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.