BT Cup Quarter-Final


AYR 13

By Callum Kerr

MORE hopes of silverware success for Ayr were shattered in the Borders on Saturday.

IT was a disappointing day at the office for Calum Forrester’s men when they faced Hawick in the Scottish Cup last eight tie on Saturday.

Despite a great start from Ayr Hawick managed to worm back into contention and expert kicking late-on proved to be the difference, winning 20-13.

Straight from the off, Ayr’s 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 20 minutes dominated by the Ayrshiremen, Hawick started looking 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 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 captains were sent to the bin.

When play resumed it was clear this was going to be a fiercely competitive match. Hawick looked to extend their lead in 47 minutes 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 threatened 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, making it 20-13.

It is a quick turnaround for Ayr who have to sharpen up on their mistakes as they face Hawick again, this time in the familiar environment of Millbrae. With such a tightly fought contest playing out at the weekend it is set for more nailbiting viewing.