Ayr Rugby Football Club

A successful afternoon in the borders for Peter Murchie’s men resulted in an emphatic 12-36 victory over Hawick at Mansfield Park. A dominant performance up front set the tone and complete control at the set-piece kept George Graham’s men constantly back-peddling. 

 

 

The win puts Ayr one step closer to a home semi-final draw and on the cusp of finishing the regular season as league front-runners.

 

It didn’t take long for the visitors to assert their control. A Hawick scrum just minutes into the fixture gave a preview of what was to come. Shoved off their own ball, the tandem of Steven Longwell and Ruairidh Sayce shunted Hawick’s props five feet back to signal the penalty. A kick to the corner was followed by a playbook rolling maul and it was all too easy for Pat MacArthur to latch on and dive over – his third try in as many games. 

 

With the conversion slipping wide Ayr led by five after as many minutes. 

 

Although it was pack power which ultimately sealed Hawick’s fate, a free-flowing back line was enjoying plentiful ball time and punishing slack defence from the home side. In such fashion Ayr were nearly in again with Paddy Dewhirst prancing around his opposite man before freeing up Rory Hughes in space on his outside. The Scotland International looked set on doubling the lead but terrific scrambling defence managed to halt him just short. 

 

Hawick were doing everything in their power to stay alive but poor exit strategy was playing into the hands of Ayr. With the pressure starting to mount Frazier Climo punished ill-discipline, slotting three points from a high tackle.

 

The departure of Pat MacArthur through injury didn’t change proceedings and Alex McGuire instantly - and seamlessly - slotted into an effective front row which continued to wreak havoc. On the stroke of half-time Ayr managed to turn pressure into points once more when a lovely inside ball released Paddy Dewhirst through the line like a hound out the traps. The move bewildered the home defence and with nobody anticipating the line break Dewhirst was able to canter home and dry with no covering defender in sight. Climo split the uprights.

 

Hawick 0-15 Ayr.

 

The second half continued in the same vein as the first and within five minutes Ayr were adding to their lead. In a carbon copy of the opening try, McGuire played the same role as MacArthur and scored from a line-out catch and drive. Climo converted to bring the scoring to 0-22.

 

Dewhirst was then able to double-up and secure the bonus point with a scintillating solo effort, gliding through the heart of the midfield unscathed. Again, Climo added the extras.

 

As Hawick exhaustingly tried to battle their way into a game their work continued to be undone via unforced errors. The ever-present Bruce McNeil continued to try and get go-forward but as soon as the green machine began to rack up phases a knock-on here or turnover there gifted the visitors with field possession. 

With the game then fixed in Hawick’s half, Pete McCallum was able to breach the defences with a powerful run once again through the midfield. Palming off the tacklers as they came, the skipper was able to march 35 metres towards the line before being pulled down just short. Quick recycle-ball from substitute Amir Rademaker fed McGuire who was able to power over and grab his second. The made conversion concluded Ayr’s scoring at 36.

 

Hawick finally managed to catch a break with 15 left on the clock. An ambitious looping pass was almost picked off by Climo, but his failure to grasp it with both hands proved costly and the ref reached for a yellow card. With Ayr down a man Hawick were able to get on the score board. After multiple phases sucking in Ayr jerseys fly-half Lee Armstrong whipped the ball wide to find open-man Kirk Ford, who darted in unchallenged. The conversion skewed wide of the mark.

 

As the game dwindled away Hawick managed to grab another score courtesy of Nicky Little. Armstrong convert to conclude the contest at 12-36.

 

The win provides a cushion at the top of the table with two left to play. Ayr currently sit five points clear and could well wrap up home advantage with a result next week over Glasgow Hawks at Millbrae. The action kicks off at 15.00.

 

Gordon Kotze’s 2XV also enjoyed a successful day out at Mansfield with a 9-29 victory over their counterparts. Ben Paterson was named MOTM.