Biggar Colts Win Edinburgh Final
Biggar Colts 13pts v Currie Colts 7pts
Edinburgh Regional League Final
Saturday 19th March 2016
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a teams determination
Never give up!
And this is exactly what the Biggar Colts did on Saturday as they beat Currie in the final of the Edinburgh Shield Under 18 Final. This was always going to be a pulsating encounter amongst 2 Top Scottish Under 18 teams and the match did live up to its pre match billing.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the team won't be worth a penny”. Biggar always do
Biggar took to the field knowing that they had to put pressure on Currie who would have the experience of playing constant high pressure games as they finished third in the Presidents League behind Stirling and Ayr this season.
They did what was needed and took the game to Currie and were prepared to run the ball from anywhere early on and with good hands the ball was fed out their own 22 from which Henry Adams put a well timed pass to Peter Steele to allow him to break free and then power past his opponent and then when over the half way line he put a perfect inside pass to Rowan Stewart for him to stride him from 50 yards out to score a great try which was not converted.
Currie knew they were in a game but were still able to gain ground as they were capitalising on the break down at times from Biggar set play such as scrums. A penalty kick awarded to Currie went wide and this was their only opportunity to get any points in the 1st half. Currie were not being allowed to put set moves from their backs into play as both Andrew Jardine and Rowan Stewart were stalling many attacks.
Although Biggar were struggling at times with the scrums and occasional line outs they made it up elsewhere with absolute determination and commitment that showed they were not let anything get in their way.
From some good work up the field the ball was well set by the forwards and Rory McGinn put a pass to Mark Ewart who typically burst into the tackle and he was not then held to allow him to break through and when stopped some 10 yards short he off loaded to Marcus Dobie for a well taken try and one which allowed Biggar to take the driving sheet. Just for the record yes Mark Ewart did pass the ball and he commented that “it has always been a feature of his game” Oh Well
What was also surprising was that Euan Bogle again missed the conversion which he rarely ever does. No more scores in the half.
Biggar maybe could have more opportunities but going offside in the midfield was not helping.
Half time :Biggar Colts 10pts v Currie Colts 0pts
Currie knew they had to take the game to Biggar and this they did with them dominating the territory throughout. Currie had their chances but down to a mix of excellent tackling turning defence into attack and not putting their chances way it was a continual tussle up front. Currie did get a reward for their efforts with their big pack hitting up well and then it was popped to their number 8 for him to barge over for a converted try.
For the next 20 minutes the game could have gone any way but it was Currie who maybe felt they could have done more . Currie thought they had scored but the referee judged it to have been held up. They might have had the biggest team but it was Biggar who had the hearts in never lying down at any point.
When Biggar did finally get in the opposition 22 a penalty was awarded and from 40 yards out Euan Bogle put the ball right between the posts. Currie had to attack but Biggar held out for a memorable win.
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained in the struggle against overwhelming odds”.
Full Time :Biggar Colts 13pts v Currie Colts 7pts
What a performance and squad effort. Everyone of these boys played their part and each made their own input that together achieved so much. Not one for the boys stood out because everyone was at such a high level.
Biggar on a fine day with weather and terrific support know they had played their own part in another bit of history for the club. Yes they won another trophy but they just gather dust and are forgotten about. Memories however last forever.
Coaches Barr, Hill and Murray just could not fault the boys and were as proud as they had been at any time in their coaching time.
Each year Yogi sets the targets very high. Why ! because the greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aims too high and falling short BUT in setting our aims too low and achieving our mark.
26thMarch – Game to be confirmed
27th March -Peebles Sevens
Biggar Colts Squad through the season
Neil Jones, Andrew Nimmo, Mark Ewart, Keir Hamilton , Craig Shearer, Gavin Rafferty, Kyle Anderson ,Stuart Affleck, William Grieve, Scott Thomson, Ross Jackson (c) Angus Kerr, Douglas Hill, Rory McGinn, Euan Bogle , Andrew Jardine, Simon Denholm, Peter Steele, Marcus Dobie, Aaron Dobie, Henry Adams , Craig Allison, Jack Court, Alex Denholm,Rowan Stewart, Guy Kelly, Jordan Gray, Calum Dunlop and Alex Toal.
Under 16 players introduced this year – Stuart Forrest, Robbie Orr, Luhann Kotze, Daniel McConkey, Alex Dawe, Matthew Stewart and Lewis Stewart
Story date: 21/03/2016
Rugby action on Sat 21st May
The Girls U-15's and Boys S1 squads meanwhile journeyed to Carrick and East Kilbride respectively for a matches which they both eventually won comfortably.
At Carrick the Biggar girls found themselves up against a strong side, with 26 players. Biggar dominated play, despite the loss of captain Sarah Denholm after 14mins play with a suspected dislocation to her knee.
The real strength of the team was shown late on in the game, when Carrick encamped on our goal line for almost 5 mins, but determined defending resulted in Biggar eventually running out of their own 22, and scoring a further try. Final score 36 - 20 for Biggar in their last game of the season. A huge thanks to all the girls and parents, friends etc who have turned up at the games.
Congratulations to the 17 boys from the S1s today who played away at East Kilbride against a combined EK/Strathaven team. The first 15 minutes were closely contested at 3 trys all but Biggar kept working hard and eventually scored 12 more trys without conceding any more to end the game winners 15-3. Thanks to the boys for there commitment and hard work all season.
Story date: 24/05/2016
Special thanks to Ewan Hannah who volunteered to play for the opposition for the last 20 minutes.
Pictured above are several of the award winners from this years Micro and Mini and sections.
The Mini section held their annual presentation on Sunday but without their eldest representatives the P7 group, many of whom are in France with the Primary school. More of their season next week.
Following on the heels of the other very successful presentation events, this latest day was well attended by players and their parents and grand parents. As always this is the one occasion when individuals in what is the ultimate 'team' game are singled out for special praise, most awards being presented to those individuals who have shown a positive approach and demonstrated great commitment over the season. All were worthy winners and congratulations to all.
The plan to play some games and have some fun at The Showfield were delayed somewhat as the heavens well and truly opened just as the players were preparing to leave the clubhouse. The fun was merely delayed however as an intrepid band did evntually get out to play!
Story date: 24/05/2016
U-15’s v Ballina tourists
Making friends, making memories, making progress and winning!
Saturday 7th May at Hartree mill was really what rugby is all about. Ballina under 15’s arrived from the west coast of Ireland determined to make an impression - and that they did. It's difficult to say what was most entertaining. A game that offered up 8 cracking try's, an Irish jig with all 40 boys on the pitch at the end of the game or the renditions of Flower of Scotland and the Fields of Athenry in the clubhouse from the teams. One thing is for sure, every young man who turned out for both clubs had a great day.
In the midst of all the fun, a great game of rugby was played by 2 good sides. Ballina were small but well drilled, quick and intelligent. Biggar had a big powerful pack and a good strong-running set of backs to take the game to the visitors.
As it was, the first score of the game had a bit of “business as usual” about it. Decent work from the forwards in midfield saw the ball recycled to Josh and he simply ran for the line. He had a lot of work to do but the big man has proved elusive before and he did again. Ballina tried to bring him down but he just kept going touching down out wide under pressure from 3 backs. An excellent conversion from Finlay Stewart who kicked 4 from 5 took the score to 7-0 to the hosts.
Ballina came storming out of the bocks determined to seize the initiative. A concerted spell of pressure inside the Biggar 22 deserved a score but the defence was not to be breached. A knock on gave Biggar the scrum and the ball was secured. It was kept in the forwards to try and secure more ground and when the ball was passed to Finlay Stewart at 10 a clearing kick was expected. He saw the space on his left and passed out to Drew who took off. Ballina gave chase manfully but Drew kept going and touched down under the posts. Tough luck on the visitors but great vision from Biggar.
Half time Biggar 14 – Ballina 0
Into the second half and Biggar seemed to switch off for a spell. Ballina had a number of quick backs and when they got going they were difficult to stop. The big number 13 was very confident with ball in hand and started to pull the strings. When a series of tackles were missed, he managed to touchdown under the posts. Bizarrely the conversion would have been better suited to Hampden than Murrayfield as it was drilled into the top corner under the bar!!
Biggar responded with a mirror image try. Craig frame won the ball well in midfield and ran through a sea of missed tackles to touch down under the posts. Biggar fans hoping that the game would start to run away from Ballina were to be disappointed. They showed great determination but they were helped back into the game by a couple of very poor kicked clearances from inside the Biggar 22. The first was well charged down by the visitors, courtesy of their Gaelic Football background according to their supporters. The second was a miskick that was caught and run in. Game back on at Biggar 21 – Ballina 17.
As the visitors began to tire Biggar started to dominate. The bigger pack started winning lineouts and scrums against the head and when you have the ball the game is easier. Biggar saved the best to last and the last 2 trys were both excellent. First up Craig Frame finished off a move that started in the middle of the park when the 2 Harry’s - Archibald and Low - counter-rucked well to secure the ball. The forwards ploughed ahead and were well supported by probing runs and clever movement from the backs. Almost every Biggar player must have had a part to play but the ball ended up with Craig and he touched down well.
Last up was a try for Finlay Stewart. He played an excellent game at number 10 for Biggar and rounded the scoring off with a try going in wide left past tired looking challenges from the visitors. A great score and a deserved reward for him.
Full Time Biggar 33 – Ballina 17.
An excellent way for the under 15’s to round off their season, a win against a good side and a good craic with the visitors. The team have worked hard to get a win this second half of the season and some of their performances have gone unrewarded but today was a just reward for all. The development of every player this year has been apparent for all to see and they have the makings of a good side if they keep working hard. Credit is due to coaches, John, Mark, Donald and Aird who continue to do a superb job getting a team on the park every week.
Story date: 11/05/2016
Match reports from the weekend
S1 at Ayr
Biggar 29 Ayr 20.
On the 1st of May Biggar S1s took their first trip to the seaside visiting Ayr to pit themselves against another team from the Presidents Conferance.
For the first 15 minutes Biggar played as if they were on the beach letting in 3 trys. Then the fightback began firstly with a wingers try from Fraser Simpson followed up with a mazy run and try from Ross Henderson. At the end of the first period of 20 minutes the score was 9 - 6 to the hosts but Biggar thought they were on the ascendency.
It was a shock therefore to lose 2 more trys at the start of the second period. Again Biggar fought back with a determined drive from Connor Lister and then Jonathan Smith. With one effort from each side converted the score at the end of the second period was 16 - 13.
Then finally in the final period Biggar believed in themselfs and played. A short pick up and drive from Cameron Armstrong got the scores equal. Next Biggar started to zip the ball across the pitch with some great handling, probing for gaps with hard running on the wings from numerous players. Daryl broke off the wing and through the middle off loaded from a tackle to Euan and eventually giving space for Archie Damer to go through the middle under the posts. Ayr replied with a converted try but the game momentum had shifted and another run near the wing saw Fraser get over for his second. Then the forwards set up various position's and Jonathan got over for 2 more with the score ending 20 - 29 to Biggar. Euan Laing credited with 2 conversions and Murray Lean as captain for the day.
When the squad started to play, win rucks, press the opposition and cover for each other on the wings the momentum was decisive. This was an excellant tough performance and given the squad was a couple of players short of full strength all the more satisfying.
Under 15’s continue their search for victory
Biggar 14 – Cumnock 26
Biggar under 15’s lined up against Cumnock at Hartree Mill on Sunday looking to continue their recent upsurge in form. That was in evidence on Sunday but unfortunately could not be matched with a victory that much of their play deserved.
One look at the Cumnock website and you will see that their under 15 team is high quality opposition – 2 weeks previously they were contesting the West of Scotland Cup Final versus Glasgow Hawks. That level of quality showed in the game but it was matched by determined Biggar play.
The opening 20 minutes were a tight affair, Biggar with the wind at their backs had Cumnock contained in their half for most of it but couldn’t get close to the try line due to some stout defending and the odd slip of concentration at crucial times. This was to prove costly when from an innocuous turnover, Cumnock went the length of the field. They came close but great defence kept the game scoreless. It was Cumnock’s turn to press and eventually they managed to get in at the corner. The try went unconverted.
Biggar came roaring back with a great score from Niall Ball. Great hands from the backs saw the ball driven to the 5 meter line and with the forwards bashing through Niall showed great craft to elude 2 challenges and dive in under the posts.
The conversion took us to 7 – 5 Biggar at half time.
Into the second half and the tight game continued. Biggar had some great spells of pressure with excellent hard rucking from the forwards and good direct running from the backs but the odd dropped ball and misplaced passes were to prove costly. Failing to capitalise on a great overlap gave Cumnock possession back. They got the ball to their big Number 10 who was excellent the whole game and he went through a number of tackles to see them in under the posts.
Biggar were not to be fazed by this and continued to work well but again decision making was to cost them. A great opportunity deep in the Cumnock half was kicked into their 22 when keeping hold of the ball looked the better option. It was gobbled up by their number 10 who did what he had done earlier. He took off for the line and ran the length of the pitch to score. A great effort from him and not what Biggar’s play had deserved.
Biggar got right back in it from the kick off, great work again by the forwards recycled the ball and a penalty was popped to Josh. The big man has a history of great individual try’s this season and he didn’t disappoint. He broke the line well and just kept going. Cumnock’s back line tried to catch him and when they did they just couldn’t stop him. Great run and great try! The conversion had Biggar back at 14-19. Game on!!
Unfortunately Cumnock then showed the grit that I have no doubt got them to their cup final. From the kick off they simply kept the ball well. Worked it into the Biggar 22 and drove and drove. Biggar withstood pressure for 5/10 miuntes but eventually it told and an great offload took Cumnock over.
Full Time Biggar 14 – Cumnock 26
An excellent game from both sides played competitively and with a true rugby spirit. Some excellent phases of play from Biggar and with just a little more polish the result could have been different.
Story date: 04/05/2016
THE BIGGAR PICTURE - April Edition
The Biggar Picture
The weather may be similar as to how it was in January, but that doesn’t hold back the excitement of it being SEVENS SEASON!
Nothing’s more exhilarating than watching the fast-paced, jinky game, and everyone knows the heart of 7’s is down at Melrose. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t looking forward to the Melrose Sevens, but what made it even greater is that our DO, Iain Chisholm, was playing! Who knew he had a bit of pace…? Iain, playing for Jed-Forest, got to the final but just lost out to Edinburgh. He even managed to bag a few tries (and yes, we saw your showboating… not letting that one go). Those who can lip read could tell the impact that his run for the try line had on him...
Sevens Mania carried on at Annan, where the S1’s and S2’s took part in a festival. S1’s outpaced the other teams, running in loads and loads of tries becoming the overall WINNERS! S2’s were runners up after being knocked out by a dominating Dumfries side. Thankfully, they had watched the Melrose 7’s, where Iain had kindly demonstrated likely ways to get a yellow card so their discipline was impeccable.
REMINDER that the S2’s are fundraising to take a magical rugby tour far away to the towns of Oban and Fort William and would appreciate any donations you have!
On the subject of S2’s, Aaron Thomson was picked for Pathway, which is a route from club to professional rugby. We’ll be looking out for you on the telly in years to come.
Returning to 7’s were the Colts, who were making an appearance at Gala. They smashed Hawick Wanderers. They triumphed over Berwick. They prevailed over Hawick PSA. FINAL TIME. Up against Melrose, who had easily won the last 2 tournaments. Biggar Colts unfortunately lost out to Melrose 35-33. Maybe if Euan had slotted a few kicks he wouldn’t have jeopardised all the hard work the rest of the boys had put in.
Now the U16’s felt a bit left out with all the other teams winning finals, so they took it upon themselves to win another one. They came up against an unexpectedly strong Boroughmuir side, and at half time Biggar were up 10-5... way closer than anticipated. This is where Biggar had to up their game, but they let Boroughmuir away with 5 more points. The heat of the game got to some players and it ended up that Charles paid the price with a 10 minute breather. With 5 minutes left on the clock the home side broke through and it looked like it was all over for Biggar :-(.. BUT THINK AGAIN. Somehow, just somehow a light switched on in every single Biggar players brain and they battled just as hard as Kevin Costner did to get Enola back from the smokers. They were determined to win, they HAD to win and they did that indeed! Rory fired up the wing making it even between both teams. But NO. It doesn’t end there. A beautiful offload from Stuart left Matthew plenty of diving space to score the winning try. The final whistle blew. 20-15. The crowd went mental. The boys were overwhelmed. The coaches were proud. It was a super day for Biggar and the comeback the U16’s made was immense.
U15 girls took a trip to the sunny side of Glasgow, visiting the rivals Hillhead Jordanhill. The last encounter between these two teams ended up in Biggar getting trounced at home… They were ready to show what they were really made of. They scored oodles and oodles of fantastic tries. But the highlight of the game had to be Sarah’s attempted “kick”. Getting shut down in their own 22 left them with only one option. Now Sarah had the right idea, and the kick would have worked perfectly if the ball actually made contact with her foot. However, this confused the opposition when the ball landed right in front of her, which meant she had time to scoop it back up and it eventually led to a try. Some may say she meant it. Final score: 72-26.
Overall, Biggar had a belter of a month and the amount of great rugby played was stupendous. #BIGBADBIGGAR
Story date: 29/04/2016
16’s bring home more silverware
Boroughmuir 15 Biggar 20
If you didn't manage along to Meggetland on Sunday you missed a belter!
Quite simply, this was a nerve shredding affair that could have gone either way but Biggar U16's proved that you get rewarded for putting everything on the line right to the end. However, leaving it late is an understatement! Conceding a try with five minutes to go to put the hosts 5 points clear and left the travelling support gutted. But to claw two back in the dying minutes was nothing short of spectacular! Those with a nervous disposition had to look away at one point.
Boroughmuir was a slightly different looking side from that of the one Biggar defeated comfortably last year and were equally up to the job but the visitors struck early on with Sam Wallis touching down in the right corner after some simple hands through the back division.
That settled the team a bit and Biggar had all the momentum at that point even although they were only three minutes in.
Biggar kept their foot on the gas and continued to press through the forwards. Guy Kelly was a key figure in this closely supported by his front row mates. On the 23rd minute, after a number of close quarter phases, the ball popped out to Lewis Stewart who spotted a narrow gap and squeezed over the whitewash for Biggar's second. Robbie Orr narrowly missed the conversion.
At this point there were no concerns and the visitors were going about their business as usual. Biggar were focussed but Boroughmuir were dangerous!
Recurring infringements in the breakdown were picked up by the referee and Biggar were penalised. The hosts advanced.......
Any thoughts that this was going to be a straight forward encounter were quickly dispelled in the 35th minute. 'Muir' slipped a tackle or two and advanced to the Biggar 5m line.
The Biggar defence was resolute though but they switched off for a split second and paid the price when the No.8 crashed over to open Boroughmuir's account.
10-5 up at half time was okay but far from safe.
Boroughmuir came flying out the traps at the start of the second half and put the Biggar defence under pressure. Multiple phases broke them down to make space. 'Muir' evened things up but it wasn't through lack of trying to stop them.
Stern words required though.
Boroughmuir were all over Biggar like a bad suit. But the game was getting 'nervy' and both sides were guilty of spilling possession under pressure, and clear-cut scoring chances proved at a premium. That's not to say the quality was poor, it was anything but.
Things boiled over somewhat with a 'spat' between a couple of players...about 20.....and it spilled over the touchline.....and referee had to calm things down a bit. Charles Connolly got to rest his legs for 10 minutes.
Few bookies would have taken a bet on the winner at this point. The draw looked likely. Until.........5 minutes from time Boroughmuir broke away after a Biggar fumble and went ahead.
The Edinburgh side were now odds-on favorites.
You don't get rid of Biggar that easily. Call it what you like....a light bulb moment, a stubborn mindset, a desire to win. Biggar pulled off the gutsiest turn around you've ever seen.
To a man, every one of them contributed.
Biggar pressed up the field and asserted pressure on their opposition. The backs had good hands all day but up to this point things never came off. As the ball went wide Rowan Stewart motored forward and popped a beautifully timed pass to Rory Wesencraft on the wing. The speed merchant got over the line, just, to bring the score to 15-15.
Everyone thought that was it. But no, still time left.
Boroughmuir had possession and kicked through. Rowan Stewart gathered and burst forward. A penalty for obstruction gave Biggar the upper hand. Rather than throwing it to the nearest player in black, Kotze let Kelly do the work to draw in the defenders. Stuart Forrest, loitering some way back, delayed his run at the back of the ruck until he could brake into a menacing stride. 10m out and Stuart was being closed down. Time was up, this was the very last play. It had to happen right there. Screams of "Hands" were coming from everyone. Forrest didn't disappoint. The Sonny Bill 'esque' off load found it's way into Matthew Stewart's hands who dived over the line to score what was a superb try bourne of commitment and desire.
That was it! Full-time! Biggar Win! The crowd went mad!
What a stunning performance from these boys.
Just when we thought it was all over they go and pull it out the bag.
"Don't wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect"
U16 Coach Alistair Stewart said;
"I am immensely proud of these boys and the great things they've achieved over the last couple of years. Good luck for the future.
And to you, the supporters. Always there. Always positive. I thank you for your affectionate support over the years, and thanks too for the wonderful memories."
Many thanks to all those who travelled to support the boys on Sunday.
Story date: 17/04/2016
For some the trip to Boroughmuir was only the start of their day as they stayed on to watch the play in the Boroughmuir Mini tournament. Others made the stop off in Edinburgh while 'on route' to Gala – not an obvious route for those going from Biggar, while another equally committed batch left just after the final whistle to return home to Hartree Mill to watch the Girls play Cartha!
All round an excellent effort from all!
The Biggar Picture
The Biggar Picture
What a momentous month it’s been for all at Biggar RFC. Calum leaving for pastures new, new faces arriving, hosting touring sides at Hartreemill and best of all SILVERWARE to put in the cabinet that Patrick is going to get Nigel and the Old Boys Constructions Club to make after he’s finished reading the rest of this.
Yogi, Gav & Muzz have done an outstanding job in guiding our Colts to a number of successful seasons and this year again their boys did not disappoint.
Our 18’s pulled off a fantastic victory in the final of the Edinburgh Regional Final against a very strong Currie side. By all accounts the game was on a knife edge. Young Euan Bogle launched a couple haggis’ at the sticks but made up for it with a beautifully placed nudge from 40 out to hand Biggar the win 11-7.
By my understanding this is the penultimate year for the Biggar RFC Colts Coaching team. All fantastic servants to development and the club as a whole and a great way to finish the year. #SILVERWARE1.
Friday 25th March, Murrayfield the setting. Most club players in Scotland can only dream of setting foot on the Murrayfield turf, we were lucky enough to be able to cheer on our Under 15 Girls in the ‘theatre of dreams’ and what a performance it was too. The girls gave away considerable size to their Murrayfield Wanderer counterparts but dominated the game through a playing style Big Vern Cotter would be proud of. Swinging the ball from touchline to touchline, constantly changing the point of attack to expose lazy defenders in the Wanderers defence. There were huge performances all over the paddock but I’d like to give special mention to Feebi, Kayleigh, Jenny and Sarah. Biggar 38-17. #SILVERWARE2.
How does it get better for one club than two trophies in two weeks? THREE trophies in two weeks, that’s how. Like the Romans leaving the coliseum the Biggar support shuffled from the international stands to the baron side of the Murrayfield Wanderers 1st XV pitch, to watch our Under 18 Girls take on Oban High School. Oban started very well going into the lead with a banger of a try from their impressive 7. But that was the last of it for Oban. Incisive carries by Abbie Baillie turned into either scores of massive territorial gain. Abbie’s performance earned her player of the day (WOTM!?) Huge performances from Amy, Abbie, Ailie and Emily guided Biggar to a convincing 41-15 win. #SILVERWARE3.
Adding to their initial trophy contribution Biggar High School Boys successfully took part in the Duncanrig High School 7s yesterday (30th March), winning the tournament convincingly scoring 7 million tries and conceding only 3.
Coach Robertson of the Biggar PE department (@BiggarPE), commented that this crop of players were the first to concede a score under his guidance as senior boys coach which shows the strength of Biggar Youth Rugby, through good work of recently departed Development Officer, Calum Taylor and the Coaches who give up so much of their time for the betterment and development of Biggar Rugby Club and her players. #SILVERWARE4 - FOUR in TWO weeks!
Although not part of the rugby world, the passing of Johan Cruyff has alerted many of us to a few of his values we should take forward as coaches in our respective roles within rugby. Cruyff was a controversial figure pretty much all the time, and perhaps the idea of putting a fly-half in the front row to better know how a prop understands the game isn’t a transferable idea, but the message of progression, development, enjoyment, integration, initiative and social involvement will sing out strong with the Biggar Development Team for a long time.
Massive thanks to Calum Taylor who has left the role with the Club in a great place. I’m sure everyone here at Biggar RFC wishes you the best of luck in your new role.
Story date: 31/03/2016
Biggar RFC Development Team
1sts sign off with win
1st XV and National League 2
Biggar 13 Ardrossan Accies 10
This was Ladies Day at Biggar, a first for the club on such a large scale. How appropriate it was then that this event came the day after the girls successes at Murrayfield. The packed clubhouse – there were over 100 ladies in attendance, and many thanks to them for their support - provided a magnificent standing ovation for the group of players who were able to attend the pre-match function.
Biggar countered the wet and windy conditions to sign off their 2015/16 home league campaign with a win over west coast visitors Ardrossan on Saturday.
In weather which was more akin to that of December or January this was not an open running affair, both teams struggling to gain any real control. Biggar certainly edged the contest in terms of territory however, as they maintained possession deep in the Ardrossan 22 in the first half and then almost camping in the visitors half after the break.
That the backs were frozen is not in doubt, the Ardrossan back line visibly wilting as they faced the breeze in the second period.
Biggar were keen to reverse their current losing streak which has seen them fall to two defeats in succession and this they managed to do although not perhaps as emphatically as they would have liked. Remember though, that in the game at Ardrossan Biggar scraped through via a last minute try from Andrew Peacock. A glance at the two Biggar sides would show that Saturday's XV contained just 6 of those who started the November match. Another four were in the squad but that equates to just half of the squad total. Many of Biggar's youngsters have therefore been asked to step up to the mark and this they have done well.
For Saturday Craig McDonald operated at centre for the injured Graham Jamieson while up front Donald Voas started in place of Andrew Howatson and Zander Lyon and Alan Warnock also returned to the fray.
Playing with the wind the visitors crossed for their only try after just 11 mins and from a driven lineout. This is an area which continues to cause concern for Biggar although it is very difficult to legally stop the drive. The conversion was successful albeit that the kicker ended up sliding onto his backside on contact!
Biggar then enjoyed a lengthy period of possession but, try though they did, they are unable to convert pressure into points as a combination of fairly solid Ardrossan defence and Biggar errors contrived to keep Biggar out. Many in the crowd felt that Biggar's failure to score from this possession might cost them dear but on the half hour mark, ironically when Ardrossan bravely sought to run out of defence when the kick might have gained ground much more quickly, Biggar benefited from a handling error. Alisdair Sinclair pounced on the loose ball and although he was forced to turn quickly his off-load found Robbie Lavery and the centre cantered over from 30 metres to open Biggar's account. Richard Peacock struck the conversion well but into the teeth of the gale the ball fell short. 7-5 to Ardrossan.
The last 10 minutes was punctuated at regular intervals by refereeMartin Maughan's whistle, the majority of these against Ardrossan. The half time penalty count was 9-3 with many locals questioning why no Ardrossan player had been yellow carded.
Stand-in Biggar coach Doug Fleming, who was in chanrge for the last time prior to lambing, rang the changes after the break with David Reive replacing David McArthur, Callum Braid for Donald Voas and later Lewis McLachlan for Kevin Robison.
A batch of penalties aginst Biggar at the start of this second period gave Ardrossan field position and they took full advantage to kick a penalty and stretch their lead to 10-5. It looked as though Biggar would suffer further as referee Maughan continued to find fault with Biggar's play but in taking the game back downfield Biggar were able to turn the tide somewhat and exert pressure on the visitors. This paved the way for Biggar's second score, Andrew Peacock rounding off a lineout drive, this score almost indentical to that which they had conceded in the first half. Another well struck conversion from brother Richard seemed to coincide with a break in the wind and the ball flew past the right upright. Biggar were now on level terms however with still 20 minutes left on the clock.
Another series of penalties against Ardrossan eventually, and inevitably, led to a yellow card. Biggar, who had enjoyed ascendency in the tight, might have expected to take the lead but again Ardrossan frustrated Biggar's efforts while errors on Biggar's behalf did not help. Perhaps the most exciting passage of play was a lung-bursting breenge by McLachlan, this his trademark and as always taking play into and then beyond the Ardrossan defence. The position for this had been engineered by stand off Aird Jardine who swooped on a loose ball to take play into the Ardrossan half.
This movement ended with a penalty to Biggar and Peacock kicked accurately to put his side ahead at 13-10.
With some 10 minutes remaining and the match still in some doubt there was a sense of deja vu – would Ardrossan pinch the game just as Biggar had in November? Happily, from a Biggar point of view at least, this was not to be the case and Biggar held on to record a deserved win.
Robbie Lavery had an effective match, Richard Peacock made amends for his lapses against Cartha the previous week, Andrew Orr impressed with a confidence which belies his years, while Stevie Campbell again looked full of running - he will surely benefit from regular involvement. Lewis McLachlan certainly made an impact but it was Alan Warnock who again stole the show with regard to the Man-of-the-Match award for his general work rate about the park in both attack and defence and his willingness to carry ball. Ardrossan's award also went to an Alan, and another back row man to boot, Alan Wilson.
R. Peacock, A. Sinclair, C. McDonald, R. Lavery, S. Alder, A. Jardine, D. McArthur, D. Voas, A. Orr, D. O’Connell, A. Peacock, Z. Lyon, K. Robison, A. Warnock, S. Campbell. Reps: D. Reive, J. Warnock, C. Braid, L. McLachlan.
The 4 points gained mean that Biggar move into 7th spot with an outside chance of finishing in 6th, this dependent on the result of this week's match against Whitecraigs and that between Kirkcaldy and Cartha.
While Hamilton are worthy champions, the second promotion spot is far from decided. Falkirk are in pole position at present but Aberdeenshire and Cartha still have strong chances to overtake them as they have games in hand. This issue is unlikely to be resolved until well into April.
At the foot of the table, Lasswade and Greenock will drop down. Up from National 3 are two Glasgow sides GHK and West of Scotland, this latter side including several ex-Biggar players.
From National 1 it is two Border sides who will drop down, Peebles and Kelso now confirmed as being relegated, the former after some real battling performances in the past month.
Biggar have one remaining match, that against Whitecraigs this Saturday. The Glasgow siee have had a real topsy-turvy season recording some famous victories and then some puzzling defeats. Biggar will travel under the guidance of new coach Gary Mercer. He is unlikely to be able to change much in the space of one week but he will at least be able to assess those playing. He is due at Biggar on Thursday for a player meeting to which all senior players are encouraged to attend.
A continuing issue with prop availability prevented the 2nds from fulfilling their match with Hawick.
Story date: 28/03/2016
Girls match reports
Although Biggar's 1st XV recorded a deserved win in their last home match of the season, the BIG news from Hartree Mill came on Friday evening when the Girls sides, U-15's and U-18's, both returned from Murrayfield having won their respective Cup and Bowl matches.
This is a truly maginficent achievement for the girls, the club, their coaches and their parents. Despite the efforts of their opponents, Murrayfield Wanderers and Oban, both of whom played well, the Biggar girls were a cut above in terms of technical skill, support, pace, speed and togetherness. They played so well that no-one who attended could have been anything other than extemely impressed by their performance.
U-15 Scottish Cup
Murrayfield Wanderers 17 Biggar 38
This match was played on the international Murrayfield pitch – what an opportunity for these young girls to play on this pitch which has such a standing in Scottish rugby. As the first match of the evening the girls from both sides took a little time to adjust to the occasion with nerves leading to several dropped balls and missed passes.
Thereafter however, the game settled down, Biggar gaining first 'blood' with a score from Feebi Robinson who also starred last year when the girls won this trophy. Kaylee Fraser kicked a wonderful conversion, this the first of a flawless display which saw her kick successfully on 6 occasions and from all angles and distances.
Kaylee then added the second try and conversion for 14-0. M/Wands are no walkover however and they hit back with try of their own after some powerful running and support. Crucially, they did not convert and so Biggar held the advantage.
Just before half time Anna McDairmid ran in Biggar's third, Kaylee's conversion taking the half time score to 21-5.
Eilidh Sandilands had almost the perfect start with a try almost directly from kick off but the ball slipped out of her hands as she prepared to touch down. A penalty kicked by Kaylee increased Biggar's total but again M/Wands hit back with their second score.
Eilidh made no mistake with her next run, taking full advantage to get on the score sheet. Kaylee kicked for 31-10. M/Wands hit back again with a try and conversion to give them some hope at 31-17 but with time running out Kaylee added her second try of the evening which she converted to put the icing on the cake.
With 23 points this had been an outstanding contribution and one which she will remember for ever! While there is undoubted bias and no doubting the eventual recipient's pedigree, all present who supported Biggar believed that Kaylee's was a performance worthy of the man-of-the- match award. Insteaq this went to the M/Wands stand off who to be fair, ran very well and possessed a brilliant side step which saw her score two tries.
The final whistle heralded huge cheering and celebrations from all associated with Biggar – and what a magnificent support there was with a supporters bus and numerous others travelling under their own steam. Thank you to all who travelled to support the girls.
Spare a thought for Mollie who missed out on the match after a warm up head clash which prevented herfrom playing. It is some consolation but she will be age next season if Biggar can make the final and defend their title.
U-18 Scottish Bowl
Biggar 41 Oban 15
Less than half an hour later and with the arrival of more supporters for this match, the U-18's ran out for their Bowl final, this match played on the back pitches.
In the cold evening air Biggar gave their opponents a head start as the nerves appeared to get to them, much as it had the 15's in the earlier match. A long run in gave Oban the start they must surely have wished for but Biggar were soon back on track as they scored their first try this from Amy Watkins.
Abbi Baillie notched Biggar's second, this another from a huge run.
Given the accuracy of Kaylee's kicking in the first match it is perhaps not surprising that the goal kicking in this match was not quite of the same standard. Having said that, the additiional two points from the first two conversions were added by Emily Armstrong to give Biggar a 14-5 lead. She converted 3 in total – again not a bad percentage!
Biggar were struggling to match the referee's interpretation of several rules – not back 10 metres at penalties being one - which gave Oban huge territorial gains with little or no effort.
Despite this 'handicap' Biggar stretched their lead at fairly regular intervals although there was always the concern that the Edinburgh outfit could hit back. And of course with the score at 36-5 this they did with two further tries. They were unable to halt the Biggar bandwagon which had the last word with a seventh score.
Other tries for Biggar were from Amy who notched her double, Kim Laird, this a cheeky number and atypical of a good No 9, Jennifer Bell (2) from sheer power and grit and Megan Mcleod, who gave the Oban defence no chance from 5 metres out.
Abbi Baillie, who unfortunately had to come off before the end of the match after taking a head knock, was voted the Man-of-the-match – a deserved accolade for someone who continues to progress.
Once again, the final whistle was met with massive cheers from all assembled, the 15's, unlike the 18's who had had to leave the first match to prepare for their own game, able to join in the celebrations.
The presntations were carried out by some of the current Scotland Womens international XCV and given the standard of the play on Friday it surely cannot be long before one of the Biggar girls pull on the famous blue shirt. In doing so they would follow in the footstpes of Scotland's most capped rugby internationalist, namely Donna Kennedy who began her career at Biggar some 25 years ago.
A number of the 18's will now move up to the senior game and this will hopefully ensure that the club can field a senior side in next year's National Development League.
Indeed Biggar will host the next round of this competition when the clubs visit Hartree Mill on Sunday 10th April. Anyone interested in playing but unsure as to what is involved is warmly encouraged to attend.
Story date: 28/03/2016
Biggar errors cost them dear
Cartha QP 48 Biggar 10
For the second week in a row Biggar suffered a hefty defeat while on the road. This was a disappointing performance with too many unforced errors gifting the Glasgow side scores. It was a performance reminiscent of that at Preston Lodge at the start of the season when the squad had yet to gel. That excuse could be offered up for this latest reversal as there were a number of changes to the side which has played in the bulk of the league games to date. Alan Warnock and Zander Lyons were both late call offs due to illness while Donald Voas was out after sustaining an ankle injury last week. It would be wrong to point the finger at those who made the step up however as each played their part when asked.
One of these was debutant Calum Braid who has been hoping to start for much of the season but who has suffered a number of setbacks which has prevented him from so doing. A young prop he did a great job in the tight and it is clear that he will prove to be an asset to the club next season. Others to shine were Kev Robison who offers so much at flank forward, the abrasive Stevie Campbell, livewire scrum half David McArthur and another youngtster Grant Hamilton who has at last been able to return from injury.
Kicking off in calm conditions Biggar were soon behind as Cartha scored off a lineout drive. Biggar might have equalised shortly after this but Richard Peacock was off target. Unfortunately the same player made an error as he prepared to chip ahead, the ball dropping into the hands of the advancing Cartha player to give him a stroll to the line for a try which, when converted, put the Glasgow side 12-0 up.
Worse was to follow as a Biggar 'try' was chalked off for a crossing offence (on another day it might have been missed), before a penalty to touch and one at goal were missed. Some really good hands led to Cartha's third score and 10 minutes later they gained their 4-try bonus from an error at a Biggar lineout, this another area which did not function well.
Despite all of the above Biggar were still playing some decent rugby albeit, as commented on by the referee assessor, it appeared that they were just one man short or one yard short every time they attacked, Cartha able to scramble the ball clear or to push Biggar into touch.
Eventually, and certainly deservedly, Biggar got the scoreboard working as Douglas Notman rounded off a number of phases with a try. Half time then with a score of 26-5.
It was never likely, given the score, that Biggar would go on to win the match and in fact Cartha continued to score at relatively regular intervals after the break. Biggar's cause was not helped by injury to Graham Jamieson who damaged knee ligaments or as a hand injury forced Notman off. Cartha continued to press, their speed into attack a feature of their play and one that had been remarkably absent when they had visited Hartree Mill back in October.
McArthur scored Biggar's only other try, this as he showed great determination to cross after a series of promising plays had taken Cartha back into their 22. In this, Andrew Peacock, Robbie Lavery, Campbell and Ewan Stewart all featured.
Biggar can do so much better and will have to in their last two remaining league games if they are to end the season on a positive note. The first of these is this Saturday, when in their last home league match they welcome Ardrossan Accies. The Ayrshire side are now one place above Biggar in the league table – Biggar having now dropped to 8th spot – but have played one more match. If results were to go their way Biggar could yet make 6th spot but not on present form.
R. Peacock, A. Sinclair, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, S. Alder, A. Jardine, D. Reive, A. Howatson, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, A. Peacock, K. Robison, D. Notman, S. Campbell. Reps: D. McArthur, K. J. Warnock, C. Braid, G. Hamilton.
The 2nd XV were once again forced to cancel their match (against Marr) due to a continued lack of front row players. The three available props were with the 1sts and this left the 2's without any front row players.
Story date: 21/03/2016
Biggar lose out to promotion hoepfuls Falkirk
Falkirk 44 Biggar 14
After the high spots of last week in scoring 7 tries and 44 points it was back down to earth with a bump for Biggar when they conceded as many points against promotion hopefuls Falkirk. The encounter back in November at Hartree Mill saw Biggar cause an 'upset' when they comfortably defeated Falkirk but the Central region side have since been unbeaten and with the prospects of promotion becoming ever more a reality they were not going to let that happen again.
Biggar contributed much to the match causing Fakirk all sorts of problems in the tight scrum where they were largely dominant and also in open play where some of their driving and support play was excellent. Unfortunately Biggar couldn't sustain that level of play and a number of errors led to scores for Falkirk whose pace, dynamism and good angles wreaked havoc in defence.
Falkirk scored their first try after 6 minutes after several hits reduced Biggar's defence. Minutes later and both sides lost men to the sin-bin as the referee took exception to a couple of scrums which collapsed. Dan O'Connell was Biggar's man in the bin and this saw Calvin Henderson move forward from flank forward to prop, his more accustomed position.
Good off-loads paved the way for Falkirk's next score while Stevie Campbell made some great thrusts into the heart of the Falkirk defence. Biggar ran hard at Falkirk but without the acceleration of the host side who were largely able to contain these thrusts.
Half time then with a 22-0 gap but with Biggar turning with the wind on their backs.
Falkirk switched their front row at the break and this did much to counter Biggar's forward effort. A scrum penalty and then a try directly from the next set piece did nothing to help Biggar's cause but they were soon rewarded with a try from Campbell who rounded off a good period of attacking play involving some good pick and drives. Richard Peacock added the conversion.
Both sides scored tries, Henderson crossing after some good work at the lineout from Andrew Peacock and Ewan Stewart, Richard Peacock converting again for Biggar's final 14 point tally.
The home side had the final word however with a last try to record their comfortable win.
Plus points came from the driving play of the forwards with Campbell, Stewart, Peacock and Voas to the fore. David McArthur and Kev Robison made their mark coming off the bench.
Biggar have now just 3 league games left against Cartha (awaqy, this Saturday), Ardrossan Accies (home, 26th March) and then Whitecraigs (away, 2nd April). There should be the opportunity to pick up some more points from these fixtures. They will be without prop Calvin Henderson however who intimated that he will miss the remainder of the season due to work commitments.
R. Peacock, A. Sinclair, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, C. McDonald, A. Jardine, D. Reive, Donald Voas, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, Z. Lyon, A. Peacock, C. Henderson, A. Warnock, S. Campbell. Reps: D. McArthur, K. Robison, S. Alder, A. Howatson
The 2nd XV had to cancel their match against Musselburgh due to a lack of front row players. With lambing season fast approaching the numbers at training and available to play are reducing and so it is vital that all those who are able to play make themselves known so that the 2nds can fulfil their league fixtures.
Story date: 18/03/2016
Youth section take on city side Boroughmuir
S1's v Boroughmuir
Teams arent made they grow bit by bit through hard work sweat, training, winning and losing together. Today 16 players in the Biggar S1 squad each grew a little more as a team through winning a tough competative match at Boroughmuir.
The game kicked off in bright winter sun and immediately Biggar were in the ascendancy, phase after phase pressed Boroughmuir back into their 22 but all attacks were suppressed by the home teams defense. A break out to the half way line caused concern only for Biggar to regain procession and string some passes together with eventually a bulldozing run by Cameron Armstrong down the right wing yeilding the first try in the right hand corner.Biggar quickly contained the restart and after a scrum won ball and sent Fraser Simpson free on the right wing to wrestle the ball to ground in the same corner for the second.
Boroughmuir pressed forward and Biggar had to defend their line from a 5m line out and then a scrum but held firm until a Boroughmuir knock on was hacked on by Murray Lean to release the pressure to the half way line.The resulting attacking phase saw Biggar swing the ball right, realign then swing the ball left through Jonathan Smith, Ross Henderson and great mazy run by Archie Dammer on the left wing stopped 4 m from the line a pop pass to Ross gained another 3 yards from the resulting ruck Jonathan picked and dived for a great team try.
Half time was 9 - 0,
The start of the second half saw Boroughmuir kick long and from the resulting return kick and maul score under the posts and convert.Biggar quickly scored and then put together great phases of passing interchanges between forwards and backs.
From an attacking scrum Fraser came of his wing accepting a deft pass from Euan Laing to sprint through the middle to score under the posts converted by Archie Damer.
The next came from a trade mark direct forwards run from Cameron, followed up by the opposite a quick ball out to the wing first for Chris Brett to beat a few defenders for an offload to Fraser to round the defence from 30 m and score under the posts.The final try came from a quick tap and go from Murray to Jonathan to sprint through a demoralised defense for a final unconverted try.The squad defended and pressurised the opposition relentlessly creating good opportunities. Every player contributed 110% to the result and the game special mentions go to Ewan Hannah and Issac in their second and first games respectfully both looked as if they had played many more games and will play many more. Having a squad of 16 on the day and being able to rotate players and positions strengthen the team greatly.
Final score 27 - 4.
(3 points a try 1 for a conversion).
Story date: 10/03/2016
15’s getting better!
Biggar Under 15's come oh so close
Biggar 24 Boroughmuir 27
Biggar under 15's played Boroughmuir at the Showfield on Sunday in what was their first home game since November! After last week’s rusty display at West of Scotland a tough game was expected and that was exactly what ensued. Some great skill, big hits and flowing rugby were on display from both sides and an excellent game followed.
Boroughmuir started quickly and had Biggar under constant pressure for almost all of the first half. Biggar defended doggedly throughout but 2 excellent scores from Boroughmuir had them leading 12 nil at halftime.
The second half kicked off and Biggar came roaring out of the traps. An excellent team try was finished off by Niall Ball wide on the left. Good quick ball landed in Josh's hands and the big man ran straight for the line. Drawing three defenders he popped the ball well to Niall who dove over.
Biggar were level 5 minutes later with another score from that man Ball! Again the ball was well secured by the pack who were beginning to dominate Boroughmuir and was played quickly out to Niall deep in their 22. With a couple of players on the overlap, he saw a gap that wasn't obvious to those of us watching and burst through 3 defenders to score a great try. Finaly Stewart converted to bring us to 12-12.
The game then ebbed and flowed with Boroughmuir scoring then Biggar replying. Boroughmuir always just seemed to manage to get ahead again when Biggar threatened to catch them.
Biggar scored two more tries both from Ali Steele out wide on the left. The first was from a superbly worked kick off. Robbie lobbed a perfect kick off out to Shawn who took it brilliantly. He ran on and great support from Jamie Bell and Niall Ball saw the ball won and recycled to Ali who still had a lot to do but made it over the line. Steele took the conversion himself and was just short with an excellent effort.
Ali's second try was almost a carbon copy of the opening try. Great work from the pack saw the ball recycled over a number of phases. The ball ended up out wide left in the hands of Hugo Baillie who drew a couple of defenders and passed to Ali to cross.
Steele converted fantastically with the last act of the game to bring the final score of Biggar 24 Boroughmuir 27.
This was an excellent game of rugby and Biggar can feel very unlucky not to have won but equally Boroughmuir were a very well drilled side who had done well in their conference this year so a narrow loss is by no means an embarrassment. Following the loss to West last week the coaches would have been looking for a reaction from the boys and they got it. Hard work, team play and flowing rugby were on display and every one of them can be proud of their performance.
Story date: 08/03/2016
Biggar 34 West of Scotland 0
So after 14 cold winter weeks with only 1 game the S1s came up against West from the Presidents Conference. Following some early frost the game was played in glorious clear skys with something bright and unfamiliar in the sky.
The squad was also unfamiliar, several players being asked to play with unusual numbers on their back.
The game started briskly with Cameron breaking through the middle after only a minute to score under the posts converted by Archie.
That was followed quickly by Chris using his speed to go in for the second. The game then slowed for a bit but constant Biggar pressure was used by a nice run, show and go by nr 10 on the day for Euan to score in the right hand corner. The first 15 minutes ended 10 - 0.
The coaches moved a few players round for the next period
which seemed to interrupt the flow but still resulted in 4 trys.
2 for Jonathan 1 for Ruadhri and 1 for Fraser. Highlights were a 50 m run and score under the posts from Fraser from the right wing and a Jonathan score under the posts from a 5 yard penalty with a bit of rocket ball help from Daryl.
The final period saw West contest possession much more and almost score. The Biggar team dug in and got a try from Cameron and then possibly the nicest try came with ball passed all across the pitch to Chris on the wing, a little move inside then out tricked 3 defenders for a lovely finishing try.
Conversion were shared by Euan Laing and Archie Damer.
Finishing score 34 - 0.
Congratulations and welcome aboard goes to Ewan Hannah who played his first game for the team today and aquited himself very well in the middle of the forwards.
Big gain today in adapatability of players and positions, great know how and rugby thinking in mainy aspects of the game but also some rusty parts of basic play and some choices and phases disicipline to work on. Overall though a very good performance. Thanks to West and their coaches for also playing and competing every minute of the match.
Boroughmuir 4 Biggar 27
Teams arent made they grow bit by bit through hard work sweat, training, winning and losing together. Today 16 players in the Biggar S1 squad each grew a little more as a team through winning a tough competative match at Boroughmuir.
The game kicked off in bright winter sun and immediately Biggar were in the ascendancy, phase after phase pressed Boroughmuir back into their 22 but all attacks were suppressed by the home teams defense. A break out to the half way line caused concern only for Biggar to regain procession and string some passes together with eventually a bulldozing run by Cameron Armstrong down the right wing yeilding the first try in the right hand corner.
Biggar quickly contained the restart and after a scrum won ball and sent Fraser Simpson free on the right wing to wrestle the ball to ground in the same corner for the second.
Boroughmuir pressed forward and Biggar had to defend their line from a 5m line out and then a scrum but held firm until a Boroughmuir knock on was hacked on by Murray Lean to release the pressure to the half way line.
The resulting attacking phase saw Biggar swing the ball right, realign then swing the ball left through Jonathan Smith, Ross Henderson and great mazy run by Archie Dammer on the left wing stopped 4 m from the line a pop pass to Ross gained another 3 yards from the resulting ruck Jonathan picked and dived for a great team try.
Half time was 9 - 0, The start of the second half saw Boroughmuir kick long and from the resulting return kick and maul score under the posts and convert.
Biggar quickly scored and then put together great phases of passing interchanges between forwards and backs.
From an attacking scrum Fraser came of his wing accepting a deft pass from Euan Laing to sprint through the middle to score under the posts converted by Archie Damer.
The next came from a trade mark direct forwards run from Cameron, followed up by the opposite a quick ball out to the wing first for Chris Brett to beat a few defenders for an offload to Fraser to round the defence from 30 m and score under the posts.
The final try came from a quick tap and go from Murray to Jonathan to sprint through a demoralised defense for a final unconverted try.
The squad defended and pressurised the opposition relentlessly creating good opportunities. Every player contributed 110% to the result and the game special mentions go to Ewan Hannah and Issac in their second and first games respectfully both looked as if they had played many more games and will play many more.
Having a squad of 16 on the day and being able to rotate players and positions strengthen the team greatly.
Final score 27 - 4
Story date: 08/03/2016
(3 points a try 1 for a conversion)
U-16’s regain winning ways
Edinburgh BAT's 7 Biggar 43
A win's a win no matter how you look at it, right?
The first half of this one wasn't pretty at all. Despite a couple of flashes of old form in the first few minutes, it looked as if the Hartreemill boys were still recovering from a Highland Hangover.
Early visits to the BAT's 22 should have led to scores but Biggar kind of forgot what that should look like and squandered the opportunities.
BAT's Fly-half showed a bit of vision and kicked well in behind the Biggar defence which meant they had to start the whole process again.
The hosts made a good break though and showed composure to score between the posts but Biggar didn't panic and, thankfully, normal service was resumed when Luhann Kotze spotted a gap inside 5m line after good forwards pressure. He squeezed under the BAT's pack to level things up.
Before the half was out Stuart Forrest extended the lead to 12-7, soon after the BAT's fly-half missed a touchline effort and Rory Wesencraft made good progress. The No.8 ran a good line to collect a sharp pass out the back of the ruck and crashed over the whitewash to ease Biggar's self inflicted pressure.
Biggar started the second-half with far greater purpose. The ball was being recycled more effectively with forwards working harder to get beyond the ball at the breakdown.
They started to dominate the game thanks to their defence too, which did not buckle and as Biggar looked for a decisive score, their ability to move the ball wide quickly thanks to some sublime off-loading by forwards and backs, saw flanker Fin Stott outdoing everyone. The right place at the right time. Nice to watch and a clinical 5 points. Rowan Stewart added the extras.
You’re only as strong as the squad you've got and it’s important that, when they’re given the chance, players who haven’t had much rugby take it and Craig Frame was the man that certainly did. Deputising for the injured Sam Grieve, he displayed excellent effort and physicality that will be embraced within this squad.
The pattern of the game remained unaltered. Biggar continued to dominate and Robbie Orr got on the score sheet with an excellent line-break.
Rowan Stewart did much the same a minute later to increase the tally.
Matthew Stewart also displayed a cutting edge when he ran in from 20m, and an impressive conversion from Ali Steele widened the ever increasing gap.
With 10 minutes left to play Stuart Forrest collected the kick-off 10 yards out and popped to Guy Kelly. Stuart re-collected from Guy and had the strength to break the attempted tackle and broke brilliantly from his own half, side-stepping the centres and accelerating clear of the cover before sprinting 50 metres to cross unopposed.
Even when BAT's did enjoy a period of possession in the final few minutes of the game, the Biggar defence held impressively firm.
On reflection, Biggar combined flashes of brilliance with periods of mediocrity, predominantly in the first half, but all the tries were well worked and they were visibly the fitter side.
Stuart Forrest was dynamic all day and deserves the top performer accolade.
Onward and upward.
Story date: 31/01/2016
Tries: Luhann Kotze, Stuart Forrest (2), Fin Stott, Robbie Orr, Rowan Stewart, Matthew Stewart.
Conv: Robbie Orr, Rowan Stewart, Ali Steele (2)
U-16’s come up short against Highland in Cup quarter
Highland 15 Biggar 7
If success was to be measured in territory, possession and determination then on reflection Biggar should have won this fixture.
However, the words ‘Rusty’ and ‘Lack of valuable game time’ resounded amongst the support and they were right, with furrowed brow suggesting this was going to be an awkward affair and anything but straight forward. That’s not to say the standard was poor. In fact both sides showed real quality.
Highland made an early impact with a brief spell of sustained pressure on the Biggar 5m line. Biggar defended well and managed to hold Highland up after they crossed the line.
The hosts had momentum though and eventually managed to score in the corner after drawing in the Biggar defence.
5 minutes gone and 5 nil down. And that’s how it stayed for the next 30 mins.
Highlands penalty count was on the increase and Biggar had the lions share of the ball and territory but the visitors just couldn't get that crucial pass in or exploit the fact that Highland were on the back foot and the Hartreemill boys largely failed to make any impression even with the wind in their favour.
A knock-on here and fumble there led to Highland turning over in the last minute of the half. When they touched down for their second Biggar were left scratching their heads as to how they managed to let that happened.
Highland were well drilled and patient and closed the Biggar forwards down quickly. This meant the centre pairing of Stewart & Stewart saw little ball to begin with.
10 nil at half-time was not a disaster though and a sense of belief remained ever present.
Biggar’s performance in the second half was a bit more like it. The game started to flow in the visitors favour and their determination and improved quality of play meant we could be safe in the knowledge that they weren’t going to be trampled over by their hosts. Biggar were starting to look dangerous.
The flanker partnership of Lewis Stewart and Daniel McConkey was effective in pinching line-out ball and clearing out in the ruck.
But, hold the press!
The going was soft, heavy in places and damp which led to the proverbial ‘Bar of Soap’ popping into Highlands hands and they used their forwards well to crash over for their third.
Heartbreaker....or was it? Highland hadn't converted any of their tries. They weren't that far away from being caught.
Biggar still had much to play for and in Rowan Stewart they had one of the most forthright runners on the field closely followed by Stuart Forrest and Matthew Stewart.
Luhann Kotze's vision led to the Biggar score.
After good pressure the scrum-half made a lateral run and in a flash he'd cut inside, leaving the Highland defence sprawling, and off-loaded to Rowan who burst right through the middle to slide under the sticks. Ali Steele added the two point conversion.
Biggar were almost at it again, which would have made for a tasty finish, but a knock-on thwarted any efforts.
So, there you have it. The cup dream ends soon after it started. But make no mistake, Highland were tested and it could have been a different story if Biggar played the first half the way they did in he second.
Sam Grieve showed composure at wing and Rory Wesencraft continues to improve.
Robbie Orr threw himself at men twice his size in defence and kept things moving in attack.
Biggar were so keen to impress and perhaps just over-thought the process a little.
Story date: 31/01/2016
They're a talented bunch and will bounce back quickly.
Tries: Rowan Stewart
Conv: Ali Steele
Peebles Over 35’s come to Hartree Mill
There was considerable disappointment at Hartree Mill on Saturday when first of all the 2nd XV match and then shortly afterwards the 1st XV match was postponed due to water-logged pitches at Cartha QP. These matches had been eagerly anticipated by all players as both sides were playing at the same venue with the prospect of some off the field bonding as we approach the Festive season and the break in league action.
The focus shifted quickly then to the Over 35’s match against Peebles. This is the 5th match in this series with home advantage proving the deciding factor up until now and this year was in the end no different, Biggar winning by 28-10.
Fielding a strong squad Biggar were pretty much in control throughout as Peebles were unable to field a representative front row which is normally a particular strength. The visitors responded well in the second half when they used the wind to good effect to run in two tries but Biggar managed to hold on and end the match with a try for skipper Ewan McAlpine – the flanker also converting to seal the match with the last kick of the game.
The match did not enjoy the best of conditions as the wind buffeted all present on both touchline and pitch making play against the elements very difficult.
Biggar opened the scoring with try from Alistair Browning who orchestrated the Biggar backs really well as befits someone who is assisting as a backs coach at senior level. His overall performance deservedly earned him the man-of-the-match award from the Biggar squad.
Jim Wallace was the second to score, the winger bravely playing on after a thundering tackle from Peebles player Colin Campbell. The Peebles man was voted as their man-of-the-match not solely because of this tackle but for a combative all round display.
Stuart Harrison was the next to score, the centre cutting a great line to cross close to the posts. Browning added conversions to all these three first half tries to give Biggar a commanding 21-0 half time lead and one which Peebles could not match.
Their two tries were great efforts however, the first off a well-placed up and under and the second as Biggar struggled to clear from their own 22.
This is a very popular occasion and the rivalry while intense is at the same time good natured and exemplifies all that is good with the sport. The post-match craic was good as several ‘oldies’ made a return to action. Andy Hunter has clearly lost none of his ‘go forward’ while in true spirit both Jason King and Neil Wolfendene played for both sides as Peebles ran out of replacements within minutes of the kick off.
A very similar match will take place this Sunday (27th) when GY’s Snowmen take on JB’s Santas. An interclub match will see loads of club members don their boots for a festive frolic……or at least that is the intention!
Story date: 21/12/2015
Anyone not already involved and who would like to play should contact GY or JB asap. Kick-off is 1.30pm and there is no requirement to play the full match.
Biggar in control against PL
Biggar 26 Preston Lodge 10
Biggar returned to winning ways on Saturday when the defeated Preston Lodge, a side which had given Biggar a real thumping back in September.
Both sides showed several changes to those squads listed back then – Biggar had 8 changes to PL’s 11 – but Biggar, who in the first match had endured some real bad luck with the bounce of the ball rarely going their way, profited this time round as PL were slow to come out of their blocks and then made numerous errors in what was a poor first half display. They were of course given little time on the ball by a Biggar unit who were clearly out to redeem themselves and to maintain a winning home run.
The opening exchanges were all Biggar and with handling errors costing them possession and territory PL were rarely able to get their hands on the ball. Play was confined to the PL half and Biggar had numerous attacking opportunities. That they took the lead via penalties from Francois Nel (2 mins, 6 mins, 25 mins and 35 mins) meant that they were looking good for a 12-0 half time lead. The half was rounded off however by a somewhat rare occurrence, namely a try from skipper David Reive, the scrum half nipping over from close range and under the posts for a try converted by Nel. Biggar 19-0 up.
Until that point Biggar had enjoyed some great passages of play as, among others Aird Jardine, Richard Peacock, Graham Jamieson and Robbie Lavery all took the game to the visitors. One particular phase began after Alasdair Sinclair engineered a great turnover as PL attacked in Biggar’s 22. The winger pinched the ball, sprinted up the line and then fed inside to Nel. The move was continued by Ewan Sanderson and then Andrew Peacock both of whom again had excellent games (the former winning the man-of-the-match accolade). Possession was retained then moved to Craig Bachurzewski who embarked on a 40 metre burst upfield leaving defenders and supporting players in his wake. More of this please! Unfortunately, while the ball was freed to Richard Peacock, Sanderson and then Warnock PL managed a try-saving turnover. They were unable to properly clear their lines however and another attack, initiated after a wonderful diving catch from Andrew Peacock, might also have led to a try but Sinclair was bundled into touch on the wing as the scramble PL defence covered across.
It seemed only time until Biggar would score a try but in fact they had to wait until the last minute of the half for Reive’s effort.
PL’s main attacking threat, aside for a couple of promising looking attacking runs which too frequently ended with dropped passes or knock-ons, was via the pack which consistently drove well from lineouts and mauls. On one occasion play was advanced some 40 meters upfield as Biggar were unable to halt PL’s progress. Instrumental in these plays was ex-Biggar prop Colin Arthur who was at the heart of many of these mauls and whose pace onto the ball served his side well.
Biggar turned round then with a healthy lead and in control, their scrummage on top and their open play more productive.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was PL’s best spell however, they clearly responding to their coaches prompting and encouragement. They came out looking much hungrier and, in complete contrast to the first half, began to control play.
Awarded just a couple of penalties before the break PL were more successful in these opening exchanges as referee Michael Milner penalised Biggar on several occasions, forcing the home side onto the defensive.
A long range penalty miss from Nel was all Biggar had to show from this period but PL scored their first try after some 12 minutes. Two penalties gave them field position and both lineouts were driven forward to the Biggar line, the second of these rounded off by Arthur for an opening score.
Less than 10 minutes later and they had scored again, James Burns nipping over following another penalty awarded against Biggar. The wee scrum half elected to tap and go and finding the Biggar defence slow to react he crossed on the left hand side of the posts. Had kicker Brash been on target with these two conversions the score at 19-14 would have led to a tight last quarter of the match but his failure to score meant that PL still needed two scores for the win.
As it was, aside from another driven lineout which Biggar held up, their effort quietly petered out as Biggar finished more strongly, the offensive defence of Jardine, Cairns, Stewart, O’Connell, Falefa, Henderson and Peacock all ensuring that PL were confined to defensive roles.
An excellent Nel cross kick almost led to a second Biggar score, Richard Peacock just unable to take the catch. This would have been a show stopper but Biggar were at least able to maintain the pressure from the scrum.
Some minutes later and within sight of the final whistle a scrum which was tidied by Williams saw Reive feed Nel. His grubber kick behind the PL defence obligingly bounced up for Douglas Voas who had replaced Sinclair. Voas in turn fed Lavery and the wee centre sped over for the try which Nel then converted for 26-10.
Altogether a really good win and one from which the squad can and should take great satisfaction. The fact that Biggar spurned 3 scores will however irk coach Gavin Blackburn. Biggar could have done with 4-try bonus points in their games against Lasswade and PL and these would have been taken them that little bit closer to their ‘40 points by Christmas’ target. This is one target which they will not now reach and with a tough match coming up against Cartha who will be keen to maintain their promotion challenge Biggar will have to settle for 6th spot at the break, their current total insufficient to see them get ahead of PL regardless of the score this Saturday. Having said that this is a much healthier position than they might have expected given the poor start to the league campaign which saw Biggar in the relegation spots through September and part of October.
Well done to the whole squad all of whom played their part on Saturday in difficult conditions, the post-match pics reminding many of what conditions at Hartree Mill were like through the ‘early years’ when the pitch had a much muddier surface.
R. Peacock, A. Sinclair, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Jardine, F. Nel, D. Reive, C. Bachurzewski, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams. Reps: D. O’Connell, Douglas Voas, Donald Voas, C. Henderson,
Colin Devenney (who teamed up with Duncan Hodge of Hodge Plant as match sponsor) has been ever present at Hartree Mill throughout the summer as he has been busy undertaking the work for the pitch development. Perhaps less well known is the fact that he has been quite ill and following an appeal by partner Aileen a collection was taken to provide funds for the Christie Charitable Foundation which carries out research into the causes of and cures for cancer. Many thanks to all who contributed on the day with a magnificent £1,000 total realised. This is a massive total and will aid the work of the charity.
The 2nds journeyed to Currie where they took on the top side in their division. With several regulars unavailable Biggar were unable to field a complete front row and so were forced to concede the points although by playing the fixture they should receive league points nevertheless. Scott Chapman scored Biggar’s only points but it was a much better decision to fulfil the fixture after last weeks enforced postponement.
Story date: 21/12/2015
The Currie backs who would most probably have tested the 1st XV unit controlled proceedings although coach Doug Fleming was very positive about the effort shown by his charges.
Senior sides record wins
Biggar 2nds 12 Stewarts Melville 10
A ‘double’ on Saturday when the 2 senior XV’s recorded wins made for deserved celebrations at Hartree Mil. The 2nd XV result in particular was warmly received by all involved with the club. This season has seen Biggar 2nds struggle and there will be several challenging games ahead but this was one to savour and epitomised the grit and determination that Neil Wolfendene, John Bogle and now Dougie Fleming wish to see to the fore.
In very difficult conditions on a wet and muddy 2nd XV pitch the Biggar lads tackled their hearts out in the face of a well-drilled and pacy Stew-Mel outfit and soaked up a barrage of attacks in their 22. In the second half the youngsters came out fighting and with the wind behind them managed to engineer positions from which they scored twice through Stuart Alder and Andrew Orr (who after 3 weeks on the 1st XV bench deservedly won the man-of-the-match allocade). Gary Morrison kicked the all-important conversion.
In the last couple of minutes a penalty conceded by Biggar gave Stew-Mel a chance to steal the match. As the Biggar XV and each spectator crossed their fingers the kicker mistimed his effort which flew wide of the target. A couple of phases later and the match was ended with a Stew-Mel knock on, cue wild cheering for the Biggar support.
This was the sides’ second win of the season but given the relative league positions is easily the better of the two – Stew-Mel are in 4th spot while Biggar were in bottom spot prior to this match. They should now move up to 11th.
Biggar 19 Lasswade 9
After a hefty defeat in August when the recently promoted Lasswade ran rings around the recently relegated Biggar, there was much anticipation surrounding this match and whether Biggar could redress the balance with a home win or whether Lasswade could record a notable away win.
Biggar eventually triumphed although the game was in some doubt until Biggar scored their second try, this credited to Craig Bachurzewski who made a return to Biggar colours after a sojourn with Boroughmuir and as a contracted Edinburgh player.
Until that point Biggar ‘enjoyed’ a 5 point lead and were keenly aware that had the Lasswade kicker been on his game they would have been beaten. A reversal under similar circumstances to that of last week when Biggar stole the match in the dying seconds was on the cards but happily things again worked out in Biggar’s favour.
That Biggar are enjoying a winning run can be attributed to a whole host of factors. Among these are a developing and very welcome increase in team spirit, a growing self-confidence amongst individuals, a growing confidence as a squad and a largely settled squad. Some will also cite a lot of good luck but as Gary Player once claimed ‘The more I practice the luckier I get’ and this too is part of the answer. Players are working hard on the training pitch and hard at game time.
There will be defeats to come there is little doubt but with a total of 30 league points they are edging clearer of the relegation spots.
Jamie Orr and Dan O’Connell were unavailable for this match and so last week’s try-scoring hero Andrew Peacock was at lock and Calvin Henderson made his first start of the season. Replacements were just two in number, Douglas Voas and Bachurzewski. Had they filled the bench with four, the second XV would have been short-handed.
Kicking off in miserable conditions and with the wind on their backs Biggar were soon on the attack. Within 3 minutes they scored their first try, Kiwi prop Louis Falefa rounding off a textbook lineout drive to crash over. The take from Andrew Cairns was tidied by Peacock who set off for the line. Held up a metre short Falefa picked up and squeezed over at the corner. All so easy and controlled. If there was a frustration it is that the side were unable to capitalise on their driving play which made so many yards but which seemed to come to grief for a variety of careless plays.
The conditions were difficult and Lasswade had similar problems so the dropped passes were in many cases excusable but on another day Biggar would have been much more severely punished.
As it was biggar were prevented from any further scoring as they also fell into the trap of conceding penalties at an alarming rate. Referee Rob Dickson was quick to penalise where Biggar were slow to learn the mitigating factor being that given the conditions Lasswade were largely unable to kick far out of defence.
Visiting stand-off Matt Smith had a trying day with ball in hand but he did kick 2 penalties to give his side the lead at 6-5 with 20 minutes on the clock. Davy reive was making life difficult for Lasswade Jed Smith although the link between Reive and Karetai Williams was also exposed on occasion. Biggar’s best yardage was gained as Falefa who had easily his best game to date carried ball both well and often into contact. A promising attack featuring Falefa, Nel, Henderson and Peacock ended with a knock on which should have provided Lasswade with a means of relieving the pressure but an error at the scrum base led to a Biggar penalty which Nel kicked for 8-5. A couple of minutes later and the same player kicked another penalty for 11-6. Returning to the offensive after the restart another good passage of play the front row of Falefa, Henderson and Ewan Stewart take play forward where Lasswade conceded another penalty but this time Nel pushed the ball wide.
Would a 5 point lead be enough? Few believed so, particularly if Biggar were to be as profligate with their penalty count.
In fact and after a few home truths from skipper Reive, the hosts tightened up considerably and only gave Lasswade a couple of kickable chances in the second period, Smith on target with just one and this late on.
The half began with a series of Biggar attacks which culminated in a third Nel penalty to stretch Biggar’s lead to 14-6. An excellent breakout after the restart and featuring the tireless Alan Warnock, Falefa and Cairns promised much but a loose pass gave Lasswade the chance to counter, the day saved only by the textbook tidying of Lavery who, alongside centre partner Graham Jamieson, put in some excellent defensive work over the 80 minutes.
On the 50 minute mark coach Gavin Blackburn made a couple of changes, Henderson and Aird Jardine, who as winger, had had few opportunities to shine, making way for Bachurzewski and Voas.
Biggar had begun to get the better of their opponents in the tight scrum and Bachurzewski’s introduction only increased that advantage, Lasswade pushed back on several occasions and meaning that their back division was put under even more pressure.
Smith missed his first attempt at goal after some 26 minutes of the half played which, had it been successful, would certainly have made things far more difficult for Biggar. With 5 minutes to go he did manage to find the target to put his side a converted try away from victory but the restart which saw Biggar win a scrum led to the second try. Jamieson and hit up on inside pass before Warnock took play to the Lasswade 22. Nel took the ball on the blind side and made a great break through the Lasswade line before off-loading to Lavery with a 2 on 1. Lavery might have made the line but he popped the ball unselfishly inside to the supporting Bachurzewski who was able to get slightly closer to the posts, though not close enough for Nel to add the conversion, the ball bobbling about in the wind before Jamieson held it steady.
Another win and another 4 points. That is 3 on the trot and 5 from 6 so the side could be in no better shape for their visit to league leaders Hamilton who have had a couple of tricky weeks with a surprise and comprehensive defeat by Falkirk followed by a narrowish win over Ardrossan.
Story date: 30/11/2015
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Sinclair, F. Nel, D. Reive, C. Henderson, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams. Reps: C. Bachurzewski, D. Voas.
Biggar 1sts last minute victory.
Ardrossan 13 Biggar 17
Recognise the scoreline?
For the second week in succession Biggar recorded a 17-13 victory albeit in very different circumstances after they clinched the win with what proved to be the last move of the game and in all honesty following their most dynamic passage of driving play all game.
Ardrossan were justifiably frustrated at the outcome, their angst mirroring that of Biggar a fortnight ago when they lost out to Hillhead Jordanhill in the dying minutes having been ahead for a similar time span and in clear sight of the finishing line.
The win puts Biggar into 6th place yet just 6 points from the second bottom spot, the league still a fairly tight affair with the surprise result of the day seeing Falkirk comprehensively defeat the hitherto unbeaten league leaders Hamilton.
Biggar were forced into just one change from the side that played last weekend, Jamie Orr starting at lock in place of the injured Zander Lyon.
With the Ardrossan pitch heavy and wet and with the cross-pitch slope a real feature Biggar were unable to impose themselves much for the first 10 minutes as the Ayrshire side opened strongly confining Biggar to defensive roles. This period saw Ardrossan centre Anderson kick the opening penalty. Biggar’s only scoring chance came with a Francois Nel penalty and while this drifted right Graham Jamieson was on hand to gather, his progress to the line and a try halted by some very good scrambled last ditch defence.
The game then settled down a little more as play moved from end to end, attacks ending as players made errors. The slope on the pitch made clearance kicks on the ‘top’ side very difficult for the visitors, ball which would normally have been dispatched to touch, dropping infield and giving the home side further attacking opportunities.
Nevertheless Biggar did have their moments one attack, a driven line off ball won by Orr ended as Davy Reive was penalised for using his feet in what was a maul rather than a ruck. With play only a handful of yards from the Ardrossan line this was their best attacking chance off their play.
Nel kicked an equalising penalty at the end of the first quarter to tie the scores and then again on the half hour mark after some promising and committed drives by Karetai Williams, Luis Falefa and Andrew Cairns. Biggar 6-3 up.
Ewan Stewart was to the fore again with some excellent tackling although his charge down, with his head, of Ardrossan Duncan’s clearance kick stunned the hooker and rattled his teeth!
A grubber kick by Nel out of defence and a swift chase from Alisdair Sinclair threatened a try but again Ardrossan engineered a very good ‘exit’ to clear the immediate danger.
With just 5 minutes to go to half time a similar kick from Nel, but one which on this occasion was picked up by home fullback Duncan was cleverly worked into the Biggar 22. For once Biggar’s tight defence eluded them and with tackles missed ball was advanced before a neat inside pass was taken by winger Rob Hunter who scooted over for the game’s opening try. Anderson converted for 10-6.
The restart saw Stewart up quickly to put real pressure on the Ardrossan catch, the result a penalty to Biggar which Nel converted to reduce the gap to 1 point at 10-9. Half time followed shortly afterwards.
Turning around to face the incline Biggar were immediately on the defensive as their hosts attacked. An excellent steel in the tackle from Orr came to nought as Dan O’Connell strayed in at the side of the resultant ruck, one of the few off-sides awarded all day, although the touchline support saw many more! Anderson kicked well and stretched his sides lead to 13-9.
Both sides had their opportunities in what was developing into a very evenly contested match, Biggar gaining a real edge in the tight scrum but yielding ball on the touchline as their lineout play lacked the control required. Ground gained from penalties, advanced by Nel into the Ardrossan half and into promising attacking opportunities was lost as possession was scrappy or lost. This was a frustration, as was Biggars reluctance to spread play wide, players opting to hit up through the middle which, while often retaining possession, failed to provide the line-breaks required to put real pressure on the Ardrossan defence.
Nel made a couple of promising breaks – the stand-off relishes the physical contact – but Biggar were unable to capitalise on these. Coach Gavin Blackburn made two changes as Andrew Peacock and Calvin Henderson replaced Andrew Cairns and Luis Falefa respectively.
Penalty awards punctuated the match at regular intervals and while some were dubious neither side fared any better than the other. Richard Peacock did all that was asked of him at fullback, his running out of defence relieving pressure as Ardrossan looked to make ground via the boot while a cleverly taken kick by Sinclair following his ‘mark’ was dispatched to touch by Nel. Coolness under pressure!
The next Ardrossan attack, initiated by livewire scrum half Dagledenis from a tap penalty, forced Biggar to regroup and with their defence stretched by some stirring pick up and drives, the No9 strolled over from close range for what would have been a match-winning score. The ease with which Dagledenis made the line was down to a crossing offence however and this was spotted by the referee. The subsequent penalty award to Biggar gave them a lifeline!
As Ardrossan made another concentrated attack in the Biggar 22, their pack again picking and driving off good front foot ball, a wide pass was intercepted by Biggar’s Richard Peacock in almost identical situation to last week. This time the fullback was under greater pressure from the catch however and while he delivered a quick pass outside the ball fell tantalisingly short of the outstretched hands of Aird Jardine to give the very slightest knock-on but which was correctly spotted by the lady ref.
The clock was ticking away and it was clear that if Biggar were going to get the win, they’d need to do something special. A long range penalty award with 5 minutes to go promised to reduce the Ardrossan lead but Nel, although kicking long enough was just off target. The long drop out was taken by Peacock and a series of phases with Williams, Sanderson et al to the fore ended with another penalty for illegal use of the hands.
A quick confab ascertained that there was just enough time to kick to touch for a lineout. Nel duly obliged and after Warnock secured possession from the line the pack drove well together, Ewan Stewart, McConnell, Warnock assisted by Orr gave Reive clean ball for the backs. Jamieson standing at stand-off spun the ball wide to Lavery who in turn fed Jardine. The young winger made for the line then cut back inside his opposite number before being hauled down just feet from the try line. The ruck which followed was not as tidy as Biggar would have wished but as the ball bobbled loose and out towards the support, Andrew Peacock arrived at pace to scoop the ball up with one hand before bludgeoning his way to the line and the winning try! Drama indeed. The big man will scarcely have scored a better try and his timing on this occasion was also fantastic. The plaudits he received from his team mates are perfectly captured in Nigel Paceys photos (see the club website). Nel was off target but at 17-13 the game was over and Biggar had engineered a great escape. Having said that the feedback from the team suggests a brimming confidence throughout that they would get the all-important score.
That is the end of the first half of the season and Biggar now await the visit of Lasswade to commence the return matches. The trip to Hawthornden in September proved to be a real shocker as the East Lothian side triumphed by 36-6. That result hurt all involved and so there is a real incentive for Biggar. The touchline support at Ardrossan was magnificent an many thanks to all those who travelled to the Ayrshire tow. A trip to Hartree Mill on Saturday to cheer the boys on would be very much appreciated as well.
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Sinclair, F. Nel, D. Reive, D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams. Reps A. Orr, C. Henderson, A. Peacock, D. Voas.
The 2nd XV hosted Hawick. The Borderers who are able to field several age group internationalists are top of the Reserve League table and have run in some big scores. Biggar lost out by some 60+ points but new coach Doug Fleming is acutely aware that the Biggar side, which is full of young players, has great potential. First thing is to ensure he gets a decent turn out at training so he has already been in touch with the squad and he has received a favourable response. Doug does need assistance however and anyone with time to spare midweek or on Saturdays is asked to get in touch asap.
Story date: 23/11/2015
Youth v Falkirk
S1 Biggar 11 - Falkirk 7
After several nice Sunday afternoons watching rugby in the late summer sun winter finally bared it's teeth at Falkirk for Biggar S1s latest game in the Green Conference. Lashing rain, gale force winds and a determined Falkirk team provided a new set of questions for the squad. Biggars team work, skill and determination didn’t disappoint parents or coaches.
Biggar started facing into the wind but even so they spent most of the first 15 minutes camped in Falkirk’s half. Various forays to the try line were repelled by a well organised and committed Falkirk team. Both teams tried to play rugby in difficult conditions and the passing intent with ball in hand was a pleasure to watch. For all of Biggars possession it was Falkirk who scored first, their score coming from an 80 yard run stopped by Biggars No15 Ross Henderson. The ensuing ruck and maul gave Falkirk a penalty try which wasn’t converted, half time score after 20 minutes of intense rugby 3 - 0 to the hosts.
With an injury to Ross, Biggar went down to 12, Falkirk sportingly agreed to also drop to 12. Biggar received from the restart kick, Archie Damer made a 30 yard sprint down his wing beating several players before passing to Fraser Simpson to cut inside to beat 2 more and score under the posts. The extra point converted by Euan Laing. From the restart Biggar quickly won ball and Murray Lean got the ball wide through hands to the revived Ross who sprinted in under the posts, the conversion successfully being taken by Archie Damer.
Although Biggar had a lot of possession and the forwards competed hard in horrible conditions gradually Falkirk worked their way towards Biggars try line and through a succession of penalties scored under the posts and converted. So once again Biggar were in a 1 point game with less than 10 minutes to go and again the players and team worked out a way to win.
By this time Biggar had lost Euan and Jonathan Smith to a combination of knocks and the cold. Biggar pressed forward, Falkirk had a scrum in the corner defending their own line. Good pressure on the kick clearance led to the ball landing with Ross on the 22, a sprint for the line was only stopped by a high tackle which gave Biggar the penalty. Quickly marshalled by Murray Lean the ball was passed to Ruadhri O'Donnell who went through a wall of bodies for a deserved try. The conversion was missed and whistle blown for full time. Score 11 - 7 to Biggar.
One thing was sure, both teams wanted to win this match and the difference partly came down to who wanted it the most.
Given the torrential rain the offloading from Biggar was exceptional, both teams passed the ball and several times Biggar moved the ball through 4 - 5 hands to attack wide. Special recognition goes to Ciaran who loved his role as No 8 in the thick of the match. The ability of players to switch and change positions and feel comfortable in different situations is a big gain for the team.
Well done and thanks to players and parents for braving the weather.
The U-15’s hosted Falkirk at The Showfield and in quite dreadful conditions put their visitors to the sword running in many tries in a 50+ point victory. It’s never easy playing in such conditions (or spectating for that matter and thanks to all those who turned out) but it’s easier of you are winning so all credit to the Falkirk squad who stuck at their task manfully despite the conditions and the one-sided nature of the contest.
U15’s win in testing conditions against Falkirk
With a late switch of venue to the Showfield for the U15’s game and a late start for players to be involved in Remembrance Services, the game finally kicked off just after 2.00pm following a 2 minute silence to remember and honour those who have lost their lives for our freedom, then and now.
Falkirk arrived with just 16 players and, as Biggar knows to their cost this season, this can be quite a daunting task for a team just hoping that injuries do not follow quickly during the game. Biggar too had a couple of unavailable players in Harry Low and Guy Hunt but thankfully we now have good playing squad numbers and were still able to field a strong team.
Biggar chose to play the first half with the wind at their backs and Rhys Thomson set the tone for Biggar with a crunching tackle that quickly robbed Falkirk of having the luxury of a spare man. Drew Brewster scored the first of Biggar’s 9 tries and this was quickly followed up by a bullocking run by Josh who touched down to the right of the posts. Both these tries were converted by Finlay Stewart who kicked remarkably well considering the windy and slippery conditions. In fact, Finlay managed to convert 6 out of the 9 tries, which is a tremendous return.
Falkirk playing into a strong wind and hemmed back on their own goal line then tried to kick the ball to relieve the pressure but Shawn Cottam, playing at full back sliced through the covering defence and touched down in the left corner for a great solo try.
Flanker, Craig Frame then managed to score two tries, one either side of half time. The first from a line out to him at the back, expertly thrown by Rhys (half time score 33-0) and his second came from good pick up and drives from a number of forwards that resulted in Craig crashing over.
Unfortunately for Falkirk, when they turned around at half-time, the wind and rain had eased so they did not really benefit from the favourable conditions Biggar had had in the 1st half. Biggar then started to play a more expansive game with strong running and off loading to support runners that resulted in a try for centre Niall Ball. From the base of a scrum, Cameron Snell picked up and charged through the first line of defence, the ball was then shipped to Finlay who gained further yardage into Falkirk’s 22 before passing to Niall who still had plenty to do but managed to power over the line just to the right of the posts.
The next try was the coaches pick of the bunch as it showed them that the boys are starting to put into practice the coaching from Wednesday night’s training. This score typified what good support play is all about and how to capitalise on attacking positions when one player has managed to break the defensive line. Firstly, another powerful run by Josh into the heart of Falkirk’s defence, then an off load to Jamie Shannon who drew two players that released Hugo Baillie for an easy run to the line.
Jamie then managed to bag a try for himself when he went through a few Falkirk players close to the line to crash over. Jamie’s try also resulted in Falkirk losing another player and so the game was played out to a finish with both teams having 14 players on the pitch. The Falkirk boys never gave up and they kept coming at Biggar with a real willingness to get on the score sheet but unfavourable conditions and lack of substitution opportunities, it just wasn’t meant to be and no further scores came for either team.
Final Score: Biggar 57 – 0 Falkirk
This was a really good team performance by the Biggar boys. Special mentions must go to the backs for their handling in particularly difficult conditions, the forwards for their dominance at the scrum, Cameron for his play at the base of the scrum, Finlay for his kicking, Shawn for his willingness to run the ball back whenever he could and Jamie Bell for his stout tackling on the wing to snuff out any chances that Falkirk had.
It was great to see a good crowd up at the Showfield, especially when the weather was so atrocious. The boys were really lifted by this and pleased that many of the U16’s, Colts, Girls Squad members, and parents braved the wind and rain to cheer them on.
Lastly, many thanks to Lesley and Karen for their volunteer duties in the kitchen and for missing out on a good win though you might have been best placed considering the weather!!
Story date: 11/11/2015
Scorers: Drew Brewster 2, Craig Frame 2, Shawn Cottam, Josh Jvr, Niall Ball, Hugo Baillie and Jamie Shannon
1st XV slip up against Hillhead Jordanhill
Hillhead Jordanhill 14 Biggar 13
This was one which got away. 13-0 up at half time Biggar should have been in a good position to put the game beyond their hosts but, as was the case at Greenock a fortnight past, Biggar failed to add to their tally in the second half. On that occasion the whistle brought the match to an end with Biggar just on top but on Saturday Hill-Jills managed to scrape a win with a try 5 minutes from the end.
Biggar were the architects of their own downfall as they manged to concede penalties on a 2-1 ratio to those conceded by Hill-Jills this culminating in to two yellow cards which meant that for some 5 minutes of the second period they were playing with just 13 men. This provided an opportunity for the hosts and while Biggar were unable to score when the host side lost a man to a yellow just before half time Hill Jills stole a try after the Biggar scrum was wheeled close to their line.
How frustrating this was is difficult to put into words. Having had the best share of both possession and territory, having defended really well whenever they were asked and in the face of some stout attacks and having scored an absolute peach of a try in the first half, all the side had to show for their efforts was a losing bonus. This may prove vital but it is small consolation for their efforts.
Donald Voas and Craig McDonald were both casualties from the Aberdeenshire match and so Dan O’Connell and Aird Jardine started at prop and winger respectively, both putting in a great shift with Sinclair deservedly earning the Biggar Man-of-the-match award for some great attacking play and some solid defence.
After a morning of heavy rain conditions were not too bad as Biggar opened playing up the slope. They were soon in the ascendancy and taking play to their hosts whose set-piece, particularly at the touchline was shaky to say the least. This gave Biggar some added opportunities to play in the Hill-Jills half and this they were grateful to accept a combination of handling errors and good cover defence all that prevented them from scoring.
Francois Nel missed his first pot at goal on the 10 minute mark but opened the scoring with a penalty after 13 mins. There was then a sustained period of defence as the hosts benefited from a poor Biggar take on the restart. Hill-Jills scrum half A J McFarlane took a couple of quick penalties to keep Biggar on their toes but the Biggar defence was sound and ball was held up until a ball was dropped over the line giving Biggar a 22 drop out and some respite.
Jamieson was instrumental in gaining yards as he was used to take ball out of defence and brought into the attack, his gains giving Nel the time required to clear the danger and then to take play into the Hill Jills 22. A promising move came to nought as Biggar failed to deal with the wet ball after a couple of lineout steals.
The try of the match came shortly after that and began after some aerial ping-pong. Picking ball up in his own half Aird Jardine made his way infield to link with Nel. Looping around the stand-off Jardine took a return pass before finding Graham Jamieson coming at great pace in the centre. Jamieson’s burst split the Hill-Jills line and with the fullback to beat his well-timed pass, a classic two on one, saw the ball taken by Robbie Lavery who was able to cruise over under the posts. Nel converted for 10-0. All good.
Another period of Hill Jills pressure was relieved as they knocked on and biggar engineered a good exit. A promising attack involving Wwan Sanderson and Sinclair promised much but was halted with a forward pass but a rash challenge by Hill Jills Ritchie Graham was spotted by referee Jonathan McKinnon and a penalty and yellow card was the result, Nel kicking for a halftime score of 13-0.
After the break Biggar were able to use the slope to their advantage and kicking downfield were soon in the Hills-Jills 22, Sinclair showing the way with a superb driving run. A Nel penalty just slid past the uprights and then it was the hosts who began to gain some ground a series of penalties giving them yardage upfield. Biggar seemed to lose the earlier control and after a number of sloppy plays allowed Hill Jills to camp in the Biggar 22. Having thwarted a number of attacks Biggar eventually succumbed to a good lineout take by No 8 Theo Nwosu-Hope and a forward drive which saw a try scored by flanker Douglas Grove. McFarlane added the conversion.
Awarded a penalty from the restart Biggar opted to go for the corner instead of another 3 points and in the end, and with the advantage of hindsight, this was perhaps crucial. 16-0 would have meant that the hosts would have had to score 3 times to win but instead their two converted tries gave them the 1-point winning margin.
As it was a lineout error deprived Biggar of the possession required and while they drove well to disrupt the Hill Jills heel they Glasgow side managed to steer the ball into touch and relieve the immediate danger.
An error in attack and then another rash of penalties ended with a yellow for Sinclair the winger in no position to move but penalised in any event. Worse was to come as Douglas Notman, just introduced to the fray as he and Jamie Orr replaced Sanderson and Zander Lyon, was also shown yellow for a swinging arm tackle.
With a 2 man advantage Hill Jills were now in the ascendancy and with less than 10 minutes remaining it was clear that a score for either side would very likely win the contest. Despite being short of numbers Biggar’s first scrum held well but the second saw ball stolen by Nwosu-Hope who picked and dived from close range for the crucial score. McFarlanes conversion gave the Glasgow side a vital 1-point advantage.
There was time for the restart however and therefore just enough time for a possible reversal. Alan Warnock got hands to the initial clearance from Hill Jills and then an accidental offside, which could so easily have been seen as a crossing offence and therefore a penalty, saw Biggar awarded a scrum. A series of plays then just as easily could have ended with a Biggar penalty but instead the decision went the other way and Hills gladly kicked to touch to take the League points.
Huge disappointment then as Biggar could and should have won the match. There are always penalties in games which are open to interpretation and Saturday was no different but the 2-1 ratio of penalties awarded against Biggar suggests that there is a need for much greater control and patience. This has for long been seen as a Biggar weakness and it is something which must be addressed by both coaches and players alike.
This Saturday sees Falkirk journey to Biggar. The visitors are in 2nd place having lost just 2 games and so will provide a stern challenge for the Biggar squad. Having said that there is enough to suggest that they have the wherewithal to match most sides in this division. If the Biggar lads can maintain some consistency of approach and cut out the penalties then they will have chance. As always a big support would be very much appreciated.
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Sinclair, F. Nel, D. Reive, D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, Z. Lyon, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams-Paul. Reps A. Orr, C. Henderson, J. Orr, D. Notman
The 2nd XV faced a difficult task as they also journeyed to Glasgow to take on GHA. They were well beaten in the end but this young side will improve as time goes on.
Story date: 11/11/2015
Green Conference against Dunfermline
S1s. BIGGAR 17 - DUNFERMLINE 12
Autumn sunshine was once again the weather for Biggar S1s away trip to Dunfermline on the 1st of November.
Biggar kicked off and the hosts moved forward off a couple of phases but Biggar tackled and harried and quickly won turn over ball largely through Ruadhri’s O’Donnell determination. The ball was then quickly moved through five pairs of hands to winger for the day Fraser Simpson who beat his cover and sprinted in from 30 yards for a fine opening try which demonstrates all the work going on recently on passing and attacking play. The hosts restarted but Biggar had their tails up and the forwards won the ball for Ruadhri to charge past a few defenders and ran in solo try under the posts which was converted by Archie Damer the first conversion hitting the posts.
At this point the game slowed down with a number of knock on’s and scrums which Biggar seemed to have the upper hand of but couldn’t execute the attack from. Then just after 12 minutes Biggar lost their hooker Jack Louden through injury and Fraser was moved back into his conventional berth in the forwards.
In the middle period Biggar scored another try and looked to have scored another one through captain on the day Murray Lean but who’s dive was just short! Then last year’s white line fever looked to have taken hold in the team with sustained pressure on the Dunfermline line not bearing fruit as quickly or easily as it should have until finally Cameron Armstrong broke through and scored near the posts with another conversion hitting the posts and the hosts also scoring the score going into the last 15 minutes was 13 – 6.
Two scores from the hosts then took the score to 13 – 12 and the game was certainly still on! Injury to the teams replacement hooker Connor Lister then spread the Biggar resources thin. Here was the first real pressure for the team, could this squad close off a game which 10 minutes earlier had looked safely put to bed? Much to the parents and coaches admiration the squad stuck in and grew they worked for each other with darting runs and drives and finally got the ball to the newest team member Gregor Forrest to score.
Final score 17 – 12 to Biggar but more important than the result was the development in both character and playing style, Good job team.
(Note score 3 points a try 1 for conversion, game 3 session of 15 minutes)
S2's DALZIEL 30 v BIGGAR (S2) 21
As there was no competitive game this week the S2’s travelled to Dalziel for a friendly, hoping to keep up the momentum from the excellent team performance against Hamilton last Sunday. With the sun shining and the turnout up, there was a squad of 17 players for the new Coaching Team to choose from, expectations were high as the game kicked off.
Unfortunately, the boys slipped back into their previous bad habits of failing to secure their own ball and an almost complete absence of tackling, which allowed Dalziel to score a try from their first attack and then double their lead minutes later, although both conversions were missed, to make it 6-0. The Biggar boys responded with the forwards securing the ball and after a series of plays sending it down the back line for Callum Smith to touchdown in the corner. With the difficult kick also being missed it was 6-3 with only 10 minutes played. Poor tackling once again let Dalziel run in a further three unanswered tries, all of which were successfully converted to extend the Dalziel lead to 18-3 as the Ref blew to end the first 20 minute period.
The Biggar boys rallied in the second period and began to secure the ball better in the forwards and spin it down the back line to move steadily up the park. But it seemed as though every time Biggar crossed the Dalziel twenty-two the ball was either lost or intercepted and three times in quick succession Dalziel were able to breakaway up the park to score a try. With all three tries once again being successfully converted the lead was stretched to 30-3 and the game looked to be all but over for Biggar. The boys refused to give up though and continued to utilise forward and back play to press the Dalziel defence. Biggar were awarded a penalty try after deliberate foul play by Dalziel just five yards from their line. Calum McCallum converted the kick to make it 30-7 and a few moments it was Calum McCallum again that dived over in the corner for Biggar’s third try after the backs ripped the ball from Dalziel and sent it quickly down the back-line. Though the kick was unsuccessful the try brought the score to 30-10 at the end of the second period.
It was clear that the Dalziel boys were beginning to tire and this was confirmed when they asked for the last 20 minute period to be cut to 10 minutes. Though the Biggar coaches were not keen on this, a compromise agreement was reached for a 15 minute period. It was a period that was all Biggar though, as the forwards and backs combined to put pressure on the Dalziel defence. First Callum Smith pulled it back to 30-13 finishing in the corner after quick ball from the scrum found him out on the wing, although the conversion was unsuccessful. Then almost direct from the kick-of the boys travelled up the field again before Callum Smith broke away to complete his hat-trick and score between the posts, which Calum McCallum converted to make it 30-17. Then after further good play by the forwards and backs, Josh Dempster picked-up the ball on the wing and sailed past a stream of defenders to finish under the posts and again Calum McCallum converted the kick to make it 30-21. The boys thought they had closed the gap even further when Calum McCallum pounced on a loose pass and dived over in the corner, but the Ref pulled the boys back for a foot in touch and a line-out. Shortly after that the Ref blew the final whistle and the game finished 30-21, but who knows what could have happened if those final five minutes had been played?
Ultimately though it was the poor start and appalling lack of tackling that lost the boys the game, with Dalziel running in five tries to one in the first period and three tries to two in the second, although Biggar did take the shortened third period three tries to nil. Whilst there were some positives in the game – not least the fact that the boys refused to give up and kept at it right to the final whistle. Training this week will need to focus on tackling, tackling and more tackling and then if there is time – MORE TACKLING!
U-15’s Biggar 5 Dunfermline 39
Under 15’s perform well in defeat at Hartree Mill
Biggar under 15’s took on Dunfermline at Hartree Mill on Sunday and put in a creditable performance even in the face of a 39 points to 5 defeat. Having lost their first competitive game of the season to Dunfermline by 70 points a tough game was expected and that was as the case but Biggar performed well.
Dunfermline arrived with excellent numbers and as expected were a strong, well-drilled outfit that did the basics very well. The first half was a tousy affair with defences on top. Dunfermline had most of the ball but Biggar defended manfully tackling well and containing the runners. Jamie Bell’s tracking back and tackling was excellent and Guy Hunt was working well in the middle of the line to stop the big Dunfermline backs.
Some of the rucking on display from Biggar was excellent. Harry Low in particular driving Dunfermline back and being well supported by Harry Archibald and Connor Sheridan. All areas of the team were working hard and it was disappointing to see Dunfermline score out wide left. A lost scrum was worked well out wide and Dunfermline managed to work the ball into space to score an unconverted try.
Dunfermline scored again from a quickly taken penalty with Biggar possibly guilty of switching off slightly. Going over wide on the left with another unconverted try. The game was still very tight and the battle was happening in the middle of the park. Tackling was good and rucking was hard but little ground was being gained by either team.
Half Time Biggar 0 Dunfermline 10
From the start of the second half, Biggar took the game by the scruff of the neck. The forwards driving Dunfermline back and working hard to get back into the game. A number of excellent pick and go’s from Biggar getting them well into the 22. A couple of forwards could have scored with Hugo Baillie and Craig Frame going close but it was Niall Ball that made it over the line to bring Biggar right back into the game.
Unfortunately from there on, Dunfermline started to take real control of the game scoring 5 further tries. A number of them when Biggar were really pressing hard to get over the line. Each time the last pass seemed to fall to the opposition and they produced good rugby to get themselves out of danger.
Dunfermline were working Biggar really hard and it was proving tough to close them down. Indeed they could have scored more but some great tackling on the right from Gregor Harley and an amazing last gasp intervention from Shawn Cottam preventing what looked like a certain try.
With the last play of the game, Biggar were pushing and pushing for a score which their play surely deserved but the ball was lost and Dunfermline showed guile and determination to take the ball from their 5m line and score.
Full time Biggar 5 – Dunfermline 39
Although this was a disappointing result, the performance from Biggar was another step in the right direction. Tackling, rucking and support were all good and the boys worked their socks off. It’s a testament to the excellent coaching that the boys are receiving that they are making such big strides game by game. Another positive was seeing 3 more boys making their competitive debuts for Biggar this week. Alex Trickey, Harry Griffies and Joe Kelly all getting game time and Lee Smith coming off the bench again with all 4 boys making a real impact in the game. Another tough game next week against Falkirk who won the away game by just 3 points. Keep working and hard and we can hopefully get our 3rd win of the season.
Many thanks to Lanark RFC ref Stewart Wise who answered the call to arms when unavailability and injury ruled out Biggar's supply of refs.
U-16’s: Biggar 58 Dunfermline 12
Biggar started the second half of the league fixtures with a ruthless display against Dunfermline in glorious Autumn sunshine.
Biggar fans can be sure of one thing when U16's play, and that's commitment and desire.
This team played with assurance from the start and was not thrown by the few moments when Dunfermline threatened in the first half. A couple of minor adjustments sorted that.
So where do we start...the solo run by Robbie Orr? The sublime link up play by Rowan Stewart? The sheer guts and determination from Guy Kelly? Take your pick, it was all inspiring.
The back row learned today that they have real leader in Daniel McConkey. But no real surprise there. Stuart Forrest now knows the meaning of 'Meet it early'...as does his opposite number. We could wax lyrical for ages and so we should because this squad entertain week in, week out. It's a pleasure to watch.
Dunfermline kicked off in calm conditions only to find themselves facing a hurricane. It is to their credit that they were not blown away in the opening blasts. In fact they looked quite dangerous early on after cancelling out the first Biggar try in what was a very good 'forwards' score, but they never managed to add to their tally other than in closing stages following a Biggar mistake.
Biggar had eight different try scorers. Talk about a Team effort.
Guy Kelly drew first blood with an impressive turn of speed from about 3 feet. Robbie Orr scored in 20 mins after he went on a 'Mazy' from 10m. Guy in again after a sustained period of play with three or four phases. Ali Steele dived over the whitewash for Biggar's fourth after linking up well with the backs.
Ali converted three from four to bring the half-time score to 26-7.
Straight after the break the support was offered up the try of the day, and all you could do was stand and applaud at what was, quite frankly, a touch of class. A combination of slick ball, hitting the line, vision, support and off-load led to Rowan Stewart breaking through and off-loading to Lewis Stewart and the flanker was happy to finish off the centres hard work.
Sam Grieve added another followed by Stuart Forrest. Blind-side flanker McConkey got in on the act to put the icing on his solid performance. If you want a cherry on the top then look no further than Luhann Kotze's box of tricks. In fact the electric scrum-half stuck another two on top, one of which was converted well by Craig Meikle.
Ten tries, four conversions, and we haven't even mentioned the performance of second row Alex Dawe. A fully fired-up individual that made so much ground. Ran like he just wasn't going to be stopped.
What sets this team apart from others is the ability to keep going which must sicken the opposition because it would appear that as the match goes on the intensity rises.
As ever though, the game was played in the spirit we should all expect. Respectful and disciplined.
Story date: 04/11/2015
Tries: Guy Kelly (2), Robbie Orr, Ali Steele, Lewis Stewart, Sam Grieve, Stuart Forrest, Daniel McConkey, Luhann Kotze (2).
Conv: Ali Steele (3), Craig Meikle (1)
1sts snatch win against Aberdeenshire
Biggar 20 Aberdeenshire 14
After a strangely muted performance the previous week when they stuttered to an unconvincing victory over bottom place Greenock, Biggar had to show they could compete against the better sides in this League with second top Aberdeenshire their next opponents.
That they did so is immensely encouraging and should give all concerned great heart and confidence for the coming weeks. To be almost ‘comfortably’ ahead, to then lose two tries to lose their advantage and then to regain the lead with what was one of the last plays is testimony to the grit which was evident throughout the Biggar squad and something which gave the Biggar support real reason to cheer.
This win takes Biggar into 7th spot. If the side can replicate this level of performance then they should be able to improve on that position, with a trip to Glasgow to play Hillhead Jordanhill a match they need to win to maintain momentum.
Coach Gavin Blackburn made a couple of changes to his starting XV. In the pack Ewan Stewart made a welcome return at hooker and replaced Kevin Anderson (who answered the ‘call’ last week and who was on the bench for this match) while Douglas Notman (knee) was replaced by Ewan Sanderson. In the backs Jack Warnock (calf) dropped out and was replaced by Aird Jardine who relinquished the scrum half berth as David Reive returned after suspension. That Jardine has shown he can play so well at 9 gives Blackburn options for the squad.
The conditions were fantastic for the time of year as the sun warmed the good support. The opening exchanges were error-strewn however and led to a stop-start match as neither side could seemingly hold onto the ball and as passes were dropped and/or knocked on. Lineouts too proved awkward with squint throws seeing possession lost. Indeed if there is a qualification needed for Biggars’ performance and success it is that they benefited on several occasions as Aberdeenshire coughed up chances which on another day they would surely have converted. This, among other things, clearly irked their coaching team, this one of the few occasions this season when thy have failed to score a 4-try bonus.
The first scoring chance fell to Biggar and stand-off Francois Nel, the South African striking the ball cleanly to notch a penalty after an offside from a weak clearance. Biggar were forced into an early change at this point as winger Craig McDonald succumbed to a recurrence of a hamstring injury. His replacement was Alistair Sinclair.
‘Shire had been running at pace from the outset and their bulky pack had caused biggar some problems with their direct running. Flanker Matthew Emmison (who would later collect his teams man-of-the-match award) was influential in this and he was the first to really break the Biggar line. Referee Burger Lategan spotted a forward pass however and pulled the ‘Shire attack up.
Minutes later and another lineout error resulted in the first try. An over throw was cleverly picked up by Nel who then somehow managed to run round and then through the ‘Shire cover defence for a great individual score which he then converted.
To be 10-0 up at this stage was great but there was no doubt that this would not be sufficient to win the match.
A neat blindside kick an chase by ‘Shire stand-off Adam Blake who linked with his hooker Calum Taylor came to shuddering end as Biggar hooker Stewart put in a cracking tackle. Minutes later and the same played brought another ‘Shire attack to a stop as he felled Emmison. At this point Sanderson left the field after sustaining a nasty cut to his brow – in the absence of medical cover this was incidentally very neatly repaired by local vet Kirsten Reive! Andrew Peacock came off the bench.
Half time then and Biggar turned to take advantage of what the breeze offered.
The visitors pressed hard again on the restart and their initial onslaught, if it could have been maintained would surely have made things really difficult for Biggar. As it was however, Biggar’s defence held firm although they were assisted again by some weak handling. ‘Shire were able to retain territorial advantage as a number of penalties were awarded. Obviously believing that they would indeed get the better of Biggar the most kickable of these penalties saw the visitors opt instead for the scrum. They did not count on the offensive defence of Reive however who again spoiled the pick-up. Some 15 minutes into the half and Nel made a much better job of a penalty award than he had of an opportune drop goal a few minutes previously. 13-0 Biggar – could they do this?
Biggar lost the services of Richard Peacock after a thumping tackle in midfield, his replacement being back row man Sanderson but fielded this time on the wing.
A miscued lineout throw paved the way for ‘Shires first points, Blake making the initial breenge and line break before finding the ever-present Emmison who ran under the posts for what was a well-deserved try, converted by Blake. At 13-7 it was very much game on.
A similar break again from Blake but this time off a turnover and one which again threatened the Biggar line was saved by a magnificent covering tackle by winger Sinclair, the youngster clambering all over the ‘Shire player and ensuring that the ball was dislodged – an added bonus!
An ankle injury to Karetai Williams-Paul looked pretty serious but following treatment the big man, who carried ball well whenever given the opportunity, was able to carry on.
A penalty to Biggar gave some relief from the attacking position ‘Shire enjoyed in the shadow of the Biggar posts but this was short-lived and Emmison was again set free for the line only to be pulled down by Robbie Lavery who was quick to track back, injured foot notwithstanding.
As the move continued Biggar were put under further pressure and while the attack to Biggars right hand corner was at first repelled ‘Shire pinched a ball against the head at the resultant scrum. With the Biggar defence sitting back the ball was quickly moved to centre Jason Laurich who, although tackled, showed great awareness to touch down on his back, arms outstretched over his head. Blake added the simple conversion to take his side into a 14-13 lead with some 7 minutes remaining.
The game then entered its scrappiest phase yet as both teams strove to get and keep ball and get another score which would surely win the match. While both teams largely failed to do so this did ensure an enthralling finish. Biggar had a great series of pick and goes by the pack but this attack faltered as ball was knocked on while ‘Shire too failed to get play far enough upfield to make the game safe.
Eventually, and with just three minutes remaining Biggar earned a penalty on their 10m line which Nel expertly kicked to within 5 metres of the ‘Shire line. A textbook lineout take by Cairns saw Biggar mount a line drive. Biggar haven’t often managed to convert this type of play but on this occasion they did so very well, flanker Andrew Warnock at the back and the player who touched down for the vital try. To make things that little bit safer Nel converted from the touchline for 20-14.
There was still just time for a great run by Williams-Paul and indeed a couple of penalties for ‘Shire but these were too deep to provide a score and so Biggar earned a really valuable 4 points.
Hillhead Jordanhill are next up and while Biggar’s record against the Glasgow side is not particularly good this would be a great time to get a win.
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, C. McDonald, F. Nel, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, Z. Lyon, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams-Paul. Reps K. Anderson, D. O’Connell, A. Sinclair, A. Peacock
The 2nd XV faced a tough ask against ‘Shire 2’s. With a good sized squad however it was hoped they would be able to record a much-needed win but this was not to be the pack failing to produce the form shown against Dundee.
The matches ended just in time for the players and supporters to gather in the clubhouse and to watch the World Cup Final. There was a cracking atmosphere with all enjoying the game which really came alight in the second half. With a fantastically cosmopolitan audience featuring players from both Cup Final teams there was no shortage of banter and support. A great afternoon for all and thanks to ‘Shire for staying to watch.
Story date: 01/11/2015
For the record the following players warned the man-of-the-match awards.
2nds Biggar Douglas Voas, ‘Shire William Parker
1sts Biggar Francois Nel, ‘Shire Matthew Emmison
First trip to Greenock
Greenock Wanderers 13 Biggar 16
Never having played at 1st XV level at Greenock before and in the poorest conditions so far this season could be levelled as excuses for this performance which saw Biggar scrape a result against a team which is propping up the table but in all honesty this was a disappointing display from the Biggar lads.
Indeed had Greenock been a little more streetwise then they should surely have won the game, their attempts to run out of defence with a gale on their backs not the best option and one which caused them problems throughout.
At the end of the day however, the side did win and did collect 4 precious league points and so from that perspective it was ‘job done’.
Without Ewan Stewart and Jamie Orr Biggar’s selection included veterans Andrew Cairns and Kev Anderson, the hooker drafted in from his dual registered club Birkmyre to ensure the 2nd XV were not disrupted for their trip to Aberdeen Grammar. Both newcomers Tareki Williams-Paul and Louis Felefa started the match with Dan O’Connell on the bench alongside Peter Miller, Craig Stewart and Ewan Sanderson.
The opening exchanges saw Biggar start well with the wind on their backs. An early drop goal from Francois Nel came as a penalty advantage and so although wide of the target Nel was able to open the scoring from the penalty.
Play was scrappy however – a feature of the match – and while Biggar engineered several threatening passages of play they were unable to convert as ball was dropped or possession lost. Greenock were struggling to get out of their 22 however and so although they had opportunities to kick clear they did not gain much relief. Up front it appeared that Biggar had the advantage in both scrum and lineout and it seemed that Biggar would soon score.
It took to the 18th minute before this happened. A series of plays had the home side under pressure in their 22 and a neat cross kick from Nel who had seen space appear, saw Greenock struggle to turn. Richard Peacock was up quickest and the fullback was able to touch down (was there a suspicion of a knock-on?). Nel converted for 10-0.
A number of penalties and stoppages for injury allied to the time spent waiting for balls kicked out of the playing area meant that the game was a fractured affair with neither side able to take control.
Greenock began to gain in confidence however as they tried to rid themselves of the memory of their previous weeks performance which had seen them concede over 70 points to local rivals Ardrossan.
Just after the half hour mark Nel converted a second penalty for 13-0, the feeling being that Biggar would need a decent cushion after half time when they would turn into the wind. The restart gave Greenock a toehold in the Biggar half however and a failure to clear their lines led to a penalty which Greenock kicked to the corner. A well-taken lineout saw an equally well driven maul which took the home side over the lien for a try. The angle was too wide for the conversion but Greenock had made up some lost ground at 16-5.
Almost directly from the restart which saw Nel kick well into the home 33 Biggar, were rewarded with another penalty. It looked like another relatively straightforward 3 points to maintain some space between the teams but instead Biggar opted for a scrum whereupon referee Gordon Galashan took exception to Biggar’s put in and awarded Greenock a free kick which they sued to clear their lines. Half time - frustrations!
Now playing against the wind Biggar started really well Donald Voas, Falefa, Anderson, Graham Jamieson and Peacock all combining well in dynamic fashion to take play deep into the Greenock half. In another attack the Greenock hooker Alexander made a clumsy challenge with his foot which gave referee Galashan little option but to show him a yellow card. The penalty which again appeared to be in a kickable position was then tapped and ran. Biggar made a good few yards before Craig McDonald was bundled into touch short of the Greenock line. They then managed to win a penalty which allowed them to clear their lines.
Anderson made one of his trademark bulldozing runs which took play back to the Greenock half but again a knock on gave the initiative back to Greenock. A fine run from Jamieson who then linked well with McDonald gave the Biggar support much to cheer about and while play was advanced further by Willams-Paul, Greenock eventually regained the ball to kick clear. This movement coincided with the return of the Greenock No 2 and so despite being a man to the good Biggar had been unable to add to their tally. There was still half an hour to go however and it was anticipated that the Greenock effort would wane as the game progressed.
In actual fact it was almost the opposite which occurred as Greenock, sensing a first win of the season began to take more control of the match.
They took full opportunity after a well-judged kick ahead put both Peacock and McDonald under pressure before Nel scrambled ball clear to the Biggar 22. A blind side move took play to the Biggar line before a try was awarded although there was a suspicion that the ball had not been properly grounded. This may well have evened things up after Peacock’s first half score. The Biggar XV and support breathed a huge sigh of relief as the conversion attempt, though well struck, bounced off the upright. 16-10 to Biggar. There was nevertheless still just one score between the sides and so with some 20 minutes remaining it was very much game on.
Sanderson then replaced Alan Warnock, this the second replacement made by coach Gav Blackburn after O’Connell replaced Voas earlier in the half. The flanker made an immediate impact as he took ball on well and in determined fashion.
Greenock then kicked their only penalty of the day to put the match on a knife edge at 16-13.
A breakout by Nel and Robbie Lavery promised more but Greenock won a crucial turnover and cleared the danger. Penalties were again needlessly conceded by Biggar and these continued to give Greenock some respite. Their preference to run rather than kick meant that they made slow progress upfield where a kick would have immediately turned defence into attack.
Happily Biggar managed to keep Greenock out and ended up winners by 16-13. The losing bonus point gave Greenock their only league point of this season and so while they felt that this was a game they probably could have won, the point was cause for some celebration.
For Biggar this was, ultimately, a disappointing display. It is only a few weeks since they trounced Kirkcaldy in a performance that was full of quality and pace. There is bags of talent and potential and so they must regroup and focus again on what makes the game – win ball, retain possession and make the most of scoring opportunities when they present themselves.
R. Peacock, J. Warnock, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, C. McDonald, F. Nel, A. Jardine, D. Voas, K. Anderson, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, Z. Lyon, D. Notman, A. Warnock, T. Williams-Paul. Reps P. Miller, D. O’Connell, C. Stewart, E. Sanderson
The 2nd XV faced a tough trip to Aberdeen where they were to play Grammar 2nds. Travelling by bus they were virtually on the Forth road Bridge when they received a telephone call from their hosts to call off after torrential rain rendered the Grammar pitch unplayable. With the bus booked the squad redirected the bus to Greenock so that they could take in the 1sts XV match. This was a perfect outcome for both senior sides who got to socialise together post-match. Greenock were also delighted as it ensured a packed clubhouse for the World Cup semi-final twixt the All Blacks and South Africa!
Story date: 28/10/2015
Youth Section record clean sweep
Not all reports are available as yet but the Youth Section did the club proud by winning all 4 matches against stuffy Hamilton sides on Sunday.
After a few weeks away from competitive rugby the Biggar S1s visited Hamilton on a still and dry Autumn day.
With only 10 players Biggar were lower on player numbers than ever before but that galvanised a great team spirit led by captain for the day Jack Louden.
The pattern for the match was set in the first minute when Cameron broke through a couple of tackles and ran from half way to score under the posts converted by Euan, 4 more try's came in the first 15 minute period, for Ross, Ruadhri, Cameron and Fraser again with 1 more conversion.
The second period brought 4 more try's: one more for Fraser, Ruadhri and Cameron and at the end of the period for Captain Jack.
In the final period the team were given certain objectives. - 5 more try's and 1 for Grego.
All targets were achieved with try's coming from Jonathan, Ross x 2, Fraser and Gregor with a lovely inside centres straight run to the outside from a scrum won against the head in the last minutes of the match.
The team's work and support for each other over 45 minutes of rugby was a pleasure to watch with a lot of passing out of tackles and pops off the ground keeping the attacks going. All this was achieved with 10 Biggar players playing against 13 Hamilton players!
Final score Biggar 48 - Hamilton 0.
So that's 6 wins and 1 loss so far as S1s. Lots of good play and team work. Great start with much more to work on in training and in the remaining matches.
HAMILTON 11 v BIGGAR (S2) 35
After a two week lay-off Biggar travelled to Hamilton with both a new coaching line up a few new and returning players, though two late call-off’s meant we once again had to play with only 14 players. New Head Coach Chris Kelly with his team of Jock Gray, Kenny Henderson, Andrew Smith and Gavin Catto put the boys through their paces during the warm up and then put their heads together to work out their best line up. Despite a few boys being asked to play outside their comfort zones, the team as a whole were clearly up for the challenge and started the game with all guns blazing. It took less than two minutes for Callum Smith to open the scoring with his now trade-mark picking the ball up within his own 22 and speeding past opponent after opponent to score between the posts. Next up came Josh Todd who was having an excellent game as a marauding Number 8 and barged over the line to finish off a great forwards try. The boy’s third try was another excellent team effort coming from a series of set pieces involving both forwards and backs and ending with a quick penalty that saw Callum Smith touch down again. Try number four was all back play with quick movement of the ball, strong running and great support play leading to Josh Dempster diving over to score. With Calum McCallum kicking three out of the four conversations the boys were ahead 0-15 at the end of the first twenty minute period.
The second period was more evenly matched as both teams attacked and counter attacked and the play moved from one end of the pitch to the other. It was Biggar who struck first though as sustained pressure by the forwards led to a series of quickly taken penalties and Josh Dempster dived over for his second try of the match. Hamilton finally got some points on the board as their forwards also put pressure on the Biggar defence and a quick penalty saw them score in the corner. Biggar responded quickly though and after another series of excellent forward plays it was Will Kelly that bundled the ball over the line for try number six. Just before the end of the period Hamilton scored their second try of the game after further sustained pressure on the Biggar line. The Hamilton kicker converted one out of two kicks, but the trusty boot of Calum McCallum saw him convert both his kicks and extend the Biggar lead to 7-23 as the Ref blew to end the period.
The Biggar boys rallied again in the third period and another series of set plays involving both the forwards and the backs saw Lewis McCary crossing the line to complete an excellent team try. Try number eight came from sustained pressure from the Biggar forwards again and it was Louis Henderson who eventually charged through a line of defenders to touch down. Biggar’s final try came from Calum McCallum, who intercepted a pass on his own 22 yard line and ran the length of the field with three Hamilton players in hot pursuit. They could not catch him though as he touched down just to the right of the posts. Having converted the previous two kicks Calum McCallum also converted his own try to bring the score to 7-35. Hamilton kept at it right to the end though and their endeavours were rewarded with a third try which was successfully converted, but it was too little, too late, as the Ref blew the final whistle with the score at 11-35.
An excellent all round team performance from the Biggar boys with each and every one of them putting in an enormous amount of effort and playing well. There will be a few things for the coaching team to work on in training but all in all a very positive performance and well deserved victory for the boys.
Under 15’s take the fight to Hamilton Bulls.
Biggar 33 Hamilton 10
Biggar under 15’s took on local rivals Hamilton Bulls at Hartree Mill on Sunday and recorded a fantastic 33 – 10 victory. Having played a friendly against the Bulls earlier in the season, it was not a surprise that this was a bruising encounter. Both teams have big strong packs and the battle up top was always going to be key. As it was, it was the Biggar backs that carried on their excellent form to produce a fantastic display of running rugby that the Bulls simply couldn’t live with.
Hamilton got off the mark first when quick thinking and poor tackling combined to get them over the line out wide on the left. The try went unconverted and from then on Biggar put up the shutters in defence and worked their socks off to ensure they won the game.
Biggar went ahead with the first of their 5 tries coming from a well held scrum on the right. Captain Drew Brewster saw a gap on the blind side and powered through. Great vision and determined running was enough to see him breach the defence and go over between the posts. Finlay Stewart kicked the conversion.
Biggar scored again from another set piece this time a line out. Rhys Thomson, who played well at hooker, had a good throw taken well by Cameron Snell. The ball was fed out quickly to Niall Ball in the middle of the park and he simply went for it. His run cut through the heart of the Hamilton defence and they simply couldn’t stop him. A great try under the posts and again a conversion from Finlay Stewart.
The third Biggar try was possibly the best of the bunch. Hamilton found space up their right and their big number 12 looked like he might get in to score. A great tackle from Drew at full back coupled with excellent forward support from Harry Archibald and Craig Frame secured the ball. It was popped quickly to Shawn Cottam who bolted for the line. He had very limited space, three defenders on him and over half the pitch to cover but he made it look simple as he touched down between the sticks. Again Finlay converted well.
Half Time Biggar 21 Hamilton 5
Into the second half and it was a very tight affair. Hamilton were desperate to get back into the game early and made a concerted effort to get into the Biggar 22. As with the first half, every Biggar Man worked his socks off in defence. Tackling, rucking and mauling with gusto to prevent any score. A penalty and then scrum on the 5 metre line bringing real pressure but Biggar stood firm then hit Hamilton with a sucker punch. From an untidy passage of play in midfield, the ball was passed on to Josh who made a drive for the try line. From just inside the Hamilton half, the big man ran and ran barging defenders out of his way. He made it to the line with a couple of the opposition hanging onto him and got the ball down for another superb try from Biggar which Finlay again converted.
The fifth try for Biggar was scored by Niall Ball getting his second of the game. Great running from Cameron Snell and support from Niall saw him going in out wide. Another good try from the centre who was unlucky not to get a “hat trick” as earlier in the game he had shown some amazing footwork to get the ball into the in goal area but the bounce of the ball eventually beat him.
Hamilton scored a late consolation try which went unconverted.
Full Time Biggar 33 – Hamilton 10
There were so many positives that the boys can take from this game. Lee Smith coming on for his debut playing his first ever competitive rugby and acquitting himself admirably. Jamie Shannon making his comeback from injury and making a really positive contribution. Fantastic defence from all 18 boys who played. Some of the tackling was excellent and the work-rate superb. The hard work in training really is paying off. Finally the direct running. All of the scores were as a result of running at Hamilton and committing them. Some of the running from Connor, Craig and Josh in the forwards was excellent and Hamilton really struggled to cope.
A well-deserved victory boys keep up the hard work and keep playing at that tempo and you will give anyone a good game.
Biggar 17 Hamilton 6
'Biggar hold firm to extend their winning sequence in the Green Conference
Biggar can reflect on a 'Job well done' against their fellow South Lanarkshire opponents at Hartreemill.
Story date: 25/10/2015
With two players down due to representative duties the day before it was important that they consolidated the hard work put in at training to ensure the shape and focus was maintained. Biggar did not disappoint.
The game didn't flow as much as previous games by virtue of the fact that Hamilton probably felt they had something to prove following the pre-season friendly defeat and disrupted the Biggar game-plan well.
Hamilton's forwards had certainly done a good job early doors and forced two penalties that allowed them to go for the posts. The kicks were well taken and the visitors were 6 points up after 15 minutes.
No panic though and skipper Kelly steadied the ship with some good carries to get Biggar back into the Hamilton half.
The hosts had limited options in midfield but coped well and utilised the forwards effectively, albeit slighty laboured on occasions at the breakdown.
Positivity and determination was evident though and that paid off in 20min when sustained forward pressure saw Ali Steele squeeze low over the line to score. His own conversion attempt just wide.
The two sides traded penalties inside the Hamilton half and all was a bit loose with no real progression from either side.
Biggar eventually found some space and fluency as time went on and good hands led to Biggar's second to put some daylight between the the two sides. Ali Steele again showing maturity and exploited a gap in the defence to run in from 5m.
Hamilton were dangerous and were expected to hit back in the second half, but Biggar now had the wind at their backs and an obvious advantage that Hamilton didn't manage to capitalise on in the first.
Previous homework suggested that the visitors struggled under sustained defensive pressure with handling errors creeping in. Sure enough, history did in fact repeat itself.
As dangerous as Hamilton were, Biggar just simply plugged away and waited patiently for the break, that they eventually got. The ball was slung wide from a good turn-over and some direct and powerful running from Rowan Stewart made space for Craig Meikle to increase his tally for the season. An excellent conversion from Ali Steele secured the maximum 7 points.
Rowan Stewart was nearly in himself soon after with a brilliant break and chip over the defender but the bounce wasn't favourable and he knocked on....unlucky.
Conclusion: A hard fought win, but well deserved.
Sam Wallis deputised well at Scrum-half. Mature performance from Ali Steele. Daniel McConkey sharp at the line-out and dominated contact.
There were some good decisions out there – but there is a lot of the game that Biggar can improve as well. It is promising for the future.
Tries: Ali Steele (2), Craig Meikle.
Conv: Ali Steele (1)
1sts lose out to rejuvenated Whitecraigs
Biggar 15 Whitecraigs 34
Having won three from their last three outings the Biggar support might have expected better fare from their side as they entertained Glasgow side Whitecraigs whom they defeated last month in the BT Cup.
That Biggar didn’t deliver is in no doubt although the Whitecraigs XV which turned up on Saturday was vastly changed and much, much stronger than the one which travelled on cup duty. In addition Biggar lost the services of both hooker Ewan Stewart and lock Jamie Orr in the first half and with recognised hooker understudy Andrew Orr also injured that left Biggar struggling badly at the lineout. That said Biggar, on recent evidence, are a much better side than they showed in this match and coach Gav Blackburn must ensure the side comes out all guns blazing against Greenock on Saturday, a side which are currently propping up the division.
Biggar fielded a recognised starting XV although a warm up injury to Aubrey Horton meant that Jack Warnock came into the side from the bench and Alistair Sinclair was promoted from the 2nds who were also at home (to Dundee Titans).
There was also space on the bench for Kiwi newcomers Tareki Williams-Paul and Louis Falefa both of whom arrived earlier in the week and who, on their showing on Saturday, will play an important part in the rest of the season.
Starting off at a cracking pace Whitecraigs posted early their state of intent by taking ball at pace and right up the middle, Biggar forced onto the defensive and to play without the ball for the first 5-10 minutes.
In this time the visiting scrum half, Stuart Gillies kicked one penalty, and narrowly missed a second. Ewan Stewart was replaced after 10 minutes, Falefa coming on to pack down with Dan O’Connell and Donald Voas at hooker. This did nothing to disrupt the Biggar scrummage which was in control throughout the match. The game at this stage was a fairly fractured affair as injuries and resultant stoppages prevented any fluid passages of play.
Biggar were able to mount attacks but any error saw Whitecraigs erupt from their own area to ensure Biggar were immediately back on the defensive. This defence was largely very good with Francois Nel, Robbie Lavery, Richard peacock, Craig McDonald, Douglas Notman and others all putting in some gutsy hits.
Inevitably however the dam was breached and Whitecraigs’ new player (also a Kiwi) Jason Oloapu managed to make the most of a neat tight pass to burst over from around 10 metres. Gillies added the conversion for 10-0.
The last 10 minutes of the half saw Biggar on the attack and dominate possession and territory. A series of penalties which Biggar opted to scrum from such was their control might have led to something more than one yellow card and that to fullback Rob Andrews for not rolling away rather than one of the front row who it seemed were consistently being penalised. In the end and after several tilts at the line Biggar opted to kick a penalty, Nel converting for 10-3. This was effectively the last play of the half.
Biggar needed a good start but instead it was the visitors who opened the strongest, Gillies at the head of a breakout from halfway and from a stolen Biggar lineout which took play deep into Biggar territory. Despite being tackled he managed to pop the ball to ever-present No8 Stuart Pollock who took the ball over the line for a try which Gillies converted for 17-3.
Just minutes later and after a good challenge off the restart by Graham Jamieson which saw ball ricochet to Whitecraigs, the Biggar cover defence was found to be at sixes and sevens. Oloapu made a good distance before stand-off Stevenson put a kick through there being enough space for winger Gordon Berry to beat the defence to the touchdown.
Frustratingly these two scores came when Biggar were up against just 14 men, the restart seeing the return of Whitecraigs fullback Andrews.
Now definitely chasing the game and without a source of good lineout ball Biggar began to rush things and in such circumstances began to make errors. A quick lineout coughed up possession but Biggar were able to maintain possession for a few phases before Whitecraigs engineered a breakout. Though this came to nought and Biggar got back into ‘Craigs territory their inability to win clean ball was a massive factor, the Glasgow side able to defend relatively easily. Eventually however, following a series of probing runs by Williams-Paul and Notman ball was shipped wide and Lavery combined well with Peacock to create space for McDonald who crossed at the corner.
It was not long before ‘Craigs were back on the attack and while an initial driven lineout ended with an accidental offside they retained territory and after another clean ball advanced by fullback Andrews it was the fullback who nipped in to crash over from close range to collect his sides’ fourth and bonus point–winning try. Gillies conversion took the Glasgow into an unassailable lead at 31-8 with some 15 minutes remaining.
A Gillies penalty stretched that lead to 34-8 before biggar strung possibly their best series of phases together, Williams-Paul at the heart of many plays and his off-load finding the supporting Craig Stewart who crossed for an excellent, though consolation score. Nel added the conversion with what was the last kick of the match.
A bitterly disappointing result and one which could well be attributed to an over-confidence within the Biggar camp following the easy Cup win over the same side just weeks previously. A hard lesson to take but one from which this young Biggar side must learn. Plaudits to backs McDonald, Jamieson and Peacock and to newcomers Williams-Paul and Falefa both of whom got far more game time then had been intended.
Biggar now prepare for the aforementioned trip to Greenock. This is a ‘must win’ in order to restore some confidence.
R. Peacock, J. Warnock, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, C. McDonald, F. Nel, A. Jardine, D. Voas, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, J. Orr, Z. Lyon, D. Notman, A. Warnock, A. Cairns. Reps: L. Falefa, T. Williams-Paul, A. Sinclair.
The 2nd XV was the only other side in action at the weekend. Dundee titans were the visitors and with a large squad in attendance there were hopes that Biggar might manage another win. This was almost the case as with some 10m minutes remaining Biggar were right in touch with just 5 points separating the teams at 12-7 to Dundee.
Story date: 19/10/2015
Fatigue played its part however and Dundee ran in a couple of tries to win 24-7. The visitors were very complementary about the Biggar effort however so again a step up for the 2nds!
Gold Club winners
£250 - 295 Ruth Lawrie
£100 - 159 Jim Halley
£100 - 179 Ted and Frances Gordon
£100 - 206 John Jackson
£100 - 62 Neil Harrison
£100 - 134 Gordon Porteous
£250 - 170 Cliff Thomson
£100 - 22 Meikle Jackson
£100 - 326 Tommy Taylor
£100 - 71 Hamish Stewart
£100 - 20 Andrew Duncan
£100 - 281 Tom Sanderson
£250 - 239 Ann Godfrey
£100 - 129 Mrs G Allison
£100 - 184 Ian Gibson
£100 - 198 Douglas Davies
£100 - 74 Dan Young
£100 - 249 Angela Cairns
£250 - 98 Phylliss Tweedie
£100 - 73 John Turnbull
£100 - 287 Linda and Tom Anderson
£100 - 58 James Wilson
£100 - 157 Robin McAlpine
£100 - 46 John Hamilton
£250 - 59 Doug McCulloch
£100 - 33 Jan Warnock
£100 - 157 Robin McAlpine
£100 - 62 Neil Harrison
£100 - 193 Graeme Watson
£100 - 269 Robert Cormack
£250 - 1 Bob Drife
Story date: 16/09/2015
£100 - 47 Andrew Ironside
£100 - 6 Jim Yuille
£100 - 259 Robert Stokes
£100 - 197 Elspeth May
£100 - 151 David Williamson
School of Rugby Programme
When youngsters go up into their first year of Biggar High School they have the opportunity to participate in the 'School of Rugby Programme'. This involves youngsters getting the opportunity to build on their social, physical and mental capibilities through the highly enjoyable environment that is of rugby union.
To download the programme information booklet click DOWNLOAD INFORMATION BOOKLET
To download our year 1 overview, which looks at the success of the first year of the programme, click DOWNLOAD YEAR 1 REVIEW
Story date: 25/05/2015