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

Biggar swamp West

Biggar 62 West of Scotland 10

Biggar swarmed over a weakened West on Saturday to record 60+ points for the 3rd time this League campaign, albeit that in the wake of Aberdeenshire dropping out of the League, only two of these are still recorded.

 

A half time score of 31-5 was then doubled for the final tally, and this with at least another 4 scores having gone a-begging as balls were dropped when players were in scoring positions.

 

It was a hard day for the Glasgow side and there was some sympathy for at least two of their number, Angus Thomson and Andrew Goodall, both hailing from Biggar and both contributing manfully in what was a torrid afternoon for those in the red and yellow colours.

 

This win lifts Biggar to 4th spot in the League although as Hamilton who are in 6th spot have a game in hand and one they would expect to win as it is against bottom of the table Whitecraigs, they would jump ahead of Biggar.

 

But, and it is a BIG but, this Saturday’s match sees the two Lanarkshire sides pitted against each other at Laigh Bent in the first match of the return fixtures and so, the winner – whoever that is - will gain a big advantage over the other. Biggar recorded an excellent 24-17 home win in that first encounter and their away form has been very good with only one defeat and that to league leaders Kirkcaldy. Hamilton meanwhile, who have improved greatly since that opening match, lost out at home to Kirkcaldy on Saturday, and so the match is set up perfectly for a great contest.

 

Biggar were back to full strength following the autumn international break with all those who had been carrying injuries recovered to take their place, the one exception being Douglas Notman who was still injured following the GHK Cup match. His replacement was No8 Stevie Campbell who had been missing following an ankle injury sustained several weeks ago but who was fit for action once again. Prop Callum Braid switched from his usual berth to back row while fit-again Jamie Orr partnered skipper Alan Warnock at lock.

 

The hard frost of Wednesday and Thursday which had led to the cancellation of the Ladies game against Currie on Friday night had relented sufficiently by Saturday and while the pitch wasn’t playable at the time of the 10am pitch inspection, there was sufficient ‘warmth’ in the air to suggest that things would be fine for the 2pm kick off. Referee Morrison took a little time before he was completely satisfied that play should go ahead but happily he gave the thumbs up and play got under way.

 

West had a marginally better record going into this match having most recently accounted for Dumfries while Biggar with 0 from 3 were desperately looking for what this season is a rare home win.

 

Playing away from the clubhouse Biggar opened their account with a penalty from Carne Green after just 2 minutes. This set the tone for the much of the rest of the match, Biggar enjoying a barrow-load of possession and territory and exerting much pressure on the visitors. In the first quarter Biggar scored tries from Ewan Stewart (the hooker rounding off a sparkling move begun deep in the Biggar half) and Callum Braid (this a terrific pick and go from some 10metres), both converted by Green who had a faultless display with the boot to claim a personal haul of 22 points.

 

Aside from the restarts after Biggar scores, almost 20 minutes had elapsed before West managed to get the ball into the Biggar 22.

 

With pressure maintained Biggar also had their fair share of good fortune, a West grubber kick in attack being blocked by Green and seeing the ball hacked forward by Bradford. The winger almost made the line, but was held short, Green’s clear out spawning ball for Warnock who crossed for try number 3.

 

A brilliant combination of support and good passing between Green and Euan Sanderson should have seen the latter claim Biggar’s 4th try but the ball just eluded the flanker with the line in his sights.

 

West hit back following a Green clearance and an opportune step by fullback Mark Sim who saw a gap on the wing. He burst past Alistair Sinclair and although the winger got back to make the tackle Sim scored the try.

 

This try heralded a slightly better phase for West who saw more of the ball as Biggar struggled to maintain their earlier control. The Biggar pack enjoyed the better of the tight scrum exchanges while the lineout continued to stutter – neither side able to take quality ball from this set piece.

 

Biggar’s aggressive defence and abrasive loose play was a feature of the game, this a most welcome sight after the most recent matches when Biggar have come off second best to for example Kirkcaldy and GHK. Campbell and Braid were to the fore in this respect although all played their part, Andrew Nimmo and Sanderson others to consistently make yards.

 

With half time approaching Biggar needed another score and this they duly got, Jardine taking ball on the West 22 before stepping his way through the cover to cross under the posts for the all-important bonus point try which was then converted by Green.

 

The kick off took play back to the Biggar half but an electric breakout started by Sanderson saw play quickly transferred the length of the pitch. Bradford was taken high and from the resultant kick to touch lineout ball won by Sanderson paved the way for Nimmo to make a charge for the line. West’s Thomson made the tackle and while Nimmo was over the line the ball was held up and referee Morrison brought play to a halt.

 

With injuries besetting the West pack the decision was taken to make scrums uncontested. This was unfortunate as Biggar had been in the ascendancy in this area but Biggar had found themselves in a similar position against Kirkcaldy and there is sometimes no option. As it was Biggar had an early opportunity to add to their tally a great breakout off a weak West clearance seeing play swept upfield via Robbie Lavery, Braid and Ryan Moffat. Nimmo took the ball on further and found Sanderson with the offload. The flanker looked to be home and dry but a fortuitous tap tackle put him to the ground with the ball squirting frustratingly from his grasp.

 

The position was maintained however as Campbell charged down the West clearance. A second attempt got to touch but Euan Bogle (who had replaced Sinclair at the break) took a quick lineout, and with ball advanced further to towards the West 22, Moffat popped the ball to Bradford who stepped his way to the West line. Green’s conversion took the Biggar total to 38-5.

 

As had been the case before half time, West claimed a try, this initiated from a well-controlled driven line out. Ball was passed right and then back left and Thomson all but made the line before stand off Fisken picked to cross at the corner.

 

Back on the attack West escaped as a pass to Bogle was deemed to have been forward but another phase saw West infringe and with the penalty advantage, Green dropped a neat goal from some 30 metres to take Biggar’s total to 41.

 

Lavery was the next to rue a dropped ball, he latching onto – almost – a kick ahead by Green which had it stuck would have seen the centre over for a try.

 

Looking to run the ball from everywhere and anywhere and enjoying the opportunity to do so – clearly a spin off from how Scotland played against Australia - some excellent interplay between Peacock, Reive, Warnock and Nimmo saw the latter cross from 10 metres despite the attentions of the cover defence.

 

Green added the conversion to this and then to a score from Andrew Orr who managed to retain possession in a maul which was on the line before spinning free to dive over under the posts. Having taken the restart Biggar mounted another attack immediately, Andrew Peacock who had previously replaced Orr at lock, setting off upfield for some 20 metres before feeding Sanderson. The flanker then passed inside to Ewan Stewart who sprinted clear for his second try.

 

Green’s 22 point tally took him beyond the 100 point mark for Biggar this season – well done to him for that but well done to the squad as the sides Points Differential at 109 is now the best in the Division!

 

All in all a great performance from the 19 involved. West were clearly not at their best however and the test to be posed by Hamilton on Saturday will require another step up in terms of ball security and offensive defence. That said it was great to see the team running and passing and making good ground as well.

 

Man of the match was deservedly awarded to Ewan Sanderson who put in a power of work in both attack and in defence although he was one of several who could also have taken the honours.

 

Biggar

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

 

Another blank weekend for the 2nd XV who will surely get back to the pitch and some long awaited action on Saturday when they host Dundee High.


NEWS

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