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

Club News

Congratulations to those ex-Biggar players who played in Saturday’s Sarah Beaney Ladies Cup Final at Murrayfield.

 

The trio who were part of the winning Watsonians XV – Ellie Armstrong, Abbi Baillie and Aillie Tucker - were the happiest at the result and commiserations go to Amy Watkins who was in the Hillhead Jordanhill ranks and to their coach Aird Jardine.

 

This coming Sunday the Girls U18 squad travel to Murrayfield to play in the National Shield final against Hillhead Jordanhill. KO is 2.45pm and as always it would be fantastic to get a large travelling support to cheer the girls on.

 

Club News

Tartan Touch makes a return to Hartree Mill for season this week, Wed May 1st. Tartan Touch is a social game with the emphasis very firmly on having fun with all ages – from the youngest to the oldest and all levels of ability – from novice to gnarled veteran - all very welcome to attend.

 

More details will be posted on social media and in the coming weeks.

 

The focus is also now very firmly on Biggar RFC’s Big May weekend.

This is the club’s major fundraiser and it would be fantastic if there was a good turnout of members to any, or even all, of these events.

 

With just over 6 weeks to go GY would very much like to get numbers and tables organised for the Ball. To this end members should have been in receipt of an email which details everything you need to know about the event – including table numbers, menu and drink order. PLEASE try and respond to this offer and lets make this event a cracker!

 

There is of course masses to celebrate with the 1st XV promotion being just one part of that. Add Gold club status awarded by the SRU, Try of the Month for January and Club of the Month for January and 3 awards at the Clydesdale Sports awards plus another successful season for the Youth section with, in particular, our Boys U16’s as Scottish Cup finalists and West District Shield winners.

 

Big May weekend:

Fri 24th: Celebration Ball (£45)

Sat 25th Biggar Sevens (Gents and Ladies) (£7)

Sun 26th Music in the Marquee Tide Lines (£15)

Super Saver ticket £60 for ALL 3 events


Final match played - finally!

Preston Lodge 29 Biggar 50

And so the season ends!

 

After 3 previous postponementts this final match was finally played and with the win Biggar achieved their target of 101 National 2 League points, a truly magnificent total and one which not even the most optimistic would not have dreamt possible at the season outset in August.

 

That 29 points were conceded was frustrating – this the highest number of points conceded by any opponents this season – but given that there was nothing really at stake and that the match had an ‘end of term’ feel to it this is perhaps not so surprising. In addition the markedly much more pleasant conditions (a warm sun in Prestonpans where there were only clouds and rain in Biggar) only enhanced the desire to play open rugby.

 

Biggar were able to field a pretty much full 1st XV save for the absence of Ewan Stewart, Davy Reive and Rowan Stewart. A very unfortunate accidental collision during the warm up involving Gregor Stewart and his brother meant that the centre lasted just a couple of minutes before being forced off the pitch. Robbie Lavery started at scrum half but with Stewart’s retiral Luhann Kutze made a long awaited return from injury to play at scrum half with Robbie Lavery moving to centre and with Conor Lavery taking over at fullback from the bench.

 

There was a very nice touch accorded the Biggar side as they were clapped onto the pitch by their hosts in recognition of their Champions status.

 

Biggar opened the scoring after just 4 minutes. The sides ability to attack from anywhere and particularly when a turnover is secured has been a feature of the Biggar play this season and so it proved on Saturday with several tries coming as their hosts had the ball in attack. A loose pass or ball spilled in contact was quickly snaffled up and with pace and angles of running the PL defence was bamboozled and found wanting.

 

There was a tit-for-tat spell for the best part of the match with no fewer than 13 tries scored, 4 for the hosts and 8 for Biggar.

 

PL kept in touch with Biggar with the half time score of 24-17 meaning that the game was still very much for the taking. An early Biggar try was immediately cancelled out by a brace from PL and so at 31-29 there was just two points sepwerating the sides. Biggar were able to up their game however and a hat-trick of tries for Matthew Stewart took them clear at 50-29. Matthew had a personal tally of 25 points and a season total of 191. This was very probably his alst game for Biggar as it his intention to move to Glasgow Hawks next season and test himself in the new Premiership.

 

Points on Saturday went to Ross Bradford, Kutze, Lewis Stewart, Conor Lavery, Matthew Stewart (3 tries, 5 conversions) and Ewan Sanderson.

 

Biggar

C. Lavery, R. Bradford, G. Stewart, M. Stewart, E. Bogle, J. Barr, R. Lavery, A. Nimmo, C. Mulligan, F. Carossi, J. Orr, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson (Capt), L. Stewart, R. Jackson.

Reps: D. Voas, R. Stewart, A. Howatson, L. Kutze.


Championship winners

Peebles 7 Biggar 25

 

CHAMPIONSHIP CLINCHED!!

 

A wonderful result for Biggar and one which finally clinched the National 2 Championship. For several weeks the destination of the Championship has been all but certain with it being only a very remote mathematical chance that Highland would catch Biggar and equal their League tally. Given Biggar’s massive positive points differential however it was highly unlikely that Highland would be able to take the top spot…..but it was still a possibility.

 

That possibility is now no more with the 4 points earned against Peebles taking Biggar clear on 96 league points and with the 100 a very real target for their last match on 13th April against Preston Lodge.

 

 

Biggar have achieved no fewer than 11 promotions in their relatively short 44 year history but only once before, in season 1984/85, have they been promoted as Champions! This then was a significant achievement and all the more so for the playing squad, none of whom have been in a 1st XV promotion winning side before. And particularly satisfying and enjoyable for 8 in the crowd who were part of Biggar’s first ever 1st XV and for the 7 who were also part of the 1985 squad who attended Saturday night’s annual dinner. CELEBRATIONS all round!

 

Back in October when Biggar lost their unbeaten record to Peebles, the more optimistic wondered if, when the time came, Biggar would be faced with a trip to The Gytes to secure the Championship. It was felt then, that that challenge would be an enticing yet incredibly difficult one, and so there was a good deal of nervous tension surrounding the preparations for this match given the prize.

 

With one exception, Franco Carrossi recovered from his rib unjury but adjudged not quite ready for a return to 1st XV duty, all others in the squad were fit – Alan Warnock, Robbie Orr and Conor Lavery recovered from midweek colds/sniffles – and so coaches Mercer, Wilson and Fleming had a difficult task to select a squad. The availability of Andrew Nimmo, who has been with Glasgow Hawks this season, but whose primary club is still Biggar, added more to this debate. In the end the youngster, who has had almost twice as much game time for Biggar than with Hawks, got the nod at loose head with Donald Voas moving to the tight side.

 

The rest of the squad followed similar lines to recent selections with Robbie Lavery dropping to the bench and Gregor Stewart starting at centre.

 

A mention must be made of the MASSIVE travelling Biggar support, surely the biggest tunrout of visiting supporters this league aghs seen for many years, if not ever. The whole cluib was represented with players and supporters of all ages and sections of the club making the trip to Peebles. What a reaction from the crowd as Biggar took the field and what a lift it gave the players who could have been forgiven for thinking that it was in fact a home match!

 

Played in near perfect spring-like conditions the game ensued with both sides playing an expansive game and one which entertained the crowd. Tackles were hard and there was predictably no quarter given or asked.

 

Biggar drew first blood when after 20 minutes Matthew Stewart kicked a penalty to put Biggar 3-0 up.

 

As expected at this stage Peebles had the edge in the tight with their pack disrupting the Biggar 8 in the scrum although the home lineout didn’t function just as well with ball won but not as tidily as would have been preferred.

 

Biggar’s cause was not helped with an injury to prop Donald Voas whose contributions both at scrum time and in the loose this season have been nothing short of immense. A suspected popped rib is a real issue for anyone but especially for a prop and so he was forced from the fray. This ended the much awaited contest between Donald and his brother Douglas who was in the Peebles squad. Replacement Paul Davidson, a natural tight head, put in a huge performance and helped Biggar secure their own ball and nip at least 3 against the head, an unusual occurrence for Peebles.

 

There was excitement in bucketloads with some good lines taken by both sets of backs and with kicks and chases providing real excitement.

 

The next score came from Club Captain Alan Warnock – a former pupil of Peebles High and no stranger to Peebles as he played at The Gytes for seveal seasons – got on the end of a great Biggar attack to score a try which Matthew Stewart was just unable to convert.

 

A second penalty gave Biggar a half time lead at 11-0.

 

The opening exchanges fo the second period saw Biggar scrum half Davy Reive shown a yellow for preventing fair release. Down to 14 men this 10 minute spell was significant though try as they did Peebles were unable to make the extra man count as the Biggar defence, already a huge factor in this season’s successes, again stood firm. Time and again tackles were made with all contributing to the cause and with Peebles given scant time to play without being under very real pressure.

 

The game was won on the back of two Peebles attacks which misfired, this again as much to do with Biggar pressure as any perceived Peebles errors. The first saw Ross Bradford, in typical style and certainly not for the first time this campaign, snaffle an interception pass from Peebles stand off Donald Anderson to run home from half way. Another Anderson pass shortly afterwards fell in similar fashion to Gregor Stewart who also ran in from long range. In a season when his younger brother has scored a club record 20 tries, this was particualrly sweet for the centre as this was his first of the season! Matthew Stewart (no relation!) kicked the conversions to both these scores to put Biggar ahead and effectively out of sight.

 

It looked as though Biggar would keep a clean sheet – which in itself would have been cause for celebration – but Peebles winger Scott Stoddart made amends when, and with only seconds remaining, he latched on to a speculative pass from Conor Lavery to beat the Biggar chase for a try. A stramash ensued as Biggar’s replacement winger Iain Renwick slid into Stoddart as he scored.

 

The conversion by Anderson was successful and as Biggar believed that referee Gardner’s whistle signalled fulltime there was much celebration from the Biggar squad who were joined on the pitch by the bench. This was short-lived however as the whistle was in fact to signal a penalty restart to Peebles on half way!

 

Peebles put together a series of phases but an error ended the contest to allow the real celebrations to begin!

 

There was some very real and raw emotion from Biggar players, coaches and supporters alike and which set things up perfectly for the senior dinner at Hartree Mill later in the evening. Fair play to the Peebles players who had the unenviable task of watchingthe celebrations unfold on their pitch. Not an easy task but one which they carried out admirably and in good spirit – such is rugby!

 

Many congratulations to Biggar’s coaching staff, Playing Convenors, physios and back up staff all of whom have contributed SO much to this season. Primarily however, congratulations to the senior playing group, every one of which has worked so tirlesssly to develop their fitness, skills and game understanding. It has all been more than worthwhile and has created memories for Biggar RFC which will last forever.

 

Biggar

R. Orr, R. Bradford, G. Stewart, M. Stewart, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. Orr, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson (Capt), C. Mulligan, R. Jackson.

Reps: A. Peacock, P. Davidson, R. Lavery, I. Renwick.

 

Biggar’s 2nd XV were scheduled to travel to take on Kelso on Saturday but were disappointed when the Border side were in touch to say that they were unabel to field a side.

 

This was rotten news for the Biggar XV who were primed for the match which they needed to win to be sure of avoiding relegation.

 

The 28-0 score does just that however and promotes the side to 6th place in the division with 2 games remaining.

 

A bonus was that the squad, many of whom have had 1st XV action this season were on hand at Peebles to watch the 1sts and join in with the celebrations.


1st XV tajke another step towards the Championship

Biggar 52 GHK 5

Biggar took another step closer to the Division 2 Championship with this 8 try to 1 win over Glasgow side GHK.

 

That Highland conquered Lasswade with an all important bonus point win means that the celebrations are on hold for another week at least as Biggar require a minimum of one more point to secure the title. It takes a brave man to predict any local derby result but the stakes are now upped given that Peebles are still the only side to have beaten Biggar this season and that they would dearly love to make that a double and stymie Biggar’s championship celebrations!

 

A big week ahead!


Playing away from the clubhouse and in front of a very good crowd, Biggar and GHK opened up strongly and the early passages of play were long and at times frantic as players sought to run possession wherever possible rather than kick. Dropped passes and good defence prevented any scoring.

 

Both sides were relatively successful in gaining good yards although neither were able to breech their opponents line until, that is, the 10th minute when Matthew Stewart made a great run to the line after being set free by stand off Conor Lavery who had gained possession from Robbie Orr. The youngster, who was imperious at full back, was making his last appearance at Biggar this season as he sets off for NZ next weekend for 6 months. He flies out to join Ali Steele who left Biggar in February and is playing with Tairu RFC in North Island. What wonderful opportunities for today’s youth!

 

Matthew Stewart added the conversion for his try but it was not long before GHK replied, their lineout and driving maul working well to take play within metres of the Biggar line. A series of close pick and go’s followed before prop Andrew McCulloch eventually got over the line for a good score. This tactic might have provided more points had they been able to use it more often but possession dried up somewhat after this score.

 

As it was, not only did GHK score but an altercation after the try saw Biggar centre Robbie Lavery shown a yellow card. Reduced to 14 men there was worse to come as referee Stuart Burns restarted the match with a GHK penalty on halfway.

 

Another Matthew Stewart break promised much but a penalty award for holding allowed GHK to clear.

 

Biggar prop Donald Voas has been in fine form of late and this continued on Saturday when on at least 3 occasions he made huge line breaks on the wing, showing some excellent accelaration and speed in the process and proving very difficult to stop.

 

After the 2nd of these bursts possession was retained and a neat inside pass from Conor Lavery to winger Rowan Stewart saw the youngster slice through the GHK defence for a fine try – his 20th of the season and a club record to boot. Matthew Stewart’s conversion made it 14-5.

 

A team has to work really hard when a man down to keep their line intact and so it was a real triumph for Biggar to have scored a try of their own during this period.

 

Lots of possession followed for Biggar but against the stiff breeze they struggled to make further inroads until, that is, the final minute of the half, when, after several promising forays, Robbie Orr made a fantastic run down the clubhosue side of the pitch, evading at least 4 would be tacklers in the process to crash over in the corner. A fantastic solo effort but just too wide for the conversion. Half time then was 19-5 to Biggar.

 

While many were more than happy with this advantage the coaching staff were less pleased and set Biggar back out to aim for a much greater convserion rate from possession to points.

 

It seemed that things were to start really well as Chris Mulligan made good a turnover to sprint over the line but referee Burns blew instead for a GHK penalty. The immediate danger was cleared but it was not long before Biggar were back on the attack, Voas getting the credit after yet another destructive touchline breenge. Matthew Stewart kicked an excellent touchline conversion for 26-5.

 

Biggar beagn to ring the changes with Guy Kelly the first to give way, his place taken by Paul Davidson who made an immediate impact in making an excellent turnover.

 

Tries were to come at fairly regular intervals now as Biggar increased the pace of the match and as GHK tired in the face of continually having to defend. Next up was that man Voas – again - who collected his second after (another) touchline run, though this time his final charge for the line was aided and abetted by fullback Robbie Orr who put his shoulder behind his prop to drive him over the line. James Orr then made way for Andrew Peacock, another who announced his presence in the best possible manner, the big man latching on to another Lavery pass to sprint clear and past the stretched GHK defence with a neat change of pace for a fantastic try, converted by Matthew Stewart.

 

Conor Lavery then made a schoolboy error in thinking he had actually scored before he touched the ball down, it squirting clear and rightly adjudged as having been knocked on.

 

Skipper Euan Sanderson rounded off another passage of play deep in the GHK half with a good score. Matthew Stewart’s conversion was followed swiftly by his second score and then his 6th conversion, a well-timed pass from replacement Gregor Stewart setting him free and over the line for the try.

 

All Biggar could and had to do was win the match, preferably with a 4-try bonus so from that point of view at least it was a case of mission accomplished. The news from Lasswade was relatively predictable and so the SRU Rep Graham Scott who was on duty with the Cup should Highland have tripped up, will be back at Peebles on Saturday to – hopefully - carry out the honours then.

 

Biggar

R. Orr, R. Bradford, M. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, F. G. Kelly, J. Orr, A. Warnock, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson.

Reps: A. Peacock, P. Davidson, G. Stewart, I. Renwick.

 

FOOTNOTE 1

Saturday saw the end of an era as Davy Reive played his last 1st XV home match. Given the honour of leading the side out onto the pitch, this was clearly an emotional moment for the Biggar stalwart. A fiesty competitor whose experience is difficult to quantify he has been ever-present in the Biggar ranks for some 12 years and has contributed masses to the club.

A bad attack of cramp prevented him from leading the team off at the end of the match but he can hold his head high and he will be sorely missed next season. He does have one more match remaining however and if selected he will be buzzing to get onto The Gytes pitch against Peebles.

 

FOOTNOTE 2

A massive thank you from all at Biggar RFC for the huge turnout of support for Saturday’s match. The touchlines were full and helped greatly in making it an occasion for the players and the club as a whole.

The Mini and Youth players also turned out in numbers to make a guard of honour which again was very much appreciated by the players. Of Saturday’s 1st XV squad no fewer than 15 from the 19 came all the way through the Biggar Youth system having played at Mini, Youth and Colts level before graduating to the senior game – a tremendous conversion and retention rate envied by many clubs around the country.
Many came early to take in the Colts match prior to the 1st XV match and to make a day of it.

Once again, all support is so very much appreciated


Biggar win top of the table battle

Highland 10 Biggar 12

In what will never be classed as a classic game of rugby, at the end of the day this was a massive performance from Biggar against what is undoubtedly a very good side and one which put Biggar under more pressure than any other side so far this season. With all involved making uncharcacterstic handling errors and with neither side getting the control they would have wished, Biggar did enough to hold on to a small 2 point lead to secure their 16th win of the season. The result sees Biggar stretch their lead at the top of the table to 16 points with Stewarts Melville leapfrogging Highland into second although the Inverness based side still have two games in hand.

 

This was an emotion-charged match at Inverness with the Highland club still in some shock after the passing of one of their coaches and Highland RFC stalwart Alistair ‘Porky’ Wymess. He was a rugby character who was well-known to many from Biggar. The 30 seconds of silence and 30 seconds of applause in his memory which preceded the kick off, plus the fact that ‘his’ No 3 jersey was rested for the match were all very fitting tributes and although Porky’s beloved Highland lost out, this was a contest he would undoubtedly have thoroughly enjoyed with no quarter asked and no quarter given.

 

Biggar travelled north in the knowledge that while their opponents had not played in some 6 weeks they would nonetheless be fired up to perform for their club and determined to maintain their impressive unbeaten home record which stretches back to Oct 2017. In preparation for the match on Highland’s new artifical pitch Biggar had trained at Lanark Racecourse 3G midweek although the conditions at Inverness with a partially frost-covered pitch made conditions for both sides – particularly with regard to handling as the ball was seemingly constantly wet and slippy - very difficult.

 

Highland fielded their strongest XV of the season with Biggar pretty much in similar shape and so the scene was perfectly set for a top-of-the-table clash, the result of which could yet determine the promotion places if not the championship itself. One who did not make thr trip was veteran Alan Warnock who remained at home with mum to be Emma.

 

Having played strongly to repel the first Highland foray Biggar opened the scoring with a very typical Conor Lavery try, the stand-off’s angled run taking him (far too easily from a Highland point of view) through the Highland defence. Matthew Stewart added the conversion to a score which clearly settled the Biggar effort. 7-0.

 

That Biggar scored a second try after just 8 minutes was astounding. This was a long lung-bursting run in for winger Ross Bradford who latched onto a loose pass from Highland stand off Iain Chisholm (members will remember Chis was Biggar DO in 2017-18) to run almost the length of the pitch to cross in the corner– a score almost identical to the one he scored at Falkirk a fortnight ago.

 

Euan Bogle who had come onto the pitch while Robbie Lavery received treatment for a cut head, took the touchline conversion but pulled the kick across the face of the posts. 12-0.

 

That it was all going to be as easy was very quickly dispelled as Highland came right back into the match, their forward effort – especially on the touchline where they won their own ball with ease and disrupted Biggar’s lineout with almost as much ease – pushing Biggar back into their own half where a string of handling errors only increased the pressure felt by the team and the Biggar support.

 

A couple of penalties gave Highland field position and with their lineout drive, the host side took play to within 5 metres of the Biggar line. Referee Smith had signalled for another penalty as Biggar tried to halt the drive but two further drives to the line eventaully saw big centre Rob Eatough barge over – almost up-ending referee Smith in the process. Chisholm was off target with the kick but his side were rigbt back in the game at 12-5.

 

Biggar have played an expansive game all season with players running and passing and using creative off-loads throughout. This has been a strategy which has led to them scoring the most points ever and which has made games very exciting to watch. On Saturday however, with the slippy ball and cold hands contributing, errors were commonplace with the side unable to escape from their own 22 and then when they did so, unable to press home attacks. There were more such errors in this one game as in almost all other matches put together. Indeed Biggar will never make as many handling errors again and yet still win a match. This certainly added to the excitement during the match but did absolutely no good at all for the nerves of the Biggar supporters!

 

This it has to be said was also a factor for the home XV who also struggled to retain possession and who suffered in similar fashion.

 

Biggar’s attack has been devastating this season and this speed and distribution almost provided a 3rd try. An initial attack had been thwarted but ball popped to Robbie Lavery saw the centre move the ball left to Matthew Stewart who broke past the initial cover. With players in support but perhaps just out of sight he opted to go for the line himself and almost got there save for a very good cover tackle from Highland fullback, Fijian Rupeni Rokoduguni.

 

There was however a lack of the usual control in Biggar’s play with the pressure of the occasion clearly telling. This again led to Highland gaining possession and in keeping Biggar out. The half ended with the home side very much on the ascedancy, a series of penalties, several of which they opted to run (this an unusual decision given the effectiveness of their lineout) taking them ever closer to the Biggar line. A lineout spawned good ball again and while Biggar managed on this occasion to halt the drive, Highland spun the ball wide. With Chisholm and Eatough again involved ball was taken by winger Rorry Cross who crashed over for their second try. While the try was scored closer to the posts Chisholm was again just wide, but as it was half time the match was as evenly balanced as it had been at the start of the match. 12-10 to the visitors.

 

Biggar were forced to make a change at the break, scrum half Davy Reive retiring with a hip injury. His replacement was centre Robbie Lavery, with Ryan Moffat introduced at centre. Declan Dinnen was another to soon make an appearance, Andrew Peacock who again showed up well coming off.

 

Biggar almost opened the half with a try, Matthew Stewart looking to be free on the left wing only for play to be halted for a forward pass.

 

Minutes later and another break through the centre after Bradford latched onto another misdirected pass from Chisholm that could well have led to a try was also halted but this time illegally by Highland lock Stuart MacDonald. The penalty and subsequent yellow card reduced Highland to 14 men. The lineout yielded possession but an error led to Highland snaffling a turnover to clear their lines.

 

That Biggar did not manage a try during the following 10 minutes when they had an extra man was donw again to a number of errors but also to some dogged defence from the hosts who managed to keep Biggar out.

 

Highland also managed to put together a number of phases despite being short-handed. A series of pick and goes and then another peanlty which saw them tap and go had Biggar on the back foot. It was a massive defensive effort to keep Highland out but this Biggar managed with a huge effort which saw attack after attack repelled with some excellent individual and two man tackles. Any yards gained were won via sheer hard work from Highland but each attempt was met by a solid wall of black and red.

 

A stramash between almost all of both teams was given little time by referee Smith and happily this was the only such incident in the match which was played in great spirit.

 

That there was no scoring in the whole of second half was unusual but there were loads of very close run things, the errors providing opportunities for both sides but with the cover and scramble defences up to the mark on each occasion.

 

For Highland that saw centre Eatough almost through before fullback Robbie Orr saved the day. This just one of several such incidents when the youngster tidied up loose ball. For Biggar perhaps the best chance came from a neat chip ahead by try scorer Lavery. Having secured possession from his own chip he fed flanker Chris Mulligan who looked set for a long run in to the line. The cover got back but possession was retained and fed to Ewan Stewart who also looked set to score until a try saving tackle from Chisholm saw ball spilled into touch just 5m short of the try line.

 

As the game played out and with just 2 points seperating the teams it became evident that whichever side scored would most likely go on to win the match. But which side would it be? Both continued to make advances but lost possession or had ball turned over.

 

Biggar won a penalty some 35 metres out and rather than go for the points elected to kick to the corner but again they failed to get good quality ball from the lineout from which to press home their attack.

 

With just a few minutes remaining Highland won a penalty to the left of the posts and some 30metres out. Given their control at the lineout it was again perhaps surprising that they didn’t opt to go for the corner and a driven line. Instead replacement Ruaridh NacDonald stepped up with Chisholm, who had missed both previous kicks, at his side.

 

There was a complete silence around the packed ground as the youngster took the kick. Fingers were crossed and breath held by both sets of supporters but the kick was short and pushed to the right of the posts. The danger was not over for Biggar however and it took a great catch from Matthew Stewart to set up the ruck ball. Guy Kelly provided an important pass to Lavery who, knowing that this would be the last play, thumped the ball over the deadball line. The whistle was the cue for celebrations for the Biggar XV to begin.

 

Massive disappointment for all at Highland but they were particularly gracious in defeat. There were several who were in the mix for man-of-the-match. Prop Donald Voas just came out in second to eventual winner and fellow front rower Ewan Stewart who won several very important turnover balls at crucial times in the match and who bravely played on despite a corker of a black eye!

 

A huge thank you from the squad to the fantastic Biggar support! Over 60 made the 380 mile round trip to support their team while dozens of others made good use of Highland’s ‘streaming’ of the match.

 

Special mention to 2nd XV coach Andrew Howatson who, after finding out that his own game was postponed, jumped in the car and headed north by himself to witness the match. Not content with being there he immediately helped out with touchline duties. Fantastic Biggar spirit!

 

Great too, to catch up with former BRFC Treasurer Bill Mitchell. As touch judge for a 2nd XV match between Highland and RAF Kinloss to be played after the 1st XV match, Bill and his pal offered to run the line for the 1st XV match as well!

 

Biggar now prepare for this weekend’s match against Glasgow Accies. They are much bruised from the Highland encounter but as sore were the numerous friction burns from the 3G carpet with knees, elbows and hips all scraped. Check the match photographs for the detail! Preparations were put on hold following Tuesda's snow. Fingers crossed the weather relents before the weekend....

 

 

Biggar

R. Orr, R. Bradford, M. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, F, Carrosi, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. Orr, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson.

Reps: G. Kelly, D. Dinnen, R. Moffat, E. Bogle

 

Biggar’s 2nd XV suffered a late cancellation of their match against Cartha with the Glasgow sides pitch failing a second pitch inspection at 10am.

The Colts match against Currie was cancelled on Friday evening.


BRFC 2nd XV run Accies close

Biggar 2nds 7 Edin Accies 21


On the neighbouring 2nd XV pitch Biggar 2nds hosted runaway Reserve League leaders Edinburgh Accies.
Biggar had lost their match in Edinburgh by some 48-3, this a fairly big score but dwarfed by others the Edinburgh XV have run up this season.


Despite taking the game by the scruff of the neck, Biggar fell behind to 2 first half Accies tries.


The hosts claimed a great try in the second half, Andrew Muir touching the ball down and Craig McDonald converting, but while they enjoyed some long periods of possession and territory they were unable to add to that 7 point tally.
For their part and much to their relief, Accies finally scored a 3rd try to put the issue, with just minutes remaining on the clock, beyond doubt. This goes down not only as a very good game of rugby, but also as one of Accies toughest tests.


Biggar currently occupy 6th spot in their league. Quite where they would be if they could field a settled XV for any sort of prolonged period of time, is anyone’s guess. As it was there were no fewer than 3 Colts in the 2nd XV, the Colts having been let down by a very late call-off from Stewartry and therefore without a game.


The youngsters all played exceptionally well as did Craig McDonald in the three-quarters and Stevie Campbell in the pack.


Colt Fin Barr took the man-of-the-macth award.


Biggar 1st XV maintain their winning run

Biggar 69 Whitecraigs 7

Another 5-point league win for Biggar and some wrongs righted after the first encounter which saw Whitecraigs run Biggar close at 22-20. There was perhaps not a lot between the two teams at the end of that first encounter and the Glasgow side are still one of only two clubs to run in 2 tries against Biggar, but on Saturday the visitors were some distance behind their hosts across the board in terms of fitness, skill and tenacity.

 

Having just broken the 600 ‘points for’ barrier Biggar now find themselves on the cusp of breaching the 700 mark, not something they have ever done before….whether Highland will allow that landmark score to be achieved however is highly unlikely!

 

There were changes again for this match with Guy Kelly, Jamie Orr and Lewis Stewart all unavialable through injury/illness but Orr’s absence paved the way for a recall of stalwart Alan Warnock who again proved his value with a huge performance in attack and defence. He was one of several players to be in the frame for man-of-the-match, Chris Mulligan, Ross Bradford and Gregor Stewart the others, with the vote eventually going to the latter who looked full of running and who carried and defended well throughout.

 

There will be a headache for the coaching team with all desperate to make the long trip to Inverness on Saturday for the clash with second placed Highland.

 

Very sadly the Highland club postponed all their matches at the weekend following the very sudden death of Alisdair ‘Porky’ Wemyss, a past player and currently one of their coaches. A real rugby man and a great character he was well-liked and much-respected by many at Biggar. Biggar has passed on its condolences to Porky’s family and to the Highland club.

 

Back to the match:

Biggar, as one might expect from the scoreline, were seldom troubled by the Glasgow outfit although all credit to them because even at the end of the match when their cause was well and truly run they kept battling on, running penalties as they sought another score to gain some form of last word. That they did not manage that score was down to Biggar’s solid defence which was again up to the mark and meant that any yards gained were hard won.

 

Any ball lost in contact or any loose kicking was punished via Biggar’s electric counter attack which saw several scores emanating from Biggar’s half when a combination of speed of thought and swiftness of pass split both the initial and then the cover defence. Cracking stuff to watch and with a very pleasingly busy touchline, many were on hand to enjoy the action and Biggar’s win.

 

After a confident start in which they largely monopolised possession, Biggar ran in their first score after 5 minutes, Conor Lavery cleverly controlling with his feet an equally clever grubber kick from Iain Renwick. Matthew Stewart was just short with the conversion.

 

Whitecraigs benefited from a number of penalty awards throughout the game – the final count was 10-3 – but in contrast to the first match when ‘Craigs used similar awards to put Biggar under pressure, the Biggar effort at both scrum and lineout meant that ‘Craigs were unable to get quality ball and possession from any source.

 

Ross Bradford ran in Biggar’s second score, he taking a pass on a classic 2 on 1 with prop Donald Voas who in turn had been set free after a neat Robbie Lavery off-load. Stewart kicked the conversion – his first of 6 - for 12-0.

 

Whitecraigs fielded a massive pack and playing to this strength they recorded a good score with Andrew Paterson getting the credit for the try although the pack, with a series of pick and drives, paved the way through the Biggar defence, which for once was found wanting. The conversion, kicked by Graham Murchie, made the score 12-7 and doubtless gave the visitors some confidence.

 

This was short-lived however as within 10 minutes Biggar scored their 3rd try, Chris Milligan taking yet another crash ball to bounce over from 5m. The flanker was at his dynamic best, making good yards from every carry and proving water-tight in defence. Stewart’s conversion took the score to 19-7 and he was also successful with the conversion to the next and bonus point winning try which was again credited to Milligan, this a long range effort from some 40 metres.

 

There were barely 30 minutes of the match played and things didn’t get much better for the visitors as Conor Lavery and then Declan Dinnen both crossed before half time, Stewart’s conversions taking Biggar clear at 36-5.

 

The second half began with a rare error, a knock-on, from Warnock but within minutes normal service was resumed as Bradford crossed for his second try. This emanated following the knock on. After Biggar had managed to turn the screw in the scrum to take a ball against the put in, No 8 Ross Jackson made a great break before putting in a fine grubber kick which put the visiting fullback under all sorts of pressure. Ball won was spun wide where Bradford took the ball to cross for his second and his 14th of the season to date.

 

Biggar then made several changes. David Reive came off to be replaced by Euan Bogle who came on as winger, Iain Renwick (another to make good yards with every carry), moving from there to take over at scrum half. Gregor Stewart made way for Ryan Moffat around the same time.

 

Peacock then made his mark, he latching on to a pop pass from Ewan Stewart who had tidied up a poor ‘Craigs lineout.

 

The hooker then made way for Milligan whose place in the back row was taken by Dinnen.

 

The final change saw Paul Davidson replace Franco Carossi.

 

As the game wore on so did ‘Craigs tire, their large pack having taken a fair pounding in the tight and coming off second best in the loose as well.

 

Euan Sanderson was the next to score, the skipper rounding off another fine move with some really good passing at pace.

 

Peacock then scored his second try, Conor Lavery’s break and neat off-load in the tackle giving the big second row the simplest of tasks to run in from some 5 metres.

 

The final score fell to Bogle who was given a sniff at the line from a well-timed pass from Robbie Lavery. The youngster crossed at the corner but kicked a wonderful conversion from far out to complete Biggar’s 69 point tally.

 

Every player made an impact on Saturday with Dinnen and Carossi playing arguably their best matches so far and with all others contributing positively. Credit to the squad and to coaches Mercer, Wilson and Fleming. Indeed Wilson only returned from an extended school break to austarlia on Friday night. He was on hand to take school rugby on Saturday morning before making his way to Biggar for the 2pm kick off.

 

Biggar will not have it their own way this coming Saturday as they travel to take on second placed Highland. It is believed that the Inverness-based side has not had any competitive rugby since prior to Christmas and the expectation is that they might be a tad ring-rusty. That means very little however as they are undeafted at home so far this season, their two losses being to Falkirk and Biggar. They will also be very determined to record a win to properly mark the memory of their late coach Porky.

 

There is likely to be a large travellig Biggar support making their way to Inverness and many thanks in advance from the club for that support. Shout loud and clear!

 

 

Biggar

R. Lavery, R. Bradford, R. Stewart, G. Stewart, I Renwick, C. Lavery, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, F. Carossi, A. Warnock, D. Dinnen, C. Mulligan, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson

Reps: P. Davidson, A. Peacock, R. Moffat, E. Bogle.


Biggar 1sts start 2019 with a win

Falkirk 5 Biggar 45

Biggar made a dream start to 2019 with a comprehensive win over hosts Falkirk. The 7-1 try count was not really reflective of the control enjoyed by Biggar although the Falkirk XV deserve great credit for their efforts, particularly in the opening exchanges when they attacked well and retained possession much better than Biggar.

 

The festive excesses clearly had an impact on the match with both teams making errors a-plenty, passes lacking the accuracy of the games before Christmas break and reactions a tad slow. There were pleasing signs for both sides however, Falkirk in the way they looked to play the match – the loss of centre Connor Faulds with a hamstring pull a significant loss as he unlocked the Biggar defence on a couple of occasions – while Biggar managed to maintain a tight defensive unit as has been the case throughout this campaign with a couple of very promising Falkirk attacks nullified via the speed of the defensive line and the strength of their tackle.

 

Biggar selected a familiar XV save for the absence of Rowan Stewart and Robbie Orr who were both unavailable but such is the strength of the squad that they were hardly missed.

 

The opening exchanges as suggested saw Falkirk enjoy good possession and territory but their first real assault on the Biggar line ended as Jamie Orr made a timely interception to take play swiftly away from the danger area. Subsequent handling errors put the Falkirk side under further pressure although a good line drive which was Biggar’s first close encounter with the Falkirk line ended as the referee deemed the rolling maul to be a case of obstruction. This allowed Falkirk stand off Duncan Tompkins the opportunity to kick clear.

 

Another line drive with flanker Chris Mulligan in the van was eventually brought down but with possession retained Biggar stand off Conor Lavery drifted through the splintered Falkirk defence for a try under the posts and one which was converted by Matthew Stewart for a 7-0 lead.

 

With a quarter of the match gone it was hoped that this would be the score to help settle the Biggar effort however the game was still a tad scrappy at this stage with passes still missing their target and with neither side able to really get the control they desired.

 

On the half hour mark Biggar doubled their lead after winger Ross Bradford glided through the Falkirk defence to set up a fine attacking position. Matthew Stewart and Orr continued the good work which spawned ball for Lavery who freed Ross Jackson for Biggar’ second, again converted by Matthew Stewart.

 

Prop Donald Voas was the next to cross his powerful run from some 30 metres seeing the big man go round, through and over the stretched Falkirk defence for a well-deserved try in the corner. Just too wide for the conversion.

 

On the stroke of half time Falkirk struck for their try. A penalty which was advanced for chat set the hosts up for a lineout close to the Biggar try line. This saw ball driven by the pack before play was spread right where the Faulds brothers combined well with a neat off load from Conor seeing fullback Glen cross in the corner, just too wide for the conversion.

 

Half time with Biggar 19-5 ahead.

 

Given the lay off this was probably as good a score as Biggar could have expected although there was ample room for improvement. Scoring points is the aim of the game with any score either side of half time arguably the ‘best’ time to score. Having conceded a try just before the break, it was important from a Biggar point of view to keep Falkirk out on the resumption of play.

 

This they did with Conor Faulds’ retiral easing their cause. After the match he was happy to report that the injury was not too serious.

 

With less than 10 minutes of the half gone Biggar struck again to claim their 4th and bonus point winning try, this going to Lavery. As in the first half a penalty and line drive created the position which saw Biggar camp in the Falkirk 5m area. Several attempts to cross the line were thwarted but with the defence stretched Lavery was again able to glide through untouched to dot down for a try for 24-5.

 

Biggar began to ring the changes, Guy Kelly replaced by Franco Carossi and then Declan Dinnen by Andrew Peacock. Both had worked hard in the set piece, had carried well and both had worked hard in defensive as well. Lewis Stewart was next on, the youngster taking over from skipper Euan Sanderson anothet to have shone up well.

 

The restart to Lavery’s try saw Falkirk enjoy some territory and they put together an excellent offensive effort which had the Biggar defence under real pressure. This aspect of the Biggar game has been significant this season however and this was again the case with all showing great determination to keep Falkirk out. With ball spread left it was the outstretched hand of Bradford which put paid to the hosts attack and Biggar’s winger, having gone for the interecption and having juggled the ball before tucking it under his arm, set off on what was a sprint to the line some 90 metres distant. With the Falkirk backs all up in attack the Biggar man had a slight advantage but he did exceptionally well to outstrip the Falkirk cover although fullback Faulds made it a real chase and did everything bar catch him.

 

Matthew Stewarts’ conversion made it 31-5.

 

Five minutes later and it was Matthew Stewart who managed to beat the Falkirk defence and get onto the end of a very neat Lavery chip to get between the Falkirk cover for Biggar’s 6th score.

 

Biggar were now keen to increase their tally and this they should probably have done sooner save for the fact that they their accuracy let them down with the line in sight. Jamie Orr made a fantastic breenge for the line on one occasion but the Biggar support, normally so quick, was a shade late while a couple of knock-ons and penalties spoiled other attacks.

 

Gregor Stewart gave way to Ryan Moffat

 

The final score fell to Chris Mulligan who benefited from Reive’s hassling at the scrum base. The ball popped up nicely for Mulligan who, as is his wont, attacked the line at full pace to cross untouched for a try converted again by Matthew Stewart.

 

Gregor Stewart returned to the fray to take over on the wing, Iain Renwick moving to scrum half to cover for Davy Reive, who having played well all afternoon, retired with an ankle knock.

 

The final few minutes reverted to the somewhat scrappy game that had been bubbling around all afternoon. Biggar, keen to get to the magical 50 point mark were again thwarted by a determined Falkirk rearguard while the visitors made further unforced errors.

 

Biggar were delighted to take the bonus point win. There were many positives: Orr’s control at the lineout, the pack’s dominance in the scrum (even although the referee didn’t always agree) Peacock’s deft touches when on the charge, the resolute defence from all and the speed in both attack and defence. There will be some concern over an unusual uncertainity on the restart and the lack of accuracy when passing although these are most probably a result of the winter lay off rather than any lack of skill or understanding.

 

And so Biggar now prepare for the visit of Whitecraigs who did everything bar win the first encounter. They are one of only two sides to score two tries against Biggar this campaign and their scrum put Biggar’s eight under real pressure. Indeed a missed penalty was all that stood between the Glasgow side and a win.

 

Biggar stole a march on second place Highland with this win as the Inverness team were without a match on Saturday. Highland therefore have a game in hand but Biggar have the points and so there is a little added pressure on the northerners, the encounter on 19th January building up to be a mighty clash.

 

 

The 2nd XV lost out to an experienced and tough Kilmarnock Farmers XV. The match, organised by Davy Reive saw the visitors triumph by 43-22. There were some old-timers making a welcome return to action on both sides and they will doubtless be feeling the extent of their efforts today.


NEWS

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Championship winners

Biggar finally secured the National 2 Championship on Saturday

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1st XV tajke another step towards the Championship

A bonus point win takes the club a step closer to the Championship

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Biggar win top of the table battle

Biggar v Highland - small margins

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BRFC 2nd XV run Accies close

A terrific performance from Biggar 2nds

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Biggar 1st XV maintain their winning run

Whitecraigs suffer as Biggar run in 11 tries

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Biggar 1sts start 2019 with a win

The 1sts welcomed the New Year with another 5-pointer

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