Ayr Rugby Football Club
Ayr Ladies had a difficult start to their first season in the BT Premier League as they were beaten 5-19 by Cartha QP Ladies under the floodlights at Millbrae.
With planes roaring overhead as part of the Scottish Airshow, it was a noisy first half, but that didn't put off either side as they set about testing each other's defence.

Ayr were under the cosh for several minutes at the start, and Cartha looked certain to score, but some huge tackles by hooker Lauren Gunn and winger Erin McSorley pushed them back.

The visitors were ready to attack again, but centre Catriona Cowan, making her first appearance for Ayr, homed in on a stray pass and raced away. She was supported by second row Phoebe McDowall and captain Laura Turner, who charged up the wing only to be pushed into touch.

Errors crept into both teams' play as they were each desperate to get the first points on the board. Ayr's solid scrum helped them, and centre Linsey Bunten, stand-off Catherine Shennan and scrum-half Rachel Morrison launched an attack that was brought to an end by a knock-on.

Another fumble let Cartha hack on towards the try-line, with Ayr full-back Lauren McBride giving chase. She didn't make it after being barged out of the way, but that denied the visitors the try.

They got one minutes later, streaking away under the posts and converting. 0-7.

A huge downpour (the first of several) didn't help the handling errors but Gunn, Shennan and McDowall barged their way out of their own half. They couldn't get near that try-line though and Cartha soon turned over.

Ayr held them back for as long as they could, but even a penalty couldn't get them away from their own line, and before they knew it, Cartha were over for another try. It went unconverted. 0-12.

Despite the visitors knocking on and being pinged for a high tackle, Ayr couldn't take advantage. When they did get going through Cowan and Bunten, they were forced into touch.

They got their chance when the ball went loose from Cartha and winger Claire Law chipped on in Ayr's twenty-two. She tracked it and touched down for a try on her debut. Shennan's conversion was short. 5-12.

As Cartha upped the intensity in the second half, so did Ayr, the ball flying through the hands of the back row of Rachael Mulholland, Laura McTaggart and Lynda Morgan, as well as replacement Lisa Croniken.

Ayr and Cartha got locked in a battle at the scrum with neither gaining the upper hand. Ayr did manage to launch a promising-looking attack through McSorley, Gunn, Mulholland and prop Louise McLauchlan but the slippery conditions scuppered them.

It was certainly an exciting start to the season, with all thirty women on the pitch giving it their all, but it was the visitors who had the cutting edge when it mattered. They kicked on and touched down for another try, adding an excellent conversion. 5-19.

Ayr had their chances in the final quarter, second row Joanne Jones - another new player impressing - shooting off with ball in hand. A second try eluded them though.

Substitutes Lisa Main, Eilidh Stewart and Kelsey Brown (making her senior debut after moving up from the under-18s) brought some energy to the defence, and got stuck into the tackles with Cowan and Law.

They prevented any further scores and the referee blew the whistle for full-time.

- Elena Hogarth.