pinned in their own half. A final knock-on brought the final whistle and Melrose celebrated reaching another cup final. But before then, they will return to Millbrae next week for the BT Premiership semi-final and what will surely be another closely contested match.

Final score: Ayr 13 Melrose 20.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by George McMillan.

Ayr Ladies v Hillhead/Jordanhill - Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final preview

Ayr Ladies host Hillhead/Jordanhill at Millbrae in their Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final on Sunday.

It's an exciting game for the home team as they make this stage of the national cup for the first time and take on another Premier League side after they beat Melrose in the quarter-finals.

The ladies in pink and black welcome back Scotland Women U20 internationalists Catherine Shennan and Kelsey Swift, as well as captain Gemma Swankie.

There is a great squad of players this season and they will be raring to go against Hills.

15. Samantha Morrison; 14. Lauren McBride, 13. Laura Turner, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Erin McSorley; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Louise McLauchlan, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Gemma Swankie (c); 4. Phoebe McDowall, 5. Ashleigh Nelson; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Michelle Nelson, 17. Zoe Montgomerie, 18. Sarah Paterson, 19. Ann-Marie Connelly, 20. Nattalie Rooney, 21. Lisa Main, 22. Alex Mailey.

Kick-off 2pm!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Ayr v Melrose - BT Cup semi-final preview

Ayr welcome Melrose to Millbrae on Saturday for the first of their two semi-final encounters.

This BT Cup tie is the headline act of an action-packed weekend for Ayr RFC, with Millbrae RFC kicking off at 3pm on the 2nds' pitch against Grangemouth Stags in the BT Bowl semi-final and Ayr Ladies' Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final with Hillhead/Jordanhill at Millbrae on Sunday, 2pm, rounding up a busy and exciting two days.

Rested after their final league game a fortnight ago, Ayr are raring to go for the cup game before facing Melrose again next week in the BT Premiership play-off semi-final.

'Games between these two sides are always hugely physical,' says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester, 'and we expect the same again, as well as a contest between two sides who like to play running rugby. The players are looking forward to the challenge this weekend.'

There are some welcome returnees to the squad, with Scott Sutherland having overcome injury to bring his experience to the second row, and Glasgow Warriors' Junior Bulumakau appears amongst the substitutes.

Scotland Club XV captain Ross Curle leads Ayr once again, with George Hunter, Rob McAlpine, Will Bordill and Pete McCallum all starting against several Melrose players they were lining up alongside in last week's win in Ireland.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Ross Curle (c), 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. David Young, 3. D'arcy Rae; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. Javan Sebastian, 18. Craig Stevenson, 19. Andrew Dunlop, 20. Jack Preston, 21. Archie Russell, 22. Junior Bulumakau.

15. Nyle Godsmark; 14. Joe Helps, 13. George Taylor, 12. Andrew Nagle, 11. Sam Pecqueur; 10. Tom Galbraith, 9. Bruce Colvine (c); 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. Nicholas Beavon; 4. James Head, 5. Lewis Carmichael; 6. Neil Irvine-Hess, 7. Grant Runciman, 8. Graeme Dodds.

16. George Turner, 17. Ruaridh McLeod, 18. Ewan McQuillan, 19. Ally Miller, 20. Ruaridh Knott, 21. Murdo McAndrew, 22. Richard Mill.

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Semi-finals Weekend!

Three national semi-finals, two days, one club!

This weekend sees Ayr RFC aim to reach three finals with three different teams.

On Saturday, Ayr play Melrose in the BT Cup semi-final and Millbrae RFC take on Grangemouth Stags in the BT Bowl semi-final, both kicking off at 3pm.

On Sunday, Ayr Ladies face Hillhead/Jordanhill in the Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final at 2pm.

All games take place at Millbrae and we need our army of pink and black fans to turn out in force and support all three teams. The winners will play their finals at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 16th April and it would be something very special to have three teams from the same club compete in national finals at the home of Scottish Rugby.

We can't forget our youth teams, who have a pretty exciting weekend too. Ayr U15 girls are at BT Murrayfield on Friday night to play Caithness/Orkney in the Scottish Shield final.

On Sunday, Ayr U15 boys play Kilmarnock at home in the final of the West Regional Bowl. Ayr U16 boys were due to be away to GHA in their West Regional Cup final but this has now been postponed to a later date because of the Easter holidays.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

BT Cup and BT Premiership semi-finals admission prices

We're getting ready to welcome Melrose to Millbrae two weeks in a row for the BT Cup semi-finals and the BT Premiership play-off semi-finals, and there will be differing admission prices for each tie.

For the BT Cup match on Saturday 26th March, admission will be £10 for adults (including members), £6 concessions (over-65s and students) and free for under-18s. Season tickets are valid for this match.

Please note that as Millbrae RFC will also be kicking off at 3pm against Grangemouth Stags on Saturday 26th March in the BT Bowl semi-final on the 2nd XV pitch at Millbrae, those coming to watch this match will be charged the above admission prices too.

For the BT Premiership semi-final match on Saturday 2nd April, admission will revert to the usual prices.

The revenue from admission for both games will be split between Ayr RFC and Melrose. 

Ayr well represented in dark blue

It's another jam-packed international weekend, and there will be plenty of familiar faces pulling on the dark blue jersey of Scotland.

The Scotland Club XV take on their Irish counterparts in Cork on Friday night, led by Ayr captain Ross Curle. Pete McCallum, Will Bordill, Rob McAlpine and George Hunter start too, and after their excellent win against the English Counties, they will be hoping for another victory.

Also on Friday evening, Scotland U20s are in action in their Six Nations match with Ireland. Ayr hooker Lewis Anderson amongst the substitutes and he is joined in the squad by second row Lee Scott, who will be hoping to make his international debut from the bench.

On Sunday, Scotland Women U20s will play Belgium and Ayr Ladies' Catherine Shennan and Kelsey Swift are in the squad travelling to Brussels.

There was a friendly against Japan U19s on Wednesday night and Paddy Dewhirst, Lewis Young, Ruairidh Sayce, Mark Conlon and Gregor Paxton (pictured above) turned out for Scotland.

We're always delighted to see our players do well across all age grades and levels and we wish them the best of luck as they represent their club and country with pride!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Pre-match lunches at both semi-finals

We're gearing up for our BT Cup and BT Premiership semi-finals, both against Melrose, and there are places available at the pre-match lunches for each fixture.

The three-course meal, featuring speakers and a raffle, is £25 per person, and that includes entry to the match. Lunch starts at 1pm and the game kicks off at 3pm.

Saturday 26th March - Ayr v Melrose, BT Cup semi-final.
Saturday 2nd April - Ayr v Melrose, BT Premiership play-off semi-final.

Please email Eddie Cattell on to book your place.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Hawick 10 Ayr 26

It is a truth universally acknowledged that should the Borders ever be plunged into a drought of Saharan conditions, the pitch at Mansfield Park would still be soggy.

Even with a few weeks' break whilst Hawick decamped to Netherdale it was still muddy on Saturday for the greens' last game of the season against Ayr.

Both sides attempted running rugby in the initial stages, with Ayr winger Haddon McPherson, flanker Blair Macpherson and Hawick stand-off Rory Hutton giving it a go.

A couple of penalties and a few fumbles by both sides - the first of many - followed before Ayr worked their way into Hawick's half. A steady line-out thanks to hooker David Young and second row Rob McAlpine, both of whom were on reliable form all day, launched a textbook drive and flanker Will Bordill crashed over for a try. Centre and captain Ross Curle converted. 0-7.

It was a busy afternoon for Bordill as he was as sturdy in defence as attack, as was winger Craig Gossman and scrum-half Ali Price.

Hawick got on the score board thanks to a Lee Armstrong penalty. 3-7.

It was a bad tempered match at times and a beautiful take in the air by full-back Grant Anderson came to nothing as proceedings were halted when a scuffle broke out.

Anderson had another go shortly after when a lovely flick pass by stand-off David Armstrong to Curle got Ayr into Hawick's twenty-two. The move was carried on by prop George Hunter before some poaching at the line-out by McAlpine and deft touches in attack by centre Archie Russell.

But these were fleeting moments of excitement as play got messy and there was an interminably dull period of pointless kicks.

More indiscipline marred things, with flanker Macpherson and second row Andrew Dunlop targeted off the ball and winger McPherson penalised for back chat.

Hawick took the initiative and their number eight Stuart Graham was off as fast as he could go in the increasingly churned up turf. The soft ground was no problem for stand-off Rory Hutton as he sprinted away for a try under the posts, converted by Armstrong. 10-7.

The home team were almost away again but some hefty tackles by Ayr's Armstrong and prop Javan Sebastian stopped them.

More frantic, loose play followed, with breaks by Russell and Price, a chip by Macpherson and an interception by Dunlop but there were as many errors.

It looked like Ayr would never get into gear properly until Curle flew under the posts for a try that he converted himself just on half-time. 10-14.

There were personnel changes for the visitors at the resumption, as Lee Scott and D'arcy Rae replaced the injured Dunlop and Sebastian respectively.

Hawick were getting close to scoring but there was stellar defensive work by Gossman, Armstrong, Curle and Anderson.

They were called upon again when Hawick's Armstrong, second row and captain Bruce McNeil and full-back Kirk Ford pressed for the line.

Ayr managed to turn defence into attack and a great break by Armstrong preceded another lovely pass to Russell. He couldn't get to the whitewash but Ayr did get a penalty. As they were going for the score, Hawick replacement Terry Skeet committed a professional foul and found himself in the sin bin.

Moments later and Ayr's number eight Pete McCallum scored from the back of a scrum. It was a conversion attempt from a wide angle and Curle did extremely well to get it, especially after some heckling by a gentleman in the crowd during his run-up. 10-21.

Scott, Bordill and Craig Stevenson (on for Macpherson) displayed good handling but it all descended into needless antagonism. This time there was no ticking off by the referee but a red card for McPherson.

Ayr got their heads down and worked hard to get out of their own half. But shirt pulling and silly shoving ensued, again in the same part of the pitch as the other incidents, like the Bermuda Triangle of Mansfield Park.

Despite the man advantage, with Skeet back on, Hawick couldn't get anywhere. There were knocks-on galore by both sides.

Brian Kelly made his debut for Ayr, replacing Bordill, getting straight into action at the line-out, with the visitors poaching again. McCallum barged his way through defenders and McAlpine showed some gas.

Another line-out followed after a high tackle by Hawick and Price scooted over for a try. Curle couldn't convert. 10-26.

Hawick had one last go at a score, with replacement Mathew Douglas firing into the defence but Gossman, Russell and Scott were on hand to close him down and Ayr turned over to bring the last messy, muddy BT Premiership match of the season to an end and cement their place at the top of the table for 2015/16.

The BT Premiership play-off semi-finals take place on Saturday 2nd April, with Ayr facing Melrose at home, and Currie taking on Heriot's.

Final score: Hawick 10 Ayr 26.

- Elena Hogarth.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Hawick v Ayr preview

Ayr will finally wrap up their regular BT Premiership campaign on Saturday as they take on Hawick at Mansfield Park.

The Millbrae men have an unassailable lead in the league and will face Melrose at home in the play-off semi-finals on Saturday 2nd April (a week after they play the Greenyards team in the BT Cup semi-finals), and are looking to continue their good form of late with a last hurrah in the BT Premiership.

The match has twice been postponed after Hawick's ground flooded this winter and due to several players being on Scotland Club XV duty, and with the pitch still soggy, Hawick's last two matches were played at Netherdale. But the weather has been kind this week and the men in green will be glad to sign off their season at home.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester knows there are never any easy matches in the Borders.

'We will face a tough test this weekend against a Hawick side looking to finish their season on a high. We have been playing some good rugby recently and hope to build on that form as we approach the cup and league semi-finals.'

In the squad, last week's man of the match Steven Longwell is absent through illness and is replaced at prop by George Hunter.

Danny McCluskey starts at stand-off in place of the unavailable Frazier Climo, whilst Richard Dalgleish is also missing, with Archie Russell slotting in at centre next to captain Ross Curle.

Andrew Dunlop moves to the second row to partner Rob McAlpine and Pete McCallum returns to number eight.

It's a very youthful bench, with two rising stars from Glasgow Warriors, D'arcy Rae and Ali Price, released for the weekend. Young front rower Ben Paterson could make his first appearance of the season.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Haddon McPherson, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle (c), 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. David Young, 3. Javan Sebastian; 4. Rob McAlpine, 5. Andrew Dunlop; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum.

16. Ben Paterson, 17. D'arcy Rae, 18. Craig Stevenson, 19. Lee Scott, 20. Ali Price.

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

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Ayr RFC to welcome Canadian visitors

Mississauga Blues U18 girls will be on tour in Scotland this March and Ayr RFC will be their final stop before they head back home to Canada.

It's a ten-day tour for the team from Ontario, including matches against Biggar, Murrayfield Wanderers, Hillhead/Jordanhill and Ayr. They will also take in Scotland v France in the Women's Six Nations at Broadwood Stadium and explore Edinburgh and Glasgow and other Scottish tourist hot-spots such as the Falkirk Kelpies.

The 32 players and three coaches will arrive at Ayr RFC on Friday 18th March before their match the next day (kicking off at 11.30am) and will be hosted over the weekend by Ayr Ladies.

We look forward to welcoming them all to Millbrae.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Ayr 60 GHK 0

Ayr ran in ten tries at a sunny Millbrae on Saturday afternoon to beat GHK and progress to the BT Cup semi-finals for the first time in three years.

The home team were certainly up for the challenge of the visitors from three leagues below, and were clearly glad to be playing at home after almost two months away.

GHK had the first scrum and, unfortunately for them, got a taste of what was in store as Ayr overpowered them and claimed a penalty. From the line-out, number eight Blair Macpherson, stand-off Frazier Climo and winger Craig Gossman made ground but the latter ended up in touch.

Some fancy handling from lock Rob McAlpine and scrum-half David Armstrong got Ayr back near the try-line. Macpherson took the ball on and had clearly had his porridge that morning as he bashed defenders out of the way left, right and centre.

It was prop and man of the match Steven Longwell who propelled himself over for the opening try. Climo converted. 7-0.

He nearly got a second moments later but GHK held him up. Macpherson, too, almost scored from the back of a scrum but a fumble denied him.

GHK showed excellent fitness throughout the game and they were wily at times, stealing Ayr's line-out on more than one occasion. But it was the power and strength of the Millbrae men that they couldn't cope with. No sooner were they away with the ball than McAlpine, hooker David Young and flanker Andrew Dunlop flattened them.

The second try came from Gossman after great support play by Armstrong and flanker Will Bordill. It was converted by Climo. 14-0.

GHK launched a few promising attacks through flanker Robin Coates, full-back Tony Herron and speedy scrum-half Mike Aird, and Ayr helped them by straying off-side. The home side turned them over after the line-out though.

Climo added to his points haul for the day with a try that was almost a repeat of his efforts against Stirling County the previous week, racing away unopposed up the wing. His conversion attempt, alas, went awry. 19-0.

Haddon McPherson was making his first appearance for Ayr in several months after injury and the winger looked back to his old self, slinking his way through GHK's defenders. But all the Old Anniesland team tracked him down before he could reach the try-line.

There was no stopping the other Macpherson though, as the number eight powered over for a try. Climo missed the conversion. 24-0.

GHK's winger Marc Taylor impressed with his own jinking running to get into Ayr's half but couldn't get any closer than the five-metre line.

There was some messing about until Archie Russell, on for an injured Danny McCluskey, tidied up with a good clearance kick. Ayr then stole GHK's line-out and Gossman was away for his second try, converted by Climo. 31-0.

Russell looked to be in for a score of his own after some devastating running by Ayr full-back Grant Anderson, but he just couldn't take the pass.

It got a little ragged but there were some entertaining moments thanks to prop Javan Sebastian, who not only turned over but put in a neat little chip for his backs to chase. He then lobbed the ball at Gossman who touched down for what would have been his hat-trick but the pass was deemed forward.

GHK got into attacking mode again, led by centre Cammy Brown, but they were stuck in their own half as the opening forty minutes drew to a close.

Ayr centre Richard Dalgleish got the second half going with a try whilst a large part of the crowd was still in the queue for tea. Climo couldn't add the extras. 36-0.

People were just taking their seats in the stand when Dalgleish motored over for another score, Climo again missing the conversion. 41-0.

Lock Craig Stevenson, Russell and Climo combined to send Macpherson over for his second try and Ayr's eighth. Climo got his conversion before heading to the subs' bench for a well-earned rest. 48-0.

Anderson made his way through the GHK defenders like a run-away combine harvester and a score looked imminent, but there was a knock-on.

GHK were determined to get a score, stand-off Danny Campbell beautifully breaking from midfield, but it eluded them.

Ayr's replacements made in-roads, youngsters Jack Preston and Lee Scott demonstrating power and pace, whilst prop George Hunter and evergreen hooker Stuart Fenwick showed some gas too.

McPherson raced away after an Ayr line-out and Macpherson got his hat-trick. Ross Curle was took over kicking duties but his conversion drifted wide. 53-0.

There was a gargantuan effort by GHK in the dying minutes as they camped out on Ayr's line and gave everything to get over it. Fenwick found himself in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, and GHK tried again.

They poached Ayr's line-out ball but sadly knocked on, and it was Gossman who had the last laugh, rocketing away for his hat-trick of tries. Curle's conversion was successful. 60-0.

The BT Cup semi-finals will take place on Saturday 26th March, when Ayr take on Melrose at Millbrae.

All credit must go to GHK in what is a long season for them, winning fifteen games from fifteen in BT National 3, and with seven still to go. They showed great tenacity and endurance and prove what quality there is throughout the leagues in Scotland.

Final score: Ayr 60 GHK 0.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos by Amy McGillivray.

Ayr Ladies v Stewartry Sirens preview

Ayr Ladies welcome Stewartry Sirens to Millbrae for a hotly anticipated clash in the BT Women's National League Division 1.

The south-west rivals are vying for dominance in the league, with the Castle Douglas side currently top of the table on points difference.  But Ayr Ladies have a game in hand and are keen to put in a strong performance in front of their home crowd.

The Sirens will be looking for revenge after Ayr beat them 20-12 back in October, so this could be an absolute cracker.

There are changes to the squad, with Catherine Shennan, Kelsey Swift and Phoebe McDowall returning from Scotland U20s camp, and Laura Turner reverts to the front row after a jaunt at centre last week.

Ayr Ladies:
15. Lauren McBride; 14. Connie Griffiths, 13. Samantha Morrison, 12. Kelsey Swift, 11. Erin McSorley; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Emily Irving; 1. Laura Turner, 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Phoebe McDowall, 5. Ashleigh Nelson; 6. Rachael Mulholland, 7. Lynsey Turner, 8. Lynda Morgan.

16. Lauren Gunn, 17. Gemma Swankie, 18. Michelle Nelson, 19. Lindsay Dick, 20. Zoe Montgomerie, 21. Jackie O'Neil, 22. Rachel Morrison.

Kick-off 2pm!

Friday, 4 March 2016

End of season awards dinner

There are still twists and turns aplenty to go in 2015/16, but we're busy getting ready for the end of season awards dinner and ask you to book your places as soon as you can.

It will take place on Friday 29th April at the Princess Royal Suite at Ayr Racecourse. It's a 7pm start for a three-course dinner, followed by the presentation of awards and a live band to finish, all for £30 per person.

Tables of 8-12 are available and it is a black tie event.

Please book in person with Millbrae bar steward Colin or call him on 01292 441944 after 4pm, Tuesday-Sunday by Thursday 21st April.

Ayr v GHK - BT Cup quarter-final preview

Men's rugby returns to Millbrae for the first time in nearly two months when Ayr play GHK in the BT Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm.

GHK have been the big success story of the national cup competition, the BT National 3 side's fantastic win against BT Premiership team Selkirk propelling them into the last eight.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester is only too aware of the threat posed by the visitors from Old Anniesland.

'GHK will be full of confidence after their defeat of Selkirk in the last round and have nothing to lose after being in devastating league form again this season.'

Reflecting on Ayr's route to the quarter-finals, Forrester says: 'Last week's match at Stirling County was a very physical encounter but it was the test that our players needed at this point in the season.  To come away with the win was hugely important for our season and we look forward to playing in front of our home crowd again at Millbrae.'

There are some enforced changes to the squad this week, after Cameron Taylor, Scott Sutherland and Graham Fisken were injured last Saturday.

Haddon McPherson makes a return from his own injury troubles to replace Taylor on the wing, whilst Rob McAlpine starts in the second row for Sutherland and Andrew Dunlop fills the gap in the back row left by Fisken.

Young Craig Stevenson again starts at lock after an impressive debut last week, and his fellow up-and-comer Lee Scott is on an extended bench.

While there's no rest for Scotland Club XV player McAlpine, who put in two shifts back-to-back last weekend, his fellow club internationalists Pete McCallum and Ross Curle hopefully won't be called upon to take to the field as quickly as they were against County.

15. Grant Anderson (c); 14. Haddon McPherson, 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. Rob McAlpine, 5. Craig Stevenson; 6. Andrew Dunlop, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.

16. Stuart Fenwick, 17. George Hunter, 18. Lee Scott, 19. Pete McCallum, 20. Jack Preston, 21. Ross Curle, 22. Archie Russell.

15. Tony Herron; 14. Rory Taylor, 13. Gordon Currie, 12. Cammy Brown, 11. Marc Taylor; 10. Danny Campbell, 9. Mike Aird; 1. Gregor Hollerin, 2. Gordi Reid, 3. Andy McCulloch; 4. Lewis Brock, 5. Nick Hurn; 6. Robin Coates, 7. Michael Borthwick, 8. Hugh Parker (c).

16. Ross Macfarlane, 17. Adam Johnstone, 18. Craig MacPhee, 19. Andy Drummond, 20. Rory Long, 21. Blair Forsyth, 22. Jamie Fleming.

Kick-off 3pm! If you can't be at Millbrae, follow the scores live on Twitter.  Please note altered admission prices for this game.

Ayr U18s play GHA U18s in the West Cup quarter-finals at Millbrae at 1pm on Saturday too, so get along to cheer on the next generation.

Ayr 2nd XV are away to Hamilton 2nd XV at Laigh Bent in their last game of the season, kicking off at 3pm.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

BT Cup quarter-finals admission prices

Ayr play GHK in the quarter-finals of the BT Cup this Saturday and there will be different admission prices for this game as both clubs will split the takings from the gate.

Adults - £10
Concessions (over-65s and students) - £6
U18s - free

Ayr RFC members will have to pay the full or concession price, despite having membership cards, but members' season tickets will still be valid.