Hawick 19

Ayr 32

Atholl Innes at Mansfield Park

MORE than a few eyebrows were raised when former Gala coach, George Graham, took over last week at Hawick.

He is the man that the Greens supporters hope will help the club in their time need.

In only his first game as official head coach - with Darren Cunningham continuing as backs coach - Graham watched on as his side went down to Ayr.

But the seeds of recovery were there with an improved display from previous performances this season.

It may not have been a winning start, but Graham was delighted with the attitude of the players.

He said: “There were definitely positives from the defeat, although I will never be happy if we lose.

“Ayr are a good side and executed things well, but there are things, too, that we can work on.

"But I am happy overall that we are on the right track, and the progress we are making shows that we are now on an upward slope.”

The visitors played with a fire and power that epitomised Ayr coach Calum Forrester’s preparations that the match would be would be hard despite Hawick’s perilous position in the Premiership.

Hawick made the best of starts despite being under extreme pressure, and Gary Munro sped over for the opening try which Ali Weir converted.

Craig Gossman countered with a try which Frazier Climo converting.

But Dom Buckley burst out into open space for a try to put Hawick back in front, and Weir’s conversion gave them a 14-7 half-time lead.

Strong words at the interval saw Ayr emerge with more aggression and pace.

And two tries from Stafford McDowall, split with a penalty try, added to successful kicks from Climo and Scott Lyle, gave the visitors a bonus point despite Munro’s second score, which was just reward for Hawick’s fighting spirit.

Hawick: A. Weir; G. Munro, G. Johnstone, D. Buckley, L. Ferguson; L. Armstrong, G. Cottrell; S. Muir, G. Carryer, N. Little, C. Hamilton, D. Redpath, G. Graham, S. Graham, B. McNeil. Replacements: F. Renwick, R. Sutherland, D. Lowrie, K. Davies, K. Brunton.