Ayr Rugby Football Club

 

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.