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
Biggar RFC Second XV
This season 2014/15, Biggar 2nd XV will compete in the Edinburgh RESERVE LEAGUE 1. A good blend of experience and youth allows us to compete well with teams who have far greater resources.
The team is manged by John Bogle and Malcolm Bruce and if you would like to play or assist with the team please contact our Playing Convenor, Ian Notman 07899803916
Story date: 16/09/2011