Callum Kerr @ Millbrae


This evening the Ayrshire Bulls secured a bonus-point victory over Stirling Wolves in the curtain raiser of the 2024 FOSROC Super Series Sprint. Pat MacArthur’s men ran in 43 points – to Stirling’s 21 – exacting revenge on the side that pipped them in the Championship Final five months ago.

(Photo – George McMillan)


It didn’t take long for the Bulls to get their Sprint title defence up and running. Within the opening two minutes James Malcolm – on his return to Millbrae – rolled over from the back of a line-out drive.


Stirling responded swiftly. Despite squandering a handful of chances, the visitors managed to stay on the front foot and once they shipped possession wide Mikey Heron crossed over at ease. The boot of Marcus Holden made it a full serving of points.


Malcolm made it two-from-two on line-out drives ten minutes later. In a near mirror-image, the hooker trucked over on the opposite side-line, with David McCartney grabbing his first two points for the club from the tee.


If two wasn’t enough, Malcolm secured a 30-minute hat-trick in similar fashion to his previous efforts, highlighting the strength of Pat MacArthur’s well-drilled maul attack. McCartney made it 19-7.


Stirling’s hooker Joe Roberts managed to claw a score back for Stirling just before the break – a conversion from Holden narrowed the deficit further.


The Bulls had no intention on seeing out the final minute and deep into the red reaped their reward with captain Blair Macpherson opening his account for the sprint. From even shorter distance than Malcolm’s efforts, the number eight barrelled his way over from a ruck perched on the try line. McCartney closed out the half with the conversion.


Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 26-14 Stirling Wolves.


The second half started in the same vein as the first. Within the opening exchanges the Bulls were attacking thanks to a Macpherson turnover, stripping possession from an isolated Wolves’ player. After a couple of probing carries Reiss Cullen threw a looping pass out to speedster Luca Bardelli who darted clear.


Ryan Southern pulled his side back into contention on 55 minutes. From a dropped ball the Wolves’ centre reacted first to gather and canter clear unscathed. Holden’s conversion made it a ten-point game.


The yo-yo nature of scoring continued, with the Bulls cancelling out Southern’s effort moments later. Not long on the pitch, scrum-half Fergus Johnston wriggled through a couple of soft tackles to dive clear. With McCartney on the bench, Johnston converted his own score.


Scoring a hat-trick tends to make you front runner for FOSROC Player of the Match honours, but when Malcolm notched his fourth rolling maul score with five minutes left to play it was a done deal. The hooker was busy all night and put in tremendous contributions across the field in an eighty-minute performance.


FULL-TIME: Ayrshire Bulls 43-21 Stirling County


The Bulls will aim for a similar result next Friday when Watsonians make the trip west to Millbrae. The match kicks-off at 19.35.