Ayr Rugby Football Club

 

Angus Hyde @ Millbrae

 A solid performance against Hawks sealed the vital top seed placement in the Tennent’s Premiership for Ayr. Impressive performances from stars such as the serial creator Frazier Climo and hat-trick hero Paddy Dewhirst contributed to a 36-10 victory for the Millbrae side in their penultimate Tennent’s Premiership league appearance before the start of the play-offs.

The game kicked off with a bang in the fourth minute with a fantastic run from Climo scything through the defence with a subtle dummy before offloading to mercurial winger Dewhirst, who turned on the afterburners and opened the scoring early. Climo capped off the duo’s attack by hitting a swerving conversion, clipping the inside of the left stick and giving the home side a 7-0 lead.

A slip up from Ayr moments later resulted in a penalty in their own half which Hawks ten Liam Brims sent flying over the bar to claw back three points for the visitors. Ayr responded positively, continuing to dominate the opening proceedings before Dewhirst broke away again for his second contribution of the day (and by no means his last). Taking on the last two defenders, Paddy stepped the first then used his pace to leave the full back in the dust, touching down comfortably in the middle allowing for an equally comfortable conversion.

Just five minutes later, Dewhirst added to his total after a hard-pressing team move following a lineout on Hawks’ 22. A juggling match ensued with the Ayr players trying to form the ruck and the ball was shifted out to the opposite wing eventually finding Paddy to complete his hat-trick. Climo’s kick unfortunately saw the wrong side of the post this time with the score standing at 19-3.

Ayr came off at half time high in spirits following a strong first half showing at Millbrae and were greeted in the dressing room with the news that Currie Chieftains had defeated 2nd placed Melrose, meaning they only had to score another try for the bonus point or hold onto the win to guarantee the top placed finish going into the playoffs. Seeming both tactically and physically superior, the Ayr boys went into the second half oozing with confidence. 

Hawks almost dampened the mood as a handling error gave the visitors their closest sniff at Ayr’s try line as they won a scrum close to the home side’s 5, which was luckily picked up and cleared to dispel the danger, allowing for the attack to be turned on its head. An unlucky knock-on inch from the line prevented sealing the league early as Ayr continued to press the Glasgow outfit. 

However, the wait was not long as Glasgow Warrior and former Hawks player Paddy Kelly linked up with Danny McCluskey close to the try line, picking up a clever offload to put himself on the scoresheet and guaranteeing the top seed place for Ayr in the 55th minute -sending Millbrae into jubilation. Frazier Climo obliged, sending the conversion over to lead 26-3.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, substitute David Corbenici dealt the visitors another blow by breaking through the tackle and hitting Hawks with yet another try, flexing Ayr’s superiority over the match. Climo’s conversion went wide and the score stood at a comfortable 31-3 lead.

Hawks responded in kind with a high-pressure attack, giving Ayr their first conceded try in the 73rd minute following a hard scrum. Plucky scrum-half Kaleem Barreto touched down his team’s consolation try with a sniping leap from the ruck and Brims added the trimmings. 

When all seemed done, Amir Rademaker scored a final try right on the dying embers of the match after the ball went through the hands of James Pinkerton, Climo, Grant Anderson then Rademaker. The number ten’s conversion didn’t connect, with the score line standing at a comprehensive 36-10 win for the home side. 

Murchie’s men displayed class and skill combined with physicality and attrition that merit their top play-off place, which will have them looking towards the home semi-final with great anticipation. Before then though they have a few weeks off to regroup and prepare for their Scottish Cup semi-final against Currie Chieftains on February 16 at Millbrae. League action returns in March when they travel to Watsonians in the final game of the season before the play-offs.

It was also a victory for the 2XV who inched past GHA 29-28. Camie Black was named man-of-the-match.