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Biggar take the points at Howe

Howe of Fife 20 Biggar 24

Biggar’s second league match took them over the new Queensferry Crossing into Fife and Cupar where they met the other side relegated from National 1 last season, Howe of Fife.

 

The Fife club have not had their troubles to seek recently but will doubtless come back stronger as the season progresses. They had a useful XV who ran Biggar close with a final 10 minutes which saw Biggar man up in defence to deny their hosts anything other than a losing bonus.

 

Biggar fielded largely the same XV which had faced Hamilton last week save that the front row was swapped (Donald Voas and Callum Braid started with Dan O’Connell and Andrew Nimmo on the bench) and with Andrew Orr hooking in place of the injured Ewan Stewart. There was only one change in the backs where Aird Jardine dropped to the bench with David Paterson starting on the wing and Ross Bradford moved to fullback.

 

 

In very pleasant autumn conditions Biggar kicked off playing up the not insignificant slope. The early exchanges were relatively even with both sides conceding penalties at what appeared to be an alarming rate.

 

Howe opened their account from one such penalty but Carne Green was uncharacteristically off target with a kick which would have tied the scores, the ball bouncing off the upright but out of reach of the Biggar support.

 

On 25 minutes referee Richard downing saw fit to yellow card Howe hooker Connor Crawford for another offside, Green kicking well this time to tie the scores at 3-3. In a breakout Green then saw his grubber blocked with Howe gaining only a slight advantage which was then negated as Biggar stole possession. A great touchline step and turn of pace then saw winger Alistair Sinclair leave the Howe cover almost all in his wake bar for a flailing hand which was enough to knock him off his stride. Passing inside Davy Reive was up to carry the move forward and in truth had the scrum half gone for the corner he would surely have made it but he elected instead to feint to the supporting lock Jamie Orr. Having moved slightly away from Orr his actual pass fell tantalisingly low and Orr knocked the ball on with the line beckoning.

 

Howe it was who regained their lead, this after David Paterson was caught as he sought to run out of defence, Howe stand off Cameron Ellison the kicker.

 

Biggar had a chance to put Howe under real pressure from the restart which was dropped but the lineout peel saw the ball nudged forward in the transfer, giving Howe a let off.

 

Half timepiece then with nothing between the sides and with everything to play for. Coach Gary Mercer rang the changes in the pack as O’Connell and Nimmo came on to replace Voas and Baird.

 

It’s never good to concede a try at any point in a match but just before or just after half time can often be match winners as they tend to really punish the team which loses out. Biggar suffered this as almost directly from the restart a neat backs move saw Howe’s William Wardlaw take full advantage off a missed tackle to step through and behind the Biggar defence like the proverbial knife through butter. Having made the break he popped the ball back inside to his fellow centre Duncan McIntyre who galloped in under the posts. Ellison added the conversion and suddenly Biggar were two scores behind.

 

Gregor Stewart and Paterson were then switched for Ryan Moffat and Aird Jardine, the latter’s appearance at fullback seeing Ross Bradford move to the wing berth.

 

Just as quickly as Howe had scored so Biggar were able to reply though the try when it came was not from a normal source. Having won a penalty which Green dispatched to the corner Biggar made to catch and drive, a tactic they seldom use with any real conviction – until Saturday that is when with Douglas Notman in charge, the pack drove the Howe eight back with some ease before Notman collapsed over the line for a timely try. Green made no mistake despite the narrow angle and at 13-10 Biggar were right back in the mix.

 

A penalty shortly afterwards by Green tied the scores with a half hour at least remaining.

 

Biggar then enjoyed what was to become their best period of the match as they played the game almost solely in the Howe half, a number of probing runs ensuring the home defence was made to work really hard – which they largely did – to keep Biggar out.

 

Something though was bound to give and so it was that Green kicked again for 16-13. Just after this and following a great wee break from Sinclair ball was moved swiftly up the wing. Had the pass been given Biggar would have taken the lead but as it was the ball was gobbled up by retreating Howe man McIntyre who was able to clear the danger.

 

The score was merely delayed however, as flanker Ewan Sanderson rounded off a very enterprising passing sequence which saw ball moved quickly to beat the Howe cover. Bradford’s break paved the way but the score was made by the swift passing from Lavery and then Sinclair. Green was unable to land the conversion but at 21-13 Biggar had opens up a gap.

 

Just when it looked as though Biggar might be able to crack on so Howe came back into things a long period of play seeing the turn the tables on Biggar and force the visitors to defend. While they did so fairly well, just as Biggar scored a try so did Howe, lock forward Ryan Milne making the initial break through the Biggar defence before getting the ball inside to his supporting winger Cameron Patrick who crashed over leaving a trail of Biggar tacklers in his wake. Ellison’s conversion made it a one point match with some 12 minutes remaining.

 

The score ended the game for flanker and skipper Alan Warnock and for lock Andrew Peacock who were replaced by Stewart and Baird.

 

Biggar hit back once again virtually from the restart, Howe desperately trying to break out but being penalised as Biggar competed at the breakdown. Green struck again for 24-20.

 

Just as had been the case the previous week against Hamilton Biggar were then forced into a rearguard action as they were pushed back into their half and then their 22 as their opponents strive to get what could have been a winning try. That Biggar held out is to their real credit, played putting themselves in all sorts of positions to halt Howe’s progress.

 

Ironically the game ended as Howe conceded a penalty this after they had spent some considerable period of time on and almost over the Biggar line. Stand off Ellison and centre Wardlaw it was who conspired to ‘cross’ as Biggar prepared to tackle. There was some debate with the referee as to who to end the match but eventually Biggar kicked clear to hear the final whistle.

 

Biggar’s away form has never been all that great and for some it was almost a jinx to even talk about an away win. This was surely dispelled for this seasons as while the side were not as clinical or as effective as they had been against Hamilton the specious week, they still manges to secure the league win.

 

Coaches Mercer and Wilson were happy to take the points but were equally quick to pint out that the overall standard of play a still short of what they sought, something most of the side readily agreed with. Back to the training pitch then with another local derby to look forward to on Saturday when Peebles are the visitors.

Peebles have not enjoyed the best of starts but form goes out the window in this type of fixture and it will all be about which squad wants the win more. A feisty, competitive encounter is likely.

 

Biggar

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

 

2nds take on Marr at home

Fresh from their great win at Dundee last week the 2nds hosted Marr, one of the top sides in the Reserve League. True to form they took the game to Biggar early on, stretching the Biggar defence and making them work.

 

The final score of 28-16 was fair but nonetheless hard to take. Marr were the better side but Biggar compounded things by dropping off a few tackles and as their set piece faltered, largely due to the fact that many players are not yet 100% match ready.

 

This side will develop as the players come together on a regular basis. There were several players making their first start this season and their rustiness showed, hard though they also tried.

 

Ewan Bogle had a reasonable day with the boot.

 

A disappointing aspect of the match however was a knee injury to live wire scrum half David McArthur who damaged his already weak knee. This was rotten luck indeed and the club wishes him a speedy recovery.


NEWS

Biggar take the points at Howe

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