Hawick put an end to Ayr’s winning start to the 2014/15 BT Premiership and picked up a well-deserved bonus point, and the Bill McLaren Shield, in the process.
Having made the long trip to Burns country, the Greens got off to a storming start to lead 22-5 at the break.
The hosts came back in the second half, however, and almost sneaked the win with the visitors just managing to hold out for their five points.
Speaking after the game Hawick captain Rory Hutton said: “We had total control of the game until late on and then we took our foot of the pedal a bit and it got closer than it should have.
“To get the five points at Millbrae was great and credit to the players for holding on for a good win.”
Lee Armstrong opened the scoring with a penalty goal before Ayr winger, Cammy Taylor, scored an interception try to edge the home team in front.
The Greens were showing hunger in the loose with the back row especially active. Skipper Hutton had a brace of tries and the Edinburgh allocated player, Joaquin Domingues, scored a splendid 45-metre interception try, Armstrong converted two to give the visitors their 22-5 lead at the break. Greens flanker, Bruce McNeil, had a yellow card from the referee just before half-time.
After the restart, Ayr were awarded a penalty try which Canadian international player Connor Braid converted to narrow the gap. The influential Hutton, however, was causing the home defence problems and it was an accurate chip through from him which allowed Armstrong to score wide out for the bonus point try on the hour mark.
Kiwi prop Nick McLennan, who came on as a replacement, was the second Greens forward to receive a yellow card with less than 10 minutes left.
With the referee awarding a plethora of penalties against the Greens, the home team raised their game and scored two converted tries in the final three minutes, through Kerr Gossman and Will Bordill, both converted by Braid, to take them to within a point of victory with seconds remaining.