Bulls fall short in championship finale

Callum Kerr @ The Hive Stadium


The Stirling Wolves picked up their first FOSROC Super Series Championship this afternoon with a 19-29 victory over the Ayrshire Bulls at Hive Stadium.


It was the Super Series Championship Final’s third instalment and the Bulls’ appearance meant they’d featured in all of them. With a win and a loss in the previous two, victory would make them the most decorated team in the league with two Championships and one Sprint trophy.

(Photo – George McMillan)


Stirling Wolves didn’t care much for that storyline, with Ed Hasdell scorching through for a try under two minutes. Marcus Holden’s conversion made it a 0-7 hole for Pat MacArthur’s men right off the bat.


Playing in their first final hadn’t phased them and they stretched the lead after 20 minutes. Following a crafty break from hooker Gregor Hiddleston the Wolves spun wide for seasoned vet Glenn Bryce to breeze clear.


It was a third on the half-hour mark. From a counter-attack a long grubber into the try area was collect by the stampeding Ross McKnight. Holden’s conversion slid wide.


The Bulls’ first came just after. A penalty from the restart put them in touching distance for Bobby Beattie to wriggle between two defenders and score. Brad Roderick-Evans made it 7-17 from the tee.


Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 7-17 Stirling Wolves


The Bulls needed to start with intention and they did just that. After a brief period of exchanging kicks Pat MacArtur’s men made in-roads to the Wolves 22. After numerous carries in close quarters Ed Bloodworth muscled his way over. Roderick-Evans made it 17-14 and suddenly it was game on.


The jubilation was short lived. A stray pass moments later was snatched up by Wolves’ McKnight who ran home from 70 yards.


The Bulls responded once more. It looked like Thomas Glendinning had lost control of the ball but the winger had the control to put it onto his foot, hacking forward for Ollie Horne to tidy up over the line.


Glenn Bryce had no intention of keeping it a five-score game. The Bulls’ had a long period of possession but didn’t manage to exit. Once the Wolves got the ball they had better fortunes. A line-out maul got them to the line before a pass launched out wide to Bryce put him over for his second and taking the win out of reach for the Bulls.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 19–29 Stirling County


Stirling Wolves’ hooker Gregor Hiddleston was named FOSROC Player of the Match.

Bulls make it two-in-a-row on Ladies Day

Callum Kerr @ Millbrae

The Ayrshire Bulls made it back-to-back wins for Ayr sides on ladies’ day with a comprehensive win over Futures XV. The victory keeps Pat MacArthur’s men five points clear of Heriots at the top of the league standings half-way into the campaign.

(Photo – George McMillan)


The Bulls wasted no time in getting over. From the first strike play of the game Bobby Beattie carved through the line and won the footrace to the corner. Christian Townsend’s conversion made it a full serving.


They doubled up less than ten minutes later. From the back of a maul Alex McGuire had the easiest of touch downs. Townsend made it 2/2 from the kicking-tee.


The Bulls’ third came through skipper Blair Macpherson. The one-man wrecking ball wrestled his way over from close-range, swatting off late attempts to halt him.  Townsend made it 21-0 after 30 minutes.


Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 21-0 Futures XV


Pat Macarthur made a cluster of substitutes at the interval, notably the inclusion of Ollie Thorne who made his Ayrshire Bulls debut replacing Thomas Glendinning.


The bulls kept their foot on the gas and soon they had their bonus. A couple of intricate passes out wide ended up with Blair Macpherson strolling over for his brace. Brad Roderick-Evans, who replaced Townsend, was denied the extras by the left upright.


To make up for the conversion miss, Roderick-Evans coursed through the line to get the Bulls next try. The fly-half pulled off a lovely wrap-around play to put him through with options on his left. With half a yard on his defender he was able to pull away and do it alone. He added the conversion for good measure.


The final blow came through Ryan Sweeney. A five metre scrum did the work, allowing Sweeney to fall on the ball over the line. Roderick-Evans added the extras.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 40-0 FOSROC Futures XV


Alex McGuire picked up FOSROC Player of the Match honours after an eighty minute shift in the front row, picking up a try for his efforts.

Bulls run riot in opening forty to secure home win

Callum Kerr @ Millbrae

The Ayrshire Bulls cruised to a 33-21 victory over Heriot’s Rugby this evening in what was a replay of the 2023 Sprint Final. A rampant opening 40 shot Pat MacArthurs men ahead 33 points to nil and they weathered an improved second half from the visitors to hold out. The contrast in score-line between the half’s was predominately down to the wind shooting down field.

(Photo – George McMillan)


Emotion was swirling around Burns country at kick off with both sides acknowledging the passing of Ayr great Gus McKay. The sombre main stand soon turned to jubilation, as the Bulls ran in a score within the opening ten seconds.


Brad Roderick-Evans’ kick-off wasn’t collected by Heriots, allowing speedster Luca Bardelli to gather and run over for one of his easier scores. The conversion drifted wide in the wind.

Eighteen minutes later Bardelli was in again. From the base of a scrum the ball worked its way to Bobby Beattie who launched a miss-pass to catch Bardelli in full flight – he finished the job. Roderick-Evans’ conversion made it 12-0.


The bulls extended their lead eight minutes later. Heriots had to clear their lines but spilled the ball for Blair Macpherson to dive on over the line.


Two minutes later they ran in another. Ryan Sweeney charged down a heriots box kick and ran up the field. When brought down Lewis McNamara arrived at the breakdown first and trucked over the line. Roderick-Evans converted both to make it 26-0.


On the stroke of half-time Macpherson bagged his second. From the back of a five-metre scrum he picked up and carried through a handful of tackles to dot down. Roderick-Evans duly converted.

Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 33-0 Heriots Rugby.


Heriot’s needed to score quick after the break and did. An offload off the deck to Liam Richman kept play alive allowing him to dive over. Bruce Houston added the extras.


Fortunes improved again for Heriots, with Craig Miller shown yellow for an illegal clear-out.


Heriot’s had their tails up for the first time and clawed another score back soon after. From a rolling maul Wallace Nelson dove over, with Houston making it 33-14.


After the quietest period of the game Heriot’s got themselves back over with four minutes left to play. Former Millbrae man Matt Davidson cut through the line and looked in but a last-ditch tackle saw him prop the ball up for Euan McAra to finish the job. Richman narrowed the deficit by two more from the tee.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 33-21 Heriot’s Rugby.


After another trademark performance from captain Blair Macpherson – picking up two tries and leading from the front through a tricky second half – he was named FOSROC Player of the Match.

Bulls run out victors at the Greenyards

Callum Kerr @ The Greenyards

The Ayrshire Bulls ran out 24-38 victors at the Greenyards this afternoon in a match that was equally frantic as it was captivating. The Bulls looked out of sight numerous times, but a never-say-die Southern Knight side kept wrangling their way back into touching distance.


They delt the final blow to make the score line a tad more respectable, securing an all-important bonus in the process.

Blair Macpherson led the Bulls onto the Greenyards pitch to mark his 50th appearance for the side – becoming the first Bull (and possibly Super Series player, to reach the milestone).


The Bulls drew first blood in the first exchange of the game. In their first venture wide centre duo Bobby Beattie and Andy Stirrat linked up tremendously to break the gain line and put Chris Hyde over. The full-back added the extras.


Unperturbed, the Knights responded in similar fashion. Going through their hands, Aiden Cross used a slither of space to launch through the air and dot in the corner. Callum Grieve made it all square.


Another retaliation put the Bulls back ahead. After a couple of early ambiguous scrum calls the visitors began to get the upper hand and two in a row put them on the Knights line. The defence spread wide to defend the attack, allowing scrum half Fergus Johnston to jump clear from the base of the ruck. Hyde made it a seven-point gap from the tee.



The Bulls third came late in the half. A dink to the corner didn’t quite find the intended target of Thomas Glendinning, but the winger managed to palm it back in-bounds for Andy Stirrat to gather and score.


They weren’t done yet and another on the stroke of half-time wrapped up the bonus point. From their own half an array of offloads put Macpherson through the line. The skipper stampeded forward before feeding Johnstone to do the rest. The conversion, from Hyde, was good.


Half-time: Southern Knights 7-26 Ayrshire Bulls.


Southern Knights got the first after the break. In similar style to his name, Corbin Thunder finished off a lovely team move to score under the posts. The conversion made it a 12-point game.


The new-found wind in their sails was squashed moments later. From broken play Amino Bogidrau played a lovely inside pass to Rory Jackson in full stride. The towering lock cantered in from 30 yards, dumfounding the Knights defence. Hyde’s conversion made it 14-33.


Paddy Anderson is a man the Knights can often rely on for a score and the winger provided a try late in the match to narrow the deficit.


Alex McGuire replied for the Bulls, with a score at the death looking like the final act, but referee David Sutherland called for one last play from the restart.


With the Bulls out of sight the result was out of the question for the Knights, but another score would secure a vital try bonus point. They pushed the visitors to their limits and got their reward, with a consolation score bringing proceedings to an end.


Full-time: Southern Knights 24-38 Ayrshire Bulls.


Despite coming off at half-time, Fergus Johnston’s first 40 which saw him score two and command the attack, was enough to secure FOSROC Player of the Match honours.

Bulls squeak past Stirling in instant classic

Callum Kerr

This evening the Ayrshire Bulls inched out Stirling Wolves at Bridgehaugh in an epic encounter. After an hour of rugby which had only 21 points scored, in the final twenty minutes the sides exchanged a further 33. The match built to a fast and frantic finale, in which the Bulls secured a 26-28 win despite trailing for most of the contest.

(Photo – Andy Stirrat was at the heart of everything, and picked up FOSROC Player of the Match honours)


The Bulls had last week’s loss festering in their minds all week and they shot out of the traps with a point to prove. From a Ross Thompson kick-off they regathered possession and spun the ball quickly. Within ten seconds Andy Stirrat had breached the line creating a two-on-one, but his pass to the open Thomas Glendinning drifted from his grasp, catching his finger and knocking forward.

The Wolves weren’t rattled. They managed to escape from a handful of early attacks and counter up the park. With their first venture into the Bulls 22 they capitalized. After a handful of carries Gregor Hiddleston muscled his way over to draw first blood. Marcus Holden’s conversion made it 7-0.


Stirling looked the better of the two for the next twenty minutes but the Bulls made full use of their little time on the ball. Andy Stirrat didn’t convert from his earlier break but made no mistake at second serving. The hard-running centre bumped and bounced his way through a number of tackles to clear the line and canter home. Ross Thompson levelled it all up from the tee.


The Wolves went back ahead ten minutes later. Again they worked their way down the pitch before Mickey Heron dove clear in the corner. Holden’s touchline conversion made the difference seven once more.


Half-time: Stirling Wolves 14-7 Ayrshire Bulls


Neither side kept control for any length of time after the break. Both looked dangerous, but both squandered possession when it mattered. The Bulls looked livelier but Stirling’s work at the breakdown made it tough for them.


After almost twenty minutes of gridlock the heavens opened. Three tries in eight minutes propelled the Bulls into the lead. The first saw Blair Macpherson bulldoze his way over in trademark fashion. Two minutes later Thomas Glendinning got in on the act when a short ball snuck him between two defenders to score. The third was the pick of the bunch. Once again Stirrat pierced the line with a direct run. He drew the final defender before launching a pass out to speedster Luca Bardelli who’d never be caught.

Thompson made the first two conversions, before making way for Brad Rodrick-Evans who made it three in a row. Out of nowhere the Bulls had a 14-28 lead with 13 minutes left on the clock.


Stirling didn’t go away and quickly mustered their own magic to thrust them into contention. Ross McKnight had been a threat all game and when it mattered he provided a brace of tries within six minutes of each other. Marcus Holden missed one and made one, leaving them two points adrift.

The drama set up a grand stand finale and with a scrum deep in the Bulls half it could have went either way, but Pat MacArthur’s men held out to secure their first win of the campaign.

Full-time: Stirling Wolves 26-28 Ayrshire Bulls

Bulls fall short in championship curtain raiser

Callum Kerr @ Millbrae

The Ayrshire Bulls slumped to an opening round defeat at Millbrae this evening against Watsonians. With a short run-in to the championship both sides struggled with execution, but it was the visitors who managed to inch their way to a 3-11 win.

(Image – George McMillan)

Delusions of sparkling summer rugby were knocked on their heads by the onslaught of rain at kick-off. As the early exchanges rolled on the weather worsened with neither side gaining control of the game.


Watsonians were dealt a blow 12 minutes into the contest. The Bulls had a rolling maul closing on the visitors try-line. Neil Irvine-Hess managed to thwart the threat, but the ref deemed his involvement illegal – coming in from the side – and brandished a yellow card.


Despite the numerical disadvantage they managed to weather the period well, escaping out the other side of it with a 0-3 lead courtesy of a Jason Baggott penalty.


The Bulls maul continued to hurt them, however, and another maul penalty resulted in Donald Voas going to the sin bin for the same infringement.


Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 0-3 Watsonians


The Bulls came out with a sharpness that was absent for much of the first half. Within two minutes they’d levelled the scoring through the boot of Brad Roderick-Evans.


Pat MacArthur’s men kept their foot on the gas, but Watsonians weathered it valiantly. A dominance at scrum-time gave them valuable yards when it mattered but they couldn’t turn it into points.


After twenty minutes of gridlock Watsonians pulled back in front. Ex-Ayrshire Bull Kody McGovern found a slither of space on his wing and managed to dot down – the conversion skewed wide.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 3-11 Watsonians


Neil Irvine-Hess was named FOSROC Player of the Match.

Bloodworth Ready for first act of 2023 Championship

Callum Kerr

Tomorrow evening the Ayrshire Bulls will kick-start their 2023 FOSROC Super Series Championship, welcoming old foes Watsonians to Millbrae in round one.

The two sides need no introduction to one and other – This rivalry dates back long before the inception of part-time professional rugby. An already hotly-contested fixture was only heightened by the introduction of the new league – with both sides setting the standard.

Since the creation of FOSROC Super Series rugby there’s been four trophies up for grabs, and both the Bulls and Watsonians have split the silverware evenly. A maiden 2021 Championship for the Bulls along with the most recent Super Series sprint crown is cancelled out by Watsonians winning the 2022 instalments of both competitions. Better yet, it was the Bulls they downed in extra time in last year’s championship conclusion.

One thing is certain, in four months’ time a team will lift the trophy aloft once more and both of tomorrow’s competitors will be hell-bent on making sure it’s them.

The Bulls head into the competition off the back of claiming the FOSROC Super Series Sprint title two months ago and vice-captain Ed Bloodworth thinks that momentum is an advantage for Pat MacArthur’s men: “It gives us confidence, but we’ve also had some new faces come in since then that’ll play a key part in what we do this year. They’ll need to get up to speed quickly but all in all I think we’re in a good place for the first game this weekend”.

Bloodworth is heading into his third year with the Bulls having joined after the lockdown period. The towering lock adjusted to life in Burns country with ease, being a key influence in the teams’ inaugural FOSROC Super6 title in 2021. He’s been a constant in the squad ever since and equally contributed to the recent sprint success.

Although optimistic, he knows all too well the pedigree the Bulls are up against on match day one. Speaking on how important a game it is, he said: “It’s probably the biggest match we will face. The last couple of years it’s been us and Watsonians going head-to-head. Last year in the championship we beat them here and lost away, so tomorrow’s goal is to maintain our home record and get a step ahead for the season”.

Bloodworth didn’t hesitate when asked what the goal is for this season: “Simply… to win. That’s what’s drilled into us by Pat – we turn up, put the effort in and reap the rewards at the end of the day”.

There’s still a lot of rugby to be played and tomorrow is only the first act but both sides know how crucial a match it could prove down the stretch.

The action gets underway at 17.30 and if you can’t make it to Millbrae it’s live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Scotland website and Scottishrugby.org.

You can secure your Bulls tickets below, or get in with a valid ticket from Ayr United’s match earlier in the day as part of the Dash of Pink fundraiser.

Bulls confirm squad ahead of 2023 Championship

Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pat MacArthur has unveiled his 32-man squad that will compete in the up-coming FOSROC Super Series Championship. He has named a settled side – retaining most of the men that found glory in the recent Sprint contest – with a handful of fresh and familiar faces joining the ranks. 

(Photo – George McMillan)

Returning to the squad is Rhodri Tanner alongside Jamie Drummond and Andy Stirrat, who both featured for Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ in the Sprint. Tanner was part of the 2021 Championship-winning Bulls side, before enjoying stints with Stirling Wolves and abroad.

The trio join Brad Roderick-Evans and Aminio Bogidrau, who were both involved with the Bulls set up at the tail-end of the sprint as injury cover.

MacArthur’s new faces consist of GHA duo Chris Hyde and Fergus Johnston, alongside Glasgow Hawk Oscar Baird. The final signing is Marcus Kershaw, who moves north after featuring with GB 7s and Ealing Trailfinders.

With a healthy contingent joining, the Bulls can also confirm who will be departing.

Bulls winger Elias Caven will head for pastures new after three years in Burns Country. The speedster was involved with Glasgow Warriors last year, making his debut, and has signed a full-time contract with Cambridge.

Blair Jardine and Grant Baird both return to premiership side Marr, with Scott Clelland missing out due to injury. Scott Watson returns to the Ayr 1st XV set up.

Amena Caqusau and Kerr Yule are also named as leavers.

Fly-half pairing Frazier Climo and Anthony Fitch are also unavailable, with Climo announcing his retirement from playing last season and Fitch returning home.


The Bulls would like to thank all of those departing for their efforts at Millbrae, many of whom were involved in both of the clubs successful 2021 Championship and 2023 Sprint successes.


Pat MacArthur’s men have their final pre-season preparations later today, hosting Boroughmuir Bears at Millbrae in a friendly. The match kicks off at 14.00 and is free entry for all.

They kick-start their 2023 FOSROC Super Series campaign next Saturday (July 29th) when they welcome Watsonians. The match kicks-off at 17.30.


Full squad:

Andrew Nimmo
William Farquhar
Jamie Drummond
Craig Miller
Calvin Henderson
Alexander McGuire
Rhodri Tanner
Grant Stewart
Edward Bloodworth
Rory Jackson
Ewan Bulger
Lewis McNamara
Tim Brown
Ryan Sweeney
Oscar Baird
Blair MacPherson
Reiss Cullen
Fergus Johnston
Brad Rodrick-Evans
Richie Simpson
Christopher Elliot
Andrew Stirrat
Robert Beattie
Thomas Glendinning
Jamie Shedden
Luca Bardelli
Marcus Kershaw
Aminio Bogidrau
Chris Hyde
Nathan McBeth*
Alex Samuels*
Ross Thompson*


*Glasgow Warriors Transition players

Bulls claim Sprint title with victory over Heriot's

Callum Kerr @ Millbrae


On Friday night the Ayrshire Bulls claimed the 2023 FOSROC Super Series Sprint title after an enthralling 19-15 victory over Heriot’s at Millbrae. It’s the second piece of silverware for the Bulls and Pat MacArthur, after winning the inaugural Super6 season in 2021.


Both sides had to battle through adversity, with two lengthy stoppages for injuries (both to Heriot’s players) curtailing much of the action.

(Photo – George McMillan)

The Bulls had to do it the hard way, with the visitors holding a 5-15 lead at the interval. An upper hand at scrum-time allowed them a way into the game, and they choked out Heriot’s to win the second half 14-0.


Frazier Climo opened the scoring in what would be his final farewell. A razor-sharp pass from the 36-year-old unleashed Luca Bardelli down the wing, who was brought down just short. Climo was first to the scene and a pick and go from the base put him over.


Heriot’s stuck to their systems and found themselves ahead moments later. Their back line struggled to assert themselves but a thundering rolling maul proved their best weapon. Two successful maul tries – the first from Michael Liness and the second Iain Wilson – gifted them 12 points in two trips to the Bulls’ 22.


Bruce Houston added three more with a penalty kick from just shy of the halfway line to make it 5-15 at the interval.


The match stopped early in the first half for a serious injury to Charlie Jupp, but the longer of the two came just after the restart. A second try from Frazier Climo was chalked off for handling the ball in an offside position, but Heriot’s fans had concerns for Callum Anderson who was injured in the same move. The number eight collided nastily with a teammate, prompting a 20-odd minute break in play to move him safely.


At the time of writing both players have been discharged from hospital and we wish them both a speedy recovery.


From the return of play the Bulls had a strangle hold on possession and territory. The introduction of Ben Afshar injected some zip which allowed the backs to wear down a sturdy Heriot’s defence.


When they worked themselves into the strike zone it was route one stuff from the forwards, and two colossal carries from Blair Macpherson hauled his side back into the lead. Two successful conversions from Eli Caven made it 19-15.


With the clock dwindling away Heriot’s mustered one last attempt to snatch victory – and came mightily close – but a penalty at the break down gifted MacArthur’s men an easy-out to hold on for victory.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 19-15 Heriot’s Rugby.


For rising higher than anyone else when it mattered most, Blair Macpherson was named FOSROC Player of the Match.

Pat MacArthur reflects on securing sprint final spot

Callum Kerr at Millbrae


Earlier this evening the Ayrshire Bulls ran in nine tries in a 59-24 route of Watsonians at Millbrae – securing home advantage in next week’s FOSROC Super Series Sprint Final. Watsonian’s – hampered by a red card ten minutes into the contest – did well to keep the Bulls at arm’s length until the interval but ran out of steam as the game marched on.


Their four tries confirmed a consolation bonus point, but they’ll need to bank on a draw tomorrow between Stirling and Heriots to keep their Sprint title defence alive.

(Photo – George McMillan)

A jubilant Pat MacArthur wasted no time in addressing the red card – which was given to Robert Bratton for a headbutt – when chatting to press at full time: “It is a real shame because it was two good teams going hard at each other. The red card of course made a difference and credit to Watsons who stuck in… but by the end the set piece started to kick in and their boys tired”.


There was still half an hour to play before the interval when the red was shown with the game sitting at 7-7 when the incident occurred. Despite the advantage – and a bucket load of scoring between both sides – the gap at the half time was only 26-24. When asked about what the message was in the changing room, MacArthur chuckled: “It was a lot of expletives.


“When teams need to get back into games they either play frantic rugby or they concede lots of penalties. I told them to control the game pace. There’s no requirement to give away penalties when we’ve got the advantage so that was our focus.


“I told them to stick to the systems and good will come off the back of that and it did”.


The final venue is confirmed, as is the top seed, but Pat MacArthur and his men have a wait to find out who’ll be travelling to Burns country next Friday night. Watsonians sit in second for the time being with Stirling and Heriots going head-to-head tomorrow. Both sides trail Watsons by three points which means whoever wins will leapfrog to second. The Edinburgh men need to hope the sides cancel each other out if they’re to return for a second crack at the Bulls.


Speaking on the importance of that home final, MacArthur said: “It’s outstanding. Tonight, when Glasgow are in a European Final, we still have a bloomin’ good crowd… That support is massive for us”.


Be part of that support next Friday when the Bulls look to win their first Sprint title. The match kicks off at 19.35 and will also be televised on BBC Alba.