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

Biggar open with win

Dumfries 5 Biggar 17

This match won’t be remembered as the prettiest spectacle but it was a typically hard-fought and robust contest which had the crowd enthralled until the final whistle.

 

Games between the two clubs are always tough matches and with Dumfries winning the two encounters last year and on home turf there was an expectation that Biggar would be in for a real test regardless of their resounding win at the Moffat 10’s which was never going to provide any real pointers as to the result in a full XV-a-side contest.

 

That Biggar ultimately triumphed by 2 tries to 1 was probably a fair result given the territory and possession they enjoyed. Dumfries meanwhile, will doubtless rue the fact that they allowed themselves to become increasingly unsettled by referee Mr Ian Morrisson. Careless penalties conceded and back chat cost them dearly, none more significantly than in the second half and with some 10 minutes remaining when a penalty was advanced 10m forward giving Biggar’s Conor Lavery a much easier pot at goal. The successful kick put Biggar ahead by 2 scores at 17-5 (the final score).

 

Biggar made several changes in the pack for this match with Andrew Nimmo, Ewan Stewart (for their first starts this season) and Chris Milligan all featuring. The latter’s performance, in what was his first senior game for Biggar after 6 years at Heriots, was an all action affair and earned him the Man of the Match award - though there were several other worthy contenders in what was a good all round team performance.

 

The match began at a helter-skelter pace and one which hardly let up all half. Errors there were a-plenty, as both sides were slow to get to grips with the ball, players running the ball from all parts of the pitch which certainly added to the excitement! Both sides tackled fiercely, with defences generally on top and giving little away.

 

A passage of pressure in the Dumfries 22 was the precursor to Biggar’s opening try, Lavery moving right off ruck ball and finding Rowan Stewart with a deft pop pass, the winger cruising through the defence for the touchdown. Lavery added the conversion for 7-0.

 

Further pressure saw Biggar attack deep into the Dumfries 22 but a succession of errors in transfer combined with some resolute defence meant that Biggar were unable to add to their tally. Ironically it was from another period of pressure, when Biggar disrupted the Dumfries scrum, that led to the home sides score. In trouble as the scrum was shunted backwards, and following a tackle by Biggar skipper Euan Sanderson play seemed to have halted with ‘ball held up’. Referee Morrison allowed play to continue however and Dumfries 9 Jack Johnstone put in a relieiving kick up the middle of the pitch. Biggar fullback Iain Renwick was just short in his chase to catch the ball, the bounce taking the ball over his head and into the path of the Dumfries breakout. It was then a race to the line, the whole length of the pitch and while Biggar chased well, none more so than Robbie Lavery, the home side got their try. The conversion was missed however and so Biggar still held a slight lead at 7-5.

 

The half ebbed and flowed with Biggar certainly enjoying the bulk of the territorial advantage but unable to add to their tally, again errors stemming the attack. Another scrum in the Dumfries 22 saw the home side breakout again, Biggar’s Robbie Lavery and Renwick again to the fore in defence to stop the immediate breakout and while Dumfries took play into the Biggar 22 they probably should have done better, Biggar able to escape without further punishment.

 

The last part of the first half was a scrappy affair as all seemed to lose shape, ball lost in contact and passes not as accurate.

 

Penalties were exchanged although none were within kicking range until Lavery was just wide with an attempt with just a few minutes of the half remaining.

 

The half ended with what appeared to be a penalty award but instead of allowing play to continue half time was signalled. The second half started with a yellow card to Biggar’s lock Franco Carossi and a penalty to Dumfries.

 

A man down meant Biggar’s scrum was under pressure and Dumfries worked hard to get into the match but again the Biggar defence held firm.

 

Lavery had a great break from his own half into the Dunfries 22 but scrum pressure allowed Dumfries to clear. That Dumfries were unable to score in this period was significant as Biggar with the wind behind them had an advantge that they now pressed home.

 

Lavery made good ground with a variety of kicks to pin Dumfries back and good pressure meant that the Dumfries defence was tested to the max. A chip to the wing from Gregor Stewart saw a chase to the line which had there been a TMO could easily have seen Biggar get a try as James Barr and then Matthew Stewart seemed to have got the crucial touchdown but it was a call that only a TMO could have made and so Biggar had to be content with a 5m scrum. Dumfries engineered another breakout from this position but again a lost ball allowed Biggar to escape and regain territory.

 

Barr was on the end fo what was deemed to have been a forward pass while Reive, Conor Lavery and Sanderson were all held up short. The decisive score came at the beginning of the 4th quarter ball moved left seeing Barr take Gregor Stewart’s well-timed pass to cross untouched in the corner. Despite the acute angle Lavery added the conversion to make the score 14-5.

 

A penalty award to Biggar after Dumfries centre Michael Yates was shown yellow for a late hiton Moffat took play into the Dumfries half where another penalty and then back chat advanced play forward for lavery to kick the lasy points of the match and give Biggar what was a commanding lead.

 

Supporters will remember last season when on at elast 3 oaccsions Biggar managed to squander winning positions but not this time round and the visitors took the honours, Dumfries denied even a losing bonus.

 

The error count will disappoint the coaches from both teams and certainly neither sdie will escape as lightly in other matches but Biggar will take heart from the win with the team effort a very pleasing aspect of the game.

 

Stewarts Melville are next up, this a home game and which sees the city side making a first visit to Hartree Mill for some 4 seasons. Therwe will be plenty for the coachuing team to work on but with a few players still to make their first appearances there is now real competition for places across all positions. The availability of Andrew Nimmo and Chris Milligan will undoubtedly have an impact as will the injuries highlighted.

 

The injury count continues to creep up with Barr, Rowan Stewart and Ross Bradford all picking up knocks which will test the club’s strength in depth.

Biggar

I renwick, R. Bradford, M. Stewart, G. Stewart, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, F. Maggiolo, A. Peacock, F. Carossi, C. Milligan, E. Sanderson (c), R. Jackson.

Reps: D. Voas, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, J. Barr


NEWS

Biggar open with win

A great start!

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