Jul 13 2012 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THE inaugural beach rugby tournament at Turnberry was hailed as a success, after 12 teams turned the golfer's paradise into a rugby haven.
Turnberry Beach Rugby welcomed eight men's and four women's teams to compete in the exciting five-a-side format.
Competitors and spectators began arriving on the Friday evening, and after setting up their tents in a field neighbouring the world-famous golf course, enjoyed drinks, food and acoustic music in the hospitality marquee.
Play began on Saturday afternoon, with the iconic Turnberry lighthouse and Ailsa Craig providing the stunning backdrop. Teams from all over Scotland turned out for the chance to get their hands on the winners' glass tankards, generously given by Logan the Jewellers.
Hills Jills were crowned the women's champions after a hard-fought and fiercely competitive tournament. As well as the tankards, they received a bottle of Hendrick's gin each from sponsors William Grant and Sons. A special mention goes to Ayr Ladies, who fielded an enthusiastic team after only three weeks of training together.
The Pirates, guided to men's victory by Johnny Finnie, also received the cash prize, a tanker and bottles of Glenfiddich 18-year-old from Grant's as reward for fending off the spirited challenge of the Chillax team in the men's final.
They may have been the runners-up, but they were certainly the best dressed in their tuxedo-inspired kit.
Perhaps they hankered after a more traditional rugby shirt, as they made off with the Pirates' kit as the victorious team took a celebratory dip in the Firth of Clyde.
The rain held off until play was done, and fans and players partied the night away to the sounds of The Busking Sharks and Wake Up Call in the shelter of the marquee.
Co-organisers Andrew Dunlop and Stuart Fenwick were delighted at how the event went.
Thanks go to title sponsors Office, as well as all sponsors, players and spectators for their support. The event will return on the same weekend in 2013, bigger and better. They look forward to welcoming visitors back for another weekend of transforming Turnberry from golfing mecca to Murrayfield-on-Sea.