Friday, 31 March 2017

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks BT Premiership semi-final preview

It's a semi-final showdown at Millbrae once again this Saturday as Ayr take on Glasgow Hawks, with a place in the BT Premiership play-off final up for grabs, kicking off at 3pm.

Ayr had the upper hand in last week's BT Cup semi-final but the slate has been wiped clean and the men in pink and black know anything can happen when they go up against Hawks.

"We learnt from last season that the results from previous matches mean nothing at this stage in the season," says Ayr head coach Calum Forrester. "The players' attitude has been great at training this week and our focus has turned fully to this weekend."

The only change to Ayr's squad is the return of Robert McAlpine from illness.

"Craig Stevenson is the unlucky player to miss out after performing well last week," adds Forrester.

With this possibly Ayr's last home game of the season, the players will be eager to put in another good performance for the Millbrae faithful.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Danny McCluskey, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Steven Longwell; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum (c).

16. David Young, 17. Djustice Sears-Duru, 18. Adam Prentice, 19. Gregor Henry, 20. Harry Warr, 21. Stafford McDowall, 22. Richard Dalgleish.

Glasgow Hawks
15. Jack Steele; 14. Sean Yacoubian, 13. Paddy Kelly, 12. Brendan McGroarty, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Hagen Schulte, 9. George Horne; 1. Steven Findlay (c), 2. Cammy Fenton, 3. Gary Strain; 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Andrew Kirkland; 6. Matt Smith, 7. Matt Fagerson, 8. Bruce Flockhart.

16. Grant Stewart, 17. Chris Barnes, 18. Lyall Archer, 19. Stephen Leckey, 20. Tjiuee Uanivi, 21. Paddy Boyer, 22. Josh Henderson.

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

Please note that entry is £10 for adults, with under-18s free.

Ayr U23s v Glasgow Hawks U23s kicks off at Millbrae at 2pm.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Easter Kids' Camps

Ayr RFC Kids' Camps return for the Easter holidays.

From Monday 3rd tp Friday 7th April and Monday 10th April to Friday 14th Apri, boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 are welcome at Millbrae, 10am-2pm, for fun games and learning about the sport of rugby.

The camps are run by Ayr Community Rugby Trust development officer Stuart Fenwick and are £10 a day or £40 for the week.

Please email to book your child's place.

Climo captures March POTM

Frazier Climo is the March 2017 player of the month.

The stand-off secured 29% of the online vote after excellent performances in Ayr's two BT Cup matches this month. He receives a £50 voucher courtesy of Slaters Menswear.

Frazier is sponsored by Bob and Alistair Steel.

If you or your company would like to sponsor a player in 2017/18, please contact for more information.

Photo copyright George McMillan.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

March player of the month poll open

The March player of the month poll is now open!

You have until Thursday at 12pm to vote for your favourite player. The winner receives a £50 Slaters Menswear voucher.

Three players took the title last month, David Armstrong, Blair Macpherson and Craig Gossman. Who will win is up to you!

Vote here.

Ayr-Wellington U18s 37 Hamilton U18s 17

Ayr-Wellington U18s overcame a spirited Hamilton to retain the West Regional Cup on a sunny Saturday at Millbrae.

Playing on the main pitch, the youngsters lapped up the noisy atmosphere provided by the squadron of Hamilton fans and it was the visiting side who were spurred on by their travelling support.

Ayr were busy trying to contain them, second rows Declan Bryce and Jack Burns and number eight Euan Hamilton putting in the tackles.

The Laigh Bent team had an early shot at goal after an Ayr infrigement, but the ball bounced off the up-right. They gathered it and headed over the line for the opening score. It was unconverted. 0-5.

Ayr were undaunted, flanker Seth Rae selling a dummy to get the attack going. There was a knock-on, but Ayr later regained possession, stand-off Ross McCorkindale and hooker Stuart Collier working together to blast through the Hamilton defence,

The home team were on song at the set-piece, Hamilton's penalties giving them plenty to work with at the line-out. Two such instances let Ayr attack the Hamilton line and Rae went over for the try. Scrum-half Jack Gaw struck the conversion perfectly from the touchline. 7-5.

The backs began to get a hold on the game, full-back Cameron Black and wingers James Baird and Craig Hunter setting off, with centres Harry Lynch and Mac McInnes in support, and Euan Hamilton appearing in midfield to power through the tackles. But Hamilton (the team, not the player) were fired up and fired into the action, turning over and racing away for another unconverted try. 7-10.

Things became frantic with possession changing and play moving between the two halves of the pitch at speed. Ayr settled themselves with some sturdy scrums, but the ball came bouncing out of one set-piece. Scrum-half Gaw was on it though, taking the ball into Hamilton's twenty-two before flanker Calum Gaw scored in the corner. It was unconverted. 12-10.

Hamilton were determined to get another try before half-time, but they hadn't reckoned with the defence of props Jack Yuille and Craig Miller, who were all over them, not to mention Lynch and McInnes.

The second half started with two penalties in quick succession by Jack Gaw, who had a great day with the boot. 18-10.

Hamilton also had two shots at goal, but one hit the upright again and the other was wide. They refused to let their heads drop though, and even some wonky passes didn't unsettle them. Much to the delight of their fans (and the anxiety of the groundsman, who must have thought the back of the stand was going to be severely dented, such was the hammering on it from Hamilton supporters), they scored a superb converted try. 18-17.

It only seemed to inspire Ayr-Wellington though, as seconds later McCorkindale sold a beautiful dummy, the ball was propelled through the hands and Hunter scored out wide. Gaw struck another spot-on conversion. 25-17.

It looked like Hamilton might reply through their speedy backs, but a flying tackle from Hunter stopped them in their tracks. Replacements Kerr Borland and Jack Rennie got stuck into defence too and Ayr were soon on the attack again, McCorkindale and Rennie showing great hands.

Hamilton were defending their hearts out on their own five-metre line and did well to turn over, but they were back in the same place pretty soon when Ayr stole their line-out and once again made for the line.

Ayr emptied their bench in the second half, with front row replacements Jack Finnie, Jack McDougal and Calvin Stillie making their presence felt in the scrums.

A period of kicks from both teams gave the fans a breather at least, but Hamilton were soon trying to break out of their own half. Replacement William Chan led the defence for Ayr, with Lynch, McCorkindale, Collier and Calum Gaw tackling with might.

Hamilton chipped through the defence but Rae claimed the ball and Lynch broke through midfield. Collier was in support and it was Jack Gaw who raced away for the try, which he converted. 32-17.

Ayr gave away a penalty, which Hamilton took quickly, heading into the twenty-two, but a pass sailed into the hands of McInnes, who charged up the wing. Running out of space, his backs changed play to the other side of the pitch, the ball in the hands of Lynch, who found Chan and he resisted the Hamilton tacklers to score. It was unconverted. 37-17.

Time was up and Ayr-Wellington celebrated their win against an enthusiastic, energetic and determined Hamilton side who did their club proud.

Final score: Ayr-Wellington U18s 37 Hamilton 17.

- Elena Hogarth.

Image courtesy of Alan Graham Photographs.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Ayr 28 Glasgow Hawks 10 - BT Cup semi-final

Ayr sealed their place in the BT Cup final with a controlled, composed victory against Glasgow Hawks on a sunny day at Millbrae.

Before kick-off, both teams and supporters held a minute's applause in appreciation of former Ayr club captain Kirk Murdoch, who passed away recently.

Ayr were straight into the thick of the action, stand-off Frazier Climo having an early but unsuccessful kick at goal. He would get another chance soon after.

Winger Danny McCluskey was busy from the off, chasing a loose ball to the line but being unable to take it over. Like Climo, another chance was just around the corner. The stand-off spotted his awaiting winger and perfectly kicked cross-field for McCluskey to pluck out of the air and dot down for the first try. Climo added the extras from the touchline. 7-0.

Ayr were full of energy and impetus, props George Hunter and Steven Longwell leading the way in the loose. Captain Pete McCallum and hooker Lewis Anderson teamed up to move play deep into Hawks' half before Climo stepped up to the tee again. He nailed the penalty. 10-0.

The visitors claimed some possession, hurrying out of their own half, but Ayr scrum-half David Armstrong scurried after their attacker and dragged him down.

Hawks got themselves into a good attacking position but one of their passes found the hands of Ayr flanker Will Bordill and he hared away, kicking on. Richard Dalgleish - temporarily on for McCluskey, who needed a stitch or two in the medical room - chased after the ball and ushered it, and the Hawks player who had scooped it up, into touch.

The Old Anniesland side were sturdy at the scrum, the set piece launching their powerful centres Brendan McGroarty and Jack Steele into attack. Their opposite numbers Ross Curle and Archie Russell had them well wrapped up though.

Ayr sprang for the line again through Bordill and Russell but the ball was knocked on.

Hawks' full-back Hagen Schulte and second row Greg Peterson led them out of their own half but they knocked on too.

McCallum broke from the back of the ensuing scrum, with flanker Blair Macpherson and second rows Craig Stevenson and Scott Sutherland in support. Hawks gave away a penalty and Climo went for the posts and was successful. 13-0.

Ayr were turning the screw, Sutherland poaching line-out ball and McCallum steering a dominate scrum. The visitors couldn't get a handle on the game at all. They defended their hearts out as Ayr battered them in attack, but they couldn't stop Russell getting the ball away to Grant Anderson, and the full-back went over for the try. Climo couldn't convert. 18-0.

Hawks' winger Kerr Gossman took a trip to mid-field, dodging his way round Ayr defenders before number eight Tommy Spinks had a go, but Stevenson and Sutherland stopped him in his tracks.

Scrums were exchanged, and Ayr strayed offside, giving Hawks an opportunity to attack their try-line for the first time. But they were held up just before the break.

Ayr started the second half still in dominant mode, Sutherland again stealing Hawks' line-out ball. Climo was on poaching form too, but from his own team-mate. Curle had homed in on a Hawks kick before Climo swooped in and nabbed it, much to the centre's baffled amusement.

Hawks regrouped and got on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty by stand-off Josh Henderson. 18-3.

Their flanker Stephen Leckey made a superb break but it came to nothing. Gossman had another go but again Armstrong came to the rescue for Ayr.

Grant Anderson got himself under a high ball and raced away, with Lewis Anderson and Climo in support. Sutherland and Macpherson blasted into the Hawks defence after a penalty line-out, before Hawks were pinged again and Climo took the kick at goal. 21-3.

Russell took his leave, with Stafford McDowall replacing him and getting stuck into defence with Craig Gossman. The diminutive winger drew gasps from the crowd with a juddering tackle on someone twice his size, as is his wont. His brother was on the receiving end moments later, and was then flattened by Stevenson.

Ayr turned over and Hunter steamrollered his way through the red shirts, before Armstrong kicked on. Hawks gathered and cleared, giving Ayr the line-out, and from there, McCluskey shot up the middle of the pitch and found Climo who barged over the line and converted his own try. 28-3.

Hawks were determined to get a try, but in the end, it was Ayr's illegal play that handed it to them, referee Sam Grove-White performing the jog of doom to the posts to signal a penalty try. David Young, only just on for Lewis Anderson, was sin-binned in the process. Henderson summarily converted. 28-10.

Djustice Sears-Duru took to the field for Hunter, with Dalgleish reappearing, this time for Gossman, just as McDowall fired into the Hawks defence. Moments later, Dalgleish would propel himself up the wing but neither he nor McDowall got near the try-line.

Hawks infringed at the line-out twice in quick succession, and the second from Spinks - pulling down Sutherland in the air - saw him yellow-carded. They made amends at Ayr's line-out, stealing the ball, but they just couldn't do anything with it.

Ayr emptied the replacements' bench, Adam Prentice, Gregor Henry and Harry Warr joining the fray, the latter for man of the match Climo, meaning Armstrong moved out to stand-off and Warr went to scrum-half.

Things were getting scrappy, but Hawks had one last go, getting over the line only to be held up by Ayr as the final whistle went.

Ayr now play Melrose in the BT Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 22nd April. They will, however, return to Millbrae next Saturday (1st April) to face Glasgow Hawks once again in the BT Premiership play-off semi-finals.

Final score: Ayr 28 Glasgow Hawks 10.

Slaters Menswear man of the match: Frazier Climo.

- Elena Hogarth.

More photos to follow.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks BT Cup semi-final preview

Ayr welcome Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae on Saturday for their BT Cup semi-final, kicking off at 3pm.

It's a highly anticipated clash between two west coast teams who know each other extremely well, and with a place in the BT Cup final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 22nd April up for grabs, both sides will be battling it out until the very end.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester has his troops ready to go.

"Our preparation has gone well over the last few weeks. Hawks are a dangerous side and pose threats throughout their team, so our defence is going to be key."

A full strength squad has been available to Forrester and his coaching team of Glen Tippett, Scott Forrest and Pat MacArthur to select from.

Pete McCallum leads the side from number eight, with centre Ross Curle returning to the starting line-up.

Scotland under-20 cap Stafford McDowall is on the bench alongside Glasgow Warriors' Djustice Sears-Duru.

Forrester commented: "There will be a few disappointed individuals who have not made the match-day twenty-two but the attitude and effort from the entire senior squad to keep the quality of training high is testament to the spirit, strength and depth we have at the club."

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Danny McCluskey, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Ross Curle, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Steven Longwell; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum (c).

16. David Young, 17. Djustice Sears-Duru, 18. Adam Prentice, 19. Gregor Henry, 20. Harry Warr, 21. Stafford McDowall, 22. Richard Dalgleish.

Glasgow Hawks
15. Jack Steele; 14. Junior Bulumakau, 13. Paddy Kelly, 12. Brendan McGroarty, 11. Kerr Gossman; 10. Josh Henderson, 9. Adam Lowry; 1. Steven Findlay (c), 2. Grant Stewart, 3. Gary Strain; 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Andrew Kirkland; 6. Ross Miller, 7. Stephen Leckey, 8. Tommy Spinks.

16. Scott Rodgers, 17. Chris Barnes, 18. Andy Linton, 19. Tjiuee Uanivi, 20. Erland Oag, 21. Sean Yacoubian, 22. Hagen Schulte.

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

Please note that as this is a cup game, the admission price is £10 for adults, with under-18s free.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kirk Murdoch

We are saddened to hear of the death of former club captain Kirk Murdoch.

Kirk was a prominent lawyer and passed away after battling illness, as reported in the Scotsman.

He was educated at Ayr Academy, where he was head boy and played rugby, before becoming captain at Ayr RFC in the 1980s. He was also a talented golfer.

Our thoughts are with Kirk's family and friends.

Prior to our BT Cup semi-final at Millbrae on Saturday 25th March, we will be holding a minute's appreciation for the life of Kirk and his commitment to the club.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Semi-finals pre-match hospitality

We are now taking bookings for pre-match hospitality at Millbrae before our BT Cup and BT Premiership semi-finals on Saturday 25th March and Saturday 1st April respectively.

Both semi-finals are against Glasgow Hawks and kick-off at 3pm, with lunch starting at 1pm. Guests are welcome in the clubhouse from midday.
It's £30 per person for a three-course lunch, match programme and entry to the game. Robbie Duncan leads proceedings, with head coach Calum Forrester previewing the match, and we finish up with a raffle just before 2.45pm.

We welcome individual guests from both Ayr RFC and Glasgow Hawks, as well as tables of 10 or 12 and parties of larger numbers. It's a mixed company of both men and women.
Please call or email Elena on 07788 824835 / to book by Thursday 23rd March for the BT Cup semi-final and Thursday 30th March for the BT Premiership semi-final.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ayr Ladies 19 Stewartry Sirens 26

Ayr Ladies and Stewartry Sirens battled it out under the floodlights at Millbrae on Friday night but it was the Castle Douglas-based side who triumphed in a compelling Premier Development Cup semi-final.

With the two teams having played each other numerous times over the years and both making the move into the top tier of Scottish women's rugby this season, it was always going to be a close game, and it was scoreless for the first quarter as the players matched each other in every area.

The Sirens had much of the early possession and Ayr centres Connie Griffiths and Julie David and back row Rachael Mulholland, Kelsey Swift and Laura Turner were busy putting in some hefty tackles.

There were solid scrums from both teams (they would later become uncontested due to front row injuries) and Ayr used theirs to launch Griffiths and full-back Claire Law into attack, with some quick service by scrum-half Emily Irving.

A bit of petulance from the Sirens saw them pushed back ten metres and Irving took the tap-and-go, Swift flying on to the ball and into the defence, David, Mulholland, stand-off Catherine Shennan and prop Louise McLauchlan backing her up.

Stewartry were ready with some thunderous tackles and caused Ayr to knock on. The home side turned over after the ensuing scrum, hooker Lauren Gunn and prop Michelle Nelson making breaks before Irving chipped over near the Sirens' try-line. Nobody could reach the ball, however.

A couple of penalties for Ayr kept them in the Sirens' half and Turner and David led the charge for the line but to no avail. Another knock on came, Stewartry held firm at the scrum and went to clear only for the kick to be charged down and Irving to follow it over the whitewash and ground for a try. Shennan nailed the conversion. 7-0.

The visitors were about to reply after hard work at the breakdown. Shennan, wingers Erin McSorley and Lisa Main and second rows Joanne Jones and Sonja Liekens were busy in defence but there was just no stopping the Sirens. They couldn't convert their try though. 7-5.

It looked like they might add another, their backs flying into Ayr's half, but Griffiths just caught one of their attackers before she could do any damage.

There were no further scores in the first half but it was entirely enthralling as both teams gave it their all. The energy levels were outstanding, with every player pushing themselves in attack and defence.

Half-backs Irving and Shennan showed deftness of touch in handling, Jones impressed by ripping the ball from the Sirens and Law handed off defenders with ease, while Griffiths, Mulholland and Gunn led the way with shuddering tackles.

The Sirens kept the pink and black shirts at bay until half-time and carried on at the resumption. Despite some great work under the high ball by captain Turner and lively work in attack by Mulholland, Ayr were pinned in their own half.

The hosts had an early chance when Stewartry were pinged for pushing a player but the Sirens were all over them in flash. They turned over and were away, hitting everything at pace. Swift was putting in a power of work in defence with her forwards in support but the Sirens cantered away up the wing for a try, with a superb conversion from the touchline. 7-12.

The visitors quickly added another converted try. 7-19.

Ayr blasted their way into the Stewartry half, with Turner and Swift leading the charge, but the Sirens built a brick wall round their twenty-two and Ayr just couldn't breach it.

Law, Griffiths and Gunn tried again but the Sirens turned over and were away, their ebullient try-scorer showboating over the line. They converted. 7-26.

They trapped Ayr in their own twenty-two but the ladies in pink and black fought back, Mulholland breaking free. Ill-discipline from the Sirens gave Ayr a couple of penalties before yet more petulance saw the visitors down to fourteen players for ten minutes.

Ayr took their chance, replacement Lee Steward pouncing on a loose ball and Shennan breaking through midfield to race away for a try. She couldn't convert. 12-26.

A number of Ayr Ladies had been good under the high ball in the dazzle of the floodlights and Griffiths joined the ranks, catching a kick and taking off. It was a bruising evening, both sides putting in enormous tackles, and Griffiths couldn't get away from the Sirens' defence.

Ayr brought on some fresh legs in Sarah Braidwood and with time running out, the home team pinned their ears back and went for it. David zoomed on to a ball in her own half, turned this way and that, shrugging off tackles, and ran all the way to the try-line for a brilliant score. Shennan converted. 19-26.

The ladies and their supporters were up for more, and there was just time for one last push but those wily Sirens turned over and booted the ball off the pitch to bring a fantastic game to an end.

Ayr Ladies now turn their attentions to their Sarah Beaney Cup quarter-final with RHC Cougars on Sunday 26th March.

Final score: Ayr Ladies 19 Stewartry Sirens 26.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pinkerton selected for Scotland Touch Rugby

Ayr 2nd XV back James Pinkerton has been named in Scotland Touch Rugby's squad for the European Touch Championships in July.

Pinkerton, from Edinburgh, studies sports coaching and development at UWS and is in his second season with Ayr. He has previously represented Scotland at touch rugby at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and was also their junior captain in 2014.

Find out more about Scottish Touch Rugby here.

Image courtesy of Ben Blair Sports Photography.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

March Ayr Rugby Academy yellow jerseys

Former Ayr and Scotland player Stephen Munro dropped into Millbrae last night to award this month's Ayr Academy yellow jerseys.

Conlan McLuckie, Keith Halliday and Ben Lewis are March's recipients of the shirts, sponsored by Thistlefern, in light of their hard work at academy sessions.

Thanks to Stephen, who won ten caps for Scotland, for taking the time to chat to academy players as well as presenting the jerseys. He's pictured above with academy director Stuart Fenwick.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ayr 36 Jed-Forest 7

Ayr reached the semi-finals of the BT Cup with a six-try win against Jed-Forest at Millbrae, but the Borderers didn't make it easy for them.

With the visitors from Riverside short of a few replacements due to injuries, and the fact that they are a league below Ayr in BT National 1, a bigger score may have been on some people's minds. When Ayr flanker Will Bordill strolled away for the first try, converted by stand-off Frazier Climo, with just a minute on the clock, it was looking likely. 7-0.

But Jed weren't just there to make up the numbers. They held their own in their first scrum, and winger Robbie Shirra Gibb shot off up the touchline. He couldn't escape the Ayr tacklers though.

Climo, full-back Grant Anderson and winger Craig Gossman got back into attacking mode but Jed turned them over. With a muddy pitch, it was all a bit messy and stop-start, however.

A few penalties helped the home team, as did excellent handling by Anderson and centre Archie Russell to keep the ball in play. The line-out was firing on all cylinders, and no sooner had hooker Lewis Anderson thrown the ball in than second row Robert McAlpine had taken it in the air and launched down it to Steven Longwell. The prop took it at pace and propelled himself over the line for a fine try. Climo converted. 14-0.

The visitors again had a solid scrum to get their backs going, with full-back Lewis Young taking full advantage. Russell and scrum-half David Armstrong had him wrapped up but nobody could contain Jed centre Gregor Young as he stormed through midfield, and Shirra Gibb took the pass to score. Stand-off Robbie Yourston converted. 14-7.

Jed's tails were up, especially when Ayr second row Scott Sutherland was sin-binned. The resulting line-out was squint though and the opportunity lost.

Ayr were back with ball in hand, prop George Hunter, Gossman, Armstrong and centre Danny McCluskey blasting through the defence, despite some crunching tackles by the likes of flanker Graham Robson.

They turned defence into attack and Climo and winger Jamie Bova were busy containing them. Flanker Blair Macpherson managed to turn over and another penalty was on its way. Ayr drove from the line-out and captain Pete McCallum bundled over. It was a touchline conversion attempt for Climo and he couldn't make it. 19-7.

Another turnover by Macpherson saw him gallop off from his own twenty-two to Jed's five-metre line where he was hauled down by the men in bright blue. It was then the visitors' turn to have a player yellow-carded, with centre Monty Mitchell dismissed for ten minutes.

Tempers flared throughout the first half, and a bit of pushing and shoving turned into a number of players rumbling about on the touchline. Referee David Sutherland calmed things down with a stern talking-to for both captains.

It looked like Ayr would get another try after Russell's chip was taken over the line by Bova but a knock-on occurred. They didn't have long to wait as moments later McCallum sprang forth. Climo converted just before half-time. 26-7.

Both sets of backs were as lively as ever in the second half, Russell, Anderson and Bova leading the way for Ayr, but the increasingly churned-up pitch was thwarting them.

The messy pitch, messy ball and messy handling frustrated Jed the most, and confusion reigned on their five-metre line, with the ball bobbling about until it went over the whitewash and Gossman touched down for a try. Another wide angle for Climo meant no conversion. 31-7.

Ayr brought on fresh legs in the form of prop Adam Prentice, hooker David Young and scrum-half Harry Warr, with the former two getting stuck into defence straight away and the latter marshaling his troops with aplomb.

A sturdy Ayr scrum let McCallum charge off, before Sutherland burst through tackles to go on a ferocious foray and McCluskey followed suit. The ball was back with McCallum who passed to Gossman and he fought his way up the wing for another try. It was almost in the same place as his last, and again there was no conversion. 36-7.

McAlpine emulated his second row partner Sutherland and got those long legs going for an exciting break in midfield, dummying nicely before passing to Gossman. Grant Anderson took it on, with replacements Richard Dalgleish and Gregor Henry in support but Jed were making a nuisance of themselves and interrupting any flow Ayr were getting into.

The home team emptied their bench, with Graham Hunter and Craig Stevenson taking to the field just as Ayr pressed Jed's line again. Bordill looked like he was over but the ball was knocked on as it was fired out to the backs.

Jed kicked away possession from the ensuing scrum, and Warr, Stevenson and Longwell happily took it back into their half, Warr making a thrilling break only to be dragged down on the five-metre line by Jed's sturdy defence.

The final ten minutes were marred by yet more handling errors by both teams and some more bad-tempered displays that saw Jed get a penalty reversed after some petulance by the visitors.

McCluskey, Gossman and Graham Hunter fancied another run, as did Jed replacement Ross Glendinning, but neither team bothered the other's try-line again as the referee blew his whistle for full-time.

Ayr will play Glasgow Hawks in the BT Cup semi-final on Saturday 25th March at Millbrae.

Final score: Ayr 36 Jed-Forest 7.

Slaters Menswear man of the match: Will Bordill.

- Elena Hogarth.

Image courtesy of Alan Graham.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Ayr v Jed-Forest preview

Ayr welcome Jed-Forest to Millbrae on Saturday for their BT Cup quarter-final, kicking off at 3pm.

The Borderers are the only BT National League Division 1 side to make it to the last eight of the national competition this season and will be keen to represent their league and show the BT Premiership leaders what they can do.

Ayr are ready for the challenge after a good week of training, and head coach Calum Forrester knows the threat the Riverside team pose.

"They have a pack of hard-nosed forwards and a talented back-line that boasts international experience throughout."

The squad features an extended number of replacements as it is a cup tie. Winger Jamie Bova is included in the starting line-up after some try-scoring appearances from the bench, with Danny McCluskey moving to inside centre to cover for the unavailable Ross Curle.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Jamie Bova, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Steven Longwell; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum (c).

16. David Young, 17. Adam Prentice, 18. Craig Stevenson, 19. Gregor Henry, 20. Harry Warr, 21. Graham Hunter, 22. Richard Dalgleish.

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

**Please note that as this is a BT Cup game, it is £10 for adults (including club members), with U18s free and no concessions. Prices have been set by Scottish Rugby with the agreement of the clubs, and the revenue generated by admission will be split between Ayr and Jed-Forest.**