Biggar struggle against Stewarts Melville
Stewarts Melville 44 Biggar 5
What a difference a week makes! Against Watsonians Biggar had exuded commitment and passion and, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, they had largely managed to stifle opponents Watsonians. On Saturday however that same passion and pride was sadly lacking, Stewarts Melville, competent though they were, being given both space and time to do much as they pleased. The absence of Craig Bachurzewski, Giles Boland and Lewis McLachlan undoubtedly made a difference, while injuries to David Paterson (with just 10 minutes gone), to Graeme Hunter (after a quarter of the match) and in the second half to Jamie Orr meant that there were enforced changes but this does not really excuse the performance which was well below that which is required at this level.
Edinburgh sides are always fast onto the ball and usually possess good handling skills and so it was but on Saturday Stewarts Melville, in the face of some weak defence, were allowed to develop their game and grew quickly in confidence as a result.
The Stew-Mel 44 point tally came via four first half tries and another three after the break. The opening exchanges saw Biggar in defence as the hosts opened strongly to put Biggar under pressure. This the visitors coped with although they were unable to fully escape as kicks to touch fell short allowing Stew-Mel to immediately hit back. An early penalty by Stew-Mel 10 Nick McCashin caused panic amongst the Biggar defence after it rebounded off the upright. The Edinburgh side should probably have scored from this but Biggar’s scrambled defence held them out although Biggar flyhalf Graeme Hunter appeared to aggravate a leg knock in the process.
The try was merely stalled however, centre Neil Bowie exploited not one but two turnovers and this after Biggar had cleverly driven the Stew-Mel pack back from a lineout take. McCashin kicked the conversion to this and to his own try, scored just 5 minutes later after he galloped through a stretched Biggar defence.
It was clear Hunter could not continue and so he was replaced by flank forward Jim Simpson, Biggar’s other replacement back, Danny McAllister having come into the fray after Paterson picked up a leg injury. This led to a change in the three quarters with Scott Swankie moving to stand off and Mark Bertram coming in to centre. Neither player has appeared in these positions this season so this definitely had an impact on Biggar’s ability to defend, the third try coming just after the half hour mark seeing McCashin exploit another gap to slice through midfield. 19-0.
With the Stew-Mel pack now in the ascendancy and giving the visitors a difficult time a fourth try was scored by winger Matt Morrell (another who played for a time at Hartree Mill) after a Biggar failed to take clean lineout ball.
Simpson had a tilt at the line and took play to within metres of the hosts line and just as Biggar looked about to open their account – and what better time to do so than just before half time – an attack which saw Jamie Orr gather clean line out ball before McKenzie Pearce, Edlyn Serge and Andrew King advanced play forward, eventually floundered as Swankie had the ball stripped from him when in sight of the line.
At the break Callum Taylor replaced Serge and Michael Dunlop came on for Calvin Henderson.
Ste-Mel continued from where they had left off, a well-controlled and dynamic line drive seeing Biggar marched back before the maul collapsed over the line with prop Rhys Morgan claiming the touch down. McCashin failed with the conversion.
To add insult to injury the restart was kicked directly into touch – the scrum on half way just what Stew-Mel were looking for and the last thing Biggar needed. Ironically this heralded Biggar’s best passage of play as Davy Reive took a quick tap free kick to turn the Stew-Mel defence. His yards were added to by an injection of pace by Simpson from a penalty and with some much more positive work from the pack with Donald Voas in the frame. Ball was passed out but frustratingly and unusually King knocked on to allow Stew-Mel another reprieve.
Bertram made his presence felt as he took over the kicking duties, two exceptional efforts turning Biggar defence into attack as he found both distance and accuracy to take play into the Stew-Mel half. Andrew Muir took over from Ewan Stewart at hooker.
To give the Biggar support something to cheer about, King had a good chase down after Reive had managed to disrupt the Stew-Mel scrum, this eventually seeing Bertram produce another long kick to take play to the Stew-Mel 5 metre line. Ball was moved infield to Swankie who set up the ruck before play was then moved back to the blindside where prop Voas took over the youngster driving over from about 5 metres. An excellent debut try. Bertram was just wide with the conversion.
Unfortunately the restart saw Biggar panic and concede a soft penalty which McCashin kicked for 34-5.
This coincided with Orr’s back injury and his replacement by Serge. Another uncharacteristic error by King was followed by another great piece of defensive work by Simpson to halt another Stew-Mel foray. With 10 minutes remaining and the game won/lost depending on which team you supported, the game was pretty much over as a contest, Biggar trying their best in what had become a damage limitation exercise and Stew-Mel lacking the composure that they had enjoyed earlier on. Very unusually Biggar were now on the right side of some tight calls by referee Dunx McClement – the penalty count in this half virtually 2-1 in Biggar’s favour – unheard of!
They were unable to take any real advantage from these awards however and as Stew-Mel ran again and again onto the Biggar 22 it was almost inevitable that they would score again, lock Callum Hunter-Hill the try scorer as he rounded off a good piece of handling. Despite some great work by Simpson on the wing Biggar were unable to capitalise as a series of lineouts went awry, their only joy coming from another quickly tapped penalty by Reive although on this occasion the support play was not in place.
The hosts rounded the game off with their seventh score, this going to McCashin who benefited from his team mates good accurate passing.
A real disappointment then and a result which, with Marr picking up yet another valuable losing bonus point, means Biggar drop into second bottom spot, level on league points with the west coast side but behind on points differential. There are however 5 pints separating 5 sides so a couple of wins would make whole world of difference. Biggar need to rediscover their form and face a ‘must win’ match this Saturday when Aberdeen Grammar make the trip to Hartree Mill. They are not having a great start to their season and are currently on 14 points and two places ahead of Biggar. A big support – which was a huge factor against Watsons - would help lift the players, so please, if you can make it, get down to the club for the 3pm kick off!
Michael McKeand, Mark Bertram, Scot Swankie, Andy King, David Paterson, Graham Hunter, David Reive, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Edlyn Serge, Jamie Orr, Alan Warnock, McKenzie Pearce, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Michael Dunlop, Andrew Muir, Danny McAllister, James Simpson, Calum Taylor.
Very disappointingly Biggar 2nds were left without a game after Kelso were unable to field a full XV.
Story date: 21/10/2014
Biggar beat Hillhead Jordanhill
Biggar 19 Hillhead Jordanhill 7
Biggar won their second game this season (and in doing so doubled the number of wins recorded last season) though the reaction of the coaching staff, players and supporters would have suggested otherwise such was the despondency at the overall performance.
The reason for this negative reaction was that Biggar had chances to win the game several times over, with poor decision-making and handling letting them down time after time, and while the side gained 4 valuable league points they definitely missed out on adding a 4-try winning Bonus point and also in adding positively to their Points differential column.
Biggar fielded an unchanged XV for this match, Ewan Stewart having recovered from the cut cheek sustained at Peebles. On the bench Calum Taylor took over from Lewis McLachlan who is still recovering from an injured ankle.
Hillhead Jordanhill claim to have lost almost 90% of last years’ playing squad and while they have recruited, and are continuing to do so, they have had a difficult start to the season, shedding points to Jedforest, Selkirk and Kelso. Indeed their fixtures follow those of Biggar so they host Peebles next week. Their results suggested that this would be a game Biggar should target as a possible 5-pointer and this was clearly the case, the Glasgow side struggling big time in the first quarter of the game as Biggar attacked with both pace and power.
A series of early penalties saw Biggar tap and go to put the Hill Jills defence under real pressure. David Paterson, Giles Boland, Craig Simmons and McKenzie Pearce all had try scoring runs halted but with 9 minutes gone a run and pass to Andy King gave the centre a chance to cross the line which he took well. Graeme Hunter was just wide with the conversion.
Biggar maintained their stranglehold on possession and territory with Pearce, Scott Swankie and Paterson combining well to take play deep into the Hill Jills half where only some luck and a penalty miss from Hunter prevented Biggar from adding to their total. Alan Warnock had a tilt at the line and an excellent touchline dash from Paterson set the crowd cheering, his inside pass eluding his support and allowing the visitors to escape.
It was only a matter of time before Biggar added to their total however with another series of drives seeing Pearce and Craig Bachurzewski held up but a pop pass from Hunter to King saw him burst clear and over under the posts for a try converted by Hunter for 12-0. Another touchline dash from Paterson promised much and ended with the wee winger crossing the line for a try but this was disappointingly chalked off as he had put a foot in touch.
With half time approaching, another penalty award to Biggar, which resulted in Hill Jills flanker Angus Lean being shown a yellow card, gave Biggar another opportunity to score, a tap and go seeing Simmons released for the line. The big man appeared to have acres of space to score in but caused the supporters hearts to miss a beat when instead of going for the outside gap he stepped inwards to force his way through two men and under the posts – Hunter adding the conversion for 19-0.
Had the Biggar support known that near things, near misses and frustration were going to be the order of the day they might not have stayed the course, but as the side was in sight of a 4 try bonus there was much optimism that things would get better after the break as Hill Jills would surely crumble.
The Glasgow side had played better in the second half against Kelso the previous week, and this was largely the case at Hartree Mill, their pack raising their game and thwarting Biggar’s best efforts although the home side did plenty of that of their own!
A sustained passage of play from the visitors saw Biggar under the cosh for the first time and pressed into defensive chores as Hill Jills attacked. Biggar did breakout however and an excellent run out of defence from Mark Bertram, continued by King and Pearce ended when the No 8 was bundled into touch in the visitors half.
A couple of penalties later – awarded incidentally by referee Graeme Ormiston who also took charge of the 2nd XV game against Peebles on Friday night - and Hill Jills were back in Biggar territory. The next such award ended with a sin-binning for No 8 Pearce as he illegally prevented release in the face of the Hill Jills pack.
A man to the good the visitors made the best of the opportunity presented to them to eventually score a try from flanker and Captain Douglas Grove after he latched onto stand-off Nic Jurisic’s pass. The stand-off added the conversion to put his side right back into the mix.
The last half hour of the game saw Biggar introduce their bench, Jamie Orr, Andrew Muir, Davy Reive and Calum Taylor all getting into the action as they replaced Warnock, Stewart, Paterson and Pearce (after his sin-binning). This period also coincided with Biggar’s handful of scorned chances as they broke out of defence, attacked hard into the Hill Jills territory and to the line – in fact in Boland’s case OVER the line – but failed to get the ball down to widen the gap.
Frustrating was the only word to describe this series of plays as, on each occasion, it seemed Biggar would score, with the very real possibility that if they were able to do so the visitors would ultimately collapse and result in a comfortable Biggar win. Hill Jills rode their luck however, and the spurned chances by Biggar, and even survived a series of 5 metre scrums with each side in turn slewing the scrum around on their opponents put in…..
As a result and instead of capitulating, and especially as the half wore on, Hill Jills looked increasingly more at ease as they gained in confidence. This was epitomised in one audacious step and breakout by Jurisic which saw him take play from virtually his own line deep into the Biggar half where his kick ahead had the covering Reive scrambling back to pick up and tidy.
Unfortunately for Reive however, his method of saving the day did not meet with Mr Ormiston’s approval and the winger found himself sin-binned for his efforts and Biggar were left to play out the game with 14 men (Reive did in fact return for the last couple of plays).
Undeterred Biggar continued to attack although once again they also continued to knock-on and drop passes all of which meant that they were unable to score again, and missed out on that - potentially vital - bonus point.
Despite the post-match despondency the win takes Biggar into 8th spot, their best position for over a season and there is, therefore, much to be positive about. Chances are being created, if not finished, and the defence has for the most part been sound. There is much to work on as coach Gavin Blackburn prepares his charges for this Saturday when they make the first of two trips north, this first to Dundee High. The Tayside club have not had the best of starts either having won two, lost one and drawn one and so Biggar will travel intent to grab another win.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Andrew King, David Paterson, Graham Hunter, Andrew Watt, Craig Bachurzewski, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Edlyn Serge, Craig Simmons(Captain), Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, McKenzie Pearce.
Reps: David Reive, Andrew Muir, Jamie Orr, Calum Taylor, Paul Davidson.
Man-of-the-match awards went to Andy King (Biggar) and Tonci Buzov (Hill Jills).
Story date: 29/09/2014
Brilliant weekend for Biggar Teams
The summer like weather rarely experienced at this time of year saw some of the best rugby from Biggar teams for a long time.
Peebles 9 Biggar 15
In subjecting Peebles to their first league defeat of the season Biggar gained their first win of the season - a valuable win at that - and just reward for their efforts as they toughed out a tense, gritty affair decided by the boot of the stand-offs, Biggar’s Graham Hunter versus that of Peebles’ kicker Greg Raeburn.
That there were no tries was disappointing from a spectators point of view at least, Peebles closest when, in the dying minutes, they were convinced they had scored, referee Alistair Watt consulting both touch judges before denying the home XV what would most probably have been a match winner, albeit that the conversion would have had to have been kicked.
Local derbies tend to confound the pundits with Peebles clear favourites prior to kick off given that they had won two from two, including the scalp of Aberdeen last week, and that in Aberdeen. The emotions of the coaches on Saturday at the final whistle were in sharp contrast however, Biggar’s Gavin Blackburn delighted at getting ‘off-the-mark’ while the other Gavin (Peebles’ Kerr), was somewhat bemused following what was, after their first two games, a lacklustre performance from Peebles.
Biggar made several changes prior to this latest contest, Ewan Stewart returning after injury to resume at hooker, while Craig Simmons and Edlyn Serge were paired in the second row with McKenzie Pearce staring at No8. The duo of Jamie Orr and Lewis McLachlan were a little unlucky to not start though both made valuable contributions when they did get on.
In the backs, a new half back partnership saw Andrew Watt preferred to Davy Reive at 9 with Graham Hunter taking over at 10. Andrew King returned after the injury he picked up against Selkirk to partner Giles Boland in what turned out to be a strong and promising centre partnership.
Biggar rarely get the benefit of any penalty count and they have already this season conceded far more than they have been awarded, so it was a welcome change to see that for the first half at least they shaded the count by 2 to 1, the first such award seeing Hunter put his side ahead after just 2 minutes.
Peebles drew level just minutes later when a scrum offence led to Biggar being penalised. Biggar gave note of their intent and confidence when they chose to run ball out of defence, this catching the Peebles defence out although they did eventually halt the Biggar breakout on half way. Although Pearce dealt pretty well with ball at the scrum base there were a couple of messy pick-ups which saw Peebles take advantage to maintain their position in the Biggar half. Another penalty conceded at the scrum saw Raeburn kick his side level at 6-6 with just 15 minutes gone.
The tone of the game was now well and truly set with play confined - largely – to the ground between the 22’s as neither side was able to gain control of the ball for any length of time as knock-ons, turnovers and penalties punctuated play. Both sides were guilty in this respect with ball lost in all manner of ways as tackles were made and the ball poorly guarded. For Biggar the midfield defence of King and Boland was great to see, both working well on several occasions to employ the choke tackle to good effect.
Hooker Euan Stewart took a nasty knock to the face, the cut, while temporarily patched up continuing to bleed and forcing his retirement with Andy Muir taking over the role. Biggar’s attack faltered as ball was lost in contact or as flat passes were adjudged to be forward, these errors bringing to a swift end several promising moves and plays.
A third penalty to Biggar saw Hunter just wide to leave the scores tied.
Highlights of the half were the strong running out of defence by fullback Scott Swankie, the directness of No 8 Pearce, the growing confidence of Watt who harried Peebles scrum half Scott McCormick at the scrum base, and the astute covering of prop Craig Bachurzewski who dealt well with ball kicked deep into the Biggar 22.
Swankie ran out of defence at the start of the second half, his progress ended as he was brought down late having kicked ahead. Hunter added the points and just as had been the case at the start of the game, Biggar were 3 points up. Not to be outdone Raeburn kicked the sides level again after a penalty was conceded by Biggar after Boland had read the Peebles exit play from their own 22.With 10 minutes of the half gone Biggar went ahead again as Hunter converted his fourth penalty
The stand off added another 3 points after King engineered a great turnover in midfield. 15-9 to Biggar.
A thorn in the Biggar side has oft been their apparent difficulty in taking and dealing with re-starts and this was again the case against Peebles with a combination of poor positioning, fumbles and lack of support conspiring to make things easier for their opponents. This will definitely be a topic for the training ground this week as it is so frustrating to get ahead only to concede possession and territory.
Raeburn pulled his next penalty and with 15 minutes or so remaining this was to prove vital, the margin of 6 points requiring the home side to score a converted try or two penalties for the win.
McLachlan and Reive came on for Pearce and David Paterson respectively. Unfortunately the scrum was never quite stable enough for McLachlan to launch one of his trademark bursts from No 8 and while Reive was fielded out of position on the wing his defence was, as always, sound.
Peebles, for their part, continued to press, the post-match report from their game against Grammar suggesting that they would come out strongly in the second half due to their fitness levels. Their pack did run well but it is testament to Biggar’s defence that they were held out.
Orr then replaced Serge at lock with some 10 minutes remaining. Penalties continued to be conceded by Biggar, a series of awards leading to referee Watt issuing a ‘final’ warning to the side that another penalty would see a player shown yellow. Minutes later Alan Warnock (making a return this season to Biggar colours after a handful of seasons at Peebles) the man to be binned. Biggar were therefore a man down with time almost up and Peebles in possession. At 15-9 down, Peebles had their losing bonus and as 3 points would have not been enough to take the game and with time running out, they elected to kick for the corner. Biggar’s hopes now rested on their ability to defend their line and this they did bravely as Peebles flung themselves forward.
In the end they almost got the try they craved but Biggar’s defence held firm and the final whistle blew as Peebles lost possession some 10 metres from the line.
Biggar coach Blackburn was full of praise for his charges with their work ethic, physicality and desire to prevent a Peebles score all plus points. He will now prepare the side for the visit of Hillhead Jordanhill. The Glasgow outfit have lost all their games so far but the indications from their latest performance against Kelso is that they are steadily improving and gaining in confidence. As a result they will mount a serious challenge to the Biggar side who will require another strong performance to take the honours.
Biggar man-of-the-match went to Andrew Watt.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Andrew King, David Paterson, Graham Hunter, Andrew Watt, Craig Bachurzewski, Ewan Stewart, Calvin Henderson, Edlyn Serge, Craig Simmons(Captain), Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, McKenzie Pearce.
Reps: David Reive, Andrew Muir, Jamie Orr, Lewis McLachlan, Paul Davidson.
Biggar 2nds 83 Lasswade 7
The seconds preparation on Saturday was relaxed and lacklustre - unlike their performance.
One or two choice words in the changing room focussed the minds.
The game started at a furious pace and did not let up until the final whistle. Biggar scored early on and continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over all afternoon. Lasswade scored a cracking try after their big centre came on a hard line to score under the posts.
The half time score was 35-7.
Biggar scorers were Michael McKeand (looking good on his return) two tries and five conversions; Stevie Campbell rampaged to two tries before half time and one after to secure hias hat trick and Callum Taylor made up the first half scores.
Biggar were asked to maintain their focus and they did scoring 48 points after the break.
They lost Mark "Fuzzy" Fowler to broken ribs early in the half and this meant a re-jig in the scrum with Andrew (two trys and having another big game) Peacock going in at prop and the return of Neil "Wolfy" Wolfenden coming in to stiffen up the second row.
The scores continued with Andy Fleming getting two tries, Euan Sanderson two more and Kev Robison one. Michael 'Mouse' McKeand added a conversion and Jack Warnock, who came on for Callum Whyte got two conversions.
The final score 83-7.
The game was played in great spirit and was always competitive even though the scoreboard suggests otherwise- a credit to Lasswade. The visitors had a few call-offs DUE to a stag party!! The senior players who covered are a credit to their cub.
Biggar 2nds now travel to Peebles on Friday night, 7.30pm kick-off. Its the hot ticket! Local derby with the hosts coming off a big win, too.
See seperate reports for all other matches by clicking on the link on the right of this HOME page.
The colts won 38-17 against East Kilbride
The U16's scored too many tries against Penicuik to win by over 90 points
The U15's beat Livingston in a tough match 35-22
The U15 and U18 girls teams qualified for the Brewin Dolphin Cup winning 3 and 2 matches apiece
The Mini teams had emphatic wins at Grangemouth
but unfortunately the S1/2 teams were outplayed by East Kilbride but still put up a feisty performance.
Lets hope all of them can do the same again next weekend.
Story date: 21/09/2014
1sts v Kelso (BT National 2) and 2nds v Jedforest (BT Reserve League East)
Kelso 34 Biggar 27
The SRU website got it wrong first time round as they reported a 34-25 Kelso win but with Graham Hunter converting Biggar’s last try (his own!), Biggar did indeed claim a valuable losing bonus at 34-27, although once again Biggar were left thinking about what might have been as they gave their opponents a helping hand with their scores.
Kelso opened strongly with their big pack dominating the forward exchanges. It was Graham Hunter however who opened the scoring after Kelso were penalised after an early push. The lead was to last a matter of minutes as Kelso replied with a try after a good period of picks and drives from their pack, giant lock Callum Rowlandson crashing over and stand-off Andrew Skeen converting.
A penalty gave Skeen another opportunity which he took to put his side ahead at 10-3.
Hunter kicked Biggar back in to the game after another penalty awarded by referee Duncan McClement. The restart was almost taken by Biggar lock Edlyn Serge but he was unceremoniously taken out by Kelso support runners, the big man landing awkwardly but happily able to continue. The penalty was scant consolation as the law in such circumstances – that any player who takes an opponent out in the air should be sent to the sin bin – was clearly not applied.
Another big Kelso line drive saw prop Craig Bucharweski swing as he was held in the maul, referee McLement sending him to the bin for the statutory 10 mins. The resultant penalty and line drive saw Kelso forwards pick and go again and despite some stout defence weight and weight of numbers told and Rowlandson crashed over for his second score with Skeen converting for 17-6. At the next scrum Biggar brought Mikey Dunlop into the game at prop at the expense of Jamie Orr. The flanker was quickly called back into action however as Craig Simmonds was taken off to receive treatment for a cut to the head.
With just over half an hour gone the Border side increased their lead with a try from Ally Johnson after a good break by Skeen. The conversion was missed and despite a good closing passage of play which saw Biggar attack off a typically strong No8 pick up by Lewis McLachlan and some good yards gained by Giles Boland, Calvin Henderson and Scott Swankie there was no way through the Kelso defence and they went in at half time at 22-6 and with the welcome prospect of the wind on their backs for the second half.
As had been the case against Selkirk the previous week an invigorated start from the Biggar side saw them score an excellent try with just minutes on the clock. Their best passage of play and ball retention saw the pack pick and go and without gaining a huge number of yards ball was transferred right with stand-off Andrew Watt finding winger Mark Bertram on a great angle. The big man then offloaded well to the supporting Bucharweski who rounded the movement off and crashed over from some 22 metres. Hunter added the points and Biggar were back in the hunt at 22-13.
Kelso regained their grip on the game after they set up position in the Biggar 22. A nasty injury to one of the Kelso backs held the game up before a series of Kelso drives ended with Biggar hooker Andrew Muir being shown a yellow after he crept offside; Kelso’s weight advantage now considerably enhanced as they had the extra man. A number of scrums followed and despite some stout defence and a couple of contentious decisions Kelso managed a wheel and drive with No 8 Alastair Greive rounding things off with a try, Skeen’s conversion putting Kelso 29-13 ahead.
Undeterred Biggar continued to attack and despite Bucharweski taking a knock in the tight scrum they created another attacking position in the Kelso half. A couple of penalties ensured their stay was prolonged and after the pack had kept the ball well Watt found Boland in the centre, the Irishman making light of the Kelso cover to scorch through a gap for a good try.
Unfortunately the benevolence of the Biggar side was once more in evidence as at 29-20 they were in sight of a losing bonus if not a win. A kick and chase after the restart saw ball lost to the Kelso breakaway forward and one surge later ball went to Skeen who put in a well-judged kick to the corner, Johnson diving in just ahead of the covering Bertram.
At 34-20 Biggar were down against things again but a last score which was run in and then converted by Hunter – this the last movement of the game and coming after another sustained passage of play - gave Biggar the all-important bonus.
A game of two halves? Kelso won the first half 22-6, Biggar the second by 21-12. The deciding factors were Kelso’s dominance of the tight play, Biggar’s two yellow cards (the second of which caused further problems as the lineout struggled without a recognised thrower) and a couple of defensive lapses which gave Kelso sufficient space from which to operate and attack.
Clearly the Biggar outfit were again disappointed but the direct running of, among others, McLachlan, Patterson, Bertram, Hunter and McKenzie allied to the work rate of Bucharweski, Orr, Boland, Reive and Watt mean that this side will get better.
The side must now regroup prior to what will be their toughest test yet when they travel the short distance to The Gytes and the local derby match with Peebles this Saturday.
Another big support would help the boys on their way.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Graham Hunter, David Paterson, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bucharweski, Andrew Muir, Calvin Henderson, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Lewis McLachlan, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Mike Dunlop, Charles Cochrane, Graham Jamieson, McKenzie Pearce,.
Man-of-the-match award went to Graham Hunter (Biggar).
Jedforest 2nds 16 Biggar 2nds 9
Biggar travelled to Jed for what was their first game of the season and their first Edinburgh Reserve league match hoping that a performance from this talented side would kick start the league campaign on a positive note.
Biggar started them the game on the back foot, Jed taking the game to the visitors, however the one thing Biggar can rely on is DEFENCE and Biggar defended for most of the first half keeping Jed to 0~0.
It was a dramatic end to the half with the ref up-ending himself and feeling unable to continue. He did however take the field for the second half - much to his credit. The message was that he would re-assess his ability to carry on at the 60 minute mark therefore allowing the score at that time to stand.
The game then became a bit edgy both sides trying to get a lead in case of an early finish. Step up Jack Warnock, who, in what was his first senior game and after just a handful of training sessions due to work commitments, was asked to kick to equalise three times and on every occasion slotted the kick.
The game was by now careering to an end and it was just one a lapse in concentration which allowed the hosts to drive over for the decisive score: a converted try to decide the game.
Story date: 15/09/2014
Biggar 2nd XV look to be an exciting prospect for the league season and with John Bogle being joined by Bob Aitken, Alistair Browning and Michael McKeand on the coaching side there is every reason to be up-beat.
Biggar lose out to Selkirk in League opener
Biggar 22 Selkirk 43
Biggar played their first home game of this season when they opened their 2014/15 National League account on Saturday against Border side Selkirk on what was a bright afternoon and in front of a very welcome large crowd.
A great turnout of club volunteers, coaches and helpers had been invited for a pre-Match luncheon and they listened to club coach Gavin Blackburn outline his stall for the season, the over-riding aim being to ensure the club was competitive at both 1st and 2nd XV level. His satisfaction at the effort levels and commitment at pre-season training was evident but his understanding that what has gone on before meant little and that the performance on Saturday was the start of the real business of the season was also clear. He hoped above all else for a performance against Selkirk and realised that this would be a stepping-stone for the rest of the season.
To end the game with a 43-22 scoreline was therefore massively disappointing, especially as the try count was just 4-3 in Selkirk’s favour and that the visitor’s scores had emanated largely from Biggar errors with an interception, a dropped pass and a charged down kick all ceding points to the Border XV.
True, Biggar had benefited from similar generosity in the first half when Giles Boland had taken an interception as Selkirk attacked but Biggar’s other two scores had been a result of some great play with forwards and backs combining well to put Selkirk under real pressure.
Selkirk certainly deserved their win but Biggar could and should have made things far more difficult for them, another contributing factor being the penalty count (13-7 in Selkirk’s favour) which allowed Selkirk to keep the score board ticking over nicely as they amassed 12 first half points from 4 penalties, fullback Josh Welsh having a good day with the boot and ending up with a game tally of 23 points.
Biggar fielded a side with a number of new faces for the Biggar membership with those targeted pre-season to bulk up the side being joined by others who have willingly thrown in their lot at Hartree Mill. As such there is always going to be a settling-in period as players adapt to each other and to what coach Blackburn is looking for and while, as previously suggested, there is considerable disappointment about the final result, there is certainly room for optimism as they learn and as the season progresses.
An early penalty from Welsh gave Selkirk the lead but this was countered after Graham Hunter equalised for Biggar. Selkirk scorned a try-scoring opportunity after a rushed Biggar clearance gave the visitors an overlap at the club house corner but a crucial hesitation to use the extra man and a great covering tackle by Davy Reive saw Selkirk taken into touch.
Selkirk regained their lead on 10 minutes as Welsh struck again before the game settled down somewhat as both teams attacked and countered. Biggar suffered a major blow when Australian centre Andrew King was injured in a tackle. The big man was clearly in a lot of pain and the injury necessitated a hospital visit but happily it is muscle damage rather than anything more serious although this is still to lead to a number of weeks absence. Hunter moved to centre as livewire winger David Paterson took to the field.
Play was punctuated at regular intervals by Durham exchange referee Will Halford who blew for a variety of offences, none of which were within kicking range of either side. The next score came when Boland latched onto a loose pass in the Selkirk midfield, the Biggar man sprinting clear and cleverly avoiding the chasing support before he was able to off-load to supporting winger Mark Bertram. In turn Bertram kept his head to elude two tackles before dotting down for a cracking try. Hunter converted to put Biggar ahead at 10-6.
Conceding a score shortly after scoring has oft been an Achilles heel for Biggar and the same issue reared its ugly head again when, directly from the kick off, Biggar conceded a penalty as Craig Simmonds obstructed Selkirk after Jamie Orr’s well taken catch. The 4 point lead was swiftly reduced to just one as Welsh calmly struck his third penalty.
A half time lead would have been well-deserved but Welsh was on the money again after referee Halford penalised the Biggar scrum. Deep into added time a last movement saw an encouraging passage of play from Biggar with Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman and Paterson all working well to take play to within metres of the Selkirk line before being bundled into touch. Selkirk therefore went in at the break 12-10 up.
Biggar opened the second half in splendid fashion, a sweeping move from the kick off putting the visitors under real pressure in their 22. Ball was whipped back left and a gap appeared through which stand-off Andrew Watt burst for a try under the posts which Hunter converted to put Biggar ahead once again. Would this be the turning point for Biggar?
Though initially things looked good as Biggar were quickly back on the attack with the chance to take play deep into the Selkirk half the fates conspired to thwart the dream, Biggar losing out as Selkirk centre Craig MacDougall pounced on a pass by Biggar full back Scott Swankie. The centre had a bit of work to do but he held off the cover to score a try and with Welsh adding the points Selkirk regained the lead at 19-12.
Another period of pressure saw Biggar re-establish themselves in the Selkirk 22 and run Selkirk close. A lineout error, though initially saved by Notman saw Selkirk awarded a scrum, Selkirk No 8 Calum Marshall picking and making a terrific break out of defence before being hauled down by Alan Warnock on the Biggar Selkirk 10 metre line.
Play was transferred to the Biggar half and while able to clear their lines Biggar lost out again as Swankie lost possession in mid-field, the ball escaping the clutches of the Biggar men before being picked up and moved to Selkirk No 10 Callum McColm who ran in for his sides third score, Welsh again adding the 2 points for a 26-17 lead.
Both sides had now made use of their bench with Andrew Muir and Lewis McLachlan introduced to replace Ewan Stewart and Andrew Warnock while Mackenzie Pearce also entered the fray as Simmonds and Serge were both given breaks.
With some 15 minutes remaining the game was put beyond any doubt when Biggar were under pressure deep in their 22. While ball was won well the Selkirk offensive/defence was up at great speed to charge down Watt’s clearance, the ball obligingly popping up into the hands of scrum half Mikey Davies who scored
McLachlan at No 8 created an excellent platform for Biggar as he picked up to break right and carve a huge hole in the Selkirk defence. Play continued before the same player made a second intrusion and with Andrew Muir and Notman moving forward the ball ended up in Bertram’s hands the big winger crashing over for his second score. 22-33 Selkirk.
As Biggar strove to gain another score which would have given them at worst a losing bonus Welsh took advantage of a couple of penalties to first of all advance play downfield and then secondly to kick for 36-22.
The final nail in Biggar’s chances and a fourth try to give Selkirk the full 5 league points saw yet another penalty kicked to the corner from where a well-worked lineout drive led to a try for prop Kieron Cooney. Needless to say the conversion was well struck by Welsh for his sides’ 43 point tally.
Biggar might have made a better fist of things when, in the dying seconds, they were awarded a penalty deep in the Selkirk 22 but a lack of control at the crucial moment saw possession lost and referee Halford blow for full time.
A sizeable defeat but one which nevertheless slightly flattered the visitors, Biggar’s profligacy gifting them their win.
All attention will now switch to preparing for Saturday’s clash with Kelso, another of the Border sides in this Division. Having lost out to Peebles in their first match Kelso will be keen to kick start their league campaign and so this will be another tight match. A reduction in the error count and a tighter grasp on possession will be key to the game plan.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Andy King, Graham Hunter, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bucharweski, Ewan Stewart, Danny Jennings, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Mike Dunlop, Andrew Muir, Lewis McLachlan, McKenzie Pearce, David Paterson.
Man-of-the-match awards went to Giles Boland (Biggar) and Angus Duckett (Selkirk).
The 2nd XV, who had another blank weekend, should see their season kick start with an away match against Jedforest. This will also be a really tough contest as the 2nds will be a youthful outfit with several of the Colts from the past 2/3 years all involved.
Story date: 09/09/2014
Tough test at Myreside as Biggar part company with the BT Cup campaign.
Match report : 1st Sept 2014
Watsonians 51 Biggar 15
In one of only two games to pit two National League clubs against each other (the other between Kelso and Hillhead Jordanhill was cancelled after the Glasgow side could not field a recognised front row!), Biggar succumbed to the might of Edinburgh side - and League favourites - Watsonians on Saturday.
That this was a hefty defeat was disappointing although the Watsons tally did not match that of last season while Biggar managed an additional try in response.
Into the Biggar XV came new arrival Edlyn Serge and there is no doubt that the big man – who is to assist with strength and conditioning of the junior players – will be a boost for the Biggar squad.
In grand conditions and on the wide Myreside pitch Biggar found themselves up against things from the start, Watson's taking advantage of a first penalty award against Biggar to tap and go which resulted in a try for the right winger. 7-0 Watson's.
Biggar’s restart – as had Watsons kick-off – failed to go 10, Watson's moving the ball from the scrum and a try looked on save that the referee gave a forward pass.
Biggar had really struggled to get out of their own half until a good clearance kick made on 15 mins. Relieved the pressure, albeit momentarily. Biggar’s chase was poor and allowed the Watsons full back to make a good break before releasing the winger who crossed for his 2nd try in the same corner. 12-0.
In a fast paced game Watson's gained control of the ball again at the restart and while the full back made a break Biggar’s 9 (Reive) made a half tackle to slow him up before Biggar 15 (Scott Swankie) caught him and held him up over the line. The score was only delayed before Watson's put the ball wide with the fullback looping the winger to score in the right hand corner. 17-0 after 21 min and the signs were ominous!
Following a penalty award from the kick off Biggar kicked deep into the 22. Here a well worked lineout saw Craig Bachurzweski (prop) score down the blind. Graeme Hunter converted. Biggar had their best passage of play of the half, putting 4-5 phases together before winning a penalty. A kick to the corner saw them win a lineout 15m out. From this a penalty was awarded in front of the posts. Graeme Hunter kicked to reduce the deficit to 17-10 with 34 min. on the clock.
It didn’t take the Edinburgh outfit long before they added to their total. Having regained the ball they continued to put the ball wide, moving it right then left before scoring in the left hand corner.
Half time 24-10.
Biggar started the second half by kicking deep into Watson's half. Although Watson's cleared the immediate danger, ball was taken on by Biggar number 8 Craig Simmons who frustratingly then managed to lose the ball trying to offload. Watson's won a penalty, and kicked to the right hand touchline and on the 22m line. Utilising their lineout to full effect Watson's caught and drove the lineout to score, 31-10.
Biggar’s luck was in when, from the restart, Watson's knocked on. Biggar had a couple of passes before Graeme Jamieson made the most of his opportunity to score in the left hand corner. 31-15.
A passage of much more scrappy play then ensued and as it did so Biggar lost their shape. Watson's eventually re-gathered possession before making a drop goal attempt from 30 yards out. 34-15. (53 min.)
Biggar had already contributed to their own downfall by ceding possession and they did so again directly from the restart which went straight out. Watson's put a couple of passes together before going into touch themselves. Biggar stole the lineout through Alan Warnock (who along with Jamie Orr was the pick of the Biggar pack), but then quickly lost the ball again as Watson's broke down the left hand side to score. 39-15.
Biggar then enjoyed their best part of the game with some good play taking them deep into the Watson's 22m. Watson's were reduced to 14 men when their centre (No 13) was yellow carded for deliberately slowing up ball. Biggar were awarded a scrum, but instead of steadying the ship with some possession play contrived to lose possession and then concede a penalty for pulling down! Watson's took full advantage to clear their line. A good move featuring fullback Swankie looked promising but Watsons spoiled the party as they managed to dispossess the wee man and with no cover at full they kicked long with no cover to tidy possession. Despite this Biggar managed to secure the ball but then found themselves turned over and seconds later Watsons scored out wide (again). 46-15.
Despite fielding some big men the Biggar scrum toiled in the game as their opponents proved a little more adept in the tight. Under considerable pressure and as the Biggar scrum was going backwards, No 8 Craig Simmonds deserves credit as he picked up before managing to provide some good ‘go forward’. Disappointingly the referee adjudged the final pass to be forward.
Watson's won the scrum and their Number 12 made a break from a missed tackle. Biggar scrambled back to slow play down before Davy Reive was yellow carded for pulling the Watsons 9 back in. The No 9 in question was non-other than ex-Biggar Colt Reiss Cullen who moved to the Edinburgh club over the summer.
Watson's opted to kick the penalty for a lineout, which they won and while Biggar again managed to clear the immediate danger, the ball was cleared down the open side before their centre squeezed in down the right hand side to round off the scoring at 51-15.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Andy King, Graham Hunter, Craig McDonald, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bachurewski, Ewan Stewart, Danny Jennings, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, Craig Simmons (Captain). Reps Mike Dunlop, Andrew Muir, Andy Peacock, McKenzie Pearce, Graham Jamieson
This was a harsh lesson for the Biggar side but one from which they will doubtless learn. This Saturday sees the side play their first game at home this season and what a cracker it promises to be with Border side Selkirk the opposition. Needless to say a big, vocal home crowd would be a boost for the Biggar side in their quest for a strong opening performance and league game.
Sadly the 2nd XV did not have a match this weekend and indeed their next outing is a league game at Jedforest on the 13th.
Story date: 02/09/2014
Senior Player Facebook Group
Story date: 29/10/2013
Biggar RFC First XV
Here is a page for the1st XV to use.
Story date: 16/09/2011