Ayr RFC

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Ayr
Full name Ayr Rugby Football Club
Union Scottish Rugby Union
Founded 1897
Location Ayr, Scotland
Ground(s) Millbrae
Coach(es) Scotland Calum Forrester
League(s) Scottish Premiership
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.ayrrugbyclub.co.uk

Ayr Rugby Football Club are a rugby union side, currently playing in the Scottish Premiership.

The team are based in Ayr in Scotland, and they play at Millbrae, Alloway.

Millbrae[edit]

Millbrae is a rugby ground used by Ayr for both training and practice. It has two full size rugby fields, one overlooked by a grandstand, and a clubhouse, which is used mainly for changing rooms, the function room and the bar. Millbrae is adjacent to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and can be accessed either by a road from Alloway or via a small gate beside the museum.

Millbrae became Ayr's home in 1964, the club having moved from the original ground at Newton Park to Dam Park, then to the Old Racecourse and King George V playing field before finally taking up residence in Alloway. Newton Park is now the venue of international bowls competitions, Dam Park is an athletics stadium and King George V is given over to soccer, although its claim to fame came from the time of a full Scottish trial was staged there in 1958, every other ground in Scotland being frostbound.

Caps / Representative honours[edit]

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Ayr produced players of international standard. One who played and went on to be capped out of London Scottish was Alistair Boyle. Although supplying players to the Glasgow side (and Glasgow clubs) Ayr had to wait until 1977 for the first home-grown player to gain international honours. Winger David Ashton won his B cap against France and in the following year John Brown was in the B side at full back in the same fixture.

In 1980 Stephen Munro won the first of his ten full caps, against Ireland, the last coming in the Welsh match of the 1984 Grand Slam season. Probably Ayr's finest hour in representative terms came in December 1984 when 5 players – skipper Alan Brown returning from serious knee injury, half backs George Nicolson and Grant Steel, and wing forwards David Brown and Colin McCallum – lined up for Glasgow against the touring Australians. The 3 Brown brothers certainly made impact on rugby in Ayr. Alan skippered the team for several seasons, led the club on a Canadian Tour and carried on as coach/player.

Other Ayr players who gained international caps at other clubs were Gordon Strachan, Quintin Dunlop, Derek Stark, Derrick Lee.

Strachan returned to Ayr in the late 1970s, when he captained the club. He went on to coach the team, leading them from the 3rd to 1st division.

Quintin Dunlop captained Ayr in the late seventies after his one cap with West of Scotland.

Derek Stark, Ayr's winger, gained B caps at Ayr, but the 9 full caps came after he left the club as Ayr had been relegated to the 2nd Division. Stark later won caps with Boroughmuir RFC, Glasgow Hawks and Melrose RFC.

Derrick Lee played for Ayr from the ages of 8 to 18, gaining Scotland representation at all junior age groups. Unfortunately, university in Edinburgh meant he chose a local club (Watsonians) and he gained his 12 caps during the last ten years playing for London Scottish and Edinburgh.

Ross Curle, Robbie Fergusson, Stuart Fenwick, Danny McCluskey, Grant Anderson, Kerr Gossman and D'arcy Rae are just a few of the current Ayr squad who have represented Scotland at age grade level.

Emily Irving of Ayr Ladies has caps for Scotland Women Under-20s and the senior side.

Scott Sutherland, Craig Gossman, Dean Kelbrick, Andrew Dunlop, Nick Cox and Callum Templeton have all played for the Scotland Club XV.

Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur and Finn Russell won full international caps in the 2013/14 season.

2008-2009 Season - Premier 1 Champions[edit]

Ayr RFC celebrating winning the Premier League Trophy

On 7 March 2009, the 1st XV made history as the first Ayr team to win the Premier Division, after a 20-10 win against Edinburgh Accies with 3 games still left in the season.[1]

2009/10 & 10/11 Seasons - Scottish Cup Success[edit]

Andy Wilson scoring Ayr's fifth and final try

On 24 April 2010, Ayr ran overpowered Melrose 36-23 to win the Scottish Cup final at Murrayfield.[2] Following a late burst of scoring meant they finished the game with five tries – enough for the bonus point they wanted in a match that also counted towards the Scottish Premiership race,[3] however the next match was the decider at Currie RFC,[4] in front of 2,500 people, where Ayr were beaten narrowly missing out on an unprecedented double.[5]

Ayr retained their cup title on 16 April 2011 by again beating Melrose, this time by 25-21.[6]

Ayr went onto Murrayfield for a third consecutive final in 2012, but this time were defeated by Gala.

2012/13 Further Success[edit]

The 2012/13 season proved very fruitful for Ayr. Their first silverware came in November through the Bill McLaren Shield, a new trophy for winning at home, taking possession of the shield when they beat Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place, and then becoming the first team to have their name engraved on it, having defended it four times after beating GHA in a West Regional Shield tie. Ayr were still in possession of the trophy at the end of the season having not been betean at home in any competition all year.

Ayr continued their success by winning the RBS West Cup with a 15-10 victory over Glasgow Hawks.

On 23 February 2013, with one game remaining, a 39-13 victory over Currie, the reverse fixture being the only defeat for Ayr in the league, coupled with the only challengers Gala Rugby losing, meant the Scottish Premiership returned to Millbrae.

On 21 April 2013, Ayr won the Scottish Cup for the third time, beating Melrose 28-25 thanks to a Cammy Taylor try in extra time. 2012/13 was capped with Ayr named Club of the Season at the SRU Awards at Murrayfield.

British and Irish Cup[edit]

Ayr took part in the British and Irish Cup competition from its introduction in the 2009-2010 season until the 2011-12 season.

In the first year of the competition, Ayr finished 4th in group D having lost to Doncaster (A), Cardiff (A), Pontypridd (H) and beating Rotherham (H) and Birmingham and Solihull (H).

In the second year of the competition, Ayr were pooled with the same teams in group D again (apart from the replacement of Cardiff by Llandovery) with the location of the fixtures being reversed. Ayr finished second in the group, losing to Pontypridd (A), drawing with Rotherham (A) and beating Birmingham and Solihull (A), Llandovery (H) and Doncaster (H).

As a result of finishing second Ayr earned a quarter-final place, the first and only Scottish team to do so. Ayr were drawn away to Bristol where they lost 29-19.[7]

In the 2011-2012 season, Ayr played Munster and Plymouth away with Cross Keys and Bristol visiting Millbrae.

After failing to qualify in 2012/3, B&I Cup rugby returned to Millbrae in 2013/4 season after Ayr secured the 2013 Scottish Premiership. They were the only Scottish side to record any wins, with victories over Ulster Ravens and Jersey. They will not compete in the Cup in 2014/15 after the SRU withdrew the Scottish clubs due to scheduling difficulties.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ayr 20 Edinburgh Accies 8: Ayr on cloud nine after taking title - Sport - Scotsman.com". Sport.scotsman.com. 7 March 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "BBC Sport - Rugby Union - Ayr outgun Melrose for cup glory". BBC News. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  3. ^ Club (2010-04-25). "Ayr power to Scottish Hydro Cup triumph over Melrose". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  4. ^ Club (2010-04-30). "All eyes on Malleny Park as Currie host Ayr in Scottish Premiership title showdown". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Currie 16 - 13 Ayr: Currie just too hot for Ayr - Sport - Scotsman.com". Sport.scotsman.com. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Ayr beat Melrose to retain trophy". BBC News. 2011-04-16. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  7. ^ "Bristol 29 - 19 Ayr: Scots side shine in B&I Cup defeat at Bristol - Sport". Scotsman.com. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 

Coordinates: 55°25′35.79″N 4°38′5.92″W / 55.4266083°N 4.6349778°W / 55.4266083; -4.6349778

External links[edit]