Biggar U-16’s clinch National U-16 Bowl final at Murrayfield
To see action shots from yeyserdays match click on the above photo
There is NO doubting what the BIG game of the weekend was however as the U-16’s journeyed to Murrayfield to contest the National U-16 Bowl Final. This match was a cracker. A very stern test was posed by South Lanarkshire neighbours Hamilton and the match was a thoroughly enjoyable and competitive match. A neutral – and there weren’t that many present – would have revelled in the skill and fitness levels on display. Both sides played with commitment, skill and showed some very positive decision-making (qualities which were absent from the match played 24 hours previously!).
Thanks to parent and scribe Graham Kerr who provided the following report.
U16 National Bowl Final: Biggar 34 Hamilton 22
A match worthy of a final, a team worthy of the silverware
What a fantastic game of rugby! What fantastic support with somewhere near 150 travelling supporters! What a fantastic effort from a squad of fantastic young men! What a fantastic result!
After the freezing conditions of last week and the intervening days to thaw out, the team, coaches, mums, dads, siblings and a good few supporters took the bus to Murrayfield for this much anticipated final. After high energy grub at the clubhouse from chef Jock, the boys were fuelled up for the encounter. They needed it as this was to be a bruising match in weather conditions that were at times reminiscent of last weekend.
Biggar had the honour of the kick-off. A long kick from Euan Bogle was well taken by the Hamilton No7 who powered through the Biggar line until centre Rowan Stewart made a telling tackle to halt his progress. The ball was turned over after the scrum however and Hamilton maintained their field position to capitalise on territory and possession, making it over for the first try. The conversion was denied by the post.
Biggar put pressure on Hamilton after the restart and forced the line out on the 22. Hamilton secured the line out and kicked for territory only for the ball to bounce awkwardly and Marcus Dobie, on gathering the ball, took a hit to the ribs from the Hamilton tackler. He was replaced by his brother Aaron. Peter Steele then made a break down the right wing and Biggar won a scrum on the 5m. The ball was moved wide and Peter Steele was the man to take the ball over the line for the try converted but Bogle.
There were some big hits going in and Biggar held Hamilton in the tackle not long after the restart, forcing the scrum. Hamilton then infringed the offside line and Biggar were able to take the lead with a well taken penalty from Euan Bogle. After the restart, Gavin Raftery set up a ruck and Rory McGinn fed the ball to the centres and in turn to Steele who took the ball into the Hamilton 22. Hamilton were again penalised, this time for going off their feet and Biggar were able to set up a line out 10m from the try line. After a well worked line out McGinn was able to find space with a great dummy and break through the Hamilton defence for the try. Bogle converted.
Hamilton came straight back at Biggar with a clever restart, securing territory and possession. However after some great defence by Biggar, Hamilton were penalised again, this time for holding on, and Biggar were able to kick clear to halfway. However, the wind took the ball in the line out and Hamilton won the resulting scrum. The Hamilton scrum half made a clever break and from the ensuing ruck, Hamilton capitalised on a gap in the Biggar defence to get a converted try.
Biggar made a good restart, forcing Hamilton to clear but Bogle made a great take and passed out to Steele. He couldn’t quite hold on to the ball for what would have been a sure try. However, no matter as Biggar again won the ball and the backs moved it out to the wing where Steele was again able to break the try line on the right wing for a converted try courtesy of Bogle. The touch judge also spotted some Hamilton foul play and their No 8 was yellow carded. Half time Biggar 22, Hamilton 12.
Biggar weren't able to capitalise on the man advantage as Hamilton came out with aggression and determination after their half-time team talk. Hamilton secured possession and territory in the early part of the second half and it was only a matter of time before they scored, their backs this time breaking the try line in the corner. This was after what was a magnificent defensive display by the Biggar XV who tackled and tackled to keep Hamilton out.
The game then settled although both sides gave away possession to each other from knock ons and scrum infringements. Biggar soon capitalised though, and won a penalty on the right wing in the Hamilton 22. Electing to take the tap, they kept their heads and Rowan Stewart broke through for the try, although he hurt himself in the process and had to retire. Angus Kerr came on as winger as a replacement with Craig Shearer also coming on for Callum Dunlop.
Hamilton again used the restart cleverly to gain territory and Biggar were forced to kick to clear. This allowed Hamilton to run the ball back at Biggar and they found a gap in the defence for a try. Biggar were quick to respond though and Andrew Jardine, Rory McGinn and Peter Steele combined to allow Peter to find a big gap in the Hamilton line for a converted score between the posts.
With the clock running down, Biggar had a last chance for a trademark ‘Finding Nemo’ move at the line out but this time they couldn't quite make the move work. Much to the relief of the supporters the Ref blew for full time. Jubilant celebrations from the Biggar team!
The amount of planning and effort that have gone in to make this win happen is truly amazing.
Yes, the boys won the game on the pitch but they couldn’t have won if it were not for a lot of other people who have helped them along the way. As a Dad and on behalf of all of the Mum’s and Dad’s we must thank the coaches; Johnny, Gavin and Craig; as well as chef, bag man, physio and team manager Jock. Mum’s, Dad’s and other supporters along the way have enjoyed the good rugby the team has played but they have also ensured that there is huge encouragement from the touch line – the lads do hear it on the pitch - and at Murrayfield today the triple digit numbers ensured that whilst we were at a neutral ground, the home of Scottish Rugby, it felt like a home tie. Thanks also to the club that gives the boys the opportunity to play a game they love. Whilst the whole set up is worthy of praise, Calum Taylor, Development Officer and Aird Jardine, Midi Convener, deserve special mention.
Hamilton were worthy opponents and they and their coaches should be congratulated for a classic encounter.
What made the difference between the two teams? Each had a squad of 22; both teams were unbeaten; and to a man they were all ready for the game and desperate to win. The difference was Biggar played structured rugby, they kept their shape and importantly they varied their game plan throughout the match. They are inventive, skilled and cohesive. They have natural talent. They are coached well. They are a team. They are winners. Hoooorraay!!
Man-of-the-match Peter Steele
Biggar U16 Squad:
Euan Bogle, Marcus Dobie, Andre Jardine (C), Rowan Stewart, Peter Steele, Rory McGinn, Douglas Hill, Keir Hamilton, Jordan Gray, Guy Kelly, Andrew Reid, Callum Dunlop, Andrew Nimmo, Neil Jones, Gavin Raftery, Craig Shearer, Alex Dawe, Angus
Kerr, Aaron Dobie, Craig Meikle, Stuart Forrest, Daniel McKonkey. Also unavailable or injured Alex Denholm, Henry Adams, Alex Toal.
The trophy presentation was made by past Biggar President Doug Ward who was in attendance on Sunday in his capacity as SRU Council member. Doug quite obviously took great delight in making the presentation to his home club while, in what was fact becoming an all-Biggar afternoon, another who was equally proud was 'man-on-the-mike', SRU host and Biggar man Chris Cruise who couldn't hide his pride and made comment on the boys from his own 'home town'. Brilliant!
Story date: 02/03/2015
Biggar RFC Midi section caters for those of high school age. We currently have teams in S1, S2, Under 15 and Under 16 age categories, as well as an Under 16 girls team. The gradual incorporation of full rugby union rules over the different age grades makes Midi rugby the perfect stepping stone for progression onto under 18s rugby and then to the senior game. All midi rugby teams train on a Wednesday night at the club at 6.45pm. If you would like to know more please contact Aird Jardine on 07917731494
Story date: 25/08/2011
MODERN APPRENTICE PROGRAM - VACANCY
MODERN APPRENTICE RUGBY COMMUNITY COACH - VACANCY COMMENCING AUGUST 2015
After a busy and productive year with the club and with the lure of traveling beckoning William has decided not to go forward to the 2nd year of the Modern Apprenticeship. Whilst he still has 3 months left Biggar RFC want to thank William for all his hard work over the last 9 months.
This means that Biggar RFC are now looking to fill this vacancy! The post is for an initial one year term with the option of the candidate progressing to a second year. Expressions of interest are now being invited.
The successful applicant will be part of the Scottish Rugby Education programme managed through Murrayfield and overseen by Alex Edmonstone (Regional Development Manager for Scottish Rugby) and Paul Kesterton (Education Manager for Scottish Rugby). In addition to the training and academic aspects of the course the successful applicant will spend the bulk of their time working alongside the Biggar Rugby Club Development Officer, Calum Taylor in supporting Rugby Development within the Lanark / Biggar area’s including its schools and at the Rugby Club .
Year two, offers with a higher level of qualification to that of year one with the opportunity to gain practical experience fully managing and running rugby development programmes.
This exciting role will appeal to those who see a future for themselves within the sports or leisure Industry, possibly as a Sports Development Officer or as a fore-runner to further Higher Education in one of these or related fields.
Interested applicants should in the first instance make contact with Calum Taylor on
07720 677 977 or email email@example.com
If you would like more information on the role please click here
Story date: 21/04/2015
Due to the high demand of Modern Apprentice places nationally expressions of interest must be in by Friday 1st May 2015. Interested candidates should be aged 16-19 years old and not in full-time education or employment.
U15’s triumph at Boroughmuir to reach Shield final
U-15 Coach Alistair Stewart was delighted to learn on Monday that 6 of his squad have been called up to train with the Glasgow Chiefs. Their selection comes after the KNT Easter Camps which were held at Cambuslang last week. All bar one are members of Biggar's Hypers Acdeamy and there is little doubt that their involvement in additional training and strength and conditioning has been instrumental in their development and selection.
The boys thoroughly deserve their selection and this can only bode well for them and their side as they get exposure to the district system. Well done lads!
Matthew Stewart, Lewis Stewart, Lohan Kutze, Robbie Orr, Stuart Forrest, Daniel McConkey
U15’s v Boroughmuir: Edinburgh U15 League Semi-Final
Boroughmuir 0 Biggar 43
Place in the shield final at Murrayfield....Check.
Biggar U15 produced a dominant display to beat Boroughmuir into the Plate final of the Edinburgh league.
This was quite simply their best performance of the season. They've had a lot of tough challenges against very strong opposition and improved each time and this massive win is testament to their hard work and commitment that they truly deserve.
Biggar dominated from the outset and never gave the hosts an inch. Biggar were relentless in their approach. Positional changes displayed a breath of fresh air that allowed the ball to breach the gain line constantly that Bouroughmuir couldn't handle.
The off-loading game worked to great effect but Biggar seemed to have the full package to back it up.
Boroughmuir did manage to throw up a few pockets of resistance and their work at the breakdown was effective but not consistent enough. Biggar realised this and protected the ball so much better as the game went on.
Lewis Stewart at centre drew first blood after some neat hands and link-up play with his brother, Matthew. Matthew Stewart followed the first score with one of his own five minutes later. This combination shows promise for the future.
Biggar's dominant line-out and scrum provided a solid platform for the back division to build from. They capitalised again in the first half through a break from Stuart Forrest after a set piece who delivered a superbly well timed pass to Rowan Stewart and some neat footwork by the big full-back saw him over the white wash. At this point it was one way traffic.
17-0 at the re-start and historically, these leads have often been short-lived for Biggar but this time they never took their foot off the gas.
The turnover rate from Biggar was impressive with Ali Steele showing real tenacity at the breakdown which put the hosts under considerable pressure. Guy Kelly led the forward charge well and displayed real leadership.
The visitors were on the score sheet again when Luhann Kotze made an electric burst up the left and scored between the posts.
Alex Dawe fancied a piece of the action and the No.8 was rewarded after some strong play inside the opposition 22 and crashed over with three Boroughmuir forwards hanging off him.
Kotze nicked in again to score his second following his own charge-down followed shortly by another from short range by Jordan Gray.
Yet again Robbie Orr showed his versatility at Flanker and was a safe pair of hands all day and linked well with Daniel McConkey who put in an equally solid performance.
The U15's can reflect on an impressive display of rugby and carry that positive thought to the final.
Everyone at the club should be proud of the U15 achievements in the face of many challenges this season. We should not forget that this is their second final (Scotstoun 7's) and they deserve their final place yet again at the home of Scottish rugby after that sparkling display. Well done!
Tries: Lewis Stewart, Matthew Stewart, Rowan Stewart, Luhann Kotze (2), Alex Dawe, Jordan Gray.
Story date: 20/04/2015
Conv: Matthew Stewart (3), Robbie Orr.
U-15’s in encouraging performance against Edinburgh League leaders
Edinburgh U-15 League
Story date: 31/03/2015
Biggar 10 Watsonians 24
Biggar deserved a bit more reward from this game because they had played full part in an absorbing match but paid the price for losing the ball in contact too many times.
They dominated the opening period and took full advantage of the tail wind.
The confidence in Biggar was there for all to see and that should be commended off the back of a heavy defeat the week before.
The Biggar scrum held solid all day and they built on that to give them a platform to break wide. Simple hands, good support and strong running led to Biggars first try with Rowan Stewart powering over after breaking two tackles. Conversion just wide from a tight angle.
Watsonians came back and showed real determination but failed to breach the Biggar defence which was disciplined and gutsy to say the least.
The Biggar penalty count started to rise though, offside being the common infringement.
The Hartreemill boys never gave the visitors an inch early on in the half but they were pegged back for a while later on. With big tackles flying in the Watsonians side must have known they were in a hard match and one tackle in particular led to Rowan Stewart leaving the field clutching what was a suspected broken shoulder. It wasn't what he received, it's what he delivered! Anyone on Biggar Main Street would have heard the collision but unfortunately Rowan came off second best. Although the Watsons boy probably got a bit of a fright too.
5 nil up at half time and Biggar were positive and still up for the fight.
Watsonians came out strong in the second but yet again the stonewall Biggar defence held it together.
Robbie Orr was solid playing flanker and never faltered for 60 minutes and his sheer determination inspired his side to believe that they could actually take the strong Edinburgh outfit all the way.
Biggar tried to move the ball but poor weather and underfoot conditions were making it difficult.
Biggar's costly concession of penalties continued giving Watsonians a chance which they accepted and scrambled over with a converted try to go ahead.
The hosts came right back at their opponents and applied good pressure. Daniel McConkey broke free and worked his way up to the Watsons 5m line but the off-load didn't quite come off and the ball was knocked on.
The Biggar pack had the Watsons scrum on the ropes and they needed to clear their lines.
Robbie Orr superbly charged the clearing kick which rebounded enough for Craig Meikle to touch down before the defender. Biggar now 10-7 up.
However, as Watsonians threw everything they had, and the kitchen sink, at Biggar it was evident that the fierce defence could not last all of the match and they broke back again.
Jordan Gray took a knock and was replaced. Tempers started to fray a little.
Watsonians struck again to launch their best spell of the match and brought on the 'flyer' who exploited the gaps in the home defence. Another score by the same player in the last minute sealed the deal for the Edinburgh side.
After the pain of last week, this was a much improved performance from Biggar U15.
Losing the ball in contact was Biggar's main problem, that and losing two influential players to injury. Watsonians dropped nothing. If Biggar could have secured better ball in the ruck and moved through the phases more often then this scoreline may have been so much different. But it has to be said that this is a brave and physical U15 side that want to do well and can do well.
Tries: Rowan Stewart, Craig Meilke.
(Rowan Stewart sustained muscle damage and thankfully no break)
U-15’s and S2’s have tough matches against Heriots and Gala
U-15’s Edinburgh League
Biggar 7 Heriots 53
Biggar U15 suffered a set back in their cup campaign on Sunday going down heavily to a hard working Heriots outfit that resembled nothing of the team that took to the Goldenacre turf the week previous.
Heriots failed to submit a team sheet which was rather unsporting as these are the rules. Their officials didn't seem too fussed about it! Perhaps these rules need not apply to our neighbours in the east.
However, the 'Honest' Biggar side did submit their team sheet and faced the larger and more physical Heriots team.
Both teams started strongly but possession was soon dominated by Heriots however handling errors were evident under pressure.
Biggar had opportunities in attack but were either halted by a strong defence or moves were to break down with the ball lost in contact.
Heriots must have arguably the most dangerous outside backs in the league. Biggar errors gifted them the broken field play that they thrived on in the first half and even Biggars usual stonewall defence wasn't enough to stop going in to half time with a daunting disadvantage.
Understandably Biggars heads went down but they did manage the odd flash of good play.
Lewis Stewart's excellent work rate ever present and Stuart Forrest's consistent desire to carry the ball at pace softened many blows. Craig Meikle saw reasonable action but no matter what he did he just couldn't break the Heriots line.
Biggar did eventually break through to score after being awarded a penalty on the Heriots 5m line. A quick tap and Luhann Kotze was through. Robbie Orr converted well.
It's games like this that bring you crashing back to earth after back-to-back wins but it is a measure of the team that bounces back and puts the sore defeats behind them. Biggar can do that very thing.
Time to regroup and put a shift in at training on Wednesday.
The boys are indeed tuned in to the areas they need to develop and this game merely highlights these issues.
Nonetheless, the defeat at Hartreemill was not an easy one to stomach. Heriots squeezed the life out of Biggar until a late second half rally but the hosts were second best for the most part.
Tries: Luhann Kotze
Conv: Robbie Orr
So Near Yet So Far - Biggar S1/S2 come so close to victory over Gala
Biggar S1/2 took to the pitch on Sunday at Hartree Mill looking to continue a good run of recent form. They were up against a Gala team that were much smaller but who were to prove very tough opponents.
Biggar knew that this would be a tough task having lost the earlier fixture by 10 tries to 3 so the initial aim might have been to try and close the gap but these lads have improved significantly since then and came away gutted to have lost by a last gasp winning try from the visitors.
As it was, this was an excellent game. Biggar had strength and power in the pack and held the upper hand there while Gala were excellent with the ball in hand and had some real flyers out on both wings.
Biggar were first to strike. Great rucking from the forwards and penetrating runs from Connor and Harry Low allowed the ball to get spun out to Drew to run in well for the first score which was converted well by Connor.
The game then began to flow back and forth. Excellent power from the Biggar forwards pushing Gala back but they tackled well throughout. Biggar were pinned back towards the end of the half with Galas wing pace showing. They got the ball out onto the left wing and crossed despite excellent efforts from Dylan and Sam to hold him up.
Half Time Biggar 4 – Gala 4
Into the second half and again excellent play from both sides was in evidence. Hard rucking from Biggar, in particular from Cameron Snell who seemed to be at every breakdown allowed Biggar to build a strong platform. Pressure was mounting with Gala struggling to contain the continued strong running from Connor and Harry Low in the forwards and Drew and Adam in the backs. As it was, it was a simple pass inside to Connor who looked to have been held up but managed to ground the ball despite the attentions of 3 or 4 Gala players that gave Biggar their second try.
Gala came roaring back to score an almost copy book version of their first score. Excellent hands and pace got the ball out to their left wing and they managed to get over the line with 3 or 4 Biggar players desperately trying to stop him.
By now it was an established pattern in the game. Biggar were hitting their forwards and forcing Gala to commit numbers to the breakdown and Gala were passing the ball well through the hands and using their greater pace. Biggar were next to score. Adam Carrick with some great running down the right well supported from Drew and Finlay managed to get over then line to put Biggar back in the lead.
Gala were unlucky then not to bring the game back level with great work down their right. They seemed to have an unstoppable overlap but an excellent intervention tackle from Finlay Stewart stopped them in their tracks and the moment was lost. It was only a matter of time however and Gala went back to their left wing to pull Biggar back again.
Tries were then exchanged with Adam creating some space through the middle and passing to Drew who had to work hard to get the ball over the line but the try was scored. Gala got back level on tries with another well worked score with the ball again being moved well through the hands. The kick was converted which took the score to Biggar 15 – Gala 14 with 3 minutes left to play. Biggar were hanging on a little and in the end were unable to keep up with the flying machine on the left wing. This was to prove costly as the all was worked well to him and he “pinned his ears back” to score and win the match.
No-one should be down-hearted about this result. This was an excellent performance from all the boys in a Biggar shirt and progress is there for all to see. Keep up the hard work. Results will come!!
Story date: 25/03/2015
Full Time Biggar 15 Gala 18
U-15’s in second capital win.
U-15’s Edinburgh League
Heriots 7 Biggar 39
This was another sweet win for the Hartremill boys to back up the excellent victory at Currie the previous week.
Biggar were consistent throughout the game on the main Goldenacre pitch showing a new found commitment that is a breath of fresh air.
Biggar began strongly and took the early lead through scrum-half Luhann Kotze, who showed real tenacity to sneak through the Heriots defence after a neat delivery from Stuart Forrest and touch down in the corner.
Biggar continued to dominate the opening quarter with the home side unable to get out of their own half and they were rewarded again when Lewis Stewart attacked the space and dived in for the second.
Eventually Heriots secured some posession to get a platform into the match and broke through the middle after valiant Biggar defence to score between the sticks. After the restart Heriots slipped through on the right wing only to be halted by the brick wall that was Jamie Bell. The Full-back was to have a brilliant performance as, yet again, a similar move and certain Heriots try was thwarted by a superb cover tackle to keep his side 10-7 up at the interval.
Biggar blasted their way into action quickly on resumption of play with Luhann Kotze taking off like a rocket at the back of the ruck and drilled it to Alex Dawe who popped it to Stuart Forrest to burst over the line. Stuart Forrest was in on the act straight after the restart when he received the kick-off and ran in from the Biggar 10m line for Biggars 4th.
Biggar were unlucky to find themselves down to fourteen men with 20min left on the clock when Charles Connelly was sin-binned for what appeared to be an accidental kick that made contact with an oposition player. 10min to catch his breath did him no harm.
Craig Meikle added another with a fine run and Luhann Kotze picked up the 6th.
Biggar became a little hemmed-in in the last few minutes but that ever present strong defence led to a turnover. Biggar then motored up the pitch and applied more pressure.
It was almost over, but Biggar weren't done yet. Charles Connelly paid his dues and sealed the day with a well deserved try in the corner, much to the delight of the crowd.
Biggar were good value for their victory, combining attacking play and remarkable stonewall defending. Matthew Stewart had an indifferent day with the boot only securing two conversions and appeared, uncharacteristically, a little out of sorts.
However, the performance of the day was surely that of Jamie Bell who showed a true bravery and maturity at full-back and nailed at least three try saving tackles.
Story date: 16/03/2015
Tries: Luhann Kotze (2), Lewis Stewart, Stuart Forrest (2), Craig Meikle, Charles Connelly.
Conv: Matthew Stewart (2)
S2 v Hamilton
S2 v Hamilton
Tough loss but positives abound
The Biggar S2 team had a bruising encounter with South Lanarkshire rivals the Hamilton Bulls at the Showfield on Sunday. An unfortunate set of circumstances led to Biggar only having 12 players available with 2 minutes to go to kick off. Up stepped Euan and Cameron from the S1 team (having just finished their own game) to give Biggar 14. Initially Hamilton refused to yield a man as is their right so the game kicked off with 14 v 15.
This showed in the early stages with Hamilton having a sustained spell of pressure which eventually led to a try which they converted. Biggar came storming back with a great spell of pressure of their own. With the 5 metre line in sight a number of penalties were awarded to Biggar which Hamilton continued to defend illegally. Eventually the pressure told and a popped pass to Drew allowed him to run in through a crowd to score. At this point Hamilton passed a player to Biggar which brought it back to 15 a side.
Hamilton were a transformed from the side that were comfortably beaten by Biggar at Hamilton earlier in the season with a big tough pack and a number of very mobile backs. This worked well for them and coupled with a number of missed tackles from Biggar allowed Hamilton to build a lead. Three further unanswered tries were scored by Hamilton to give a half time lead of 4 tries to 1. There were still positives to take from the first half. Biggar were working hard and trying to stay organised whilst taking the game to Hamilton. An excellent break from Drew coupled with excellent support play from James Dudds almost got Biggar right back into it. A last gasp intervention from Hamilton prevented a closer half time score.
Into the second half and some of the Biggar players were beginning to tire but they never let their heads drop. Again tackles were missed and an excellent dummy from the Hamilton number 12 saw him run in a 5th try of the day for Hamilton. A tough lesson was being learned by Biggar and a number of fans feared a rout might ensue. Earlier in the season that may have been the case, but every boy stood up and worked their socks off. Two quick tries in succession from Biggar got them back into the game. The first a well taken run in from distance by Cameron. Looking every inch a centre as he sprinted for the line when in fact he’s an excellent second row and the second a storming run from Loosehead prop Hugo Bailey brought the score up to 6 – 3 Hamilton.
In the end a comeback was not to be with Hamilton running out winners 8 tries to 3. It would be easy to focus on the score line and some poor tackling but there were a number of positives to be taken from this game. Some excellent support play was witnessed, hard work throughout from all and a team spirit that refused to let themselves be overrun which was not in evidence earlier in the season. Every one of these lads deserves credit for 50 minutes of tireless hard work.
Special mentions and thanks must go to Euan and Cameron who stepped in to allow this game to go ahead. Both of them worked their socks off and make valuable contributions in a game where they were surrounded by some big lads.
Story date: 11/03/2015
U-16’s cling on for hard fought win
Edinburgh U-16 League
Biggar 13 Dunbar 12
Good Job Well Done
The definition of a team: A group of people with the full set of complementary skills required to achieve a common goal. This U16 team fit this definition perfectly. From 1 through to 22, the whole squad, they showed their individual complementary skills on the rugby pitch but importantly they also focussed their efforts in pulling together to beat a very good Dunbar side which until this game were also unbeaten. Indeed this was THE top-of-the-table clash.
In front of a large, enthusiastic and very much appreciated crowd nerves were evident at the start, with both Biggar and Dunbar knowing this was the biggest game of the season so far. With the restart not 10m, Biggar were awarded a scrum on the halfway line. Winning the scrum, Biggar were then gifted a penalty for Dunbar killing the ball in the ruck. After a kick to touch, Biggar won the lineout but then lost the ball in the ruck. However, Dunbar were forced out by the Biggar defence and Biggar secured a good lineout, allowing the ball to be moved out through the backs. Peter Steele made great ground, setting up a ruck well into the Dunbar 22. With quick ball moved out to Andrew Jardine who scored a well worked try in the right corner. This left a difficult angle for the conversion for the right footed Euan Bogle. However, he kept his composure and calmly planted it straight through the posts.
Biggar kept up the pressure from the restart and through some wonderful offloads, kept the ball live worrying the Dunbar defence. This pressure forced Dunbar to stray offside giving Biggar a penalty in kickable distance. Euan Bogle again calmly slotted it between the posts. Biggar’s possession and territory dwindled as Dunbar began to come back into the game. Biggar’s lineout was a little insecure (moves not slick enough) and this, along with some turnovers at the rucks (body position too high), handed back possession and territory to Dunbar. They kept the tempo up, running penalties and using rucks and mauls to keep the phases of play going. Twice they got to Biggar’s 5m line but the Biggar defence was immense, they put their bodies on the line and repelled wave after wave of Dunbar’s attacks for more than 10 minutes. Holding on, Biggar finished the half ahead by ten points, but Dunbar were definitely back in the game.
Dunbar kept the tempo up into the second half, forcing some uncharacteristic errors from Biggar. The pressure was beginning to tell. Dunbar secured a lineout in the Biggar 22 and slipped a tackle to expose a gap for an easy try and conversion. Dunbar gained territory and eventual possession after the restart but conceded a penalty for holding on. This allowed Biggar to clear their lines to halfway. Biggar then took the ball into the Dunbar half and Dunbar conceded another penalty to give Biggar a lineout on the 5m line. But the lineout was lost allowing Dunbar to take play back to the halfway line. The ball was soon back in the Dunbar half and Biggar again won a penalty within kickable distance. Euan Bogle again, slotted it between the posts to increase the margin to 6 points.
A Biggar knock on soon after the restart set up a Dunbar scrum well into the Biggar 22. It was easily won and Dunbar slipped a tackle for a score near the corner. This gave a difficult angle for the Dunbar kicker and the conversion was missed, narrowing the margin in Biggar’s favour to only 1 point. Dunbar and Biggar then battled it out for the remainder of the half. Biggar had a chance of a penalty but Euan Bogle didn’t connect his kick as sweetly as he would have liked and the ball fell just short. Dunbar kept possession putting together some well worked phases of play and had their own opportunity for what could have been a try winning move thwarted by a forward pass. Both teams battled on to the whistle, which couldn’t come soon enough for Biggar. With two minutes to go Biggar won back possession through a penalty. With a kick out for a lineout, all Biggar had to do was win the lineout and keep possession to run down the clock. Jordan Gray’s throw was good, lineout secured and Ref, David Adams blew for full time to give Biggar the hard fought victory.
The squad’s reaction was a combination of elation, relief and exhaustion as each player had left everything on the pitch. It had been an amazing game, competitively played with great spirit shown by all 30 players on the pitch. The Dunbar back row were to the fore throughout and made their presence felt at every opportunity, especially in the second period while their stand off posed problems whenever he got hands on the ball.
In sport a team achieves its goals, but a good team wins. This Biggar team are unbeaten in 2014. With one month to go and two matches left can they remain unbeaten? Based on this performance it will take a very, very good team to beat Biggar.
Story date: 03/12/2014
Biggar U-16’s edge out winners in Watsons thriller
Watsonians U16 12; Biggar U16 17
Biggar are the Best
Its official! This Biggar U16 Squad really are very good! Today they demonstrated character, commitment, cool heads under intense pressure and above all belief in themselves and edged out Watsonians in a tense but fair game of rugby. The squad asked for support, and a knowledgeable Biggar crowd turned up and cheered on the team from start to finish. Fingers were bitten, stomachs churned but the travelling support consisting of parents, relatives, friends, injured players, lower and upper age group players and several dogs, were all rewarded by 100% effort from the whole squad.
It was an exciting game from the start. Biggar kicked off and the Biggar team were quick up with Jordan Gray securing the catch. The ball was then moved quickly out to the backs and Peter Steele burst through the stunned Watsonians defence for a score under the posts. Euan Bogle made the conversion to put Biggar 7 points up with less than two minutes on the clock. Watsonians composed themselves and with a good restart gained territory in Biggar’s 22. With a blustery wind, lineout throwing was difficult and Biggar were duly penalised. Whilst the resultant scrum was evenly matched, Watsonians were able to pick up and move the ball down the blindside for a try in the right corner. Although the conversion attempt was helped by the wind, the angle was tight and it drifted wide.
Biggar restarted well and put pressure on Watsonians and they were pinged by the ref for offside. Biggar gained back territory from the penalty and won the resultant lineout. The ball was moved to the backs and through a wonderful series of moves involving switches and dummy runners that baffled the opposition defence, Peter Steele again broke through and used his strength to carry the ball over the tryline despite some determined tackling near the tryline by Watsonians. Euan Bogle again kicked the conversion.
The game then settled down although much of the play was in the Biggar half. Watsonians kept up the pressure on Biggar and a chance or two to clear their lines were wasted by errors arising from the sheer pressure Watsonians were putting on the squad. What was evident though, was focus and a collective team effort. This was most visible at the rucks. This squad have often been criticised for their rucking technique (or lack of it) but after a fantastic session during the week from coach Jonny Bogle, the difference today was tremendous. Not only did it reduce the turnover count to almost nil, it gave a solid platform and clean ball for Angus Kerr at scrum half. This effort from the Biggar squad kept out Watsonians for the rest of the half, to give a 5:14 lead at half-time.
Watsonians replicated the Biggar quick score from the first half. This time Watsonians set up a clever and well executed driving maul from a lineout shortly after the restart. They drove the maul all the way to the 5m line and then moved it out for a converted try. With the lead narrowed to 2 points and Watsonians with their tails up, Biggar had to keep their discipline and focus. This they did and, with clean ball from the ruck, the Biggar centres again put together another great move but just couldn’t quite complete the last pass for the score. However, Biggar were brought back for an earlier penalty and with a tap took the ball into the Watsonians 22. Watsonians handled in the ruck and gifted Euan Bogle a tricky kick at goal. Judging the wind well he drilled it straight through the posts. Jordan Gray had been injured in the earlier play and with no front row replacement, scrums were uncontested until he eventually shook of the leg knock and bravely returned to the pitch. Watsonians camped themselves in the Biggar 22 but were denied by a determined Biggar defence and an eventual fumble. This allowed Euan Bogle to take a fantastic pick up from the spilled ball and kick and chase to secure a lineout in the Watsonians 22. Biggar won the lineout and Watsonians were then offside at the ruck, giving Euan Bogle another chance of 3 points. However, this time he pulled it slightly wide. A tense finish to the game saw Watsonians and Biggar trade kicks, but a couple of Biggar infringements in their own 22 did give Watsonians a chance to close out the game. In the last play they did get over the line but a determined Biggar defence held the ball up and, much to the relief of the Biggar crowd, the Ref blew for a well-deserved Biggar win.
This game proved that the whole squad are good and games are won by team effort. Injuries and illness depleted numbers today, but the depth to the squad and the commitment from all meant that the coaches didn’t have any difficult team choices to make. All performed well. With a free weekend coming up, it will allow some injuries to heal and bruises to fade before the last three games of the league.
Story date: 03/11/2014
A big thank you from the whole squad and coaches to the travelling support and they hope to see you all again at the next game on the 16th November at home against Lasswade. They aim to get another good win to keep up the 100% win record.
Youth section has mixed fortunes
U-15’s Biggar 5 Boroughmuir 22
A wet and windy Showfield was the venue for this long-awaited contest and after a 3-week break from competitive rugby the boys were up for the task. Biggar started exceptionally well and quite possibly played the best rugby so far this season.
The larger Boroughmuir side must have got quite a surprise at the rate at which Biggar pressed forward. There was no let-up in the intensity which was refreshing to watch for the brave support in what was challenging weather conditions to say the least.
Ali Steele deputised at Fly-half for the injured Matthew Stewart and Sam Wallis stepped into the scrum-half position as a result of Luhann Kotze still being in South Africa and Finlay Barr also injured.
It was passionate stuff and the Biggar side were happy to trade blows with the Edinburgh outfit. The rucking drills at training starting to pay off it would seem!
It was the kind of rugby that suggested that only an error could settle things.
Deadlock was broken in the 25th minute with that fateful error. The same costly mistake would haunt Biggar another three times!
After going so well Biggar left themselves a bit short on cover on the left which opened the door for Boroughmuir. The visitors claimed two tries and one conversion in the space of 2 minutes. 12-0 down at half time.
U15's rallied well in the second half and were winning the territory battle but couldn't find that 'Killer' pass.
Biggar were not to be denied points however, and some smart thinking from Robbie Orr saw him kick in behind the Boroughmuir defence with the ensuing chase resulting in him touching down before the opposition Full-back.
Both sides became a bit wasteful of the opportunities open to them due to limited vision and a slight loss of focus. Deteriorating conditions a contributory factor no doubt.
Boroughmuir turned the screw late on in the second half and yet again exploited the gaps in Biggars left field. Another two in quick succession killed the game off.
Biggar deserved so much more from the game and the scoreline was definately no reflection on the assured performance shown by the Hartreemill side. As performances go, this was up there with the best of them. Some luck and improved vision could have made all the difference.
A stand-out performance from Declan Boulton at 2nd Row was delightful to watch and deserves special mention.
Time to re-group and patch-up for the difficult trip to Heriots next week!
Tries: Robbie Orr
Livingston U16 0; Biggar U16 91
Another Convincing Win
It was much of the same on Sunday as Biggar travelled to Livingston and crushed their less experienced opposition by 14 tries to nil. The only change was with the weather conditions – unusually for the season so far, the team had to contend with both rain and wind. The rain at least eased off during the game and didn’t spoil the running rugby that characterises this strong and talented squad.
Biggar spent pretty much all of the first half of the game in the Livingston half. Early pressure and a series of three scrums saw the forwards work well and Alex Dawe running in from the scrum but falling short of the line. However the backs were on hand and Rory McGinn took the ball over the tryline for a converted try. Good work by the forwards including Neil Jones also saw the ball back in the Livingston 22 after the restart. This gave the platform for Andrew Jardine to make it over the tryline in the left corner for an unconverted try. Euan Bogle was next on the scoresheet after a great series of play and particularly good movement of ball through the hands. Rory McGinn then pounced on a loose ball from Livingston and fed Craig Meikle for an unconverted try on the right of the pitch. Livingston then conceded a penalty in their own 22 for a ruck infringement and this allowed the backs to make a move to the right wing for Marcus Dobie to cross for an unconverted try. After the restart Biggar lost the ball in a maul but soon after it reappeared and Andrew Jardine picked it up to score the sixth try of the half between the posts - and this time converted.
The second half was played out, pretty much the same way as the first with eight tries scored from; Bogle (running through tackles), Dobie (down the wing), McGinn (jinking run), Dobie (after good run from Denholm), Dobie (cutting nicely inside), Bogle (made by fellow backs), McGinn (supported by Jardine and Bogle) and lastly Jardine (running through tackles). Six of the eight tries were converted.
Whilst this was a crushing win, it is noted that Livingston put out a mixed squad with some younger age lads getting a run out. This showed and Biggar were able to dominate in most phases of the game. However, areas still requiring improvements are in rucks and mauls. Despite having more power and aggression in the scrums, the forwards were at times out rucked and this will no doubt get some attention at this week’s training.
Overall, the squad continues to play very well and they need a game against better matched opposition to see just how good they really are. This should come next week against Watsonians who are third in the table behind Biggar and Dunbar, with Dunbar narrowly edging the game against Watsonians when the two teams met earlier in the month. So how good are the Biggar squad? Come along to Myreside next weekend and see for yourself. The lads say ‘bring it on’ and see you there!
Story date: 27/10/2014
U-15’s run Gala close
Gala RT 22 Biggar 17
Biggar really should have secured 4 points in this match, however indiscipline, loss of focus and variable commitment contributed to this disappointing defeat. Couple this up with the fact that some marginal judgement calls from the local official didn't go Biggars way, and what we have is a group of frustrated lads and equally disgruntled travelling support.
With no real breakthrough for 15 minutes it was looking like it could be a long day.
Gala were strong at the breakdown which at times Biggar struggled to deal with and more frustrating by virtue of the fact that this was regularly happening when Biggar carried the ball into contact.
The Hartreemill boys recovered well and drew first blood with a simple move that saw the ball passed through the backs out to Niall Ball, who touched down in the corner. Matthew Stewart's conversion attempt from a wide angle just short.
Some good defence thwarted the Gala attack but the hosts pulled one back with a similar move.
There was no real flow to the game and things were somewhat scrappy but 5-5 at half time probably did Gala more justice because Biggar certainly had the lions’ share of the possession.
Biggar started the second half very well and took the game to Gala. Quick hands, vision and support led to Guy Kelly touching down from close range with three bodies hanging off the strong prop. The referee was on the wrong side and adjudged the ball 'Held-up', no try. No way! The TMO would have given it....if there was one!
Momentum was on Biggar's side and they rallied to make sure of 7 points two minutes later with another strong run by Guy Kelly scoring between the posts and a successful conversion.
Gala slipped a couple of tackles and evened out the try count but Biggar remained in front. Another try for Biggar through Stuart Forrest opened the gap, much to the delight of the vocal support.
At this point things went downhill and with the official taking exception to Biggars approach to the game, claiming poor discipline at the breakdown, and following lengthy discussion about the consequences, the afore mentioned focus dwindled.
Gala then linked well to break through with Biggar unable to put their bodies between ball and ground to preserve their lead. 17-17, two minutes left to play and the draw looked likely.
Biggar pressed into the Gala half and were awarded a penalty and, for whatever reason, this decision was over-turned, giving the home side an advantage.
Gala pushed forward and slipped through only to be halted on the line by a fine tackle by Lewis Stewart. Stress levels were high and perhaps this is what led to a loose pass that Gala pounced on right on the Biggar try line.
To say the boys were 'Gutted' was an understatement. It was Gala's alertness in broken play and Biggar's failure to see clear opportunities that contributed to this defeat.
However, Sam Wallis should take encouragement from a solid performance at Scrum-half with Robbie Orr and Jamie Bell following suit at Centre and Wing.
This U15 side are not far off the mark and deserved so much more from the game. They must also understand that high levels of commitment should be maintained throughout the 60 minutes. Crucially, decisions went against Biggar and disruptions didn't help at all, but such are the challenges that are set out before us.
Tries (3): Niall Ball, Guy Kelly, Stuart Forrest
Story date: 29/09/2014
Conv (1): Matthew Stewart
U-15’s and U-16’s record handsome victories in league encounters
U-15’s Biggar 35 Livingston 22
An 11-try thriller saw Biggar come out on top of this game and register their first win of the season.
Late call-offs and injury nearly scuppered any chances of a win at all and without the help of S2's, a forfeit was on the cards. As always, in the face of adversity, Biggar managed to sort it out and field 15 able bodies.
Biggar set out their stall from the kick-off putting pressure on the Livi side and restricting their large pack from bossing the game.
U15's were without influential flanker Daniel McConkey but with Fin Stott deputising splendidly Biggar managed to maintain their consistency in the back row.
Positive intent led to the first try that saw Biggar handle well with the ball getting to Matthew Stewart who used his pace to out-run the flailing Livingston defence.
Biggar pressed up to the Livi line once again, and after some gentle persuasion from the sidelines, crash ball was the order....sorry, request. Stuart Forrest obliged and smashed through the defence to touch down.
Scrum half Luhann Kotze fancied a piece of the action and used much initiative and vision to sneak one in from the blind side.
Livi had the potential to pull things back and that's just what they did through a combination of quick hands and slack Biggar defence.
15-5 at half time and Biggar certainly looked more like the improving team they aspire to be this season.
Biggar continued to dominate in the scrum even though the Livi pack were clearly larger but technique won through. Although it would appear that Biggar need some work in the ruck which was somewhat passive in its execution.
Kotze picked up another try but Biggar conceded two others due to switching off. Perhaps they thought they had less time to play than their opposition.
This loss of focus didn't last long and normal service resumed with Drew Brewster scoring a try after a display of commitment and determination and Declan Boulton added to the score sheet showing much of the same.
Lewis Stewart showed real desire all day and was rewarded by scoring a fine solo effort from inside the opposition 22.
The last play of the game was declared by the referee and a few seconds later Cameron Forrest got a rules 'Black-out' and tactical genius mixed up and threw the ball out of the park thinking it was all over! Unfortunately, Livingston scored from the awarded penalty. No harm done, but I reckon there's plenty of mileage in this one! Look out for the end of season awards!
Biggar had no success from the kicking tee and this was largely down to the wide angles that they were faced with.
Particular thanks should also go to S2's Harry Archibald, Drew Brewster and Cameron Snell who acquitted themselves well at the older age group.
This game was an obvious step forward and gives the U15's a great platform to work on before travelling down to Netherdale to meet Gala next week.
Tries: Matthew Stewart, Stuart Forrest, Luhann Kotze (2), Declan Boulton, Lewis Stewart,
Penicuik U16 0; Biggar U16 86
The weather was beautiful at Penicuik and so was the flowing rugby from the Biggar squad. With confidence levels already high after some good wins so far, these have been bolstered even further by this run out at Penicuik.
The coaches philosophy this year is very much that the U16’s play as a squad, with each player having opportunities to shine and play in various positions throughout the year. This match was an ideal opportunity for the coaches to mix things up a bit and try a few players in different positions. Even with this, the squad showed an impressive level of continuity with everyone slotting in well, no matter where they were playing.
This translated into an impressive scoreline in the first half with Biggar scoring 9 tries and 5 conversions. Craig Meikle was the first on the scoresheet (his debut try), the ball being moved right for him to score after a scrum. Biggar kept up the pressure and this time it was a forwards ball after a scrum with Keir Hamilton powering through the defence for the score. Biggar ran the ball back after the restart and the backs linked well to put Douglas Hill over for another try. Hamilton then made ground and Angus Kerr took the ball out of the ruck and with a swerving run sprinted to the tryline. Hill then scored again, the try made through a good change of pace in his run, outsmarting the Penicuik defence. The forwards then got their chance to score with Guy Kelly and then Jordan Gray breaking through tackles for a score apiece. The forwards then worked a good lineout to secure ball and feed the backs with Alex Denholm crossing the tryline in the corner. The last try of the half was scored by Andrew Jardine, linking with his fellow backs to take the ball over the line straight from the restart.
The second half was much like the first, Biggar dominant in pretty much all phases of play, perhaps the only area where work still being needed is at the rucks. In order to improve in this area, the squad really need some competitive and aggressive opposition and this will come in later games. With 5 tries in the second half and 3 conversions, Rowan Stewart scored both the first and second tries of the half, linking well with fellow centre Jardine. Jardine then made a break to set up the next score for Hamilton with a further hat-trick try for Douglas Hill soon to follow. Jardine finished the half with a try between the posts.
Story date: 22/09/2014
An impressive performance by all with some beautiful moves and hands displayed by the backs (and the forwards at times). There were some training ground moves from both set-piece and in open play; switches, dummies, sidesteps, changes of pace, and good old fashioned straight running battering through the defence. The squad played really well and confidence, already high, continues to grow even further. With Murrayfield next up (bottom of the table before today’s results) the squad should again have an opportunity to try a few things and continue to enjoy their rugby.