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

Biggar suffer agony of last minute defeat in local derby

Biggar 30 Peebles 33

A rugby match lasts some 80 minutes plus stoppage time and it was deep into this stoppage time that Peebles scored their 5th try to take the lead for the first time and deny Biggar what had looked to most to be a relatively straightforward win. That Peebles were beaten the previous week by Kirkcaldy in what amounted to very similar circumstances was not lost on the Peebles support who were understandably cock-a-hoop at their win, the first of this campaign.

 

The mood in the Biggar camp was very different of course with a combination of frustration, disbelief and anger that they had coughed up the game in such a dramatic manner. With 10 minutes remaining and at 30-19 ahead it looked as though Biggar would take the points and deny their rivals that first elusive win but in the end instead of claiming what would have been a priceless 3 from 3 record Biggar could only salvage a losing bonus as Peebles claimed a valuable 5 pointer.

 

Form is absolutely no guide in a local derby and so it proved as Biggar failed to put the game away, their control of play which had given them a 24-19 half time lead evaporating after the break as Peebles took great pleasure in capitalising on an unusually profligate defence.

 

Ewan Stewart made a return to the starting XV this to the exclusion of Andrew Peacock although the tireless lock did break his nose against Howe. In the backs Stuart Hull was preferred to Gregor Stewart while Aird Jardine was at fullback with Ross Bradford moving back to the wing for David Paterson.

 

Early exchanges were even with Biggar pinning Peebles back with a variety of kicks until Biggar enjoyed a prolonged period of pressure in the Peebles 22 with a total of 13 phases resulting in a try for Andrew Orr, the back row/hooker diving over from close range. The lead up was a great passage of play with Biggar pounding at the Peebles defence after Bradford had made the first clean line break of the day. Peebles held out well but eventually play was taken to the line and Orr broke clear. Carne Green added the conversion.

 

A neat re-start from Greg Raeburn – this a feature of this contest – gave Peebles possession and while the crowd had had to wait 13 minutes for the first score, the second came just 2 minutes later. Peebles hit up via flanker Euan Jackson and then Raeburn popped a neat ball to Murray Brown who split the Biggar defence before feeding Ruaridh Clinch who coasted over for a try converted by Raeburn to level the scores.

 

A neat break by hooker Ryan Stewart might have come to more save for a timely tackle by Biggar skipper Ewan Sanderson and then a dropped pass while another Peebles sortie into the Biggar 22 saw Jardine plunder another loose pass with Greene able to clear the danger as Peebles were penalised for not releasing.

 

Biggar hit back from the lineout to this penalty with a sweeping passing movement sending Bradford on another long run, this play ending as Ewan Stewart lost possession in the contact but on the opposite wing, ball being moved easily from side to side.

 

Not to be outdone Biggar maintained the field position and with another series of tilts at the line with Robbie Lavery, Andrew Orr, Greene and Jardine all to the fore ball was moved left to Bradford who crashed over from short range for Biggar’s second, again converted by Green for 14-7.

 

In very similar fashion and incredibly frustrating for the sizeable support Biggar ceded possession from the restart and with No 8 Andrew Muir bursting through the middle, Biggar were penalised for playing the ball on the ground. Replacement scrum half Ruairdh Britton (Donald Anderson had left the field with a damaged shoulder) took a quick tap penalty to put Biggar on the back foot. His pass to Brown split the retreating defence and he crossed for a try which Raeburn converted to level the scores once again, this time at 14-14.

 

With 10 minutes remaining Biggar took the lead again with a Green penalty awarded after Muir was penalised for not rolling away and then after a play begun deep in the Biggar half saw ball moved wide again this time via Green, Gregor Stewart (who had just replaced the injured Hull) and Notman to Lavery. The centre made ground before freeing winger Bradford, these two then combining cleverly to draw and pass, Bradford rounding off the move with his second try which Green converted to open up a gap at 24-14.

 

Had Biggar managed to see the half out at this point things would surely have turned out very differently but Peebles had very different ideas and capitalised on some weak defence which allowed them to score again, Raeburn missing the conversion but Peebles were now back within one score of Biggar at 24-19.

 

Turning round to play towards the clubhouse Biggar changed their front row with Donald Voas and O’Connell replaced by Andrew Nimmo and Callum Braid. The home side might have expected to take control of proceedings in this half but while they played well in patches they opted to kick and give Peebles ball, the visitors taking great delight in running this back into contact. There were several handling errors which saw attacks break down, both sides undoubtedly feeling the pressure of this derby match. Green kicked two penalties to put Biggar into what should have been a commanding lead at 30-19, a third attempt awarded when he was taken out after a kick ahead and which saw Peebles Roddy Guiney issued with a yellow card, was pushed wide.

 

Crucially Biggar were unable to increase their lead while Peebles were a man down, the visitors doing much to frustrate Biggar although the home side lost out by losing possession at crucial times both in open and tight play.

 

For their part Peebles were content to keep Biggar at bay, neither side really threatening the line. As the minutes ticked by it looked as though there might not be any further scoring, Biggar one try away from a 4-try bonus but unable to turn what little territorial advantage they had into points.

 

With a half hour gone things began to change as Peebles seemed to up the tempo, running penalties to open the Biggar defence. A Biggar penalty should have eased things but a squint throw from the resultant lineout gave Peebles possession and they continued to play in the Biggar half. A Biggar error then gave Peebles another attacking opportunity which they took Stoddart scoring his second, Raeburn converting to put them within one score at 30-26.

 

Almost immediately from the restart Biggar lost the services of Jamie Orr who was shown yellow for a tip tackle. Down to 14 the pressure was all on Biggar. Unfortunately while the Biggar defence has until this game been fairly secure it could not contain Peebles who used the full period of added time to steal the match, Callum Anderson plunging over from close range after a series of penalties and plays in the Biggar 22.

 

Raeburns conversion was immaterial but he was successful, referee George Pounder bringing proceedings to a close.

 

While Peebles rightly celebrated, frustration, disbelief and anger were as previously suggested the prevalent emotions in the Biggar camp. A 3 from 3 unbeaten run would have been a dream start to this league campaign and although a win at Aberdeenshire would see Biggar 3 from 4, which would still be an excellent return, ‘Shire has not been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent years!

 

A tough week ahead on the training paddock!

 

Biggar

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

 

Biggar’s 2nd XV were left without a match after Gala called off their Friday evening contest as they were unable to field a side. This is very frustrating but symptomatic of the problems clubs face in fielding second XV’s.


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Biggar suffer agony of last minute defeat in local derby

After being ahead for all bar 5 secs of this match, Biggar suffer first League defeat.

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