Ayr bowed out of this year’s BT Cup on Saturday with a narrow defeat away to Hawick at the quarter-final stage. Finalists last year, Ayr couldn’t quite get one step closer to BT Finals day despite firing out of the blocks.
Straight from the off their intention showed. Matt Davidson recovered Scott Lyle’s kick-off and darted free up the wing. He would eventually be brought down just short but a lacklustre Hawick gave away an easy penalty, gifting Lyle three points in the opening minutes. The lead was doubled in the same fashion on 12 minutes when Steven Longwell got over the ball and Hawick were penalised for holding on.
After an opening twenty dominated by the Ayrshire men Hawick started to look like the feared outfit Graham has made them. Their potential to score from anywhere was showcased soon after. Just as Ayr looked in pole position to add to their lead a loose ball fell to Hawick hands and kick-started an 80-metre counter attack. After countless offload’s they were eventually brought down but they managed to grab the game’s opening try a few phases later. Lee Armstrong’s conversion made it 7-6 after half-an-hour.
Just before the intermission James Armstrong replaced Craig Gossman to mark his 1st XV debut. As the team’s prepared for half-time the game took another twist when both side’s captains were sent to the bin.
HT: Hawick 7-6 Ayr.
When play resumed it was clear this was going to be a fiercely competitive match. Hawick looked to extend their lead on the 47th minute with an audacious penalty attempt from their own half. Winger Gary Munro slotted it to increase the home side’s lead to 10-6.
Ayr’s breakthrough came moments after. The ever-dangerous David Armstrong sniped around the side of the ruck and looked poised to score until an incredible covering tackle bundled him into touch. Ayr found the line in the next few phases. A driving maul put them in touching distance allowing Lewis Anderson to touch down. Lyle converted to make it a three-point game.
Ayr were back in front and cruising. Dominant scrummaging allowed them to make territory but Hawick looked dangerous and threated when in possession.
Hawick broke once more and scored the deciding try on the hour mark. Lee Armstrong slotted the conversion to make it 17-13- advantage Hawick.
As the last 20 minutes dwindled away Ayr frantically tried to build an attack but Hawick’s grit on defence gave them nothing.
Gary Munro sealed the victory with another long-range kick with five minutes left on the clock.
FT: Hawick 20-13 Ayr.
It is a quick turnaround for Ayr who have to dust themselves down and welcome Hawick to Millbrae in the league this Saturday. With such a competitive match playing out yesterday it’s set to be a cracker.