Your 2019/20 Award Winners

(Photo - Seth Rae was one of the evening's Player of the Year winners. Credit - George McMillan)

 

This evening Ayr Rugby concluded their end-of-season award presentations with the unveiling of winners from the club's senior sides.

 

The awards were announced as-live on Twitter with many of the recipients watching along on Zoom calls with teammates and coaches. The awards allowed their coaches to pay homage to some of the outstanding campaigners from their squads.

 

Ayr Ladies:

Andy Duncan named Robynn Gibson his player of the season after the centre led her side in tries scored through a tough campaign.

 

Skipper Catherine Shennan swooped up player's player of the year with a majority vote. In what was her first season at the helm of the side she brought great leadership to her role of fly-half.

 

A newer face to the Millbrae crowd, Louise Downie was named breakthrough player of the year after a terrific first season in pink and black.

 

Ayr/Millbrae:

Ayr/Millbrae named two award winners and opted to change 'breakthrough player' to the more traditional 'most improved'. Jack Finnie was the man who fit the bill. The hooker kicked on after a few years of senior rugby and earned his Club XV debut in the process.

Ross Gilmour was named player of the year.

 

Club XV:

IT was a season of new beginnings for much of Ayr RFC and Stuart Fenwick can be proud of his men's efforts in his first year in charge.

 

An ever-present force in his squad was Seth Rae, who was named player of the year for his tireless effort around the park.

 

Zac Howard was named player's player of the year in a season that has been his coming of age - from a plucky winger capable of a line break to the team's captain and general.

 

One of the better stories of their season was the emergence of tighthead prop Ben Cree and his appointment of breakthrough player of the year will come as no surprise to the Millbrae faithful. An unstoppable force with ball-in-hand and an immovable object at scrum time, it's hard to fathom that was his first season of senior rugby.

 

Ayrshire Bulls:

His name has been in lights since impressing with Scotland U20s and now Ollie Smith earns another accolade - being named player of the year by head coach Peter Murchie. The FOSROC Academy stage three star has been a constant source of go-forward for the Bulls.

Aussie import Sam Kitchen was voted Player's Player of the Year. The bullish hooker epitomises the team's persona and finished the regular season a-top of try-scoring leaderboards.

 

Young prop Michael Scott was named Breakthrough Player of the Year.

 

Well done to all of this year's winners and thank you to all who cheered them on from the sidelines. We can't wait to welcome you back to Millbrae in the future. Stay home, stay safe.

 

Have you voted in this year's Try of the Season Competition? Have your say and support the club in a time of need! Donate below...

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Simpson and O'Connor Lead Awards Night with Two A-Piece

(Photo - Ayr U18s fly-half Richie Simpson in action. Simpson and teammate Aiden O'Connor Headline this evening's winners with two each)

 

This evening Ayr Rugby unveiled the end-of-season award winners for the upper echelons of the youth section, as well as the senior rugby academy.

 

The awards were announced as-live on Twitter with many of the squads involved watching along on Zoom calls with coaches.

 

Despite their seasons all coming to a premature end, it has been a historic year for the teams involved. With the introduction of FOSROC Super6 side the Ayrshire Bulls and a reimagined Club XV, the path to senior rugby at Ayr has never been closer. The awards allowed their coaches the opportunity to pay homage to some of the outstanding campaigners in their squads.

 

Winners:

U16 Girls

Player of the Year: Bethan Gregory

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Maddison Colville

U16 Boys

Player of the Year: Logan Murray

Player's Player of the Year: Jonothan Turnbull, Blair Niven and Jamie McLaughlan

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Andy Cathcart

U18 Girls

Player of the Year: Holly McIntyre

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Hazel McMillan and Emma Struthers

U18 boys

Player of the Year: Richie Simpson

Player's Player of the Year: Richie Simpson

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Aiden O'Connor

Senior Academy

Player of the Year: Michael Lafferty and Aiden O'Connor

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Ross Bulloch

 

Well done to this evening's winners and all who turned out in pink and black this season. The Awards will continue tomorrow night in a similar fashion with Ayr Ladies, Ayr/Millbrae, Ayr Club XV and the Ayrshire Bulls.


2019/20 Virtual Awards

This Thursday and Friday evening Ayr Rugby will be announcing the 2019/20 season award winners from U16s to the Ayrshire Bulls.

 

The original awards dinner which was scheduled last month at Ayr Racecourse was cancelled in-line with government guidance surrounding Coronavirus (Covid-19). This Thursday and Friday will allow the club to honour the efforts of all involved as well as close the curtain on another historic year in pink and black.

 

Alongside this, members and fans will also have the chance to support the club by casting a vote in the Ayr Rugby Try of the Season competition. Votes cost a £2 donation and will go directly to supporting the club's operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can vote as many times as you like to reflect the size of your donation.

 

All voters will be automatically entered into a prize draw with the winner bagging some signed merchandise!

 

The nominations for Try of the Season will be announced later this evening and include a try from Ayr Ladies, Ayr Club XV and the Ayrshire Bulls.

 

Thursday night will celebrate the upper echelons of the youth section with awards for the U16s and U18s Boys and Girls, as well as the Senior Academy.

 

Friday night the award winners of the club's senior sides - Ayr/Millbrae, Ayr Ladies, Ayr Club XV and the Ayrshire Bulls - will be announced.

 

Ayr Rugby would like to extend thanks to all for your continued support through unprecedented times.

 

We can't wait to welcome you back to Millbrae in the future! Stay home, stay safe.


Facilities Update

Ayr Rugby would like to reiterate that all facilities at Millbrae - including pitches and surrounding grassed areas - are closed until further notice.

 

Millbrae shut in March in-line with government guidance on Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Scottish Rugby’s suspension of all rugby activity. In addition, the pitches are now being prepared for next season, as we wait for more clarity on when rugby can return. We urge all members of the local community not to travel to the ground and to use a different location for their daily exercise.

 

We wish everyone good health during this time. Stay home, stay safe!


Relive the 2019 Scottish Cup Final once more!

This coming Monday (27 April) relive the 2019 Scottish Cup Final between Ayr and Heriots to mark one year on from the enthralling clash at BT Murrayfield.

 

 

The match will be re-run on the Ayr Rugby YouTube and Facebook channels, with pre-match build-up and commentary on Twitter.

Although twelve months ago the action got underway at 15.00, this Monday kick-off will be at 19.30 to allow those working from home to enjoy the match without any distraction. We hope the game brings back a ‘Matchday Buzz’ to the Millbrae faithful, who we thank for their continued support during this time of uncertainty.

 

Going into the match it couldn’t have been closer. A few weeks prior a tit-for-tat Premiership final between Ayr and Heriots at Millbrae seen the home side squeak a 29-23 victory. It put them in pole position for the league and cup double, but they’d know Heriots would be hell-bent in seeking their revenge.

 

We couldn’t possibly call it!

 

Many thanks to Scottish Rugby TV for contributing the footage of the match. The match will be available to view here: youtube.com/user/ayrrugby

 

Ayr Rugby would also like to send out a special thank you to sponsors, partners, members and fans for their continued support during this time. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to Millbrae once this has passed.

 

Stay home, stay safe.


Club Captain Zac Howard relishes New Role

Over the past couple of weeks sport has been just a small drop in an ocean of uncertainty. Unprecedented times, the suspension of rugby brought to a close Ayr’s club XV Tennent’s National 1 campaign. With three rounds consigned to oblivion Ayr sit in tenth with currently relegated Boroughmuir just seven points behind and a game in hand. Equally, ninth placed Kelso live in catchable territory just four points clear.

 

 

Instead of pondering what could and should happen to final standings Club XV skipper Zac Howard is using the down time to reflect and improve.

It wasn’t a straight-forward appointment into the leadership role for Howard. Club captain Gregor Henry bowed out through injury and second-in-command Johnny McCorkindale flew the coop for a spell in Australia. Veteran forward David Young was next to have his season curtailed by injury, prompting Craig Brown to take up interim charge. Eventually, Stuart Fenwick found his man In Zac to lead the side in the business end of the competition. Adopting a ‘lead by example’ style, the winger has set alight defences all season.

 

He inherited the team at a low point with only one win in the ten games prior. He also faced his own battles, having just returned from a spell on the side-lines: “I had just came back from missing three weeks through concussion, so it was a big responsibility to captain my first game back. The boys all knew what a win against Cartha would do for us and we knew we were capable of winning.

 

“Everyone showed heart and desire to get us back on track with a win. To get that on my first game was a great feeling”.

 

Although hovering just above relegation Ayr will take great positives from the youthful nature of the squad. Zac, at the ripe old age of 23, is now incredibly one of the senior heads in camp and is delighted to see the youngsters being bled into the team: “I remember the step up to senior rugby and it is a massive change in physicality and intensity. The boys from the U18s who have been asked to make the jump have adapted well in training – there’s a lot of talent!”

 

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer next season”.

 

Zac believes the biggest downfall of the side this year was discipline but believes the experienced gained will stand them in good stead for seasons to come: “We have let a lot of teams back into games. We are perfectly capable and have a talented group that could beat a lot of teams in this league but we often let ourselves down with poor discipline.

 

“We are a young team and discipline will come so it’s something we can work on moving forward”.

Away from the pitch many of the boys will do what they can to switch off but it can be harder for Zac, with his older sister Gabby set to tie the knot with backs coach and Scotland Sevens captain Robbie Fergusson. The two are also expecting a little one on the horizon.

 

Often being coached outside of training, Zac actually credits his relationship with Robbie as a reason for him kicking on this year: “He has actually helped me a lot so I owe thanks to him. During pre-season any dropped balls or missed tackles would often go unnoticed from the boys, but for me it was months of slagging in the family group chat and jokes at family dinners.

 

“It has made me improve my skills so he wouldn’t have anything to slag me for.

 

“Him bringing in his experience from the pro game and sevens has helped all of the boy’s personal development so it’s been a big bonus for all of us. I just wish he knew that he’s allowed to wear other clothes than his Scotland training kit all the time.

 

“We all know you play for Scotland Robbie, we don’t need a reminder everyday”.


2019/20 Season will not Recommence

Scottish Rugby has determined the current (2019/20) domestic season will not be recommenced, and that the suspension of all rugby remains in place until further notice.

 

The news results in the cancellation of all Ayr Rugby and Ayrshire Bulls fixtures, including the inaugural Super6 Cross-Border tournament.

 

The Scottish Rugby Board first sanctioned an interim suspension of domestic rugby (effective from 6pm on Sunday 15 March) in recognition of Government and NHS advice on the developing Covid-19 virus outbreak.

 

Scottish Rugby’s preferred option to resume the season at an appropriate point is, regretfully, not a reasonable prospect in a safe and practical time frame, with further social restrictions on gatherings and travel an increasing possibility.

 

At the date of the interim suspension, there remained 295 domestic adult male league fixtures outstanding, with additional Cup, Shield and Bowl matches still to be completed (all being at the semi-final stage).

 

The Ayrshire Bulls were set to compete in the Cross-Border competition commencing on Saturday 25 April, alongside the five other FOSROC Super6 teams and six Indigo Group Premiership teams from Wales (Cardiff, Llandovery, Merthyr, Ebbw Vale, Aberavon and Pontypridd).

  

All twelve teams were to play three home fixtures and three away fixtures over a consecutive six-week period in what would have been the first edition of this new club competition.

 

Scottish Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union are committed to the competition moving forward, with discussions between both unions looking ahead to next season.

 

Ayrshire Bulls C.E.O Billy McHarg, said: “We are disappointed the tournament is not taking place as the club was very excited to be playing in it…

 

“However, every individuals welfare is of more importance and we wholeheartedly support the decision to postpone for this year”.


Awards Dinner Postponed

After considering current safety protocols around on-going Coronavirus (Covid-19) concerns, Ayr Rugby has made the decision to postpone the 2020 Pink and Black Awards dinner scheduled for April 4th.

 

The club is continuing to follow both government and Scottish Rugby advice to prioritise the safety of all staff, players, sponsors and fans.

 

Thank you to Ayr Racecourse for working alongside Ayr Rugby in organising what was set to be a fantastic event in beautiful surroundings.

 

We will keep everyone informed of a rearranged date in due course.


Millbrae closed until further notice

Following on from the club’s statement last Friday, Ayr Rugby have proceeded with the closure of all facilities at Millbrae in-line with government guidance on Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Scottish Rugby’s suspension of all rugby activity.

 

 

This is uncharted territory for the club and we are working hard to ensure the safety of all players, staff, sponsors and fans. We appreciate everyone’s understanding during this time.

 

 

This will result in immediate cancellation of any on-field activity, closure of club bar and denied gym access.

 

 

Ayr Rugby are monitoring both government and Scottish Rugby advice daily. We will strive to keep you informed as and when new information becomes available to us. We will update you on reopening dates when we can.

 

 

If you have any queries please direct them to [email protected]

 

 

 

Thank you all for your support during this time.

 

Photo - David Kerr Photography


STATEMENT - Club Rugby Postponed

This Afternoon Scottish Rugby released a statement suspending all domestic competitions and training from Sunday 15 of March at 18.00 until, and including, 29 March.

 

Tonight's Tennent's National 1 fixture with Heriots Blues has also been postponed due to player welfare concerns.

 

This is uncharted territory for all parties involved and we are working together to ensure the safety of all players, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and fans. We appreciate everyone's understanding during this time.

Scottish Rugby's decision comes in light of government restrictions on public gatherings due to rising concern around Coronavirus (Covid-19).

 

 

This will impact rugby in all domestic league and cup fixtures, training, festivals and other rugby events as well as the FOSROC Super6 tournament, which come under Scottish Rugby's jurisdiction. During this suspension period Scottish Rugby will undertake further assessment and advise on any further action that may be required. The Ayrshire Bulls Play-Off Semi-Final against Heriots Rugby next Sunday will therefore be affected.

 

 

The Scottish Rugby Age-Grade Programme (male and female) will also be cancelled with immediate effect for the remainder of the season. This includes all training sessions that were planned for the age-grade teams as well as all other age-grade internationals for the rest of the season. However, the U20 Six Nations fixture tonight versus Wales will still go ahead in Colwyn Bay.