Sunday, 10 September 2017
Ayr 18 Glasgow Hawks 28
With spectators crowding the sunny sidelines and the stand with ice creams and drinks in hand, the two teams enjoyed a great atmosphere to play in, and it was the home side who naturally fed off it early on.
Ayr caught a missed kicked for touch by Hawks, with full-back Grant Anderson and winger Craig Gossman stretching their legs. Centre Stafford McDowall and prop Robbie Smith pushed play on, before scrum-half David Armstrong and prop Ryan Grant exchanged the ball, and Anderson barged over for a try. Fly-half Frazier Climo couldn't convert. 5-0.
It was a changed back row, with Blair Macpherson moving to the second row in place of the injured Scott Sutherland and Tommy Spinks taking the blindside berth. George Stokes started at openside and Pete McCallum captained from number eight as usual. All four, and lock Robert McAlpine, injected energy into the opening quarter but Hawks were ready to pounce on any opportunity.
Although they had been shoved into touch as they headed for the try-line, they charged down a kick from the remnants of the ensuing line-out and second row Kiran McDonald bolted for the whitewash. Centre Jack Steele converted. 5-7.
With tempers boiling over as they so often do in this west derby, Hawks gained a penalty, took the line-out and winger Kyle Rowe put his foot on the gas for a try. Steele couldn't convert. 5-12.
Ayr got back into the visitors' half thanks to strong play by Climo, a neat step round the defence from Gossman and the usual bashing-through-the-defenders by Macpherson and hooker Lewis Anderson. A scrum in a plum position in Hawks' twenty-two followed but Ayr were penalised for collapsing it.
It was all too easy for Hawks to work their way back up the park and Steele added a penalty before half-time. 5-15.
Then Climo was. 8-18.
Then Steele was again. 8-21.
Centre Danny McCluskey managed to battle through the Hawks defence on an exciting run before Climo, McDowall and Gossman showed off their fancy handling skills. They were rudely interrupted by Hawks number eight Jake Eaglesham who found himself in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on. Climo kicked the points. 11-21.
McCluskey set up Ayr's attack again, with solid support from Gossman. A scrum saw Armstrong whip the ball to McDowall, with McAlpine on hand to stretch play across the field, where full-back Anderson, Grant and Stokes powered through the red and black shirts. Quick work by hooker Anderson found Climo, and the ball went to the hands of McCallum who rampaged over the line. Climo added the extras. 18-21.
Climo had a chance to level the scores with another kick at goal but it went wide.
A bit of momentum had gone out of the contest until McDonald woke everyone up with a tremendous gallop through mid-field and all the way to the try-line, showboating behind the posts with the ball in his big paw, hoisted triumphantly in the air. Thankfully for Hawks' small yet vocal band of supporters, the second row remembered to ground it before continuing his gleeful celebrations. Fly-half Ross Thompson converted. 18-28.
Ayr got themselves back into the Hawks half thanks to a monster kick from winger Scott Lyle that came from deep within his own half and bounced and bobbled perfectly over the touchline at the five-metre mark.
The home team rang the changes, with prop Steven Longwell - only just returned from playing in Australia for the summer - replacing Grant, and Jonathan Agnew - fresh from scoring a try for the 2nd XV earlier in the day - taking over from Stokes.
Despite the pressure put on them by Lyle's kick, Hawks were not for turning. They battled out of their half and gained a penalty line-out. Ayr poached it, with McCallum charging away but they were later pinged for holding on.
Final score: Ayr 18 Glasgow Hawks 28.
Ayr 2nd XV beat Glasgow Hawks 2nd XV 41-19, with Ruairidh Sayce, Cameron Reece, Craig Brown, Euan Hamilton, man of the match Michael Badenhorst, Jonathan Agnew and Cameron Taylor scoring the tries, and Sam Gray and Sam Graham adding the conversions.
- Elena Hogarth.