Full Points on the Road for the Bulls

Callum Kerr @ Meggetland

 

The Ayrshire Bulls made tricky work of their away bout to Boroughmuir, but inevitably left with all available points and a pleasing 17-27 victory. There was nothing separating the sides at half-time, but a 0-17 run after the break put the Bulls out of reach. The Bears did manage a consolation score on the stroke of final whistle to soften the blow.

After the match Pat Macarthur was mostly pleased with his men’s efforts, particularly due to their ability to win despite not entirely clicking: “We won with a bonus point away from home – really well done – but I think as we grow as a team our expectations of individual performance and collective performance grow with us.

“We are happy with the win, we worked out how to win that game, but the performance we expect of ourselves wasn’t where we want it to be”.

It was 10-10 at the break and with Boroughmuir threatening it could well have been a different outcome, but the side who took to the pitch in the second half seemed to be more assured of themselves. Bears had chances to take the lead, but a steely resolve from MacArthur’s men kept them at bay, allowing them to pull away on the opposite end.

MacArthur described the difference between the two halves: “We managed to control the ball better. In the first half we coughed up a lot of possession and a big thing we’ve been working on is looking after that ball… We went in at half time and had a good few words and they reacted to it – credit to them!

“The bench came on and had a good impact as well which is great to see for our big squad”.

 

The Bears dealt the first punch of the afternoon through a routine penalty from Tom Pittman four minutes in.

Four minutes later, Yaree Fantini opened the Bulls scoring account. The flanker was disallowed moments before after crafty work from Bear wing Jordan Edmunds who held him up, but nobody could stop him on second serving. With the power of a maul in front of him, it was all too easy for Fantini to rumble over and dot down.

The lead was short-lived, with the electric Kaleem Barreto slicing through to make it 10-5 three minutes later.

An unconverted try for Fantini in identical circumstance to his first chalked it all up and concluded first-half scoring.

 

Half-time: Boroughmuir Bears 10-10 Ayrshire Bulls

 

On the 53-minute Michael Scott grabbed the Bull’s third try of the game – and made it three rolling maul tries in a row! Kicking woes continued for the Bulls, who were unable to convert their conversion again.

After it being a forward-hungry affair on the scoreboard, debutant winger Finn Callaghan soon ran over to snatch one for the backs. On his first touch of the ball, not only for the Bulls but also in a FOSROCSuper6 encounter, he finished off a well-worked set-piece to score under the posts. Matt Minogue, who wasn’t long on for Christian Townsend, added the extras.

Callaghan didn’t waste time to get his second. After numerous carries into the heart of the Bears’ half, the Bulls worked the ball wide gifting Callaghan plenty of space for a picturesque leap into the corner.

With the Bears now trailing 10-27 and the clock dwindling away, they plucked up a consolation score in the final play of the game.

 

Full-Time: Boroughmuir Bears 17-27 Ayrshire Bulls

 

In a game that was won up-front and in the shadows, workhorse Ryan Sweeny was named FOSROC Man of the Match for an industrious eighty-minute performance.

Today’s Twitter coverage of the match was proudly sponsored by the University of the West of Scotland.

 

 

Tries: Yaree Fantini (2), Michael Scott, Finn Callaghan (2)

Conversion: Matt Minogue


Bulls Make Light Work of Heriots at Goldenacre

Callum Kerr @ Goldenacre

The Ayrshire Bulls secured a statement win on the road against Heriots Rugby earlier today. They ‘nilled’ the hosts in what turned out to be a comfortable 0-28 victory.

 

It marks their third win on the bounce after a shaky start and moves them to second in the league, leapfrogging Watsonians.

(Image – Malcolm Mackenzie. Eli Caven was in the heart of the action early doors)

It was the dream start for the Bulls. Early pressure soon resulted in three points from the tee when Heriots were caught offside. The initial break came courtesy of Eli Caven, who’s piercing run put the Bulls in touching distance. Tom Jordan was able to open his kicking account from the resulting penalty.

Moments later the Bulls got their first score. Once again it was Caven who provided the spark. The winger sprung through the line but was pulled down metres short. A loose pass went to ground but Robbie Nairn was on-hand to scoop the ball and muscle over through contact.

A quick penalty shortly after, followed by a carbon-copy try for Nairn, gave him his brace and Ayr a 0-18 lead early doors.

Despite both sides flirting with the try line there after neither side got back on the scoreboard in the first half.

 

Half-time: Heriots Rugby 0-18 Ayrshire Bulls

 

The intensity ramped up in the second half, resulting in both sides struggling to mount any real challenge for the line.

After half an hour of the score stalling the Bulls eventually broke through again. The ball shipped wide to winger Aaron Tait who had little to no room in front of him but managed to shrug off a pair of tacklers – with the second due to an almighty left-hand fend. Tait did remarkably well to prevent being shoved into touch, balancing acutely on the inside of the pitch and leaping through the air to score.

Moments later they were at it again, with Blair MacPherson making a captain’s contribution to secure the bonus point seven minutes from the final whistle. It was Heriot’s scrum on the five-metre line, but the Bulls drove them back in heroic fashion to give MacPherson a simple dot down to conclude the scoring.

Full-time: Heriots Rugby 0-28 Ayrshire Bulls.

 

There were a handful of contenders for FOSROC player of the match, but it was fly-half Tom Jordan who fought off stiff competition from his comrades. The kiwi expertly managed his side’s attack and didn’t shy away from defensive confrontation.

 

Tries: Robbie Nairn (2), Aaron Tait, Blair Macpherson.

Penalties: Tom Jordan (2)

Conversion: Tom Jordan

 


Ayr bring the Cairdeas Quaich back to Millbrae

Callum Kerr @ Bridgehaugh

The first piece of Silverware up for grabs this season was secured this evening at Bridgehaugh, with Ayr bringing the Cairdeas Quaich home to Millbrae. The trophy was won in terrific fashion, with Frazier Climo picking up a hat-trick in a 9-24 victory over the hosts.

The Cairdeas Quaich was introduced in 2014 by sponsors United Auctions and is competed for every time the two sides meet. It stayed at Millbrae for almost a decade, before Stirling eventually bagged a maiden victory over Ayr prior to 2020’s lockdown. Tonight’s victory means it returns to Burns country.

Ayr started the game with great intent. A piercing run from Harry Lynch put them on the front foot within the opening minute, but a dropped ball subdued the threat, allowing County to clear their lines from the scrum.

The tempo continued at a frantic rate for the opening ten minutes but neither side could keep the ball long enough to mount a convincing attack. The first real chance of the game fell to the hosts. Ben Salmon broke clear from his 22 and released Kier Singleton down the park. He looked in for the opening score before Jamie Bova tracked back and dragged him down short of the line, pressure relieved.

It was Ayr’s turn to strike next. Frazier Climo found space with a crafty dink in behind which bounced up eloquently for him. He fell to his knees but popped the ball up to Cameron Young in the process. Young cantered clear only to be held up inches short by terrific scramble-defence. County forced a penalty from the resulting ruck and yet again the game remained scoreless.

Despite both sides flirting with a try early on, first blood came via the experienced boot of Jonny Hope on the 15th minute.

The lead with short lived, with Ayr bagging their try moments later. In trademark style, Climo looked lost in a sea of opposing defenders but managed to juke his way through and glide clear. Jamie Bova extended the lead from the tee to 3-7.

With their newfound confidence, Ayr didn’t waste any time to score again. On the 24th minute Michael Kirk barrelled over from close range to make it 3-12 to the visitors.

Stirling County would conclude the scoring for the first half, with another three points courtesy of Hope.

 

Half-time: 6-12

 

County started the half in a similar fashion and eight minutes in struck again from the tee. Ayr were pinged for not rolling away, allowing Jonny Hope to make it 9-12 and 3/3 from the tee.

Inevitably the game began to slow, with neither side striking blows for the next stage of the game. Ayr had their noses in front but play balanced on a knife-edge.

The all-important next score came once again through Frazier Climo. From the base of a scrum, Jamie Bova came off his wing to take the ball in midfield. An optimistic County tackle flew in, but Bova did well to shrug him down with a heroic hand-off, launching down the field. He did the hard yards before finding Climo on his outside to dive clear. The conversion didn’t land but Ayr held a 9-17 lead eight minutes from final whistle.

The icing on top came in injury time. With Ayr showing no sign of letting the game dwindle away they pushed for a bonus. In the last play of the game, Frazier Climo sliced through the line to bag his hat-trick and the all-important try bonus point. Job done, three wins on the bounce and some silverware to boot!

No surprise to any, head coach Stuart Fenwick reluctantly named his old comrade Frazier Climo Man of the Match.

The 1st will look to take their scintillating form into next week’s clash with Biggar at Millbrae. The game kicks off at 15.00 on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bulls Bounce Back with Emphatic Victory

Callum Kerr at Millbrae:

The Ayrshire Bulls thrust themselves back into the win column this afternoon with a heroic victory over Heriots at Millbrae. The squad ran in six tries and never fell behind from first to last whistle, concluding scoring at 41-7.

 

Three of the six scores came through skipper Blair MacPherson, who proved too much for Heriots to handle from short range. Robbie Nairn, Eli Caven and Jordan Lenac bagged one a-piece.

 

Despite MacPherson’s hattrick, it was his back-row comrade Ryan Sweeney who was named FOSROC Player of the Match after a busy eighty minutes in the trenches.

 

(Ryan Sweeney receiving his award from skipper Blair Macpherson)

 

Ayrshire Bulls head coach Pat MacArthur was jubilant at the final whistle, unrecognisable from the man at full-time last Friday following injury-time defeat to Stirling County. The Bulls came into the match with three losses and one win, so desperately needed to show their worth. Not many would have expected a 41-7 victory, but it was the Bulls afternoon and they cruised to victory in front of a delighted home crowd.

 

Speaking of his men’s efforts, MacArthur said: “There’s been a lot of tough times the past few weeks because we know what potential we have in this squad and the belief within it… We’ve just not been clicking with that final pass.

 

“Credit to the boys. It wasn’t a nice place to be Monday, Tuesday. They kept the confidence; we believe in what we are doing… That’s the first step for us is the best way to put it. It’s not a finished article but it is a first step in the right direction”.

 

MacArthur also believes the hurt of a few narrow defeats played a part in today’s victory: “It’s been a steep learning curve for a lot of the young boys here. If you look at the spine of our team there’s a lot of new boys here and they learn, everyone takes it to heart. (Today was) A reaction from last week, a reaction from the start of the season to where we want to be. It is a building block that we then come back, pick it apart, and go again.

 

Ending on a light note, when pressed about now having a week off when they’ve found form, MacArthur joked: “I think the boys will be glad to get away from me for a week!”

 

The Bulls next action is in two weeks’ time (Sat 11 September) when they welcome Stirling County to Millbrae. With the hurt of last week’s defeat still fresh in the mind and newfound confidence instilled in them, the anticipation is bubbling away nicely. The action kicks off at 15.00, with highlights shown later in the evening courtesy of @Super6Rugby.

 

 

 


The Bulls Fall Short to County at the Death

Callum Kerr at Bridgehaugh:

 

This evening the Ayrshire Bulls fell narrowly on the road to Stirling County, with an injury-time penalty securing a 30-28 win for the hosts.

 

It was a game that saw County charge to a 27-15 lead with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Unperturbed, the Bulls rallied to drag themselves back into contention before a breakaway Matt Davidson score with two minutes left looked like it might have snatched a 27-28 win. They couldn’t hold on, and a slack penalty in the middle of the park from the resulting restart gifted County their first victory of the season.

(Bryan Robertson snaps Stirling County’s injury-time winner)

Speaking at full-time, following the Bulls third loss in four games, head coach Pat MacArthur had one word on his mind: “Complacency”, referring to his side’s inability to consolidate an advantage when they found themselves on top in the earlier stages. He continued: “We didn’t ever protect any lead that we managed to put ourselves in. We are putting ourselves under pressure.

 

“We can say now that’s three games we could have the same chat about how we could have, should have won, but we are in the place we are now”.

 

It could have all been different in the later stages, and MacArthur was quick to express his disappointment in how the game concluded: “We didn’t deal with the kick-off… you talk, and you practise, and you go through how to defend a lead. You score a try; the kick-off is the next most important thing.

 

“You couldn’t write it any better for them (Stirling County)”.

 

Looking ahead to next week’s encounter MacArthur insists it’s not a case of ‘back to the drawing board’ but they will reflect heavily on their performance: “We had a good few words in the changing room. We will look solely at ourselves. Everyone in that changing room is accountable, and if we’re all accountable for our actions, our team becomes better…

 

“We look back at ourselves- one to fifteen, every man and even the coaches – how are we turning these games into victories. We are there, it’s just a tiny percentage that isn’t coming off”.

 

The squad have eight days before their next FOSROCSuper6 clash next Saturday against Heriots at home.

 

The match kicks off at 15.00.


Flurry of Changes ahead of County Encounter

Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pat MacArthur has made a flurry of changes to his side ahead of tomorrow night’s (Fri 19 Aug) encounter with Stirling County at Bridgehaugh.

 

MacArthur and his coaching staff have been tweaking away to the squad each week but tomorrow’s line-up sees the biggest change yet.

 

In the front row, both Alex McGuire and Calvin Henderson earn their first starts of the season after numerous features from the bench in recent weeks. Ruairidh Sayce retains the one jersey with George Thornton still out of action. The second row remains an area of consistency, with Ed Bloodworth and Tom Everard named side-by-side for the fourth consecutive matchday.

 

In the back row Gavin Wilson drops out of the squad with Rory Jackson stepping in at openside. Jackson made his Ayrshire Bulls debut off the bench at the Greenyards last weekend. Ryan Sweeney and skipper Blair MacPherson hold onto the six and eight jersey respectively.

 

Familiar face Harry Warr also earns a first start of the season, stepping in for Jordan Lenac. Matt Minogue swaps last week’s subs jersey with Christian Townsend to start at ten.

 

There’s one more change in the backs with Aaron Tait named at eleven.

 

Rhodri Tanner is on the pine for the first time, with Michael Scott and Craig Miller completing the front row replacements. Jamie Drummond, who replaced Tanner at hooker last week for his debut, is named in the 20 jersey to provide back-row cover.

 

With Lenac missing out Club XV scrum-half and recent Ayr/Wellington U18s graduate Adam McGowan is called up for emergency cover. He will make his debut if called upon.

 

Eli Caven completes the 23-man squad.

 

The match kicks off at 19.30 under the lights at Bridgehaugh. If you can’t make it to Stirling then you can stream live on BBC iPlayer and scottishrugby.org.

 

Full squad below:


Late Comeback Not Enough for Beaten Bulls

The Ayrshire Bulls suffered their second defeat of the season this afternoon at the hands of Southern Knights at the Greenyards.

Despite holding a 10-13 lead at the break the Southern Knights managed to grab control of proceedings in the second half, finishing the job 22-20.

(SNS//Scottish Rugby)

 

At full-time whistle head coach Pat MacArthur was a man of few words, disappointed that his men couldn’t capitalise on opportunities his men created: “We had chances to score in their 22.

 

“The Knights held on in there, scored an opportunistic try, but if you look at territory in the oppositions 22 I think if we can convert these chances that are slipping away we’ll be in a really good place”.

When reflecting on positives MacArthur mentioned the squad being able to snatch a losing bonus point late in the game, but the initial sting of defeat remained the overriding emotion: “The boys are gutted. They understand that the game was there for them to win. Unfortunately, a few things didn’t click.

“A positive would be that we have a game on Friday, against Stirling. They’ll be raring to go on that”.

Craig Miller, Jamie Drummond and Rory Jackson all made their Ayrshire Bulls debuts in the contest, and MacArthur was more positive reflecting on their efforts: “It didn’t phase them. The young lads came on and really took it to them.

“I think if you look at the squad as a whole we had a couple of outstanding performances. Tom Jordan really steps up physically. With Tom Williams outside of him, there’s a really good partnership forming.

As Pat mentioned the Bulls will be back out on the field this coming Friday when they travel to Bridgehaugh to face Stirling County. The match kicks off at 19.30.

Try Scorers: Ruairidh Sayce, Tom Jordan, Thomas Williams,

Conversions: Christian Townsend

Penalty: Christian Townsend


Handful of Changes Ahead of Joust with Knights

The Ayrshire Bulls have named their squad ahead of tomorrow’s FOSROC Super6 encounter with the Southern Knights at the Greenyards.

Melrose has been the backdrop of some titanic battles between pink and yellow over the years and both teams will be looking for more of the same in their new forms.

The spine of last week’s squad which triumphed over Boroughmuir remains, with a handful of tweaks completing the line-up.

Ruairidh Sayce makes his first start for the Bulls at loosehead replacing the injured George Thornton. In the backline, Yaree Fantini also drops out, with Gavin Wilson promoted to seven after his two bench appearances.

There’s a singular change in the backline, with Eli Caven swapping his 23 jersey with winger Aaron Tait.

On the bench, Jamie Drummond, Craig Miller and Rory Jackson all come in at 16, 17 and 20, respectively. All three will make their Bulls debut if called upon.

Matt Minogue also returns to the fray, replacing Tom Lanni.

Full squad below:


Bulls bag victory over Bears

This Afternoon the Ayrshire Bulls bagged their first win of the season with a 24-10 victory over the Boroughmuir Bears at a soggy Millbrae.

 

The win was welcome news to the Ayr faithful, who left disappointed last Sunday when the Bulls narrowly fell to Watsonians on opening weekend.

(Photo – Scottish Rugby//SNS)

Speaking at final whistle, Bulls head coach Pat MacArthur was delighted with his side’s effort: “There was disappointment after week one. We went back and said we would tweak a few things and we did. The boys stuck to it really well… The physicality of the boys was brilliant and that’s where we set our benchmark in the forwards”.

 

It was Christian Townsend who got the Bulls going early doors. Two penalty kicks from the youngster in harsh conditions gave them a six-point lead before Tom Jordan crossed the line. From a rolling maul, the ball shipped to Robbie Nairn, who pierced through the defence before releasing Jordan into open space and cantering clear.

 

The Bears managed to get on the board shortly after with a penalty kick, but Townsend stretched the lead back to 13 in a similar fashion a minute later.

 

The Bulls fortunes got even better before halftime, with Michael Scott powering over to make it 24-3 at the break.

 

Despite the rain subsiding and the conditions improving in the second half the pace slowed down. The bears enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory but struggled to break down a resilient Bulls defence. In the end they only managed to muster one try, concluding the scoring at 24-10.

 

With the Bulls set-piece largely responsible for the victory, second row Ed Bloodworth was named FOSROCSuper6 Man of the Match after an impressive performance in the skies at line-out time. The lock also got through a power of work around the paddock.

 

Next week the Bulls travel to Melrose to face the Southern Knights in their first outing away from Millbrae. The match gets underway at 15.00.


A Handful of New Faces Enter the Fray

The Ayrshire Bulls have named their squad for tomorrow’s FOSROC Super6 clash against Boroughmuir Bears at Millbrae.

The Bulls will look to right wrongs after a narrow defeat to Watsonians last Sunday in their season opener. The Bears enjoyed better fortunes against Heriots, snatching a 15-13 win in dramatic fashion.

Pat MacArthur has listed a handful of changes ahead of the match.

Aaron Tait comes into the starting XV after a bench appearance last week. Elias Caven takes the absent 23 jersey and will make his Ayrshire Bulls debut if used.

Local lad Tom Lanni also features in the bench and is set for his Bulls debut after numerous run-outs with the Club XV pre-Coronavirus.

His bench spot is created by the promotion of Christian Townsend, who starts at ten with Matt Minogue dropping out.

The pack remains unchanged.

Full squad below: