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

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.


NEWS

Colts regain winning ways

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