Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr put in an energetic performance to beat Glasgow Hawks on the artificial pitch at Lochinch in round eleven of the BT Premiership.

It was a cold afternoon at Pollok Park - Hawks' home for the day, with their 1st XV pitch still out of action - but both sets of players launched themselves with abandon into the game, the firm surface creating ample opportunity for running rugby.

Hawks scored first after an interception by centre Brendan McGroarty that saw him snaffle the ball and then break free of Ayr tackles to race away. It was unconverted. 5-0.
Ayr were unperturbed, however, and captain Pete McCallum charged off before centre Stafford McDowall and flanker Tommy Spinks burst forth with ball in hand. They crossed the line but the ball was knocked on before it was grounded.

The men from Millbrae were marvellous at turning over Hawks, and after a scrum and a line-out to the Old Anniesland side, Ayr suddenly had the ball, hooker Robbie Smith making a dash for it before centre Danny McCluskey sped away for the try. Scott Lyle, starting on the wing for Ayr, converted. 5-7.
Lyle was quickly back at the tee, kicking a penalty. 5-10.
The floodgates had opened for Ayr. McDowall and second row Robert McAlpine tore through midfield, the former almost cartwheeling through tackles.

From a line-out moments later, Ayr drove on until scrum-half Lewis Young fired the ball to fly-half Brandon Thomson - released by Glasgow Warriors for the day - and he found Lyle. A brilliant step by the winger saw him elude a Hawks defender and he got the ball away to full-back Grant Anderson, and he bullied his way over the line. Lyle converted. 5-17.
Hawks full-back Bobby Beattie was a danger throughout the match, and the back row of McCallum, Spinks and George Stokes were busy containing him.

A blast for the line by McCallum saw the ball go loose but Hawks fumbled it and they went back for the scrum. Although their scrum was solid, Hawks were relieved of the ball as the set-piece broke up, Stokes the man on poaching duty. He headed straight for the line with Spinks in support but neither could cross. Blair Macpherson, playing in the second row, barged over. Lyle converted. 5-24.
A quick line-out by Hawks launched Beattie into attack once again, but he was flattened by McDowall, the ball knocked on. After the ensuing scrum, Ayr winger Craig Gossman hit the pass from Young like a train and thumped his way through the Hawks defence, Smith and Macpherson in support.

Hawks had a fine turnover of their own, and could do nothing with it but clear. One line-out after another for Ayr saw Smith drive the maul on, with Macpherson again demonstrating great support play before Stokes quickly scored a try. Lyle's conversion attempt from out wide hit the upright. 5-29.
Not even the odd handling error could dampen Ayr's spirits. Macpherson and McAlpine were throwing themselves about the pitch with gusto, as were Gossman, McCallum and Spinks, and Stokes and McDowall were always on hand to thwart any Hawks attack.

Lyle struck a penalty just before half-time. 5-32.
Ayr continued in a similar vein at the resumption, Smith, props Robin Hislop and Steven Longwell, McDowall, McCluskey and Lyle cutting the Hawks defence to ribbons until Longwell rumbled over for the try. Lyle got the conversion. 5-39.
McCluskey was escorted from the field, injured, and Jamie Bova replaced him. Lewis Anderson and Jonathan Agnew followed him off the bench, replacing Smith and McAlpine respectively.

Hawks had a spring in their step in the second half, and after a couple of penalties, McGroarty scrambled over for a try, converted by Jack Steele. 12-39.
Ayr trundled on, McCallum, Lewis Anderson and Stokes working well together. Agnew was on form in the air, and his swift hands at the line-out got the ball to McCallum, who scored try number six for Ayr. Lyle's conversion just missed. 12-44.
Ayr emptied the bench, Ruairidh Sayce replacing Longwell and Sam Graham on for Gossman.

It was a busy final quarter as Hawks put their foot on the gas.

Beattie caused havoc, and not even Stokes clinging on for dear life could stop him. His break let McGroarty go over for his hat-trick. It went unconverted. 17-44.
Winger James Couper was next, dodging through the pink and black shirts for a great try. Liam Brims converted. 24-44.
A huge thump by Graham on a Hawks attacker saw the ball spilled and McDowall scooped it up. The ball was later knocked on, but after the scrum, McDowall zoomed on to a wayward Hawks pass. Alas, Ayr were offside and they were brought back for the penalty.

Couper was away again, dancing round the defence for another try, with Scott Peffers converting. 31-44.

There was only a minute left, but Hawks were going for a final score. With Ayr offside again, they took the line-out, but the ball ended up in McDowall's hands and he booted it off the park to bring an entertaining match to an end.

Final score: Glasgow Hawks 31 Ayr 44.

- Elena Hogarth.