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

1sts XV lose for the first time

Biggar 7 Peebles 10

Any record has to be broken at some point and while on paper at least Biggar should have been able to extend theit winning run to 11, Peebles, as befits local derby opposition, were always going to provide a very stern challenge to the table-toppers. And so, as Saturday’s game wore on and with Biggar just holding on to a slender 7-0 lead, thoughts turned back to the same game last season when, with some 15 minutes to go and well ahead, Biggar contrived to lose the match with a careless attention to protecting a lead.

 

That Peebles eventually won on Saturday, courtesy of a penalty try and a penalty to a converted try equates to as big a boost for the Border side as it is a disappointment for all at Hartree Mill. A very frugal defence as the ‘points against’ column shows, combined with a much greater ability to break the line than their opponents, have been the hallmarks of each Biggar performance to date this season and on balance this was probably the case against Peebles. That Peebles rarely threatened the Biggar line is confirmation of Biggar’s defensive strength while Biggar made several cutting line breaks and crossed the Peebles line twice (one disallowed try) and came close on at least another 3 occasions. However the Border side were a better organised unit than Biggar have faced recently and with their forwards largely dictating play in the set piece, this put real pressure on the Biggar side, which inevitably cut their attacking options down and limited their attacking threat. The old adage about not being allowed to play largely sums up Biggar’s day; denied quality ball from the set piece and yielding possession from lineout and scrum put pressure on everything else. Biggar also made a host of uncharacteristic errors although perhaps these were as a result of the increased pressure exerted by Peebles than to any lack of focus or concentration.

 

The upshot is that Biggar, having played virtually 11 games without ever having been behind on points, at any stage in any of the previous games, ceded their unbeaten record. This in turn means that their lead at the top of National 2 has been cut to just 4 points. Next up is another home game (against Dumfries) with Stewarts Melville (A), Howe (H) and Falkirk (A) all lying in wait before the Christmas break. An exciting time awaits….

 

With both Davy Reive and Alan Warnock unavailable and Matthew Stewart injured Biggar made a few changes to the starting line up for this clash. In the backs Iain Renwick resumed at scrum half, Gregor Stewart took Matthew Stewarts place at centre alongside Robbie Lavery which allowed Robbie Orr to operate at fullback. In the pack, Ross Jackson returned at No 8 which allowed Jamie Orr to resume his partnership with Andrew Peacock at lock.

 

As a demonstration of respect for Rememberance weekend, both teams, and the Colts prior to their match with Highland later in the afternoon, observed a minutes silence. A defeat in a rugby match, regardless of how ‘important’ that match is deemed to be, is hardly comparable to the sacrifices made by those who are remembered at this time each year and therefore any frustration felt at defeat is put firmly into perspective.

 

Peebles, as anticipated, came out of the traps at full pace and Biggar, on the back foot and in defensive mode from the start, conceded a couple of penalties. The first attempt after just 3 minutes was pulled left by Mrray Brown while thereafter the preffered option was to kick to the corner for a lineout and attempted driving maul. Biggar’s defence held firm however and as they countered Peebles were then made to defend their own line as Biggar had some success via attacking play from their three quarters.

 

Biggar’s cause was then upset somewhat by an injury to lock Peacock who twisted an ankle, his replacment being Zander Lyon.

 

A second Peebles penalty was also missed. After the half hour mark another good Biggar attack, when ball was transferred at pace and which took play into the Peebles 22 earned a penalty but Conor Lavery had similar luck to the Peebles kicker and pulled the kick wide.

 

An offside at the drop out – an offence which is rarely punished – allowed Biggar to retain territory and it was as Biggar attacked that Peebles No 8 Richard Harrison was shown the games first yellow after a reckless shoulder charge to Lavery.

 

In what was virtually the very next attacking move, referee Sam O’Neill then brandished his yellow card again, this time to Harrisons brother Jack, the Peebles scrum half, who had provided a withering assessment on the officials decision making.

 

Down to 13 men – not it has to be said an unusual position for Peebles this season and therefore a situation the side is almost accustomed to – Biggar had to take advantage of the disparity in numbers. A cross kick in their nest attack yielded little but a counter attack from Bradford, this after a comical collison with his team mate Robbie Orr which sent both sprawling on the turf, took play back to the Peebles 22. Ball moved left found the Peebles defence up to the mark but when ball was switched back to the right Robbie Lavery cleverly created space to draw two defenders before sliipping the ball to the supporting Donald Voas who ran in almost unopposed. Conor Lavery added the conversion to make the score 7-0.

 

There was time for the restart and as Biggar transgressed at scrum time, this a first penalty of what was to become many, Peebles were offered another kicking opportunity. This kick hit the post padding and was gathered up by Robbie Orr who then dispatched the ball to touch for half time.

 

Playing now towards the clubhouse Biggar had hoped to kick on but from the outset Peebles adopted a pick and drive ploy which was effective in retasining possessiona nd in gaining ground.

 

In addition Peebles regained full strength with the return of the Harrison brothers. If Biggar attacked the rush defence employed by the visitors continued to frustrate the Biggar attack, forcing rushed passes and the occasional error.

 

One attackm almost yielded a try as Gegor stewart chipped neatly over the Peebles defence for his brother rowan to run on to. Stopped just inches short by the Peebles cover in the sahpe of Jackm Harrison and Donald Anderson. Able to retain possession Biggar should probably have scored but for the stoic Peebles cover defence.

 

Biggar thern made a couple of changes, Ryan Moffat replacing Gregor Stewart while in the pack Lewis Stewart came on for Ewan Stewart, Chris Mulligan moving to hook.

 

A second missed penalty from Lavery would have given the home side a bit of additional breathing space but the ball was pulled left of the posts. A similar award shortly afterwards saw Biggar kick to the corner but in an off day on the touchline athe tail throw was lost and Peebles escaped.

 

Peebles then lost their 3rd player to the sin bin this for a neck roll.

 

A succesful lineout from this penalty saw ball moved left and Robbir Orr make a neat break before off-loading to winger Rowan Stewart who crossed in the corner much to the delight of the Biggar support. This was short-lived however as referee O’Neill deemed the pass to have been forward.

 

Minutes later and the winger was again in the action, ross Jackson havuing won a turnover in midfield. Donald Voas – whose brother Douglas was in the Peebles XV – fed Stewart whose progress weas halted by a flying tackle from Jack Harrison. This and the follow through did niot find favour with the Biggar side and a brawl developed although it was a pull me-push you struggle before order was regained, Biggar penalised, apparently for the involvement of the bench in the fracas.

 

Having crept into the Biggar half Peebles were then awarded a scrum penalty. A second award gave them good field position before a 3rd penalty award was tapped quickly, catching the Biggar defence off guard. Playing the man before the requisite 10m had been made saw Jamie Orr shown a yellow and so it was Biggar who found themselves a man down.. The damage to the Biggar scrum was considerable and at the scrum restart Peebles drove Biggar back over their line, referee O’Neill having no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. 7-7 with just barely 10 minutes remaining.

 

As the minutes ticked by there was a certain inevitability about the outcome. True to type a Peebles kick saw play moved to the Biggar 22. Having the put in would usually see Biggar take and clear, but Peebles instead gained a scrum put in from a squint throw. This is just what Biggar did not want and predictably Peebles were awarded another scrum penalty from which Greg Raeburn stepped up to kick the winning points. While there was time for the restart this was kicked dead, and despite Jamie Orr returning yet another scrum penalty saw the visitors able to kick to touch to end the match.

 

A tough one to take given the hitherto quality of play the Biggar squad has displayed to date. Peeble’s league position belies their ability of that there is no doubt and it is likely they will climb up the table as the season progresses – particularly if they can reduce the yellow card count.

 

Biggar are still top of the table but have as previously noted some massive contests to come. Dumfries are up first and they are still smarting from their opening defeat so its very much game on!

 

Biggar

R. Orr, R. Bradford, R. Lavery, G. Stewart, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, I. Renwick, D. Voas, E. Stewart, F. Carossi, J. Orr, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson

Reps: Z. Lyon, R. Moffat, J. Barr, L. Stewart

 

The 2nd XV were deprived of their match when kelso pulled out citing lack of available players to travel.


NEWS

1sts XV lose for the first time

Peebles spoil Biggar party

more

December 2018
S M T W T F S
25 26 27 28 29 30 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
web design by Environ-IT