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Your News Hawks run Ayr close
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Alex Gordon reports on Glasgow Cup Final

Hawks welcomed some "weel kent" faces, as Ayr visited Old Anniesland or the final of the West Regional Cup. Ayr arrived sitting at the top of the Premiership adter a solitary deeat in 15 league matches, with a clean sweep in the group stage of the cup it was clear that they visited with a great run of form behind them. Talk amongst the supporters before the match was looked on the game as more a guage of the progress the Hawks had made than of progress to cup glory.

So it was that the sides met with a noon kick off as minds drifted towards events in Edinburgh. Certainly things looked ominous for the home side as their kick off went straight out on the full and things looked worse, when at the subsequent scrum Ayr pushed Hawks back a good metre with apparent ease. Ayr then marked their intent in under a minute when an apparently kickable penalty was sent to touch. Poor lineout work saw Hawks clear with ease and then then declared their own intentions as the turned defence into attack in short time.

Ayr's defence operated a well drilled drift, and Hawks had to work hard to push forward. Apparently halted short on the Ayr line, Hadden McPherson got a glimpse of a gap and dived over for the opening try rom close range. With James Gormley adding the coversion Hawks took a deserved lead after 8 minutes. (7-0)

Ayr tried to take the game to Hawks, but the home side were sending a message through their tackling and that message was that they would not simply make up the numbers and Ayr's tactical kicking was lapped up by the back three. The home sides chances were to take a blow in 11 minutes as Tom Steven received a yellow card for tackling an Ayr player as he was jumping to catch the ball. Ayr chose to kick the penalty toward touch, where again their lineout failed to fire and Hawks cleared with ease. The home side appeared unfazed by the absence of Steven and put Ayr under pressure and only handling errors prevented the home side pulling further ahead. Similarily the Hawks pack continued pressurising Ayr dominating the lineout particulalry. As numbers were restored Hawks had survived without conceding a penalty never mind a try.

Even the scrum saw Hawks move into the ascendancy and not only held their own but took one against the head. After the half hour mark, Ayr raised their level of play and started to play a tighter game. The visitors were making slow yardage recycling and taking the ball forward in short bursts. Eventually, their pack parked on the home line drawing more and more defenders into the breakdown before putting the ball wide where full back Grant Anderson was waiting to dive over. With Peter Jericevich missing the extras Hawks clung onto the advantage after 37 minutes. (7-5)

It looked as if Hawks could see out the half but Ayr repeated the previous move, battering on the Hawks line until the held an advantage in the back line, this time Ross Curle daucked, evading a tackle and darted across to give Ayr the lead. With the conversion much closer to the posts, Jericevich converted on half-time. (7-12)

Ayr came out in the second half with their tails up and continued in the same vein as they had finished the first half. Hawks defence was under pressure when Jono Wright was deemed to have lain over the tackled player close to the line and received a yellow card and a ten minute rest for his trouble, the half was only 3 minutes gone. A penalty against Hawks 4 minutes later saw Jericevich extend Ayr's lead to 8 points. (7-15)

Despite the loss of numbers and before Wright returned to play Hawks again took the game to Ayr with a tremendous break from Steven finding Mike Martin and Grant Strang in support and forcing Ayr to concede a penalty to stop them. Gormley narrowed the gap to five points (10-15)

Back to 15 aside and Ayr were frustrated by a Hawks defence which resisted everything that the Honest Men could throw at them The visitors crossed the line on the hour but were held up over the line by some tremendous deence. Again Hawks were penalised and Ruiairdh Wilson took the 3rd yellow of the afternoon just after the hour. Despite this and to the teams credit, the final quarter of the match was spent for most part in Ayr's 22. Despite exerting the greater pressure and finishing the game as the more spirited side they were frustrated in their attempt to get back on the scoreboard with only a miss by Gormley to show for their final efforts.

After the final whistle a few things were clear, that Hawks had been more than a match for Scotland's tp form side. In fact with a little bit more compusure, or the bounce of the ball they could easily have been hosting Stirling County in the next match. Instead they can take a positive message going into their remaining 6 league matches, they have the ability to match any team in Scotland. Their future is in their own hands.

This article was posted on 10-Feb-2013, 13:33 by Hugh Barrow.

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