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

Biggar take on Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton

With the league season resuming and with 3 sides in action on Saturday, Biggar RFC were delighted to record 3 important wins: 2 against local rivals Hamilton at 1st XV and Colts XV level and the 3rd an excellent 2nd XV away win at Dundee High! Great start….

 

Sunday provided another great set of results with all sides performing particularly well.

 

In fact from 9 starts Biggar recorded 8 wins.

 

Biggar 24 Hamilton 17

Biggar kicked off their League season with a testing encounter against Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton, a side which romped through Nat 2 two seasons ago but who were relegated last season.

 

The Hartree Mill grounds were looking their best in the late summer sun and with the pre-season displays still fresh in the memory, Biggar opened up strongly. They met a resolute Hamilton defence, however a penalty award saw stand off Carne Green kick for a 3-0 lead.

 

Biggar’s pack featured a real mix of youth and experience and demonstrated that they would make things really difficult for their visitors both in the tight exchanges and in the loose. Props Andrew Nimmo and Dan O’Connell were hitting up well, supported by the back row of Ewan Sanderson, Andrew Orr and Douglas Notman. Unfortunately hooker Ewan Stewart was forced off early on, this necessitating a switch for Orr to the front row and giving Jamie Orr his first outing this season.

 

The pack paved the way for the backs to attack off go-forward ball which they enjoyed.

 

Hamilton should have equalised from a penalty kicked by full back Alan Wilson but he did convert a try scored by Inglis, the winger able to round off a passage of play which saw a couple of Biggar errors allow the Hamilton side to gain ground. The conversion took Hamilton into a 7-3 lead, this just past the half hour mark.

 

A fairly frantic period of play ensued within the Hamilton 22 and this should have seen Biggar score bar for an infringement of a ‘new’ rule in that the hooker must hook the ball. With their scrum under the cosh this free kick gave Hamilton some relief, or at least it should have but in an attempt to run ball out of defence play moved across the width of the pitch before Notman managed to disrupt ball at the ruck base sufficiently to allow winger Ross Bradford a chance to poach a try.

 

A well struck conversion from Green put Biggar ahead by 10-7.

 

Biggar’s defence was efficient, their use of the choke tackle meaning that Hamilton were held up and conceded possession a feature of the afternoon. Hamilton were not to be put off however and a neat passage of play which saw ball shifted wide and then back inside allowed Wilson a tilt at the line. He was unable to convert, the score now 12-10 to Hamilton.

 

Biggar then hit back with two quick fire scores. Orr and Bradford were making good ground when they got the ball and this and Green’s intelligent kicking kept Hamilton pinned in their half. An attacking play with ball passed to Gregor Stewart saw the young centre shape to pass left before switching the ball back inside to Robbie Lavery who was running a good line. His off-load was taken by Orr who in turn popped the ball to Davy Reive, the scrum half needing a telescopic arm to reach out for a fine score which Green converted for 17-12.

 

Directly from the restart a kick ahead by Green saw Hamilton try once more to run the ball out of defence. An inside pass was well read by Stewart who started off for the line. The cover defence was good but the youngster made an ‘out the back’ backhand pass to Reive who linked with Orr, the flanker crashing over despite the attentions of two Hamilton tacklers for another try – his 6th of the season to date.

 

Green’s conversion took Biggar into a half time lead of 24-12.

 

That Biggar failed to increase their total after the break is a frustration. Chances they had although neither side could really break their opponents defence down sufficiently to get in behind and score. Hamilton did manage a score, this from Wilson who was able to profit from a neat break and pass by stand off Stuart Whitelaw, which Wilson again converted.

 

Biggar made some decent breaks with replacement prop Donald Voas in the van on a couple of occasions and with a neat kick ahead almost spawning a try bar fro some last ditch Hamilton scrambling defence.

 

In year gone by however, Biggar would have struggled to see the game out and may well have cracked under the pressure. With Green orchestrating things behind the scrum however, and with the pack carrying ball tirelessly and working together in defence, Hamilton were thwarted and their efforts were generally cross pitch.

 

There were some really big efforts made by the whole squad, second row work horses of Jamie Orr and Andrew Peacock and Alan Warnock being noteworthy. Prop O’Connell received the man-of-the-match nod however, this after another workmanlike performance in all areas.

 

Great work too from Aird Jardine who was fielded at fullback, winger Alistair Sinclair who had a quieter day than of late and the bench of Stuart Hull and Ryan Moffat.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, A. Warnock, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Notman, , D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: D. Voas, J. Orr, R. Moffat, S. Hull

 

The win is a positive step but one which will require to be repeated this Saturday when the team travel to take on the other side relegated last season, Howe of Fife.

 

The 2nds travelled to Dundee on Saturday. There were some 38 senior players training on Thursday evening but the selection for this 2nd team was still a struggle as contractors and unavailability meant the side was still in doubt until Saturday.

 

That the boys returned with a win is all the better then and a massive pat on the back to all involved, no more so than to ‘retired’ Neil Wolfendene who played a stormer and managed to score a try to boot! Big pluesses agai however in the play of those fresh out of Colts. No fewer than 6 played and all were extremely positve in their approach showing maturity beyond their years - particularly in defence. There were some nice efforts in attack as well however with all trying to keep the ball available.

 

Commiserations to StevenCampbell and Craig McDonald who both picked up injuries. It is to be hoped they are not out of the game for long.

 

There was a classic twist to this match. The 2nds in similar fashion to the 1sts had managed to stretch ahead to 28-15. Dundee were not out of things however and they came back into the game with two tries, the last of which, had it been converted would have given them a one point win. Happily, from a Biggar point of view at least, the kick went wide and Biggar clung on to their win.

 

Biggar’s win came courtesy of tries from James Barr, Wolfendene and Stuart Alder while Euan Bogle (1 conversion, 2 penalties) and Craig McDonald (1 conversion, 1 penalty) shared the kicking duties.

 

Alder’s try which saw the centre involved twice is already – and after just one game and one week of the season – being talked up as the try of the season!

 

Of interest was the selection for Dundee 1sts of ex-Biggar Colt Rory McGinn at stand off with brother Danny on the bench. On the pitch adjacent to where the 2nds played the boys helped their new club to a good 33-0 win over Falkirk.

 

And to think there are another two Biggar youngsters headed to Dundee to study this session…..


NEWS

Biggar take on Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton

Biggar nabbed the winning points to regain bragging rights in Lanarkshire derby

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