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

Biggar push Kirkcaldy all the way.

Biggar 10 Kirkcaldy 13

Saturday had everything…...a packed clubhouse for Ladies Day, freezing ‘spring’ conditions including snow, the attendance of two of Biggar’s greatest ‘imports’ in Quintan Sanft (Kirkcaldy coach) and Tony Walker (visitor), a debut try from Colt scrum half Luhann Kutze (he just one of 4 teenagers in the Biggar ranks with 8 of the 18 man squad under 23), and a really strong 1st XV performance against league leaders Kirkcaldy. Finally however, and arguably the best news of all, came with the news that Dundee 2nd XV lost out to Marr meaning that Biggar’s 2nd XV will retain their National Reserve League 2 status for next season!!

 

On the day the 2nds lost out to a strong Musselburgh outfit but there were another handful of Colts making the step up into the senior game and all acquitted themselves admirably, this a very real boost for the future.

 

Kirkcaldy came to Biggar with a fairly formidable record having lost just twice this season (to Lasswade and Dumfries) while their 40-13 win over Biggar back in October is still the club’s biggest defeat of this league campaign and one of only two defeats from which Biggar have failed to collect a losing bonus (the other was against Dumfries).

 

Possessing a massive pack the Fife outfit have a very tight, some would say limited game plan, playing to their strengths with picking and driving, a tactic, which when allied to their strong scrummage, has steamrollered opponents off the park throughout this campaign.

 

There was a certain inevitability about the outcome therefore, although Biggar were well aware that a win would make the Kirkcaldy ‘run in’ as they sought the league title ever so slightly more fraught.

 

Biggar welcomed Colt Luhann Kutze to their side, the youngster having had age group experience with the Glasgow Academy and unlucky not to have been included in the Scotland U18 squad currently in Wales for the inaugural U18 6 Nations festival. That the youngster performed exceptionally well is not in doubt, early pre-match nerves invisible once the action started. A debut try in the second half was just reward for his efforts.

 

In addition and due to the unavailability of Conor Lavery and Aird Jardine Biggar fielded Iain Renwick at stand off, he the third player to fulfil that role in as many games. Gregor Stewart returned to the back row where he joined Andrew Nimmo and Ross Jackson, Andrew Orr fielded at hooker in place of the injured Ewan Stewart.

 

The backs, other than those changes already noted were the same as last week.

 

In blustery, cold conditions Biggar kicked off with the elements in their favour but found the visitors in determined mood attacking with some conviction. This set the scene for much of the match, Kirkcaldy running hard, short lines and meeting a very resolute Biggar defence with all contributing to the cause.

 

An initial Kirkcaldy thrust was halted with a thumping tackle from Renwick which was enough to create a turnover just metres from the Biggar line while another break from flanker Rory Brown which took him some 30 metres to within 5 of the Biggar line saw lock Connor Wood put under pressure by Nimmo and drop the ball with the line well within reach.

 

Biggar’s plan was to run ball back at the heavier Kirkcaldy pack and this they managed with some neat touches from forwards and backs alike as they strove to break free form the Kirkcaldy grip.

 

Ross Bradford made good yards while Ryan Moffat and Robbie Lavery, prompted by the quick fire service of Kutze and Renwick also made good ground. In the pack, all played their role well, Orr and Ross Jackson leading the way with some forceful carries although a piece of back-chat by Orr ended in him receiving a yellow card. This necessitated a switch in the pack to accommodate the lack of their first choice hooker, Donald Voas coming on to the front row at the expense of Gregor Stewart who sat the next 10 minutes out.

 

Good ground from Rowan Stewart and Jackson from a couple of Biggar penalties might have promised more bar for the Kirkcaldy cover which snuffed these out, the first score coming shortly afterwards and on the 25 minute mark, just a couple of minutes before the return of Orr from the sin bin. Having managed to hold the initial Kirkcaldy scrums Biggar faltered on their own ball – the only occasion in the match that this happened - and the Fifers took full advantage to pick and go, taking play in to the Biggar 22. Another ruck and the ball was spun to their right where they had a huge overlap. Two transfers and fullback Finlay Smith was set free to dive over in the corner. He was unable to add the conversion but the visitors took a 5-0 lead.

 

Kirkcaldy ran hard again on the restart but a couple of priceless turnovers by Biggar and another great break by Jackson pinned the Fifers in their own half. This field position was held for another salvo before Bogle elected to go for goal from a penalty, his kick spot on to open Biggar’s account.

 

The half ended with the Fife side again on the attack but meeting solid defence, the Biggar pack again holding up the attack and gaining the referee’s favour as he awarded a Biggar scrum from the maul.

 

Half time then with Biggar turning round to face the breeze, the 5-3 scoreline a decent return for their efforts, the only try coming when Biggar were short-handed. Dan O’Connell made way for Voas.

 

Biggar opened really strongly, some great carries by the Orr’s, Calvin Henderson and others taking play into the Kirkcaldy 22 where an offload by Moffat was snaffled by the Kirkcaldy cover. Shortly afterwards when Kirkcaldy coughed up possession a tap penalty was taken and advanced by Kutze and Renwick. Should the penalty have been kicked, always an easy decision with hindsight but even against the wind, the kick might have seen Biggar take the lead.

 

Another couple of Biggar errors led to successive turnovers, this giving Kirkcaldy a bit of relief.

 

A really harsh penalty against Kutze was advanced a further 10 metres as Biggar sought to unwisely question the decision, this giving Kirkcaldy an ideal attacking platform from which they took to drive the Biggar side deep into their own 22. Some massive defensive efforts kept the Fife side out however Henderson able to win a great turnover after a series of attacking phases.

 

Biggar engineered a breakout from a penalty and with Nimmo making good yards ball was transferred on the blindside to Lavery who ghosted through the initial defence to set up an overlap with Kutze and Rowan Stewart open for the pass. Kutze took the ball to sprint over for a great score and one which, following Bogle’s conversion took Biggar into the lead at 10-5.

 

Sadly the lead did not last long as the Fife pack took control again, play quickly returned to the Biggar 22 where a series of drives eventually paid off, flanker Brown getting the touchdown despite some really excellent defence from all the boys in black.

 

The conversion drifted wide and so at 10-10 the game was really finely balanced. That Biggar could not get the all important winning score was as much to do with a number of handling errors as it was to the Kirkcaldy side’s play. On several plays in promising attacking and threatening positions Biggar’s efforts ended as they contrived to lose control of the ball via knock-ons and or dropped balls.

 

With some 5 minutes remaining Kirkcaldy got their chance a penalty awarded as Biggar held on in the tackle seeing Smith take a pot at goal. His kick split the posts and Kirkcaldy were 13-10 ahead.

 

The restart saw a massive collision between the two Kirkcaldy receivers which fortunately did not result in any serious injury, Biggar gaining the scrum put in but again although yards were won the position was lost as ball possession was lost.

 

This game was another which just got away. Biggar had ample possession and territory to win the contest and they certainly gave the league leaders a massive shock. Another losing bonus was all that Biggar could garner from the huge effort they made.

 

Many congratulations to all 18 Biggar players involved in this match. No one took a step backwards and all will bear the bruises to show for that.

 

Sport is often about small margins and this was never nearer the truth than on Saturday.

 

The side has two games left, the first this weekend against West (away) and then the last against Preston Lodge (home) on April 14th. Two wins would be a fitting way to finish.

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, A. Orr, C. Henderson, J. Orr, A. Warnock, A. Nimmo, G. Stewart, R. Jackson, L. Kutze, I. Renwick, G. Stewart, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, E. Bogle Reps: D. Voas, G. Hamilton, C. Muir

 

The 2nd XV were beaten in what was their final league match of this season but with Dundee’s defeat came the news that Biggar can finish no lower then 2nd bottom and with Gala’s earlier withdrawal from the league only one team will be relegated, this dubious honour going to Boroughmuir 3rds (at the moment).


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Biggar push Kirkcaldy all the way.

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