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

Biggar triumph at Accies

Biggar 26 Glasgow Accies 10

Having won 16 of their matches this season and facing a side with just 5 wins the pre-match form suggetsed that Biggar should find this latest match against Glasgow Accies relatively straightforward.

 

That they did not was due in part to some uncharacteristic handling errors from Biggar but principally due to an excellent defensive display by the home side. Biggar’s defence has been excellent all this season but they found the Accies effort every bit as frugal, with good organisation allied to commitment restricting Biggar to a tight fought away win.

 

Having said that, the Biggar support is now accustomed to watching a free-flowing Biggar and this no doubt increased the frustration from those on the touchline. This, combined with a couple of ‘tight’ calls which could on another day have gone another way, meant that Biggar had to wait until the last quarter before they were secure with the win and the 4-try bonus.

 

Biggar fielded much the same XV as had travelled to Highland last week with both the very happy ‘new dads’, Alan Warnock and Conor Lavery, playing.

 

Alan of course came back into the side, Jamie Orr moving to the back row to cover for Chris Mulligan who moved to hooker as Euan Stewart was still suffering for the blow sustained last week.

 

Andrew Peacock and Declan Dinnen swapped roles the latter starting with Peacock on the bench.

 

In the backs, Davy Reive was also injured so his place went to Robbie Lavery while Rowan Stewart started at centre with Euan Bogle on the wing.

 

Conditions on the way to Glasgow were very poor with relentless rain falling but happily the Accies pitch remained in excellent condition, especially when the rain stopped just after the match kicked off.

 

An early passage of play saw Biggar camped on the Accies line. A break to the line by Bogle almost resulted in a try but the cover defence was across in the nick of time to barge him into touch. With field position retained a thundering charge by Matthew Stewart made good yards and ended the game for an Accies prop who made a brave tackle before going off with a damaged arm. Pressure continued and, as has been his way of late, Conor Lavery glided through the Accies defence to score the opening try. Matthew Stewart’s conversion took the score to 7-0 with just 5 minutes or so on the clock.

 

Undeterred the home side opened up strongly off the restart with their backs using the ball well and their pace and angled runs putting Biggar under a good deal of pressure. Biggar meanwhile created some great field positions only to see ball lost in contact, this again down to poor ball protection but also to the quality of the home defence.

 

The game at this stage was pretty scrappy with neither side able to get control of proceedings. Biggar’s lineout which had yielded little ball in Highland was back on song with Warnock, Orr and Sanderson all taking good ball on their put in and nipping a few of Accies to boot although they weren’t always able to capitalise on this possession.

 

In what was virtually their first visit to the Biggar 22, Accies struck, a nicely angled run catching the Biggar defence flat-footed and seeing winger Chris Woods cross in the corner, although the Biggar cover defence did everything they could to get the player into touch. The conversion was short but at 7-5 it was game on.

 

Coming back in reply Ross Bradford and Rowan Stewart made some good yards before Orr gained a good field possession with a neat kick to the corner. A squint throw gave Biggar a scrum and with a surge to the line from the scrum it appeared that Euan Sanderson had got the touchdown but the referee was unsighted and therefore unable to award the score.

 

With a half hour gone Biggar engineered a try for winger Bradford. Ball from the scrum was moved to the blindside and following a searing break by Orr which took play from Biggar’s 10m line to Accies 22, the fullback popped the ball to Bradford who made short work of the space to cross for a try converted by Stewart for 14-5.

 

Try as they did and despite several further promising positions Biggar were unable to add to their tally and so half time came with Biggar ahead.

 

A huge defensive set of plays at the start of the second half was applauded by the large Biggar support and this must have set Accies back as they were cut down and driven back as quickly as they were able to go forward. Donald Voas, Mulligan, Sanderson and Dinnen were all to the fore in this area.

 

A few minutes later and Orr latched onto a kick ahead by Conor Lavery and seemed to gain a touchdown but again the referee signalled for a knock on and it was chalked off.

 

Biggar continued to put pressure on their hosts but they couldn’t get a try as Accies worked hard to break the Biggar attacks down. In attack Biggar were also a little guilty of trying to force things, some over-amibitious, wide and hurried passes putting the receiver under pressure. It was from one such pass that Accies nabbed their second try, centre Gregor McEwan picking up a loose pass from Lavery to Stewart to romp home from some 60 metres. Again however, and crucially, there was no conversion but Biggar’s lead was cut to 14-10.

 

Biggar made several changes around this time, Carrossi being replaced by Guy Kelly, Dinnen by Peacock and then shortly afterwards, Matthew Stewart by Iain Renwick. This last change saw Renwick take over at 9, Robbie Lavery moving to centre.

 

Biggar enjoyed a good deal of territorial pressure at this stage and there were some better examples of players making better decisions allowing play to continue. Eventually normal service was resumed as Biggar put their hosts under real pressure via a series of plays with Voas, Kelly, Jackson and Robbie Orr all handling well in the Accies 22. A pick and go from Conor Lavery created some space and his offload found Warnock in support, the lock spinning out of a couple of tackles to crash over for Biggar’s 3rd score. With Matthew Stewart off, Euan Bogle added the conversion for 21-10.

 

Bonus points have been a fairly regular occurrence this season and this match was no exception although it took the side a whole lot longer to claim it.

 

A sustained period of pressure which saw runner after runner ensured that Accies were restricted to defensive chores in their own 22. A series of pick and goes and some darting runs by among others Renwick and Bradford took play to within a couple of metres, Ryan Moffat, who had only recently come onto the pitch, picking up and diving over for try No 4. Bogle was just wide with the conversion.

 

There was still some time left to add to the tally but aside from a particularly silky interchange of passes between Conor Lavery, Peacock and Renwick this last few minutes passed largely without incident. Accies, to their credit, continued to play an open game making a couple of forays over half way but either through errors or Biggar’s defence they yielded possession with Biggar’s kick chase then forcing them to build again from deep.

 

The final whistle came with Biggar taking the win by 26-10. donald Voas deservedly won the man-of-the-match award. This win takes Biggar one step closer to a promotion place. Defeats to Highland and Stewarts Melville were the best possible results from a Biggar point of view with only Highland and Dumfries now able to catch Biggar; and to do that Biggar would have to lose all their 4 remaining matches while their opponents would need to win all theirs by 5-point bonus winning scores. It IS still mathematically possible however and until it is firmly beyond doubt, Biggar will focus only on the next game ahead. This game is against Lasswade at home but because of the 6-Nations break this is not until the 2nd of March.

 

The interim period will be spent on recovery for those struggling with injury and with some mid-season/pre-season work. To date there is a match on Friday 8th against Selkirk although the coaches would like another game at some point to retain match fitness.

 

There were contrasting sides to Saturdays match - a downside and an upside – which created very different emotions for all involved.

 

The negative down side was when some touchline ‘banter’ was taken beyond what is acceptable and this resulted in the Accies touchjudge being unfairly castigated and provoked a reaction which was as unfortunate as the initial exchange. Biggar has a fantastic touchline support, regularly out-numbering that of the opposition (in many cases away from home as well as at home) which the Accies President remarked favourably upon post match. Supporters are reminded however that while they are encouraged to cheer and support the team, officials are carrying out a difficult task on a voluntary basis and should be allowed to do so without being subjected to any form of verbal abuse.

 

The much more positive upside to the match was that two of the starting XV, Alan Warnock and Conor Lavery, both scored tries. This was an ideal scenario as they had both become first time fathers midweek! What a way to celebrate, although I’m certain both will find another arguably better opportunity to celebrate again but with a drink (or two), rather than a rugby ball in their hand!

 

Biggar

R. Orr, R. Bradford, M. Stewart, R. Stewart, E. Bogle, C. Lavery, R. Lavery, D. Voas, C. Mulligan, F. Carossi, D. Dinnen, A. Warnock, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson.

Reps: G. Kelly, A. Peacock, R. Moffat, I. Renwick

 

The 2nd XV entertained Dundee on saturday, going down ina tight match by 8-3. In a season virtually bereft of yellow cards Biggar were shown 3 on saturday, making their task doubly hard. This was an unfortuante result as it puts Biggar a little closer to the bottom 3 places than is comfy. There are games to play however but biggar need a couple fo wisn to ensure they are not still in the mix at the bottom come the end of the season.


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