The forecast of a few weeks of sub-zero temperatures will do Ayr no favours in their run-up to the end of the year and beyond.
Already their defence of the RBS West Regional Cup has stalled with the postponement of last Saturday’s match against Hillhead Jordanhill at frost bound Hughenden and the prospects of this Saturday’s encounter at Braidholm against GHA going ahead is in the balance and the hands of the weather gods.
There is no doubt this will allow a few of the long term injured, particularly Nick Cox who came through a 2nd XV outing unscathed and Kerr Gossman whose arm injury has almost fully healed, to return to the fray.
But set against that though is a fixture pile-up which will only cause disruption to the schedule and looking forward, Ayr undoubtedly have some key fixtures approaching.
Apart from their cup matches against GHA then Ardrossan Accies at Millbrae on December 29, sandwiched between those two on December 22 is a trip to Bridgehaugh to face Stirling County on RBS Premiership business.
With with that slender one point lead over Gala at the top of the table, every league match in the six match run-in has become crucial.
Next up at Millbrae for the first game of 2013 is the visit of Melrose who, despite having only a forlorn hope of contesting the championship title, will be determined to have a say in who does lift the prize.
So there are two massive league games just before and just after the holiday period which could have a huge bearing on where the title ends up although Gala have a couple of tough games themselves against Aberdeen Grammar Rugby at Netherdale then Boroughmuir at Meggetland.
With both opponents struggling to avoid relegation, they will be no pushover.
After the Melrose match, Ayr have four league fixtures remaining, at Goldenacre against Heriot’s on January 26, Edinburgh Accies at Millbrae on February 16 then at home again to Currie on February 23 before making the long trip to Rubislaw to face Aberdeen on March 23.
There are a variety of schools of thought regarding the make up of the fixture list but in the most important league of the lot, to have 11 fixtures on the trot then after that have the next seven spread over a period of at least 20 weeks smacks, in the words of one commentator ‘an absurd way to run any competition and for one as important as this, plain insulting to the clubs involved.’
It is an argument which will run and run since there are mutterings in the three leagues below the Premiership as well but until all the clubs start pulling in the same direction, the current ‘anomalies’ as they were kindly described by another observer, will continue to annoy and frustrate fans, coaches, players and club treasurers alike.
The 2nd XV beat Selkirk 43-13 at Millbrae to go second behind Heriot’s in Reserve League National One with two games in hand.