The sports editor of this esteemed blatt has a way with words (as you would expect).
When I told him that the RBS West Regional Cup match between Ayr and Ardrossan Accies had been postponed because Ardrossan were short of players, particularly front row cover, his erudite comment was ‘Mickey Mouse!’
Scathing perhaps but sadly, that is the impression that this sort of postponement gives to the casual observer.
It is no reflection on Ardrossan, rather a comment on how the shambolic RBS Premier Cup competition, ending with a trumpeted finale at Murrayfield in April, is organised.
Ardrossan, like Jedforest who pulled out of their weekend tie in the RBS Border Regional Cup against Peebles, have no interest in such a game since they, like Jed who are bottom of their league, cannot win the pool.
Having suffered three defeats in a row including a 74-11 beating by Ayr at Memorial Field and given the time of year, I too could think of better things to do on a Saturday afternoon during the festive season than put out a weakened side.
The match has been postponed and a replay date has yet to be decided but due to a combination of bad weather and other factors, Ayr’s current schedule since the beginning of December looks like this – December 1: Ayr v Gala (league), December 8 and 15: cup matches postponed, December 22: Stirling v Ayr (league) January 5: Ayr v Melrose (league).
Three matches in six weeks, all of them crucial in Ayr’s bid for the RBS Premiership title, with nothing between to keep the side running or allow the coaches to experiment with new ideas or personnel.
The keen observer will have noted that in highlighting the West and Border Regional Cups above, pools and leagues were mentioned and yes, the two regions are operating different formats to decide who goes through to the national quarter-finals and no, you couldn’t make it up and yes, there is a better way.
Blog and comment sites have been overflowing with suggestions as to how the cup and league programmes can be better organised.
But until the governing body pays less heed to a computer nerd in London who has nothing better to do than measure the distances between town centres to establish that Dunfermline rather than Murrayfield Wanderers play in a WEST league by about four miles (I kid you not) and started listening to the grass roots and, in particular, to club coaches and treasurers then we will continue to have the mish mash which currently passes as a cup tournament. I despair.
Still, it is an opportunity to look back at a year which has had its delights and disappointments for the Millbrae faithful.
Club president Billy McHarg admitted: “Yes, there were a couple of lows, mainly the fact that we didn’t make it three in a row in the cup and ending up out of the top four meant we weren’t in the British and Irish Cup this season.
“However, there have been highs including the fact that we have maintained the wonderful support that we have at Millbrae and also the support of our sponsors without whom a lot of things would not be possible.
“The fact that the club were the first in Scotland to get their name on the Bill McLaren Trophy was a high and one of the significant things for us in this season has been having Calum Forrester as skipper.
“He has had a huge influence on the side and finally, to see a former Ayr player in Gordon Reid getting into the Scotland squad for the international against Tonga was a memorable moment.”
“Hopefully, we can go on from here into our last five matches and maintain our challenge for the Premiership title and also make it four appearances in a row in the cup final at Murrayfield.”
A happy new year to all readers of this column.