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

1sts round off in style

Biggar 55 Preston Lodge 12

Biggar brought their League campaign to a close with another comprehensive, bonus point win, to put visitors PL to the sword and give them a real fighting chance of finishing in 5th spot. In addition it looks a real possibility that the side will finish the season as top points scorers in the Division, Kirkcaldy and Hamilton with 2 games in hand (each), the only sides able to beat Biggar’s 613 point tally.

 

On what would almost equate to a ‘spring’ afternoon, Biggar began where they had left off last week at West, throwing the ball about as often as possible and running penalties whenever they could. This tactic paid dividends and had their opponents in all sorts of bother, a series of errors – something which admittedly on another day might have proved costly – preventing them from running up a cricket score, though 55 is still a handsome return.

 

As importantly was the involvement from the bench of another of this season’s Colts as the youngsters advance to the Senior match, the Stewart twins from Lanark (Lewis and Matthew) both acquitting themselves admirably and looking every inch ready for the step up. When last week’s youngsters are included it means that no fewer than 8 of the recent Colts have gained valuable 1st XV experience this season. If the club can hang onto these the guys the future is, as the saying goes, bright!

 

The lambing season had its usual effect on team selection, some players unavailable while others due to the fact that this was a home game, able to ‘escape’ the lambing paddock for the couple of hours it takes to play a match.

 

While Andrew Nimmo was one such absentee, Skipper Alan Warnock, Jamie Orr and Ross Jackson returned and they were joined in the pack by Donald Voas, the big man taking over from Dan O’Connell who, after 4 excellent years in a Biggar shirt, has retired (again). The latter’s decision to retire was perhaps something the club could have worked on but his house move to Ardrossan will make any further involvement with Biggar a real test!

 

In the backs, Conor Lavery resumed at No10 while Ryan Moffat moved back to centre from the second row – albeit for just half the match – with Aird Jardine preferred at fullback over Euan Bogle who took his place on the bench alongside the twins.

 

Conor Lavery opened the Biggar account after just 6 minutes, a nice show and go flummoxing the PL defence from close range. He added the conversion for 7-0.

 

Andrew Orr was again in the van as a ball carrier and his departure to pastures new – he studies in Stirling and is unable to commit the time to travel so will most likely ply his trade at Stirling County next season – will be a big loss.

 

Just short of the 20 minute mark and Biggar added a second try as Robbie Lavery and Rowan Stewart combined well on the left flank to create a simple score for the former. The other Lavery was wide with the conversion.

 

A marginal forward pass in the PL backs saved Biggar but shortly afterwards a penalty gave Biggar the chance to kick to the corner. A training ground move saw play taken to the PL 5 metre area and after a breenge to the line from Moffat, scrum half Luhann Kotze burrowed under the PL defence for a fine try, Lavery converting from in front of the posts for 19-0.

 

An Andrew Orr midfield surge carried on by Conor Lavery came unstuck as an offload failed to go to hand but minutes later Biggar profited from a great Jamie Orr lineout take to give the backs another tilt at the PL line. A PL interception threatened to put paid to this score but Rowan Stewart gathered to take the ball forward where he found winger Ross Bradford in support to go over for try number 4 the all important bonus point try. The conversion from Lavery put Biggar ahead at 26-0, and within sight of half time. There was still time for another however, Gregor Stewart taking the restart to set up a ruck, and with ball recycled quickly, Kotze needed no second invitation to pick and go, the youngsters sprint and then acceleration leaving the PL defence in his wake. A fourth conversion from Lavery saw Biggar clear at 33-0.

 

A Biggar try after 5 minutes of the restart, the position created by a midfield burst from Warnock was followed by a neat inside pass from stand off Lavery to the supporting Calvin Henderson which saw the prop over for his second try in as many games - trademark smile in place as he flopped over the line.

 

Unsurprisingly PL, who last week had recorded a surprise win over Peebles, came back into things after this, as they enjoyed a period of much better play which forced Biggar into defensive mode for the first time in the match. While the home side coped with this fairly well pressure eventually told and Scott King forced his way over, Guy Hillhouse converting for 38-7.

 

Biggar then rang the changes as they brought on their bench. Matthew Stewart was the first, he taking over at centre with Moffat resuming at flanker. Indeed Moffat was next on the score sheet as a result of his being closer to the action, Lavery’s conversion just drifting wide.

 

Shortly after the restart stand off conor Lavery created space for Matthew Stewart, the youngster timing his pass to the supporting centre Robbie Lavery to perfection to allow him to nab his second score of the afternoon.

 

Lewis Stewart and Euan Bogle all came into the action at this point, these lads all full of running in comparison to those filling the PL bench who looked far less eager, but given the score this is perhaps not altogether a surprise.

 

Rowan Stewart ran a great line off his wing with a juggle in the catch helping create space for the try which Bogle converted, the new start taking over the kicking duties from Lavery and then Moffat.

 

With Biggar chasing the 60 point total, PL had the last word, centre Paul Dixon making the most of a decent PL attack as referee George Pounder awarded a handful of penalties to PL. The try was unconverted and as this was the last kick of the match, Biggar were home and dry at 55-12.

 

It has been a very exciting season all told. Biggar’s ability to play attractive running rugby has been enthralling and while again on Saturday not every pass went to hand, it is encouraging to see the players try to keep the ball moving. As previously suggested this might not be the best way to play against every team and there have been occasions when the side has lost out by making unforced errors, but practice will always improve performance and so the club can look forward with much optimism to next season.

 

Biggar

D. Voas, E. Stewart, C. Henderson, A. Warnock, J. Orr, R. Jackson, G. Stewart, A. Orr, L. Kutze, C. Lavery, R. Stewart, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine. Reps: E. Bogle, L. Stewart, M. Stewart.

 

The involvement in the squad of 5 players with surname Stewart and 2 with surname Lavery will continue to make reporting and report reading a tad tricky! Apologies…...


NEWS

1sts round off in style

Biggar recorded another handsome win over visitors PL

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