Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr Ladies had a tough afternoon at Millbrae on Sunday, as they took on Stirling County in the BT Premier League.

The home team got off to a good start, looking strong at the scrum and lively in the loose, the back row of Danni Hands, Kelsey Swift and Rachael Mulholland putting energy into the attack. Fly-half Catherine Shennan and second row Joanne Jones pushed to Stirling's line and hooker Lisa Croniken got the try. Shennan converted. 7-0.
Jones flew off again, after scrum-half Rachel Morrison took a quick penalty, and was unstoppable as she charged away for the try. It was unconverted. 12-0.
County got a hold on the game, and Ayr had their work cut out trying to stop their speedy backs. Swift, Croniken, second row Sonja Liekens, centre Erin Marner-Low and Mulholland put in thumping tackles but the visitors grabbed a converted try. 12-7.
Replacement Neve Finlay blasted her way up the pitch, with Hands also putting her foot on the gas. Winger Lisa Main's quick pass to Griffiths set her on a jinking run but Stirling were ready with big tackles to bring any attack to a halt.

After regaining possession, County headed for the line, and, despite tackles by Swift and captain Laura Turner, scored an unconverted try in the corner. 12-12.
There was a break whilst a County player was attended to, but it didn't affect the visitors, and once again, Ayr's defence had to work hard to subdue their attack. Griffiths and prop Louise McLauchlan, along with Morrison and Jones, were tireless in the tackle but County's quick handling was getting them out of trouble. Soon they had a converted try to go into the lead just before half-time. 12-19.
Just after the resumption, Ayr launched themselves into several phases of attack, Hands making another break. Swift and winger Catherine Clark sped up the touchline but tough defence saw Clark dragged out of play.

Stirling added another converted try. 12-26.
McLauchlan poached County possession and Finlay burst through the defence with Shennan and Mulholland in support. A penalty for Ayr let Croniken break away, and the ball passed through the hands of McLauchlan and Griffiths before Jones got her brace. Shennan converted. 19-26.
Ayr brought on replacements Stephanie Wylie, Jennifer Kerr, Jenna Garrett and Sarah Braidwood just before there was another injury break for a Stirling player.

The ladies in pink and black turned County over, with Kerr charging through the defenders, with Finlay in support. A lovely flicked pass from the teenage back row found Jones who passed back to Finlay before Liekens was let loose and found Mulholland.

The number eight set off on an exciting run, handing off several County players before she was tackled into touch.

Stirling fought their way out of their own half and scored an unconverted try. 19-31.
They quickly added another. 19-36.
Braidwood, McLauchlan, Griffiths and Jones were busy tracking down the Stirling attackers, with Swift putting in some huge tackles, but County were too fast and too strong and ended the match with another two tries, one converted.

Final score: Ayr Ladies 19 Stirling County Ladies 48
_Photo courtesy of Alan Graham. Please seek permission before using any photos for commercial purposes.
- Elena Hogarth._