Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr Ladies battled the cold and a tough Watsonians side in BT Premier League B at Marr Playing Fields on Sunday afternoon.

Ayr started well, holding firm at their scrum and putting Watsonians under pressure at theirs.

Fly-half Catherine Shennan chipped on for centre Connie Griffiths to chase, and while she couldn't collect the ball, she put in a huge tackle on the Watsonians player who did.

Ayr regained possession, and Shennan and props Louise McLauchlan and captain Laura Turner moved the ball into the twenty-two before Shennan had a shot at goal and nailed the penalty kick. 3-0.
The visitors raced into the lead with a stylish converted try. 3-7.
McLauchlan and hooker Lisa Croniken put in doughty tackles, but it was Shennan who ripped the ball from maroon and white possession and scrum-half Rachel Morrison made metres.

Moments later, number eight Joanne Jones sliced through the Watsonians defence and charged for the line, with flanker Neve Finlay in support. Jones' perfect one-handed pass was taken by Finlay who barged her way over for the try. Shennan converted. 10-7.

Finlay's fellow flanker Shania Irvine and full-back Erin Marner-Low were strong in attack, but Watsonians gathered a kick and looked to be back in control until Turner turned them over and Shennan sprinted off.

First half injuries forced a reshuffle for Ayr, and they lost replacement back Rowan Kerr and second row Sonja Liekens. Marner-Low moved into the forwards and Erin McSorley came on to the wing, with Lauren McBride going to full-back.

McBride took a high Watsonians kick well, and raced away with second row Danni Hands in support, but Watsonians later had a line-out and shot off from the back of it to score another converted try. 10-14.
Ayr set about attacking with intent, Morrison, Finlay and Jones leading the way, with centre Rachael Mulholland causing mischief in midfield.

Jones and Hands were causing mischief at the line-out, poaching Watsonians' throw and tearing away with Turner in support.

Ayr were making progress but the Watsonians defence was strong and they never made it to the try-line. The Myreside team scored a converted try just before half-time. 10-21.
The start of the second half brought two quick converted tries for Watsonians. 10-35.

Replacements Michelle Nelson and Robynn Gibson joined the fray, with prop Nelson making her return from long-term injury.

Jones, Irvine, winger Lee Steward, Griffiths and Hands worked hard in defence but Watsonians were fired up on a freezing day in Troon. They added two further tries, both unconverted. 10-45.
Watsonians were down to fourteen when one of their team was yellow-carded, and Ayr camped out on their five-metre line. They managed to cross the try-line at least twice, but the scores were disallowed for forward passes.

Ayr kept their heads up under huge pressure, with Mulholland finding gaps in the defence but those gaps were always quickly plugged before she could do any damage.

Jones impressed with a cheeky chip-and-chase that she eventually gathered, allowing Turner to fight her way through the maroon and white shirts.

Soon, Watsonians had the ball back and added an unconverted try just before full-time. 10-50.

Ayr Ladies

  1. Erin Marner-Low, 14. Lee Steward, 13. Connie Griffiths, 12. Rachael Mulholland, 11. Lauren McBride; 10. Catherine Shennan, 9. Rachel Morrison; 1. Laura Turner (c), 2. Lisa Croniken, 3. Louise McLauchlan; 4. Danni Hands, 5. Sonja Liekens; 6. Neve Finlay, 7. Shania Irvine, 8. Joanne Jones.

Replacements

  1. Michelle Nelson, 17. Erin McSorley, 18. Robynn Gibson, 19. Rowan Kerr.

_Photos courtesy of Lisa Main. Please seek permission before reproducing any images for any purpose.
- Elena Hogarth._