Feb 3 2012 Ayrshire Post (main ed)
NO, I didn't take up the sports editor's suggestion and get along to Hampden on Saturday afternoon.
There was some rugby played you know, writes Ron Evans.
Anyway, bad luck to Brian Reid's troops and it would have been fascinating to see what would have happened if they had taken it to a penalty shoot-out. Good luck for the cup tie against Falkirk.
The reason that the Hampden visit was mooted was that the RBS Premier ‘A’ match between Ayr and Aberdeen Grammar Rugby was called off at 3pm last Friday.
The pitch was declared unfit. That was palpably untrue. On Fridayafternoon you could have held a perfectly respectable game of water polo while on Saturday morning the conditions were perfect for ice hockey or even an end or two of curling. But rugby? Forget it.
So Ayr went the way of three out of the four Premier ‘A’ fixtures, though not as badly as did Dundee HSFP, lying second in the table, at home and warmed up ready to play Stirling County when the match was called off 15 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time. Ian Rankin was not pleased.
The game which did go ahead saw Gala lose their second league match in a row, this time at home to Currie who turned on their top league and B& I experience to not only take the points but clinch the bonus with two tries in the final minutes.
That result means Currie move to second spot, Dundee are third, Gala drop to fourth and things are really hotting up.
Ayr's two weeks of inactivity should come to an end at Park Farm on Saturday when they take on Dumfries in the semi of the West Regional Cup.
Dumfries are currently third in Premier Three with their last three outings consisting of the cup win over Dalziel, a 16-16 draw at Kirkcaldy and before Christmas, a 20-16 defeat against title favourites Howe of Fife.
The winners of Saturday’s semi-final will go through to the final on February 25 against the winners of Hawks and Whitecraigs which goes ahead at Old Anniesland on Friday night.
If Ayr do go through to the final, they will by then have played a couple of matches the outcome of which will undoubtedly define their season.
They travel to the Greenyards to take on Melrose on February 11 then face Dundee at Millbrae on February 18. Given the position of these two and the fact that Ayr lost to both in the first half of the season, it will take all Ayr's experience and desire to collect the points but if they do, then anything in terms of the title is possible.
The week after the Dundee game is the RBS West Cup final, on March 3 Ayr travel to Boroughmuir, March 10 is a stand-by date which could see the postponed Aberdeen Grammar match played, March 17 and it is destination Malleny to take on a resurgent Currie and finishing up the league programme at Millbrae with Gala the opposition.
All this, of course, is assuming that there will be no interference from the weather, something the fixture schedulers are hoping for, banking on but very fearful of a cold snap like last season only later.
We can only hope but as ever there have been all sorts of suggestions as to how the season can be re-structured, some sensible, others risible.
In the latter category was the suggestion on one comment column, by someone who had been a prime mover in creating the set-up which will exist after next season, that the cup games should be played in the gap before Christmas and those clubs who are in the B & I Cup should opt out.
Simple, unless you happen to be in the B & I and defending the cup. Sound like anyone you know?
If that is what comes out of spending more time than is natural working out leagues and fixtures, no wonder such people are referred to now in certain quarters as gypsies since they keep tinkering with what, to most of us, seemed perfectly sound.
Good luck to Robbie Fergusson and Murray McConnell who have been named in the Scotland under 20 squad to play England under 20s on Friday at Firhill (7.30pm).