Report from Al Graham
Saturday 10th February 2017
Glasgow Hawks 7 Ayr RFC 36
For the penultimate premiership league match of the season Glasgow Hawks coaching team was restricted in its team selection. With George Horne and Bobby Beattie on Scottish 7’s duty and Josh Henderson, Bruce Flockhart and Matt Fagerson away with the Scotland under 20’s in France they had to dig deep into their resources. Fortunately wing threequarter Junior Bulumakau and Namibian Internationalist, second row forward, Tijuee Uanivi were both released by Glasgow Warriors. Ross Miller was absent with a non rugby related injury.
Junior is no stranger to the Hawks players as he has played more than half the games this season. Tijuee had only once before played in Hawks colours. On the bench Hawks were pleased to see the return of centre Paddy Kelly from his loan spell with London Scottish.
With both Hawks and Ayr already qualified for the league play off this was more of a dead rubber although two quirky results in the next two weeks could have meant a home play off for Hawks rather than just the bragging rights.
On a bright but bitterly cold and windy afternoon the first half of the game proved to be pretty disappointing compared with other matches at Old Anniesland this season. Ayr coped with the conditions and Hawks didn’t. Unless proved wrong by the video evidence Ayr did not drop a pass in 40 minutes and Hawks spilled the ball, knocked it on, missed lineouts and conceded too many turnovers to beat a side with the class of Ayr.
The early stages were evenly matched but gradually Hawks seemed to be getting on top when in the 14th minute the ball went loose in the Ayr 22. Ayr hacked it up field and eventually it bounced clear to Archie Russell the Ayr centre who picked it up and scored. 0-5
Ayr were strong on the counter attack and punishing Hawks looseness. In the 27th minute they got the ball into Hawks right hand corner and from a subsequent set scrum David Armstrong danced through a fragmented defence and touched down under the posts for a try converted by Frazier Climo for a 0-12 lead.
Hawks bounced right back with a number of individual breaks but could not get through the tight Ayr defence.
In the 37th minute the referee yellow carded Ross Curle of Ayr. This was the first of two in the match neither of which seemed to be justified. Curle simply tackled, a Hawks player charging through the centre of the field, low around the ankles and although his fall looked spectacular it was a legitimate tackle. The other card was given to Kerr Gossman for a high tackle on his brother Craig. Craig had dipped to avoid the tackle and Kerr went over his top. It is doubtful if either card even warranted a penalty. The sooner the referees at this level are given an inoculation for yellow fever the better. Yes, cards for cynical or foul play but not for simple non premeditated collisions.
Hawks then squandered a golden opportunity to get back into the game before half time. Firstly with a squint throw at a five metre lineout followed by pushing early at the subsequent scrum thus allowing Ayr to escape unpunished.
3 minutes into the second half and Kerr Gossman got his marching orders. This proved to be crucial as Ayr relentlessly targeted the gap on the right wing. A simple pass by Craig Gossman to Ross Curle allowed the centre to sail through the gap for a try converted by Frazier Climo. 0-19. Craig Gossman added another a few minutes later and the game was effectively over. 0-24
With 10 minutes remaining Hawks suddenly clicked into gear and passes started to stick and after a period of sustained pressure Kerr Gossman opened the defence and scored in the corner. Hagen Schulte kicked a magnificent conversion 7-24
Ayr weren’t finished and with two minutes to full time scored another try converted by Frazier Climo7-36. To compound Hawks misery with the last move of the game a high kick that Sean Yacoubian appeared to have covered took a terrible bounce and sailed into the hand of Danny McLusky who couldn’t believe his luck. 7-36.
Rarely have Hawks played so poorly and you can only hope that it was because so many key players were missing and there nothing at stake and that by the time the cup tie and play off comes along they will have recovered their composure.
Updated 22:57 - 11 Feb 2017 by Hugh Barrow