IT took until the second last play of the game for Ayr to secure the bonus point, but head coach Calum Forrester rightly observed after this 19-32 win away to Hawick that it doesn’t matter if it happens before the break (as was the case against Heriot’s last week) or if it takes a bit longer (like this week) – so long as you get what you need out of the match in the end.
That bonus point edges last season’s champions into second place in the BT Premiership table, ahead of Currie Chieftains on points difference, and now Forrester and his team can look forward to back-to-back home games against Watsonians and Boroughmuir knowing that the race to secure a home play-off is in their own hands.
“You never get an easy game down here and the fact Hawick had a really tough time last Saturday meant I was sure we would see a reaction this week, especially with George Graham taking over as head coach,” said Forrester.
“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first half. It was a bit more like the performances we were producing at the start of the season as opposed to our recent form. It was quite niggly early on and we allowed them to dictate how we played, but we were much more clinical in the second half.”
“We caught the restart, kicked long and won the penalty and took three points. Then caught the restart again, kicked long again, and this time got a try. That really put us in a commanding position, and I was really pleased with the control we showed.”
Stafford McDowell had to leave the field in the first half for treatment, but didn’t let that slow him down when he returned to the fray. The big centre, who will be a key man for Scotland Under-20s this season, scored two tries, including that bonus point clincher; while Craig Gossman also got on the score-sheet. There was also a penalty try and Scott Lyle kicked ten points.