Colts Finish the League Champions and Unbeaten at Whitecraigs
Whitecraigs Colts 7pts v Biggar Colts 41pts .
Green Conference – Saturday 10th December 2016
If everyone is moving forward together , then success takes care of itself and this is exactly what Biggar Colts accomplish each game they play.
On Saturday the Colts finished their league campaign with a 41 points to 7 points win against Whitecraigs to finish the season as Champions and unbeaten in the Under 18 Green Conference.
Changes were made from the week before but this made no difference as those coming onto the pitch are as strong a players as those going off.
With the game played on a narrow pitch Biggar adjusted to it early on with play coming up the middle rather than wide out early on. 1st score was the result of Robbie Orr timing a perfect pass back inside to Rowan Stewart who found the gap and went over from 40 yards to score .
Biggar were finding the early domination and following some structured play Rory McGinn broke through from the centre to go over for a fine score.
In the 1st half Robbie Orr, Rory McGinn and Rowan Stewart were totally dominating the midfield and were creating gaps with clever running and passing.
The forwards then go into the action and from a number of rucks and attempts on the Whitecraigs line it was left to Keir Hamilton who scored from 6 inches after picking up and diving over.
It was assumed that Biggar would now fully take control of the game on but it was not to be as Whitecraigs were finding opportunties up front and were quicker and committing more to the breakdown which allowed them to take some domination.
Biggar forwards were not competing enough in the loose and it was causing problems. Whitecraigs seized the opportunity and after a series of attacks close to the line, the ball was moved out to their standoff who found a gap to go over.
To ease the pressure Rory McGinn again managed to find a gap through the centre and go over for a score converted by Euan Bogle.
Half Time : Whitecraigs 7 points to Biggar 22 points.
With time to adjust at half time Biggar came out strong and used their superior handling pace out wide to allow Aaron Dobie to go over for an early score.
Biggar really should have put more scores on the board but too often the last pass was forward due to some over running. It was Lewis Stewart who showed how it should be down but sweeping round to the blind side and gathering the ball at pace he went in unchallenged for a score.
Issues still existed with ball not being secured at the rucks which was forcing Angus Kerr at scrum half to often take the ball on and present again. Angus coped well under this pressure showing great maturity.
The last score was left to Aaron Dobie who again exploited the gaps out wide and went over wide out for a score which was well converted by Euan Bogle.
Yes there were areas that were impressive but if the boys are to fully compete in the new year cup games then other areas need worked on and this has been highlighted by the coaches.
Everyone needs to work in the next few weeks. The strength of the team is the team and the continued work rate they put in makes sure that they all play an equal part.
Notable performances came from Rowan Stewart, Rory McGinn, Jordan Gray and Lewis Stewart but really it was the whole squad who made it happen. Good players inspire themselves but sometimes we need great players to inspire others.
However nobody can doubt their enthusiasm and it is their attitude that although a little thing , it really makes a big difference.
But credit must be due to these boys who have made everyone proud of them at the club this year securing the league with no defeats. They have stuck to their task well but know they still have to reach their destiny.
Final Score :Whitecraigs 7 points to Biggar 41 points.
Currently no friendlies have been arranged. Next competitive fixture will be Scottish Youth Cup Quarter Finals with a home tie against tournament favourites Stirling on January 14th.
The game on Saturday was certainly a memorable game. Why , well after a number of years it was the last National league game for Yogi , Muz and Gavin who at the start of the season always said it was their last.
Yogi has done 15 seasons while Gavin and Muz have down 11 or 12 years (Not sure).
It has been a remarkable journey but it is not over yet. So much can still be achieved together
The Scottish Cup is the next challenge with Stirling at home, then hopefully a Edinburgh Regional Cup and some Borders sevens tournaments.
Story date: 12/12/2016
Biggar defeated by Aberdeenshire
Biggar 24 Aberdeenshire 29
Biggar had been desperate to start off 2017 with a more positive result than had been the case at the end of 2016 but yet again they came up short, gaining only a losing bonus point for their not inconsiderable, efforts.
This makes it a really disappointing run of 6 defeats but all the more frustratingly when no fewer than 4 of these have been lost by one score or less. In games of such small margins Biggar’s propensity to collect yellow cards is becoming ever more significant with another 2 players shown yellow on Saturday. It is a difficult enough task playing the game with equal numbers but all the more difficult when the side is a man, or as was the case again on Saturday, 2 men down for close on 6 minutes. Not surprisingly Aberdeenshire took full advantage to score once and then again just after Robbie Lavery returned after his 10 minute rest.
It’s really difficult to know why Biggar suffer so often but to date the side has collected double the number of cards than have been shown to their opponents; close to 2 full games with a man down. Each one can be described unlucky or down to referee’s interpretation but currently Biggar are suffering and must do something to address this issue.
Biggar’s starting XV was without Alisdair Sinclair who was unavailable and Jamie Orr who was ruled out after injury at Kelso. This meant a call up for Craig McDonald on the wing and a switch in the pack with Andrew Dunlop at lock and Ewan Stewart at flank forward. Andrew Orr was retained at hooker after a very strong showing at Kelso.
Opening towards the clubhouse on a particularly still afternoon Biggar found themselves 3-0 up after just a minute as whistler John Shaw penalised ‘Shire for offside, stand off Aird Jardine kicking the points.
The visitors replied just 5 minutes later with a penalty of their own, Carne Green kicking for 3-3.
Just 10 minutes later and after a loose lineout Biggar capitalised well as Ewan Stewart made an excellent counter ruck to dislodge possession. An interception by Captain Andrew Dunlop saw the big man sprint in from some 25 metres for a try converted by Jardine. 10-3 to Biggar.
The stand off used a variety of kicks to turn the ‘Shire defence and these generally worked well, the chasers up quickly to put pressure on the defenders. It was from one such kick, the territory having been won by a dynamic line drive, that Biggar scored their second try, the brothers Jardine working well together as Aird kicked and Andrew chased, the scorer just getting to the ball before Orr who was through quickly. The conversion took Biggar ahead at 17-3.
‘Shire had won handsomely in the first meeting back in September and it was hardly surprising that they should come back into the game, although their try stemmed from a quickly taken lineout by Biggar when there was no real need to force the pace of the match. The initial ‘Shire attack had been brought to a swift end after a fine cover tackle by fullback Steele and things were set for a defensive line. Instead however the quick throw was made to David Paterson who kicked clear and while this was effective ‘Shire managed to retain both possession and territory.
Stand off Green was instrumental throughout the afternoon and he did much to orchestrate proceedings as he had done in the first meeting. It was his cleverly judged kick after a series of probing runs which found space and then winger Peter Paxton. He made ground towards the Biggar 22 before passing inside to scrum half Stuart Simpson who dived in under the posts. Green converted and the visitors were right back into things at 17-10.
The half ended in rousing fashion as play swung from end-to-end. Biggar showed promise, a neat exchange between Andrew Jardine, Steele and McDonald taking play deep into the ‘Shire half before a turnover saw the visitors regroup and then as Aird Jardine took an interception just inside the Biggar half. His pass inside was taken by brother Andrew and it looked as first as though the youngster would break clear and go the whole way to the line but Green did enough to slow his progress. In the tackle the pop pass to the supporting Orr was in turn intercepted by ‘Shire who were able to snuff the breakout and initiate an attack of their own. Dunlop with a charge down and shortly afterwards a run by Lavery promised much but both chances faltered as possession was lost.
In the tight Biggar were enjoying some dominance as they were able to put real pressure on the ‘Shire pack this making the visitors work really hard for any quality ball. The pack also drove well in the loose although ‘Shire engineered a number of crucial turnovers, something which Biggar struggled to match.
Half time then with the match evenly balanced.
‘Shire were immediately on the attack at the restart putting pressure on Biggar’s defence which largely stood up to the test although the carries made by the ‘Shire pack were making good yards. Their No8 and captain Greig Ryan was again to the fore and it was from one of his forays to the Biggar line that initiated the next score. Held up, there was a pile up where ex-Biggar man Michael McKeand picked and rolled over for the try – a feat he performed back in September as well! Green’s conversion levelled the scores at 17 points a-piece.
Coach Gary Mercer rang some changes in the pack with Douglas Notman and Dan O’Connell replacing Dunlop and Voas respectively. Conceding a score is one thing but losing a player is as damaging and this is exactly what befell Biggar as they were looking to play in the ‘Shire half. Robbie Lavery was the man to be shown yellow but it is really difficult to see why in the video replay as he seems to be doing nothing untoward. However, the referee is the man who makes the decisions and Biggar were down to 14. Things got worse just minutes later when after another text-book cover tackle Tom Steele was adjudged to have gone off his feet to play the ball in a ruck. This would seem a clearer error but whether it warranted a yellow is up for debate. As it was however Biggar were now down to 13 and requiring a herculean effort to prevent ‘Shire from adding to their tally.
Biggar managed to hold out for a number of phases after the penalty but it was inevitable that regardless of their defensive efforts a score would eventually come. A surge by Ryan was repelled but Green took advantage of the stretched cover defence to sneak in close to the posts for a try which he converted for 24-17.
As Biggar made further changes to personnel so ‘Shire racked up the pressure. Lavery made his return but Biggar were still a man down. In addition to the close to the line defence from the pack as a whole there were some excellent cover tackles made by David Paterson, Craig McDonald, Andrew Dunlop and Ross Jackson all of which halted what looked to be certain scores but following one foray the visitors moved ball swiftly left where there was space a-plenty for winger Paxton to cross. There was no conversion to this score but at 29-17 ‘Shire were in the driving seat with just under 15 minutes to go.
Biggar maintained a positive approach however and benefited from the return of Steele. Biggar also met the ‘Shire attack with continued stoic efforts and tried to attack when they were able. The game became much less structured as players tried to counter the effects of the Festive period but there was still drama as both sides ran with the ball.
Davy Reive seemed to have been taken out illegally from a lineout close to the ‘Shire line but this was unseen by referee Shaw and Green was able to clear. His kick failed to find touch however, something which Biggar were certainly guilty over the piece. David McArthur, who had replaced McDonald linked well with Steele and Andrew Jardine. Aird Jardine then took ball forward and through the first line of ‘Shire’s defence. His neat off load found Orr who in turn fed Lavery, the centre beating the cover defence for a great and much deserved score. Jardine added the conversion to put Biggar within one score of a win. There were however just minutes remaining and it was clear that they would have to take every opportunity that was given if they were to make a late comeback.
That Biggar made all the running in this last part of the match is not in doubt. Willing runners in Notman, Lyon, the two Jardines, McArthur and Voas along with others all tested the ‘Shire defence. With the match still very much in the balance a probing run to within 10 metres of the ‘shire line ceded a penalty to Biggar. There was insufficient time for a lineout but rather than take a scrum which might have provided a solid platform Biggar opted to tap and go, Notman hitting up a shade too high which allowed ‘Shire to create the maul and with ball held up it was game over.
Another bitter pill for the Biggar squad to swallow. This was another massive effort from the whole squad but crucial errors and the yellow cards proved to be the difference between the sides. Are opponents perhaps more streetwise and more clever around the contact situation or are referees keener to penalise Biggar because of previous transgressions?
Thomas Steele, Craig McDonald, Robbie Lavery, Andrew Jardine, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive, Donald Voas, Andrew Orr, Calvin Henderson, Andrew Dunlop, Zander Lyon, Ewan Sanderson, Ewan Stewart, Ross Jackson. Reps: Dan O’Connell, Stephen Campbell, David McArthur, Douglas Notman.
The side travel next week to take on West of Scotland, a side they easily defeated (35-10) in the first round of matches. Away wins have been few and far between however and so this match takes on ever greater importance. The side were always going to be without centre Andrew Jardine as he was due to play on Saturday for the Colts in their Scottish Cup quarter final but the really sad news for the teenager is that he sustained rib damage on Saturday which will mean he cannot play in that match either. More importantly are his Scotland U18 commitments but given his current form it is hoped that he will remain in the frame for these.
Saturday’s Colts match is an U18 Scottish Cup quarter final match against the current Cup holders Stirling County and is sure to be a cracking affair. Biggar will need to be at their best to beat the President’s Conference winners but it has been done before, most notably three seasons ago when Biggar halted the County sides hopes of a hat-trick of Scottish Cup wins.
It would be fantastic if the Biggar membership could get down to Hartree Mill to cheer the boys on. Stirling will doubtless bring a big support and with a 2nd XV match on as well (AND a football match) it promises to be a busy place indeed!
The 2nd XV journeyed to SRU headquarters on Saturday to take on Murrayfield Wanderers in their BT East Reserve League 2 match.
The match proved to be a much more difficult prospect than had been the case in October when Biggar ran out winners by 45-0. The Edinburgh club’s 1st XV are sitting at the top of the East Region Div 1 however and it is clear that this has led to their 2nd string being much stronger also. Down for a long period of the match Biggar scored points through tries from teenager Henry Adams who is home for Christmas, James Barr and Ali Browning, the veteran answering coach Doug Fleming’s call as he was short of regular players. Barr also added two conversions. Biggar won by 19-15 to retain their top spot in the league, 5 points ahead of second placed Kelso.
Great to see Stewart Moffat and John Taylor also playing. The more the merrier!
Story date: 11/01/2017
Biggar High Girls win Scottish Cup
Biggar High School success
Biggar High 20 Community School of Auchterarder 14
Biggar High School U18 girls travelled on Friday evening to play in the U18 Scottish Schools cup final at Scotstoun. Their opponents were from the Community School of Auchterarder a team which has previously posed Biggar real problems in the past.
Both sides showed real grit and determination, in what were very challenging, wet conditions, to play running rugby. The match was a real spectacle and all credit to all the players from both sides for their efforts.
There was nothing really between the sides at half time although Biggar did lead by 15-7. With just 16 players available however Biggar's resources were stretched as Erica Steele and Amy Watkins were injured before the break. This meant that Biggar had to play with 14 for the whole of the second half.
A tremendous effort through the last 35 minutes then as Auchterarder came right back into things at 14-15. Biggar then extended their lead to 20-14 but with 10 minutes to go there was only a score separating the sides. Happily Biggar clung on to record their Cup success.
There is a huge selection of photos on the club website which record the whole evenings events as they unfolded (thanks as always to Nigel Pacey).
Many congratulations to all the girls involved, many of whom play for the club and who were part of the Presidents Conference success last month when they shared the title with Stirling County.
Congratulations as well to Mr Scott from PE and BRFC DO Iain Chisholm and MA Rhiannon Yardley for their coaching and support.
Story date: 12/12/2016
Youth Rugby at whitecraigs 11th Dec 2016
S2 win home and away
The S2s continue to grow and mature as a team with two good wins to end their matches within the Green Conference.
On a frosty day at the end of November on one of the new pitches at Hartree Mill Biggar hosted Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton. Following their defeat at Hamilton ealier in the season the Biggar boys were in a focused and determined mood to show how they can play rugby.
From the kick off Biggar's forwards ran directly at Hamilton breaking tackles and gaining yards. This new direct approach was rewarded with 5 trys in the first half. Hamilton attack was mostly stopped but their powerful No13 did break through tackles and scored twice in the first half. The game stayed a competitive close game through the second half with the Biggar forwards doing consistent work in and around the ruck and creating trys. Several times Hamilton built pressure on the Biggar line for Biggar only to clear or launch counter attacks. The best of these was a full team try in the final minutes of the match.
From a Biggar scrum deep in the defensive 22 on the left the ball was won passed along the line to Murray to kick clear to the half way line, one bounce and the ball was collected by Chris who stepped 3 tackles before offloading to Callum whose 40m run was stopped 2 yards short near the right hand corner post. A quick ruck with forwards and backs securing the ball allowed Sam to pick and go and cap a fine performance by him and the team. The second half ended with Biggar scoring 4 more trys to Hamiltons 2. This was a forwards match with 8 of the 9 trys Biggar scores coming from the forwards.
Final score Biggar 34 - Hamilton 15
Captain - Murray Lean
Trys from Cameron Armstrong, Kaleb Millar, Jonathan Smith, Arron Millar, Sam Taylor (4) conversion Euan Laing (6) Callum Yardley (1)
The final Conference match saw Biggar visit Whitecraigs again. Due to a few changes because of injuries and some positional experimentation it was a slightly nervous start for the coaches... this lasted only a minute as Sam broke from the back of a ruck and started this game the way he finished the last with a try. In this game however Biggar mixed the style up a lot better with numerous rucks and drives followed by the ball being switched wide and the Whitecraigs defence run at by the centres and wingers. In the end trys came from 9 different players. Whitecraigs fought and tackled all through the match and put sustained pressure on the Biggar line at the start of the second half but the defence stayed organised and cleared well.
Final Score Biggar 48 - Whitecraigs 0
Captain - Connor Lister
Archie Damer, Kaleb Millar (2), Sam Taylor (2), Jonathan Smith, Murray Lean, Fraser Simpson, Arron Millar (2) Euan Laing (2), Callum Yardley. Conversions Euan Laing (8), Jack Louden.
Their has never been a doubt about this groups commitment or desire to play rugby, sometimes in a Harlem Globetrotter fashion! Over these two games parents and coaches have seen a development in playing styles and game understanding throughout the team. Hard work during training has been paying off with the teams rugby understanding jumping forward especially with the advice of the DO Iain Chisholm ringing in their ears. The team have a lot to learn but are taking strides in the right direction.
This squad now of 21 boys work for each other and pull each other along. They have welcomed 4 new players into the team in the last few weeks and would welcome any other potential players to join this rugby journey.
One club one family.
Story date: 12/12/2016
Biggar lose out in local derby
Biggar 9 Peebles 23
That Peebles deserved to win this match is not really in doubt. The Borders side enjoyed better possession and had a more fiery back division than Biggar. They were a wee bit more savvy as well, employing clever tactics which caught Biggar out. They also outscored Biggar by 2 tries to nil, albeit the last was an interception from half way and which simply required a sprint to the line.
But few of these factors were post match talking points and fewer still will be remembered. Instead, this game will be recalled for the fact that there were no fewer than 6 yellow cards, an unprecedented 5 for Biggar and 1 to Peebles. And all for technical offences because while this was a typically hard fought local derby with no quarter given there were no real 'incidents' where players were toe-to-toe with each other.
That the game should have been spoilt was frustrating for all present and there was a sizeable crowd who had come to see a game of rugby.
In the first half there were a total of 19 penalties which in a 40 minute half means that there was a penalty on average every two minutes. Add in lineouts and scrums and there was precious little actual game time. There were only 16 after the break...oh joy!
Peebles then maintain their push for promotion straight back to National 1 – with Kelso who were also relegated last season as current league leaders and who are Biggar's next opponents. Despite suffering 4 straight defeats Biggar retain 7th spot in National 2. Facing League leaders Kelso this Saturday might see a change unless the Biggar squad can repeat their early season feat and defeat Kelso who have since then been unbeaten. They have also by all accounts invested and recruited heavily as they see National 1 status as a priority.
Donald Voas (uni exam) and Gregor Stewart (ankle injury) were the two absentees from last weeks starting XV. Their places were taken by Calvin Henderson and Andrew Jardine, the latter making a return to top team action after injury.
On the bench there was room for new recruit Craig Quigley who has recently joined the club from Lasswade. Seeking a back row berth he was pressed into service as front row cover.
The opening exchanges were, as always, fairly frantic as the sides took time to weigh each other up. Peebles have fared better since the opening match back in August which Peebles just won by 24-20, the feeling in the Biggar camp being that they were due a better performance and result after defeats to PL, Ardrossan and GHK.
An early penalty miss by Aird Jardine after 2 minutes was a let off for the visitors but another award minutes later saw Jardine on target to get the scoreboard turning. A lineout play by Peebles saw them gain a penalty shortly after the restart and some excellent running and clever inter-passing saw the Border side take play upfield to the Biggar 22 where only some equally good scramble defence kept them out. There was a penalty however and stand off Greg Raeburn kicked to make the score 3-3 after 10 minutes.
Robbie Lavery was the first player to be shown yellow and it was two minutes later before the packs came together for a first scrum, Biggar enjoying the better of this and probably and area in which they had the edge for the first half.
Biggar were struggling to make much headway out of their half however, a couple of missed touch kicks not helping their cause and giving the Peebles backs the chance to maintain the pressure on Biggar's defence. This Biggar largely coped with and after one better passage of play and with a quarter of the match gone, a penalty from midfield saw Jardine kick a second award for 6-3.
Peebles made a rare error in kicking directly into touch from the restart but Biggar were unable to capitalise and Peebles were soon back in attack using the ball well to force Biggar into their 22. A penalty award and dubiously advanced 10 metres as Biggar were not back 10 saw Raeburn kick the corner. With lineout ball won a blindside move should have seen Peebles notch the first try but a poor pass was knocked on giving Biggar some respite.
With 5 minutes of the half remaining David Paterson became the second Biggar player to be shown yellow this after he allegedly was guilty of slowing play down in the 'red' area….even on slo-mo replay this seemed to be a harsh sanction. The resultant attack came to nought as Biggar continued to defend manfully in the face of Peebles line drive.
Half time then and the match delicately balanced at 6-3 to the home side.
The second half was barely under way when Ewan Stewart became the next player to be sin-binned. Another blindside move saw him react to the wide pass and stick a hand out to catch the ball. Perhaps the clearest of the days yellows but in this writers opinion a harsh law given that a players reaction is to try to get his hands out and catch the ball. Now down to 13 men it was hardly surprising that Peebles took the scrum option rather than the kick at goal. While the initial thrust from No 8 Andrew Muir was repelled quick ball and a pop pass from Donald Anderson was taken by lock Ross Brown who from 5 metres out was always going to be tough to stop. Raeburn's conversion put Peebles ahead form the first time at 10-6..
Biggar, via Aird Jardine, took full advantage of a loose ball to hack ball upfield and take play quickly into the Peebles 22 but a lineout error ceded possession back to Peebles who managed to clear the danger. Lack of continuity has been a concern for Biggar in recent matches. While possession has seen Biggar advance into their opponents 22 they have often been unable to press the advantage home and claim points.
Minutes later and Biggar managed to get back to within a point, this after Peebles were penalised and their No5 Callum Lecky was shown yellow. Jardine kicked the penalty – the score now 9-10 to Peebles.
The two Ewan's (Sanderson and Stewart) returned at this point, Andrew Orr having come on to replace Stewart following his yellow. Some enterprising play saw Biggar exert some pressure on their visitors but Peebles again cleared before winning another penalty which Raeburn duly kicked to extend the lead to 13-9, though still anyone's game.
A Biggar penalty to the Peebles 22 should have given the home side a tilt at the line but clever non-engagement by the Peebles pack saw Biggar penalised and Peebles kick clear.
As the clock ticked on so Biggar found it ever more difficult to keep possession and put the Border side under any real pressure. For their part all Peebles needed to do was keep Biggar in their own half and this they did pretty well, the next foray seeing Biggar skipper Andy Dunlop cling on to scrum half Anderson which led to his departure and Biggar reduced again to 14 men. Raeburn extended the Peebles lead to 16-9.
There was however still just one score required to tie the match and Biggar countered again but as play was moved right Campbell's pass was intercepted by that man Raeburn who galloped home for what was a deciding score. His conversion took Peebles clear at 23-9.
There was just enough time for Campbell to dive in to a tackle somewhat rashly, sheer frustration getting the better of him as he became Biggar's 5th in the sin-bin.
So another hugely frustrating afternoon for the supporters of the boys in black and of course for coaches Gary Mercer and Davy Wilson who continue to see their charges give everything they can but fall short as they fall foul of the man in the middle. This was just the 3rd match from which Biggar have not managed even a solitary bonus point and yet with 5 to go there was a bonus up for grabs.
The squad must regroup and pull together again, particularly as they face a tough trip south at the weekend to league leaders Kelso. This match is the last for this calendar year and will come at an opportune time to give all those suffering from knocks a chance to recover over the festive period.
Thomas Steele, Alistair Sinclair, Robbie Lavery, Andrew Jardine, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive, Dan O'Connell, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Andrew Dunlop, Zander Lyon, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson, Jamie Orr. Reps:, Craig Quigley, Andrew Orr, Stevie Campbell, David McArthur
Man-of-the-match was the tireless Jamie Orr for Biggar with centre Callum Anderson taking the nod for Peebles. Many thanks to Match sponsors, the members of the Lanark and Peebles Blackface Breeders Association.
The 2nd XV travelled to Kelso on Saturday for what was always going to be their toughest fixture. Having been unbeaten all season to date this proved to be one match too far for what was essentially a scratch XV as there were several players unavailable and as the 1st XV had hoovered up several key men.
A 30-0 score line was indeed disappointing but perhaps not unexpected. Doug will be keen to get things back on track on Saturday when his side entertains Peebles. In previous seasons the 1sts and 2nds have often been scheduled together when possible and it seems daft that this season they should play the same clubs but weeks apart.
Story date: 11/12/2016
GHK break Biggar’s unbeaten home run
Biggar 11 GHK 13
After a long unbeaten run Biggar lost out to visitors GHK on Saturday in what was a pulsating if somewhat error-strewn match.
Neither side has managed much rugby during the Autumn international break and so this would go some way to explain the rustiness although the effort expended more than made up for the errors.
Having gained promotion twice in the past two seasons and sitting in 3rd spot GHK were a side that were always going to provide a real challenge, with no shortage of reports focusing on the pace of their back division. That they has the edge in this department was almost the case although the narrow Hartree Mill pitch and a committed defence certainly helped peg them back.
Biggar made few changes to what has been there settled side of late. In the pack Andrew Dunlop made a welcome return to action at lock forward, this allowing Jamie Orr to move onto the flank. Behind the scrum Thomas Steele made a long awaited debut at fullback for the injured Richard Peacock.
In what for December were near perfect conditions the match began with both sides playing as hard and fast as they could, Biggar taking the ball deep into the opposition half and then 22 as quickly as they could and putting GHK under some real pressure. Up front Biggar had the advantage early on and this should have allowed them to take the lead after a great break by Aird Jardine took play to the GHK 5 metre mark. A couple of errors at the scrum base and then as Biggar sought to go for the line meant that GHK were able to hold out. Some good quick hands gave the Glasgow side good ground but a wayward pass meant that their efforts too were unrewarded.
It was Biggar who returned to the attack as their back three with Steele and David Paterson in particular relishing the opportunity to run ball back from clearance kicks. Alisdair Sinclair took a knock early on and was replaced temporarily by David McArthur.
That again Biggar were unable to capitalise was frustrating. There was at least one penalty which Biggar might have elected to kick to goal but the line and drive was preferred but while this was relatively successful the position was eventually lost at scrum time as the South African whistler Jean De Wet chose to penalise Biggar for a binding offence.
Play then centred around the middle of the pitch, both sides offering up some good running but suffering as weak passes or turnovers prevented them from gaining and control. Energy there was a-plenty however and as earlier alluded this was an exciting contest. It was up to GHK kicker Davy Campbell to break the deadlock the fullback kicking a penalty after Biggar's backs were caught offside.
It was then a bit like waiting for the bus, no sooner does one appear then a second comes along. Within 3 minutes of GHK taking the lead and as they sought to extricate themselves from their half after the restart a penalty was awarded for offside and it was Jardine who kicked Biggar's points to level the score. With just 5 minuets before half time the half ended after a second Campbell penalty – this a long range effort – fell short of the posts.
Now playing towards the clubhouse, Biggar had the type of start that they undoubtedly were not wanting. A turnover on the kick off and then the departure of skipper Dunlop following a nasty cut to the eyebrow led to a reshuffle in the pack, Orr moving back to lock and Stevie Campbell coming on at flanker. This in itself was no cause for upset but in what was their first real scoring opportunity and coming from a penalty kicked to the corner, GHK took and drove Biggar back, back row man Callum Kerr at the end of the move and doing enough to touch down for a try well converted by Campbell to take their lead to 10-3.
Undeterred Biggar fought back well to pin GHK in their own half. The Biggar pack took ball into contact with renewed vigour although they could only creep towards the GHK line such was the visitors defensive effort. Zander Lyon, Orr, Donald Voas and Ross Jackson and then Davy Reive were all to the fore in these drives. When ball was put wide, Gregor Stewart, Robbie Lavery (a couple of notable half breaks) and Jardine all did their part.
There was always that last pass however and with a try beckoning a pas which was lightly behind Lyon forced the big man to swivel before moving the ball on. This gave the GHK defence an extra millisecond and it was hooker Reid who took the interception. With some 70 metres to go it was always unlikely that he would make it and this gave Biggar just enough time to scramble back and make the tackles which eventually forced an error. Again – how frustrating that after a good passage of play that Biggar should end up back in their own half.
GHK now mounted their first concerted attack in Biggar's 22 moving the ball well and testing the Biggar defence which proved up to the mark. Having put in a huge shift in defence it was cruel that Orr was then adjudged to have taken out the GHK attack after a prod ahead, this giving Campbell the easiest of kicks to take GHK 10 points clear at 13-3.
Biggar lost the services of Sanderson at this point, Lewis McLinton coming on to hook and Ewan Stewart moving to the back row.
Biggar did not panic however and mounted another series of attacks although again without managing to really control ball for anything other than a couple of phases. Lavery, Calvin Henderson and then Gregor Stewart all took ball on well, the latter making a good break before off-loading to Lavery who in turn fed McArthur. The winger managed to get within 15 metres of the line but the cover defence got back to do enough to slow ball down albeit illegally, Jardine kicking the penalty for 13-6. Sadly Stewart had damaged an ankle in the contact and he left to be replaced by Sinclair.
GHK's attacks faltered as they made several basic handling errors although these occurred far enough away from their line as to not allow Biggar to capitalise through anything other than small territorial gains.
Eventually however Biggar were able to take play into the GHK 22 where a series of pick and go's from the pack with all to the fore ended with several players, Voas, Stewart, Paterson and Campbell all making ground to the line. Paterson got the closest the winger bundled out on the corner flag but a couple of phases later and GHK back row man and try scorer Kerr was shown a yellow.
A scrum and another series of drives ended up with Stewart crossing for a try which gave Jardine a kick which had it been successful would heave earned Biggar a deserved draw. This was asking a lot however and from wide out, and although well enough struck, the ball drifted away past the uprights.
With less than 5 minutes to go GHK now had but one task, to keep the ball in Biggar's half and this they did pretty well forcing the home side to try and attack from deep. That both sides had shown up well in defence was in no doubt but to win Biggar needed something extraordinary in attack but that just didn't happen and the game ended with a penalty which was dispatched to the touchline and which signalled much delight amongst the GHK squad and support.
Three games now and while Biggar have been in each and arguably should have won two, they have garnered just 3 losing bonus points. Of course to gain bonus points last season was something which the side could just not do so there has been massive progress for a side which is still a very young outfit.
Preparations are now under way for the second half of the league season, this kicking off with a visit from local rivals Peebles for what will be an undoubted cracker of a match. Peebles won the first match by 24-20. Since then Peebles have certainly fared better and they sit 12 points ahead in 4th to Biggar's 7th league place. Regardless however this will be a cracker of a match and with a big support guaranteed from the sponsor's lunch there will be a great atmosphere to enjoy. Kick off is 2pm.
Thomas Steele, Alistair Sinclair, Robbie Lavery, Gregor Stewart, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Andrew Dunlop, Zander Lyon, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson, Jamie Orr. Reps: Calvin Henderson, Lewis McLinton, Stevie Campbell, David McArthur
The 2nd XV travelled to Edinburgh for e return match with Watsons 3rds. With a somewhat scratch squad coach Dougie Fleming was under no illusions about how potentially difficult this match could be. A pleasant surprise awaited Biggar however as the city side was a much changed XV from that which had visited Hartree Mill back in September.
Biggar dominated proceedings throughout to record an excellent 55-5 win which ensures they stay atop their east Reserve League 1 table with their nearest challengers, Kelso their next opponents.
Story date: 11/12/2016
U15 Bully past Bulls
Biggar U15’s bully past Bulls
The Lanarkshire derby of Hamilton and Biggar is one that is always hotly contested; no matter the age group, no matter the competition. Like all others, this weekend’s 15s game versus the Bulls did not fail to disappoint. Rueing a previously missed opportunity to beat their counterpart’s earlier in the season, the young lads refused to be pipped at the post twice and produced an enormous effort to take the win and halt the Hamilton’s league winning celebrations.
The game started frantically and with some serious physicality occurring all over the pitch. Early hits came from Will and James gave Hamilton an indication of what they were in for, but unfortunately it was the opposition who got the first points after a minor defensive error allowing their centre to score. Quickly after, the boys in green and blue got another under similar circumstances. Not the greatest start but certainly not unreachable. 0-14.
Having gotten over their early lapse, the young rams finally got into the swing of things, using their strong pack to gain yards and their backs to outstrip the Hamilton wings. The first try came from an increasingly characteristic maul on the Bulls twenty two. Having gained about ten yards it was brought down but momentum was not lost as Will and Jack carried strongly. Quick recycling and fast reactions from Callum McCallum resulted in big Jack bullying his way over the try line for Biggar’s first try. Back in the game. Conversion made. 7-14
Half time: Biggar – 7 Hamilton – 14
The second half begun like the end of the first, with Biggar on top. Straight from the kick off the ball found its way into the hands of the lightning quick Callum Smith. As ever, he backed his abilities and set off, running around the slow Hamilton pack and fending off the wing to run over the try line for an early Biggar try. Conversion excellently made again. 14-14
Biggar were now truly in control and it was beginning to take its toll on the young Bulls. More and more carries from the likes of Hayden and Andrew were reaping good yards and another try was inevitable. It came in the form of some very intelligent play from the Biggar boys. Our prop Jack picked the ball off the back of a ruck on halfway and fighting all his front row instincts, beautifully drew the man and popped the ball to Aaron in space who was eventually hauled down 15 out. A penalty was won however, and the ball was kicked to touch. Promptly the ball was won and tucked under the jumper in a maul which proved unstoppable, collapsing over the line the ball was raised by our hooker, try by Cameron and the lead to Biggar. Callum McCallum miraculously nailed the kick from the touch line to put us 21-14 ahead with ten to go. Squeaky bum time Indeed.
Hamilton came right back at us however and after some long pressure under our line they scored but missed the conversion. 21-19 with five to go, even squeakier.
More and more pressure ensued, but Biggar would not allow themselves to be robbed and defended valiantly, holding the ball up over the line. A few scrums later the impossible happened and Hamilton were awarded a questionable penalty in the last play, posts were opted for and the game was in the balance. An anxious minute followed with the pitch being silent. The Hamilton lad strode up and struck it well; the ball sailed and spun and swerved but would not come, drifting past the right upright. The whistle was blown and celebrations spread. The boys had done it.
Full time: Biggar-21 Hamilton-19
Credit to the Hamilton boys who gave us our most competitive game of the season. However, the ever present improvement of this young bunch of rugby players continues to march on. Skill and speed, pace and power, brains and brawn, nothing seems to be lacking at the moment. Maturity is beginning to flow through this team and a few leaders are really stepping up and taking responsibility. Every boy played his part and gave his all to put us in a position to win it at the end and its just that sweeter against a big rival of the club. Whilst it looks like Hamilton may still win the league with a win against Dumfries next week, we know we can compete with and beat them, no matter the league standings. Whitecraigs await us next week, another tough game, but we’ll be ready for it.
Story date: 07/12/2016
Minis in action at Watsons
Mini Section at Watsons with Falkirk (Sunday 20th Nov)
A huge well done to the P3's who attended the joint training session at Watsonians.
Apart from being incredibly well behaved off-pitch their effort and skill on-pitch was superb!
We joined Falkirk for training and some 'tag' practice which is useful for next weeks game, they were very focused and did an excellent job representing Biggar RFC.
We had 6 Biggar P4's joining over 20 Watsons players and a dozen from Falkirk. The players split into three groups and took part in 2 games and a drill. The drill had several phases and was more advanced than we would normally coach but, after an uncertain start, our boys got on with it and slotted right in.
2 of our players were in each of the teams for the games and, from what I saw, were making themselves known, putting in tackles and scoring tries. Although I wasn't able to watch over everything the feedback that I got from the (many) Watsons coaches was really positive. They had good things to say for every one of the P4's and commented on their excellent behavior. Well done lads!
We played 3 games, 2 against Watsons teams and one against Falkirk. I'm not sure of the scores but if forced would score as 3-2 in first game, 3-1 in second and 2-4 in last game with Biggar losing first two and winning last.
A slow start by Biggar in game one, coaches to work on the warm up drills to make sure we hit the ground running! But the team woke up and started playing with more confidence as the game developed. The Watsons team played well with solid tackling by all and Biggar fell into a habit of trying to off load the ball out contact which led to a lot of handling errors, lost possession and being pushed backwards by the constant pressure.
It was really pleasing that the team took heed of the advice from coaches between games and the second game saw Biggar presenting the ball after tackles in a much more controlled way, rucking improved and everyone stepped up on the tackling front.
The third match was real blood and guts stuff and Biggar woke up and got into full stride against Falkirk. Great work in mid field from Poppy and Fergus putting in a huge tackle count between them. Really great to see Lewis build on the brilliant ball carrying he was showing all day by putting in tackles. Leyland made a number of key tackles and was determine to dig the ball out of rucks. Connor also got into the zone and made some great yards we look forward to him bring his impact to rucking. Kyle ran well as always and continued to have the confidence to take opposition on physically which is fantastic to see. Harry worked hard in the mid field and was an important link in a number of moves, Archie and Ruari were involved in so much of the play and a highlight for me was the passing between them that led to the last try.
Story date: 22/11/2016
Biggar P7s made their annual trip to Myreside to see how the other half live today. We were missing a large number of our regulars so welcomed the addition of the four Biggar P6s that had turned out. A planned joint training session with Watsons and Falkirk turned into two freindlies. First up we played the hosts, and the benefits of training every day were obvious with Watsons proving to be a well drilled and aggressive team, quick to seize on any missed pass or fumble. Biggar spent most of the game defending, and when they did gain possession missed opportunities to score due to poor passing. It was not all bad however, as despite being under huge pressure the Biggar defence weathered the onslaught well. The end score of 2 tries to 0 in favour of Watsons is a testament to this.
Unfortunately heads went down a bit and this was picked up on by the Watsonian's hooker who was training them between the matches. It was a valid point that they needed to cheer up and start enjoying their rugby or what was the point of being there?
So, after a bit of a team talk and a reminder of the shirt they were wearing, the team took on Falkirk with a much more positive attitude.
Suddenly the ball was moving across the pitch at speed, the team were playing together with smiles on their faces. Falkirk couldn't break the line, and couldn't stop the Biggar attack. Biggar P7s were back, and unstoppable. The final score was 5 to 1 for Biggar. Falkirk only scored because the ref accidentally stood in front of a Biggar player.
A good way to finish the day, and a positive note for next week in the Borders cup.
THE BIGGAR PICTURE - October November Edition
Welcome back. Lucky for you, the October and November edition are being mashed together… pumpkin spicing it up a little bit.
October started with the U15 and U18 girls making an 8 hour journey up to Caithness to play one of their conference games. Both teams won and it was great team building for all the gals… even got to stay in some interesting wee hostel rooms! After this, there were two conference games left – first up Hillhead Jordanhill. Yet again, it was another game and another win at both age groups. The final game of the conference was against Stirling County – who were also unbeaten. U15’s pulled through and won U15 conference title. Unfortunately, U18’s were pipped at the post and lost 19-17. Man of the match for U15’s was Abi Bandtock – congrats and well deserved! U18’s man of the match was Abbie Baillie – but it certainly wasn’t for her passing.
Biggar are currently sitting at 3rd place in the whole club conference table and the colts are at the top of the U18 table with 8 wins and 1 draw. Their last game was against GHA, which ended up becoming a development game due to GHA injuries.
S1 and U15 grabbed a win at the weekend with S2 and U16 unfortunately missing out. This weekend they play Falkirk – support would be appreciated.
A lot of delivery has been happening in primary schools across Biggar, Lanark and Carluke. The primary schools have had 4 or 5 week blocks teaching the basic skills and playing fun games... However they are all desperate for contact! Perfect opportunity to bring them along to the Come and Try Day which is happening on Sunday 4th December down at Biggar Rugby Club! While you're here you can also check out the new pitches!
The club are always looking for more volunteers to start refereeing. Level 1 refereeing courses are regularly available and the club can also help with some of the cost. If Cameron Forrest can do it then anyone can.
It's been a long wait but the pitch opening is due to take place this Friday night. This is where the 3 new pitches will be officially opened and played on for the first time – rather exciting! Come along as there will also be stalls you can buy some stocking fillers from as well as some great rugby to be watched!
Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Biggar Picture. Happy Holidays!
Story date: 16/11/2016
Youth section host Dumfries Saints
Biggar Under 16’s Dominate against Dumfries Saints
A beautiful early winters afternoon at Hartree Mill saw Biggar under 16’s take on their Green Conference counterparts from Dumfries and having lost the away fixture earlier in the season the Biggar boys were keen to make amends.
This was evident from kick off as Biggar scored with their first attack. Biggar kicked off deep into the Saints 22 and the team followed up well as a unit. Some excellent tackling had the Saints pinned in their own 22 followed up with good counter-rucking causing panic in the defence. The referee blew for a penalty to Biggar having seen illegal hands on the deck and Ali Steele didn’t hang about. From about 8 yards out he took the quick tap and dived for the line. First blood to Biggar. In tough windy conditions, the kick was missed.
This was the sign of things to come for most of the first half. The Biggar lads had their collective tails up and really took the game to Dumfries. The second score came from Cammy Snell. A great run by Josh JVR saw him barrel through the Saints defence deep into the 22. Harry Low followed up well and got to within sight of the line. From the resultant ruck, Cammy took the ball quickly and dived over to score. Again the conversion from wide left was missed.
The third Biggar try was an excellent team effort finished off by Sam Wallis but with great forward play setting it up and some excellent penetrating runs from the other backs. Once again a secure scrum was followed up with aggressive rucking to gain a real hold in the Saints half. Finn Barr picked the right time to go to his backs and first Ali then Drew made ground before getting the ball to Sam. He had work to do but finished well close to the posts to allow the conversion to be made.
Biggar had dominated the game completely with Dumfries not really showing in the home team half at all but with some good back play they managed to get over the line just at the end of the half
Half Time Biggar 17 Dumfries 5
Into the second half and Biggar were again unrelenting scoring a further 3 or 4 tries. I thought 4 more tries but the referee had 3. In my defence there were a couple of close calls at the line but as I’m not sure which one was ruled out I’ve written them all up!
Next up to score his second of the game was Ali Steele with another good team try. Again ball was secured this time via a maul by the forwards. Harry Archibald, Rhys and Lee Smith wrapping up the ball and man to secure the scrum put in in the middle of the Saints half. With options either way, Charles hit the ball at pace and made some real ground before popping the ball to Drew. Again a good carry from the centre saw ground made and when the ball was popped to Ali he managed to dive over.
Cammy Snell then scored 2 more tries each a copy book of the other. In both cases he ran in from inside his own half with the backs creating a gap for the mobile forward to run into. Both trys were converted.
The final try was almost a mirror image of the opening try and show that quick thinking can pay dividends. With Biggar attacking deep in the Saints 22 again a high tackle was called by the referee. Ali Steele grabbed the ball and ran for the line, no doubt sensing a hat trick; sensibly as the defence ran at him he popped the ball to Dan McConkey. There was still a deal to do and not a lot of space to do it in but he barrelled through to score.
Final Score (officially) Biggar 36 – Dumfries 5
An entertaining game for all who saw it with some really good strong running rugby from Biggar. Some real craft on display from all the backs and real aggression in defence to ensure that Dumfries rarely got into the Biggar half. The same could be said of the forwards. It’s easy to pick out Cammy with 3 trys to his name but Harry Archibald and Dan McConkey worked tirelessly in defence while Craig and Josh never gave the Saints defence a moment’s peace. All 18 boys who turned out today played well and were well worth their victory.
A special note for today’s referee Cammy Forrest who did an excellent job in officiating his second match of the day. It can’t be easy refereeing some of your peers but he did a fabulous job. Only slight worry was when it looked like he might have to yellow card Charles in the second half for a late hit but thankfully (for Biggar) he made do with a warning! Well done and keep up the good work.
Story date: 08/11/2016
Minis host Dumfries Saints
Biggar P4s welcomed Dumfries Saints on Sunday. Since numbers from both sides were low the coaches agreed on a combined session of training followed by a mixed game. The Biggar P4s, who have trained with the P5s for the last 2 weeks, were much more willing to take the ball into contact and also make attempts to tackle, with some big, confident tackles being made. From the coaches point of view it was a very encouraging session as the players continue to get used to the physicality of the contact game.
Another good day for the P5s today with an ever growing squad. A 14 strong P5 squad faced a slightly smaller (in numbers) Dumfries team today at Hartree Mill. We started the first game well with an early try but then Dumfries responded with one of their own. We traded one each but then realised snakey snakey defense is far inferior to the the fishing net approach (ask the kids). In addition to this, the realisation that we are rugby smart, plus the application of forward running rugby saw us prevail 6-2.
In our second game there was more of the same and we ran out winners 5 tries to zero as our self belief grew.
It was by no means one sided with Dumfries handing out a bit of a lesson in rucking. Something we will work on in the weeks ahead.
Special mentions for Kyle for some very imposing play with confident running delivering two tries, and Lewis on his debut who played like he'd been there for the last three years. Well done everyone.
We played two games against Dumfries
They were a very strong and skilled team who were to much for us
1st game we lost 12-1
2nd game we lost 10-2
We then had a mixed team game and the boys played a lot better with some good runs from Biggar
Game ended in a draw
Overall Biggar P6,s put up a good show and they enjoyed it.
Story date: 02/11/2016
A great team performance providing a 7 to 4 win over visitors Dumfries Saints.
The welcome return of Fergus M to the squad meant that along with Josh, the squad had the muscle to control the centre of the pitch. Massive hits from both players left Dumfries' ball carriers out of options up the centre, and their ability to draw in multiple defenders opened up space for Biggar's speed merchants to run in try after try down the wing. A special mention goes out to new recruit Max G who showed he's got the gas to be another real threat.
The speed the ball was shipped and the improved ball handling across the squad is making a major difference, as is the calm efficiency of the scrum half, with set piece play now becoming a real strength.
The game was not a one sided affair, with Dumfries moving their ball carriers to the wing in an attempt to expose weaker tacklers and managed to pull back a few tries, but for every try they scored, Biggar replied in kind, meaning they were never going to catch up.
It's starting to come together for the P7s after a slow start to the season. All the players have listened to the coaches over the past weeks and are putting it into practice.
s2’s win in Fife
The S2s match at Dunfermline on 30th October shared similarities with the new Forth road bridge with its final roads sections being lifted into place in the glorious autumn sunshine. In both, the long planning and hard
work by many is paying off with some big gaps in the structure being filled in on both the team and the bridge. Both are still a long way from the finished article but all can see the progress of something strong and good forming.
Nearly a full squad of 18 players traveled to the match. The Biggar team started well but the hosts competed fiercely around the breakdown causing Biggar early problems. Biggar took control with the passing and support running at its best, on several occasions trys were created by fast accurate passing and multiple offloads out of tackles covering the full length of the pitch. Dunfermline competed every minute of the match putting pressure on Biggars line and tackled even more fiercely (and fairly) as the game went on.
In the end Biggar won 41 - 0 through 12 trys
Fraser (5), Murray (2), Sam (2), Jonathan, Gregor, Kaleb. Conversions from Euan and Kaleb.
Jonathan was captain, Frasers prodigous try scoring continues and the teams newest addition Sam scored twice on his debut in the Black and Red. Of real importance to the teams development was the signs of organised structures in defence and attack. Storms will batter the new Forth road bridge and some matches will batter this squad but good foundations and team structures are in place to weather these and today was a day in the sun for both.
The S1's meanheile came back well in the second half of their match.
Story date: 01/11/2016
Narrow defeat at Penny Pit
Preston Lodge 20 Biggar 19
After two games where Biggar have struggled after the interval Biggar sprung a bit of a surprise at Pennypit by coming out all guns blazing after the break to get within one point of their hosts who proceeded, just, to cling on to that 1 point advantage and sneak the win.
There are always 'ifs and buts' in sport and Biggar may well rue the interception pass at the outset which put them a score down when they were in attack and also the missed conversion to their first try, but in similar vane PL would point to a disallowed try – for a forward pass – which would have given them a clearer victory margin.
Frustrations and bias aside, this was a keenly contested match between two evenly matched squads, featuring 6 tries and the usual talking points, a couple of which have already been mentioned. The win pushes PL into 6th spot and Biggar to 7th with just 2 matches remaining before the end of the first round of matches and the league break. Biggar have Ardrossan and GHK to play with, after that, all bar one of the teams above them to face at home and all those below, bar one, to visit. If Biggar can maintain their home record and pinch a couple of away wins – away wins still proving problematic - then they should be in the hunt come the end of the league programme.
Another series of changes were forced on Biggar's XV due to illness and unavailability. Up front Duncan Withers and Stevie Campbell were forced out of the squad due to illness and other commitments. Alan Warnock and Zander Lyon came back into the starting XV with Ross Jackson back on the bench. In the backs Robbie Lavery had work commitments and could not play while David Paterson was injured in the warm up and replaced by David McArthur, this of course reducing Biggar's options from the bench when looking to freshen things up or replace injured players.
Biggar had the best and then, almost immediately, the worst of starts. McArthur was up quick on to the PL winger as he took Jardine's box kick, Notman just managing to charge down the clearance and force a PL lineout in their 22. Having regained possession Biggar attacked the blind-side only to see Gregor Stewarts wide pass snapped up by flanker Pete Johnstone who had the legs of the Biggar cover to reach the line from some 50 metres. Those who were in attendance at this game last session will well remember the ease with which Biggar conceded points to their hosts – surely history could not repeat itself?
It was quickly evident that Biggar had more than an edge in the tight scrum, PL under all sorts of pressure and getting shunted back at regular intervals and also ceding possession on their own put in. That Biggar got so little of an advantage from this is open to some conjecture, visiting referee Greg Dawson from Northumberland preferring scrum re-sets to penalties or free kicks and at the games end seeing fit to penalise Biggar for wheeling when in attack.
Biggar's scrum dominance came to the fore after 10 minutes when after a knock-on gave PL the scrum put in. Biggar took the ball against the head and slowly marched the home 8 back to a point where Andy Dunlop picked and dived for the try. Richard Peacock's conversion bounce off the upright to deny Biggar a 7-5 lead.
Within 3 minutes PL had scored again. Peacock had taken a good 'mark' in his 22 and had then tapped to feed the ball right. Notman's boot took play into the PL half but a neat step by fullback Glynn took him past Alistair Sinclair and saw him sprint down a touchline almost bereft of Biggar cover. Sinclair got back into position but a hefty fend sent him sprawling before an inside pass saw No8 Whittingham crash over for a notable try.
Another long range conversion from Griffin fell short and so the score was 10-5 to PL.
Biggar have been prone to making a number of unforced errors in recent weeks and this pattern continued as players were put under pressure, something to which the youngsters in the side are having to adapt. While these errors did not lead directly to scores it meant that possession and/or position was lost. These errors and several long advantages did nothing to assist Biggar as PL ran hard, employing some neat angles at the Biggar defence. This held for the most part although Griffin did increase his sides lead to 13-5 with a penalty after a sustained passage of play in the Biggar 22.
With 5 minutes to go before half time PL almost struck again, No 8 Whittingham hitting a good angle in a run which took him across Biggar's line only for referee Dawson to adjudge the pass forward. Able to maintain their field position the 3rd try did eventually come, back rower Jason Riley crossing under a pile of bodies for score which when converted took PL into a 20-5 half time lead.
Coach Mercer spared few at half time as he harangued the squad for what appeared to be a somewhat 'flat' display. Whatever was said seemed to have hit home as the side had to work really hard to halt a determined PL start. Kicking to the corner PL again employed the driven lineout to good effect. In previous seasons Biggar would have conceded scores in the face of this but on Saturday they competed ferociously and while a penalty was conceded which gave PL a second bite, some great work by the pack, with Dunlop to the fore, saw the maul halted. The rules pertaining to this have to be looked at however as, if set properly, there is no legal way in which a score can be prevented, players always likely to concede penalties in attempts to steal possession. On this occasion however Biggar managed a good exit.
Although 15 points down games can turn quickly and so it was on Saturday as Biggar clawed their way back into things in the space of some 10 minutes. A neat pass wide from Chisholm gave Notman a chance to take ball on and with this recycled well Biggar attacked on the right making good yards on the other touchline. Ball initially lost was regained and prop Dan O'Connell burst up the blind off Stewarts wide link. The big man made yards before neatly off-loading to Sinclair who made it to the line for his second score in as many weeks – and this after a barren spell when Biggar had been scoring freely.
Peacock added the conversion for 20-12. It now seemed that the tide was turning ever so slightly as PL began to make errors, passes being dropped or not finding their man as they had previously. Biggar were able to capitalise on this with some fairly ferocious offence defence as all put in the hits adding the the spectacle.
Able to gain a foothold in the PL 22 good work by Peacock – should the pass have gone wide earlier? - Biggar gained a scrum put in close to the PL line. A good pick and drive by Dunlop almost saw the No 8 notch a second score but some equally good defence brought him down short. The pressure was sustained however and after a couple of pick and go's by the pack ball was swung left to Chisholm who stepped inside the cover and lunged for the line for a try which, when converted put Biggar just one point adrift at 20-19.
With just short of a quarter of the match remaining it was definitely a case of 'game on' and all to play for. In the aftermath it is perhaps surprising that neither side was able to add to their tally in this last quarter. Aside from some decent running rugby which ended as progress was halted via good defence there was never a penalty awarded which would have given PL some additional breathing space or Biggar the lead.
Play swung from 22 to 22 but rarely any further as defences came out on top and errors meant possession was lost. PL were forced into several changes out of necessity as they picked up knocks in what was a physical contest. Biggar also made changes but this was down to players being swapped to provide some rest. Jackson had replaced Warnock but he returned for Lyon while the front row, save for replacement hooker Orr who was unlucky not to get game time this time round, were again routinely switched.
And so, exciting though play was, there were no further scores, PL, via Griffin, delighted to get the ball into touch after another penalty.
As has been suggested previously there is little between the teams in National 2. Just 12 points separate the top 7 positions and so things will remain tight for the foreseeable future until perhaps the weather begins to take effect to disrupt form.
Biggar's immediate goal is to defeat next opponents, Ayrshire side Ardrossan who have yet to win a match and are currently second from bottom. A trip west is never easy and Biggar won their last year courtesy of an inspirational Andrew Peacock pick up virtually on full time. It is to be hoped the side doesn't have to rely on a late intervention this time round!
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Douglas Notman, Gregor Stewart, David McArthur, Iain Chisholm, Aird Jardine, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Jamie Orr, Zander Lyon, Ewan Sanderson, Alan Warnock, Andrew Dunlop Reps: Ross Jackson, Calvin Henderson, Andrew Orr (David Paterson).
The 2nd XV meanwhile were hosting Murrayfield Wanderers in their East Reserve League 1 match. It was great to learn that they had again extended their unbeaten run to 8 from 8 with a comfortable 45-0 win over their Edinburgh guests.
Having secured the win and the 4-try bonus the focus switched to keeping their line intact and this they managed despite some determined Wanderers play.
For the record Davy Reive, Thomas Steele and Craig McDonald all scored a brace each, Stuart Alder notching one also.
Story date: 31/10/2016
Gold Club results for October
Story date: 31/10/2016
£250 - 79 Susan Bell
£100 - 259 Robert Stokes
£100 - 254 Kevin Wilson
£100 - 49 Finlay Smith
£100 - 307 Lauren Murray Lawrie
£100 - 83 Gordon Young
Kirkcaldy defeated and another win for the 2nds
Biggar 33 Kirkcaldy 22
As a measure of how far the club has come in the past year you need look no further than the frustrations expressed within the dressing room post match chat. Both senior sides had won games and collected the maximum 5 point totals from their league matches and yet there was a consensus that neither side had played particularly well and had struggled in phases and parts of the game, this being a source of great frustration for all.
In recent seasons bonus point wins have been scarcer than hens teeth but on Saturday the focus was all about how the sides could and must do better. A remarkable turnaround and borne from a fantastic spirit within the squads, a growing maturity amongst the players and of course a much more structured approach to training and play. Well done to all involved – onwards and upwards!
Lasswade 2nds 3 Biggar 2nds 28
The 2nds journeyed to Lasswade for their game as they went in search of another win to extend their 6 match unbeaten run. That they returned having maintained that run is excellent and keeps them ahead of the chasing pack.
Biggar's previous two outings had pitched them up against the sides in that chasing pack - Jed and Kelso - and while Lasswade's league position suggested that they would be a weaker side than their Border league opponents, the East Lothian outfit put in a determined shift that defied their league position.
Biggar had to work as hard for their points this time round just as they had in the previous matches but they ground out a win by 28-3.
Tries came from Lewis McLachlan, Alan Warnock, Andrew Peacock and Craig McDonald. Gary Morrison added 4 conversions from 4 attempts!
At Hartree Mill, the 1st XV welcomed Fife club Kirkcaldy. Coached by old pal Quinnie Sanft they have had an inconsistent start to their season. As anticipated they used their large pack to good effect and, much as was the case last week, Biggar struggled in phases of the game to match their opponents forward effort. In sharp contrast however, Kirkcaldy struggled to keep track of Biggar who were keen to move the ball about and so this was a clash of two very different styles of rugby.
Biggar made another few changes to their starting XV. Up front Zander Lyon, who took a knock last week, was rested while Ross Jackson was fielded in the 2nds to give the teenager a break from the top team action.
Douglas Notman returned to his preferred position of back row to replace Jackson while Andrew Dunlop moved from No8 to replace Lyon in the 2nd row. Stevie Campbell made a return to top team action after some sound performances in the 2nds. In the backs DO Iain Chisholm made a return to action after being injured against GHA in the cup match back in September. That meant that Aird Jardine was dropped to the bench but with Davy Reive forced to call off he was quickly promoted back, but to scrum half instead of stand off – Jardine a particularly adaptable member of the squad. Richard Peacock returned after holiday to take the 15 jersey. As backs coach, David Wilson has had to work with a different back division for almost every game to date, this never an easy situation but one which he has managed well.
On a pleasant Autumnal afternoon Hartree Mill was blessed with as big a crowd as has been seen for many seasons, a rough count seeing the total approach 300. Some of those were in attendance to see the Colts take on Irish tourists Corinthians which kicked off at 4pm but to see the touchlines packed is a wonderful sight and a clear indication that the way Biggar are playing is a talking point about town and attracting spectators. Long may that continue.
The early exchanges were punctuated by the whistle, both sides missing penalties. Kirkcaldy's first attempt came after referee Alan Hoyle deemed hooker Euan Stewart's tackle at the ruck base and in the face of another forward effort, to be a 'chop' tackle. This consigned the Biggar man to the bin for 10 minutes. And this all with the match just 5 minutes old.
Kirkcaldy had clearly identified Dunlop to be a threat and they soon set out their stall taking every opportunity to hold him down and back from the action. None of this was spotted by the referee and in another time he might have retaliated but happily he chose instead to laugh it off which only made then all the more upset! But best riposte.
A second Biggar penalty was pushed wide by Peacock before Kirkcaldy opened the scoring this after a passage of forward orientated play took the Fifers into the Biggar 22, the defensive effort deemed to be holding on after the tackle. Wallace kicked the penalty for 3-0.
It did not take Biggar long to respond with their own score, this after play had been switched left and then right. Jamie Orr made a great break – one of several during the match - through the Kirkcaldy defence before off-loading to Gregor Stewart who was brought down just metres short. With possession retained Lavery had a tilt at the line and should probably have been penalised for crossing, play almost halted as players waited for the whistle. It didn't come however and the move continued with Andrew Orr – he replacing Stevie Campbell who had to go off to allow a replacement at hooker – making a determined breenge for the line. Ball came back again and Chisholm threw a long wide pass to Alistair Sinclair who picked it up cleverly from his toes before out-stripping the defence in a sprint for the corner. From a long way out on the touchline Peacock found his mark and Biggar were ahead at 7-3.
Biggar increased their lead within minutes of the restart as again their open style of play had Kirkcaldy chasing shadows. Orr made another great run, Donald Voas and David Paterson combined well on the left before ball was swung back right. While Stewart's pass failed to go to hand Notman picked up and fed Lavery who dodged his way across for a try which Peacock also converted.
It was now Kirkcaldy's turn to score, this coming after Biggar were unable to deal effectively with the restart, an old failing! Kirkcaldy used their pack to advance ball downfield using the pick and drive to good effect, this taking them deep into the Biggar 22. They were able to create a huge overlap on the left flank which was unseen by the Biggar defence and hard though they defended Kirkcaldy's initial attacks on the line, a wide pass to Littlejohn saw the fullback squeeze over. 14-8.
As Biggar returned immediately to the attack Kirkcaldy were reduced to 14 as they were penalised for not releasing, this apparently deemed to be in a try scoring position. Using Kirkcaldy's preferred tactic Biggar kicked to the corner via Chisholm and, having won the lineout, preceded to drive the Fife defence back before Ewan Stewart took control to dive over for a try converted by Peacock for 21-8.
In what was a see-saw match Kirkcaldy then had their own period of pressure, this due in no small part to a number of penalties conceded by Biggar. Until recently Biggar's discipline has been much better than in previous seasons but they conceded a large number on Saturday – particularly after the break – and these gave Kirkcaldy field position, possession and hope in abundance.
On this occasion Kirkcaldy were very fortunate that referee Hoyle didn't pick up on a deliberate stamp by the Kirkcaldy prop on the exposed head of Sanderson. Fortunately no damage other than bruising was done but this type of brutality has no place in the game whatsoever.
Happily there was no score for Kirkcaldy as Orr managed to get a boot to a loose ball to turn defence into attack. Opening up from a lineout taken with a salmon-like leap from Dunlop on the left (all jumpers from both sides took ball really well in this game), some wonderfully adept handling saw play swept from one side of the pitch to another with Chisholm orchestrating things well. Providing first a link for Campbell, who then released Jardine and then Ewan Stewart, play was transferred left via passes from Jardine and Chisholm (again), before a long looping pass found Gregor Stewart who freed Peacock. The fullback popped to Voas lurking ominously on the wing, the big prop cantering over as the Kirkcaldy defence was torn apart. Peacock added the extras and the bonus point was secured as the whistle brought the first half to a close.
Given their lead Biggar should perhaps have then done so much better after the break but in fact they were outscored 15-5 in this period as Kirkcaldy got a grip on the game and largely dominated proceedings via their pack. Biggar contributed in no small part – much as had been the case against Cartha – by trying to play too much rugby in their own half and with some poorish kicking meaning that the visitors were able to counter. Add in some further penalties for poor discipline and the evidence is there for all to see and explains the frustration felt post match.
Right from the start of the half Biggar began to take chances in opting to run out of defence instead of using the boot to take play downfield. When they did kick, they failed to find touch, this allowing Kirkcaldy to counter. With their forwards making things really difficult for Biggar in the tight scrum technical penalties were conceded and, given their advantage, it was hardly surprising that the visitors opted for the scrum. This tactic paid off handsomely and with 10 minutes of the half gone No8 Rhys Bonner picked up from the advancing scrum base to drop over the line for a try to reduce Biggar's lead to 26-15.
A quickly taken tap penalty by Jardine made some good yards but when possession was lost a soft late tackle by Lavery ceded yards and possession to Kirkcaldy who again employed the scrum drive to good effect. Bonner rounded off the scrum drive with a second try and as the conversion was kicked by Wallace Kirkcaldy were right in the mix at 26-22.
There was still a quarter of the match remaining and the game at this stage was wide open. Biggar's task was to cut down on the errors and penalties and string some phases together. The first half had proved that Kirkcaldy could not keep up with a fast game but Biggar had not been able to put this into practice in this second half.
And then in a blink Biggar scored a cracking try with birthday boy Stevie Campbell dotting down. Jamie Orr initiated the move when he made another trademark burst up the middle of the park before giving a well-timed pass to the supporting Duncan Withers. Recycled ball was fed left to Chisholm who freed Paterson. His run was brought to a halt but ball was fed right to Campbell on an angled run which took him through the last defenders and to the line. So, so simple! Peacock added the conversion for 33-22.
Not phased at all by this try Kirkcaldy continued to work to bring their pack into the game and this again they did well to take play deep into the Biggar 22. Defence has been pretty solid this season and it needed to be again on Saturday as the game came to a close. On several occasions Biggar engineered turnovers from 'choke ball' where the attackers are held up in a maul and possession is given to the defending side. This paid off and provided Biggar with some yardage out of the danger area, albeit only temporarily as Kirkcaldy again piled on the pressure. Each Biggar player did their bit with some big hits coming in from the back row, while Dunlop's experience showed through in these situations. As a result Kirkcaldy were unable to score another try which would have given them a losing bonus.
Man of the match fro Biggar was Stevie Campbell while Connor Wood got the nod for Kirkcaldy
Biggar retain their 6th spot after this result, a position they share with their next opponents Preston Lodge who have come good in the past few weeks after what was a rocky start. Last season PL proved to be a very good side and this will be another big test for the Biggar squad. A reduction in errors would go some way to aiding Biggar's cause, something that is certain to receive due attention at training.
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Robbie Lavery, Gregor Stewart, David Paterson, Iain Chisholm, Aird Jardine, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Jamie Orr, Andrew Dunlop, Stevie Campbell, Duncan Withers, Douglas Notman. Reps: Calvin Henderson, Andrew Orr, Ewan Sanderson.
Story date: 26/10/2016
Biggar defeated at Cartha
Cartha Queens Park 20 Biggar 11
After 3 great weeks when points have been scored with ease Biggar were brought down to earth in a much tighter, more pressured contest against the league leaders Cartha. That Biggar's error count by Biggar in this one game must have exceeded the combined total of the last 3 gives indication that this result was somewhat self-inflicted although the hosts will point out that their errors cost them at least 3 tries which would have put them well ahead after the first quarter alone.
The loss means Biggar drop back to 6th place in the league which, although 'OK', and certainly so much better than in recent seasons does not equate at all to the effort which the players and coaches have put in and will certainly not please either group.
With Richard Peacock and Craig McDonald both unavailable there were changes again in the backs, Douglas Notman dropping back from flank forward to centre and David Paterson resuming at wing while Robbie Lavery took over at fullback. The pack which started saw Calvin Henderson start at prop in place of Dan O'Connell while Duncan Withers replaced Notman in the back row.
On a day which was much nicer than had been forecast Biggar's errors began at kick off the normal safe hands of Withers seeing ball spilled on the catch, immediately ceding both possession and territory to the hosts. This simple unforced error was merely the first of many made by the side in the course of the 80 minutes.
Being up against things in the opening exchanges is nothing new for Biggar who have weathered well the strong starts from their opponents and so it was very much same old, same old as Biggar were forced into defensive chores. Some sound tackles, a couple of opportune turnovers and at least one player held up over the line saw Biggar hold out as Cartha launched wave after wave of attacks with big runners choosing good lines and angles. That the hosts should have scored is not in doubt one 2v1 ending as Lavery appeared to wrong foot the ball carrier who lost control of the ball with the line at his mercy.
Both packs were running well whenever called into action while the tight exchanges were well contested, both packs fiercely combative in scrum and lineout.
Able to slowly get a foothold of possession and territory Biggar were awarded a penalty after 16 minutes, this virtually the first such award of the game, and one which Gregor Stewart slotted for a 3-0 lead.
Straight back into attack Jamie Orr was set free for a tilt at the line and suffered the same fate as one of Cartha's attacks as he was held up over the line. Maintaining tremendous pressure on the Cartha line Biggar's forwards were lining up to take ball on, Cartha proving so much more difficult to open up than recent opponents. Another penalty was their reward, Stewart converting again to give Biggar a 6-0 lead.
The restarts, which hitherto have always been taken well, were proving troublesome, Davy Reive slipping as he collected the kick, this slowing the option to exit the 22 and in fact seeing Biggar concede a penalty which was converted to reduce the gap to 6-3.
This Cartha penalty aside, the middle section of this half was undoubtedly Biggar's purple patch as they really took the game to their hosts. The next score was just minutes away and the try scored after a great run by Orr saw the big lock pop the ball inside to Withers who galloped across the line. Stewart was unable to add the conversion but at 11-3 Biggar were on the 'up'.
Frustratingly from a Biggar point of view, but perhaps not surprisingly, Cartha fought back and using the driven line to good effect managed to shunt Biggar back and score a try from their hooker.
The conversion was missed and Biggar retained their lead at 11-8. The driven lineout option from Cartha was to cause all manner of problems for Biggar although it is virtually impossible to legally halt this move.
The remainder of the half was played out with Biggar still on the front foot but unable to unlock the Cartha defence again, several errors (crossing offences, knock-ons, missed touch kicks) all allowing Cartha some respite.
In the post match chat it seemed incredible that after this great spell and having added the 11 points in about 20 minutes that the try was the last time that Biggar troubled the scorer! Cartha definitely deserve credit for their defensive effort which saw them slow the Biggar attack down and then put a stranglehold on almost everything Biggar did, although Biggar did become a tad predictable in their attacking options, this playing directly into Cartha's hands.
Andrew Dunlop who was making a return after an injury sustained at Aberdeenshire took over at half time from Ewan Sanderson while O'Connell came on for Calvin Henderson. Another crossing offence gave Cartha the chance to push Biggar back. It quickly became clear that Cartha had regained some shape during the break and as the game progressed their forward effort seemed to increase.
A great team tackle by Lavery and Paterson denied Cartha a try but then from the resultant lineout – an area in which Biggar had taken much great ball in the first half – an error spawned possession at the back, Cartha's back rower unable to get a clean hold of the ball and botching a great chance and with the line at his mercy.
The try was merely delayed however as an offload from Dunlop as he picked up at the scrum base saw possession spilled. Cartha were in quick to secure the possession and run in for a try which, when converted, turned the tables on Biggar and meant they were behind for the first time in the match at 15-11.
This score seemed to really enthuse the Cartha side who slowly began to take a greater stranglehold on proceedings. Try as they did Biggar were unable to play the game they wished as Cartha forced Biggar back into their own 22. At the same time, and in the face of this pressure (this the first match in 4 in which Biggar have been put under such pressure) the number of unforced errors crept up.
A kick direct to touch, a lazy runner penalty, a couple of turnovers and instead of being in the Cartha half, Biggar found themselves once again on defensive duties.
Biggar made a couple of changes, Lavery moving up to centre and Stewart dropping back to fullback, Jackson giving way to Sanderson.
A missed Cartha penalty and then a great breakout by Cartha through the middle forced Stewart to make a great hit on the runner and with ball spilled Biggar engineered an escape but this was short lived as Cartha kicked out of defence.
Another big line drive saw Biggar throw themselves at the Cartha attack to hold them up and with the match entering the last 10 minutes it was all hands to the pumps as Biggar fought to deny Cartha another try.
This they almost managed, Cartha opting for the kick to the corner, confident that they would eventually get over for the try which would decide the match. A Biggar try at this point would have seen them win but deep inside their own half this seemed unlikely – their hopes increasingly pinned on a losing bonus point which in the circumstances would have been just reward for their efforts if not for the errors.
As the minutes ticked down the try eventually came, this again stemming from a line drive, replacement prop Irvine credited with the score. The conversion was immaterial, the game won/lost.
This result was a real frustration for Biggar as they travelled with some confidence after recent solid performances. Coach Mercer though still upbeat after the match was quick to highlight the need for greater concentration and the need to bounce back. The opportunity to do so comes this weekend when Kirkcaldy come to Hartree Mill. Possessing a big pack it will need a concerted effort from the boys in black to regain their winning ways.
As always a big support would do much to help them on their way. Kick off is 3pm.
Robbie Lavery, Alistair Sinclair, Gregor Stewart, Douglas Notman, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive (C), Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson, Duncan Withers . Reps: Andrew Orr, Dan O'Connell, James Barr, Andrew Dunlop.
The 2nds entertained Kelso in their Edinburgh Reserve league match.
As league leaders Biggar were in determined mood to retain their top spot and in the end they managed to do so with a 22-15 victory.
Kelso proved to be every bit as determined opponents as had Jed last week with another big defensive effort required to keep the visitors out. A decent lead at half time of 15-10 saw Biggar take the initiative to go further up at 22-10 before Kelso hit back to make it 22-15.
As Kelso received a yellow card Biggar might have managed to increase their lead but this was not to be and they had to settle for the 7-point advantage.
Tries from among others Scot Chapman and Stevie Campbell.
Despite not playing quite as well as they might have this was another great result for the 2nds who now have a 6 point lead in the league.
They travel to take on Lasswade this Saturday.
Story date: 17/10/2016
Biggar Youth section in action
Youth rugby and the Green Conference
On Sunday it was Green Conference action again with Glasgow side Whitecraigs the opponents.
S1 and U-16 sides played training matches while the S2's and U-15's played league matches. In these honours were even, Biggar winning the S2 match but losing out narrowly to the Glasgow outfit at U-15.
U-15's at Hartree Mill
After a closely fought contest last weekend versus local rivals Hamilton, the U15’s were looking to put their league campaign back on track with a strong performance against Whitecraigs. Unfortunatly, due to a number of reasons we came out second best this time, but sometimes you learn more from a loss than a win and the whole coaching staff feel there are positives and lessons to be learnt from this weekends game.
Following an abrasive and physical beginning to the game, it was the visitors who got the first points on the board. After some sustained pressure and good phase play from the Whitecraigs outfit, their 10 managed to scythe through a previously resolute Biggar defence. 0-5.
Biggar were not to be disheartened easily though and were quickly taking it back to the opposition. A cracking bit of decision making by Aaron to go blind off a scrum bore fruit with an offload to Euan who got us deep into their twenty two. Good carries by the likes of new boy Josh and step in captain Will earned us a penalty, which was intelligently tapped and passed to isaac out on the wing, who finished well. Conversion missed, 5-5.
A lull in the Biggar squad was to follow and Whitecraigs capatilised with three tries in quick succession before the break. One as a result of their winger’s pace, another from a loose kick and accumulated pressure on our line allowed their forwards to carry over for a third.
Half time: 5-26
One player who impressed in both attack and defence was young Isaac at outside centre. He showed his effective speed and footballing ability at the beginning of the second half, streaking past all the defence with some excellent footwork which deserved a try. The bounce was unkind however, and the chance went begging, positive play nonetheless, signs of more to come.
The Biggar crowd did not have to wait long for their next boost of excitement. Yet another strong carry by the ever present Will and Jack gave Isaac good clean ball which he promptly shipped to the wing and eventually to Aaron who used his strength to barrel his way over. Well desrved team try for the work put in by the whole squad. 12-26
The spark of a fight back was further ignited when Euan Barr ripped the ball excellently in defence who popped to a few forwards who brilliantly used the brains giving it to Gregor who released Isaac. Once again he pierced the defence with a show and go, stepping the full back to finish off under the posts. Conversion well made 19-26.
Despite the optimism, Whitecraigs closed out the game well with two tries in the games dying breaths. A frustrating finish to a game that could’ve gone either way, the score line certainly did not reflect the closeness of the game.
Final Score: 19-38
Many congratulations to debutant referee Cameron Forrest who took charge of the U-15 match. Despite his tender years – Cameron is 16 – he took charge of proceedings and managed the game well.
With this such an important aspect of the club game it is particularly praiseworthy of Cameron to take on the officials role. May there be many more to follow in his footsteps.
Of course with SRU referee commissioner Tappe Henning living locally any trainee referees will be given the ideal opportunity to develop. There are of course specific referee training courses to attend, Cameron enrolling at Gala RFC.
Story date: 11/10/2016
THE BIGGAR PICTURE - September Edition
… pation. Longer than expected, I know.
A September issue starting off the rugby year isn’t so bad..?
The mini section dove straight into the deep end with their very own tournament being held at the start of the season. All went well, and it was a good day to be had for all. A big thanks goes out to Laura Watson for having the patience to organise the whole event and making it run nice and smoothly. ONE CLUB ONE FAMILY.
With the season settling in, the midi’s and colt’s drop – kicked off their green conference battle, which includes playing sides such as Dunfermline, GHA, Dumfries, Falkirk, Hamilton and Whitecraigs. It’s been a hard start for U16’s due to playing numbers… so if you’re a 15 year old boy reading this for some reason or other, you clearly have nothing else to do. Get yourself down to Hartree Mill on Wednesday nights at 7pm and live life to the max – come and join the fam. The colts have had a pretty decent start, with wins all round apart from a draw with Hamilton… awkies. One way to improve would be to actually watch your games when Sarah doesn’t lose the footage and I actually upload them lol soz.
On a plus note, 8 of the colts are part of the U18 Glasgow Academy. This includes training sessions every week and games against the other regions. The boys included are Guy Kelly, Rory McGinn, Luhann Kotze, Matthew and Lewis Stewart, Andrew Jardine and Andrew Nimmo (who defs bribed his way in with a few cows). There are also 3 boys in the Glasgow U18’s development squad – Stuart Forrest, Rowan Stewart and Jordan Gray. This is a pathway to Scotland and definitely shows that Biggar Rugby club are doing something right.
Going back to conferences, U15 and U18 Girls played their first President’s Conference game against Murrayfield Wanderers. The Presidents conference is making its debut this year with 6 teams from across Scotland taking part. Both teams won with U15’s winning very convincingly and U18’s winning but realising they should’ve done pre season. It was injuries galore with concussion going round like the plague, but luckily Abbie Baillie will be back playing soon after suffering with concussion since March. However we are playing rather well and you’re putting Sarah out of a position so we don’t need you anymore. Let the games go on the way they started.
So there you go, another monthly update for you. Hope you enjoyed.
Rhiannon (and Sarah)
Story date: 10/10/2016
Biggar rack up another 50 in home win against Whitecraigs
Biggar 54 Whitecraigs 10
Biggar welcomed Glasgow side Whitecraigs to a Hartree Mill looking at its finest in the warm Autumnal sunshine.
Biggar fielded a XV with just two changes from that which won at Hill Jills last week, Aird Jardine starting at stand off in place of brother Andrew who sustained a broken forearm, with Gregor Stewart reverting to inside centre and Craig McDonald replacing the unavailable David Paterson.
Selection promises to be ever more difficult for the coaching team given that there are a handful of players who would normally start but who will have to work extremely hard to regain their place, so well is the current squad performing. Competition for places and in all positions is intense and all the more so because the 2nd XV, ably led by Doug Fleming continue to perform as well, their excellent win away to Jedforest a massive boost for the club. There is therefore another group within their ranks waiting for their chance to get a top team start.
Separated by just one point prior to the match Whitecraigs had a number of call offs and a bad start when Captain and prop Iain Laidlaw turned an ankle in the warm up. To make matters all the more difficult they took the field to find a Biggar squad in top form, clearly relishing the opportunity to extend their winning home run and keen to erase the memories of two defeats to Whitecraigs last season.
A forward pass denied Ross Jackson a try and Biggar a dream start but this was merely delayed as Craig McDonald rounded off a fairly simple backs move initiated after Biggar stole possession from a Whitecraigs scrum. 3 minutes gone and a 5-0 scoreline for Biggar.
Undeterred at this stage Whitecraigs began to make their mark, the next 10 minutes or so proving tricky for Biggar as the Glasgow side gave full indication of their style; backs and forwards running at pace and finding good angles to take play into the Biggar 22. The Biggar defence stood resolute however and aside from a couple of penalties gave little away. Two attempts at driven lineouts failed to get Whitecraigs on the scoreboard – a magnificent take by Jamie Orr and his lifters denying one catch and drive - so it was left to kicker Stuart Gillies to open 'Craigs account from a penalty on 18 minutes.
Having kept their visitors out Biggar's initial attacks faltered on two loose Biggar lineouts – perhaps the only real flaw in the whole match as the packs dominance throughout meant the Whitecraigs effort visibly wilted as the game progressed. Respite was short-lived for the visitors however as Biggar added to their tally via two Richard Peacock penalties to take them ahead at 11-3.
Indeed an 8 minute period from 25-32 minutes saw Biggar take the initiative and largely condemn Whitecraigs to second place, the two penalties preceding two excellent tries. A great Zander Lyon take on the second penalty restart saw Davy Reive chip and Jardine chase. An error in the catch allowed Jardine to hack clear to beat the defence for the try. Peacock converted.
Another error from stand off Gillies – not a day he will wish to remember – gave Biggar territory and position and following an initial surge ball was fed back to the blindside where Ewan Sanderson exploited a weak defensive effort to run round and then through the remaining cover.
Biggar almost added to their tally from the next restart as Jardine made an interception, the cover defence this time up to the task and cutting off the stand-offs run.
Half time then and a 3 try lead at 25-3 for the men in black. This was an almost identical score to that from the previous week with again the 4-try bonus point within reach. Could the Biggar lads repeat that feat?
The answer, although not just as quick as last week, was still in the affirmative and with bags more as well.
A couple of penalties gave Whitecraigs some possession and territory but their attacks again floundered as Biggar's defence remained firm. Within 8 minutes of the restart Biggar opened out from their own 22 with a lung bursting and particularly effective exit, Jardine initiating the charge with a boot downfield. Peacock took the kick at full pace making a couple of yards before cleverly off-loading to Alistair Sinclair who took and then game almost immediately to Lavery. He evaded the nearest defenders to pop the ball back inside to the ever-present Jackson. The young back rower made short shrift of the sprint to the line and a deserved try. One kick and 3 passes for the try and the bonus point.
Another hammer blow befell 'Craigs as Biggar scored again almost from the restart. Notman took ball up and into the advancing pack, something he does with great regularity. Recycled ball saw Reive offer the box kick which, although initially dealt with by 'Craigs No 8 Haswell, was then turned over by Sanderson. The counter attack on this occasion was one break, by Jardine, and a neat pass to Lavery who sprinted in from some 40 metres.
Notman was then shown a yellow for some careless work at the breakdown but despite their numerical advantage 'Craigs could not stem the flow of the Biggar attack. The 'Craigs attack failed and a Biggar penalty allowed them to kick and then win good line out ball from Sanderson. A pre-planned move saw replacement flanker Duncan Withers take an inside pass from Jardine to outpace the despairing cover from some 40 metres for try number 6. Peacock added the conversion. The score now read 44-3; could the side record another 50 point haul?
Whitecraigs had other thoughts and to their credit and regardless of the battering they had received they managed a try of their own. This was credited to replacement prop Ingram, he a strong and direct runner who would surely, on most other occasions, have been able to make a significant mark on proceedings. Gillies added the conversion for 44-10.
Another fantastic breakout after another 'Craigs handling error under the box kick saw Biggar quickest to react, replacement hooker Andrew Orr latching onto the loose ball to make yards before finding Lavery. His run beat the defence before Jardine and then Reive took over. His pass was taken by Sinclair who gave quickly to Peacock who was able to round things off with another try.
It was clear that 'Craigs were now almost punch drunk such had they given to absorb the Biggar attack and the hits in attack. At almost every breakdown another 'Craigs player looked for treatment.
Biggar's finale became a little untidy in the face of this and they managed just one further try this to Reive who had been the proverbial thorn in 'Craigs side all day. On this occasion Jackson took advantage of another massive surge by the Biggar pack which had their opponents on a rushed retreat to snaffle ball and pass to Reive – a score the scrum half clearly relished!
Peacock had a bit of an off day with the boot although the final conversion from Jardine also missed its mark. Add the missed conversions and Biggar would have been well through the 60 point mark.
Regardless, this was an excellent win for the home side. There were some terrific performances from all with no one looking out of place or playing poorly. Each player made significant contributions with the nod for man of the match going to stand off Aird Jardine, one audacious hand off in particular sticking in the memory.
In the last three matches Biggar have amassed over 145 points (21 tries) while conceding just 25 (3 tries) – the best defensive record in the league. The win takes Biggar into 4th top spot level with local rivals Peebles.
The division remains particularly close however with the impression being that any side on their day has the capacity to beat any other.
Things will certainly get tougher of that there is no doubt with a visit to League leaders Cartha Queens Park this Saturday just the start. There is an air of confidence within the squad however and where in previous seasons coaches might have been reluctant to give the replacements a run, each man off the bench now brings something different to the side, to wit on Saturday the attacking flair of Withers, the work rate of Henderson or Orr and the pace of McArthur. Well done to all, including of course coaches Mercer and Wilson.
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Robbie Lavery, Gregor Stewart, Craig McDonald, Aird Jardine, David Reive (C), Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson, Douglas Notman. Reps: Andrew Orr, Duncan Withers, Calvin Henderson, David McArthur .
The news of the 2nds 21-17 win came through just before the final whistle and was met with a great cheer from the 1sts in their post-match huddle.
The 2nds had faced a tricky away match against Jed and to return with the win after a really tousy last 10 minutes when they were forced to finish with 14 men after Lewis McLachlan had been sin-binned was testimony to the character within the squad.
This was an excellent win and means that Biggar retain top spot in the East Reserve league. They face another Border test this week when they entertain Kelso who are in 2nd spot.
Story date: 09/10/2016
Youth v Hamitlon and Girls in Caithness
Firstly, the Girls sides journeyed north on Saturday to play Caithness in the Girls Presidents Conference. Biggar were happy to travel as Caithness have previously been guests at Hartree Mill. Two great games ensued with Biggar winning both convincingly.
For the record the U-15's won by 63-24 while the U-18's managed a 76-0 scoreline.
On Sunday Hamilton were the opponents in the Green Conference Youth fixtures.
At Hamilton the S1 squad played a development match as this Biggar unit is still short of players. The S2 group had their work cut out and went down by 52-21.
At Biggar the U-15 squad had a narrow defeat by 26-19 with the game being a nip and tuck affair from start to finish.
The U-16's played in a Development match
Biggar under 16’s got only their 3rd game of the season under way against Hamilton Bulls at Hartree Mill on Sunday and managed a great win in a tight game. Having been forced to cancel the last 2 games against GHA and Falkirk due to lack of players, this game was also in doubt up until the last minute. As it was, Hamilton agreed to play a development match having only turned up with 11 players themselves.
The game kicked off as 13 a side with Jamie Shannon and Cammy Snell turning out for the Bulls in the first half and Hugo Baillie, Harry Archibald and Shawn Cottam (a short spell of injury cover) turning out for them in the second.
What followed was good high-intensity, high-scoring game with Hamilton drawing first blood early on. Their number 10 who was comfortable the whole game with ball in hand picked it up in midfield and ran for the try line. Rusty tackling was in evidence from some in black and red as he was allowed to get up a head of steam and fly over in the corner. Biggar had started well and a lapse in concentration had allowed the bulls into the game.
Biggar hit back with some excellent direct running from the backs. The ball was well won in the midfield and hit up by the forwards. After 2 or 3 phases, the backs took over and good hands were shown by all to get the ball to Drew. He took off and had the Bulls defence backtracking. Exploiting indecision in the tackle the big centre stepped inside his man and made it in for the score. The conversion from out wide right was missed by Sam Grieve.
The next try was a standard Cammy Snell try. Pick the ball from the base of a ruck, run at the defence and exploit the gaps to score. Great run, great try, great news – except Cammy was playing for Hamilton! This one from under the posts was converted to put the Bulls back in the lead.
Biggars forwards then took over. Hamilton were a big set of lads but Biggar are big too with perhaps more mobility. A penalty break saw Daniel into the Bulls half a pop to Harry Low and the big prop set off for the line. He picked a slightly sideways line but clearly saw a gap to exploit. Through the winger he went and over to score. Sam Grieve kicked the conversion.
Biggar took the lead on the stroke of half time. A great phase of forward play down the right started by a great break from captain Dan McConkey was well supported by all as the ball was secured and then hit up by Lee Smith, Hugo Baillie and Josh JvR in quick succession. The ball was picked up by Harry Low who made a bolt for the line from the base of the ruck to head over for his second score. Again the kick was made by Sam.
Half Time Biggar 19 – Hamilton 12
Into the second half and the there was no let-up in intensity. Once again, Biggar seemed to switch off slightly at the start of the half and let the Bulls in to score. As with the first half, Biggar seemed comfortable and a slip in concentration allowed the Bulls in to level.
Next up it was the turn of Jamie Bell to get on the scoresheet. This one was made by Josh and could have been his try. The big man got hold of the ball and battered his way through almost to the line. A last ditch tackle was made but he made it over. Double movement according to the ref - shame but probably a fair call. From the penalty Hamilton failed to find touch. Sam Wallis tracked back well and turned and ran at them. He made up some great ground and with support from Drew the ball was back into Hamilton territory. Into a ruck and Josh picked and went again. He seemed destined to score but was prevented by another last ditch tackle. Scrum half Jamie Bell was on hand with a quick pick and through a tight gap for the score. Sam converted again.
Hamilton went over again this time out wide right. Crucially the kick was missed. Biggar held a 2 point lead!
The final Biggar try was scored by Captain McConkey and was a great mix between backs and forwards. Good straight running from Sam who popped it to Daniel. He still had work to do but showed good speed to make it over. Again Sam kicked the extras.
The final score of the game went to Hamilton who went over but again missed the conversion. With 90 seconds left Biggar were 4 points up but were kicking to the visitors. It was kept tight for a number of phases and a Biggar knock on in midfield gave us a scrum as the last play of the match. The Bulls held the ball and in their eagerness to get the ball, Biggar conceded a penalty. Fingernails were being chewed on the touchline!! Hamilton ran it as you would expect but a great tackle from Charles Connolly saw the runner isolated. Sam Wallis went into the ruck, secured the ball and launched it out of the park. A win for Biggar!
Full Time Biggar 33 – Hamilton 29
This was a very entertaining game played in an excellent spirit by all. The boys continue to make progress and some really good strong running rugby was on display. Some real big performances ensured that Biggar won the day. Sam Grieve took on the kicking role and did superbly. Not sure if he has kicked in a game previously but converting 4 out of 5 won the match for Biggar so he deserves huge credit. Lee Smith played the full 60 minutes at hooker. His scrum impact was good and he put in some excellent throws too. GH came in for his first game of the season and made some great tackles on the right wing as well as showing some great passing skills in the second half. The whole pack deserves huge credit as time after time, they made tackles and gains in equal measure. Some of the carries from them produced great yards and they were rewarded with 3 cracking forward tries (4 if you count Cammy scoring for Hamilton!).
As coach John Archibald said, it was great to see a smile on all the boys faces. Too true and it put a smile on the fans faces too. Well played lads! Many thanks too to Lanark whistler Stewart Wise who presided over proceedings. Always handy to have guys willing to take control and support Youth rugby.
Story date: 03/10/2016
Senior sides knock up sizeable scores
Hillhead Jordanhill 5 Biggar 56
In much calmer weather than the previous Saturday Biggar travelled to Glasgow and laid a few bogeys to rest as they demolished an uncharacteristically weak Hillhead Jordanhill XV who currently prop up the National 2 table.
In taking another 5 points the statisticians were trying to figure out when Biggar had last claimed two back to back bonus point wins. Answers on a postcard please! The win lifts Biggar up just one place to 6th in the table with other results confirming the belief that this League is pretty much wide open with each side on their day capable of beating others. Guests at Hartree Mill this weekend are Whitecraigs and a win in this match could lift Biggar into the top 4 – but that is a week away and, as in politics, a week in league rugby is a long time.
Biggar made a couple of changes for this match. In the pack, Douglas Notman moved back from centre to No 8, and Ewan Sanderson started ahead of Duncan Withers in the back row. In the backs Andrew Jardine moved to stand off in place of his brother Aird who was unavailable. Gregor Stewart made his 1st XV start at centre, pairing up with Robbie Lavery who returned to the side after his trip to Oz. The side had to make an early change as Jardine sustained an arm injury, Stewart moving to stand off and replacement Craig McDonald coming on at centre. Jardine, it transpires, broke his thumb in an early contact, playing on bravely for some 10 minutes until he was forced off. This injury is a real blow for the youngster who is in the frame for Scotland U-18 selection. He faces between 4-6 weeks in plaster and the club wishes him well in what is hoped will be a speedy recovery.
Hill Jills opened strongly and only stout defence kept the Biggar line intact – in previous seasons the defence would have been breached but there is a steely determination borne of sound organisation which, though not infallible, is working.
Making their way upfield a sustained passage of play eventually spawned ball which Davy Reive flicked to Notman who burst through the cover defence for a good try, converted by Richard Peacock.
Hill Jills took advantage of a penalty to advance play forward. Hooker Harry Perston scoring after a couple of good phases of attacking play.
Much as had been the case last week with West that marked the end of Hill Jills scoring exploits, Biggar able to rack up the points at fairly regular intervals. Biggar's next forays into the hosts territory saw them take full advantage of an HJ lineout error and resultant close scrum, Reive on hand to dot down (Peacock converted) following a big shove in the tight. This was soon an area in which Biggar dominated, the HJ eight being shunted back and making things very difficult for scrum half Thomson.
The next Biggar attacks came to nought as two lineouts proved costly but normal service was resumed as Peacock converted a penalty to stretch Biggar's lead to 17-4 just after the half hour mark.
Ewan Stewart made a typically bulldozing run through the middle prior to the next try. Alistair Sinclair made good ground on the right before ball was fed left and with the HJ cover stretched, ball was fed wide to David Paterson who then burst round and through the remaining defenders to motor over. This came just before half time and took Biggar into a commanding 22-5 lead, one try short for the 4-try bonus point.
The half time chat emphasised the need to dominate proceedings and to quickly claim the 4th try.
That was achieved relatively quickly as, following a poor restart from HJ, Biggar forced the home side into their own half. Pressing forward Gregor Stewart took an interception and sprinted to the line from some 35 metres, neatly avoiding the cover defence on the way. Peacock converted for 27-5.
HJ's hopes were dealt a blow as their flanker Ryan Reilly was sent to the bin, Biggar taking advantage to add to their tally. Peacock crossed for a try after Reive pillaged a loose HJ lineout and Jamie Orr stormed into the HJ 22. And then just before HJ regained full strength, McDonald was freed for a run to the line, this after another breenge by Withers and Ewan Stewart. Peacock's conversion rebounded off the upright.
Peacock added another try, this after a strong run from Donald Voas and Stewart's wide pass. Notman then rounded off another passage of play which perhaps should have seen a try scored earlier, play now becoming a little less structured as 'white-line' fever struck the players. It's some time since Biggar have enjoyed being top dogs and this can go some way to explaining this lack of discipline.
The final try – number 9 - was credited to prop Voas who rounded a maul to run in from some 10 metres, HJ's fringe defence posted missing.
There was just enough time for Biggar to lose the services of Ewan Sanderson who had worked tirelessly throughout but who was on this occasion deemed to have obstructed the HJ breakout after a penalty award.
Five points and a general satisfaction but still not clinical enough for coach Davy Wilson who emphasised the need to maintain focus to the final whistle. Other sides will definitely not be as generous and the side must use such occasions as were presented on Saturday to do the basics properly. With one Jardine out and the other returning, selection will again prove to be testing and this without the injured Iain Chisholm, and the unavailable Lewis McLachlan and Stuart Hull.
Close on their heels of course are the members of the 2nd XV who enjoyed another big win defeating Heriots 3rds by 40-17. There are several of their number putting their hands up for 1st XV selection so there is all to play for. This latest 2nd XV result means that they are on a hat-trick of wins over Edinburgh opposition having previously disposed of Watsons and Edin Accies. The 2's face a tough trip to the Borders this Saturday when they tavel to take on Jedforest, easily the hardest task to date.
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Robbie Lavery, Gregor Stewart, David Paterson, Andrew Jardine, David Reive (C), Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson, Douglas Notman. Reps: Lewis McLinton, Duncan Withers, Calvin Henderson, Craig McDonald.
Story date: 03/10/2016
Biggar take 4 try bonus against West
Biggar 35 West of Scotland 10
In conditions hitherto alien this season – gale force blustery wind and wet - Biggar and West combined to produce an excellent match which held the sizeable crowds' attention to the end.
Both sides deserve great credit for their efforts with all contributing positively to the entertainment and while there were errors these were not perhaps as plentiful as one might have expected given the weather.
In the end Biggar deservedly gained the win with an all-important 4 try bonus point to boot. That gives them a 50% success rate and lifts them up to joint 6th in the table. Last season home form proved to be very different from away form and so it seems this season with Biggar winning comfortably at home against Kelso and West but clearly struggling on their visits to Peebles and Aberdeenshire. That is mirrored largely throughout the division although if Biggar are serious about challenging for honours then they must improve their away results.
Having said that this is still a team which is developing. Saturday's squad of 19 included no fewer than 11 who were aged 21 or under. Spare a thought for the elder statesmen, Davy Rieve and Dan O'Connell, both of whom put in great performances which belay their years!
Up front, Dan O'Connell started at prop, Calvin Henderson dropping to the bench and with Andrew Dunlop still injured there was a recall for Duncan Withers, he coming in at the expense of Alan Warnock. In the backs Douglas Notman took over at centre from the unavailable Stuart Hull. Steven Campbell took over from Grant Hamilton to join Andrew Orr and Gregor Stewart on the bench.
Facing the elements Biggar were soon tested in defence as West used their pack to take ball forward a couple of early driven lineouts sweeping play to the Biggar line. Biggar's line held firm in the face of this early onslaught and pressure was relieved following a poor transfer which saw Aird Jardine kick upfield.
Quickly back into the Biggar 22 West centre Mark Davies coughed up possession with the line almost at his mercy, Biggar's drop out restart charged down and gifting West another tilt at the Biggar line. A penalty by Davies opened the scoring.
Not to be outdone Biggar then took control of proceedings with the pack dominating with a series of the best 'pick and go's' which took play deep into the West half. This eventually spawned ball for Notman who beat the West defence to slide over for a try which Richard Peacock cleverly converted for a 7-3 lead.
Flight judgement was always likely to be difficult in the conditions and so it proved as both sides made errors under the high ball but it was Biggar who again took play to the visitors to ask questions of their defence. A forward pass to Ewan Stewart gave West some respite and a penalty allowed them to kick downfield where they took full advantage of another lineout drive to march Biggar over their line for a try credited to their No 8. Davies kicked for 10-7.
Quite remarkably given the ease with which they scored this try this was the last occasion West bothered the scoreboard, Biggar's pack largely dominating proceedings thereafter although credit to the backs all of whom also played their part when asked.
Every member of the pack had at least 5 carries to his name in this first half – a remarkable statistic – and given this Biggar might have expected to take a lead but a number of penalties which broke up play and inevitable errors meant that they had to be content with a Peacock penalty which tied the scores. This penalty was one too many for referee Lee fish who sent West flanker Fraser Smeaton to the bin for a 10 minute rest.
A breenge to the West line probably should have led to a try on the stroke of half time but the ball slipped from Andrew Jardines hands as he made for the line.
Both sides and the officials took the opportunity to escape the wet at half time. The teams returned to the pitch ready for action and Biggar were almost on the point of kicking off when they realised that the referee had not reappeared, proceedings delayed until he did so!
Biggar made one immediate change for this half, Henderson taking over at prop from O'Connell. A combination of the first half front row efforts and the introduction of Henderson wrought havoc with the west scrummage as Biggar opened strongly, driving West off their own put in on each scrum put in.
This gave skipper Davy Reive the opportunity to attack although the only reward was another Peacock penalty for 13-10. Just as the tight scrummage began to yield possession and cause problems for West, so did the lineout, where Jamie Orr, Zander Lyon and Euan Sanderson (and their lifters) began to disrupt and steel ball on the West throw. Hooker Ewan Stewart had another very productive afternoon, his throwing accurate and his driving play seeing him make good ground on many occasions.
With 15 minutes of the half gone Peacock kicked his 3rd penalty to give Biggar a 6 point lead. The pack were able to maintain their grip on the match, West, though returned to full strength, gaining precious little respite before Biggar won ball to re-establish their position in the West 22 via ball taken forward by hand or advanced via a kick.
With the 3rd quarter at its end West's Angus Thomson (the 4th player in as many weeks to have begun his career at Biggar but who is now playing for the opposition) became the second West player to incur the displeasure of referee Fish and earn a yellow. Biggar took full advantage of their extra man by calling a scrum and marching the visitors back over their line for a try credited to No 8 Ross Jackson. Peacock added the conversion before being replaced by Gregor Stewart. Campbell also came on at this time for Withers who had put in a huge shift.
On the half hour mark another series of scrums which saw West in all sorts of trouble ended with referee Fish awarding Biggar a penalty try which Andrew Jardine converted for 30-10.
Andrew Orr replaced Ewan Stewart but the hooker merely shifted into the back row to give Jackson a break, the youngster another who had carried ball all day.
Biggar maintained their stranglehold on the match and continued to make things very difficult for the visitors, the 4th try credited to Campbell who controlled ball well at the base of a 5metre scrum before plunging over for the try. Jardine was just off target with the conversion.
Altogether an excellent performance from the Biggar squad and one in which they controlled things as well as they have for several seasons. West were given no respite as Biggar's defence, aside from the first half line drive, held firm and their attack pulverised the West defence.
Man of the match for Biggar went to Donald Voas for his work in the tight and his willingness to carry ball in the loose while the same award for West went to Angus Thomson who very typically and as was expected, worked tirelessly throughout.
Other results were fairly true to form save the GHK result which saw the Glasgow side defeat Aberdeenshire who Biggar had found to be a very complete outfit. Next up for Biggar is a trip to Glasgow and Hillhead Jordanhill who in the past have often been a real bogey side. The touchline support ion a bleak September day was magnificent and very much appreciated by all the squad. It would be great to see you all again on Saturday at Hughenden.
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Andrew Jardine, Douglas Notman, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive (C), Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Dan O'Connell, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Duncan Withers, Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson. Reps: Andrew Orr, Calvin Henderson, Steven Campbell, Gregor Stewart.
The 2nd XV travelled to Haddington to take on the East Lothian club's 2nd XV. Struggling for numbers the Haddington squad had previously conceded at least one match the fact that they had a home match clearly helping the situation for Biggar's appearance.
In the end Haddington provided limited opposition as the Biggar lads had a bit of a field day running in some 12 tries, all of which were converted by Craig McDonald.
Story date: 26/09/2016
Biggar hit back in Aberdeen after sluggish start
Aberdeenshire 51 Biggar 27
There was real drama in Aberdeen on Saturday when Biggar and their hosts Aberdeenshire put on some great entertainment in a match which featured 10 tries. Aberdeenshire claimed the spoils with their 5 league points while Biggar claimed a 4 try bonus despite the loss.
Last season Biggar's away form was disappointing with the visit north to Woodside in January a case in point with points gifted early on and the issue beyond recall by half time. Final score 45-5. That the opening salvos on Saturday suggested a similar scenario was all the more disappointing then, Biggar on this occasion gifting their hosts no fewer than 25 points in the first quarter. The spirit of the 2016/17 squad is very different from that of 2015/16 however and while the end of the half saw Biggar still their three good tries suggested that the result was far from a foregone conclusion.
This trip was always likely to be one of the most difficult away matches, not only because of the distance involved but also because 'Shire finished in 4th spot at the end of last season's league campaign. They were a well organised XV last season and there was nothing to suggest that they would be anything less this time around, their 80+ point win the previous week against PL seemingly confirming these thoughts.
Coach Gary Mercer's preparations were made trickier after injury ruled out the complete back row which faced Kelso (Doug Notman - dead leg, Andy Dunlop - back strain and Duncan Withers - ankle) while Jamie Orr struggled midweek with food poisoning. Ewan Stewart was available after injury however and Dan O'Connell, though not 100% fit, declared himself available to travel. In the end the back row fielded was Ewan Sanderson, Alan Warnock and Ross Jackson, a selection which could easily be first choice in any event. Orr was also able to travel.
Proceedings began at a cracking pace and one which barely relented the whole match. Stuart Hull took an interception which almost saw him free to the line, before he was hauled down by the cover defence. Biggar then conspired to gift their hosts two early tries as the defence was found wanting under the high ball. The sun was the only possible mitigating excuse but as it was, 'Shire stand off Carne Green took full advantage of the first and Michael McKeand the second (he another who began his rugby career at Hartree Mill). Green kicked one conversion and then added two penalties before the third 'Shire score, this going to Nathan Clough although there was more than a hint of a forward pass in the final transfer. 25-0 down.
In what was virtually their first attacking opportunity David Paterson was set free but a 'Shire turnover relieved the pressure albeit for only a short time as an Aird Jardine grubber saw the 'Shire defence scramble back to concede a drop out.
The restart saw a sustained passage of play involving some good phases which stretched the 'Shire defence and which culminated in stand off Andrew Jardine taking Richard Peacock's pass for a sprint to the line. Peacock was wide of the target but the 'duck' was broken and Biggar were on the scoreboard. Barely two minutes later and on the half hour mark a Hull break saw ball transferred to Aird Jardine who kicked cleverly to winger Paterson who scampered across for try number two – Peacock's conversion added the extras and took the score to 25-12. Game on!
In reply 'Shire scored arguably the best try as some excellent angles and well-timed passes saw winger Luke Taylor round the defence for a try expertly converted from wide out by Green. Not to be outdone and just before half time, Peacock took Andy Jardine's pass to break clear for a try which he converted for 32-19 and the break.
25 points in 20 minutes to 'Shire, then a further 26 points shared by the sides in the second quarter! What would the second half bring?
With Peacock forced off with a dodgy stomach Gregor Stewart made his 1st XV league debut, the opening exchanges seeing Andrew Jardine kick a penalty for Biggar to put them just two scores adrift at 32-22.
In typical fashion 'Shire replied with a well worked try for their skipper Greg Ryan (he was later awarded the man-of-the-match for 'Shire, Ewan Sanderson getting the nod for Biggar). Green typically added the conversion.
Play continued to flow back and forth, Biggar gaining yardage only to lose possession – often too easily, with this likely to be a focus for this week's training. There were some promising moves but they came to nought and to further punish these errors 'Shire scored their 5th try from a neat attack down the blindside from a scrum some 5 metres out, Brad Fraser the scorer. Green struck his only poor kick of the afternoon but Biggar trailed 44-22.
The game then entered an even more frantic phase as 'Shire began to test referee Andrew Peterson's patience as they frequently crept offside. Indeed the Dollar whistler awarded a string of penalties against 'Shire, these culminating eventually in yellow cards for two of their number; try scorers Clough and Fraser dispatched for the requisite 10 minutes with around a 5 minute overlap. In the midst of this 'Shire also lost two players to injury with one stoppage for a cut lasting some 10 minutes. Best wishes to both injured parties.
The stoppage gave 'Shire some respite but Biggar took up from where they left off, several attacks mounted, all deserving of scores. As it was, a combination of some stout defence and some costly errors prevented Biggar from adding to their tally. 'Shire were let off the hook in this period with on one occasion, a line out drive seeing the pack drive over the line but drop the ball some 3 metres out. Another attack saw Alistair Sinclair opt to kick ahead, the winger just failing to beat the cover defence to the line.
In the end it was scrum half Davy Reive who broke the deadlock with just 8 minutes remaining. 44-27. Andy Jardine was unable to add the conversion but there was still just about enough time to sneak a losing bonus or sneak the win.
Throwing caution to the wind Biggar tried running the ball from wherever and while they again made inroads and won penalties they were unable to cross the line, 'Shire having the final word with a try and conversion to wrap things up at 51-27.
Players and spectators alike were left with minds and bodies wrecked! What a contest!
Biggar will doubtless learn from this defeat. They must work to begin matches fully focused as they cannot afford to play catch up from the start. A calm head is required in such circumstances and although there was much good individual effort Biggar were unable to finish as clinically as they would have wished. There is absolutely no doubting the team spirit however as 'Shire were forced to cling on for their win. There were some good performances from all positions with special credit to the 5 teenagers who played – Ross Jackson, Andrew Orr, Andy Jardine, Gregor Stewart and Grant Hamilton, please take a bow. The whole squad is worthy of congratulation however and thanks to 'Shire for contributing positively to the match. On a cracking day for rugby weather-wise, another positive was the turnout of support for Biggar – excellent to see and hear! The return fixture in January is eagerly awaited.
Next up is West who will again feature players whose rugby origins were in Biggar!
Richard Peacock, Alistair Sinclair, Andrew Jardine, Stuart Hull, David Paterson, Aird Jardine, David Reive, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Alan Warnock (C), Ewan Sanderson, Ross Jackson. Reps: Andrew Orr, Dan O'Connell, Grant Hamilton, Gregor Stewart.
The 2nd XV entertained Edin Accies 3rds for their league match although the Edinburgh side was closer to a VII than a XV.
Biggar supplied players and a 14-a-side training match ensued, Biggar awarded the points as the visitors failed to provide a full XV. Indications are that Haddington may well also struggle for numbers this coming weekend and so the search is already on to seek an alternative opposition should it be required. It is vital that the momentum which is quickly developing amongst the senior squad is maintained and regular games are integral to this.
Story date: 19/09/2016
u-15’s at GHA
GHA 31 Biggar 44
Coming off the back of two promising wins against both Dunfermline and Dumfries, the U15 lads travelled up to GHA in search for a third to consolidate their place at the peak of the Green Conference. This was set out at the beginning of the season as a big challenge for the team, but this didn’t phase them one bit. They came out with the most effective and efficient game of rugby the coaching staff had ever seen them produce and were good enough to clinch the win.
With a frantic start to the game, it seemed as if Biggar were bound to put the first numbers on the scorecard. Deja vu of Callum Smith’s excellent try scoring performance from last week ran through everyone's mind when he made a break early on. Quickly linking with young Johnnie who had stepped up from the s2’s to help us out, many thought we were in. But an infringement that looked a lot like a GHA knock on rather than a Biggar one denied us a certain try. Instead, the GHA boys displayed some good counter attacking play to get themselves into our half, and eventually over our line. 0-7.
Not to be disheartened the boys quickly got back into the swing of things. Good phase play got us a penalty and a wee nudge in the corner set us up for a maul. A good initial drive was cut short when Cameron Snell peeled off the back and used a strong fend and his physicality to get himself a try. Conversion made by Callum, 7-7.
GHA would not allow us to get a head of steam however, and they scored a nice try off a secure scrum to put us on the back foot once again. 7-12. Again the lads showed great resilience to get themselves into the opposition half again. Great carries from Cameron, Jack and Andrew got us right over the gain line. Johnnie’s running had impressed all day, especially for a back rower playing centre, and it was a good hands by Aaron and Gregor that allowed him to show his athletic ability and bag himself a five pointer in the corner. The scores were level at 12-12.
Another try from GHA put their noses in front but just before half time Biggar scored an excellent try. As a team, the forwards coaches – alongside consultation from Biggar’s set piece expert: Johnnie Bogle – have been working really hard to tighten up our set piece so we can really use it as a weapon in games. This practice was perfectly put into place here. A good lineout by Cameron got us into a maul from about 15 metres out. A massive effort from the forwards drove us a few metres short before a few backs joined in to get us over the line. Fantastic display of a driving maul. The try went to Cameron Snell, but it was a full forward pack effort. 17-19.
Half time- Biggar 17 GHA 19
After some technical talk at half time, the boys come out fighting. A good kick off by Gregor was beautifully kept in by a silky 'out the back' offload by Euan. This was quickly followed by good carries from Jack and Andrew. The try scoring machine that is Will Kelly found himself with the ball two metres from the line, no one was going to stop him. 22-19. Another good set of carries resulted in a well deserved try for Cameron Gray. 27-19.
Another unfortunate lax in defence allowed GHA to score again and get within 3. Again a maul that was exceptionally set up was excellently driven over the line and gave Cameron Snell his third try of the day. 32-24.
The back and forth of the score board continued when GHA managed to sneak over for another to bring it within a point; nail biting moments to ensue. Another try from Cameron Snell however, quickly eased our nerves a little. 39-31. And the last of the day went to a really worthy recipient. Since the beginning of the season our prop Jack McAllister has been a constantly reliable source for a good four or five yards in every carry. His work rate and strength has really shone through since their first appearance on our tour to Oban. He gratefully took the ball in the dying minutes and barrelled his way over for Biggar’s last of the day. 44-31.
Full time – Biggar 44 GHA 31
An unbelievable performance by the boys all in all. Special thanks must go to Johnnie who hugely impressed with his maturity and ability to make a break out of nothing; to Cameron Snell who is almost impossible to stop in attack and Daryl who put in a strong defensive and attacking performance when he got on. These three boys came from their own age groups to help us out and we really appreciate that. Star performances came again from Jack, who, as mentioned, was a machine in attack, from Callum McCallum who defended very well and kept the tempo at nine and James who only consolidated his position as our defensive stalwart. The forward pack as a whole put in a hugely dominant effort and showed us their full potential and the backs took the opportunities they were given. An excellent performance, and now, on to the next.
Story date: 13/09/2016
Biggar defeat Kelso and claim 3 from 3
Biggar 24 Kelso 19
'One swallow does not a summer make..' But….?
Whether this result was down to an over-confident Kelso XV caught napping, a rejuvenated Biggar XV getting lucky, the effect of the striking new strips (cutting edge meets tradition), a home game in front of a decent crowd or even just simply a side playing to its strengths – or more likely a combination of all of these – will never be known. But make no mistake, this was a cracking match and, from a Biggar point of view at least, a cracking result.
To make things even better, this result was the 3rd win recorded by a Biggar side on Saturday, the Colts having set the scene with a scrappy but successful performance over GHA and the 2nds clinching a deserved win over Watsons. It's not often you get a 3 from 3 so it's all the more enjoyable when it happens!
Coach Gary Mercer was in Bath watching his son Zach make his Premiership debut against Newcastle, somewhat ironic given Scott Lawson's Biggar/Newcastle connections. That game saw the team from the south record a resounding win and while Biggar's was considerably less emphatic it was every bit as important. The win came on the back of a somewhat lack-lustre performance at Peebles but this time round the squad raised it's game tenfold to consistently pressurise the visitors and to ensure that if, and when, they got the ball, they had to work to keep it, never mind make advances towards the Biggar try line.
Davy Wilson was in charge therefore and he had the happy task of reporting the win to Mercer who will have the video to enjoy.
Without last week's centres Robbie Lavery and Lewis McLachlan, the backs showed a new centre pairing with Stuart Hull making a timely return to action after injury, alongside teenager Andrew Jardine who moved out from stand off. This berth was claimed by brother Aird with Davy Reive also returning after injury. Up front Dan O'Connell was forced out with a calf injury, Calvin Henderson and Donald Voas both playing the full 80 minutes and showing up well throughout. At lock Zander Lyon took over from Andrew Peacock who was initially selected for the 2nds but then drafted onto the bench after O'Connell's withdrawl. Andrew Dunlop returned to action at the expense of the unlucky Ewan Sanderson.
The new black strips were voted an immediate hit by all and this may have had an impact on the squad as they appeared 'bigger' in black.
Biggar enjoyed the lion's share of both possession and territory in the first half, Kelso keeping the
scoreboard ticking over as Phil Hume struck 3 penalties in reply to Biggar's first half try from Stuart Hull. On a day when superlatives were flying it would be easy to get carried away but this try, involving a 60 second burst of play and seeing the whole team contribute must be one of the best scored by Biggar for a good number of years. It began with a good lineout take from Jamie Orr and then featured 8 excellent phases with ball shipped right then left and finally right again with Douglas Notman feeding Hull for the line. Richard peacock struck the conversion sweetly for 7-3, Hume having kicked his first penalty after just 1 minute.
A series of penalties threatened to spoil all the good work undertaken by the Biggar XV. In their desire to compete they fell foul of the referee, this giving the Border side the chance to either relieve pressure or rack up points.
On the half hour mark Andrew Dunlop was shown a yellow card and with Kelso deep in Biggar's 22 it looked as though Biggar might slip behind. They probably should have as Kelso executed a neat blindside move which culminated with their winger crossing the line. The final pass was adjudged forward however and Biggar escaped.
For their part Biggar had two penalty chances of their own, Peacock seeing the first rebound off the upright and the second slip to the left. Crucially, Dunlop returned after the break with Biggar having kept the visitors out and with the 9-7 score standing.
Biggar made just one change at the break, teenager Ross Jackson coming on at flank forward for Notman.
Now playing towards the clubhouse Biggar needed to get an early score to regain the lead and to exert greater pressure on the Border XV. This proved too difficult to do however, Kelso coming out in the second half with all guns blazing and turning the tables on Biggar who had a lucky escape when Hull managed to do enough to hustle the chasing Kelso runner and to clear the danger following a clever through kick.
Another Peacock penalty slipped wide but Biggar retained their position as Kelso's drop goal restart was partially charged down. Biggar's line speed in offensive/defence meant that Kelso were forced to act quickly and with tackles coming in low and hard Kelso's ability to 'exit' their 22 was sorely tested. Deep in their 22, and with the third quarter coming to a close, the Kelso defence faltered and Hull was able to take full advantage to latch onto a loose offload to catch and dive for his second score.
Peacock added the conversion but this 5 point lead at 14-9 was short lived as Hume kicked a conversion to a try from Jack Chambers who was at the end of a well-controlled line drive from the Kelso pack. Indeed had they managed to use this tactic more often the final score might have been a little different. 16-14 to Kelso.
In see-saw fashion however, and with around 10 minutes left, Biggar retook the lead via another Peacock penalty and then increased that lead to 24-16 as winger David Paterson rounded off an excellent move instigated by Reive but carried on by hooker Ewan Stewart whose timely offload was gratefully taken by the winger.
Eight points ahead meant that Kelso had to score twice to overtake Biigar and as forays to the Biggar line had been infrequent it looked as though Biggar might gain the win. Given the relative ease with which they had scored their second half try from the line drive, a last minute penalty and option of the kick to the corner – with Biggar reduced to 14 again following a yellow card to Orr for a tip tackle - might have provided a second try. Instead, and mindful of the losing bonus, Hume was called up to kick and he duly slotted the penalty for 24-19. Cue the final whistle and much celebration.
Home wins are really important and Biggar would have been languishing at the foot of the table without the 4 points gained on Saturday. As it is they retain their 7th placed spot, Kelso ahead by virtue of their 4 try bonus last week and their losing bonus gained at Hartree Mill.
Hooker Ewan Stewart was later rewarded as being Biggar's man of the match and this was well-deserved after a battling performance which involved some solid defence and lineout accuracy but there were a pile of candidates who could have taken this honour. The back row of Duncan Withers Dunlop and Notman put in typically abrasive performances, the whole pack carried and defended
well, the Jardine brothers who kept things moving sweetly in midfield, the double try scorer Hull…..and so it goes on. All members of the squad can take great pride in their performance. Ian Wallace was selected as Kelso's man of the match.
This is of course just the beginning and the side now face what could be their toughest match of the season when they travel to take on Aberdeenshire this weekend. The Granite City side recorded a whopping 80-26 win over Preston Lodge on Saturday. This on the back of a 40+ win over Kirkcaldy the previous week. Interestingly, Biggar will face another ex-Biggar player in the shape of Michael McKeand on Saturday as he now plays for 'Shire, while Andrew Muir featured in Peebles colours and Colin Arthur played for Kelso on Saturday!
It's a long trip north but the side appreciate the support the Biggar crowd provides. If you can get there you would give the boys a big lift.
Biggar 2nds (surely one of the strongest 2nd XV's Biggar have had for a number of years and featuring the return of ex-1st XV Grant Owens), recorded a fantastic and confidence boosting win over Edinburgh opponents Watsons 3rds on Saturday. Watsons reputedly have a 45 man 1st XV squad and so they have great strength in depth but their 3rd XV was shown up as Biggar put in a great shift for the win. Man of the match was Gregor Stewart with Watsons Adam Watt earning the honours for the visitors.
Bear in mind that there are at least 5 other players who could come into contention for places at senior level. Competition for places is on across the board therefore with all likely to benefit from this competition. It is some time away yet but there could well be an opportunity soon for a 3rd XV which would be a massive step forward for the club.
The 2nds have a second home game when they entertain another Edinburgh club, (Edinburgh Accies) who will also bring their 3rd XV as East Reserve League 1 opponents.
Story date: 13/09/2016
1st Gold Club Draw of the new season
£250: Jane Bairner
£100: Andrew Duncan
£100: Alf Tucker
£100: Neil Harrison
£100: Bill Conn
£100: Tom and Sheila Tweedie
Story date: 06/09/2016
Colts and Youth travel to dumfries
S2's: Dumfries 13 Biggar 43
What a scorcher at Dumfries. Both the heat of the early September sun and the blistering play of the Biggar S2 team.
Hosts Dumfries Saints were low in player numbers so it was agreed to share 2 players to the home team and play 13 aside and play 3 sessions of 20 minutes. This looked a worrying decision as the hosts rucked Biggar off the ball and scored 3 trys with no reply 1 even coming from the Biggar pair Murray and Jonathan who partnered up to score. The team were (just about) left to wake up and sort themselves out, which they did! By the end of the first 20 minutes Biggar had scored 3 through Fraser, Archie and Andrew and were up 11 - 10.
More switching of players and Biggar moved into ascendancy in the 2nd period scoring first through Jonathan from a kick off return. Then 2 more from winger Fraser on the predatory rampage as has become a trade mark of the team and 1 for Callum under the posts. The second period ended 26 - 10.
In the final period there were further player changes but the fast offloading game continued but also with laser direct tackle breaking runs from Daryl, Fraser and Jonathan. A missed tackle allowed the hosts to score but another try for Archie and the final try coming from Murray with a battling score in the corner.
The score ended 43 - 13 with 12 trys scored from Andrew, Archie (2), Callum, Daryl, Fraser (4), Jonathan (2), Murray. Conversions from Callum (2), Archie (2), Euan L (3).
Thanks to the hosts for a tough and always spirited match.
Dumfries win the Numbers Game against Biggar Under 16’s
A beautiful late summer rugby match was the order of the day on Sunday when Biggar under 16’s travelled to their Dumfries counterparts for the latest instalment of the Green Conference matches.
The sight of the coaches counting and recounting boys was a worry for all as it raised the spectre of numbers once again for this team. Only 14 available boys to fill 15 slots – early signs were not good. As it was, Dumfries agreed to a 14 a side match which was very good of them so we kicked off all square.
Biggar started brightly and had their hosts pinned back with some real aggressive rucking from the forwards and quick hands from the backs. An overlap was created and Guy Hunt tore for the line only to be tackled just short and dragged into touch. From the resultant line out Daniel McConkey was lifted well to grab the ball against the head. He dove for the line and scored. The kick from out wide was missed.
Unfortunately Guy sustained a head knock as he went for the line and was unable to take any further part in the game. Biggar 5 – 0 up but it was 14 v 13. The space in the backfield showed as superior numbers allowed the Dumfries backs to find space and score with a converted try.
Biggar then took the game by the scruff of the neck. The pack was rucking and scrummaging well and took 2 or 3 balls from Dumfries lineout throws. With the ball in hand, the backs started to really penetrate the Dumfries line none more so than Finlay Stewart. A great break down the left saw him jink past 2 or 3 defenders and in for the score. Again the conversion was missed.
Biggar then started working the links between backs and forwards well. From a cleared kick, Sam Wallis took a great catch and ran straight back at Dumfries. He was supported well by Daniel McConkey who recycled the ball and popped it to Drew on the right. The big centre ran at Dumfries who had no answer to him and he went over for a 3rd Biggar try. The conversion was hit this time.
Unfortunately Jamie Shannon sustained a knock as he was clearing out at the ruck so he was now off the park too. Biggar 17 – 7 up but it was 14 v 12.
Drew scored another great try for Biggar. Again the forwards were doing well rucking aggressively and pushing their counterparts back. The ball was won and worked out to Rhys Thompson who went for a run, drew his man and popped the ball to Drew. The big centre again had work to do but he could see that Dumfries were nervous of him and he went flying over. As was now becoming the norm, this resulted in another injury for Biggar. Drew had been having a knee problem and took a knock when scoring. With 3 players now off, Biggar were 22 -7 up but were playing 14 v 11. Everyone watching knew something would have to give.
Biggar continued to fight manfully and were unlucky to concede again just before Half time but with payer shortages all over the pitch it was no wonder.
Half time Dumfries 12 – Biggar 22.
Biggar had been fantastic for every second of the 35 minutes but you could see it had taken its toll on the players. A very warm day and a big heavy pitch meant it would be a difficult second half. Jamie Shannon was able to continue into the second half which provided a big boost and Drew came back on but with his knee troubling him was unable to have the devastating effect he had had in the first half.
As was expected still with 14 v 13 Dumfries came storming back Having scored 2 converted tries they led 26 – 22 but Biggar raised themselves and fought back. A great try with the pack showing that they had listened well to Yogi on Wednesday. The line out was taken and they went for a maul and they mauled their opponents off the park. The ball was with Jamie Bell to spin over for the try but every single forward deserves credit (as well as Yogi)!
That was to be the end of the scoring from a Biggar point of view. With Drew hobbling it was effectively 14 v 12 and gaps inevitably appeared. Dumfries scored 2 more tries to take the win.
Final score Dumfries 36 Biggar 27
It’s really difficult to sum up this game without sounding disrespectful to Dumfries. They recorded a win and should rightly be proud but this was very hard on Biggar. Every young man once again fought and fought for 70 minutes and some fantastic performances were on display. Jamie Bell was called in to play Scrum Half and was outstanding. He covered every blade of grass and when Biggar were down to 11 was covering 3 or 4 men and doing it superbly. Cammy Forrest played very well at Centre. His communication, work-rate and running were excellent. Drew played an excellent first half and had the Dumfries defence terrified every time he got the ball. Jamie Shannon pulled off tackle of the season when running back to prevent a try late in the first half and the aggressive rucking from all of the forwards was impressive.
To lose a game when so many have given so much is frustrating and whilst lack of numbers has to be put down as the main cause of this loss, I would urge each young man to take that as a positive. You were all fantastic, you are developing so well and when we finally can get 18/19 fit and healthy players on the pitch, I am sure that results will follow.
Story date: 06/09/2016
Biggar collect a losing bonus in League opener
Peebles 24 Biggar 20
Having outscored Biggar by 3 tries to 1 Peebles felt that they deserved to win this opening league match. From a Biggar point of view however this was one which Biggar felt they lost. There were chances a-plenty but where Peebles capitalised on their incursions into Biggar territory Biggar failed to do so when in the Peebles 22.
Captain Andrew Dunlop was forced out of the starting XV after picking up a dead leg at training on Thursday, his replacement being Ewan Sanderson whom was making a return after a two week absence. In the pack Andrew Peacock was preferred to Zander Lyon in the second row while injury to Iain Chisholm against Marr saw Colt Andrew Jardine make his 1st XV debut at just 17. David Paterson was fielded on the wing to the exclusion of Craig McDonald with Richard Peacock recovered after a knee twist last week to retain his place at fullback. There was another debutant on the bench as Lewis McLinton provided front row cover.
Biggar conceded an early score as Peebles exploited a gap in Biggar's defence which saw Cameron Pye scorch through under the posts for a great score converted by Greg Raeburn. The ease with which this try was scored was a wake up call for Biggar and while they responded well and set up camp for the next 10 minutes in the Peebles 22 they could not turn pressure into points. A series of penalties conceded by Peebles offered points but kicks at goal were eschewed for kicks to touch and lineouts but the initial drives and pick and go's were defended by Peebles.
A breakout by the home side took play back into the Biggar 22 where a penalty for offside saw Rayburn kick successfully for 10-0.
The restart saw Peebles immediately under pressure as a clearance was charged down. A penalty quickly taken by David McArthur took play to the Peebles line and another penalty award. This time a knock on in the lineout allowed Peebles to escape.
Play up to the half hour mark saw both sides struggle to gain any consistent attacking opportunities. Dan O'Connell was replaced by Calvin Henderson and McArthur gave way to Aird Jardine. The half back partnership of brothers Aird and Andrew was the first time the two have ever played together!
This coincided with Biggar's first score, Richard Peacock kicking for 10-3. The same player took advantage of further penalty chances to claw back the deficit at 10-6 then 10-9. It seemed surprising that given the high penalty count referee David Muir did not see fit to sin-bin a Peebles player.
The last kick of the half saw Peacock's 4th penalty sneak to the right of the posts.
Biggar engineered the perfect start to the second half as an effective lineout yielded possession and led to the pack hitting up to the Peebles line. Fast ball was then shipped right with Douglas Notman and Sanderson combining well before the latter’s' looping pass was taken by winger Alistair Sinclair who made and won the race to the corner. Peacock was unable to land the conversion but Biggar were in the lead at 14-10.
As is so often the case the penalty count now swung away from Peebles as Biggar fell foul of referee Muir's decisions. This culminated after some 15 minutes of the half with a yellow card and sin-binning of Notman for persistent infringements. A man to the good Peebles quickly took advantage of their numerical superiority hooker Blair Laurie set free on the right flank for a try in the corner. Rayburn struck the conversion perfectly to regain the lead at 17-14.
McClinton replaced Andrew Orr at No2 for Biggar.
Peebles probably should have scored their 3rd try shortly after this but a forward pass brought the attack to an end. A couple of penalties and a free kick to Biggar gave Peacock the chance to tie the scores at 17-17.
Back into Biggar's 22 and Peebles' pack rounded off a driving phase with a try for William Brown, Raeburn adding the conversion to open up a 7 point lead, this almost as quickly reduced again to 4 as Peacock kicked his 5th penalty.
A promising passage of play and some much better pace and variety in attack gave Biggar some real hope but again Peebles did enough to nullify these efforts. Biggar also failed to stretch the Peebles defence as they seemed reluctant to move the ball wide, preferring instead to cut back into the cover defence. With less than 20 minutes remaining however there was still time to get the score to sneak the win.
Peebles then brought on ex-Biggar lad Andrew Muir. His involvement lasted barely 2 minutes however as he fell foul of referee Muir who showed him a yellow card as following a team warning, he became the 'next' Peebles player to transgress. There was, as one would expect, a good deal of good-natured banter at his brief appearance!
Rohan McIver was the next to be sent to the bin, this reducing Peebles to just 13. Devoid of front row cover however, this gave Peebles some respite as scrums were then uncontested. This guaranteed them possession at a time when Biggar's scrum was gaining in ascendancy. Despite a couple more chances when lineout possession failed to provide the possession to attack that Biggar so desperately craved, time ran out and Peebles gained their win. Consolation for Biggar came in the shape of the losing bonus but 4 points would have been very much more preferable.
Biggar's coaching team were left frustrated at their sides failure to cross the line but it is still early in the campaign with a whole lot of rugby to be played. First up is the visit of Kelso, who were relegated last year alongside Peebles. It is rumoured that they have recruited strongly so they will be a tough nut to crack.
Praise for the effort from the Biggar squad, all of whom worked hard. Points are what really count however and Biggar must be able to convert the pressure into points. Man of the match went to Biggar's stand off Andrew Jardine who performed with confidence and style. At 17 he was of course too young to sink the 'prize' of a pint of beer, deputy Jamie Orr on hand to win the race.
Vice President and father, Aird Jardine, was as proud as punch at his sons' performance. Their involvement and that of the Peacock brothers means Biggar had two sets of brothers in the side. It will be some time however before a repeat of the days when there were as many as three sets of brothers playing at the one time – Flemings, Harveys and Youngs take a bow!
Once again, but hopefully the last time for many weeks, the 2nds were left twiddling their thumbs without a fixture. They now face a tough ask as they kick of their league programme with a home match against Watsons 3rds with little or no match practice. Training for all on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Story date: 06/09/2016
Boys Youth v Dunfermline - mixed results
S2's Biggar 37 Dunfermline 11.
The S2s welcomed Dunfermline to Hartreemill for the first game of the season in the Green conference. The boys started this season the way they finished last season with fast open attacking rugby.
Some excellent passing, support play and tough tackling broke down a tough and determined Dunfermline team. The final score 37 - 11 to Biggar with trys coming from Fraser Simpson (5), Callum Yardley (2), Archie Damer (1), Chris Brett (1) and Euan Laing (1) conversion's coming from Callum and Euan.
The try scoring started with winger Fraser on a trademark supporting run and sprint from 30 yards to take the lead. Dunfermline replied quickly then the home team started to excert pressure through the forwards and pass the ball wide with nr 15 Callum running in 2 trys into the corner. HT saw Biggar lead 14 - 3. At the start of the second half Biggar came out strong applying pressure on the kickoff and Euan collecting a loose ball for a 1 yard dive over the line. Fraser collected a couple of more trys with his speed and support play.
A drop in concentration allowed the visitors to score 2 trys before Biggar refocused. The most exceptional try was probably Chris Bretts, on for only 2 minutes total game time due to injury he collected a pass following a Biggar restart dodged 4 defenders to get a try to then quickly be subbed back off to protect an injury. A mazy run and try from Archie capped the try scoring.
The full team worked hard for each other and started to put together the structures and roles that we have been working on in training.
U-15's Match report
Big beginning for Biggar’s U15 boys.
After a positive pre season, the U15’s were raring to go this Sunday at Dunfermline on a glorious day for a good run about. Due to a minor mix up on timings the boys started the game with 13 on the pitch, but this was definitely not an unlucky number for the lads as they got off to an absolute scorcher.
A barnstorming run from Callum Smith was quickly brought to ground, but with rucking that Coach Kelly himself would have been proud of, the ball was well shifted to Isaac who promptly linked again with his centre partner Smith to finish in the corner. Conversion missed, 5-0 to the lads from Biggar.
The big lumps that are the forwards refused to be shown up by their “fluffy” back counterparts and so started a little rumble of their own. Heavenly hands from the likes of Cameron, Will and Jamie T got the boys deep into the Dunfermline 22, and a great combination of passes resulted in the ball bouncing its way along the line to Isaac, who finished well. Conversion missed, 10-0.
After another two tries from the strong running of Smith and a wee touchdown from Euan also, the team then showed their ability to turn defence into attack beautifully. Having been pinned under the shadow of our own sticks for too long, the boys got their hands in the ruck and managed to get a turnover. A few flicks of the wrists and the ball was soon in the hands of the rapid Isaac who streamed in from about 60 yards. Isaac quickly snatched another under the posts with a neat pick up from a Dunfermline mistake. After a few low fliers Gregor gratefully nudged his first conversion of the day over.
Half time: Biggar-37 Dunfermline-0
The first try of the second half was a personal favourite. Off a solid scrum the backs executed a cracker of a move, with Isaac running a dummy line, the ball being moved to Smith who quickly put a zinger of an inside ball to Aaron who did his best prop impression and barrelled over for a try. Conversion made. Smith quickly got himself on the scoresheet again with the use of some Campese like feet. 51-0.
Another break from Smith and some sublime support from Aaron resulted in him getting his second try of the day. Soon after, a bit of a blunder at the kick off allowed Dunfermline to dot down for their first of the day. 58-5.
Another few from Euan and Isaac put the boys further in front. The last of the day was entertainment for all. A well manufactured maul was quickly formed off a lineout, the new skips Jamie Tucker peeled of the side and dove for the try line, only to be absolutely mugged off when realising he was lying over the 5m. Cameron Gray graciously grabbed the ball off his captain and dived over. Try by Cameron, unintentional assist by Jamie.
Final Score: Biggar-73 Dunfermline-5
Overall, an absolute stormer of a start to the season for the U15 boys. Some really promising link play and recycling in attack allowed the backs to get the feet moving and the tries flowing. The lineout was effective all day with new jumper Andrew Barret using his unfair height to pluck the ball out of the air like it’s nobody’s business. Man of the match was given to young Will Kelly who dominated all day in contact and showed his soft hands with a few awesome offloads. A good performance is only as good as its follow up however, Dumfries next, lets hope the boys can recreate the same there.
Under 16's keep on fighting at Dunfermline
Biggar under 16's travelled to Dunfermline on Sunday knowing a tough game would be in store. Having played them twice last season they knew that Dunfy were a tough well drilled outfit who were blessed with big numbers too.
Both sides played fantastically well working very hard to put on a really tough rugby battle. The final score of 34-5 to Dunfermline flattered the hosts somewhat as they score of 2/3 late tries with Biggar tiring towards the end of the game.
Numbers were tight as ever for this group and with only 16 available it was hoped that they could all stay fit to allow changes to be made during the game. As it was after 10 minutes they lost Ethan Webb to a bad knock as the winger made a crunching tackle. He knocked the Dunfy man back on his heels but incurred a concussion in the process. Bad news for Biggar as they would now have to play the next 60 minutes with only 15 men. This was to prove telling as with a 22 man squad to pick from Dunfy were able to rotate players and bring on a number of fresh legs.
Most of this game was almost like an attack against defence exercise. Dunfy taking the game to Biggar and Biggar fighting and tackling like demons to repel them. Every single young man played his part in an excellent display from Biggar. Communication, work rate, team work and determination were all on display in abundance. That coupled with some fantastic tackling combined to see a Dunfermline limited to one score in the first half.
Half time score 5-0 to Dunfermline.
Into the second half and Biggar were again on the back foot. It would be easy to say that numerical superiority won this game but that would be disrespectful to Dunfy. They played some excellent aggressive rugby and kept moving the ball and probing for openings. As Biggar tired Dunfy started to find more gaps and scored a further 4 unanswered tries to lead 29-0. Some of the Biggar persuasion were worried that Dunfy might run riot but these boys dug deep and fought back. Rallied by Captain Daniel McConkey under the posts they took the game to Dunfy. Hard running as a team, pinpoint kicking from Ali Steele and determined play had Dunfy pinned in their 22. A scrum was won and the ball held. Cammy Snell went for the no 8 pickup and left the defence in his wake going over for a score that Biggar richly deserved.
Full time Dunfermline 34 - Biggar 5
This was an excellent effort from all of the young men in black and red. They worked so hard on defence and having seen them working on these aspects week in week out at training their coaches should be proud of the effort they put in to this aspect of the game. There were 2 or 3 players that I viewed as playing the best game of rugby I have seen them play. Harry Archibald was outstanding in defence hitting tackle after tackle. Sam Wallis Superb at full back again making a number of last ditch tackles and supporting his back line well and Lee Smith played an excellent 70 minutes carrying the ball, hitting rucks and scrummaging well. Having said that, this was a team effort and all deserve massive credit for their play. The sight of every single player hardly able to applaud Dunfermline off the pitch after the game was a sign of how much they had given. You should all be very proud of yourselves.
Story date: 30/08/2016
Biggar lose Cup tie
Biggar 10 Marr 50
Ayrshire side Marr were Biggar's opponents on Saturday, the visitors demonstrating that having reached the play-off stages last season they will again be a force to be reckoned with in National 1 this time round.
This was another significant step up for Biggar following on from their pre-season runs against Lasswade, Dumfries and Penrith. That the score suggests a thumping is not in doubt although this is perhaps a little unfair, as for long periods the Biggar defence held firm and tackled well. The Marr side was just that bit swifter in deed and action and certainly more clinical when in scoring positions. Biggar were also guilty of making a few unforced errors which on occasion allowed Marr to gain vital field position and on other occasions allowed them to relaunch attacks when Biggar should have cleared their lines.
Perhaps of greater disappointment than the result or these errors however was a number of injuries which could have an impact on the starting XV over the next few weeks. Of these, an ankle injury sustained by stand off Iain Chisholm after just 15 minutes was the most worrying. Other twists, bumps and bruises to Craig McDonald, Richard Peacock and Andrew Dunlop were also of some concern with Biggar forced to play with just 14 for the last 5 minutes or so as the bench was completely used up. They will at worst provide coach Gary Mercer with some challenging decisions for this weekend's joust with neighbours Peebles.
Under pressure from the outset Biggar did really well to repel the first Marr salvo with a great defensive effort. An early penalty saw Biggar first of all steal lineout ball, Jamie Orr putting in a clearing punt with a strike which would have pleased any back on the pitch. Marr struggled to clear the ball and Zander Lyon managed to charge down the attempted clearance. David McArthur fed the ball left and Craig McDonald rounded the defence for a great opening score, converted by Richard Peacock.
A great start with just 6 minutes on the clock. Marr replied with a period of pressure which yielded another penalty which stand off Colin Sturgeon dispatched to open the Marr account. A similar award gave Peacock a chance which he accepted to extend Biggar's lead to 10-3.
That that was the end of Biggar's scoring opportunities was disappointing to say the least, Marr gaining a foothold on possession and territory and enjoying long periods of time in the Biggar half.
Biggar were forced into defensive duties and this they largely handled very well with all clearly benefiting from the organisation brought by Gary Mercer whose constant encouragement to players on the pitch is a positive factor.
With 15 minutes gone prop Will Farquhar rounded off a forward drive with a try converted by Sturgeon to tie the scores at 10-10. Biggar's defence was struggling after a series of good attacks by forwards and backs together, and also the injury to Chisholm which saw Biggar operate with just 14 players during this time. Aird Jardine replaced Chisholm whose discomfort was clear to see.
This try was quickly followed by a try and conversion for Sturgeon as he dummied his way through the Biggar defence.
Biggar captain Dunlop led the way with some typically strong defence although all the squad played their part as Marr increased the pressure. Inevitably, while several attacks fell short, the pressure eventually told, Marr capitalising on a failed clearance to launch another attack which saw ex-Biggar man McKenzie Pearce get the ball over the line for a try which Sturgeon again converted.
Biggar worked the touchline well to gain a toehold in the Marr 22 but their attack faltered as a crossing offence gave Marr a penalty which they used to clear the immediate danger. Half time.
Turning now to play towards the clubhouse hopes were high that Biggar would enjoy a better half with Marr by no way out of sight at 24-10.
Biggar made two changes at the start of the half, Ross Jackson (who has spent the past month with Glasgow U-20) making his first 1st XV appearance as he replaced Duncan Withers and Lyon making way for Andrew Peacock.
Biggar began brightly with Dunlop and Jardine combining well to break down the clubhouse touchline but a knock-on again gave Marr the chance to clear. A series of penalties were conceded and these too gave Marr both respite and attacking options. Biggar's defence held strong until almost the end of the third quarter when Pearce crossed for another try after Biggar conceded a free kick in their 22. Sturgeon added the conversion. 31-10 to Marr. This score coincided with an injury to Richard Peacock who was replaced by Gary Morrison.
Mercer rang the changes again with Orr replaced by Lyon and Douglas Notman by Withers.
Try as they did Biggar were unable to make headway, their attacking opportunities limited to valiant attempts to breakout from deep. As is often the case when under the cosh Biggar also failed to get the bounce of the ball, one such breakout seeing a potentially dangerously bouncing hack ahead ending with the ball popping into Marr hands when Biggar might have regained possession. Tom Steven was the next to cross and score for Marr, this arguably the first time Biggar's defence had been found wanting from set piece play. Sturgeon's conversion attempt rebounded off the upright.
One promising Biggar attack ended with a knock-on and another with possession lost at the lineout, Marr able to regroup and relaunch an attack, Scot Bickerstaff shrugging of some weaker tackles to score, Sturgeon on hand to add the two points. 43-10.
With some 5 minutes remaining a breakout by Withers ended with McDonald being twisted awkwardly and forced off the pitch. Down to 14, numbers were then evened up as Biggar made one final fling into the Marr 22. Replacement Ollie Rossi was penalised and shown a yellow. The penalty award was kicked just too long and again Biggar yielded a promising attacking opportunity. A long restart saw Marr have one final tilt at the Biggar line. Ball was taken right and then left before fullback Craig Kolarik put in a peach of a cross kick which Sturgeon ran onto to take and score, the stand off fittingly adding the conversion to round of the match with an impressive 25 point tally.
Coaches Mercer and Davy Wilson were generally upbeat despite the defeat but quick to point out the need for hard work at training and a positive approach to the Peebles match which is eagerly awaited.
Frustratingly the 2nds failed to get a match, this youthful group champing at the bit to get onto the field of play.
Story date: 30/08/2016
Biggar win through against Penrith.
Biggar 24 Penrith 7
In very different wet and windy conditions from the previous week when they played Dumfries on a dry ground, Biggar entertained Penrith for this pre-season friendly.
Last season Biggar were given a real test by the English side but this time round Biggar managed to turn the tables and record a fine win.
As pleasing however for coaches Gary Mercer and Davy Wilson was the style of play and the commitment shown both in defence and attack. For the first time to date numbers were reduced to a 1st XV squad as the 2nds were also in action, Penrith able to bring two sides for what both clubs hope will be annual joust. This meant that there were fewer changes which gave the side a chance to develop together.
Another equally very positive factor was in the shape of the 2nd XV , the side featuring a whole host of youngsters who if they can attract others who have not yet committed to playing will generate a really useful side and push for places in the 1st XV. Coach Doug Fleming was mightily impressed with the turnout although a concussion to hooker Ryan Ferguson brought the contest to a premature close. Attended by one of the Penrith contingent who is a fireman an ambulance was also called. Ryan was given a full assessment and on Saturday evening and then Sunday felt much better.
Playing away from the clubhouse Biggar were given the advantage afforded by the east wind, a rare occurrence in itself but one which gave some assistance to defence and clearance kicks.
Biggar opened the scoring with prop Donald Voas crossing again for his second try in as many weeks. Richard Peacock slipped as he prepared to kick and the conversion was missed.
Under pressure and conceding a number of penalties Biggar had to work hard in the tight, where they had some positive results, and in open play where their tackling was sound.
Underfoot conditions proved difficult and players were slipping and sliding while the ball was also tricky to control by hand, moves from both sides breaking down at crucial moments.
A line drive and try for Duncan Withers gave Biggar a bit of breathing space while a kick and chase from stand off Iain Chisholm which saw the DO run virtually the length of the pitch and latch onto a clearance from Aird Jardine put the home side further ahead.
A final try from newly appointed 1st XV captain Andrew Dunlop was well deserved and very well received, the No 8 getting through a power of work in both defence and attack. Richard Peacock added 2 conversions for the 24 point tally, Penrith having the last word with a try and conversion to help avoid the whitewash.
This was a sizeable step up from the Dumfries match and will help prepare the side for the first real competitive match which is this Saturday when Marr are visitors in the BT Cup. Marr were in last season's Premiership promotion play-offs and will offer another set of problems for Biggar prior of course to the BT League programme when Peebles are opponents (3rd Sept).
The 2nds were down in their match but as suggested there is a very promising side in the making.
Story date: 22/08/2016
Biggar Colts lose out at Boroughmuir
Boroughmuir Colts 24pts v Biggar Colts 19pts.
Friendly – Saturday 20th August 2016
Simply , the Biggar Coaches of Yogi, Gav and Muz will have learned more from this defeat than they will ever have by winning it. There is no harm in losing as it focuses the squad that much still needs done.
Biggar lost away to Boroughmuir on Saturday on a testing day for rugby but there was no doubt that the hosts played to the conditions better.
Boroughmuir forwards were well motivated for this and with speed and bulk they kept it tight and continually powered up the field from which they gained early advantage with a try which was a result of their strong play.
Biggar as ever knew they just needed to get into their stride and take their opportunities and this they did with good hands and running lines culminating in a try for Aaron Dobie to bring them back into the game.
Biggar then capitalised on a poor pass from the Boroughmuir back line to which Robbie Orr greatly accepted to run in for 50 yards which was converted by Euan Bogle.
From this Biggar should have moved further ahead a good running from the backs continually broke the defence lines but the final passes and wrong options were stopping the tries being taken.
Indeed as Biggar failed to score it was Boroughmuir who took their opportunities with 3 tries being score unanswered. Simply Boroughmuir kept the ball tight , used their big boys to hit up and then the ball was moved quickly out to fast running players to come in with good lines to go over. Biggar were failing to interpret the conditions and adjust accordingly.
Much of the play Biggar tried to enforce was more suited to playing 7's on a dry summer day. The result was too many wrong decisions and mistakes in the game.
With 10 minutes to go Biggar did come back into the game with a try in the corner for Aaron Dobie which was well converted by Euan Bogle. However Biggar could not get the final upper hand and Boroughmuir took the win
Final Score : Boroughmuir Colts 24 pts v Biggar Colts 19pts
Areas have been identified and these will be worked on at training and lessons will be learnt. The most obvious is “Playing to the conditions”
Next week is the start of the league campaign with a trip to Dunfermline.
Story date: 21/08/2016
Competition for places will be strong as the 8 Glasgow District players return who certainly will face a fight in certain positions to be in the starting line .
Colts start season with win at Hamilton
Hamilton Colts 7pts v Biggar Colts 41pts.
Friendly – Tuesday 16th August 2016
“In order to succeed we must first believe we can” and that is what Biggar Colts showed on Tuesday night with an impressive performance in their 1st game of the season. Every player put in a performance which certainly will make it challenging for the coaches in selection when the Glasgow Regional Players return.
On a warm night, Hamilton took the upper hand early with some big runs by their powerful forwards who were made good yardage and were only being thwarted by some impressive tackling and no more so than Stuart Forest who stopped their Number 3 in his tracks but he had to go off after it due to impact on his shoulder.
Hamilton failed to score from their dominance and when the ball was won by Biggar and shipped out to the backs it did not take long for the backs to gain the upper hand. Some excellent interplay by Aaron Dobie and Rowan Stewart resulted in a try in the corner for Aaron.
Hamilton quickly responded by continuing to use their forwards who were making some big bullish runs specially their hooker who scored after a quick tap and go from a penalty. Conversion was put over.
Biggar knew they just needed to stick to their game plan and the backs put away a fine set piece move to allow impressive Henry Adams to score under the post which was converted by Euan Bogle.
End of 1st Period – Hamilton 7pts to Biggar 12pts
Biggar in this period started off well and took the 1st try with Alisdair Steele going over after good interplay with Aaron Dobie. Shortly after this Robbie Orr at stand off put in a clever cross field kick which was received by Euan Bogle to allow him in the corner which he then converted.
Biggar however did not consolidate the game and allowed Hamilton back in with good hands by their backs twice allowing the winger to go in for 2 quick succession tries. Too often Biggars defence was not up quick enough and tackles were being missed.
End of 2nd Period – Hamilton 17pts to Biggar 24pts
Hamilton must have felt that they had the upper hand going into the last third but Biggar as usual knew they just needed to be more clinical. This they did and the forwards started to take control and Jordan Gray was gaining continual yards for the team and this allowed ball to be moved out to the backs and after some fine running by Aaron Dobie , Euan Bogle went in for his 2nd try . Aaron then himself scored a try which was converted by Euan Bogle, The last try of the day was a result of good fast hands putting the ball simply out through the back line to allow Alex Toal to score in the corner for the final score.
Full Time :Hamilton Colts 17pts v Biggar Colts 41pts.
Story date: 21/08/2016
Well done to all the boys who really showed a lot of maturity against a fast strong team.
Notable performances came from Aaron and Marcus Dobie who made some big runs due to tier speed coming on to the pass, Robbie Orr who not only attacked well but was very impressive in his tackling especially when having to cover out wide.
Alisdair Steele at full back was solid and very assured in his play. In the forwards Jordan Gray made good yards continually while Calum Dunlop secured good ball at the lineout.
Biggar get the better of Dumfries
Biggar 35 Dumfries 26
For their second warm up match Biggar hosted Dumfries on Saturday.
There was need for an improvement following last week's outing at Lasswade and this indeed proved to be the case. Starting at a great pace – much as had been the case last Friday – the difference this time was that points were scored and in fine fashion.
Alisdair Sinclair was first up after just 3 minutes, the winger scorching over in the corner after a great passage of play as Biggar retained ball well to put pressure on the Dumfries defence. Gaps eventually opened up to give Sinclair the chance which he took well. Richard Peacock struck an excellent kick to add the conversion.
With Biggar on the offensive once more, Dumfries managed to gain possession from a lineout deep in their 22. A weak clearance was taken by Peacock who was able to feed Robbie Lavery. The ball was put wide to Stuart Hull who burst through the Dumfries cover to score a great try which Peacock again converted.
Up front Biggar seemed to have the advantage in the tight scrum although Dumfries were not the force that Lasswade had been. Andrew Peacock and Douglas Notman were held up well in forays forward but Biggar were over the line again after 15 minutes when Andrew Orr took full advantage of a quick tap penalty to pick and drive, catching the Dumfries cover at sixes and sevens before crashing over from close range. Peacock again added the two points for 21-0.
Inevitably Dumfries came back into things and exerted their own period of attacking play. Able to secure ball when under pressure Biggar made things difficult for themselves by trying to run ball from deep when the kick might have been a better option. Caught close to their line Dumfries should have perhaps done better but in fact they conceded a penalty which allowed Biggar some relief.
This brought the first period to an end and heralded a host of changes to the teams with both sides taking the opportunity to give all their senior squad players a run and to try different formations and pairings.
This was a less structured period as players struggled to gain any consistency of possession with errors from both sides punctuating the flow of the match. Dumfries fared better as they put Biggar under a good deal of pressure. Things were not helped as play became somewhat fractious and ended up testing the Australian referee's patience. Two Dumfries try's made things a good deal closer at 21-14.
Biggar began the third period much as they had the first, with Douglas Voas taking a leaf from Orr's book to tap a penalty and crash over for another try which Peacock again converted. 28-14.
Just when Biggar looked as though they would become more dominant Dumfries upped their game with Biggar making a number of unforced errors. The visitors collected a third try before Ewan Stewart grabbed one for himself, the hooker intercepting a loose pass to scamper over for a try converted by Peacock who maintained his 100% record.
A final score from Dumfries took the score to 35-26, Dumfries having the last word with this. Had they kicked their points this match would have been a lot closer, but as it was Biggar recorded their first win under new coach Gary Mercer. Assistant coach Davy Wilson, who will look after the backs, was also pitch side to view his charges in action for the first time.
Story date: 17/08/2016
Both coaches were content with the performance though not yet happy as there had been too many unforced errors. A positive however is that the squad are as one and look to be enjoying the style of play which Mercer is advocating. This weekend Penrith will travel to Hartree Mill and the English side will pose a number of very different problems with increased bulk their advantage.
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
Biggar RFC operates and Open to All policy and welcomes new members from all sectors of the community
We accept members from 5 years upwards who can join our Mini section to those that have retired and want to assist and retain their links with our active club.
Our membership year runs from May to April and if you would like to find out more about the playing arrangements at the club or become a member please contact either Gordon Young on 07774678617 or via email at email@example.com or Nigel Pacey on 07714 713504.
If you would like to know a little more about our rugby programmes for Primary or Secondary school children please refer to our Mini and Midi pages under the "Teams" section or contact either Laura Watson for information about Primary School age children and Paula Yardley on 07830022447 for Secondary School aged children
Membership rates and packages are as follows:
Download the form by clicking here (docx format)
The Standing Order form can be downloaded here (doc format)
The BRFC membership form can be downloaded here (doc format)
Story date: 25/08/2011