Friday, 16 November 2018

Preview: Currie Chieftains v Ayr RFC

There might not be much happening at Millbrae this weekend but there is still plenty pink and black action taking place the length and breadth of the country with the 1XV, 2XV and Ladies all taking to the field away from home. 
With a packed-out BT Murrayfield the backdrop Ayr 1XV will look to continue with their current vein of form when they face Currie Chieftains at Malleny. The Chieftains occupy the fourth and final play-off spot and with the season now in its second half know every point is crucial. Just the singular point separates them from fifth-placed Watsonians.
The two sides have already clashed in this years competition with Peter Murchie's men the deserved winners in round two, winning 30-17.
There is just a handful of changes to the side that found victory two weeks ago against Edinburgh Accies at Millbrae. 
In the backs Harry Warr earns his first start of the season at nine. Dewhirst, Anderson, Smith, Rowe and Climo all retain their spots.
Robbie Smith returns to the front-row with Alex McGuire dropped to the bench. Gregor Henry starts at 7 after a short spell with the 2XV.
On the bench club captain Peter McCallum returns after a long lay-off through injury and Jamie Bova comes up from the 2XV.
Wolf van Dijk and Amir Rademaker are both unavailable due to international duty for Holland - we wish them the best of luck when they take on Poland on Saturday.
The game kicks-off at 14.30 on Saturday.
It's Friday Night Lights on the west coast tonight when the 2XV travel to neighbours Marr. Away from Fullarton, the 2s will do battle under the floodlights of Marr Collage's 4G pitch. The game kicks-off at 7pm and Gordon Kotze's men will look to emulate the fine form that saw them emphatic 77-19 winners over Marr back in September. 
There is no rest come Sunday as Ayr Ladies set their sights on League glory on the final day of the season away to Oban Lorne. Oban currently sit atop the table with Ayr trailing by four. This means that a bonus point victory would bring the Tennents National 1 trophy back to Millbrae for the second time in three seasons. If Oban pick up a bonus point Ayr will need to win by more than 20 points to snatch it on points difference. 
The ladies game kicks-off at 14.00 and like the other two fixtures you can follow the action every step of the way on Twitter @OfficialAyrRFC.

1XV: G. Anderson, P. Dewhirst, O. Smith, D. McCluskey, K. Rowe, F. Climo, H. Warr; R. Sayce, R. Smith, S. Longwell, D. Corbenici, A. North, T. Spinks, G. Henry, B. Macpherson (C).
Subs: A. McGuire, C. Miller, P. McCallum, S. Lyle, J. Bova.
2XV: J. Baird, F. Bark, H. Lynch, Z. Howard, E. Hamilton, J. Rennie, C. Black; B. Paterson, S. Collier, C. Stillie, R. Arthur, L. Scott, K. Borland, S. Rae, C. Reece.
Subs: D. Bryce, D. Young, L. Richardson, M. Manning, S. Graham, S. Dunlop.

Ladies squad still TBC.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Ayr 29-3 Edinburgh Accies

Peter Murchie’s men got back on track on Saturday with an emphatic 29-3 victory over league newbies Edinburgh Accies. With last weekend’s agonising home defeat to Watsonians still fresh in the minds of the Millbrae faithful Ayr managed to bounce back with youthful exuberance, showcasing the strength and depth of their ranks. 

The younger pack were hungrier than their counterparts and very quickly managed to wrap the visitors in a choke hold, of which they couldn’t wriggle out of.

Forward superiority was evident within the first few phases of the game. A scrum after just eight minutes resulted in a penalty to the home side allowing Climo to launch the ball into touch. From the line-out a monstrous rolling maul marched Ayr from the 22 metre-line to the try-line, but Accies managed to get themselves between the ball and the ground to force the scrum-five. 

Three scrum-penalties later and all eyes were on the ref but after Accies’ formal warning Blair Macpherson managed to launch himself from the back of the scrum and score- no card needed. Climo’s conversion slipped just wide.

It didn’t take long until they were back in again. For as much fun as the forwards were having the backs looked equally as dominant when allowed the chance to play. Youngsters Ollie Smith and Paddy Dewhirst linked up superbly before the later fed veteran Grant Anderson, who ran through untouched. Climo brought the scoring to 12-0.

Ayr had dispelled any murmurings that last week’s shock defeat was anything more than just that. With the game starting to open up Ayr were able to stretch their wings and get creative. Frazier Climo pulled off his trademark gliding run through a barrage of bodies- none of whom were able to grab him. The fly-half found support in the form of Steven Longwell, who’s getting into a habit of being on Climo’s inside channel. We might just see the tight-head in a 12 jersey yet as he charged towards the line, pulling off a show ‘n’ go to dupe the covering defender. Just as he looked to have been brought down he threw an audacious offload over his head to keep the play alive. A few phases later he scampered over but once again the ref deemed the ball held-up.

The scrum remained dominant however, and a penalty-try moments later added to the home side’s lead.

Accies managed to grab their only points of the afternoon soon after, with Richard Mill slotting a routine penalty kick.

With the first half dwindling away Ayr pushed for the bonus. Ayr product Ruairidh Sayce, who has been enjoying a heroic run of games with the 1XV, latched onto the back of a rolling maul and bundled over to get his first senior try for the club. The score ignited an uproar of applause in the main stand as the ball boy-turned-star reaped the reward of his hard graft on the training paddock. 

Half-time: Ayr 24-3 Edinburgh Accies.

With the bonus point wrapped up and Ayr out of the sight the second half welcomed a change in pace. Alex McGuire dotted down for his first in pink and black minutes after the restart to land the knock-out blow to the visitors. From then on Accies did tremendously well to defend their line but couldn’t muster any threat going forward. Ayr saw out the game to secure all five points and assert their control at the top of the table.

Full-time: Ayr 29-3 Edinburgh Accies.

For tireless work around the park and playing his part in the pack’s domination display, David Corbenici was named Slaters Menswear POTM.

The  2XV also returned to winning ways,  seeing off Hamilton 2s 70-12. Prop Ben Paterson was named Man-of-the-Match.