Hartree Mill Sports Grounds, Biggar ML12 6JJCharity Number: SC 047700

U18 Scottish Schools Cup, Boys Youth East v West and Club News

ON Sunday many of the Clubs U18 girls were playing at Scotstoun in Glasgow, representing Biggar High in the Scottish Schools Cup Final.

Pitched against the Community School of Auchterarder the Biggar girls were not quite able to retain the trophy they won last year (when they defeated the same opponents).

Biggar ran out of numbers, their cause not helped as several players were unavailable prior to the match while there were three more injuries on the day, this leaving the side at just 14.

Pluckily though the remaining squad performed, they were not able to get back into the match and lost by 39-29.

This was a great match however and all involved – from both sides - can take great credit for the way in which they played.

 

Congratulations as well to all those players – present and former – who were part of the West team that defeated east on Sunday at the Orium.

Current 1st XV member Andrew Nimmo started the match. He was joined by Ross Jackson (now with Marr) while Andrew Jardine (now with Melrose) was on the bench.

The West side ran out convincing winners by 61-26.

 

 

Many thanks to all who supported the club on Friday at Late Night shopping and on Saturday at the Skippinish Concert. Both events were very successful and were enjoyed by all present.

A massive thank you to GY for his organisation throughout.


Shogtun Conference win for U14’s

Under 14 Shogun Conference

Biggar 38 points v Ayr 4 points (thanks as always to gavin Hill for the report)

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation and that’s exactly what the Biggar Under 14 boys did on Sunday. They approached kick off ready to take the game to Ayr and this they did and from the start their attack punched holes in the Ayr defense straight away. Ayr simply did not know what had hit them and within 5 minutes, Biggar were 2 tries ahead. Calum McLemon was as usual leading the boys from the front and this was a vital key to the performance.

Another key to victory is believing you have a team worth fighting for and each player put in an impressive display, working for each other.

Ayr just could not settle into the game as Biggar launched attack after attack in various areas of the field which was proving hard to contain.

When Ayr did get the ball the Biggar centres blitzed their midfield which denied any of the Ayr centres getting the ball with time to then attack. With the centres denied the Ayr standoff resorted to kicking which again played into the Biggar hands as they ran back at them at every opportunity especially when Ben McBride was being given space.

Biggar commanded all areas and it was rewarding to see excellent lineouts and drives which have been worked on at training which then resulted in peeling off the maul to score.

Forwards were working as a unit and when time was right the ball was moved out to the backs to make space.

This team have now scored 20 tries in their last 2 games and continues to work hard and create the desire to succeed
 

Scorers

Calum McLemon - 4 tries

Ben McBride - 3 tries

Alexander Walpole 2 tries.

Morris McDiarmid- 1 try

 

Finlay Crozier had a great day converting 7 of the 10 tries with one being from the side line. Another conversion was awarded automatically after the penalty try.


Colts travel to Ayr

Colts serve up Friday night Try-fest with Ayr

 

Biggar Colts travelled to Troon on Friday night for their latest Shogun Conference game and with strong winds, rain, sleet and border-line freezing temperatures something was needed to warm everyone up. A sizzling game of rugby did just that!

 

Ayr came fizzing out of the blocks and had Biggar pinned in their own 22 for the first 10 minutes of the match. Great defence from Biggar kept the try line intact along with some poor hands and ill-discipline from Ayr. Indeed it was from a piece of Ayr ill-discipline that Biggar made the breakthrough. A Biggar knock on inside their own 5m line looked to have given Ayr a very good attacking position but the Ayr number 9 followed through with a late shoulder on Rowan Stewart resulting in a penalty to Biggar and allowing the Biggar man to clear to touch.

 

This got Biggar out of their half and led to a great score from Drew Brewster. A clean lineout was taken and the ball was fed to the backs where Stewart made a powerful break. The ball was recycled quickly and popped to Josh JVR who made a number of big runs breaking the gain line through the game and turned the Ayr defence. Quick ball was created again and passed out to Brewster who spotted a gap in the defence and went for it. He broke through and a beautiful step took the full back out of the game and he was over. Stewart added the extras.

 

Ayr were stung by this and really took the game to Biggar trying to use their big pack to dominate proceedings. They were camped in the Biggar 22 and once again the defence was excellent. The ball was turned over in contact and kept in the forwards to try and gain some ground. A couple of hits from Guy Kelly and Dan McConkey made a meter or 2 but then Josh JVR found a gap and made a great break. The ball was recycled well to Robbie Orr who spotted a gap and went for it. With Finn Stewart and Cammy Snell in support Orr put in a superb kick to turn the back-tracking Ayr defence. Finn Stewart took off down the wing showing incredible pace and dived on the ball ahead to the Ayr full back. A really superb break and a great team try. Rowan Stewart missed the conversion from a tough angle to the right of the posts.

 

This clearly stung the Ayr team and a strongly worded clear the air conference was held behind the posts and appeared to have the desired effect. They came on strong and again had Biggar pinned in their 22. This time they held their collective nerves and kept tying up defensive numbers until they created the overlap to go over in the corner.

 

Just before half time, Ayr scored a classic forwards try. A good line out take, a maul formed and then a cracking drive took them over the line. With both Ayr conversions missed, Biggar were still ahead so it was hoped they could hold on to go in ahead. Unfortunately the restart went long and Ayr broke well from their resultant scrum. Good possession rugby was played winning the rucks and spreading the ball to go over again.

 

Half Time Ayr 17- Biggar 12

 

Ayr started the second half as they started the first. They have big strong running forwards and big fast backs – a great combination but Biggar were defending manfully. Tackling, rucking and most positively of all teamwork were in evidence in spades. Ayr should have scored early in the second half when they managed to create a 3 on 1 on their left inside the 22. Great drifting defence from Finlay Stewart narrowed the attack and a crunching tackle took man and ball into touch.

 

Ayr got their noses further in front from a good running try and as they ran back from the score you could see their tales were up. Some outstanding play from Biggar was about to quell that fire however. First up was Robbie Orr.

 

From the kick off, the ball was secured by the forwards and with a few pick and drives they made ground towards the Ayr half. The ball was then fired into the backs and Rowan Stewart made a great break through the line. Orr was on his shoulder and an excellent pass took the defence out of the game. Orr went over but the try went unconverted.

Orr scored the next one as well but massive credit to Dan McConkey who took the restart superbly and went through the Ayr defensive line. Ayr seemed to fall asleep and allowed the ball to be fed to Rowan Stewart who had Orr in support. They played a couple of “1-2’s” around the defence and Orr went over under the posts. Rowan Stewart kicked the extras to put Biggar ahead by 2 points.

 

With only 52 minutes on the clock, Ayr got the games’ final score. Biggar worked tirelessly to get back ahead but were forced to defend in numbers inside their own 22 for long periods. Some of the hits made during that spell were massive and Biggar should take great credit for holding out under extreme pressure.

 

With no time left on the clock, Biggar went on a run with Drew Brewster supported by a number of backs. Just inside the Ayr half and everyone had fingers and toes crossed but it was not to be as Ayr defended superbly and booted the ball out for the win.

 

Full Time Ayr 29 – Biggar 24

 

The Ayr celebrations at full time showed what this game meant. Having beaten Biggar convincingly at Hartree Mill they may have expected an easy Friday night and this was anything but easy. Every single man for Biggar was outstanding and this was by far and away the best performance of the season from Biggar regardless of the result. Obviously no-one likes to lose but sometimes it is the manner of the loss that is important. In this case it was fighting for every ball, contesting every ruck and hitting every tackle. It was playing as a team!!

 

The standard has been set –the challenge now is to maintain it.


Colts earn plaudits despite defeat.

Colts show up well in tough Stirling Encounter

 

Stirling County Colts arrived at Hartree Mill on Saturday sporting a perfect 10 – 0 league record in the Shogun conference and whilst that record never looked in doubt, as County played some excellent rugby and scored some very good tries, they were made to work all the way by a determined and well-drilled Biggar team.

 

It really was down to the bare bones in terms of numbers on Saturday with only 17 men in the squad for the home favourites and one or two of those included were not 100% fit. Contrast that with the 22 man squad that Stirling travelled with and the dozen or so young men supporting them on the side lines and you get an idea of the gulf in terms of squad sizes.

 

County play a superb expansive form of rugby. They almost seem to have 17 men on the pitch as there is always support for an off load or pass. They kept the ball well and really forced Biggar to work for possession. That said, for long spells of this match Biggar really took the game to County and made them work too. Biggar tackled superbly for the whole 70 minutes, the rucking was really strong and some of the running on display from both backs and forwards showed how good this team can be.

 

With Guy Kelly leading the pack, they really discovered their pick and drive ball and it worked well on a number of occasions. Some very powerful runs were evident from a few forwards. Josh JVR hit some great lines and consistently got over the gain line and was well assisted in that area by Harry Low with Craig Frame and Dan McConkey putting in a great shift with the ball in hand too.

 

The backs seemed galvanised following a great run out last week. Robbie Orr and Rowan Stewart caused the County defence problems all day with their intelligent running and consistently made gains. Finlay Stewart again made some great tackles on the wing and Ali Steele again made some excellent ground with some really good kicking.

 

Biggar got 2 scores out of the game. The first a relatively simple kick from Ali Steele in the first half to get points on the board following a Country offside and the second a really well earned forwards try from Guy Kelly in the second half. A penalty from half way was launched perfectly by Ali well into the County 22. From the resultant line out a great throw from Rhys Thompson was taken into the maul and Biggar got the drive on. They were stopped just at the line but Kelly broke off, spun and got over. A hard earned score but something that the pack can take great pride in. This is practiced as part of the hard work in training week in week out and when it goes right, it is almost impossible to defend against.

 

Final Score Biggar 10 – Stirling County 55

 

After a tough loss, it’s easy to focus on negatives there can be no merit in that after a game like this. Being down by 30 points at half time it would have been easy to crumble and County could have run in a cricket score but that didn’t happen. Having lost Ethan Webb to a nasty looking bump and then Scott Paton too they needed every person to step up and that is what happened. Every single man in the 17 stood up and fought for every yard and Stirling will have woken up on Sunday knowing they were in a game. You can see the tackling, rucking and support play of this relatively young team improving every week and that will be needed for the last 3 games of the Shogun conference season. If they keep this standard of play up, I have every faith that they can get something out of each of those games.


U18 Girls lose out in Conference finals

Biggar girls lose out on league decider thriller

Biggar travelled to Stirling for their final game in the current campaign and what was set up to be the league decider. Biggar were victorious in the previous encounter at the start of the season although it was a very close competitive game and this return fixture promised more of the same. A pitch inspection earlier in the day had declared the game on and “game on” was certainly what was delivered up.

 

Stirling started very strongly and attacked for the first 10 minutes but as had been the case in the previous game the Biggar defence was solid and it was Biggar that broke the deadlock with their first try after 15 minutes. Stirling struck back with a try after 20 minutes to level the score. Both teams exerted pressure with some fierce tackling by the Stirling girls and some strong direct running by the Biggar team and it was Biggar who scored on the 30 minute mark and this was to remain the score until half time. (10-5)

 

The first half had flown past due to the pace and excitement of the game.

 

The second half started with equal intensity with Biggar scoring a further converted try after only 2 minutes of the restart to take the score to 17 – 5. Stirling however continued to apply pressure to Biggar with double tackles taking the momentum out of the Biggar play. The strong Stirling centres and speedy wings were a constant threat and Stirling scored a further try and conversion to take the score to 17 -12.

 

Both teams were playing some very attractive rugby and the match was in the balance at this stage. Stirling continued to pressurise the Biggar line which for a period held intact through some very good defensive play but eventually they broke through and scored a further converted try to take the score to 17 all.

 

Stirling secured a further score (22-17). The drive of the Biggar girls was evident and they came close to scoring only to be out done by some immense tackling from Stirling and with 5 minutes remaining it was Stirling who claimed the final score and despite a great effort from the whole Biggar team they could not reduce the deficit and the final score remained at 29 – 17 to Stirling.

 

All the spectators, coaches and officials agreed that this had been the most exciting, entertaining and skilful game of the season and for the most part could have gone either way. All the Biggar girls gave their all and should be so proud of their efforts and whilst it was Stirling who clinched the decision on the day, it was Scottish U18 Girls rugby that was the Winner.

 

Biggar try scorers - Geri, Ailie, Abi and Emily (conversion)

 

Man of the match (from Stirling) - Geri

 

Many thanks to Richard Robinson for filming the game. We would also like to thank Stirling for their hospitality – the girls all mixed together after the game and both teams were quick to praise their opposition – surely this is what rugby is all about. Biggar would like to congratulate Stirling on their fantastic season of rugby and on winning the league. We look forward to the next encounter.

 

In the U15 match Stirling also triumphed, their 47-0 win ensuring that the Stirling club won the Mirage Conference title


Girls defeat Murrayfield Wanderers in Conference matches

On Sunday the Youth sections were in action.

 

The Girls headed to Murrayfield where they took on Murrayfield Wanderers. The Biggar girls maintained their winning run with two good victories although the hosts were struggling for numbers in both sides. For the record the U15’s won 36-0 while the U18’s won 64-14.

These results ensure that Biggar remain on equal points with Stirling County, which will mean that the final games of the Conference this Sunday (19th November) at Stirling, will be the decider. Exciting prospect!

 

In another guise, that of Biggar High School, the Biggar girls deserve great praise for their efforts midweek when they played Shawlands Academy in the semi-finals of the Scottish Schools Cup.

 

While the U15 girls lost out (52-10 defeat) the U18’s won (43-5) which means they will make a return trip to Scotstoun to defend the title they won last year. This match is scheduled for Nov 26th with a 1.45pm kick off. Their opponents on the day will be either Carrick Academy or the Community School of Auchterarder.

 

More details nearer the time, but an excellent performance and victory girls, well done!


Over 35’s defeated by Peebles

On Saturday it was the turn of the elder statesmen who took on Peebles in the annual Over 35’s joust.

 

Hitherto neither side had managed an away win but this run was ended when the visitors ended handsome winners by 29-7.

 

The Peebles squad was a little younger than their hosts and they were certainly much better drilled as befits a team which has had an outing already this season. Able to win ball at will at the lineout stand off Keith Nisbet then sent the Biggar side scuttling back in defence with a variety of kicks.

 

Biggar managed a consolation score with what turned out to be the last movement of the game, this from Nic Humphries which helped save the blushes a little. Although he did miss the relatively easy conversion…...

 

There was a good atmosphere throughout with plaudits to teenage referee Cameron Forrest who, in what is a very challenging role given the combatants - controlled things well.

 

The Peebles points were scored by Neil Cruikshanks, Mark Smith (2), Richard Johnson and Keith Nisbet (1 try and 2 conversions).


Ladies get the better of Livi Bulls

The Ladies meanwhile in what was only their second match of the season ran out winners over visitors Livi Bulls, this a combine side made up of players from Hamilton and Livingston rugby clubs.

A very encouraging and healthy 20 player squad gave lots of opportunity for coach Aird Jardine to

rest and test players. Significant performances came from the Brewster sisters (Laura and Corrie) who in what was their first appearance together ripped through the Livi side in attack and were solid in defence. There were excellent débuts from among others, newcomers Laini Howard and Tina McDonald (daughter of former player Jim and who deservedly won player of the match) and Megan McCarry.


Colts trun on the style against Currie

Friday Night Fireworks at Hartree Mill (thanks to Simon Low for this report)

Friday night saw a fund raising dinner held for MND at Hartree Mill with a 3 game extravaganza under the lights. Entering the arena first accompanied by coach John Archibald’s pyrotechnic wizardry were the Colts playing their Shogun Conference fixture against Currie. Any hopes of a fizzing derby game were extinguished early with Currie arriving with only 12 boys. Biggar handed over 3 “volunteers” and a 15 a side development game kicked off. With the points already in the bag for Biggar you could have forgiven them for taking it easy but they didn’t.

 

Four Shogun Conference débutantes took their bows for the Colts team today 2 new faces and 2 not so new. Starting were Cameron Snell making the step up from under 16’s and the returning Rowan Stewart – making a welcome comeback after injury. On the subs bench Lee Smith who unfortunately can’t make Saturday games and Guy Kelly – still able to play Colts rugby this year but fresh from playing for the Firsts against Kirkcaldy last week. Indeed there was an instant impact into the game from one of these new starters.

 

Biggar had the kick off and kicking into a deceptively strong wind, the ball did not travel 10. From the scrum restart Biggar scored the first of their 6 tries of the day. Finlay Barr who was excellent for the whole game disrupted the Currie 9 and managed to get his hands on the ball. He popped the ball to Robbie who found Rowan running onto the ball at pace. From just inside the Currie half Rowan pinned his ears back and was off. What a start for Biggar and for Rowan. 1 minute of rugby for the season and 1 try with more to come! With the aforementioned blustery win making kicking very difficult Ali Steele had a tough day on the tee but still managed to slot 3 of 6 kicks. This first one was however missed.

 

A tight game ensued Biggar backs looked very tidy and were increasing the pressure on Currie but the Malleny Park outfit were no mugs and tackled hard leading to a bit of a midfield slog. The next Biggar score was came from a good tight forward play and the backs letting loose and running hard. An initial break by Rowan saw the ball deep into the Currie 22. Great support and a quick ball out through the hands to Robbie who sped over for the score.

 

Half Time Biggar 12 – Currie 0

 

Into the second half and game management was going to be key. With the wind at their backs, exerting pressure on Currie would be key and Biggar did this well. First up with his second score of the game was Robbie Orr. A well worked Line out from the forwards got the ball going forwards. Out along the hands and the backs really taking the contact to Currie. Recycled ball back along the line to Robbie who saw a gap and went for it. He waltzed around 3 or 4 defenders to go over for the score out wide.

 

The next 2 tries were both down to excellent kicking from hand from Robbie. The first one was a long clearing kick when Currie left themselves with limited cover in behind. The ball landed inside the 22 and rolled tantalisingly into the in goal area. With Rowan sprinting to the line the Currie Full back got himself mixed up and missed the last bounce. As the ball went one way, he went another and Rowan pounced. Great score, great pressure and great determination.

 

The 5th Biggar try owed as much to great defence as to good kicking. A chip over the defensive line from the Currie 10 saw him running clear and looking as though he might go all the way. Superb back tracking from Jack Blaikhill and a really excellent cover tackle saw the Currie man caught. The ball was won by Biggar but under real pressure, Robbie sent another great kick into the Currie 22. This time saw Sam Wallis take off after it. Picked up by the Currie wing Sam made an excellent tackle and bounced straight back up to steal the ball. Great support from Finn Barr saw him get the try his overall play deserved as Sam popped the ball to him to allow the score.


Colts regain winning ways

Youth rugby: Mitsubishi Shogun Conference

'Colts grab last-gasp try for dramatic win over Hamilton'

Hamilton U18 15  Biggar Colts 18

Thrilling gladiatorial finishes like this one are impossible to resist and Biggar's last-gasp heist in their South Lanarkshire hosts back yard will reverberate for some time.

 

In truth, Hamilton must be wondering how on earth they lost the game just as much as Biggar wondered how we won it!

 

Hamilton will be gutted because the game had seemed up, a well executed penalty kick appeared to have punished the visitors for several moments of defensive naivety with three minutes left. Instead it was merely a prelude to a compelling final act that saw Charles Connolly crash over the line in the last minute to sicken the home side. This followed a perfect kick off from Ali Steele, placing the ball with real precision to see it rolling in to touch several metres from the Hamilton line, this immediately put huge pressure on the Hamilton line out, pressure that ultimately they could not handle.

 

Given that Biggar Colts have been affected by injuries and were short of a few influential players, the league's fifth-placed side deserved their first win in five games for perseverance alone.

 

Biggar got off to a flying start and showed the structured move stuff that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. Biggar expected the customary big start from the heavy Hamilton forwards, but credit to the front five of Low, Thomson, Baillie, Archibald, van Rensberg who turned the tables and dominated in the first half. Five minutes of doing the basics well led to Ali Steele going over the line using his power to take the last tackler over the line with him. The Full-back converted his own try and all was well at 7 nil.....sort of.

 

Ground conditions were wet and greasy with both sides struggling to keep the ball in hand, the proverbial bar of soap seeming to have a mind of its own. Simple hand-catch and pass skills eluded both sides for a bit although the long pass was over used when basic short slick passing would have yielded results for the Biggar three quarters with the overlap beckoning on several occasions after excellent carries by the forwards, Frame, McConkey, van Rensberg and Connolly making inroads in the close quarters contact.

 

Amongst the scrappy play it was Jack Blaikhill that nearly added to the tally when he switched on the afterburners up the left wing. The pacy back was bumped into touch 3 metres from the line after his 50 metre sprint.

 

A lot of the first-half was played in the Bulls half and Biggar competed better of late in the breakdown forcing a couple turnovers but poor decision making halted any significant progress.

 

Hamilton got their tails up though and were briefly impactful, albeit somewhat lateral, and that's what slowed the hosts down. Biggar forced the issue with a drift defence that brought about Hamilton errors, Wallis effectively shutting down the Hamilton danger man time and time again, once the defensive communication was functioning.

 

The Bulls continued with positive intent but it was mainly in the middle of the pitch. A missed long range penalty kick attempt in 23 minutes maintained Biggar's clean sheet.

 

Josh van Rensberg saw yellow for a late tackle with 6 minutes of the first half to go but the visitors held out to go into the break ahead.

 

Biggar's lead didn't last long and 2 minutes hadn't passed into the second-half when Hamilton pounced and wasted no time in reminding everyone that the hosts had strength and determination. A characteristic break by the No.10 opened up acres of space and yielded a predictable outcome. The Fly-half ran in unchallenged for a converted score, a reminder that defensive focus and intent cannot lapse at any time.

 

Biggar hit back with a pair of successful penalty kicks from Steele to bring the score to 7-13. Line speed and collective defensive effort forced errors that resulted in Hamilton conceding penalties, it is always great to see this type of offensive defence.

 

The customary massive work rate by Orr set an example to all, tackling time and time again, snubbing out threatening situations and stealing precious ball. The helter-skelter mood continued for a good while. It became a matter of waiting to see which team could retain their composure.

 

It happened to be Hamilton. They were on top and good for it. They forced a penalty and narrowly missed the kick. Biggar were going backwards.

 

Hamilton scored another try out wide and with only one point adrift at 12-13 they could smell victory.

 

Bulls kept coming at Biggar and were nearly in for the deadly score on the hour mark. A Hamilton try at that point would have destroyed the visitors. However, if there was ever a moment that in itself deserved to win a game it arrived in that 60th minute. At full tilt, Matthew Stewart sprinted across the width of the pitch following his initial tackle, tracking the slick Hamilton backs move that found the existing Biggar defence floundering. As the only player left, the inside centre broke the winger's heart, as he was probably planning his picture perfect dive in his head, by halting him merely a couple of feet from the line. Although the wing wasn't in touch, Craig Frame, who was tenacious all day, showed speed of thought and arrived early to rip the ball from the isolated back. Biggar cleared their lines and there was well deserved back slapping all round. 

 

But haud the bus.....

 

Hamilton weren't finished. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you didn't want that something horrible to happen...then it did? Well, it did!

 

Colts lost their discipline and conceded a penalty within kicking distance. Hamilton obliged and stroked it between the posts.

 

3 minutes to go, 15-13 to Bulls and to all intents and purposes the game was done. The home support went mad. And who could blame them.

 

But haud the bus......again!

 

Biggar weren't finished. Ali Steele's re-start was long and pin-point accurate. Hamilton would have to deal with a line-out on their own 5m line. The pressure showed. Line-out not straight, scrum 5 to Biggar. 1st Phase...Halted. 2nd phase.....Halted. Hamilton defended like demons. 3rd phase, a break down the blindside, a rampaging burst from Connolly, just enough to outfox the home cover....Try!

 

The away support went mad. And who could blame them.

 

A nervy last minute ensued with Hamilton piling on the pressure but Biggar held out. Final score, Hamilton 15 Biggar 18.

 

Biggar urgently needed something to brighten up their season and this game certainly did that. No-one said it was going to be easy and the boys need to realise that. Let’s not beat about the bush here, things need to improve, for their own sake,  if they want to make an impression in this league and it IS achievable. The coaches will never accept mediocrity. With that in mind players must focus on work-ons and be brutally honest about what they want to achieve. No, it's not the Pro 14 or a case of life and death. It's more than that!

 

It was a very important victory that will boost the team and is particularly pleasing to see the 15 on the pitch at the end that dragged the victory from the jaws of defeat. Well done everyone.


Kirkcaldy pack too strong for Biggar

Kirkcaldy 40 Biggar 13

With several regulars unavailable and with a number carrying knocks the League break for the Autumn internationals has come about a week too late for Biggar. It is also an indication of how small the senior squad is although very pleasingly, a side did represent the 2nds as they travelled to Musselburgh. While they too, returned defeated, there was plenty to suggest that a full, fit XV would have made it a real contest. As always all credit to those boys who managed to play and who worked so hard in the contest.

 

Biggar’s front row comprised two 18 year olds and a 22 year old while the absence of recognised ball carriers was always going to make this a really tough ask – especially against a side reknowned for having a big pack and playing almost throughout, to that strength. Biggar’s cause was not helped by inmjury during the warm up to Calum Braid, his failure to make the kick off compounded by the fact that Biggar’s bench was also deprived and therefore an even greater strain was placed on the squad of 18.

 

Having faced a well-drilled Lasswade pack last week, there was going to be no surprises at Kirkcaldys choice of tactic for this encounter, and so it proved, Biggar on the defensive for long periods of the match and, while all stuck to the task of tackle, tackle and tackle again, there was an inevitability that Biggar’s line would be breached.

 

An early penalty from Carne Green gave Biggar some hope but they were soon under the cosh as Kirkcaldy gave their visitors little respite, each and every penalty – and there were plenty awarded – seeing the Fife side kick for territory and then drive for the line. Biggar have been so much better with regard to on-field discipline this season but it all seemed to go wrong at Kirkcaldy, referee Iain Morrison finding fault on a very regular basis with penalties awarded for offside and no release. That he is the sole judge and arbiter is not in question, but there seemed far too many occasions when the 50-50 decision went to the home side. There were some questionable decisions against Kirkcaldy too however, with one penalty in particular, awarded against the home side for not retiring in time advanced at least 20 metres further up the park than it should have been!

 

After long periods of play when a side is struggling to get possession seem to be relieved by a good turnover, which is then penalised, it is hardly surprising that players get frustrated.

 

Hooker Greg Wallace was the first to cross, his angled run from some 5 metres almost impossible to halt while on a good day with the boot, fullback Finlay Smith added the conversion, this the first two points of what was to become a handsome 10 point total.

 

With just over a quarter of the match gone No8 Dayle Turner rounded off a scrummage drive to touchdown and then jastb after the half hour flanker Rhys Bonner took the Kirkcaldy try tally to 3. A half time score then of 19-3.

 

With a swirling wind which rarely gave either side a real advantage Biggar were now ‘uphill’. Guy Kelly who had engineered a couple fo great ‘steals’ at the breakdown then succumbed to another charge and was forced from the field. With the Kirkcaldy front row comprising of some real old heads – prop Mangalo weighing in at some 24 stone – it was hardly surprising that the Biggar youngesters would creak. Not that any of the side could be criticised for lack of effort, the tackle count indicative of that effort. Everyone played their part but credit to hooker Ewan Stewart who put in a huge shift, the aforemontioned Nimmo and Kelly who belied their youth, captain Alan warnock who stood strong despite a 3 week old nose break and to flanker Lewis McLachlan who made his first appearance this years and who typically ran himself into the ground with a prominent role in both attack abnd defence. The backs contributed consdierably although they were employed primarily in defence. When given the opportunity they ran some good lines and asked some questions of the Kirkcaldy defence which was pleasing to see and suggsted that with more and especially ‘go-forward’ ball, that they might have had more success.

 

Scrums were then uncontested, much to Kirkcaldy’s chagrin and while this was unfortunate and certainly not what Biggar wished, the ‘cheat’ jibes from some of the home support were equally unfortunate.

 

Cousins Conor Lavery and Gregor Stewart were introduced to the action, they replacing Aird Jardine and Kelly respectively. Uncontested scrums are not particualrly helpful to either side as although possession inevitably goes with the put in the defending sides back row are always primed and ready to pounce. This was much the case, both sides running at pace and making some big hits. The fact that Kirkcaldy possessed the much heavier pack menat that they were usually able to make inroads through Biggar’s first line of defence or at worst force Biaggr to hastily regroup. This again took its toll with wallace notching try number two within 5 minutes of the restart.

 

This was of course the 4th and bonus point try and so in a sense it was ‘job done’ for the league leaders.

 

This did seem to coincide with a much better passage of play for Biggar as they managed to retain possession over a number of phases. On a good few occasions it was only some stout Kirkcaldy defence which prevented Biggar from scoring although when a side is desperate to score, chances must be taken and Biggar, on another day, might have scored from two opportinities but passes which should have been made weren’t, while others ended in errors. This only added to the frustration.

 

Biggar vaired their attack with a selection of chips and grubbers in their attempts to breach the Kirkcaldy line but in the absence of any real ball-carryiong forwards the Kirkcaldy defence was able to string itself across the pitch. This proved pretty efective and it denied bIggar a try when they so desperately deserved a score.

 

Forced back and conceding possession, Kirkcaldy engineered a breakout and after a series of probing runs and thrusts, scrum half Gavin McKenzie burst through Biggar’s stretched defence for another try to take the Fife total to 33.

 

There were several Kirkcaldy tackles which seemed high some of which were unpunished so it was harsh to the Biggar support at least when perhaps the first such high tackle by Biggar resulted in Andrew Peacock being shown a yellow and confined to a 10 minute watching brief.

 

Unsurprsingly, Kirkcaldy added to their tally from the penalty award.

 

Now leaving nothing in the locker, Biggar opened out throwing the ball about in an attempt to break through, their reward eventually coming as Ryan Moffat crashed over for a try. With limited time remaining, Green opted for the drop goal attempt, this going wide.

 

Back on the attack after the restart, Biggar nabbed s scond score, winger aloistauir Sinclair latching on to a Green grubber kick to cross in the corner. Greens’ conversion rebounded off the upright and shortly afterwards referee Morrsion brought the contest to an end, much to the jubilation of the home side.

 

This was Biggar’s first defeat away from home! This is an astounding statistic and a really odd one at that, especially as most club’s approach is to win the home games and sneak a few away wins! It’s the opposite for Biggar in this campaign as the home record of played 5 won 2 lost 3 does not make very good reading, and especially when compared to their away record of played 5 won 4 lost 1!

 

The league now breaks for the Autumn international series. That will hopefully allow all those who are carrying knocks to recover and re-energise before the visit of West of Scotland. The Glasgow side rocked the boat a bit on Saturday when they recorded a surprise win over Dumfries.

 

With Lasswade winning Biggar drop to 5th spot, 10 points behind Kirkcaldy but just 7 from Lasswade in 2nd place. There is still everyhting to play for then and lots of good rubgy to come from this side.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, G. Kelly, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, A. Orr, L. McLachlan, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: C. Braid, K. Robison, G. Stewart, C. Lavery.

 

Post script

Among Biggar's usual travelling support were Peter and Sandy Green, parents of stand off Carne. On a holiday/business trip from New Zealand they were able to spend some time in Biggar with Carne as well as seeing some of Scotland. Steeped in rugby with the Petone club from Wellington, they were disappointed they did not see Biggar win but they enjoyed their stay in the town, leaving on Sunday for Edinburgh and then south to England to catch up with Sandy's family. Haste ye back!

 

As previously mentioned the 2nd XV succumbed to Musselburgh. In second bottom spot of National Reserve League 2, Biggar face an uphill struggle to retaining their place in this division but again there is still a lot of rugby to be played.


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