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The Scotsman reports

By Matt Vallance

IF defences win titles then Ayr may yet wrest the Premiership crown back from Currie.

As Hawks' coach Peter Wright put it succinctly: "We didn't lose this match, Ayr's defence won it".

This was never truer than in the third quarter. With Ayr leading 14-3, Hawks were camped deep in the Ayr 22 for 15 minutes. Wright's assertion that his side might have had a penalty try or two during their siege of the Ayr line has credence, but, when in the midst of the visiting pressure, David Milne got over the line but lost the ball, the game slipped away from the visitors.

Ayr's Frazier Climo missed with two penalty attempts during a nondescript opening quarter, before goaling a conversion after a typical charge for the opening try by Ayr skipper Damien Kelly in 27 minutes.

Mike Adamson opened Hawks' account with a 35-metre penalty in the 31st minute to complete the first-half scoring.

Cammy Taylor's 42nd-minute try for Ayr was the result of slick handling; Mark Bennett's stirring charge carried-on by Dean Stewart and AJ McFarlane to put Taylor over, Climo converting.Then came that long spell of intense Hawks' pressure - followed by Adamson's second penalty goal in 64 minutes, scant reward for all the Hawks' efforts.

But, from the restart drop out, "Skippy" Kelly charged over the gain-line and the ball was carried-on by Ross Curle for fullback Grant Anderson to score the try which put the game out of Hawks' reach, with 13 minutes left.

Referee Peter Matthews rather lost it in the final minutes. He sent Ayr flanker Rob Colhoun, whose tackle count was stratospheric, to the sin bin in 75 minutes, then, in a late flurry of handbags, he also yellow-carded Hawks' Kerr Gossman and Ayr "avenging angel" Gordon Reid, leaving the numbers as 13 vs 14.

The 14 Hawks had the final word, a superb solo try through five tackles, by centre Dean Kelbrick. Mike Adamson converted but the final whistle ended Glasgow hopes.

Scorers: Ayr: Tries: D Kelly, Taylor, Anderson; Cons: Climo (2). Hawks: Try: Kelbrick; Pens: Adamson (2).

Ayr: Anderson; A Wilson, Bennett (R McCallum), Curle, Taylor, Climo, McFarlane; Reid, Fenwick (Adair), A Kelly (Sykes), D Kelly, D Stewart, Crossan (Nimmo), Colhoun, Dunlop. Replacement not used: Fergusson.

Glasgow Hawks: C Gossman, White (Preece), Kelbrick, Milne, K Gossman, Adamson, K Hamilton (Jericevich), Strain (A Smith), Milligan, Grant, R Hamilton (Hunter), McKay, Karalus, Miller (Strang).

Referee: Peter Matthews. Attendance: 650.

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