Biggar 1sts last minute victory.
Ardrossan 13 Biggar 17
Recognise the scoreline?
For the second week in succession Biggar recorded a 17-13 victory albeit in very different circumstances after they clinched the win with what proved to be the last move of the game and in all honesty following their most dynamic passage of driving play all game.
Ardrossan were justifiably frustrated at the outcome, their angst mirroring that of Biggar a fortnight ago when they lost out to Hillhead Jordanhill in the dying minutes having been ahead for a similar time span and in clear sight of the finishing line.
The win puts Biggar into 6th place yet just 6 points from the second bottom spot, the league still a fairly tight affair with the surprise result of the day seeing Falkirk comprehensively defeat the hitherto unbeaten league leaders Hamilton.
Biggar were forced into just one change from the side that played last weekend, Jamie Orr starting at lock in place of the injured Zander Lyon.
With the Ardrossan pitch heavy and wet and with the cross-pitch slope a real feature Biggar were unable to impose themselves much for the first 10 minutes as the Ayrshire side opened strongly confining Biggar to defensive roles. This period saw Ardrossan centre Anderson kick the opening penalty. Biggar’s only scoring chance came with a Francois Nel penalty and while this drifted right Graham Jamieson was on hand to gather, his progress to the line and a try halted by some very good scrambled last ditch defence.
The game then settled down a little more as play moved from end to end, attacks ending as players made errors. The slope on the pitch made clearance kicks on the ‘top’ side very difficult for the visitors, ball which would normally have been dispatched to touch, dropping infield and giving the home side further attacking opportunities.
Nevertheless Biggar did have their moments one attack, a driven line off ball won by Orr ended as Davy Reive was penalised for using his feet in what was a maul rather than a ruck. With play only a handful of yards from the Ardrossan line this was their best attacking chance off their play.
Nel kicked an equalising penalty at the end of the first quarter to tie the scores and then again on the half hour mark after some promising and committed drives by Karetai Williams, Luis Falefa and Andrew Cairns. Biggar 6-3 up.
Ewan Stewart was to the fore again with some excellent tackling although his charge down, with his head, of Ardrossan Duncan’s clearance kick stunned the hooker and rattled his teeth!
A grubber kick by Nel out of defence and a swift chase from Alisdair Sinclair threatened a try but again Ardrossan engineered a very good ‘exit’ to clear the immediate danger.
With just 5 minutes to go to half time a similar kick from Nel, but one which on this occasion was picked up by home fullback Duncan was cleverly worked into the Biggar 22. For once Biggar’s tight defence eluded them and with tackles missed ball was advanced before a neat inside pass was taken by winger Rob Hunter who scooted over for the game’s opening try. Anderson converted for 10-6.
The restart saw Stewart up quickly to put real pressure on the Ardrossan catch, the result a penalty to Biggar which Nel converted to reduce the gap to 1 point at 10-9. Half time followed shortly afterwards.
Turning around to face the incline Biggar were immediately on the defensive as their hosts attacked. An excellent steel in the tackle from Orr came to nought as Dan O’Connell strayed in at the side of the resultant ruck, one of the few off-sides awarded all day, although the touchline support saw many more! Anderson kicked well and stretched his sides lead to 13-9.
Both sides had their opportunities in what was developing into a very evenly contested match, Biggar gaining a real edge in the tight scrum but yielding ball on the touchline as their lineout play lacked the control required. Ground gained from penalties, advanced by Nel into the Ardrossan half and into promising attacking opportunities was lost as possession was scrappy or lost. This was a frustration, as was Biggars reluctance to spread play wide, players opting to hit up through the middle which, while often retaining possession, failed to provide the line-breaks required to put real pressure on the Ardrossan defence.
Nel made a couple of promising breaks – the stand-off relishes the physical contact – but Biggar were unable to capitalise on these. Coach Gavin Blackburn made two changes as Andrew Peacock and Calvin Henderson replaced Andrew Cairns and Luis Falefa respectively.
Penalty awards punctuated the match at regular intervals and while some were dubious neither side fared any better than the other. Richard Peacock did all that was asked of him at fullback, his running out of defence relieving pressure as Ardrossan looked to make ground via the boot while a cleverly taken kick by Sinclair following his ‘mark’ was dispatched to touch by Nel. Coolness under pressure!
The next Ardrossan attack, initiated by livewire scrum half Dagledenis from a tap penalty, forced Biggar to regroup and with their defence stretched by some stirring pick up and drives, the No9 strolled over from close range for what would have been a match-winning score. The ease with which Dagledenis made the line was down to a crossing offence however and this was spotted by the referee. The subsequent penalty award to Biggar gave them a lifeline!
As Ardrossan made another concentrated attack in the Biggar 22, their pack again picking and driving off good front foot ball, a wide pass was intercepted by Biggar’s Richard Peacock in almost identical situation to last week. This time the fullback was under greater pressure from the catch however and while he delivered a quick pass outside the ball fell tantalisingly short of the outstretched hands of Aird Jardine to give the very slightest knock-on but which was correctly spotted by the lady ref.
The clock was ticking away and it was clear that if Biggar were going to get the win, they’d need to do something special. A long range penalty award with 5 minutes to go promised to reduce the Ardrossan lead but Nel, although kicking long enough was just off target. The long drop out was taken by Peacock and a series of phases with Williams, Sanderson et al to the fore ended with another penalty for illegal use of the hands.
A quick confab ascertained that there was just enough time to kick to touch for a lineout. Nel duly obliged and after Warnock secured possession from the line the pack drove well together, Ewan Stewart, McConnell, Warnock assisted by Orr gave Reive clean ball for the backs. Jamieson standing at stand-off spun the ball wide to Lavery who in turn fed Jardine. The young winger made for the line then cut back inside his opposite number before being hauled down just feet from the try line. The ruck which followed was not as tidy as Biggar would have wished but as the ball bobbled loose and out towards the support, Andrew Peacock arrived at pace to scoop the ball up with one hand before bludgeoning his way to the line and the winning try! Drama indeed. The big man will scarcely have scored a better try and his timing on this occasion was also fantastic. The plaudits he received from his team mates are perfectly captured in Nigel Paceys photos (see the club website). Nel was off target but at 17-13 the game was over and Biggar had engineered a great escape. Having said that the feedback from the team suggests a brimming confidence throughout that they would get the all-important score.
That is the end of the first half of the season and Biggar now await the visit of Lasswade to commence the return matches. The trip to Hawthornden in September proved to be a real shocker as the East Lothian side triumphed by 36-6. That result hurt all involved and so there is a real incentive for Biggar. The touchline support at Ardrossan was magnificent an many thanks to all those who travelled to the Ayrshire tow. A trip to Hartree Mill on Saturday to cheer the boys on would be very much appreciated as well.
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Sinclair, F. Nel, D. Reive, D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams. Reps A. Orr, C. Henderson, A. Peacock, D. Voas.
The 2nd XV hosted Hawick. The Borderers who are able to field several age group internationalists are top of the Reserve League table and have run in some big scores. Biggar lost out by some 60+ points but new coach Doug Fleming is acutely aware that the Biggar side, which is full of young players, has great potential. First thing is to ensure he gets a decent turn out at training so he has already been in touch with the squad and he has received a favourable response. Doug does need assistance however and anyone with time to spare midweek or on Saturdays is asked to get in touch asap.
Story date: 23/11/2015
Biggar are more than a match for Falkirk
Biggar 17 Falkirk 13
For the third time this season a team which has occupied second top spot in the League returned home with their tail between their legs after tasting defeat at Biggar. Falkirk joined both Cartha and Aberdeenshire as teams who, on paper were favourites, but who were beaten by a Biggar side which again proved doggedly determined throughout. Club Sponsors Halls of Scotland were also Match Sponsors for this match and this latest result brings up a hat-trick of wins for the firm as their two previous Match sponsorships ended with Biggar wins. This fact provoked suggestions that the firm should sponsor many more matches in a season, including away matches(!) as away wins have been few and far between!
Biggar will not trouble the ‘top point scorers’ table as they struggle to convert their pressure into points but the league points gained on each of these games is reward enough and certainly ensures a post-match buzz in the Hartree Mill clubhouse. This latest result takes the club into 7th spot on 22 points, still way below the tally they would have preferred at this stage but an improvement on last week’s 9th place nonetheless.
Biggar fielded an unchanged XV from that which opened against Hillhead Jordanhill, this surely a factor in their improved play. After another somewhat lack lustre performance the previous week Biggar came out all guns blazing to score a first minute try which give them the lead – a lead they would never surrender.
Robbie Lavery was the try scorer, the centre rounding off a fantastic move which began with a kick out of defence from winger Alisdair Sinclair. The winger regained possession after the Falkirk defence was slow to respond and with Andrew Cairns in support the ball was shipped left via Ewan Sanderson, Karetai Williams and Aird Jardine. The winger cut a nice angle towards the posts before he popped the ball to Lavery who ran in unopposed for a cracking try – one of the best Biggar has scored this season and that after an equally good try last week, coincidentally also by Lavery. Francois Nel converted and Biggar were 7-0 up.
Falkirk were never going to lie down as befits a side in contention for promotion but their handling on Saturday in difficult conditions proved to be their undoing as they spilled possession in all areas and frequently throughout the match. Of course they were put under pressure by Biggar who now had their tails up and who tackled consistently well for the majority of the 80 minutes.
The Biggar pack were expected to be up against things as Falkirk were reported to be a big, heavy outfit but there was little between the sides. Indeed Falkirk’s early tactic of driven lineouts came to little as Biggar defended well and then turned the tables on their visitors with some stirring plays and carries: Zander Lyon, Williams, Luis Falefa and Sanderson all in the van. Add to that the solid scrummaging and spoiling play of Dan O’Connell, the ferocious defence and work rate of Ewan Stewart and Alan Warnock and the lineout play of Cairns and this was a pack on the day which could have matched most.
Scotland international Finn Russell is a Falkirk man and the Russell name is carried by brother Harry who operates as scrum half. He is a nippy player with lots of neat off-loads and it was his tap penalty which helped push Biggar back into their 22 when another penalty award was converted by stand-off Brims.
Biggar suffered badly last week with a 2-1 penalty count against them and while it was not just as bad this time round, Biggar were penalised a lot by referee Neil Muir. If Biggar could cut out half of these penalties then things would be much improved. They need to trust their defence and let their opponents play the ball – the temptation can often be to hold on/reach in/creep up but ground and territory both of which are hard won is too easily lost.
Despite these penalties Biggar should have added to their tally with only some desperate scrambled defence from Falkirk saving their day. On one occasion a neat pick and go from Nel put him clear into space and with Williams in support it looked as though Biggar would make the line but after ball was retained at the subsequent maul a hand knocked the ball from Falefa’s grasp as he drove forward. Minutes later and a great break by Lavery looked to have split the Falkirk defence again but on this occasion Falkirk made a half interception to halt play, an accidental off-side between Williams and Reive giving the Falkirk side an escape.
The second Biggar try came from a Falkirk attack which saw ball moved right into the Biggar 22. A series of good driving plays from Brims, Skinner and McCulloch sucked in Biggar’s defence and with what might have been an overlap a wide pass from Brims was well read by Richard Peacock who took off upfield. With some 90 metres to go it looked as though he might get home but Falkirk winger Dempsey tracked back well to tackle the Biggar man some 15 metres short. As he fell Peacock popped the ball up to supporting centre Graham Jamieson who was able to score despite the attentions of Hamilton and McGuire. Nel’s conversion put Biggar ahead by 14-3.
The Achilles heel at restart time almost gave Falkirk a quick riposte from a penalty but Brims kick fell short. Able to maintain their field position via another penalty Falkirk did eventually cross the line. Dempsey made good yards into the Biggar 22 before Russell fed Brims. The stand-off made a bee line for the gap between Biggar props O’Connell and Falefa and a change of pace took him through to breech the Biggar line for a try which he then converted.
The final scoring opportunity fell to Nel who took a pit at a long range penalty. The ball fell short and referee Muir brought the half to an end.
Biggar were now playing with the breeze but they were fortunate not to lose an early try when Brims’ pass to McGuire fell short. The winger fly-hacked ahead and although he won the race to the touchdown he was adjudged to have knocked the ball on in his attempt to score. Not happy at this decision he conceded a penalty for back chat to allow Biggar the chance to kick clear.
Once again a number of penalties gave Falkirk more than they were due and eventually Brims added another 3 points to reduce Biggar to a one point lead at 14-13. This was now anyone’s game and the match see-sawed from end to end although on balance Biggar retained greater control.
The pack drove with real commitment and might have been rewarded with a try as Williams capitalised on errors from Falkirk fullback Robertson who, although always looking dangerous with ball in hand, coughed up possession on several occasions.
Falefa made as many carries as he has in any game to date and he retained possession well at the contact point while Nel was another who, as a stand-off, relished the physical contact and always took play forward. Jamie Orr had replaced Cairns at half time but the veteran lock returned after Lyon was forced from the fray with what appeared to be a nasty shoulder injury.
Sinclair was unable to take Lavery’s inside pass as the ball was spread wide while minutes later the same player made the most of quick feet to sprint down the touchline. With the line in his sights the last ditch tackle by Dempsey knocked the ball from his grasp as he prepared to score.
Biggar maintained their stranglehold on proceedings as Jamieson, Sanderson and Henderson (who had replaced Falefa) continued to probe the Falkirk defence. This paid off and Biggar were rewarded with a penalty which Nel converted to put Biggar ahead at 17-13 – still however just one score between the teams.
In the dying minutes Biggar ceded control somewhat and for the first time in the half Falkirk began to dictate events. A good run by Robertson took play deep into the Biggar 22. This attack came to nought and then the same player then made a crucial knock-on after Biggar kicked clear.
Returning to Biggar’s 22 Falkirk flung everything into the last few minutes and it became ever more tense. Hamilton, McCulloch and Brims all made probing runs but finally and with play in Biggar’s 22, Lavery engineered a vital turnover and Reive, having ascertained that time was indeed up, thrashed the ball out of play to huge cheers from the Biggar support.
This was a truly wonderful result and one which few would have expected. Falkirk had described the win over Aberdeenshire as a ‘coupon buster’ but this was surely its’ equal as Biggar largely dominated proceedings. The Falkirk camp were at a loss to explain their charges performance as this was the same XV which had the previous week run in no fewer than 9 tries against Ardrossan Accies. Coincidentally, Biggar travel west to take on the Ayrshire town this Saturday on what promises to be a cracker. The Ardrossan side have also been unable to string a series of performances together and they are on equal points (22) with Biggar so a win for either side would take them a little further away from the relegations spots in what is – aside from Hamilton who are as yet unbeaten – a tight league.
R. Peacock, A. Jardine, G. Jamieson, R. Lavery, A. Sinclair, F. Nel, D. Reive, D. O’Connell, E. Stewart, L. Falefa, A. Cairns, Z. Lyon, E. Sanderson, A. Warnock, K. Williams. Reps A. Orr, C. Henderson, J. Orr, J. Warnock.
The weather in the lead up to this match was monsoon-like and on Friday night with standing water covering the top corner of the pitch between the 1st and 2nd XV pitches the chances of play were (in the view of the President) slim to say the least. Grounds Convenor Hugh Barr and Facilities Convenor Nigel Pacey were, on the other hand, very confident and after another few hours creating drainage run-offs and a ‘dryish’ night, the pitch was eminently playable come Saturday morning. With just the two pitches available at Hartree Mill because of the pitch development and in view of the overnight forecast it was however decided that the Youth matches on Sunday would be cancelled. This proved to be the correct decision as the rain created further deep pools on the 2nd XV pitch. This was regrettable but unavoidable given the conditions.
Saturdays match was preceded by a minutes silence in respect of the awful events in Paris. Poor weather, indifferent results and fund-raising challenges are put into sharp perspective and the thoughts of all at Biggar are with those who have lost loved ones.
Story date: 18/11/2015
The 2nd XV travelled to the Borders and ended up beaten by Selkirk by 24-0. The side have been under the watchful eye of Neil Wolfendene but the lock has decided that he is no longer able to commit the time required. Doug Fleming has offered to step into Neil’s shoes and will take over the reigns as 2nd XV coach. He does need assistance however and anyone who feels they are able to help – on Saturdays or midweek – is asked to get in touch with him asap. The side is young but has great potential.
Leamington v 2nds Oct 15
Thanks to Ronnie Fleming for the pics
The Haka prior to kick off
Andy Fleming prepares to step
A motley, but nonetheless happy crew post match
Story date: 14/10/2015
Biggar’s record win at Kirkcaldy
Kirkcaldy 19 Biggar 42
All sorts of ‘firsts’ were recorded this week as Biggar took maximum points from their Friday evening trip to Fife to play Kirkcaldy in National 2.
This was the first time Biggar have scored over 40 points against Kirkcaldy, the first time they have scored over 40 points in consecutive matches for many years and the first ‘three in a row’ for three seasons. In addition while it has been done before it some time since one player – in this case Richard Peacock – scored 4 tries in one match, a feat which was as thrilling to witness as a spectator as it must have been for the player himself.
A great result then and another which gives further proof to the theory that this side is continuing to gel as a team with the young players slowly gaining in the confidence which comes from playing good rugby, scoring tries and winning.
There is no doubt that this is early days yet and that the 9th place Biggar occupy is still perilously close to the two relegation spots, but there is undoubted promise borne from these recent displays and which augurs well for the coming weeks.
Coach Gavin Blackburn made two enforced changes for this match from the side that defeated Whitecraigs the previous week. Both of these were in the backs where Graham Jamieson started at centre for the injured Douglas Voas and Aird Jardine took over at scrum half for the suspended Davy Reive. Their contribution to the win was hugely significant; Jamieson’s try from his own half a signal of what he is clearly capable of as he knocked down, stepped and ran past numerous defenders on his way to the line while the collective, sharp intake of breath issuing from the Biggar support when Jardine was hauled down and apparently injured just short of the line after a fantastic burst was clearly indicative of how valuable this teenager has become to the side.
Happily Jardine was able to continue, the damage adjudged to be muscle tear while Jamison’s try was this was just one side to his game as he continues to develop with the assistance of both Robbie Lavery and Francois Nel.
Biggar had the best of starts as Peacock ran in his first try within the first minute, this a great piece of awareness and opportunism. Following a good piece of recovery work from Douglas Notman and as play was advanced by Craig McDonald, Peacock was set free for the line with only the home fullback to beat. Opting to kick and chase the Biggar man dived from long range, landing under the retreating Kirkcaldy defender to claim the touchdown. Nel added the conversion for 7-0.
Biggar maintained their territorial advantage with some excellent line breaks from Nel and Lavery with Notman and Jamieson also in the van, this keeping Kirkcaldy employed in defensive duties. The Biggar pack also kept the pressure up, their scrummage play making things really difficult for the host side as they shoved them off the ball and forced them onto the back foot.
A Biggar penalty from Nel after 18 minutes saw Biggar again get the rub of the green which has so often eluded them in recent seasons. The ball, though well struck, rebounded off the upright and as the hosts sought to clear, Biggar managed the charge down catching a Kirkcaldy man offside in the process. Referee John Shaw an –ex-pro player who handled the match really well throughout - won no friends in the Kirkcaldy camp with this decision which gave Biggar another penalty. A quick tap and thrust from Jardine, followed by a massive looping pass from Nel, found winger McDonald who crashed over at the corner for try number 2. Nel obliged from far out to make it 14-7.
Not surprisingly Kirkcaldy came back into the match with their pack taking full control from a penalty kick which took play to close to the Biggar line. With the lineout won it was a relatively and ominously simple forward drive which led to a try for back row Ronnie Brown. Stand off Finlay smith added the conversion.
Peacock grabbed his second try shortly after this, the fullback benefitting from the combination provided by Nel and McDonald before the latter created the space required with a well-timed pass for the try. Nel converted but was off target with a penalty, as was Kirkcaldy’s Smith following a Biggar offside.
Biggar squandered a couple of chances in this half as passes went stray and a kicking option was preferred to an outside pass while on another occasion a wonderfully balanced, sniping run from Jardine took the scrum half to within a couple of metres of the line before he was brought down short by the cover defence in the tackle previously described. Half time then and things finely balance at 21-7.
There was no wind and little advantage available to either side but Biggar took the match by the throat after an early wobble which gave Kirkcaldy space and numbers to run in for a try which took them to 21-12.
Just 11 minutes into the half and Jamieson scored a great solo try from half way, this Biggar’s 4th try and therefore bonus point score. Nel converted for 28-12. Biggar maintained their territorial advantage as they began to take greater control of the match. There were positive runs from Nel and Jamieson and the Fife side began to tire as their pack were kept under pressure. There was some consternation within the Biggar camp when host scrum half Callum Parsons cleverly tapped the ball out of Jardine’s hands and into the scrum on the Biggar put in (unseen by referee Shaw) and this created the space for Kirkcaldy to mount a rare attack. Their winger Owen Bonner ran well for the try, which, when converted by Smith, gave them a glimmer of hope at 35-19.
Both Andrew Peacock and Ewan Stewart led the riposte and Biggar came back via a very good kick and chase form McDonald before Lavery made an excellent turnover. This play saw McDonald combine well again, this time with Peacock, the fullback cantering home for his 4th score. Nel dutifully added the conversion.
There had been some apprehension about this match as Beveridge Park has never been an easy place to pick up points, the programme notes confirming that Biggar had only won twice from their ten previous visits. This then, was a great and very welcome result and one which lifts Biggar into 9th spot (on 9 points) and just clear of Kirkcaldy and Ardrossan (on 8) and Greenock in bottom spot (with 0 points).
J. Warnock, A. Jardine, R. Lavery, D. Voas, A. Horton, F. Nel, D. Reive (Capt), D. Voas, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, J. Orr, Z. Lyon, D. Notman, A. Warnock, A. Cairns. Reps: A. Orr, P. Davidson, R. Peacock, A. Peacock.
It was good to catch up with ex-Biggar star Quintan Sanft who is still player/coach at Kirkcaldy. He was a great servant to Biggar when his performances helped us gain promotion to Premier 1 and he has been instrumental in ensuring the Fife club have maintained their current position within Scottish rugby.
There are no league or cup games this coming weekend and so the players will be able to regroup in preparation for the visit of Whitecraigs on 17th October, this the Glasgow sides second visit, the first having been on Cup business. There can be no complacency in assuming that Whitecraigs will not put up a fight to regain the balance after their weak showing in the Cup. Depending on results elsewhere Biggar have a chance to climb another couple of places and this they must do if they are to continue to develop.
The 2nd XV travelled to take on Marr in National Reserve 2. The Marr 1st XV with McKenzie Pearce in their ranks are riding high in National 1 and it was expected that this would be a very tricky match. With no game last weekend Biggar feared ring rustiness but in a high scoring match Biggar edged things by the closest of margins 35-34 although the SRU website suggests 27-26!
Story date: 07/10/2015
Biggar lose out to Preston Lodge
Preston Lodge 52 Biggar 14
Another hefty defeat for Biggar and another scoreline which would seem to suggest a capitulation by the young Biggar XV. Nothing could be further from the truth however and while PL undoubtedly deserved their win and the score is emphatic, Biggar played again with fantastic spirit, falling foul of several handling errors and bad luck which saw PL capitalise on every error and enjoy the absolute rub of the green.
For the trip to Prestonpans, the first by a Biggar 1st XV for many years, Biggar were unable to call on the injured Douglas Notman (hand), Ian Baillie (knee) or Steven Campbell (ankle) but welcomed back prop Dan O’Connell, scrum half David Reive and stand-off Francois Nel while Zander Lyon and James Simpson made their first top team starts with Richard Peacock appearing on the bench after his return to these shores following a sojourn to Oz. The home side fielded ex-Biggar prop Colin Arthur, the big man throwing his lot in with PL after several years at Melrose.
Playing into a stiff breeze, which crucially dropped at half time, Biggar played some really good rugby from the outset, the pack picking and driving and retaining possession well. The first score then came somewhat against the run of play and after what was to become a run of bad luck. A loose ball was hacked downfield by PL and while it appeared fullback Jack Warnock had slid and dived text-book style to recover the ball before passing to reive to clear, referee Tony Jenkins awarded PL as scrum for what he deemed to be a knock-on. The PL scrum took control and with a big drive gave No8 Jason Riley a simple task for the first try. Stand-off Thomas McMann added the conversion with an excellent kick from the wide touch line angle.
Just 5 minutes later and Biggar suffered again as a knock on by Nel deprived them of what would have been a wonderful try. Alan Warnock took ball on from a lineout and his pass was taken by centre Robbie Lavery. A mercurial break from the wee man saw him nip through the smallest of gaps and into the clear but Nel was just unable to take the off-load with the line in his sights.
On the 20 minute mark and with Biggar maintaining momentum in the PL half a ball stripped out of full-back Warnock’s hands saw PL hack downfield again, the wind taking the ball deep into the Biggar 22. This time a dive to secure possession by Craig McDonald saw the ball squirm from under his body and right into the path of Riley who scored – McMann notching another conversion from almost exactly the same spot as the first.
Nel took full advantage from every penalty awarded to Biggar to take play downfield but Biggar could just not get through the PL defence to turn them, speculative kicks ahead being taken and returned by the PL back three. On the half hour mark Biggar lost the services of hooker Andrew Orr, the youngster being shown a yellow for talking back and shoving an opponent. Down to 14 men Biggar were on the defensive and forced to make some stout tackles to keep PL out as the home pack crept ever closer to the Biggar line. Inevitably a break came this allowing lock Matt Sanderson to cross for a try which McMann again converted for 21-0.
Forced back into their 22 from a kick ahead which led to a drop out, Biggar were then again caught as ball which was always going to be too difficult to kick clear was run out of defence. A pop pass from Nel to Lavery which would have put the centre into acres of space failed to go to hand and instead was gleefully taken by PL centre Blair Robertson who coasted through untouched from 10 metres out. McMann added the conversion for 28-0.
Orr returned to the fray and Biggar once more rose to the challenge with some spirited play taking them into the PL half. Donald Voas, Ewan Sanderson, Alan Warnock, Nel and Lavery all took ball forward and with another phase beckoning Reive lost control at the breakdown, possession going directly to Robertson who burst through the unprotected middle to gallop in for PL’s 5th try, McMann converting for 35-0 and half time.
Richard peacock replaced Peter Miller (who had played very tidily) at half time. Biggar’s task in the second half had to be to keep PL out and to get a score of their own. As previously described however the wind dropped, this denying them the advantage enjoyed by their hosts in the first half. Biggar’s first foray into the PL half ended as position was lost first from a lineout which was adjudged squint and then as they were penalised from the resultant scrum.
If previous tries came from Biggar errors this next score was all PL. Initially it appeared the lineout call was miscued leaving Arthur the job of tidying ball up at the tail but his drive spawned possession for McMann who broke the line. The stand-offs pass was taken by Robertson who sent Paddy Cooney away from half way for a sprint to the line. A great score from a PL point of view but another hard knock for Biggar.
Andrew Peacock then joined his brother on the pitch as he replaced Zander Lyon who had carried ball well in what was his first start at this level and a real test for the youngster who has been out injured for the best part of two seasons. O’Connell was then shown yellow as he was deemed to have kicked a player. Arthur’s take and drive off a tap penalty was held up but the cavalry arrived in the shape of PL’s 17, the replacement crashing over for a good try.
The 10 minutes which followed saw Biggar again play some excellent rugby but PL fully exploit a couple of lapses as Biggar’s effort waned ever so slightly. With the tails up PL, with a one man advantage, were now in the ascendancy and their confidence was growing. Another very good passage of play saw fullback Jonathan Brash freed for a run to the line, McMann converting for 52-0.
With some 10 minutes remaining Biggar could well have capitulated given the way the game was going but this XV has a dogged spirit and they play for each other and for the full 80 minutes, something which the large Biggar support added and responded to with constant encouragement. O’Connell’s return coincided with a scrum. Having been under the cosh for much of the match Biggar managed to take ball against the put in and Alan Warnock and Sanderson advanced play on the blind before Reive switched play back right. O’Connell took the pass and burst through the defence for a very good try. Nel converted.
Orr and Douglas Voas then suffered as they picked up knocks, Orr forced off but Voas able to hobble on. Lavery, Sanderson and Peacock all made good ground to take play into the PL 22.
The whole pack was involved in Biggar’s second score as they upped their game to drive to the line. Although the initial hits to the line were held up – one offside and tap to Reive could so easily have seen PL been shown a yellow card – Nel managed to pick and scuttle over from a couple of yards. Despite continuing problems with his ribs which he injured at Lasswade the stand-off added the conversion.
These two scores were the very least Biggar deserved and they could well have added to that tally has things been a little kinder. Another wonderful midfield break by Sanderson saw the flanker find Jamie Orr on his inside. With great technique the lock burst to the line and despite being knocked to the ground picked himself up prior to diving for the line – a perfect score? Nope – referee Jenkins adjudged a double movement and PL escaped with a penalty. Rough justice. The final minutes saw Biggar redouble their efforts and again they might have been rewarded with a try as PL sought to slow play down, Whittingham perhaps fortunate not to have bene shown yellow as he lay offside.
And so the game came to its conclusion.
It’s a cliché there is no doubt but there were many positives despite the defeat. A tremendous spirit exists and if the boys can learn and mature together then they will get that currently elusive win. That in turn will provide the confidence which the side craves. There were some really spirited performances and some very tired bodies and emotional minds at the end of the game and there is an undoubted will to improve and to win.
Jack Warnock, Craig McDonald, Robbie Lavery, Douglas Voas, Peter Miller, Francois Nel, David Reive (Capt), Donald Voas, Andrew Orr, Dan O'Connell, Zander Lyon, Jamie Orr, Euan Sanderson, James Simpson, Alan Warnock. Replacements: Ewan Stewart, Andrew Peacock, Richard Peacock
This Saturday sees unbeaten Glasgow side Cartha Queens Park visit Hartree Mill. Having beaten Hill Jills, Falkirk and Ardrossan they will come full of confidence but Biggar must use the positives from Saturday to their advantage. They will surely never have so much bad luck in one game again, and just a little rub of the green would do so much to help.
A big home support would be a bonus, so come on Biggar get behind your rugby club!
Due to a large number of injuries Biggar were unable to field a 2nd XV on Saturday. This was a big disappointment and the cancellation one which the club is keen not to repeat. Another call to arms for all former players – please make yourself available for the club.
Story date: 15/09/2015
Senior Player Facebook Group
Story date: 29/10/2013
Membership Forms and Rates
Membership renewals are now due and the current rates and form are on the membership page. Your club depends on the membership Fees to develop what we have at Hartree Mill and what we are able to offer our playesra nd spectators. Clubhouse maintenance, training equipment, heating, lighting......ALL are paid for by your fees. BE PART OF THE CLUB!
Please think about and take advantage of the discount offered. If you pay this month (August) you get a significant saving on your membership for the 2015/16 season. If you wait until Spetember however, you will pay more!
Check the details below - it's worth paying!
Please also note that as always Club cash flow in the summer is never great and prompt payment will help the club
Story date: 12/07/2013
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
Biggar RFC operates and Open to All policy and welcomes new members from all sectors of the community
We accept members from 5 years upwards who can join our Mini section to those that have retired and want to assist and retain their links with our active club.
Our membership year runs from May to April and if you would like to find out more about the playing arrangements at the club or become a member please contact either Gordon Young on 07774678617 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nigel Pacey on 07714 713504.
If you would like to know a little more about our rugby programmes for Primary or Secondary school children please refer to our Mini and Midi pages under the "Teams" section or contact either Laura Watson for information about Primary School age children and Paula Yardley on 07830022447 or Aird Jardine on 07917731494 for Secondary School aged children
Membership rates and packages are as follows:
Download the form by clicking here (pdf format)
Story date: 25/08/2011