Alex Gordon reports from Millbrae
By Hugh Barrow
Hawks seaside challenge fails to take off
Tries: Curle 41, Dunlop 79
Con: Curle 41
Pen: Curle 46, 80
Pen: Horne 63, Steele 65
Hawks were flattered in defeat by an Ayr side who dominated the match more than the score might suggest.
The first half was scoreless but was nonetheless still packed with controversy.
Despite being dominated both territorially and in terms of possession Hawks had a couple of penalties in the 6th and 8th minutes which, had they gone over, might have offered Hawks a more positive outcome. George Horne was especially unlucky with the second effort which came back off of a post.
In truth, though, Hawks’ defensive effort was all that impressed in an indifferent performance. Even then first tackles were missed and several Ayr runners made additional unearned yards. Former Hawk, Craig Gossman offered an almost permanent threat, running from deep and often finding the gaps. He in part defeated himself, however, with his greed. On at least 4 occasions Ayr had worked an overlap but the full back was reluctant to put the pass to his outside and find his try hunt less than glorious. Two of these failed moves had his brother, Kerr, in space but there was no brotherly love towards the try-line.
On the 20 minute mark Hawks’ winger, Tom Steven, was sent to the sin-bin for a high ”tackle” on Danny McCluskey. Indeed, as the Ayr stand-off lay on the ground a general fight started amongst the players of both sides and it was a few minutes before referee Lloyd Linton brandished the card, which could easily have been red.
There seemed no danger of either side scoring and the only other highlight of this half was Andy Kirkland’s yellow card just before half-time. (0-0)
The 2nd half was only a minute long when Ayr’s Curle capped of a backs move when he burst through Hawks cover, he beat And Fleming with a deft burst of pace and was over the line, although it looked like he might over run it. He then goaled his own try and Ayr had finally been rewarded with the opening score. (7-0)
Within 5 minutes Curle had added to Hawks’ woes with a penalty and the home side simply seemed sharper cross the pitch. (10-0)
Hawks’ were offered a glimmer of hope just after the hour mark as Ayr’s Callum Templeton was directed to spend 10 minutes on the side-lines and Hawks then had their most sustained period of pressure scoring two penalties the first from the boot of Horne in 63 minutes and a second two minutes later by Jack Steele from a greater distance. (10-6)
From the depths of despair a losing bonus was in sight but Hawks’ frustrated their own efforts with poor possession. It is hard to recall the ball going through more than two or three phases during this period. The ball was kicked aimlessly at times and even the odd penalty failed to make touch as they went for length rather than accuracy whilst trying to force the game.
Close to the end it was from just such a penalty that Ayr ran the ball back and Hawks found themselves finishing out the game in their own 22. Any hopes of a losing Bonus Point ended in 79 minutes when back row Andy Dunlop went over for an unconverted try. (15- 6)
The game concluded with a Curle penalty with final kick of the ball but Ayr will rue the idiocy which denied them a crack at a win bonus. (18-6)