Ayr Ladies defeated in Charity Bowl Clash

In what proved to be a dramatic encounter, Ayr Ladies will feel bereaved of a win after shipping 34 second-half points to a well-drilled Cartha Ladies team who simply wanted it more. Despite a frantic opening which saw Andrew Duncan's Ladies up nineteen points in eight minutes, the home side managed to re-group and take control of the fixture, winning 34-26.

The rain arrived right on time for kick-off, dampening spectator spirits but not wobbling a determined Ayr. Skipper for the day, Catherine Shennan, provided a dream start when she glided over out wide before the clock had recorded a minute. A touchline conversion split the uprights to further the damage.


The restart only provided more upset for Cartha. Straight from the off Ayr pushed their way back into the half before Gemma McIvor slipped through an attempted tackle and ran clear from 40 yards out. This time the conversion skewed wide.


The salt in the wounds came from Danni Hands. Having already asserted herself in the match, working in tandem with engine-room partner Emma Turner, Hands only needed a sniff of the line to charge home with no regard to the straggling tacklers. Shennan made no mistake to take a 19 point lead.


Bruised, but still fighting, Cartha managed to wrangle back control and keep their opponents at bay. As heavy rain plagued proceedings the error-count grew, with neither side adding to the scoreboard before half time.


For Ayr, a first-half flurry of knocks to seasoned campaigners such as Connie Griffiths and Erin McSorley unloaded the bench before the interval.


Half-Time: Cartha Queens Park Ladies 0-19 Ayr Ladies.


Playing poetically to the script of "a game of two halves", the home side returned to the pitch with a fire in their belly. In a mirror image to Ayr's scintillating start, Cartha struck three times within the first fifteen minutes. Their kicker, mimicking Shennan, Slotted her first and third conversion to tie the game with 55 minutes played.


Contrary to Ayr's earlier form, Cartha didn't stop at 19. A further two unanswered put them ten ahead, with Ayr's only chance to stop the bleeding a blunder over the line from Hands, who had now swapped to number eight.


A third score looked ominous for Ayr, but a late try from Catherine Clarke narrowed the deficit. Too little, too late.


Full-Time: Cartha Queens Park Ladies 34-26 Ayr Ladies.


Despite an enralling, and at points brutal, encounter the spirit of the day wasn't lost on anyone in attendance. All proceeds went to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and both sets of players enjoyed a range of entertainment courtesy of great hosts. The result means Cartha take the Charity Bowl and will look to defend it in 12 months time when they travel back to Millbrae.

Murchie names his Super6 Backroom Staff

Head Coach Peter Murchie has pieced together his support staff which will aid him in the inaugural Super6 season starting later in the year. An extensive recruitment process was carried out, whittling down over 90 applicants to a handful of successful candidates. Those selected include a balance of familiar faces, along with some fresh blood. Selected are:

Forwards Coach – Pat MacArthur
Player/ Skills Coach – Frazier Climo
Strength and Conditioning Coach – Alex Boyle
Head of Rugby Operations – Gordon Kotze
Team Manager – Douglas Stanley
Team Doctor – Graham Hollins
Head Physiotherapist – Jessica Alexander


Pat MacArthur – The former Scotland 15s and 7s cap remains Pete Murchie’s right hand man. One of the remaining legends of ’09, Pat has put his stamp on the Ayr pack over the last few years and will hope they continue in their rich vein of form.


Frazier Climo – “It’s through the middle, the pink panthers are roaring” still rings through the ears of the Millbrae faithful and the talismanic ten will be responsible for passing some of the expertise he showed that day onto his teammates. He will look to lead on the pitch yet again, whilst picking up a coaching role under Murchie.


Alex Boyle – The newest face in Pete Murchie’s backroom staff, Boyle joins Ayr with thirteen years of experience in the S&C field. During this time he has worked with the likes of SportScotland, Tennis Scotland, the Scottish Women’s National Football Team and Scottish Rugby’s National Age-Grade System.


Gordon Kotze – A familiar face around Millbrae, Gordon Kotze coached the U18s for a four-year stint before taking the reins of the 2ndXV for the same time period. A former SRU new coach of the Year, Kotze will manage the logistical side of the Super6 squad alongside player communication. He ended his tenor with the 2ndXV last season, finishing in second place with a points difference of +260.


Douglas Stanley – The heartbeat of Ayr RFC for almost five decades, ‘Stanners’ joined Ayr in 1970. Since then he has done it all as a player, coach, ref and most recognisably team manager. Doug will reprise his role, putting to bed any murmurs of retirement.


Graham Hollins – Another return, ‘Doc’ has been heading up the club’s medical team formally for twelve years. Before then he spent three years assisting his predecessor Brian Scobie.


Jessica Alexander – After four years at the club assisting Helen Reid, Jessica will move into the head Physio role with the Super6 squad. Originally plying her trade at Ardrossan Accies, Jessica learned from the then-Glasgow Warriors doctor Gerry Haggerty.


Head Coach Peter Murchie is delighted with his appointments, stating: “Each individual brings their own strengths within their specific field.


“We have been working hard collectively in preparation for the start of the inaugural Super6 season”.

(Peter Murchie at BT Murrayfield before his Scottish Cup Final Triumph over Heriots. Image George McMillan)