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…...


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).


Lasswade defeat

Lasswade 24 Biggar 20

With 4 games remaining Biggar were keen to finish on a high with a series of good performances which would cement a 5th place finish.

 

Try as they did however they could not quite get the better of Lasswade who, courtesy of 3 second half tries, took the honours on Saturday.

 

In typically breezy conditions Biggar’s half time lead of 10-0 was not enough although a mix up which gave the home side a gift of a try within the first minute of the restart was one of a few unforced errors which would cost the side dear.

 

While the pack was on familiar lines the back division showed a few changes with Iain Renwick at scrum half for the injured Davy Reive, Aird Jardine back in at No 10 in place of the unavailable Conor Lavery and Gregor Stewart on the wing – the third starting position the youngster has filled this season, this due to the unavailability of wingers Alistair Sinclair and Rowan Stewart (playing with the Colts).

 

It was also good to see Douglas Notman return for a stint on the bench alongside Andrew Nimmo who has been out of the side for some time due to injury. Donald Voas was also due to be on the bench but an accident travelling to the game meant that he was unable to make the game.

 

Playing with the wind Biggar had to have the better of the first half and this they largely did, some resolute defence preventing Lasswade from scoring while a series of decisions, which could as easily been awarded to Lasswade, went their way. Biggar’s cause was not helped by an injury to flanker Euan Sanderson, this a recurrence of a shoulder injury sustained earlier in the season and one which flared up after a typically brave defensive tackle. Notman, who has played only a couple of matches since before Christmas could hardly have expected (or wished!?) to be called into action as early although he lasted the pace pretty well despite his lack of match fitness.

 

The scoring was opened with Ross Bradford making the most of a great break by Ross Jackson whose run took him through and round the ‘Wade defence, a suspicion of a knock-on being missed by referee George Pounder, but not by the ‘Wade support or players – their belief that the game would be stopped proving fatal, as play continued, allowing Jackson to make many yards deep into the home 22 before freeing Bradford for a run to the line.

 

Ewan Bogle added the conversion for 7-0.

 

Just 5 minutes later and Bogle had a chance to extend his sides lead from a penalty award, but he was just off target.

 

Biggar seemed up against things in the tight scrum although this early pressure did not last while neither side were anything like as comfy at the lineout as they would have wished, the breezy conditions ultimately making it difficult for the hookers.

 

Play was pretty frantic as Biggar were able to clear downfield fairly easily while ‘Wade were forced to run ball back, their pack doing their bit but being let down a bit by some uncharacteristically wayward handling by the backs which saw ball spilled in attacking moves which promised much. It was a pity that Biggar couldn’t make more from these errors, their only other opportunity for points coming from Bogle who slotted a penalty with just 2 minutes remaining of the half.

 

Both teams took to the dressing room at the break, Biggar reappearing without hooker Ewan Stewart who had struggled after a head lock in an earlier play, his place taken by No 8 Andrew Orr with sub Nimmo introduced on the flank.

 

Then cane the ‘gift’, a Biggar pass floating past the two players on the blindside and onto the ground and into the path of winger Smith who hacked forward before pouncing for the try. Stand off Bell knocked the conversion over and having done so much to control the game and take the lead, Biggar found themselves just 3 points ahead at 10-7.

 

Some great, belligerent running and carries by Andrew Orr, Ryan Moffat, Robbie Lavery, Nimmo and Jardine took the eye although as is often the case few fail to deliver and all contribute to the cause. A forward pass foiled one promising move but this saw a penalty award for a previous infringement, Bogle kicking well to extend the Biggar lead to 13–7.

 

Things got better as Biggar continued to run well at the ‘Wade defence, ball switched from side to side as Biggar probed. Having taken ball up the left wing play was then swept back right where Moffat provided a good offload to Notman who appeared on the wing. Having made a run into the ‘Wade 22 he popped the ball inside to centre Lavery who managed to cross for a great score, despite the attentions of the ‘Wade cover defence, and one which Bogle converted for 20-7.

 

Skipper Alan Warnock made a great take and tilt on the restart but just when they should have been looking to control play and calm things down a lineout loss paved the way for a ‘Wade counter, lock Hunter on the end of a series of ‘pick and go’s’ to crash over for a try which Bell converted to make it a ‘one score’ game yet again at 20-14.

 

With some 30+ minutes remaining other scores were more than likely but play was fairly even as neither side were able to put phases together to enjoy or take advantage of any sustained periods of pressure.

 

In attack, Biggar then coughed up possession in the ‘Wade 22 and a kick and chase ensued, winger Stewart just getting to the ball first but unable due to the chasing ‘Wade players boot to control the ball. He was then unfortunately penalised for playing the man (or ball?) whilst on the ground. As Biggar regrouped ‘Wade tapped the penalty and laid siege to the Biggar line where a crash ball was taken at pace by centre Smith who took the ball over for what turned out to be a crucial and match-winning try.

 

Bell converted – Biggar’s touch judge Reive could hardly have raised his flag more grudgingly! - and Lasswade took the lead for the first time in the match at 21-20. With 10 minutes now left there was still time to retake the lead, but a number of errors crept into the Biggar play and decisions which hitherto had gone their way were awarded to ‘Wade.

 

The home side stretched their lead with 5 minutes remaining with a Bell penalty for 24-20. Biggar’s hopes were raised with a final flurry, Bogle set free on the left flank for a run and then grubber which took play to within 5metres of the ‘Wade line and while Biggar retained possession again a knock-on brought the final whistle.

 

Another frustrating afternoon for the Biggar outfit although ‘Wade have just been ahead this season and indeed are still within sight of promotion.

 

For Biggar the next task is a bigger one again as league leaders Kirkcaldy come to Hartree Mill on Saturday. Having lost just 2 matches - to Dumfries and Lasswade – the Fife side sit atop National 2 and are virtually promoted although with 4 matches to go they could still be caught – a Biggar win would certainly make for an entertaining finish!

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, C. Henderson, J. Orr, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson, A. Orr, I. Renwick, A. Jardine, G. Stewart, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, E. Bogle Reps: D. Voas, A. Nimmo, D. Notman, J. Barr

 

The 2nd XV set out with just 12 players to take on league leaders and league champions elect Hawick Force. It came as no surprise that Biggar ended up on the wrong end of a hefty defeat. Perhaps all the more galling was the reluctance of the Hawick squad to ‘loan’ any players to Biggar until the second half when they were miles ahead.

 

Not surprisingly Biggar declined the offer at that point and bravely soldiered on. Hawick took the title with this win and all good luck to them in the Division above.

 

A big pat on the back for a the trusty 12 who ventured south, Andrew Howatson fulsome in his praise of his sides efforts in the face of an unstoppable force.


Biggar swamp West

Biggar 62 West of Scotland 10

Biggar swarmed over a weakened West on Saturday to record 60+ points for the 3rd time this League campaign, albeit that in the wake of Aberdeenshire dropping out of the League, only two of these are still recorded.

 

A half time score of 31-5 was then doubled for the final tally, and this with at least another 4 scores having gone a-begging as balls were dropped when players were in scoring positions.

 

It was a hard day for the Glasgow side and there was some sympathy for at least two of their number, Angus Thomson and Andrew Goodall, both hailing from Biggar and both contributing manfully in what was a torrid afternoon for those in the red and yellow colours.

 

This win lifts Biggar to 4th spot in the League although as Hamilton who are in 6th spot have a game in hand and one they would expect to win as it is against bottom of the table Whitecraigs, they would jump ahead of Biggar.

 

But, and it is a BIG but, this Saturday’s match sees the two Lanarkshire sides pitted against each other at Laigh Bent in the first match of the return fixtures and so, the winner – whoever that is - will gain a big advantage over the other. Biggar recorded an excellent 24-17 home win in that first encounter and their away form has been very good with only one defeat and that to league leaders Kirkcaldy. Hamilton meanwhile, who have improved greatly since that opening match, lost out at home to Kirkcaldy on Saturday, and so the match is set up perfectly for a great contest.

 

Biggar were back to full strength following the autumn international break with all those who had been carrying injuries recovered to take their place, the one exception being Douglas Notman who was still injured following the GHK Cup match. His replacement was No8 Stevie Campbell who had been missing following an ankle injury sustained several weeks ago but who was fit for action once again. Prop Callum Braid switched from his usual berth to back row while fit-again Jamie Orr partnered skipper Alan Warnock at lock.

 

The hard frost of Wednesday and Thursday which had led to the cancellation of the Ladies game against Currie on Friday night had relented sufficiently by Saturday and while the pitch wasn’t playable at the time of the 10am pitch inspection, there was sufficient ‘warmth’ in the air to suggest that things would be fine for the 2pm kick off. Referee Morrison took a little time before he was completely satisfied that play should go ahead but happily he gave the thumbs up and play got under way.

 

West had a marginally better record going into this match having most recently accounted for Dumfries while Biggar with 0 from 3 were desperately looking for what this season is a rare home win.

 

Playing away from the clubhouse Biggar opened their account with a penalty from Carne Green after just 2 minutes. This set the tone for the much of the rest of the match, Biggar enjoying a barrow-load of possession and territory and exerting much pressure on the visitors. In the first quarter Biggar scored tries from Ewan Stewart (the hooker rounding off a sparkling move begun deep in the Biggar half) and Callum Braid (this a terrific pick and go from some 10metres), both converted by Green who had a faultless display with the boot to claim a personal haul of 22 points.

 

Aside from the restarts after Biggar scores, almost 20 minutes had elapsed before West managed to get the ball into the Biggar 22.

 

With pressure maintained Biggar also had their fair share of good fortune, a West grubber kick in attack being blocked by Green and seeing the ball hacked forward by Bradford. The winger almost made the line, but was held short, Green’s clear out spawning ball for Warnock who crossed for try number 3.

 

A brilliant combination of support and good passing between Green and Euan Sanderson should have seen the latter claim Biggar’s 4th try but the ball just eluded the flanker with the line in his sights.

 

West hit back following a Green clearance and an opportune step by fullback Mark Sim who saw a gap on the wing. He burst past Alistair Sinclair and although the winger got back to make the tackle Sim scored the try.

 

This try heralded a slightly better phase for West who saw more of the ball as Biggar struggled to maintain their earlier control. The Biggar pack enjoyed the better of the tight scrum exchanges while the lineout continued to stutter – neither side able to take quality ball from this set piece.

 

Biggar’s aggressive defence and abrasive loose play was a feature of the game, this a most welcome sight after the most recent matches when Biggar have come off second best to for example Kirkcaldy and GHK. Campbell and Braid were to the fore in this respect although all played their part, Andrew Nimmo and Sanderson others to consistently make yards.

 

With half time approaching Biggar needed another score and this they duly got, Jardine taking ball on the West 22 before stepping his way through the cover to cross under the posts for the all-important bonus point try which was then converted by Green.

 

The kick off took play back to the Biggar half but an electric breakout started by Sanderson saw play quickly transferred the length of the pitch. Bradford was taken high and from the resultant kick to touch lineout ball won by Sanderson paved the way for Nimmo to make a charge for the line. West’s Thomson made the tackle and while Nimmo was over the line the ball was held up and referee Morrison brought play to a halt.

 

With injuries besetting the West pack the decision was taken to make scrums uncontested. This was unfortunate as Biggar had been in the ascendancy in this area but Biggar had found themselves in a similar position against Kirkcaldy and there is sometimes no option. As it was Biggar had an early opportunity to add to their tally a great breakout off a weak West clearance seeing play swept upfield via Robbie Lavery, Braid and Ryan Moffat. Nimmo took the ball on further and found Sanderson with the offload. The flanker looked to be home and dry but a fortuitous tap tackle put him to the ground with the ball squirting frustratingly from his grasp.

 

The position was maintained however as Campbell charged down the West clearance. A second attempt got to touch but Euan Bogle (who had replaced Sinclair at the break) took a quick lineout, and with ball advanced further to towards the West 22, Moffat popped the ball to Bradford who stepped his way to the West line. Green’s conversion took the Biggar total to 38-5.

 

As had been the case before half time, West claimed a try, this initiated from a well-controlled driven line out. Ball was passed right and then back left and Thomson all but made the line before stand off Fisken picked to cross at the corner.

 

Back on the attack West escaped as a pass to Bogle was deemed to have been forward but another phase saw West infringe and with the penalty advantage, Green dropped a neat goal from some 30 metres to take Biggar’s total to 41.

 

Lavery was the next to rue a dropped ball, he latching onto – almost – a kick ahead by Green which had it stuck would have seen the centre over for a try.

 

Looking to run the ball from everywhere and anywhere and enjoying the opportunity to do so – clearly a spin off from how Scotland played against Australia - some excellent interplay between Peacock, Reive, Warnock and Nimmo saw the latter cross from 10 metres despite the attentions of the cover defence.

 

Green added the conversion to this and then to a score from Andrew Orr who managed to retain possession in a maul which was on the line before spinning free to dive over under the posts. Having taken the restart Biggar mounted another attack immediately, Andrew Peacock who had previously replaced Orr at lock, setting off upfield for some 20 metres before feeding Sanderson. The flanker then passed inside to Ewan Stewart who sprinted clear for his second try.

 

Green’s 22 point tally took him beyond the 100 point mark for Biggar this season – well done to him for that but well done to the squad as the sides Points Differential at 109 is now the best in the Division!

 

All in all a great performance from the 19 involved. West were clearly not at their best however and the test to be posed by Hamilton on Saturday will require another step up in terms of ball security and offensive defence. That said it was great to see the team running and passing and making good ground as well.

 

Man of the match was deservedly awarded to Ewan Sanderson who put in a power of work in both attack and in defence although he was one of several who could also have taken the honours.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, J. Orr, A. Warnock, C. Braid, E. Sanderson, S. Campbell, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: A. Orr, A. Peacock, G. Stewart, E. Bogle.

 

Another blank weekend for the 2nd XV who will surely get back to the pitch and some long awaited action on Saturday when they host Dundee High.


Biggar lose at home to Lasswade

Biggar 13 Lasswade 19

On the back of three, five point wins Biggar were in relatively confident mood going into this They were well aware however that the visitors, in the shape of Lasswade, had been going particularly well as well, their win over top of the table Kirkcaldy the previous week giving plenty indication of a side playing to their strengths, namely their pack.

 

Biggar welcomed back hooker Ewan Stewart for this match and were forced into a change in the back row, Euan Sanderson having been concussed last week at PL and replaced by Craig McDonald who had taken over from Sanderson. In the backs Ryan Moffat returned to replace Gregor Stewart who took his place on the bench where he was joined by Guy Kelly, Kev Robison and Conor Lavery, the last two having joined the fray from the 2nd XV match against Hawick Force which kicked off at 2pm.

 

In blustery conditions Lasswade were quickly on the attack, notching their first try within the first 5 minutes, This was scored by winger Matthew Smith who came onto a good line from some 5 metres out, wrong footing the Biggar defence. Converted by Andy Bell, Lasswade were 7-0 ahead.

 

Against the strong wind there were few opportunities and little point in kicking clear and so Biggar employed their pack and ball-carriers to take them upfield. This proved fairly successful and Biggar were able to work their way upfield with some good work from all. There were occasions however when Lasswade managed to either strip the ball carriers or contest the ball on the4 ground this slowing play up or ending in penalties which the visitors used to return play to the Biggar half.

 

On balance however Biggar did enjoy good territorial position, running ball back to Lasswade whenever they could.

 

With good ball provided by the pack, the backs all made good ground, Alistair Sinclair and Aird Jardine combining well after one Lasswade clearance to take play up the left wing. A couple of passes later and Jamie Orr burst clear to cross from some 40 metres out and by beating the cover defence on the way. Kicking into the wind was always going to be tricky in the conditions and so it proved as Carne Green was off target with his conversion attempt and then again some 10 minutes later when the ball rebounded out off the upright.

 

Able to maintain the pressure Biggar should probably have added to their tally especially when Lasswade had one of their number sin-binned for failing to retreat at a Biggar penalty which Green ran. It was not to be however as Lasswade were very competitive at the breakdown and in mauls, their persistence paying off well as they frustrated the Biggar attack.

 

Having had the better slice of possession Biggar were then forced onto the defensive as visiting scrum half Daniel Ritchie put in a nice wee grubber kick to the Biggar 22. The follow up was deemed illegal by referee Fergus Collins and Green kicked for the lineout. A rare error on the take spawned ball for Lasswade and a barnstorming run from lock Stephen Hunter took play to the Biggar line, winger Ross Bradford just getting the big man down inches from the line. Recycled ball was quick however and Ritchie was on hand to pop the ball to hooker Darren Tiffney who crashed over from a few feet for a try which, when converted by Bell, put Lasswade ahead at 14-5 with just minutes of the half remaining.

 

Having conceded a try just before the break Biggar needed a quick riposte that this they got within minutes of the restart. Now with the wind on their backs play was quickly taken into the Lasswade 22.

 

From a Biggar scrum Moffat, Peacock, Orr, McDonald and Nimmo all made good ground before play was switched back right Bradford making another burst. Revive fed Green who popped the ball inside to Stewart who crossed for the try. The try-scorer had earlier been on for Jamie Orr who sustained a shoulder injury and while the big man returned he was clearly not at full strength and Stewart, normally a centre joined McDonald, another whose preference is in the backs in the back row. Green’s conversion attempt was wide but at 14-10 Biggar were back in the mix. The try and Stewart's all-round combatative play throughout the match - particualrly in defence - was a major factor in his selection as Biggar's man of the match.

 

Almost directly from the restart Biggar had another opportunity, another inside pass to Green finding Stewart who broke the line to set off on a long run. Running into the Lasswade defence the off-load failed to go to hand and Lasswade fullback Niall Gray was able to secure possession on the ground from which Lasswade engaged their pack on what was to become standard fare for the half, the pack picking and going as they strove to get out of their half.

 

A knock on ceded possession to Biggar and after a neat interchange between Ewan Stewart, Peacock and skipper Alan Warnock the big lock was set free into the Lasswade 22. A last ditch tackle from centre Mark Wilson saved the day although he was adjudged to have prevented fair release, Green kicking the penalty for 14-13 as Lasswade were again reduced to 14 men.

 

And that was almost that! Having enjoyed their fair share of possession and territory both now virtually ceased as Lasswade cleverly took a stranglehold on, in particular, possession. Using the short pass to pods of two or three scrum half Ritchie popped the ball left and then right and the left again. Without gaining many yards this proved to be very effective, Biggar unable to get their hands on the ball and reduced to defensive tackling. There seemed no way to get possession back, later criticism suggesting that the offensive defence was too passive but every time a Lasswade player was tackled their body position was low and gong to ground was easy, the ball then efficiently sealed off by the support. Pretty it was certainly not, but it was frustrating for the home side.

 

On the rare occasion Biggar did get the ball they were able to kick clear, one good tackle chase by Sinclair seeing Lasswade knock on at the ruck base but an altercation between Robbie Lavery and Ritchie saw the decision reversed allowing Lasswade to kick clear.

 

Guy Kelly became the 3rd Biggar replacement (for O’Connell) , Robison having earlier replaced McDonald. Lasswade then exerted huge pressure on the younger Biggar front row, this enabling them to spoil possession for Biggar.

 

As the half wore on it became clear that with just one point separating the sides the next score would most likely be the winning score. Unable to sustain possession in their opponents half things were not too positive for Biggar although there was always the hope that they would eventually break free, even just to win a penalty.

 

It was not to be however and having taken play back into Biggar’s 22 another series of probing runs shed ball for Ritchie who fed centre Wilson. There appeared to be cover but his pace took him clear and over for what turned out to be a decisive try.

 

There was at least 8 minutes on the clock but with their tails up there was much less chance of Lasswade conceding possession now. A Biggar penalty saw Green kick to some 5 metres out but having found the visitors adept at the maul and driving play Biggar’s line drive faltered giving Lasswade the scrum and a chance to clear.

 

Throughout there had been penalty awards to both sides which were difficult to understand and there were a couple in the last few minutes which went against Biggar but Lasswade rode their luck, the final award seeing them tap and kick to touch to end the game.

 

Massive disappointment then for Biggar, tempered only by the fact that they at least won a losing bonus point. Having last season had a difficulty in winning ‘on the road’ Biggar’s home record is the much poorer this season, their 3 defeats all being at Hartree. There would be huge satisfaction if their winning run away from home were to continue this Saturday when they journey to Fife and league leaders Kirkcaldy.

 

There seems every chance that Biggar will have to endure another match with a forward pack adept at the pick and go as the Kirkcaldy side are well known for this approach. It promises to be another difficult day!

 

Please note that while the kick offs are now scheduled for 2pm, Kirkcaldy have requested a 3pm start, and this will in fact be the case.

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, A. Nimmo, J. Orr, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, C. McDonald, A. Orr, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: G. Kelly, K. Robison, G. Stewart, C. Lavery.

 

Perhaps the best news of what turned out to be a challenging weekend with all League sides on Saturday losing out – and indeed all boys youth sides on the wrong end of the score line on Sunday – was the re-appearance of the 2nd XV. This has been a challenging few weeks as there have been a number of regulars unavailable due to injury and work commitments. Importantly however the ‘call to arms’ was answered on Saturday and a side was fielded. This included several who were making a return to the action with all to be congratulated on their considerable efforts.

 

Of these Callum Taylor deserves praise while Robison and Lavery who both played for almost the whole game then turned out for the 1sts on the bench.

 

That the 2nd XV faced runaway league leaders Hawick force did nothing to east the situation, the Border side running out winners by 38-6 win.


PL put to the sword

Preston Lodge 6 Biggar 62

There were two issues plaguing Biggar’s statisticians in the aftermath of this match. When did Biggar last defeat Preston Lodge at Pennypit and when did Biggar last record three 5-point wins on the bounce?

 

The first of these was slightly harder as Biggar’s last win at Pennypit is believed to have been in the last century (early 1990’s) while ‘never’ was the simplest and easiest answer to the second question. This latest result and others elsewhere which saw both Kirkcaldy and Dumfries defeated and Hamilton without a match, means that Biggar jump to joint second top spot, just behind Kirkcaldy and still level with Lasswade. The exciting prospect of course is that Biggar meet these two sides in the next two weeks and so come the league break Biggar should know whether or not they are in real contention for one of the two promotion spots – although there is obviously still an awful long way to go in the league programme.

 

Biggar fielded a similar XV to that which played last week against Whitecraigs, save that in the pack Kevin Robison started the match, Andrew Orr reverting to the back row with Alan Warnock and Euan Sanderson, Douglas Notman unavailable due to a hand injury. Andrew Peacock came into the side at lock.

 

In the backs, Gregor Stewart started in place of Ryan Moffat who was doubtful due to shift work, (although he did in the end make the game, coming on after the break) while Ewan Bogle, who was down to start in place of Alistair Sinclair, pulled out during the warm up with asthma. Craig McDonald joined Andrew Nimmo on the bench, the young prop making a welcome return to action after a month out. These three were joined by Conor Lavery who was making a return to action for Biggar after several seasons with Aberdeen Grammar.

 

The match itself saw Biggar put an injury-ravaged PL to the sword with a sound display of running rugby which resulted in a 10-0 try count, PL’s points coming from a penalty and a drop goal, both credited to scrum half Brian Walls.

 

That Biggar ‘played’ for the full 80 minutes was as pleasing as the result, recent games seeing the side stutter for at least a half of each match. Not so on Saturday when they controlled things pretty well throughout, save perhaps for the opening exchanges when, as expected, the home side enjoyed the territorial advantage and ran with some conviction, only stout defence and a couple of handling errors denying them a score.

 

The East Lothian side were not helped by an injury to lock Jonny Sked, the big man twisted in a tackle and sustaining a neck injury, this the third such injury in as many Biggar games. On this occasion, while an ambulance was immediately summoned, there was a delay of just over an hour with the match official Ramsay Darroch making a decision to continue only after the paramedics had assessed Sked and were prepared to have him stretchered off the pitch. This is never a nice situation for any team and the best wishes of Biggar go to Jonny who is by all accounts recovering.

 

With some 7 minutes remaining of the half, Biggar were reduced to 14 men just after the match restarted, Andrew Peacock shown a yellow and the side had to defend hard to keep PL out. This achieved, they managed a crucial try of their own just before the break.

 

This was their third score and Nimmo’s second and was converted by Carne Green for a 17-6 half time lead, the first two scores credited to Sinclair and of course Nimmo who certainly made an impact when he came on for Dan O’Connell. Both of the first scores were long range efforts involving good passing and real pace.

 

Neither side had found the re-start after such a long delay easy and they were then brought o a halt again as the usual half time break was called. As time was marching on the PL club had their floodlights primed for the second half.

 

Having just stretched ahead Biggar could not have wished for a better start as almost directly from the kick off a Green kick had PL fullback Jonathan Brash in bother. The resultant scrum provided good ball for scrum half Davy Reive who fed Green. The stand off made one of his trademark miss passes to find Aird Jardine. The fullback popped the ball to winger Ross Bradford whose pace took him clear of the cover and over for a try which Green converted for 24-6.

 

Robison thought he was over for a try after a lineout error but play was pulled back, this coinciding with the return of Peacock. PL had a period of better play when their pack went for a lineout drive, this eventually brought to an end as referee Darroch, having issued an instruction to ‘use it’ had no option as the pack retained possession, to blow for a Biggar scrum.

 

Having extricated themselves from their 22 Biggar scored their 5th try through Sinclair, the winger benefiting as Jamie Orr took a ball from the PL throw. Green’s conversion struck the upright before bouncing out.

 

Makeshift flanker Craig McDonald, who had come on in the fist half after a clash of heads between Warnock and Calum Braid left the former with an ugly cut to the nose, was next to cross. Taking a neat off load he bundled his way over from some 10 metres showing great determination in the process.

 

The next three tries went to Green in what was a remarkable 10 minute spell for the Kiwi stand off. The first saw him make a neat dummy before sprinting past the missing PL defence, the second after he won the chase to his own neat grubber kick and then the third after he took an interception pass from PL stand off Chris Dixon who was gamely looking to keep play moving. PL’s was a tired and disheartened back division however and the very same fate befell Dixon’s next movement, Robbie Lavery nipping in to take another interception to run in from half way. Green’s tries and conversions left him with a personal tally of 27 points.

 

That Biggar won was due in no small part to the relentless driving and carrying play of the pack. All 8 were involved and this meant that PL were as often as not on the defensive, two players or more comitted to pulling the Biggar players down. Add some genuine pace and a little confidence and the win was there. PL were not the worst side Biggar have played to date and they did pose problems while Biggar should have scored at least two other first half tries, these coming to grief as errors were made and balls dropped.

 

There was a great deal of satisfaction at this comprehensive victory however, one which the very welcome travelling support thoroughly enjoyed and which put to bed somewhat the recent poor set of results and performances Biggar have endured at PL’s hands.

 

The surprise results from Dumfries and Kirkcaldy made the win all the sweeter of course.

 

Next up is a home match against Lasswade. A big support would be most welcome, so if you can, please get along on Saturday. KO 3pm

 

Of course as delighted as the club was at this result and the league position, there was a cautionary tale as for the second week running there was no 2nd XV. Tup sales, holidays and injuries have taken their toll but it is really important that the club gets a 2nd XV out. To that end all players are asked to make themselves available for this Saturday when Hawick Force make the trip to Hartree Mill.

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, K. Robison, C. Braid, J. Orr, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: A. Nimmo, C. McDonald, C. Lavery, R. Moffat


Another 5 pointer as Whitecraigs come calling

Biggar 45 Whitecraigs 24

Another 5-pointer for Biggar as they ran in 7 tries (to 3) against Glasgow side Whitecraigs.

 

In reality this was pretty much the result that had been expected as Whitecraigs currently languish in second bottom spot of National 2. Nothing can be taken for granted however and while Biggar shot into an early lead and were 30 points to the good at the break, a much improved performance by the visitors had Biggar reeling and at one point threatening to lose the match.

 

Fortunately things got back on track and normal service was resumed, Biggar notching a late try to end the match on a positive note.

 

This was another entertaining match and another of two distinct halves, Biggar on this occasion starting really well before losing their place somewhat for the third quarter when Whitecraigs got far more of the ball and began to dictate.

 

The very unlucky Ewan Stewart was ruled out of action following a hand injury sustained last week against GHK, Andrew Orr moving forward from the back row to hooker. Douglas Notman returned at No 8 to join Alan Warnock while Andrew Peacock played at lock. The backs were as last week with the other changes on the bench, Kevan Robison and Ross Bradford joining last weeks replacements Gregor Stewart and Guy Kelly.

 

In relatively bright conditions and with Scotland’s lady referee Alex Pratt in charge Biggar opened at a cracking pace, scoring a try through Euan Bogle after just 5 minutes, this following a clearance kick from Whitecraigs which failed to find touch and which gave Biggar the chance to counter. Several simple passes later and Robbie Lavery had options to go left or right. In choosing left Bogle was given a clear run to the corner. Carne Green was not able to add the conversion from far out.

 

Whitecraigs hit back with a penalty from fullback Stephen Gillies but this was against the run of play, Biggar scoring a second try after a patient build up when they retained possession through a number of phases. There were a number of charges to the line, these from Callum Braid, Notman and Green before ball was whipped back left to Jamie Orr who crashed over. The young lock had a cracking match throughout deservedly earning him the man-of-the-match award although other contenders included Braid and Ewan Sanderson who as always put in big hits from start to finish.

 

Shortly after the restart Orr initiated a midfield break, his off-load finding Braid who set off for the line some 40m distant. A despairing tap tackle was all that prevented him from scoring and while a ruck spawned ball for Davy Reive who looked to most to have scored, Ms Pratt was not so convinced, awarding Biggar a scrum some 5m out instead.

 

A handful of probing runs took play to the line again and again, a pass to Alistair Sinclair seeing him claim the space for a try in the corner….but no, not this time either as Ms Pratt gave the visitors a 5m scrum. Having made things really difficult for Whitecraigs from the scrum, Biggar pounced on the loose ball, Reive seeking out Ryan Moffat with what, to all intents and purposes was a crash ball, the centre crossing for another good score. Green added the conversion and Biggar were 19-3 up.

 

Minutes later and Biggar claimed their 4-try bonus point, the all-important try credited to Bogle who cleverly chased and won the race to his own kick ahead.

 

Biggar were handling with some confidence which was great to see and which ended with their 5th try, this again following a kick and chase, this time from Aird Jardine who crossed virtually under the posts and which Green converted.

 

The second period began with a much fresher Whitecraigs approach, all of the players buying into the run-it-from-everywhere approach and in sharp contrast to GHK last week, ‘Craigs managed to hold onto their ball quite easily, which continued to put the Biggar defence under real pressure.

 

Biggar managed to hold their line intact to begin with time but would eventually tell and this was the case as flanker Neil Alexander drove over from close range for a try which was converted by Gillies. 33-10

 

Biggar then lost the services of Bogle who was guilty of a late hit on ‘Craigs stand off Stuart Henderson. Enjoying the 1-man advantage so provided, ‘Craigs continued to press and enjoyed this prolonged passage of play which they used to dictate the pace of the match. Following a penalty award which was tapped and given to replacement Chris O’Donnell, there was really no way which Biggar could have employed to halt this giant’s charge for the line. Needing no second invitation the big man crashed over for a try converted by Gillies for 33-17. Things were now getting quite interesting and there were many Biggar supporters who began to unhappily cast their minds back to the Peebles match when things went very wrong and when Biggar contrived to lose a match they had hitherto had under control.

 

Having made a couple of changes, perhaps the most significant being the replacement at scrum half of Reive by Jardine, Biggar managed to sort themselves out a bit. The next score came out of the blue however and was sparked when a loose ball was gathered by Moffat. The centre broke through some unconvincing initial defence before breaking clear into midfield. Having made 40m he popped the ball to the ever-present Orr, who in turn fed Sanderson. The flanker took the ball on and when eventually hauled down, found Jardine with a neat offload, the fullback running in close to the posts – a well worked try. Green added the conversion for 40-17

 

‘Craigs were not down and out however and they responded well with their third score, this after they had enjoyed another sustained passage of play in the Biggar 22, No 7 Ross McDonald credited with the score, Gillies adding the 2 points for 40-24.

 

There followed a prolonged stoppage after ‘Craigs centre Wamberg collided with Moffat, both players complicit in the collision as both were arguably too high in contact. While Moffat sustained a blow to his cheek he was able to continue, Wamberg less fortunate and he was stretchered from the field with a neck brace. This (happily) proved to be precautionary and he was back on his feet after the match.

 

The final try went fittingly to Orr who rounded off an excellent display with this his second score. He was almost over minutes earlier and he could have set Stewart in at the corner but the try was merely delayed as Biggar pummelled the ‘Craigs line before Jardine and Green combined well to free the lock for a dive at the corner.

 

 

Although there was time for the restart the game was virtually over and the next stoppage saw referee Pratt blow for full time.

 

Plus points came in the form of Jamie Orr who was prominent in every aspect – restarts, lineouts, defence and attack – while the mobility of prop Callum Braid, another who shines in the loose as well as doing his bit in the tight, continues to impress. It would again be hard to pick any one player who did not make a very positive contribution to the game at some point, the trick for coaches Mercer and Wilson, both of whom were on a school trip to France at the weekend, being how they can get the squad to play for a whole 80 minutes, the general feeling being that if they could, they would be a match for any team in the league.

 

So Biggar cling onto joint 4th spot with Lasswade, the East Lothian side also claiming a 4-try bonus.

 

This weekend Biggar journey to Preston Lodge, a trip they have never relished and at which they have seldom triumphed. Onward and upward!

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, A. Orr, C. Braid, J. Orr, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, E. Bogle, A. Jardine Reps: K. Robison, G. Kelly, R. Bradford, G. Stewart.

 

 

The 2nd XV were forced to postpone their match after they suffered a large number of call off's due to work and injury. This is really disappointing as again there were many players who missed out on thier game. To that end if you are of playing age, PLEASE make yourself available. Your Club Needs You!


Fantastic come back at GHK earns 5 points

GHK 26 Biggar 38

This was another incident packed contest, another game of two distinct halves, another with a barrow load of tries (9 in total) and another with some great running rugby from both sides. It’s not clear quite how much of this the loyal Biggar support can take – their side was 14-0 down before they came into the match – but if they can continue to mount second half revivals on the scale of these last two outings then it is going to be a long yet exciting season!

 

Calum Braid - who was later awarded the man-of-the-match award for his contribution in both attack and defence – returned to the front row for the unavailable Donald Voas, this allowing Euan Sanderson to return to the starting line up, one of his fellow back row being none other than Ross Jackson who was without a match at his new club Marr, but who is dual registered and only too keen to pull on the Biggar jersey once again.

 

Ross Bradford was a late injury call off in the backs and his place was taken by Euan Bogle with James Barr called up from 2nd XV action to the bench.

 

GHK and their fellow pitch-sharing mates Glasgow Hawks have not had their troubles to seek this season after a ‘sink-hole’ appeared slap bang in their 1st XV pitch. They have been forced to scour Glasgow for alternative temporary accommodation and while several games have been played at Balgray (home of Kelvinside Academy) the pitch there has not been able to withstand the extra traffic and so Saturday’s match took place on one of the back pitches at Old Anniesland. While there was no doubting the quality of the surface there was some concern over the absence of a pitch surround rope which meant that spectators were right on the touchline. This made the touch-judges task all the more difficult. Fortunately nothing untoward occurred but it is something which the club should address before their next match.

 

Kicking off and starting in similar fashion to Dumfries last week GHK put Biggar under immediate pressure, stand off Danny Campbell hitting a great line off quick ruck ball to crash over for the opening score. He added the conversion for an all too easy 7-0 lead.

 

Running ball at every opportunity GHK were soon back on the attack and on 12 minutes their big prop strolled through a somewhat weak Biggar defence for the second score and with Campbell adding the conversion it was 14-0 for the city side.

 

Biggar had their moments but too often play broke down as penalties were conceded or as ball was fumbled. A Carne Green penalty attempt rebounded off the upright to give GHK some panicky moments but a forward pass from the Biggar attack allowed GHK to clear.

 

Biggar still enjoyed territorial position however and a penalty gave them good field position on the GHK 22. Ball moved right saw Braid and then Ewan Stewart handle before Ryan Moffit took a crash ball, his run taking him over for Biggar’s opening score. Green’s conversion made it 14-7.

 

Although neither side’s lineout was working particularly well both sides engineered important steals on their opponents throw, Alan Warnock taking one such steal when GHK were next in a good attacking position.

 

This was quickly followed a by a neat break from Green which took him through the GHK defence and into open space. He elected to pass wide to Bogle who also made good yards before a great cover tackle ended the move. Unfortunately the tackle ended in a pile up which left the GHK flanker Jamie Cook prone. A prolonged stoppage was necessary while he received attention. Ultimately, while there was discussion about moving the match to the adjoining pitch, the player was transferred to a stretcher and moved out of harm’s way.

 

It is understood that Jamie recieved a 'stinger' and that he is recovering. Best wishes from BRFC.

 

Play had been held up for some 15 minutes and whether this had a major impact on the match is difficult to tell save that Biggar seemed to play with greater authority after the stoppage then they had before.

 

Penalties were awarded on a fairly regular basis by referee Ruaridh Smith and while this didn’t really allow the game to flow all were easy decisions to make and in the most, fairly clear cut. Neither side gained a particular advantage either, save that later in the game, it seemed likely that a GHK player was shown a yellow although this never happened.

 

Gregor Stewart and Douglas Notman had replaced Robbie Lavery and Andrew Orr respectively and both made telling contributions, Stewart with some good hands and Notman with typical belligerence in and around the contact area.

 

A second penalty kick from Green was pushed wide while a similar award to GHK saw them tap and go, this causing all sorts of problems for the Biggar defence and somewhat against the recent run of play, eventually a 3rd try, this falling to winger Marc Taylor and coming just before half time. Campbell’s excellent touchline conversion rebounded off the upright before slipping over for 21-7.

 

Biggar mounted an attack on the restart, this after a GHK fumble, and they should probably have scored from two good attacks, one on each wing, but on each occasion the GHK scramble defence was up to the task. A penalty award led to a lineout but a knock on allowed GHK to kick the ball dead for the break.

 

Having conceded a score just before the break Biggar needed a quick riposte although this didn’t come in the normal manner. An early GHK attack stretched Biggar’s defence but Green took a gamble – much in the same way as Ruardhi Jackson had done in the Glasgow game the night before - and made a timely interception, this taking him clear to the line although it couldn’t come quick enough as the cover defence was getting back quickly. Bogle added the conversion for 21-14.

 

Able to get straight back on the attack courtesy of a Jamie Orr tackle and Sanderson jackal, Biggar kicked for the corner and an attacking line. Braid advanced play and then Reive found Green from the ruck. A huge miss pass was then delivered to Stewart who had a relatively easy run in for Biggar’s 3rd try which, when converted well by Bogle, had the sides level at 21 a-piece.

 

‘Can’t kick, won’t kick’ was certainly the GHK mantra, their desire to run ball from everywhere admirable but if the handling isn’t good then the side is immediately put under lots of pressure and this was definitely the case as time after time when field position could so easily have been gained by a clearing kick, the decision to run was taken. And almost inevitably ground lost as passes were fumbled.

 

Biggar’s lineout was struggling to function efficiently, especially as hooker Ewan Stewart had taken a knock to the hand, Orr eventually deputising in this role. Moffit profited from a good quick pass and perhaps should have made the line but his off-load failed to go to hand, Lavery knocking on with the line easily reachable. Bogle was just wide with a penalty but struck the next cleanly to give his side the lead for the first time at 24-21.

 

To add insult to injury GHK’s restart was kicked dead (this to add to several missed touches in the first half) and play taken back to half way.

 

In contrast to GHK’s ‘no kick’ ploys Biggar controlled proceedings pretty well with Reive, Green and Jardine ensuring ball was kept in front of the pack with a variety of box and grubber kicks. In addition the ferocious offensive tackling from Notman, Braid, Jamie Orr and Sanderson and their work at contact meant that GHK were given precious little time on the ball.

 

Bogle scored the 4th Biggar try, this of course a bonus point score, the winger tearing in at the corner after Green had combined well with Lavery, the centre’s miss pass finding Bogle who slid in at the corner. The conversion from out wide was just short but at 29-21 the advantage was at last Biggar’s.

 

GHK had a chance to put Biggar under pressure following a high tackle from Bogle but frustratingly for the home support the penalty was kicked long and dead allowing Biggar another escape.

 

Back on the attack and up quickly to defend as GHK ran again with some purpose – their backs will surely never make as many handling errors again this season – Lavery took a fumbled pass to pop ball to Green on Biggar’s 10m line. The stand off had the legs (just) of the cover defence and ran in for his second try of the afternoon. Bogle added the conversion to take Biggar two scores clear.

 

It’s been done before of course (Peebles is still too fresh in the memory) and there remained some nervous moments as GHK flung everything they had left at Biggar. Stout defence did its job but with the final movement of the match a driven maul did end on a positive note for the home side as they notched their 4 try bonus point.

 

It was Biggar however who took the lion’s share of the spoils to remain in 4th spot in the league behind Kirkcaldy, Hamilton (who ended Dumfries’ winning run on Saturday) and Dumfries. It is not too often Biggar return from the city with a 5 pointer, rarer still after being two scores down at the break…..but it would be good not to have to rely on second half comebacks!

 

Biggar

D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, C. Braid, J. Orr, A. Warnock, A. Orr, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffit, R. Lavery, E. Bogle, A. Jardine Reps: D. Notman, G. Kelly, J. Barr, G. Stewart.

 

 

The Biggar support on Saturday was, as always, excellent. It was supplemented on Saturday by Biggar Young Farmers who were hosting exchangees from Gower YF in Wales. The visitors had a great afternoon and livened things up with a number of touchline songs with lock forward Jamie Orr their clear favourite!

 

 

The 2nd XV had their first outing for a month on Saturday when they travelled to take on Boroughmuir 3rds. To frustrate Biggar the city side triumphed with what was virtually the last play of the game. 17-13 was the final score.


Biggar and Dumfries serve up a thriller

Biggar 26 Dumfries 29

It seems that Biggar’s matches this season are proving to be not only particularly exciting affairs but also full of incident – sufficient to ensure there is plenty of post match debate at least.

 

The first match of the season saw the side notch up a win against a confident Hamilton side; a fortnight ago against Peebles, Biggar managed to lose a game in the dying minutes which they had hitherto seemingly had in the bag; last week in Aberdeen the side racked up Biggar’s largest league total for many a year while on Saturday the side clawed their way back into a match most present felt at half time (when they were 24-5 down) they had lost. More was to follow as in the last minute the decision was taken opt for a scrum and a try to win, instead of what appeared to be a relatively simple penalty which would have given them a valuable draw and which would have perhaps, more importantly, ended Dumfries’ winning run.

 

Was it bravado, bravery, foolhardy…..each opinion had its backers in the post match chat, with a general failure in communication deemed the reason for opting for the scrum though there seems no doubt either that the second half finished abruptly, there having been a prolonged period of injury time after a clash of heads which might have seen Dumfries claw their way back from the kick off had Biggar kicked the penalty.

 

No matter, Biggar collected 2 points courtesy of their losing and 4-try bonus, Dumfries picking up a maximum 5 from their part in the 8-try feast.

 

Unbeaten before the match and unbeaten after the match, Dumfries were delighted to record their win and so they should be, their side easily the best prepared Biggar have encountered to date and clearly relishing their promotion from National 3 last season.

 

Biggar rang the changes again as injury/illness deprived them of Euan Sanderson and Andrew Nimmo, their deputies being Donald Voas and Douglas Notman, the No8/flanker returning after injury. Jamie Orr replaced Callum Dunlop at lock while in the backs a fit again Ryan Moffit returned to the centre, Gregor Stewart dropping to the bench where he was joined again by Andrew Peacock, Euan Bogle and Guy Kelly.

 

This was the ultimate in those matches which fall into the category of being a ‘game of two halves’, Biggar down and out at 24-0 and then 24-5 at the break and yet managing to win the second half by 21-5.

 

An early barrage of attacking play by the visitors saw Biggar on the ropes as Dumfries ran at great pace, posing all sorts of questions to the Biggar side. Within three minutes of the start a rumble by Dumfries prop Scott Goodwin saw the Biggar line breached and gave fullback Sam Hiddleston a relatively easy run in under the posts, John Carlisle easily adding the conversion for 7-0.

 

Robbie Lavery got back well to thwart a breenge by hooker Zeke Dyson and Carlisle missed a penalty while a break by Hiddleston on the right flank should have perhaps seen Dumfries score again, Biggar just managing to scramble back and defend their line.

 

In their 22 again skipper Alan Warnock who, as usual, provided a captains lead throughout, tidied a lose ball in the Biggar 22, but it was Dumfries who were calling the shots at this point, the National 2 newcomers running some great angles and at real pace.

 

Biggar’s defence has not been under just as much sustained pressure in any other game although they did have some forays up into the Dumfries half where they met some resolute defence and where they found it difficult to hold onto possession. At every opportunity Dumfries ran the ball or kicked it back to resume their threat. Another penalty from Carlisle proved tantalisingly close as it rebounded off the upright and which had Biggar scrambling as Warnock tidied again and Green kicked clear.

 

Ironically, however, the next try came not from a sortie by Dumfries but instead as a result of a real mix up between Biggar centres Moffit and Lavery and when Biggar were in possession, albeit in their half and when running out of defence. Stand off Carne Green shaped to go and pass left but his pass fell to the ground as the centres collided, the ball kicked on and then picked up gratefully by Carlisle who ran through for a score which he again converted for 14-0.

 

A Biggar attack 10 minutes later foundered as they were penalised, Carlisle kicking to 5 metres out where ball won by Michael Thomson was shipped right, Hiddleston in at a great angle to crash through the despairing Biggar defence for a third Dumfries try which when converted gave them a 21-0 lead.

 

Biggar then lost the services of hooker Ewan Stewart after a head knock. In reality he should have departed earlier but referee Adam Morrison who is a Kiwi not long arrived in the country and who had a good game otherwise, was content to allow Stewart to stay on and this despite the protestations of Davy Reive. Peacock came on for the unlucky Stewart who will now miss out the next fortnight or so.

 

Just minutes later and another Dumfries penalty was converted for 24-0.

 

This seemed at last to galvanise the Biggar effort, the hosts finishing the half on the ascendancy, a series of pick and goes with Orr, Braid, Voas, Green et al in the van taking play deep into the Dumfries 22. Pressure was at last sustained and Dumfries were forced to defend. This they managed although Notman and Jardine both came within metres of the try line. Two penalties conceded by Dumfries both of which were eminently kick-able saw Biggar opt for a scrum and then a tap and go, this eventually spawning ball which Green used right. His wide pass was taken by Lavery who managed to off-load in the tackle to Alistair Sinclair who scampered over for a try which gave Biggar a 24-5 lifeline for the second half.

 

Biggar began the second period in fine style although crucially they were unable to add to their tally, ball lost when in promising positions and Dumfries managing to escape the immediate threat.

 

Having survived this initial period Dumfries then scored their 4th try, this coming after the Biggar defence was strung wide and far, Rory Steele crossing with a wee show and go. Carlisle was off target with his wide conversion but at 29-5 it didn’t look good for the home side.

 

The players had different ideas however and quickly had Dumfries back in their own half and on the defensive again. Voas who saw so much more of the ball this game then in any other so far this season made valuable inroads as did Notman, Braid and Orr with Jardine and Bradford helping by running ball back when Dumfries kicked clear. A hard won penalty gave Biggar an attacking opportunity and in similar fashion to the Dumfries score in the first half, ball won in the air by Jamie Orr was carried forward by Voas. Reive popped the ball out to Moffit, the big man almost unstoppable from close range and crashing over from some 10 metres out although he needed to stretch for the try. Green converted for 29-12.

 

Now, in what was a purple patch, Biggar probed once again, with all taking ball into contact with a new found confidence. Off-loads which had previously proved inconsistent seemed to stick to hand and Biggar made ground slowly but surely. Euan Bogle who had replaced Sinclair at half time made some good yards with quick feet but it was that man Moffit (having easily his best game so far) who grabbed the next try.

 

A penalty to the Dumfries 22 saw ball won again by Orr, Reive on hand to provide the link to Moffit who came again as first receiver. His drive seemed destined to come to a swift end such was the Dumfries cover but miraculously he managed to stay on his feet before being half tackled. Able to continue on he burst through the remaining cover to stretch once again for the line, referee Morrison on hand to award the try. Green’s conversion made it 29-19!

 

With a quarter of the match still remaining it was very much a case of game well and truly on!

 

In what was real harem, scarem period a clash of heads saw Biggar’s Braid and Dumfries’ McCall depart, this leading to uncontested scrums which with Biggar just edging their opponents in this area, nullified that slim advantage.

 

The pace of the game was beginning to tell although those who felt Biggar were down and out at half time and breathing too heavily would be delighted to note their continued efforts to take the points from this match. Dumfries were now confined to a defensive role as Biggar continued to press. The precise control which was required was just not quite there however with a couple of lineouts and passes not as accurate as would have been wished.

 

An injury to Jardine saw him replaced by Stewart who played on the wing with Bradford reverting to fullback. As Kelly had come on earlier for Braid, Biggar had now used all their bench.

 

Continuing to press Biggar were awarded a penalty which with several minutes remaining they opted to kick for the corner. While the initial foray was halted on the left, play was switched back to the right where Green’s long pass found Notman in acres of space and with a clear overlap. The flanker put his head down though and crashed over for a try which when converted by Green took Biggar within 3 points at 29-26.

 

And so to the final minute of drama. While Dumfries might have thought that the restart would give them good field position Biggar had different ideas and a break from Green took play deep into their opponents half. Some great interplay between Warnock, Peacock and Lavery maintained the momentum with the two Orr’s providing suitable battering rams to continue the onslaught.

 

A penalty award came Biggar’s way and in the middle of the park on the Dumfries 22 there was a great opportunity to tie the match.

 

The rest is now history, a break by Bradford and then by Bogle allowed Biggar to press but each sortie was met by stout defence. A ruck formed and for once Dumfries opted to go for the counter ruck, and as Biggar attempted to scramble the ball back referee Morrison blew for a penalty – cue manic celebrations from the Dumfries squad who knew that the kick to touch would end the match.

 

For the neutral a cracking match, and while there was understandable frustration and disappointment in the Biggar ranks, the squad can take great heart and solace for the way in which they came back into the match, scoring 4 tries in the process and matching their opponents in every area, save for the penalty count…….

 

Next up is a tough trip to GHK, the Glasgow side not playing just as well as they did last year but a difficult proposition in the city. Biggar will have to dig deep and rely on their reserve strength as there were a few sore bodies at the end of the game.

 

Biggar

D. Voas, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, J. Orr, A. Warnock, C. Braid, A. Orr, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffit, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: D. Voas, G. Kelly, E. Bogle, G. Stewart.


Biggar suffer agony of last minute defeat in local derby

Biggar 30 Peebles 33

A rugby match lasts some 80 minutes plus stoppage time and it was deep into this stoppage time that Peebles scored their 5th try to take the lead for the first time and deny Biggar what had looked to most to be a relatively straightforward win. That Peebles were beaten the previous week by Kirkcaldy in what amounted to very similar circumstances was not lost on the Peebles support who were understandably cock-a-hoop at their win, the first of this campaign.

 

The mood in the Biggar camp was very different of course with a combination of frustration, disbelief and anger that they had coughed up the game in such a dramatic manner. With 10 minutes remaining and at 30-19 ahead it looked as though Biggar would take the points and deny their rivals that first elusive win but in the end instead of claiming what would have been a priceless 3 from 3 record Biggar could only salvage a losing bonus as Peebles claimed a valuable 5 pointer.

 

Form is absolutely no guide in a local derby and so it proved as Biggar failed to put the game away, their control of play which had given them a 24-19 half time lead evaporating after the break as Peebles took great pleasure in capitalising on an unusually profligate defence.

 

Ewan Stewart made a return to the starting XV this to the exclusion of Andrew Peacock although the tireless lock did break his nose against Howe. In the backs Stuart Hull was preferred to Gregor Stewart while Aird Jardine was at fullback with Ross Bradford moving back to the wing for David Paterson.

 

Early exchanges were even with Biggar pinning Peebles back with a variety of kicks until Biggar enjoyed a prolonged period of pressure in the Peebles 22 with a total of 13 phases resulting in a try for Andrew Orr, the back row/hooker diving over from close range. The lead up was a great passage of play with Biggar pounding at the Peebles defence after Bradford had made the first clean line break of the day. Peebles held out well but eventually play was taken to the line and Orr broke clear. Carne Green added the conversion.

 

A neat re-start from Greg Raeburn – this a feature of this contest – gave Peebles possession and while the crowd had had to wait 13 minutes for the first score, the second came just 2 minutes later. Peebles hit up via flanker Euan Jackson and then Raeburn popped a neat ball to Murray Brown who split the Biggar defence before feeding Ruaridh Clinch who coasted over for a try converted by Raeburn to level the scores.

 

A neat break by hooker Ryan Stewart might have come to more save for a timely tackle by Biggar skipper Ewan Sanderson and then a dropped pass while another Peebles sortie into the Biggar 22 saw Jardine plunder another loose pass with Greene able to clear the danger as Peebles were penalised for not releasing.

 

Biggar hit back from the lineout to this penalty with a sweeping passing movement sending Bradford on another long run, this play ending as Ewan Stewart lost possession in the contact but on the opposite wing, ball being moved easily from side to side.

 

Not to be outdone Biggar maintained the field position and with another series of tilts at the line with Robbie Lavery, Andrew Orr, Greene and Jardine all to the fore ball was moved left to Bradford who crashed over from short range for Biggar’s second, again converted by Green for 14-7.

 

In very similar fashion and incredibly frustrating for the sizeable support Biggar ceded possession from the restart and with No 8 Andrew Muir bursting through the middle, Biggar were penalised for playing the ball on the ground. Replacement scrum half Ruairdh Britton (Donald Anderson had left the field with a damaged shoulder) took a quick tap penalty to put Biggar on the back foot. His pass to Brown split the retreating defence and he crossed for a try which Raeburn converted to level the scores once again, this time at 14-14.

 

With 10 minutes remaining Biggar took the lead again with a Green penalty awarded after Muir was penalised for not rolling away and then after a play begun deep in the Biggar half saw ball moved wide again this time via Green, Gregor Stewart (who had just replaced the injured Hull) and Notman to Lavery. The centre made ground before freeing winger Bradford, these two then combining cleverly to draw and pass, Bradford rounding off the move with his second try which Green converted to open up a gap at 24-14.

 

Had Biggar managed to see the half out at this point things would surely have turned out very differently but Peebles had very different ideas and capitalised on some weak defence which allowed them to score again, Raeburn missing the conversion but Peebles were now back within one score of Biggar at 24-19.

 

Turning round to play towards the clubhouse Biggar changed their front row with Donald Voas and O’Connell replaced by Andrew Nimmo and Callum Braid. The home side might have expected to take control of proceedings in this half but while they played well in patches they opted to kick and give Peebles ball, the visitors taking great delight in running this back into contact. There were several handling errors which saw attacks break down, both sides undoubtedly feeling the pressure of this derby match. Green kicked two penalties to put Biggar into what should have been a commanding lead at 30-19, a third attempt awarded when he was taken out after a kick ahead and which saw Peebles Roddy Guiney issued with a yellow card, was pushed wide.

 

Crucially Biggar were unable to increase their lead while Peebles were a man down, the visitors doing much to frustrate Biggar although the home side lost out by losing possession at crucial times both in open and tight play.

 

For their part Peebles were content to keep Biggar at bay, neither side really threatening the line. As the minutes ticked by it looked as though there might not be any further scoring, Biggar one try away from a 4-try bonus but unable to turn what little territorial advantage they had into points.

 

With a half hour gone things began to change as Peebles seemed to up the tempo, running penalties to open the Biggar defence. A Biggar penalty should have eased things but a squint throw from the resultant lineout gave Peebles possession and they continued to play in the Biggar half. A Biggar error then gave Peebles another attacking opportunity which they took Stoddart scoring his second, Raeburn converting to put them within one score at 30-26.

 

Almost immediately from the restart Biggar lost the services of Jamie Orr who was shown yellow for a tip tackle. Down to 14 the pressure was all on Biggar. Unfortunately while the Biggar defence has until this game been fairly secure it could not contain Peebles who used the full period of added time to steal the match, Callum Anderson plunging over from close range after a series of penalties and plays in the Biggar 22.

 

Raeburns conversion was immaterial but he was successful, referee George Pounder bringing proceedings to a close.

 

While Peebles rightly celebrated, frustration, disbelief and anger were as previously suggested the prevalent emotions in the Biggar camp. A 3 from 3 unbeaten run would have been a dream start to this league campaign and although a win at Aberdeenshire would see Biggar 3 from 4, which would still be an excellent return, ‘Shire has not been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent years!

 

A tough week ahead on the training paddock!

 

Biggar

D. Voas, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, J. Orr, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, S. Hull, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: C. Braid, A. Nimmo, A. Patrascio, G. Stewart.

 

Biggar’s 2nd XV were left without a match after Gala called off their Friday evening contest as they were unable to field a side. This is very frustrating but symptomatic of the problems clubs face in fielding second XV’s.


Biggar take the points at Howe

Howe of Fife 20 Biggar 24

Biggar’s second league match took them over the new Queensferry Crossing into Fife and Cupar where they met the other side relegated from National 1 last season, Howe of Fife.

 

The Fife club have not had their troubles to seek recently but will doubtless come back stronger as the season progresses. They had a useful XV who ran Biggar close with a final 10 minutes which saw Biggar man up in defence to deny their hosts anything other than a losing bonus.

 

Biggar fielded largely the same XV which had faced Hamilton last week save that the front row was swapped (Donald Voas and Callum Braid started with Dan O’Connell and Andrew Nimmo on the bench) and with Andrew Orr hooking in place of the injured Ewan Stewart. There was only one change in the backs where Aird Jardine dropped to the bench with David Paterson starting on the wing and Ross Bradford moved to fullback.

 

 

In very pleasant autumn conditions Biggar kicked off playing up the not insignificant slope. The early exchanges were relatively even with both sides conceding penalties at what appeared to be an alarming rate.

 

Howe opened their account from one such penalty but Carne Green was uncharacteristically off target with a kick which would have tied the scores, the ball bouncing off the upright but out of reach of the Biggar support.

 

On 25 minutes referee Richard downing saw fit to yellow card Howe hooker Connor Crawford for another offside, Green kicking well this time to tie the scores at 3-3. In a breakout Green then saw his grubber blocked with Howe gaining only a slight advantage which was then negated as Biggar stole possession. A great touchline step and turn of pace then saw winger Alistair Sinclair leave the Howe cover almost all in his wake bar for a flailing hand which was enough to knock him off his stride. Passing inside Davy Reive was up to carry the move forward and in truth had the scrum half gone for the corner he would surely have made it but he elected instead to feint to the supporting lock Jamie Orr. Having moved slightly away from Orr his actual pass fell tantalisingly low and Orr knocked the ball on with the line beckoning.

 

Howe it was who regained their lead, this after David Paterson was caught as he sought to run out of defence, Howe stand off Cameron Ellison the kicker.

 

Biggar had a chance to put Howe under real pressure from the restart which was dropped but the lineout peel saw the ball nudged forward in the transfer, giving Howe a let off.

 

Half timepiece then with nothing between the sides and with everything to play for. Coach Gary Mercer rang the changes in the pack as O’Connell and Nimmo came on to replace Voas and Baird.

 

It’s never good to concede a try at any point in a match but just before or just after half time can often be match winners as they tend to really punish the team which loses out. Biggar suffered this as almost directly from the restart a neat backs move saw Howe’s William Wardlaw take full advantage off a missed tackle to step through and behind the Biggar defence like the proverbial knife through butter. Having made the break he popped the ball back inside to his fellow centre Duncan McIntyre who galloped in under the posts. Ellison added the conversion and suddenly Biggar were two scores behind.

 

Gregor Stewart and Paterson were then switched for Ryan Moffat and Aird Jardine, the latter’s appearance at fullback seeing Ross Bradford move to the wing berth.

 

Just as quickly as Howe had scored so Biggar were able to reply though the try when it came was not from a normal source. Having won a penalty which Green dispatched to the corner Biggar made to catch and drive, a tactic they seldom use with any real conviction – until Saturday that is when with Douglas Notman in charge, the pack drove the Howe eight back with some ease before Notman collapsed over the line for a timely try. Green made no mistake despite the narrow angle and at 13-10 Biggar were right back in the mix.

 

A penalty shortly afterwards by Green tied the scores with a half hour at least remaining.

 

Biggar then enjoyed what was to become their best period of the match as they played the game almost solely in the Howe half, a number of probing runs ensuring the home defence was made to work really hard – which they largely did – to keep Biggar out.

 

Something though was bound to give and so it was that Green kicked again for 16-13. Just after this and following a great wee break from Sinclair ball was moved swiftly up the wing. Had the pass been given Biggar would have taken the lead but as it was the ball was gobbled up by retreating Howe man McIntyre who was able to clear the danger.

 

The score was merely delayed however, as flanker Ewan Sanderson rounded off a very enterprising passing sequence which saw ball moved quickly to beat the Howe cover. Bradford’s break paved the way but the score was made by the swift passing from Lavery and then Sinclair. Green was unable to land the conversion but at 21-13 Biggar had opens up a gap.

 

Just when it looked as though Biggar might be able to crack on so Howe came back into things a long period of play seeing the turn the tables on Biggar and force the visitors to defend. While they did so fairly well, just as Biggar scored a try so did Howe, lock forward Ryan Milne making the initial break through the Biggar defence before getting the ball inside to his supporting winger Cameron Patrick who crashed over leaving a trail of Biggar tacklers in his wake. Ellison’s conversion made it a one point match with some 12 minutes remaining.

 

The score ended the game for flanker and skipper Alan Warnock and for lock Andrew Peacock who were replaced by Stewart and Baird.

 

Biggar hit back once again virtually from the restart, Howe desperately trying to break out but being penalised as Biggar competed at the breakdown. Green struck again for 24-20.

 

Just as had been the case the previous week against Hamilton Biggar were then forced into a rearguard action as they were pushed back into their half and then their 22 as their opponents strive to get what could have been a winning try. That Biggar held out is to their real credit, played putting themselves in all sorts of positions to halt Howe’s progress.

 

Ironically the game ended as Howe conceded a penalty this after they had spent some considerable period of time on and almost over the Biggar line. Stand off Ellison and centre Wardlaw it was who conspired to ‘cross’ as Biggar prepared to tackle. There was some debate with the referee as to who to end the match but eventually Biggar kicked clear to hear the final whistle.

 

Biggar’s away form has never been all that great and for some it was almost a jinx to even talk about an away win. This was surely dispelled for this seasons as while the side were not as clinical or as effective as they had been against Hamilton the specious week, they still manges to secure the league win.

 

Coaches Mercer and Wilson were happy to take the points but were equally quick to pint out that the overall standard of play a still short of what they sought, something most of the side readily agreed with. Back to the training pitch then with another local derby to look forward to on Saturday when Peebles are the visitors.

Peebles have not enjoyed the best of starts but form goes out the window in this type of fixture and it will all be about which squad wants the win more. A feisty, competitive encounter is likely.

 

Biggar

D. Voas, A. Orr, . Braid, J. Orr, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, D. Paterson, R. Bradford Reps: A. Nimmo, D. O’Connell, R. Moffat, A. Jardine.

 

2nds take on Marr at home

Fresh from their great win at Dundee last week the 2nds hosted Marr, one of the top sides in the Reserve League. True to form they took the game to Biggar early on, stretching the Biggar defence and making them work.

 

The final score of 28-16 was fair but nonetheless hard to take. Marr were the better side but Biggar compounded things by dropping off a few tackles and as their set piece faltered, largely due to the fact that many players are not yet 100% match ready.

 

This side will develop as the players come together on a regular basis. There were several players making their first start this season and their rustiness showed, hard though they also tried.

 

Ewan Bogle had a reasonable day with the boot.

 

A disappointing aspect of the match however was a knee injury to live wire scrum half David McArthur who damaged his already weak knee. This was rotten luck indeed and the club wishes him a speedy recovery.


Biggar take on Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton

With the league season resuming and with 3 sides in action on Saturday, Biggar RFC were delighted to record 3 important wins: 2 against local rivals Hamilton at 1st XV and Colts XV level and the 3rd an excellent 2nd XV away win at Dundee High! Great start….

 

Sunday provided another great set of results with all sides performing particularly well.

 

In fact from 9 starts Biggar recorded 8 wins.

 

Biggar 24 Hamilton 17

Biggar kicked off their League season with a testing encounter against Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton, a side which romped through Nat 2 two seasons ago but who were relegated last season.

 

The Hartree Mill grounds were looking their best in the late summer sun and with the pre-season displays still fresh in the memory, Biggar opened up strongly. They met a resolute Hamilton defence, however a penalty award saw stand off Carne Green kick for a 3-0 lead.

 

Biggar’s pack featured a real mix of youth and experience and demonstrated that they would make things really difficult for their visitors both in the tight exchanges and in the loose. Props Andrew Nimmo and Dan O’Connell were hitting up well, supported by the back row of Ewan Sanderson, Andrew Orr and Douglas Notman. Unfortunately hooker Ewan Stewart was forced off early on, this necessitating a switch for Orr to the front row and giving Jamie Orr his first outing this season.

 

The pack paved the way for the backs to attack off go-forward ball which they enjoyed.

 

Hamilton should have equalised from a penalty kicked by full back Alan Wilson but he did convert a try scored by Inglis, the winger able to round off a passage of play which saw a couple of Biggar errors allow the Hamilton side to gain ground. The conversion took Hamilton into a 7-3 lead, this just past the half hour mark.

 

A fairly frantic period of play ensued within the Hamilton 22 and this should have seen Biggar score bar for an infringement of a ‘new’ rule in that the hooker must hook the ball. With their scrum under the cosh this free kick gave Hamilton some relief, or at least it should have but in an attempt to run ball out of defence play moved across the width of the pitch before Notman managed to disrupt ball at the ruck base sufficiently to allow winger Ross Bradford a chance to poach a try.

 

A well struck conversion from Green put Biggar ahead by 10-7.

 

Biggar’s defence was efficient, their use of the choke tackle meaning that Hamilton were held up and conceded possession a feature of the afternoon. Hamilton were not to be put off however and a neat passage of play which saw ball shifted wide and then back inside allowed Wilson a tilt at the line. He was unable to convert, the score now 12-10 to Hamilton.

 

Biggar then hit back with two quick fire scores. Orr and Bradford were making good ground when they got the ball and this and Green’s intelligent kicking kept Hamilton pinned in their half. An attacking play with ball passed to Gregor Stewart saw the young centre shape to pass left before switching the ball back inside to Robbie Lavery who was running a good line. His off-load was taken by Orr who in turn popped the ball to Davy Reive, the scrum half needing a telescopic arm to reach out for a fine score which Green converted for 17-12.

 

Directly from the restart a kick ahead by Green saw Hamilton try once more to run the ball out of defence. An inside pass was well read by Stewart who started off for the line. The cover defence was good but the youngster made an ‘out the back’ backhand pass to Reive who linked with Orr, the flanker crashing over despite the attentions of two Hamilton tacklers for another try – his 6th of the season to date.

 

Green’s conversion took Biggar into a half time lead of 24-12.

 

That Biggar failed to increase their total after the break is a frustration. Chances they had although neither side could really break their opponents defence down sufficiently to get in behind and score. Hamilton did manage a score, this from Wilson who was able to profit from a neat break and pass by stand off Stuart Whitelaw, which Wilson again converted.

 

Biggar made some decent breaks with replacement prop Donald Voas in the van on a couple of occasions and with a neat kick ahead almost spawning a try bar fro some last ditch Hamilton scrambling defence.

 

In year gone by however, Biggar would have struggled to see the game out and may well have cracked under the pressure. With Green orchestrating things behind the scrum however, and with the pack carrying ball tirelessly and working together in defence, Hamilton were thwarted and their efforts were generally cross pitch.

 

There were some really big efforts made by the whole squad, second row work horses of Jamie Orr and Andrew Peacock and Alan Warnock being noteworthy. Prop O’Connell received the man-of-the-match nod however, this after another workmanlike performance in all areas.

 

Great work too from Aird Jardine who was fielded at fullback, winger Alistair Sinclair who had a quieter day than of late and the bench of Stuart Hull and Ryan Moffat.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, A. Warnock, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Notman, , D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: D. Voas, J. Orr, R. Moffat, S. Hull

 

The win is a positive step but one which will require to be repeated this Saturday when the team travel to take on the other side relegated last season, Howe of Fife.

 

The 2nds travelled to Dundee on Saturday. There were some 38 senior players training on Thursday evening but the selection for this 2nd team was still a struggle as contractors and unavailability meant the side was still in doubt until Saturday.

 

That the boys returned with a win is all the better then and a massive pat on the back to all involved, no more so than to ‘retired’ Neil Wolfendene who played a stormer and managed to score a try to boot! Big pluesses agai however in the play of those fresh out of Colts. No fewer than 6 played and all were extremely positve in their approach showing maturity beyond their years - particularly in defence. There were some nice efforts in attack as well however with all trying to keep the ball available.

 

Commiserations to StevenCampbell and Craig McDonald who both picked up injuries. It is to be hoped they are not out of the game for long.

 

There was a classic twist to this match. The 2nds in similar fashion to the 1sts had managed to stretch ahead to 28-15. Dundee were not out of things however and they came back into the game with two tries, the last of which, had it been converted would have given them a one point win. Happily, from a Biggar point of view at least, the kick went wide and Biggar clung on to their win.

 

Biggar’s win came courtesy of tries from James Barr, Wolfendene and Stuart Alder while Euan Bogle (1 conversion, 2 penalties) and Craig McDonald (1 conversion, 1 penalty) shared the kicking duties.

 

Alder’s try which saw the centre involved twice is already – and after just one game and one week of the season – being talked up as the try of the season!

 

Of interest was the selection for Dundee 1sts of ex-Biggar Colt Rory McGinn at stand off with brother Danny on the bench. On the pitch adjacent to where the 2nds played the boys helped their new club to a good 33-0 win over Falkirk.

 

And to think there are another two Biggar youngsters headed to Dundee to study this session…..


Biggar round up pre-season with win over Hawks

Biggar 68 Glasgow Hawks 28

Biggar’s National Cup opponents, Div 3 side Perthshire, pulled out of the fixture on Wednesday evening as they were without prop forwards. This was a blow as Biggar needed a fixture prior to league action next week against Hamilton. Over to fixture secretary John Jackson who conjured up Glasgow Hawks 2nd XV although the Glasgow side were aided by a couple of Hamilton players to complete their squad. Aside from the fact that Gary Mercer and David Wilson both previously coached at Hawks there is another link with ex-Biggar Colt Peter Steele returning to Hartree Mill in Hawks colours, the youngster having switched clubs last season. Many thanks to the Hawks for filling the void in at short notice and for travelling, Hartree Mill never a favourite of city sides!

 

On a perfect afternoon for rugby the game got off to a cracking pace with Biggar opening the scoring after 15 minutes when an offensive hit in the centre by Gregor Stewart dislodged the ball which was gobbled up by flying winger Alistair Sinclair who set off to the line some 60 metres away. Outstripping the defence he scored just to the left of the posts, Euan Bogle converting for 7-0.

 

Just 8 minutes later and that man Sinclair ran in his second, this after he was picked out by stand off Carne Green, this a feature of the Kiwi’s play all afternoon. Bogle converted again for 14-0.

 

Feinting a wide pass, Green popped a short ball some 5 minutes later to rampaging flanker Andrew Orr. He made ground before feeding supporting centre Gregor Stewart who then fed hooker Ewan Stewart who crossed for an excellent score though just too wide for the conversion.

 

Sinclair then nabbed his hat-trick (his second in 3 weeks), this another long run in after Ewan Stewart provided a neat inside ball on the half way. Bogle’s conversion took Biggar to 26 points with Hawks gaining a score of their own as their number 8 burrowed over from close range. The conversion made the half time score 26-7 to Biggar.

 

The try run continued after the break when Orr made a very typical breenge up the middle and over, Bogle again on target for 33-7.

 

Biggar made a hash of the restart kick after this score and Hawks pounced one more as their centre crashed over under the posts.

 

Biggar’s newest recruit Arnoldas Patrascio from Lithuania (via Denmark) made the ultimate dream start. Playing at lock but standing at the tail of the lineout he gathered a Hawks overthrow to turn and gambol over for a try with what was his very first touch of a ball in a Biggar jersey! Much amusement for the healthy crowd. Needless to say Bogle converted.

 

In similar fashion to Hawks’ second score, Biggar’s defence was once again found wanting and with Patrascio clearly shielding a weak shoulder he departed to be replaced by live wire Callum Dunlop who had started and who showed great composure throughout the match.

 

Another neat pop pas from Green to Orr was the prelude to Biggar’s next try, this going to skipper for the day Euan Sanderson, the flanker clearly in good spirits after his holiday and making a great contribution all day. With Bogle off for a rest Aird Jardine converted.

 

Biggar conceded a penalty in their own 22 as Hawks again came back at Biggar, the visitors stand off stepping neatly to beat the Biggar cover for their 4th score which, when converted, gave them their 28 point tally.

 

Biggar were not to be outdone however and relished the opportunity to have the last word(s)!

 

A neat dink from Green behind the Hawks midfield saw Jardine nip in and make the best job of splitting the remaining cover for a try (suspiciously offside perhaps?) which Green converted as everyone wanted to get in on the act.

 

The final score went to winger Ross Bradford who had been running lines all afternoon without ever touching the ball which never seemed to go his way. A darting, mazy run by Jardine saw the wee man beat several of the Hawks defence -some seemingly twice – before off-loading, the ball eventually nabbed by Bradford for the final and 10th Biggar try. Green converted for the 68 point tally.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, G. Kelly, C. Dunlop, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Notman, A. Jardine, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, E. Bogle Reps: C. Braid, D. Voas, D. O’Connell, R. Moffat, J. Barr, I. Renwick

 

Three games gone and Biggar’s pre-season record makes excellent and very encouraging reading:

Played 3 Won 3 Points for 167 Points against 50.

 

That of course counts for little as the very real and important test is this Saturday when the side entertains Hamilton. This is a Lanarkshire local derby which is always keenly awaited and equally keenly contested. The Hamilton club were relegated last season after cleaning up National 2 the season before and they will have a point to prove. Their pre-season concluded on Saturday with a resounding 100+ point Cup win over their hosts Aberdeenshire who, aside from others have lost two of their number to Biggar – stand off Green and centre Michael McKeand who returns to his roots after several years up north (it’ll be great to see him back in the black jersey!).

 

It was also very encouraging to see Biggar’s bench again being used to the maximum with appearances for props Dan O’Connell and Donald Voas who have both struggled with injury and too for Iain Renwick who is another who is returning to his first club, this after several seasons with Ayr.

 

Selection is now a real test for coaches Mercer and Wilson who have several players contesting for places in both backs and forwards – these a real mixture of experience and youth. There will be disappointment for some but all should be encouraged by the knowledge that they are playing for the black jersey and Biggar RFC. This is as true for those who play in the 2nd XV as it is for those in the 1st XV. The 2nds have a daunting task with their first outing being a trip to Dundee High on Saturday. Ironically they could face two ex-Biggar players in the brothers McGinn (Danny and Rory) who both played for their new club on Saturday against Stirling County.


Biggar are Border Reivers with win in Penrith

Penrith 17 Biggar 21

This was the third match between these two sides and Biggar now lead the series 2-1. Saturday’s trip south was, as had been expected, a step up after last week’s match against Ponteland, but one which the Biggar squad made well.

 

Holidays, injury and work continue to prevent some players from making an appearance but those who did travel playe their part, none more so than those who have graduated from Colts rugby, Guy Kelly, Andrew Nimmo, Callum Dunlop and Euan Bogle all contributing massively to the Biggar performance.

 

Played over 3 periods, each of 30 minutes, this was another shock to the system, mainly because Biggar had only one forward replacement and he (Kelly) came into action on the 25 minute mark after Ewan Stewart picked up a leg knock. It was a long day for the pack!

 

Biggar almost drew first blood when a try looked to have been scored by Andrew Orr but the referee adjudged the flanker/hooker to have lost control of the ball over the line.

 

Penrith thet had a tilt at the Biggar line after a penalty and resultant lineout. Penrith scrum half, George Graham – formerly of Gala – made a dartign run to score the first try, this tactic paying off well throughout the match as he exploited gaps in the Biggar close defence.

 

Biggar should have scored a try almost immediately as Carne Green’s pass put Ryan Moffat into space. The centre in turn fed Robbie Lvery but the pass didn’t quite stick.

Kelly replaced Stewart, this neccessitiating a switch in the forwards but one which ahd little effect on the Biggar scrummage.

 

Right at the end of the third Biggar’s endeavours were rewarded as Andrew Peacock drove over from close range for a try converted by Green. 7-5 to Biggar.

 

After 10 minutes of this period Biggar introduced all their bench with Bogle, Gregor Stewart, James Barr, Craig McDonald and Aird Jardine replacing Alistair Sinclair, Lavery, Green, Moffat and Davy Reive respectively.

 

Some excellent continuity should have led to a second try but again the chance was lost. Instead Penrith scored another after Graham again sniped at the scrum base. The conversion put Penrith ahead at 12-7, this the only score of this period.

 

There were changes again before the third period got underway. Biggar took the lead shortly after the restart, Sinclair making excellent headway from Bogle’s wide pass. The winger celebrated his 21st in fine style by continuing on his run after he had passed, catching the return pass to sprint across in the corner. A great score which Bogle converted for 14-12.

 

Penrith looked bigger physically then their guests but they were somewhat ring-rusty playing in what was their first fixture of this season. Biggar held out due to some sterling work in defence by the pack but supported out wide. The hosts did score again however, this off a driven lineout which is so difficult to stop when it is done properly. Witht the conversion missed Penrith had a 17-14 lead with some 12 minutes remaining.

 

A performance was what was wanted with a win a secondary aim but when Nimmo ran another excellent line close to the ruck and crashed over for what would be the winning try, there was much celelbration. This was in most spectators opinion the ‘correct’ result, Biggar having had the best part of the play and having created the most chances. Bogle added the conversion to gibe Biggar their 21-17 winning margin.

 

Biggar

A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, C Braid, C. Dunlop, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, A. Orr, D. Notman, D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, R. Moffat, R. Lavery, S. Hull, R. Bradford Reps: G. Kelly, G. Stewart, J. Barr, C. McDonald, A. Jardine, E. Bogle

 

The Cup game this Saturday will be another step along the way with Perthshire, although finishing last season towards the bottom of National 3, always likely to provide a tough challenge. KO is 3pm and it would be great to get a big support to cheer the boys along.


Membership

Biggar RFC operates and Open to All policy and welcomes new members from all sectors of the community

 

We accept members from 5 years upwards who can join our Mini section to those that have retired and want to assist and retain their links with our active club.

 

Our membership year runs from May to April and if you would like to find out more about the playing arrangements at the club or become a member please contact either Gordon Young on 07774678617  or via email at gy1680@aol.com or Nigel Pacey on 07714 713504.

 

If you would like to know a little more about our rugby programmes for Primary or Secondary school children please refer to our Mini and Midi pages under the "Teams" section or contact either Laura Watson for information about Primary School age children and Paula Yardley on 07830022447 for Secondary School aged children

Membership rates and packages are as follows:

 

The Standing Order form can be downloaded here (doc format)

 

The BRFC membership form can be downloaded here (doc format)

 


NEWS

1sts round off in style

Biggar recorded another handsome win over visitors PL

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Biggar push Kirkcaldy all the way.

Biggar took the plaudits from this tight match: 13-10 defeat

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Lasswade defeat

The East Lothian side finish well to take the points

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Biggar swamp West

Biggar rack up 60!

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Biggar lose at home to Lasswade

Biggar miss out on chance to lead the League

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PL put to the sword

Biggar dump PL

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Another 5 pointer as Whitecraigs come calling

A great first half sees Biggar earn another 5 points

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Fantastic come back at GHK earns 5 points

Down and out after 15 minutes, Biggar fought back to win 36-28

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Biggar and Dumfries serve up a thriller

Biggar match visitors in tries with a single penalty all that seperates the sides at the death

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Biggar suffer agony of last minute defeat in local derby

After being ahead for all bar 5 secs of this match, Biggar suffer first League defeat.

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Biggar take the points at Howe

A second scalp on the trot for Biggar.

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Biggar take on Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton

Biggar nabbed the winning points to regain bragging rights in Lanarkshire derby

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Biggar round up pre-season with win over Hawks

The disappointment felt over Perthshire's National Cup withdrawl was reduced after defeat of Hawks

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Biggar are Border Reivers with win in Penrith

It's 2-1 for Biggar in the Penrith series

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Membership

Memberships 2017-18

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