Tuesday, 30 January 2018

January Player of the Month is Now Open!

Voting is now open for January's Slater Menswear Player of the Month. Vote Here:http://poll.fm/5wt7u 

It has been a great first month of 2018 with Ayr winning three out of their four matches. The new year started with an incredible victory at the Greenyards over then-undefeated Melrose. The boys backed that result up with another away victory, this time at Bridgehaugh against Stirling County.

Next up was January's only home game for Ayr. We welcomed near neighbours Marr to Millbrae for what turned out to be a memorable derby day. Ayr picked up the Bragging rights in a nine-try thriller to go 3-0 for 2018.

The month ended with a disappointing defeat away to Heriots but there was plenty moments in the match for Calum Forrester to be happy with.

Sunday's Action

It was a tough day for those in pink and black on Sunday with both the Ladies team and the U-16s suffering defeats.

The ladies had a big away game against Stewartry Sirens and with the season reaching its business end every point matters if they are to stay in the Women's top flight. Despite try's from Ayr's Joanne Jones and Louise McLaughlan-and a conversion from Catherine Shennan- Stewartry proved to strong, winning 31-12.

The U-16 boys faced off in the Scottish Cup semi-final away to Cartha. They looked to emulate the impressive semi-final win the U-18s got the day before, but Cartha proved too strong. In the end it was a 31-17 loss and the boys will miss out in a Scottish Cup Final at BT Murrayfield later on in the year.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Heriots 13-10 Ayr

Ayr suffered their first defeat of 2018 yesterday at the hands of Heriots at Goldenacre. A cruel wind plagued the match preventing free flowing rugby but in the end it was the home side who managed to tough it out 13-10.

Within the opening minutes Ayr received a chance to go ahead early when a penalty kick gifted them a line out inside Heriots 22, but we couldn't capitalise. From here, Heriots marched up the field into dangerous territory. They went wide and found Charlie Simpson who looked in for the score but excellent scrambling defence from Craig Gossman and Danny McCluskey brought him down. In the next phase their number 8 was held up over the line.

After a few more minutes of pressure on Ayr's line and another disallowed try Heriots settled for the easy three points.

The following ten minutes swung like a pendulum. Both sides looked dangerous in possession but lacked real conviction when it mattered. Ayr looked poised to get on the board when Heriots decided to run it out of their 22. They shipped the ball from side-to-side looking to push past the gain line but Ayr wouldn't budge. Meteoric hits from Ayr's back-row- in particular George Stokes- knocked all the wind out of Heriots sales and they quickly found themselves throwing away possession. They were pinned for holding the ball on the ground and Scott Lyle made them pay with a tricky penalty kick considering the conditions.

The penalty took the 21-year-olds BT Premiership points tally to over 150 this season, an incredible milestone for someone in their first year at the club.

The game wasn't tied up for long, and on the 24th minute it was Heriots who took full advantage of sloppy play. Ross Jones converted from the tee to make it 6-3.

In amongst the spills and errors there was some real moments of magic from both sides. A spark for Ayr came on the half hour mark when Matt Davidson broke clear out wide. He was eventually brought down but not before he played an audacious off-load to Lewis Anderson. From there the Hooker powered up the wing with intent. He was brought down 20 yards later in the heart of Heriots' 22. The flare never stayed for long however, and soon enough we lost the ball once again at the set-piece.

The final action of the half once again took place in Heriots' 22. We received a penalty in scoring distance and this time opted for the scrum. The scrum looked good, Pete McCallum ushered the ball along with his feet and all attention turned to a penalty. The penalty was called, but in favour of Heriots. As the half-time whistle blew the Ayr players (and crowd) were left scratching their heads.

The second 40 began in a manner completely alien to the first. Cagey forward carries had been replaced with free flowing rugby and gritty defence had been swapped for clean breaks from both sides.

The first score of the afternoon looked like it was going to come from Heriots. Flanker Ian Wilson picked a line any back would have been proud of and cut through Ayr's defence. With no one in front of him he looked like he was going to sail under the posts- but he didn't account for Craig Gossman. The winger, hot off his try for Scotland Club XV on Tuesday, tracked back and felled him. Wilson managed to offload to his number 8 who dotted down for the score but the ref waived for a forward pass. Somehow, Ayr had escaped unscathed.

To rub salt in the wounds of Heriots, the first try of the day came ten minutes later- for Ayr. On the 65th minute Scott Lyle, who was playing at ten, switched play and went left. He launched a lofty pass over the rushing Heriots defender and found Gossman in the corner. Lyle nailed the daunting touchline kick, with no regard for the menacing wind.

One of the most memorable moments of the afternoon came minutes later. Prop Steven Longwell was lingering in the outside channel when the ball fell to him. He had winger Matt Davidson outside him but instead backed himself. He carved through the Heriots defence like a hot knife through butter only before trampling over their fullback. He was eventually brought down by a number of blue and white jerseys.

The decisive blow of the afternoon came with just five to play. After a kick to touch from Heriots they expertly used the rolling maul. A metre or so out from the line Ayr were penalised for bringing it down, Jonny Agnew received a yellow card and a penalty try was awarded.

Ayr now trailed by three and frantically marched up the field for one last shot at victory. They began to build phases ten metres out from the try line but it was too little too late. Ayr lost the ball in contact and Heriots cleared for touch.

Full-Time: Heriots 13-10 Ayr.

It was a disappointing outing for the 2nd XV too who fell 29-5 to Heriots 2s.

At Millbrae there was more cause for celebration with Ayr's U-18s beating Highland in the Scottish Cup semi-final. The boys will go on to represent the club in the final at BT Murrayfield later on in the year.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Heriots v Ayr Preview

Ayr look to go for four-in-a-row in 2018 when they travel to Goldenacre tomorrow to play Heriots.

Currently sitting fifth in the BT Premiership, Heriots trail a playoff spot by just one point. After a five point ‘derby day’ victory over Marr last week Ayr have moved into second- but Currie have a game in hand so there will be plenty of attention on their matchup against Stirling.

The two sides met in the league back in October when Ayr soared to an emphatic 41-17 victory. The scores came from a brace of tries by Frazier Climo and Craig Gossman, with Grant Anderson dotting down as well. Scott Lyle added 14 from the boot and Paddy Dewhirst nailed one conversion.

The squad to play Heriots tomorrow has had a reshuffle from last week’s. Stafford McDowall and Robbie Smith are both unavailable due to Scotland U20s commitments. In their place Lewis Anderson starts at hooker and Scott Lyle moves to fly-half, with Frazier Climo slotting into Stafford’s usual 12 jersey.

On the wing Robbie Nairn is unavailable through injury so youngster Matt Davidson gets his second start of the season. Davidson put in an impressive 80 minutes at centre against Melrose a few weeks ago and now moves to 14. Jamie Bova is on the bench.

With Lewis Anderson starting Ruairidh Sayce comes in as 16th man.

The second XV are also in action at Goldenacre, taking on Heriots’ 2nd XV at 2pm.

 It has been a tougher start to 2018 for Ayr’s 2s. After narrow loses to Glasgow Hawks and Stirling County they will be looking to get back to winning ways tomorrow.

If you can’t make it to Goldenacre tomorrow you can follow all of the action on our social media channels, including a live blow-by-blow report on Twitter @OfficialAyrRFC.

Ayr team: G. Anderson, Davidson, McCluskey, Climo, Gossman, Lyle, Armstrong; Hislop, L. Anderson, Longwell, Macpherson, Sutherland, Spinks, Stokes, McCallum (C)

Substitutes: Sayce, Hunter, Agnew, Dewhirst, Bova

2nd XV: Gray, Gilmour, McCorkindale, Pinkerton, Hamilton, Warr, Young (C); Paterson, Collier, Prentice, Brown, Richardson, Badenhorst, Rae, Reece.

Substitutes: Miller, Arthur, Howie, Chan

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Ayr 33-22 Marr

It was Ayr who picked up bragging rights yesterday with a 33-22 win over near-neighbours Marr. The clash has generated a lot of buzz throughout Ayrshire over the past few weeks and the game unfolded in front of a packed-out crowd at Millbrae.

It was a dream start for Ayr. After just six minutes Scott Lyle chipped the ball over the Marr defence and chased, he got to the ball before anyone else and glided in for the score. He converted to give Ayr a 7-0 lead.

The onslaught continued and three minutes later Tommy Spinks played the ball off the top of the line out to David Armstrong. Armstrong sniped through the defence and after an audacious side-step touched down under the posts. Lyle's conversion doubled the lead.

After the opening ten minutes Marr began to wake up and slowly built territory inside Ayr's half. Samu Vunisa proved to be a menace with battering carries, but Ayr didn't give an inch. On the 16th minute they managed to cross the try line but were held up due to terrific scrambling defence from Ayr.

From the resulting scrum Grant Baird managed to score making it 14-5. Dougie Steele missed the conversion.

Marr's fight back didn't last long and soon Ayr were back on the score sheet. Almost a mirror image of the first try, Scott Lyle chipped over the defence and chased through, he looked poised to double his tally before Grant Anderson cut in ahead of him and stole the score. Thankfully for Scott Grant wasn't about for the conversion, and he added two more points. After 20 minutes it was 21-5.

Marr didn't take long to answer with Richard Dalgleish dotting down minutes later, marking his return to Millbrae with a score.

Marr were still eleven points behind but enjoyed the lions share of possession. They tried to string phases together but Ayr's defence gave them nothing. Craig Gossman showed his power with a massive hit on his opposite number, driving him near the touchline to change momentum.

The next score came from Ayr on the half hour mark. Tantalising interplay from Armstrong, Gossman and Smith bewildered Marr, allowing Smith to march up the touch line. From the next phase Climo found the ball, weaved through two tacklers and dived over. Lyle maked it 28-10.

Play in the second half slowed down. Redpath must have mustered something special in his half-time team talk as Marr came out a different team. They began to play with purpose, bullying Ayr off the ball and dominating possession. They came close to a score on numerous occasions but just couldn't capitalise, continuing to throw away the ball when it mattered.

Ayr punished Marr for not capitalising with another score on the 64th minute. Gossman, who was at the heart of everything, played a crafty grubber into the try area- Robbie Nairn was quickest to react and dove in for the score. The conversion skewed wide.

The tale took another twist with ten minutes to play when Scott Sutherland was sent to the bin. Marr made full use of the extra man running in two tries in quick succession. The first came after a prolonged period of persistent pressure on the Ayr try and the second was an interception on the stroke of full-time.

Full-Time Ayr 33-22 Marr.

The result puts Ayr into second place and solidifies their spot in the playoffs, but Currie have a game in hand. Marr now find themselves a few points adrift at the bottom of the table.

All of the other action this weekend was called-off due to weather conditions.

Callum Kerr
Photo- George McMillian

Friday, 19 January 2018

Ayr v Marr Preview

It's another big weekend for Ayrshire rugby as Marr and Ayr face-off in Scotland's premier club competition. 

The two sides have already clashed this season back in October when Ayr cruised to a 6-19 victory at Fullerton. Ayr's points came from a penalty try and four penalties from Scott Lyle. Now it is our turn to host the derby and unlike in the first test, form is on our side. 

We go into this game undefeated in 2018 and in the hunt for an all important home semi-final spot. We started the new year by toppling then-undefeated Melrose away at the Greenyards, and backed it up with a win at Bridgehaugh over Stirling County. It has been a tougher few weeks for Marr who started the new year with a 64-5 loss to Watsonians. Last weekend they also suffered a blow as they lost at Fullerton 12-20 to Boroughmuir. The result meant Marr and Boroughmuir swapped league position with Marr now bottom of the pack.

For both sides every point is now vital. There is only four games left to end the regular season and Marr will be hell-bent on staying up. For Ayr, we need to capitalise on every opportunity to chip away at Curries three point lead and finish in that all-important second spot. 

The match kicks-off at 3pm. If you can't make it to Millbrae you can follow the action every step of the way on Twitter.

The 2nd XV are also in action at Millbrae tomorrow. Kicking-off at the earlier time of 2pm, they host Hamilton 2s and will be looking to get back to winning ways after two narrow defeats in a row.

Ayr 1XV: G. Anderson, Lyle, McCluskey, McDowall, Gossman, Climo, Armstrong; Hunter, Smith, Longwell, Macpherson, Sutherland, Spinks, Stokes, McCallum (C).

Subs: L. Anderson, Hislop, Grant, Agnew, Nairn 

Ayr 2XV: Dewhirst, Gray, McCorkindale, Graham, Bova, Davidson, Warr (C); Paterson, Collier, Sayce, Badenhorst, A. Miller, Brown, Rae, Reece

Subs: F. Miller, Richardson, Howie, Hamilton, Young, Pinkerton, Howard.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Job Vacancy- Female Rugby Development Officer

Ayr Rugby Football club is looking for a Female Rugby Development Officer to join our team! 

Find out more below.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Cartha Ladies 17-14 Ayr

Ayr ladies first action of 2018 was a narrow defeat to Cartha Queens Park Ladies yesterday at Dumbreck. Ayr got off to a flying start taking the lead in the first 15 minutes but it was Cartha who managed to tough it out in the second half.

With the season reaching its business end it was a game neither side wanted to lose. Ayr's number 8 Joanne Jones opened the scoring with a crafty chip-and-chase wrong-footing Cartha's defensive line. Catherine Shennan converted to make it 0-7.

Cartha weren't down for long. Ayr's defence held up well  throughout the contest but they had no answer for Cartha's menacing outside centre who ran in two tries to put them on top- their stand-off converted both.

The biggest point in the match came with ten to play when Cartha's 10 punished Ayr with a penalty to cushion their lead. 17-7.

As both teams entered the closing stages of the game Ayr began to fight back. Connie Griffths proved to be a menace breaking the gain-line with her runs. A consolation for Ayr finally came as scrum-half Rachel Morrison sniped in from close-range to guarantee the losing bonus point- Shennan converted to conclude the scoring at 17-14.

Shania Irvine picked pop MOTM.

Ayr Ladies now have a weekend off to re-group and prepare for Stewartry Sirens in two weeks time.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Stirling County v Ayr Report

Ayr continued with their winning ways yesterday beating Stirling County 16-25 at Bridgehaugh. Stirling came out of the blocks quickly but as the game moved into the later stages Ayr's steely resolve showed, marking their second win of 2018.

The game went to the script of the home side straight from kick-off with Stirling's first chance coming in the opening minutes. They looked poised for a score when the ball was shipped out wide but a stray pass found Grant Anderson who was able to break clear and end the threat. Not long after, a routine kick from Stirling full-back Jonny Hope put the home side up three.

Stirling added to their lead minutes later, with Hamilton Burr charging down an Ayr clearance kick. From there, he marched under the posts falling onto the ball. Hope's conversion put them 10-0 up after 12 minutes.

Ayr began to assert themselves in the next 10 minutes, with bulldozing runs from Blair Macpherson off the back of the scum chipping away at a sturdy Stirling defence. Their momentum reaped no reward however and on the 27 minute mark Hope added another three onto Stirling's lead.

Five minutes from half-time Ayr found themselves down 13-0 and in need of a score. They began to build phases deep in Stirling's 22 and finally found the line who Steven Longwell barged over from close range. Lyle's conversation made it 13-7

Hope received another chance to add three more shortly after but wasn't able to connect.

Ayr started the second half with much more intensity with their forward pack bullying Stirling off the ball. After multiple infringements by the home side Ayr decided to go for the posts. Lyle made no mistake, narrowing the gap to 13-10.

Almost immediately Stirling cancelled out the three. Ayr were pinned for entering the ruck from the side and Hope punished the error- they now lead by six.

Lyle was at the heart of everything and on the 58 minute played a crafty grubber intended for Craig Gossman. Gossman couldn't reach it, but Hope could only carry it over his try line resulting in a scrum five. From the scrum Ayr decided to go wide. a twisting run from Climo carved up Stirling's defence. He offloaded to Lyle who blitzed up the touchline and in for Ayr's second try. He couldn't convert, bringing the scores to 16-15.

Ayr took the lead for the first time in the match minutes later. Stirling's lack of discipline at the ruck awarded Ayr with a penalty, Lyle stepped up to put them up two.

From then on Ayr dictated the play- David Armstrong was elementary in Ayr's movement. Their attack began to spark but it was only out-done by incredible defence from the home side.

With three to play Ayr finally got breathing space. A knock-on at half way fell to the boot of Scott Lyle who kicked through. From there it was a footrace for the try line- Lyle won. He added two more from the tee which brought the scoring to 25-16.

Ayr's 2XV were also in action at Bridgehaugh, falling to Stirling 2XV 20-14. Ben Paterson picked up his second MOTM in as many weeks.

Now all eyes move to next weekend's action with near-neighbours Marr coming to town. With Marr hell-bent on avoiding relegation and Ayr in the hunt for a home semi-final it's a match neither side will want to lose.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Stirling County v Ayr Preview

This weekend's BT Premiership action takes Ayr to Bridgehaugh where they will face Stirling County.

Ayr started the new year with a massive win over league leaders Melrose and will look to emulate that inspiring form this weekend.

A Stirling side sprinkled with ex-millbrae men, including former captain Ross Curle, will know Ayr's personnel inside-out which will lend itself to a fiercely competitive match-up. With the regular season beginning to reach its natural conclusion both sides know every point is vital in the hunt for a play-off spot. Ayr are currently in fourth, with their eyes on a home semi-final and Stirling sit in sixth, 12 points off the play-off pace.

Ayr will find great confidence in more players returning from injury. Frazier Climo returns to start at fly-half and Danny McCluskey will be looking to inject some pace into the game from the bench.

The 2nd XV are also away to Bridgehaugh and will look to get back to winning ways after a narrow defeat to Glasgow Hawks 2s last weekend- Harry Warr drops down to captain the side.

Ayr's 1XV: Grant Anderson (C), Paddy Dewhirst, Scott Lyle, Stafford McDowall, Craig Gossman, Frazier Climo, David Armstrong; Robin Hislop, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, Jonathan Agnew, Rob McAlpine, Tommy Spinks, George Stokes, Blair Macpherson.

Subs: Lewis Anderson, Ryan Grant, George Hunter, Danny McCluskey, Matt Davidson.

Ayr's 2XV: Johnny McCorkindale, Sam Gray, James Armstrong, Sam Graham, Jamie Bova, James Pinkerton, Harry Warr (C); Fraser Miller, Stuart Collier, Ruairidh Sayce, Michael Badenhorst, Alan Miller, Craig Brown, Seth Rae, Cameron Reece.

Subs: Ben Paterson, Zander Howie, Zac Howard, Lewis Young.

Callum Kerr
Photo- George McMillan

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Melrose V Ayr Match Report

Ayr inflicted Melrose’s first defeat of the season yesterday with a 12-20 victory at the Greenyards. 

The two sides saw plenty of each other in 2017 and the first action of the new year proved to mimic the ferocious intensity which has become a trademark of the fixture in previous games.

Ayr’s youngsters showed how menacing they can be in the opening phases with Paddy Dewhirst wriggling along the touchline and Scott Lyle nailing a perfect kick for touch. Ayr won a penalty from the following line-out which Lyle sent back into the crowd. A catch and drive put Steven Longwell over the line- Scott Lyle converted making it 0-7 after just five minutes.

Straight from the restart Melrose looked to bounce back, but after building multiple phases a stray pass wandered forward allowing Ayr to get rid of the threat.

The next breakthrough came in the 20th minute, when another Melrose penalty allowed Lyle to kick to touch. Ayr aimed to drive but intense pressure from the home side forced a knock-on allowing Baggot to clear his lines from a scrum.

Melrose began to build, playing more like the side we have become accustom to this season. Momentum was in their favour when a yellow card to Grant Anderson gave them a big penalty opportunity- they went to the corner. George Taylor scored in the following play, with centre Craig Jackson evening the score.

Ayr received another big blow minutes later with Jonathan Agnew being sent to the bin for a late tackle.

Melrose grabbed their second try just after, with Richard Fergusson falling over from a maul- Jackson pushed the conversion wide which brought the scoring to 12-7.

On the stroke of half-time Lyle got a chance to scrape back the deficit when Melrose were marched back 10 yards on a penalty, bringing him into kicking range- he made no mistake, 12-10 at half-time.

The second half continued with the same intensity as the first, David Armstrong proving to be the ever-present thorn in Melrose’s side- they had no answer for him. He conducted Ayr’s backline deep into Melrose’s 22 but the attack dwindled with another knock-on. Melrose didn’t capitalise however and utterly dominating scrummaging from Ayr won a turnover and a penalty- realising how commanding they were in this area, Ayr opted for another scrum on Melrose’s five metre line.

The next ten minutes of play began to get repetitive with Ayr winning four penalties in a row from the scrum. Everyone at the Greenyards attention turned to the possibility of a penalty try, but referee Keith Allan was reluctant to give, instead sending McLeod to the sin bin.

On the fourth scrum Ayr decided to break and bulldozing carries from prop pairing Steven Longwell and Robin Hislop inched them closer and closer to the line. A try looked imminent, but the ball was lost forward and somehow Melrose had escaped the barrage unscathed.

Ayr weren’t rattled by coming away empty handed and the next five minutes continued in the same vein as before, with Melrose constantly pushed deep into their own half.

Ayr’s breakthrough came just after the sixty-minute mark when a chip from the Melrose full-back Fraser Thompson landed in the hands of Craig Gossman. Gossman darted back at Melrose before a perfectly timed offload put Rob McAlpine through the defensive line. The home side tried to bring him down but a massive hand-off was enough to spring him forward for the score. Scott Lyle maintained his 100% strike rate to bring the scoring to 12-17.

After barely touching the ball in the second half Melrose’s heart started to show and they mounted an attack in the last ten minutes which almost mimicked the gut-wrenching closing stages of last year’s final. They’re chance came with five minutes left to play when a penalty gifted Baggot a kick to touch inside Ayr’s 22- but errors cost them again. A faulty throw in brought to an end Melrose’s biggest opportunity of the half, and Ayr could enjoy possession again.

The final nail in the coffin came in the dying embers of the match when a composed Scott Lyle slotted three more points to take the result away from Melrose- this would conclude the scoring. After 12 rounds of rugby dominance league leaders Melrose had been toppled by a familiar foe, Ayr took it 12-20.

The 2nd XV were in action at Old Anniesland against Glasgow Hawks 2nd XV. The game swung like a pendulum with neither side able to keep the other at more than arms left. In the end it was Hawks who toughed it out 31-25 but Ayr picked up two big BP’s in the process. Ayr’s 25 came from tries by James Pinkerton, James Armstrong, Lewis Young and Jamie Bova. Armstrong also added five points from the boot.