Hartreemill, Biggar, ML12 6JJ

What’s on this weekend (1st/2nd November)

This weekend

1st XV v GHA BT National League 1 (A) KO 2pm (tbc)
2nd XV v RHC BT Reserve League East (A) KO 2pm
Colts v Portobello Edinburgh U-18 League (Home) 1pm KO 
Mini v Dalziel (A) KO tbc


Micro training 11am
Mini v Linlithgow and Moffat (H) KO tbc
S1/2 v Strathaven (H) KO tbc
U-15 v Heriots (A) KO tbc
U-16 v Watsons (A) 12.30 KO 

Biggar back to their best against Aberdeen Grammar

Biggar 27 Aberdeen Grammar 19

It’s a repeat of last week’s opening – what a difference a week makes!

Having performed strongly against Watsons a fortnight ago Biggar largely failed to turn up at Stewarts Melville before roaring back to defeat Aberdeen Grammar on Saturday.
Is home advantage a crucial factor? Well undoubtedly ‘yes’. Watsons were tested by the narrow Hartree Mill pitch and on Saturday Biggar handled the blustery conditions much better than Aberdeen, using the wind to good effect in the first half to clear their lines and then only kicking sparingly when faced with the elements after the break. In contrast Aberdeen’s attempts to kick out of their 22 in the first half ended with the ball ballooning backwards while in the second period they tried to run and kicked downfield poorly.

But that would be too simplistic an explanation. Biggar always relish visits by city sides and against Stew-Mel they were without several key players and the return of these, coupled with the home advantage, and the fact that this latest match was a ‘must win’, spurred the squad to a much better performance.

Injury prevented David Paterson and Graeme Hunter from playing, Michael McKeand shifting out to play in a third different position in as many weeks with the stand-off berth going to the fit-again Andrew Watt. Craig Bachurzewski and Giles Boland returned at prop and centre while three quarter John Smart made a return to the squad on the bench.
The initial exchanges saw a very young Grammar XV take the game to Biggar and they had the better of this part of the game, their centres, and Fijian Peceli Nacamavuto in particular, giving plenty indication that they would be a handful unless quickly shut down. The wind played havoc with the early lineouts, the first three being stolen by the opposition jump but with neither side really able to make the final yards to the line.
For Biggar, Charles Cochrane made an early impact with some really industrious play to steel ball at the breakdown and to make things difficult for Aberdeen at the back of the lineout. Boland too made some good ground with some deft footwork but it was the visitors who scored first, a quickly taken tap penalty seeing play taken up the middle by Nacamavuto who got in behind the Biggar defence before off-loading to the supporting fullback Alex Ratcliffe who crossed the line. Alex Hagart added the conversion for 7-0 but worse for Biggar was the sight of McKeand limping from the pitch following a hamstring pull as he chased the try scorer to the line. Smart took his place.

Fortunately Biggar managed to hit back almost immediately with Andy King breaking before he prodded the ball through the Aberdeen line. While the race to the ball was lost the position wasn’t and following another surge by Biggar, referee Matt Duncan penalised the visitors, King slotting the penalty for 7-3.


The restart was well taken by Boland whose mazy run created the position for Davy Reive to kick the ball downfield to keep the pressure firmly on the Grammar side. A blindside move then saw Smart glide between two Grammar defenders to create a 2 on 1 which Boland was able to exploit for a try which King converted well for 10-7.

In another attack, again almost directly from the restart, King set Mark Bertram free for a run on the touchline, the big winger being really unfortunate as the ball he set back after being tackled was knocked forward to him meaning that he was then in an offside position - even though he was out of the game on the ground!

Some excellent offensive defensive play by the robust McKenzie Pearce kept Grammar in their own 22 and from this a good angle from Scott Swankie engineered a gap for Smart whose progress was halted by a dump tackle from winger Lemarre el Bouchehati which earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin. Another great passing movement saw King and Bertram combine well again but while this surge came to nought Craig Simmons took advantage of a penalty to take ball forward. Prop Donald Voas was on hand to continue the move, his drive ending in a deserved try. King converted for 17-7.

Grammar could not escape from their 22 with some kicks to touch gaining precious little ground while others drifted back to give Biggar another tilt at the line. With the break approaching Biggar ended the half in the best of ways with their third score. A Watt penalty gave Biggar field position and after an attempt at a driving line, Calum Taylor broke blind and through the initial defence. Another 2v1 was created with Watt only halted by some good cover defence. A scrum 5 was the result and after what can only be described as a bit of a melee at the scrum base, Simmons eventually picked up to drive over for the try which was again converted by King for a great 24-7 half time lead.

Few of the Biggar support were confident that this would be enough however although all believed that one more score would surely be enough to secure the match points and withstand a Grammar riposte. That Biggar could add only a penalty in the second period and failed to record the vital fourth and bonus point try was disappointing. Had they managed this they would now be in 8th rather than joint 10th spot. That said, of course, the main aim was to gain the match win and the fact that Grammar got nothing for their efforts was indeed a bonus of its own.

Grammar won the second period by 12-3 as the wind worked its ‘magic’ although Biggar created several chances but could not make the final pass stick. Interceptions were the order of the day. A good run by the deceptively quick Smart saw ball popped inside to be gratefully taken by the covering Grammar defence while this was exactly the same result after a terrific run by Bertram saw the big man take play some 40 metres upfield and right into the heart of the Grammar 22. His pass to Boland who had the line at his mercy was also taken by the Grammar defence with a decisive breakout halted by some equally decisive defence. This defence was typified throughout by the telling contributions of (among others) Taylor, Euan Stewart and Jamie Orr who consistently took their man.

A blindside move by Simmons advanced by Reive created a chance and Bachurzewski was another who looked almost certain to score but his hands for once failed him allowing Grammar another let off.

With three quarters of the match gone Biggar managed to add 3 points to their tally, this after a ‘free’ ball saw Bertram take a speculative pot at goal. King added the penalty for 27-7. The restart gave Grammar their best field position of the match and with Pearce somewhat harshly sin-binned (there had been no warning issued and the offence seemed a tad innocuous) Grammar had a numerical advantage.

This they exploited almost immediately as another tap penalty saw some determined running from the pack culminating in a try for flanker Chris Jollands. Hagart was off target with the conversion. Some great work from Reive, Bachurzewski and Voas saw Biggar advance again to the Grammar 22 but this ended with the slightest of knock ons which allowed Grammar to escape once again.

In a final assault on the line Biggar were again pressed into defence as Grammar made a series of concerted drives at the Biggar line. These were largely met by some sterling and stout defence but almost inevitably in such situations something had to give and it was Jollands who again broke the line to score Grammar’s third score. Hagart’s conversion brought the match to an end.

This was an encouraging performance for Biggar. Grammar are a young side and have not had a great start to their season but they are nonetheless a competent outfit and one which will only get better. It was important to get the match points and to deny the visitors a losing bonus so those objectives were both achieved.

For coach Gavin Blackburn, consistency, which is always so difficult to achieve, is his immediate aim. The side is getting better, of that there is no doubt, while their style of play with ball being run at pace will ensure support from the Biggar membership. This Saturdays match sees the squad travel to second top GHA, where nothing less than a massive effort will be required to take the honours. Almost as importantly however, Biggar must ensure they give another determined performance with no repeat of the Stew-Mel game. 

A large travelling support would be very much appreciated but supporters are asked to please check the website for the confirmed kick off time. GHA have floodlights and may request a 3pm kick off although the scheduled kick off is 2pm.

Man of the match. Aberdeen; Chris Jollands. Biggar; Calum Taylor and Jamie Orr (Coach Blackburn could not split the pair of second rows so both deservedly shared the award)

Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Andy King, Giles Boland, Michael McKeand, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Craig Bachurzewski, Callum Taylor, Jamie Orr, Charles Cochrane, McKenzie Pearce, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Andrew Muir, Andrew Peacock, Calvin Henderson, John Smart

U15 Quiz Night - Friday 31st October


email rogerball6464@gmail.com to book a place!


What’s on this weekend (1st/2nd November)

Fixtures for this weekend


Biggar back to their best against Aberdeen Grammar

In what was a much improved performance Biggar defeat Aberdeen Grammar at Hartree Mill.


U15 Quiz Night - Friday 31st October

The U15 teams are hosting a quiz night! Click for details.


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