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Alex Gordon reports on Ayr match
Glasgow Hawks 26 Gala 34

"Auld Ayr wham ne'er a toun surpasses
For honest men and bonnie lasses."
by Robert Burns

So, on an unseasonably warm autumn’s day Hawks welcomed the “Honest Men” of Ayr to Old Anniesland. The Scottish Champions visited after a stuttering start to their season and new that a loss to Hawks would put them in the doldrums.
With this in mind Ayr started at a frenetic pace from the kick off, putting the hosts onto the back foot. A break from former Hawk, Craig Gossman, saw the winger come close to the lie in the first minute. Hawks defended frantically, holding Ayr short but the power of the Ayr pack saw lock Callum Templeton over from close range. Finn Russell missed the conversion. (0-5)
Straight from the restart, Ayr strayed offside just inside their own 10 meter line allowing James Gormley to step up and immediately narrow the scoring gap. (3-5)
Hawks were now dominant, in the pack there was an impressive struggle between the front rows in the scrum and Ayr scrum half, Murray McConnell was unable to use much of the ball his pack won as Paddy Boyer was on him like a rash. In the lineout the home side took several Ayr throws and in Captain Ross Miller and new buy Angus Hamilton their own ball was secure. The only frustration was that with all this possession and territory all Hawks had to show for it was a solitary penalty from Gormley in 22 minutes. (6-5)
Hawks were rueing their failure to take advantage of their possession in 25 minutes, when Ayr made a rare foray into the home 22. Ayr had attacked down the left wing with Craig Gossman breaking through the home defence. Gormley halted the wings progress and Hawks seemed to get the upper hand as the defence competed in the ruck. As the ball came back slowly, Ayr scrum half McConnell tacked sharply and ran down the side without any harm and went over for a simple score. With Finn Russell converting Ayr had stamped their authority on the game. (6-12)
Hawks now seemed to reel and Craig Gossman continued to torment his former team-mates. Gathering the ball in his own half he broke for 50 metres evading tackles. As he ran out of space he put a pass to Ross Curle who felt the full force of Hawks cover, preventing a score.
Hawks again started to dominate the visitors, an Ayr lineout in Hawks 22 saw Andrew Linton take a clean ball on the throw. In their desperation to assault Hawks Ayr had set up well offside. The penalty took Glasgow deep into the Ayr half and the pack were driving Hawks forward. 40 minutes had passed when Hawks were awarded a “kickable” penalty about 10 metres from the line. Miller went for the quick tap and they were held up short of the line it seemed that the chance was lost. The ball came back from the ruck to Boyer who sharply darted under the cover for a try close to the posts with Gormley converting. The half time whistle blew and Hawks deservedly went in with the lead. (13-12)
Hawks began the half brightly and started to add to Ayr’s woes when Gormley went over for a try in 47 minutes following a lung bursting break. (18-12)
Ayr introduced a change at scrum half for Ayr which was to prove crucial, another former Hawk, Peter Jericevich replacing McConnell. The scrum half, who seems to have been for much longer than his age would show, took command of the pack. He marshalled them and brought a focus which had been missing in the first half. His presence could not be ignored and when he went over for a try in 50 minutes from close to the left corner following a catch and drive. (18-17)
Ayr now dominated proceedings and Craig Gossman on the right wing was a constant source of torment. Hawks seemed to have received a killer blow when Gossman chased a kick ahead and went over for a straightforward score after 55 minutes. Ross Curle’s conversion opened up a gap and Hawks seemed to be struggling to keep pace with the Champions. (18-24)
Hawks seemed to have received a killer blow with ten minutes to pay as Ayr centre Robbie Fergusson scored the try of the afternoon. He gathered a pass just inside his own half. He angled a run past his opposite number ghosting beyond the ten metre line. Another tackle missed and he ran on into the 22 a third despairing tackle failed and the Ayr man went over in the corner at the hockey field end. A missed conversion didn’t seem to offer much hope. (18-29)
Whilst in passages of play Hawks appeared to have lost their way, there was also a recognition of the strength which had allowed them to dominate the first half. The pack started to assert itself again, a lineout In the Ayr half saw Miller take a clean ball Boyer put the ball out to the backs and the backs burst into the visitor’s 22. As they closed on the line, Miller burst through to go over for the try, unfortunately Gormley missed the extras. (23-29)
It seemed that Hawks were to settle for a losing bonus but even that was put in doubt when Ayr Curle put a penalty over in the last minute. (23-32)
Once again Hawks dug deep and once again time was not on their side as they fought their way into the visitors 22. Ayr conceded a penalty and it fell to Gormley to kick the score which secured the bonus point. Hawks had lost narrowly to some weel kent faces and perhaps it was time to consider and dismiss the words of the bard;

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?”
Time to forget until here’s a chance of revenge later in the season

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