Cup Final Offers Ayr Double Incentive

The Scottish Rugby Championship Committee confirmed today that the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup final between Melrose and Ayr a week on Saturday (24 April) at Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 4pm) will be a league and cup double-header.

The announcement adds extra spice for the Millbrae men who last night went joint top of Scottish Hydro Premier 1 with a bonus point win over West of Scotland.

The Scottish Rugby Championship Committee confirmed today that the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup final between Melrose and Ayr a week on Saturday (24 April) at Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 4pm) will be a league and cup double-header.

The announcement adds extra spice for the Millbrae men who last night went joint top of Scottish Hydro Premier 1 with a bonus point win over West of Scotland.

However, in order to keep up the pressure on Currie (who lead the league on points scored), Ayr must first overcome fourth-placed Dundee at Millbrae this Saturday (17 April) before confronting an in-form Melrose side playing in their third successive cup final.

If Ayr come through these matches unscathed, they will then go head to head with Currie at Malleny Park the week after the Cup final (1 May) with the top spot on offer to both clubs.

Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “This is an absolute Everest of a challenge. Having already played so much in a short period of time, the pressures of playing a cup final combined with such a crucial league game presents a huge, huge challenge.

“The team are very resilient and work exceptionally hard for each other. We’ll be tested but we’re definitely up for it – we’ve put ourselves in this position and we want to win.”

In addition to the match-day drama, the tie also holds personal significance for Scotland 7s internationalist and Ayr full-back Grant Anderson who, despite being a contracted academy player based at Murrayfield and representing Scotland at the 2008 Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s, has never played XVs on the hallowed Murrayfield turf, having missed out on selection for former club Greenock Wanderers’ 2005 Bowl final.

He said: “It’s great news that the match is a double-header. We’re really looking to get our own back on Melrose who knocked us out of the quarter-final last season. It definitely makes it more interesting by bringing the two competitions together.

“We’re quite equally matched. We’ve both got good backs and strong forwards so should be a great game.

“Greenock are playing in the Shield final against Lasswade in the game before us so it’s going to be a great day out. It means so much to play on your country’s home pitch.”

SCOTTISH HYDRO CUP FINALS DAY, MURRAYFIELD STADIUM, SATURDAY 24 APRIL

Scottish Hydro Premier Cup
Melrose v Ayr (kick-off 4pm)
Scottish Hydro National Shield
Lasswade v Greenock Wanderers (kick-off 2pm)
Scottish Hydro Regional Bowl
North Berwick v Strathmore (kick-off 12 noon)

The league match result between Ayr and Melrose will be decided on the 80 minute result (Cup result on extra time if necessary). Both clubs agreed that the cup allowance of seven replacements would prevail.