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

Biggar beat the snow but cannot beat Dumfries

Dumfries 22 Biggar 10

 

Biggar’s title challenge faltered on Saturday when they were defeated at The Park by a stout Dumfries squad.

 

At Hartree Mill in the first clash Biggar eschewed the 3 points offered by a penalty to tie the match, preferring instead to go for the winning try. It was anticipated then that this would be another tight contest with little or no margin for error. This indeed proved to be the case with a couple of errors at crucial times costing Biggar the win. It is far from over however as there are still 8 games remaining with a barrow load of possible pints to collect. A better result on Saturday however would have put Biggar right in the mix and to leave without any points at all is a blow. Perhaps an even grater blow however was the loss early on of prop Callum Braid with a dislocated shoulder. Given the scarcity of props in the club game across the board, his absence going forward will be significant.

 

The biggest surprise to all at Biggar was that this game went ahead at all, Lanarkshire succumbing to heavy snow throughout the week which prevented any thought of outdoor sessions and the Tuesday session in its entirety. A sharp contrast to Dumfries who amazingly escaped the worst of the weather, the snow line ending short of the town and leaving the pitch both dry and very playable.

 

Biggar fielded a similar XV to that which got the better of Peebles a fortnight ago with the unavailable Ewan Stewart the one absentee while Ross Jackson made a return to Biggar colours from Marr.

 

The game opened at breakneck speed with both sides playing an expansive game and making errors which saw play swing from end to end. Carne Green was just wide with the first scoring opportunity while Dumfries forced Biggar to concede a drop out minutes later. Some quick offensive defence from Jamie Orr and some neat footballing skills from skipper Alan Warnock took play to the Dumfries line where the width of the post protectors was all that prevented a Biggar try. Almost immediately Dumfries replied, with some great tracking by Conor Lavery and Iain Renwick combining to halt the attack. A penalty was conceded however and this was converted by centre John Carlisle to take the home side into a 3-0 lead.

 

Dumfries were keen to run from almost anywhere and they made good ground off these plays Biggar’s defence looking slightly slower than would have been preferred and a blindside break gave stand off Jordan Kerr a chance which he took to cross for a good try which Carlisle converted for 10-0.

 

Kerr was unlucky shortly after the restart when he just failed to collect a chip ahead which would have given him a clear run in.

 

Biggar then lost the services of Braid who was, as usual, putting in some great tackles whilst also carrying well. Gregor Stewart came on as replacement while Andrew Peacock deputised at prop and from the next scrum Biggar mounted an attack from their own 22 with Conor Lavery taking Green’s pass out wide. His run created space and his pass to Ross Bradford saw the winger make good ground before freeing Robbie Lavery for a run to the line and try which Green converted for 10-7.

 

The topsy-turvy nature of the match continued with both sides contributing to what was an entertaining match. Biggar’s rhythm was further disrupted by an ankle injury to Green which saw him replaced albeit only temporarily by Aird Jardine. Ryan Moffat took a long pot at goal from a penalty but this fell short.

 

Another chip and chase saw Renwick back again to save the day while a driven line by Biggar in the Dumfries 22 came to nought as the pack split and Dumfries forced the scrum. Another Biggar attack ended with a crossing offence and then the final minutes of the half saw Biggar forced into defensive mode as Dumfries put together a sustained attacking phase. It was very definitely a case of all hands to the pumps and it is to Biggar’s credit, although few will see it a positive given the final result, that they held their line intact, this down to some sterling work from among others Davy Reive and Euan Sanderson. A timely interception by Bradford put paid to the Dumfries efforts and while there were still some nervous moments before half time, Biggar were in the game at 10-7.

 

A good positive start saw Biggar earn a penalty which Green kicked to equalise the scores and a second award might have given the visitors the lead but this was just pulled wide.

 

Dumfries escaped further punishment when an offside allowed them to clear when under pressure and in fact had Biggar managed another score of any type at this point things might have been very different.

 

Moffat gave way to Jardine this seeing Conor Lavery team up with Robbie Lavery (no relation!) in the centre. Dumfries continued to press although again Biggar’s defence held up well. A continuing factor however was the several unforced errors – from both sides – which broke attacking plays up, balls dropped or passes mistimed which on other occasions might well have seen scores. Biggar suffered somewhat from their flat alignment as referee Clark pinged them for a number of forward passes, this of course all down to angles. There have been many pro games when such passes have gone unpunished but Biggar did suffer!

 

A passage of play similar to that enjoyed by Dumfries at the end of the first half then ensued, Biggar under the cosh somewhat and conceding penalties as they defended desperately. Biggar then lost Peacock to injury, this leading to uncontested scrums, a repeat of the match at Hartree. Callum Dunlop replaced the luckless Peacock. Alistair Sinclair also took to the field at this point to replace Bradford.

 

Able to take a pick up from a steady scrum Dumfries exploited the blind side and in the melee which followed referee Clark awarded the home side a score which although not converted gave then the lead to 15-10.

 

Restarting well Biggar earned a penalty which was advanced as Dumfries made an ill-advised comment. The kick to touch saw Warnock take well and initiate a line drive but this was held up and ball was moved to the backs - Lavery's long pass to Renwick adjudged to have been forward.

 

Biggar remained on the attack and another neat break from green saw him pop ball to Stewart who in turn off-loaded to Orr who crossed for what would have been a cracking score, save that the penultimate pass was again deemed to have been forward.

 

A Dumfries break out and a an error gave the home side good field position. As the game wore on it became increasingly obvious that Biggar’s lack of bulk was having an effect, the Dumfries squad while not necessarily taller of stature, clearly heavier and giving them an advantage in the contact, their forwards able to make yards before being brought down whereas Biggar’s efforts were gaining far less yardage.

 

Exerting further pressure from a series of pick and go’s it was almost inevitable that despite their best efforts Biggar’s line would be breached and so it proved, the 3rd Dumfries try when converted putting them clear at 22-10.

 

Despite their best efforts which saw Biggar encamped in the Dumfries 22 for much of the remaining 5 minutes as they chased the elusive losing bonus point, the home defence stood firm and as a turnover was won there was much joy in the Dumfries camp as referee Clark brought proceedings to a close.

 

There was considerable disappointment felt amongst the Biggar squad. The Park has never been a particularly profitable hunting ground for Biggar and so it proved again on Saturday, this the sides first visit on league duty for several years. But Biggar now have a home game to look forward to as GHK travel to Hartree. This will be third fixture between the sides this season, Biggar winning the league match but coming second to the Glasgow side in the Cup.

 

 

Biggar

C. Braid, A. Orr, C. Henderson, J. Orr, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson, D. Reive, C. Green, I. Renwick, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, C. Lavery Reps: C. Dunlop, G. Stewart, A. Jardine, A. Sinclair.

 

The weather put paid to all other Biggar rugby at the weekend. Hopes are that the snow will have cleared by Saturday to allow play this coming weekend. Players of all ages are keen to get back into action!


U14’s in the Capital

Under 14 Friendly

Heriots 27points v Biggar 20 points.

 

“Never give up and never give in” is certainly the moto of this group of boys. This Biggar team are an excellent team who might not be the biggest in size but they certainly have the biggest hearts.

 

Biggar travelled to Heriots after the festive break knowing they would have to put in a good performance against a Heriots team who would take them to their limits due to their advantage of most of them being trained most days at school. Heriots contained few older players with 1 notable being over 6 feet tall and certainly would not look out of place in a Colts team.

 

However what Heriots were about to find out was this is a talented Biggar team and they are hard to beat as they never give up.

 

Biggar held firmly with some great tackling but Heriots used their big players well who exploited gaps early on to go 3 tries in front. At this time, the tackling was being done by the usual few.

 

Biggar knew they just had to fill these gaps more and this they did and then started their own attacking from deep with both Ben McBride and Morris McDiarmid scoring excellent individual tries to narrow the deficit to 2 points. Biggar then before half time went ahead after Nathan Balkwill took a pass at speed from 5 metres out to crash over for a well deserved try.

 

Half time – Biggar up by 2 points.

 

The confidence this bunch of boys have was clearly seen at the start of the 2nd half. They knew that their tackling was stopping Heriots launch their attacks especially Rory Hill and Tom Roper in the forwards along with the midfield backs of Morris McDiarmid , Lewis Robertson and Alexander Walpole. From the start Biggar put the ball out to Lewis Robertson who showed tremendous speed to further put the boys ahead. Speed of Lewis and Ben is a massive asset for the team.

 

Biggar were now in full control and a break by Biggar from their own half and with quick hands the final pass was put to Ben McBride to run in from 40 yards.

 

However, Heriots were not finished and started to put their forwards to good use by dominating at the ruck and breakdown and therefore starving Biggar of any ball. Then their backs continually showed clean hands passing to their winger who was quick enough to go around the Biggar defence to score 3 tries. Unfortunately, 2 of these tries should not have been allowed and it was the Heriots coaches who made these comments before the Biggar coaches could grumble.

 

Heriots scored 1 more final try to win this game but it was a great game between 2 very talented teams played in the best way.


 

Scorers

Ben McBride - 2 tries

Lewis Robertson– 1 try

Morris McDiarmid – 1 try

Nathan Balkwill – 1 try

Finlay Crozier converted all 5 conversions. Some were from far out and what a difference for the team when you have a kicker of Finlay’s ability.


Colts win in local derby against Peebles

The Colts meanwhile travelled to take on near neighbours Peebles, their aim clearly to replicate the 1st XV who manged a rare win at The Gytes last weekend. Thanks to Alistair Stewart (Lanark) for this report.

 

Peebles Colts  14   Biggar Colts  48

A friendly match to warm-up for the forthcoming regional cup competition was the order of the day and it was hard to know what to expect from this local derby really following an indifferent run-out against Dunfermline last week. However , Biggar have clearly adapted their game to cope with both the predictable and unpredictable might and aggression that is the Shogun Conference. 

 

It was the Black and Red exposing the hosts to a style of rugby that perhaps they were unfamiliar with showing an intensity that lasted the full 70 minutes. That said, Peebles' two scores opened Biggar up as they exploited some brief slack defence and who's to say it wouldn't have been more were it not for a wayward pass or two.

 

Biggar's first of eight tries saw Robbie Orr perform daylight robbery on the Peebles 22m. The steal on 4 minutes caught Peebles on the back foot and Orr picking up the first of his hat-trick. Steele added the extras.

 

A textbook line-out drive led to the second 3 minutes later. Kotze collected out the back just before the line and nipped through the Peebles cover to touch down.

 

Peebles mounted an attack and got one back in 14 minutes.

 

With the Line-out drive working well early on the Colts managed a carbon copy following a fine push up the left wing. Charles Connolly the recipient this time bagging Biggar's third.

 

On 21 minutes Orr put a penalty into the corner, the line-out was secured and Craig Frame got on the back of an irresistible maul to get on the score sheet.

 

The forwards were all working well with Connolly catching the eye at his bulldozing best to bring the half-tine score to 26-7 to Biggar.

 

It was clear at the start of the second half that Biggar thought they had it 'in the bag' but pay attention Colts, your hosts just kicked you in the pants for showing complacency. Peebles were well worth their converted try just after the restart and were showing signs of ascendency.

 

Biggar Colts got back on track though and Orr picked up his second with a quick tap penalty on the Peebles 22m and his trademark kick over the defence was collected well. Steele again striking well for the conversion.

 

Matthew Stewart swatted a couple of defenders away in the 46th minute before running in from 30 metres to take things out of reach for the Borders side.

 

The ever present Luhann Kotze helped himself to his second in 58 minutes and Orr collected the match ball for his hat-trick with 2 minutes to play.

 

Verdict: A comfortable display with Biggar showing good discipline, line speed and gain-line success. Yes, the older boys had to use their bucket and spades a couple of times to get out of the occasional hole but all-in-all a fine team performance. The 1st year Colts made their presence felt and you could sense a more motivated and confident approach.

 

A reasonably well executed defensive display was also encouraging to watch. 

 

The whole package underlines how competitive Biggar Colts can be.

 

Next weeks opponents, Ardrossan Accies,  are a somewhat unknown quantity but if Biggar Colts focus on team adhesion, spirit and cement a winning mentality it should be a fine encounter. 

 

Tries: Robbie Orr (3), Luhann Kotze (2), Charles Connolly, Craig Frame, Matthew Stewart.

Conv: Ali Steele (4)


2nds record great win over Selkirk

Biggar 19 Selkirk 7

With no 1st XV match the Hartree spotlight fell on the 2nds who, in hosting Selkirk, were opening their account for 2018 and playing just their 8th competitive fixture this season.

 

In the end the win was deserved and proved to be vital for the squad as they seek to climb out of bottom place and fend off relegation. The next few weeks will also be cricual to their survival and all are asked to make themsleves available in the quest for points.

 

There were several quality performances with lock Callum Dunlop, stand off James Barr and centres Stuart Alder and Rowan Stewart all catching the eye. The last named made his senior home debut and took the field alongside brother Gregor for the first time – a memorable occasion for both.

 

First and foremost however, this was a great team peformance and in defeating the Border outfit who are in 4th spot in the league, the result gives a clear indication – if there were any lingering doubts - of the potential in the squad.

 

James Barr with a bullocking burst through the Border defence opend Biggar’s account in the first half – Ewan Bogle kicking the conversion for 7-0.

 

After the break, Dunlop and then towards the death, Alder, both benfited from some indecision in the Selkirk ranks to claim excellent tries.

 

Well done to all concerned!

 

Many thanks to Grounds Convenor Hugh Barr for his hospitality prior to the match, this to celebrate his 60th birthday! Many happy returns Hugh!


Colts struggle at Dunfermline

The Colts travelled with a scratch squad to Dunfermline on Saturday, a whole batch of players unavailable as the festive period comes to an end. In a tough match against a competent Fife XV Biggar lost out by 40-15.


Biggar edge out in Peebles derby

Peebles 10 Biggar 15

 

This first match of 2018 may have lacked a similar high score to the encounter between the same two teams back in September (Peebles won that one by 33-30) but it had everything else which marks a memorable local derby – one red card, three yellow cards, and a 10 minute long nail-biting finish as both teams strove to win the match.

 

Neither side was under-strength going into the match but equally neither side was as well prepared as they would have wished as the poor weather prior to Christmas prevented proper training while the excesses of the festive period were visible for all to see! Unusually prolific handling errors, slack lineout play and tired legs showed through for both sides but this did lead to an enthralling contest.

 

That Biggar won was down to a really determined second half display when it was a case of all hands to the pumps, players pushing themselves to get to the contact to halt the Peebles attacks but as keen to take ball on when in possession. This of course was all the more important given that Biggar had eschewed at least two first half scores and conceded a somewhat soft try as the first half dragged on seemingly well over the allotted 40 minutes.

 

In bitterly cols conditions this was an exciting match and with after the two games honours were even with still everything to play for, Biggar jumping into 3rd spot with Peebles just two places behind.

 

Biggar were able to select from a full squad, the festive break allowing players with niggling injuries to get rest. There were changes to the starting line up however, backs Iain Renwick and Conor Lavery preferred to Alistair Sinclair and Aird Jardine at wing and full-back respectively. Up front things were on generally similar lines although with front row cover down to a bare minimum.

 

The match started at a cracking pace as Biggar set the tone for much of the first period, enjoying most of the territory and possession but unable to crack the Peebles defence.

 

The Peebles pack had the ascendancy in the tight scrum, Biggar conceding penalty after penalty as referee found fault with the angle of push and/or binding. As is often the case with decisions in and around the scrum it is very difficult to determine who was guilty of what but Biggar suffered badly in this area.

 

Lineouts were also a bit of a lottery as the whole shebang – recognising codes, the throw, timing lifting and jumping - all depend on much more regular practice than has been available of late. There were squint throws, handling errors and mis-directed tap-downs a-plenty but again this all added to the contest.

 

Biggar had the first real scoring chance as a lineout drive which was more akin to a runaway train took play to just 5 minutes short, Peebles penalised for taking the maul down. Unfortunately the lineout drive saw Biggar knock-on and the resultant scrum penalty allowed Peebles to clear.

 

A breenge by lock Arnoldas Patskocimas took Peebles into the Biggar half for the first time but this attack was foiled as Peebles were penalised for a high tackle.

 

A head knock deprived the home side of flanker Thomas Jeffrey while Biggar stand off Carne Green kicked Biggar into an excellent attacking position just short of the Peebles line. A lineout error prevented the attack from being converted into points, the resultant scrum penalty allowing Peebles stand off Greg Raeburn to kick clear.

 

Just prior to the half hour mark Biggar had the best chances of a score. A penalty award saw Green push the ball wide but shortly afterwards a neat pass from the stand off put Ewan Stewart into a perfect gap, the hooker galloping clear of the Peebles defence for some 30 metres. When tackled he found Davy Reive in support. With the line in his sights Reive made the right decision to pass to supporting lock Jamie Orr but the pass was a tad too short and Peebles escaped punishment.

 

With further errors it looked as though the half might end scoreless but the home side was in a different mindset and they pummelled the Biggar line, only stout defence keeping the line intact. A priceless turnover seemed to have done the trick but it brought a lineout rather than the anticipated half time. Indeed there was time for not only the lineout but another penalty to the corner this eventually bringing a timely score for scrum half Anderson and the home side which when converted by Raeburn gave them a 7-0 lead going into the break.

 

Biggar made one change at the break Andrew Peacock making way for Stevie Campbell.

 

A sound take at the restart from skipper Alan Warnock promised better but a turnover in midfield from a dropped pass gave Peebles the ideal attacking opportunity which they took to again test the Biggar defence. A series of penalties came from the scrum and then the scrum reset, Biggar support fearful that another such award would see the home side gain a penalty try and potentially a yellow card for persistent infringement. And then a mighty Biggar scrum and some great yards from flanker Andrew Orr relieved the pressure and gave Biggar some respite.

 

Minutes later and after another breakout Biggar opened their account. A lung-bursting breenge – one of many from among others flankers Orr and Euan Sanderson and prop Callum Braid – saw ball moved from Reive to Green. His pass went to Robbie Lavery who drew his man before passing to Jamie Orr. The lock passed to Ryan Moffat and then to to winger Ross Bradford who touched down – Green just off target with the conversion but his side were now back in the game.

 

In what was now a see-saw match play moved from end to end as both sides strove to get a score and a hold on the match.

 

Conor Lavery made several telling breaks but to no avail while crucial turnovers were engineered to ease pressure and gain ball from which to attack.

 

For their part Peebles threatened every time they got hands on the ball although they seemed less keen to play a wide game, preferring instead to keep play in the middle channels.

 

With another 10 minutes or so gone and as the game entered its final quarter Biggar struck again. A mazy run by Green created the attacking position and forced Peebles to concede a lineout close to their line. Biggar’s initial attack was thwarted but Reive popped the ball to centre Moffat whose crash ball effort from some 5 metres out proved unstoppable. Green’s conversion took Biggar ahead for the first time at 12-7.

 

Just 3 minutes later and as is often their wont Biggar conceded a score after their own, Raeburn kicking one of the few kick-able chances for 12-10. With around 10 minutes remaining the scene was set as the game was a one-score contest.

 

As players tired changes were made, Moffat giving way to Gregor Stewart with Lavery struggling with cramp. And then as the minutes ticked by a penalty to Biggar kicked by Green to open up the gap to 5 once more (15-10).

 

The last minutes were frenetic to say the least. Peebles came back strongly to launch wave after wave on the Biggar line, forcing Biggar into a stout rear-guard action. There were inevitable errors and Biggar lost Euan Sanderson to a yellow as he interfered with one Peebles attack. As this card was being brandished a typical pile up continued and as tension was keen and tempers high a stramash broke out. This upshot saw Biggar’s Robbie Lavery shown a yellow but worse for Peebles as prop William Napier was shown a red for a punch.

 

The penalty tap saw further drama as the Peebles pack launched themselves once more into Biggar’s defence. Douglas Voas was the next to try to break through but as ball came back centre Brown put a kick through and behind the Biggar line, winger Stoddart getting the touchdown, Cue Peebles celebrations – albeit that these were short-lived as Stoddart was rightly penalised for being off-side, Biggar gaining a relieving penalty to touch.

 

This relief was also short-lived as Peebles were awarded another penalty which again they opted to tap and go. Their charges were met with some great offensive defence but able to retain possession this assault lasted for some 13 phases with the 13th being the unlucky one and ending with a knock-on which brought the game to its close – players from both sides flopping to the ground in a mixture of fatigue and euphoria/fatigue and disappointment.

 

Biggar

C. Braid, E. Stewart, C. Henderson, J. Orr, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, C. Braid, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Reive, C. Green, I. Renwick, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, C. Lavery Reps: S. Campbell, G. Stewart, A. Jardine, A. Sinclair.

 

Biggar have another blank weekend coming up as the scheduled fixture was against Aberdeenshire who have withdrawn from the League. This means that they will have a couple of weeks to prepare for yet another big test, an away fixture to second top Dumfries who proved to be a real handful when they travelled to Hartree Mill last autumn.

 

The 2nds who were without a fixture on Saturday as Gala have withdrawn from the Reserve League entertain Selkirk this Saturday (KO 2pm). Their season has been stop start from day 1 but there is the prospect of a run of matches coming up and all available are asked to make themselves available for these matches.


NEWS

Biggar beat the snow but cannot beat Dumfries

In one of the few matches to beat the snow Biggar lost out to Dumfries.

more

U14’s in the Capital

A defeat but a promising performance

more

Colts win in local derby against Peebles

The Colts made it a Biggar 'double' with win at Peebles

more

2nds record great win over Selkirk

An entertaining contest saw the 2nds grab a good win.

more

Colts struggle at Dunfermline

A tough start to 2018 for the Colts

more

Biggar edge out in Peebles derby

A rare win at The Gytes

more

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