In recent times it has been a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride, for Ayr/Wellington U18s in the Cup - A dead cert for the final at Murrayfield but still chasing that illusive title. In days gone by they've been the outsiders. Last year they played second fiddle to Boroughmuir and came agonisingly close to an upset. In other years it has been the powerhouse of Stirling County that have kept them an arms-length from victory.

This year is different. An emphatic league campaign finished without them dropping a game, securing the Mitsubishi U18s Conference with ease and giving talismanic captain Michael Lafferty plenty to cheer about: "I never expected us to go the season undefeated, we had a good pre-season and knew we could put in big performances but have out-done our expectations... It makes us want to push on even harder".The team undoubtedly have their eyes on making 2020 the year they come of age, but they'll have to go about it the hard way having drawn Stirling County away in the quarter-finals this Saturday: "I've been up there four, five years in a row and never won at Bridgehaugh... "It is a massive challenge and we are treating it as we would a cup final". Last year's final heartache came courtesy of an injury-time penalty for Boroughmuir at BT Murrayfield, chalking off a narrow Ayr lead they secured minutes earlier via a Sam Kerr try. Michael was one of the players on the pitch at the time who felt the trophy cruelly slip out of grasp. He insists the memory has lived in the back of his mind all season and will spur on his men this Saturday: "There are a few of us still in the squad who played in last year's final. We are not going to let that happen again, we are here to win it all". As he leads his men into the final phase of his youth rugby career, Michael reflected in what has been 'his favourite year of rugby to date': "The way these boys have came together as a team, I've never seen anything like it... We are a brotherhood."To captain these boys is just brilliant". The quarter-final action gets underway at 14.00 at Bridgehaugh and all at Ayr Rugby wish them the very best of luck.