Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 27th May at 7.30 pm in the Clubhouse.
It's that time of year again folks and you are urged to put the 27th May in your diary to attend the AGM.
This isn't just a review of the year past, it's an important point in the year's calendar when the plans for next season are discussed. So, if you have any kind of involvement with BRFC and who wouldn't want to be involved with the success of our junior teams, make sure you are there on the night.
Story date: 27/04/2015
40 x 40 x 40 fundraiser on Sun 17th May
40 x 40 x 40 fundraiser on Sun 17th May.
Sunday dawned not as bright and sunny as had been hoped but dull and wet as predicted by the weather forecasters. It takes more than a dismal day weather-wise to dull the spirits of Biggar RFC however and there was a quite fantastic turnout for the 40th anniversary fund-raiser which took place.
With a wide selection of baking provided by members, an equally wide range of surplus-to-requirement playing kit, a very full tombola stall, 3 steaming bar-b-q’s, a XV-a-side select rugby match which pitted a GY XV against a JB XV and high quality entertainment provided by volunteer DJ and club friend Chris Cruise, this looked as though it would be a great club day.
And so it proved with a steady stream of club members in attendance to take part in the activities with the main focus the 40 x 40 x 40 fundraiser.
This event featured 40 teams each of which had to run one lap of the 1st XV pitch. The task for sponsors was to estimate the cumulative time it would take the 40 teams to complete the 40 laps.
Teams were made up of various different category of member/player. There were teams from each of the mini and Youth sections, award winners, ex-Presidents (there were 9 present to make the ‘walk’), referees, bar teams, committee, players representing various past eras, Mums, Dads……and so the list goes on!
Each team appeared at their appointed time slot which made sure the event ran smoothly. It’s not yet known just how long it took to complete the 40 laps but as sponsor sheets are due to be handed in by the end of this week the result should be known very shortly.
Suffice to say that the teams were made up of as wide a cross-section of the club membership as was possible with of course several representing a number of different categories. The Athletics Club, Young Farmers and the Hartree Harriers were all in attendance and so this was truly a community event which of course the proposed development is designed to support.
A final total has yet to be confirmed but with monies added together from each different area it is anticipated that this may well exceed the much hoped for £5K total.
A massive thank you is due to Tammy Mitchell and Paula Yardley who were responsible for organising the day. It is only with the concerted efforts of volunteers such as Tammy and Paula - and of course all those who responded to their call - that the club will progress.
The challenge match saw a total of over 50 players pitch themselves against each other in ‘friendly’ rivalry. All ages were represented with proceedings overseen by guest ref Graham Eastland who ensured a ‘fair’ contest ensued. Among many others it was great to see ex-members Scott Watson, Andrew Dunlop and Iain Renwick make the effort to take part, emphasising the very positive club aspect of the day.
For the record the JB Select edged their more talented opponents by something to something…the score doesn’t matter. Bob Aitken soon to depart for NZ marked his departure with an excellent hat-trick of tries while the Father and Son combo that is Denis and Conor Lavery scored the lions’ share of points for GY’s XV. Excellent entertainment!
Of course the funds raised are for the Development of the Hartree Mill pitches with the proposed extension of the available pitch area to include a total of four pitches, three of which will be floodlit, a designated Mini/Youth training area and increased and much improved space for training and parking.
This has been a long desired aim for the club and everyone was over the moon when the club received the following fantastic news…..(please refer to official Press release sent by Nigel Pacey).
Finally, one group of youngsters unable to take part in Sundays event had a very good reason – namely that they had been selected to play for the Lanarkshire Lions U-16 side.
They played the other two Glasgow region pathway teams, the Giants and the Hurricanes. Chiefs won both games. Players involved were Lewis and Matthew Stewart, Stuart Forrest, Luhann Kotze and Charles Connely. Commiserations to Robbie Orr and Daniel McConkey who missed out on selection this time round but who will surely feature later. Well done to all.
Friday: Girls Presentation Evening. In previous years the girls have been pitched in with the U-15 and U-16 Boys groups but such is the size of the Girls group with teams at U-15 and U-18 that this is no longer possible. (7 for 7.30pm)
At Stirling County tournament KO 11am (players to arrive by 10.15)
U-15's v Cambuslang KO tbc
Story date: 19/05/2015
Biggar sneak losing bonus
Biggar 7 GHA 14
Faced with a visit from the second top side in the Division, Biggar should probably be relatively happy with the losing bonus they collected but once again the over-riding feeling was one of frustration over what was another somewhat lukewarm performance which promised more. On the flip side of course GHA may well rue some poor decision-making and skills which saw them ignore a couple of kickable penalties and mess up at least one overlap try.
There were several changes to the side which was fielded the previous week with Andy King, Andrew Watt, Mihal Mirosa and Jamie Orr all returning at the expense of Scott Swankie, Marek Plonka, Ian Baillie, Calum Taylor and Douglas Notman these a mixture of injuries and/or selection preferences. A notable addition to the squad as ex-Colt Jack Warnock at stand-off.
In breezy conditions Biggar opened into the elements and soon found themselves in defence, GHA scoring a try after 15 minutes after a gap was exposed in the centre through which Ranji Jericevich ran to go over for a try converted by Andrew Goudie.
Just a few minutes later and GHA opted to kick for touch instead of adding what seemed to be a relatively straightforward kick at goal. Biggar have of late defended well and this they did gain as the ball was adjudged to have been thrown in squint. The scrum option for Biggar was taken but in sharp contrast to the performance last week against Aberdeen, GHA looked to be in control and the Biggar scrum buckled.
This led to the replacement at hooker of Andrew Muir who damaged a shoulder, his place taken by Ewan Stewart who was making a return after injury against Watsons. The next penalty attempt was kicked at goal but the swirling wind made this a tricky option and Biggar escaped without further punishment.
GHA continued to mount their attacks and Biggar were again on the defensive, the commitment to stop the driving maul and group pick and go’s very effective. The cheer which greeted each successful tackle was akin to that heard at a Biggar score!
Biggar continued to defend stoically throughout the half, living off scraps of possession which GHA coughed up but the home side was unable to make much headway into GHA territory as the wind continued to cause problems for both sides.
One such attacking opportunity came from a Craig Bachurzewski surge on the burn side with Graeme Hunter advancing play further before his inside pass was pinched by the GHA defence.
The half ended with fullback Mark Bertram enjoying a good run out of defence.
Given the strength of the wind there were many who felt Biggar would have the better of the second period so there was considerable disappointment when as the teams emerged to star the half, the wind dropped almost completely. Biggar coach Gavin Blackburn made a couple of changes, Donald Voas replacing Calvin Henderson at prop while Day Reive (fresh from his NZ sojourn) took over at scrum half for Watt who in turn moved to stand off to the exclusion of Warnock. Ironically Watt’s first touch saw him try to run out of defence – the much simpler play being to advance possession downfield via the boot.
Knowing fine well that kicking was not really an option for them GHA used the pick and go to great effect and they made some yardage as their players linked well to run the ball out of defence. Inevitably this led to some more stout defence from the home side but as GHA ran at pace when they were able a missed tackle in midfield led to their second score, this credited to Ewan McKirdy
Who was named as GHA’s man-of-the-match at the close of play.
Goudie kicked a very fine conversion for wide out to put his side clear at 14-0.
Almost directly from the restart and in a Biggar attack, referee Fraser Balharry took issue over a tackle from GHA centre Max McFarlane and sent him to the bin for 10 minutes. Biggar haven’t always been able to make teams suffer when they are a man to the good but there were no such shortcomings this time round as a series of attacks eventually created space for Craig Simmons who hit a good line to go through the GHA defence for a try which when converted by Hunter put Biggar right back into the mix at 14-7.
Just as had been the case last week however Biggar were unable to push on and create opportunities and space to increase their tally.
King at centre tried to break the deadlock but on one attack from deep the ball was ripped from the big man’s hands and the chance faltered. Biggar also tried to kick clear but GHA were primed and although the Biggar support was up in attack quickly the GHA back three were pretty much a match for all that Biggar threw at them. If they didn’t make many yards they at least retained possession.
Each Biggar attack was cheered with one chip ahead from Hunter ending up with the winger being bundled off the playing surface in a tackle which most (admittedly biased) local support believed to be a late tackle. The culprit centre MacFarlane would have been in big trouble had this been deemed illegal as this would have been his second yellow. Mr Balharry and touch judge Graham Allen were unmoved however and instead of a potential shot at goal Biggar were forced to retire following a successful mark taken by Binnie.
In the dying minutes Biggar had a couple of final opportunities to attack and possibly tie the match but neither were completed successfully and the bonus point was all the comfort Biggar could muster.
GHA therefore ended up winners and took the spoils to maintain their promotion hopes although Stewarts Melville leapfrogged them courtesy of a win over Dundee.
So Biggar remain in the second relegation spot, Marr’s draw with Kelso seeing them stay ahead by 4 and 6 points respectively.
Biggar need a couple of wins and as the pressure builds so must they maintain their calm.
Mark Bertram, Graeme Hunter, Andy King, Giles Boland, Jonny Smart, Jack Warnock, Andrew Watt, Calvin Henderson, Andrew Muir, Craig Bachurzewski, Mihal Mirosa, Jamie Orr, Lewis McLachlan, McKenzie Pearce, Craig Simmons
Reps: Donald Voas, Andrew Peacock, Douglas Notman, Euan Stewart, David Reive.
The 2nd XV were left without a game AGAIN when their opponents Murrayfield wanderers failed to appear. The Bigar side were at The Showfield when the word came through that there was no opposition and with the referee in agreement a game was played between the ‘oldies’ and the ‘youngsters’ of the squad. All good and well for most save for Alan Warnock who took a knee to the head which required several stitches! So much for a friendly game!
Story date: 25/02/2015
Biggar triumph at Hillhead Jordanhill
Hillhead Jordanhill 10 Biggar 22
Biggar went to Glasgow in search of a maximum 5 league points and returned with those 5 points in the bag – job done!
That they did not win by more is a bit of a mystery; several potential tries squandered as the final pass, poor decision making and some desperate yet very effective defence from the hosts saw possession and territory lost. Indeed, had Hill Jills converted any other of their, albeit limited opportunities, they would have gained their first league points of this season.
As only three National League games escaped the wintery weather Biggar took a slight jump up the table and are now in 9th spot alongside Kelso who are in 8th due to their better points differential. It’s all still to play for therefore in the hunt to avoid the second relegation place, Hillhead Jordanhill now, barring miracles, consigned to National 2 for next season.
The forecast and wintery weather put all other Biggar matches at the weekend off so it was fortunate that Biggar’s game was in the west which seemed to fare slightly better than the Borders or the east, although there was, nevertheless, a strong cold wind for much of the game.
Playing against the elements in the first half Biggar got off to an excellent start when a typical Andy King midfield burst took him through the Hill Jills defence for the opening try and this after just a couple of minutes.
Graham Hunter’s conversion put Biggar 7-0 up but their lead was short lived as the home side took full advantage of their pack to catch and drive from some 10 metres out with prop Ivan Miljak credited with the score. David Paterson kicked the conversion to make the score 7-7.
For much of the rest of the half Biggar were able to exert a stranglehold on the game, their big runners, Lewis McLachlan, Craig Bachurzewski, King, Mark Bertram and Giles Boland all making huge gains to turn the home defence and put them under real pressure. These breaks were hugely effective, taking play on almost every occasion 20/30 metres through the home side but failing as runners were isolated or possession squandered as the cover got a hand to the ball or were able to counter ruck Biggar off the ball.
Craig Simmons did manage to break the deadlock with a score which came after a penalty advantage and which saw Jamie Orr pick from the scrum to make good ground before off-loading to Simmons who made the remainder of the distance from some 20 metres out. Hunter’s conversion was pulled just wide in the howling gale.
Another promising move came to grief as Douglas Notman’s chip ahead was taken by the home defence and in their counter a penalty gave Paterson his second shot at goal which he took for 10-12 to Biggar.
A Bertram return out of defence, a King breenge followed by a knock on by winger Johnny Smart, a penalty from a McLachlan break, a Scott Swankie run again out of defence all gave Biggar hope but, as previously described, the Hill Jills defence held firm. For their part, in what has been a dismal season and which last week saw a make shift XV defeated by 88-0 against Jed, Hill Jills flanker Angus Lean worked hard to take play forward but aside from perhaps another couple, his was a lone effort. The last few minutes saw the Glasgow side on the attack and their chance to take the lead was lost when another penalty was kicked wide. 10-12 to Biggar at the halfway mark, but with the breeze on their backs after the break.
A brief but bright start for Hill Jills saw Biggar struggle (one instinctive fly-hack by Swankie catching the eye) but the visitors and King in particular, ran in their 3rd score, this almost identical to his first with ball won from a lineout transferred to the middle. At full pace the big Aussie is a formidable sight. It’s not often that a conversion is charged down but that was exactly what happened as Hunter took the kick from directly in front of the posts, fleet-footed winger Rory Harte sprinting out to get hands on the ball as it flew to the posts. 10-17 to Biggar.
A wonderful take by McLachlan who is the only player to put real pace on the ball saw the flanker advance play deep into the Hill Jills half, hooker Ewan Stewart just unable to get his hands on the off-load. While possession was temporarily lost territory was maintained and another King breenge, followed by a great angled run from McLachlan, set up ball which the backs shipped wide. All on the left, it was Boland on the end of the move and who crossed for the all-important 4th bonus point clinching try. Hunter was again wide of the target but the kicks were all from wide out and made very difficult by the blustery conditions.
Still on the attack Bertram took play some 40 metres upfield but again however Biggar were unable to take full control to add to their tally.
King was then forced to retire with a leg knock, his place taken by Jack Warnock (one of last years’ Colts) whose 1st XV debut appearance made his watching family very proud. A wonderful tidy on the floor by the tireless Jamie Orr ensured Biggar kept up the pressure but minutes later a knock-on by Andrew Watt - who did well despite this and especially as he has been out for so long – meant that possession and territory was lost as Biggar appeared to be gaining the upper hand.
Andrew Muir and Calvin Henderson both joined the fray for Stewart and Donald Voas respectively.
With half an hour gone on the clock Biggar then lost Boland to the sin bin, he adjudged of being guilty of diving on the ball to prevent release. To Biggar eyes at least referee Balharry seemed to have missed a couple of earlier off-sides by the home side but no matter, Biggar re-organised with Hunter and Notman in the centre.
At this stage the wind, which had been predicted to increase through the afternoon, dropped almost completely. This gave Hill Jills the chance to kick out of defence which they did relatively successfully, putting Biggar under a bit more pressure than they would have wished in the circumstances. Biggar’s defence held firm as well however and try though they did the home side never really threatened the line again. And so the game drifted towards its end with neither side able to add to their tally.
Four tries takes the score to 20 points so Biggar’s 22 match tally is about as close as it is possible to get to recording the very minimum number of points to gain the bonus. No matter, job done although it would have been really good to have reduced the current negative 88 point differential!
Biggar host Dundee this Saturday – weather permitting – and this latest win, with the Peebles win still relatively fresh in the mind, should give the side some confidence. Biggar need points and home wins are crucial to that need. The 51-25 score in the first match was a massive disappointment and one which the squad is determined to avenge so it’ll be a big build up this week at training.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Andy King, Giles Boland, John Smart, Graeme Hunter, Andrew Watt, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Craig Bachurzewski, Craig Simmons, Jamie Orr, Alan Warnock, Lewis McLachlan, Douglas Notman
Reps: Andrew Muir, Jack Warnock, Calvin Henderson, Calum Taylor.
That the 2nd XV match against Peebles was postponed was unavoidable, the conditions underfoot just about OK but the overhead conditions simply brutal. Neither side wished for this match to be a lottery and one dictated by the weather and the conditions in the afternoon, which deteriorated and almost turned day into night, vindicated that decision.
Story date: 13/01/2015
Biggar hold out to record win
Jedforest 22 Biggar 24
Biggar took some stuttering and unsure steps to leapfrog their Border hosts on Saturday when they ground out a narrow two point win. There were cheers from all within the Biggar camp although the last 5 minutes of what was virtually a 48 minute half had everyone on the edge of their seats as Jed tore at Biggar with predictable Border grit. That Biggar held their line and managed to not concede a penalty was crucial. Jed only required three points and the damage done by a similar award in Biggar’s last outing when Marr grabbed a win with the last kick of the game was still too fresh in the mind.
The win means that Biggar escape the second relegation spot but with Jed hosting bottom of the table Hill Jills this Saturday while Biggar face a trip to unbeaten league leaders Selkirk positions may well be swapped again. Having said that, Biggar’s opener against Selkirk saw them give Selkirk a couple of really soft scores. A tough task and a real challenge but there is nothing to lose so it’s one which the Biggar lads should relish.
Biggar were pretty much at full strength for the Jed game, Donald Voas back at prop after rib damage sustained during the Marr game. Andrew Watt a notable absentee after twisting his knee in training but Graeme Hunter made a welcome comeback after a similar injury sustained against Stewart Melville some 6 weeks ago. Lewis McLachlan is back off-shore but with new recruit Michal Morisz making his debut at lock Jamie Orr dropped back to the back row.
In calm, mild conditions Biggar opened well and perhaps should have taken an early lead from a penalty after just 3 minutes Hunter just off target with this kick.
A Craig Simmons burst in the midfield followed with the big No8 tearing through the Jed defence but his off-load was knocked. Just seconds later a pass from Andrew King was adjudged to have gone forward and then Mark Bertram, playing somehow after badly twisting his ankle at Glasgow training on Monday, scooped up a loose ball to make excellent ground, Craig Bachurzewski held up just short. The same player then made a terrific burst up the stand side, Bertram in support. Against GHA Bachurzewski had opted to pass but this time he thumped ever closer, the eventual off-load knocked on with just metres to go. It was all Biggar therefore but with 10 minutes gone the side had nothing to show for their dominance.
With 16 minutes gone and with the hosts having made their first sortie into the Biggar 22 Biggar first of all cleared the danger before engineering a decent attacking position in the Jed half. Following a series of some really well controlled pick and goes the ball was picked up by Calum Taylor and without waiting for support the DO drove for the line to score a welcome try. Hunter added the conversion and Biggar took a well-deserved 7-0 lead.
A handful of minutes later and Biggar capitalised on a couple of penalties to take play back into the Jed 22 where Hunter converted well for 10-0. With their pack in the ascendancy it looked as though this might be Biggar’s day.
Under pressure for the first time after the restart Biggar were then pushed back after a penalty which kick to the corner. A simple line drive saw Jed make their presence felt and Grieve crashed over for a try which was unconverted.
Voas was then forced off with a recurrence of his rib problems, Calvin Henderson galloping on to take his place. A simple tap and go saw Simmons make good ground but as Jed were not back the requisite 10 metres Hunter took the chance to extend the Biggar lead once again. With half time some 10 minutes away another score would have been the ideal way to round the half off. Somehow however it was Jed and not Biggar who scored. Having initially gained a great attacking position midway in the Jed half via some really positive and patient driving play Biggar conceded a soft free kick. Jed tapped quickly and caught the Biggar defence at sixes and sevens, a simple and direct handling movement seeing play swept towards the Biggar line where a text book 2 on 1 saw Jed’s Harkness score under the posts. The conversion from Ritchie put the hosts right back into the mix and this after a decent Biggar effort which had restricted the Border side to probably only two chances – both of which they took with ease.
Worse was to follow however as Scott Swankie was deemed the culprit after an off-the-ball incident saw what was only a stramash with lots of pushing and shoving from a host of players. Now just 1 point ahead and down to 14 men the balance of the game could have swung decisively to Jed.
Undeterred Biggar ended the half in attack although a knock on saw another opportunity missed.
With the referee having elected to change his top to avoid any possible clash Jed should have really taken the lead a Taylor knock on ceding possession at the first lineout. A breenge through the first line of Biggar defence saw Jed away on a surge which should have ended with a try but somehow the pass was missed, the ever-present Orr scooping the ball up before kicking well to clear the danger.
This was a major let off for Biggar and perhaps the only chance Jed failed to take all afternoon. The significance of this miss cannot be underestimated and in what was to become a big 10 point swing Hunter took full advantage of the next penalty to kick for 16-12.
Biggar then last concentration and in a series of poor clearances which only helped maintain the Jed pressure Biggar were for the first time really under the cosh for any sustained period. A forward pass seemed to have relieved the pressure as the Biggar scrum was now controlling things but strangely a penalty advantage was ignored and Biggar opted to run and then kick clear. This was not a convincing effort however and there was no advantage whatsoever so the expectation was that play would be brought back. Not so and just as had been the case in the first half Jed took full advantage to run ball back at pace, Combe benefiting from a neat chip to the corner to win the race to the ball. Ritchie converted with a great kick from wide out to put the Border side ahead for the first time at 19-16.
There was still some 25 minutes remaining however so Biggar had time. Douglas Notman and Alan Warnock were introduced for Taylor and McKenzie Pearce the former back on almost immediately as Morisz was forced off with a shoulder injury. Another dominant scrum was then lost as the referee deemed Biggar to have lost control on the wheel. A touchline discussion took place regarding the quality of both sides kicking, ball cleared to touch twice on the full during this confab! On this occasion the upshot was that Biggar were able to exert a little more pressure on the Jed line. A kick and chase saw Jed forced into touch close to their 5 metre line before conceding a penalty. King took control and, having tapped, the big centre crashed over for what was a real opportunist score. Hunter missed the conversion and with just two points in the game at 21-19 a knock on at the restart gave Jed the possession they craved.
A crucial Ritchie penalty from the follow up meant that Jed had their noses back in front with some10 minutes remaining of normal time.
Things were now becoming evermore tense but Biggar remained focussed and although a try would have been the ideal method of regaining the lead – and a run by Bertram followed up by Henderson and Warnock threatened – a penalty was enough, Hunter keeping his calm to kick for a 24-22 lead.
This then brought the match to its climax but with the best part of 9 minutes being added on Biggar had to wait, and wait as Jed tried and tried.
An exciting, committed contest the importance of Biggar’s win not in doubt, especially when Aberdeen Grammar got the better of Watsons while Kelso gained a priceless losing bonus at Selkirk. The side must know regroup and make their best effort for this week when they take on Selkirk.
If they could convert their chances and maintain focus for the full 80 minutes there would be a rapid climb up the table – it is possible!
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Andy King, Giles Boland, John Smart, Graeme Hunter, David Reive, Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Craig Bachurzewski, Callum Taylor, Michal Morisz, Jamie Orr, McKenzie Pearce, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Michael Dunlop, Craig McDonald, Calvin Henderson, Alan Warnock, Douglas Notman
Playing Convenor Ian Warnock was at Saturdays game and was surprised and slightly annoyed that one of the replacements, Alan Warnock, was apparently calling his mobile just after kick off at the start of the second half. What on earth was a player doing with his phone, never mind making a call when he could at any point be called into action?
The answer was as daft as it could possibly be, namely that both Alan and fellow replacement Douglas Notman were in fact locked in the Biggar dressing room deep under the Riverside Park stand! The phone call was their last resort after all manner of door banging and shouting had been to no avail! Fortunately they were quickly released and able to join the squad on the pitch.
Really frustratingly the 2nd XV match was postponed yet again after city opponents Edin Accies Blues called off on Friday evening – this the second such cancellation on the eve of their match.
Story date: 01/12/2014
1sts v Kelso (BT National 2) and 2nds v Jedforest (BT Reserve League East)
Kelso 34 Biggar 27
The SRU website got it wrong first time round as they reported a 34-25 Kelso win but with Graham Hunter converting Biggar’s last try (his own!), Biggar did indeed claim a valuable losing bonus at 34-27, although once again Biggar were left thinking about what might have been as they gave their opponents a helping hand with their scores.
Kelso opened strongly with their big pack dominating the forward exchanges. It was Graham Hunter however who opened the scoring after Kelso were penalised after an early push. The lead was to last a matter of minutes as Kelso replied with a try after a good period of picks and drives from their pack, giant lock Callum Rowlandson crashing over and stand-off Andrew Skeen converting.
A penalty gave Skeen another opportunity which he took to put his side ahead at 10-3.
Hunter kicked Biggar back in to the game after another penalty awarded by referee Duncan McClement. The restart was almost taken by Biggar lock Edlyn Serge but he was unceremoniously taken out by Kelso support runners, the big man landing awkwardly but happily able to continue. The penalty was scant consolation as the law in such circumstances – that any player who takes an opponent out in the air should be sent to the sin bin – was clearly not applied.
Another big Kelso line drive saw prop Craig Bucharweski swing as he was held in the maul, referee McLement sending him to the bin for the statutory 10 mins. The resultant penalty and line drive saw Kelso forwards pick and go again and despite some stout defence weight and weight of numbers told and Rowlandson crashed over for his second score with Skeen converting for 17-6. At the next scrum Biggar brought Mikey Dunlop into the game at prop at the expense of Jamie Orr. The flanker was quickly called back into action however as Craig Simmonds was taken off to receive treatment for a cut to the head.
With just over half an hour gone the Border side increased their lead with a try from Ally Johnson after a good break by Skeen. The conversion was missed and despite a good closing passage of play which saw Biggar attack off a typically strong No8 pick up by Lewis McLachlan and some good yards gained by Giles Boland, Calvin Henderson and Scott Swankie there was no way through the Kelso defence and they went in at half time at 22-6 and with the welcome prospect of the wind on their backs for the second half.
As had been the case against Selkirk the previous week an invigorated start from the Biggar side saw them score an excellent try with just minutes on the clock. Their best passage of play and ball retention saw the pack pick and go and without gaining a huge number of yards ball was transferred right with stand-off Andrew Watt finding winger Mark Bertram on a great angle. The big man then offloaded well to the supporting Bucharweski who rounded the movement off and crashed over from some 22 metres. Hunter added the points and Biggar were back in the hunt at 22-13.
Kelso regained their grip on the game after they set up position in the Biggar 22. A nasty injury to one of the Kelso backs held the game up before a series of Kelso drives ended with Biggar hooker Andrew Muir being shown a yellow after he crept offside; Kelso’s weight advantage now considerably enhanced as they had the extra man. A number of scrums followed and despite some stout defence and a couple of contentious decisions Kelso managed a wheel and drive with No 8 Alastair Greive rounding things off with a try, Skeen’s conversion putting Kelso 29-13 ahead.
Undeterred Biggar continued to attack and despite Bucharweski taking a knock in the tight scrum they created another attacking position in the Kelso half. A couple of penalties ensured their stay was prolonged and after the pack had kept the ball well Watt found Boland in the centre, the Irishman making light of the Kelso cover to scorch through a gap for a good try.
Unfortunately the benevolence of the Biggar side was once more in evidence as at 29-20 they were in sight of a losing bonus if not a win. A kick and chase after the restart saw ball lost to the Kelso breakaway forward and one surge later ball went to Skeen who put in a well-judged kick to the corner, Johnson diving in just ahead of the covering Bertram.
At 34-20 Biggar were down against things again but a last score which was run in and then converted by Hunter – this the last movement of the game and coming after another sustained passage of play - gave Biggar the all-important bonus.
A game of two halves? Kelso won the first half 22-6, Biggar the second by 21-12. The deciding factors were Kelso’s dominance of the tight play, Biggar’s two yellow cards (the second of which caused further problems as the lineout struggled without a recognised thrower) and a couple of defensive lapses which gave Kelso sufficient space from which to operate and attack.
Clearly the Biggar outfit were again disappointed but the direct running of, among others, McLachlan, Patterson, Bertram, Hunter and McKenzie allied to the work rate of Bucharweski, Orr, Boland, Reive and Watt mean that this side will get better.
The side must now regroup prior to what will be their toughest test yet when they travel the short distance to The Gytes and the local derby match with Peebles this Saturday.
Another big support would help the boys on their way.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Graham Hunter, David Paterson, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bucharweski, Andrew Muir, Calvin Henderson, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Lewis McLachlan, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Mike Dunlop, Charles Cochrane, Graham Jamieson, McKenzie Pearce,.
Man-of-the-match award went to Graham Hunter (Biggar).
Jedforest 2nds 16 Biggar 2nds 9
Biggar travelled to Jed for what was their first game of the season and their first Edinburgh Reserve league match hoping that a performance from this talented side would kick start the league campaign on a positive note.
Biggar started them the game on the back foot, Jed taking the game to the visitors, however the one thing Biggar can rely on is DEFENCE and Biggar defended for most of the first half keeping Jed to 0~0.
It was a dramatic end to the half with the ref up-ending himself and feeling unable to continue. He did however take the field for the second half - much to his credit. The message was that he would re-assess his ability to carry on at the 60 minute mark therefore allowing the score at that time to stand.
The game then became a bit edgy both sides trying to get a lead in case of an early finish. Step up Jack Warnock, who, in what was his first senior game and after just a handful of training sessions due to work commitments, was asked to kick to equalise three times and on every occasion slotted the kick.
The game was by now careering to an end and it was just one a lapse in concentration which allowed the hosts to drive over for the decisive score: a converted try to decide the game.
Story date: 15/09/2014
Biggar 2nd XV look to be an exciting prospect for the league season and with John Bogle being joined by Bob Aitken, Alistair Browning and Michael McKeand on the coaching side there is every reason to be up-beat.
Biggar lose out to Selkirk in League opener
Biggar 22 Selkirk 43
Biggar played their first home game of this season when they opened their 2014/15 National League account on Saturday against Border side Selkirk on what was a bright afternoon and in front of a very welcome large crowd.
A great turnout of club volunteers, coaches and helpers had been invited for a pre-Match luncheon and they listened to club coach Gavin Blackburn outline his stall for the season, the over-riding aim being to ensure the club was competitive at both 1st and 2nd XV level. His satisfaction at the effort levels and commitment at pre-season training was evident but his understanding that what has gone on before meant little and that the performance on Saturday was the start of the real business of the season was also clear. He hoped above all else for a performance against Selkirk and realised that this would be a stepping-stone for the rest of the season.
To end the game with a 43-22 scoreline was therefore massively disappointing, especially as the try count was just 4-3 in Selkirk’s favour and that the visitor’s scores had emanated largely from Biggar errors with an interception, a dropped pass and a charged down kick all ceding points to the Border XV.
True, Biggar had benefited from similar generosity in the first half when Giles Boland had taken an interception as Selkirk attacked but Biggar’s other two scores had been a result of some great play with forwards and backs combining well to put Selkirk under real pressure.
Selkirk certainly deserved their win but Biggar could and should have made things far more difficult for them, another contributing factor being the penalty count (13-7 in Selkirk’s favour) which allowed Selkirk to keep the score board ticking over nicely as they amassed 12 first half points from 4 penalties, fullback Josh Welsh having a good day with the boot and ending up with a game tally of 23 points.
Biggar fielded a side with a number of new faces for the Biggar membership with those targeted pre-season to bulk up the side being joined by others who have willingly thrown in their lot at Hartree Mill. As such there is always going to be a settling-in period as players adapt to each other and to what coach Blackburn is looking for and while, as previously suggested, there is considerable disappointment about the final result, there is certainly room for optimism as they learn and as the season progresses.
An early penalty from Welsh gave Selkirk the lead but this was countered after Graham Hunter equalised for Biggar. Selkirk scorned a try-scoring opportunity after a rushed Biggar clearance gave the visitors an overlap at the club house corner but a crucial hesitation to use the extra man and a great covering tackle by Davy Reive saw Selkirk taken into touch.
Selkirk regained their lead on 10 minutes as Welsh struck again before the game settled down somewhat as both teams attacked and countered. Biggar suffered a major blow when Australian centre Andrew King was injured in a tackle. The big man was clearly in a lot of pain and the injury necessitated a hospital visit but happily it is muscle damage rather than anything more serious although this is still to lead to a number of weeks absence. Hunter moved to centre as livewire winger David Paterson took to the field.
Play was punctuated at regular intervals by Durham exchange referee Will Halford who blew for a variety of offences, none of which were within kicking range of either side. The next score came when Boland latched onto a loose pass in the Selkirk midfield, the Biggar man sprinting clear and cleverly avoiding the chasing support before he was able to off-load to supporting winger Mark Bertram. In turn Bertram kept his head to elude two tackles before dotting down for a cracking try. Hunter converted to put Biggar ahead at 10-6.
Conceding a score shortly after scoring has oft been an Achilles heel for Biggar and the same issue reared its ugly head again when, directly from the kick off, Biggar conceded a penalty as Craig Simmonds obstructed Selkirk after Jamie Orr’s well taken catch. The 4 point lead was swiftly reduced to just one as Welsh calmly struck his third penalty.
A half time lead would have been well-deserved but Welsh was on the money again after referee Halford penalised the Biggar scrum. Deep into added time a last movement saw an encouraging passage of play from Biggar with Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman and Paterson all working well to take play to within metres of the Selkirk line before being bundled into touch. Selkirk therefore went in at the break 12-10 up.
Biggar opened the second half in splendid fashion, a sweeping move from the kick off putting the visitors under real pressure in their 22. Ball was whipped back left and a gap appeared through which stand-off Andrew Watt burst for a try under the posts which Hunter converted to put Biggar ahead once again. Would this be the turning point for Biggar?
Though initially things looked good as Biggar were quickly back on the attack with the chance to take play deep into the Selkirk half the fates conspired to thwart the dream, Biggar losing out as Selkirk centre Craig MacDougall pounced on a pass by Biggar full back Scott Swankie. The centre had a bit of work to do but he held off the cover to score a try and with Welsh adding the points Selkirk regained the lead at 19-12.
Another period of pressure saw Biggar re-establish themselves in the Selkirk 22 and run Selkirk close. A lineout error, though initially saved by Notman saw Selkirk awarded a scrum, Selkirk No 8 Calum Marshall picking and making a terrific break out of defence before being hauled down by Alan Warnock on the Biggar Selkirk 10 metre line.
Play was transferred to the Biggar half and while able to clear their lines Biggar lost out again as Swankie lost possession in mid-field, the ball escaping the clutches of the Biggar men before being picked up and moved to Selkirk No 10 Callum McColm who ran in for his sides third score, Welsh again adding the 2 points for a 26-17 lead.
Both sides had now made use of their bench with Andrew Muir and Lewis McLachlan introduced to replace Ewan Stewart and Andrew Warnock while Mackenzie Pearce also entered the fray as Simmonds and Serge were both given breaks.
With some 15 minutes remaining the game was put beyond any doubt when Biggar were under pressure deep in their 22. While ball was won well the Selkirk offensive/defence was up at great speed to charge down Watt’s clearance, the ball obligingly popping up into the hands of scrum half Mikey Davies who scored
McLachlan at No 8 created an excellent platform for Biggar as he picked up to break right and carve a huge hole in the Selkirk defence. Play continued before the same player made a second intrusion and with Andrew Muir and Notman moving forward the ball ended up in Bertram’s hands the big winger crashing over for his second score. 22-33 Selkirk.
As Biggar strove to gain another score which would have given them at worst a losing bonus Welsh took advantage of a couple of penalties to first of all advance play downfield and then secondly to kick for 36-22.
The final nail in Biggar’s chances and a fourth try to give Selkirk the full 5 league points saw yet another penalty kicked to the corner from where a well-worked lineout drive led to a try for prop Kieron Cooney. Needless to say the conversion was well struck by Welsh for his sides’ 43 point tally.
Biggar might have made a better fist of things when, in the dying seconds, they were awarded a penalty deep in the Selkirk 22 but a lack of control at the crucial moment saw possession lost and referee Halford blow for full time.
A sizeable defeat but one which nevertheless slightly flattered the visitors, Biggar’s profligacy gifting them their win.
All attention will now switch to preparing for Saturday’s clash with Kelso, another of the Border sides in this Division. Having lost out to Peebles in their first match Kelso will be keen to kick start their league campaign and so this will be another tight match. A reduction in the error count and a tighter grasp on possession will be key to the game plan.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Giles Boland, Andy King, Graham Hunter, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bucharweski, Ewan Stewart, Danny Jennings, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, Craig Simmons(Captain)
Reps: Mike Dunlop, Andrew Muir, Lewis McLachlan, McKenzie Pearce, David Paterson.
Man-of-the-match awards went to Giles Boland (Biggar) and Angus Duckett (Selkirk).
The 2nd XV, who had another blank weekend, should see their season kick start with an away match against Jedforest. This will also be a really tough contest as the 2nds will be a youthful outfit with several of the Colts from the past 2/3 years all involved.
Story date: 09/09/2014
Tough test at Myreside as Biggar part company with the BT Cup campaign.
Match report : 1st Sept 2014
Watsonians 51 Biggar 15
In one of only two games to pit two National League clubs against each other (the other between Kelso and Hillhead Jordanhill was cancelled after the Glasgow side could not field a recognised front row!), Biggar succumbed to the might of Edinburgh side - and League favourites - Watsonians on Saturday.
That this was a hefty defeat was disappointing although the Watsons tally did not match that of last season while Biggar managed an additional try in response.
Into the Biggar XV came new arrival Edlyn Serge and there is no doubt that the big man – who is to assist with strength and conditioning of the junior players – will be a boost for the Biggar squad.
In grand conditions and on the wide Myreside pitch Biggar found themselves up against things from the start, Watson's taking advantage of a first penalty award against Biggar to tap and go which resulted in a try for the right winger. 7-0 Watson's.
Biggar’s restart – as had Watsons kick-off – failed to go 10, Watson's moving the ball from the scrum and a try looked on save that the referee gave a forward pass.
Biggar had really struggled to get out of their own half until a good clearance kick made on 15 mins. Relieved the pressure, albeit momentarily. Biggar’s chase was poor and allowed the Watsons full back to make a good break before releasing the winger who crossed for his 2nd try in the same corner. 12-0.
In a fast paced game Watson's gained control of the ball again at the restart and while the full back made a break Biggar’s 9 (Reive) made a half tackle to slow him up before Biggar 15 (Scott Swankie) caught him and held him up over the line. The score was only delayed before Watson's put the ball wide with the fullback looping the winger to score in the right hand corner. 17-0 after 21 min and the signs were ominous!
Following a penalty award from the kick off Biggar kicked deep into the 22. Here a well worked lineout saw Craig Bachurzweski (prop) score down the blind. Graeme Hunter converted. Biggar had their best passage of play of the half, putting 4-5 phases together before winning a penalty. A kick to the corner saw them win a lineout 15m out. From this a penalty was awarded in front of the posts. Graeme Hunter kicked to reduce the deficit to 17-10 with 34 min. on the clock.
It didn’t take the Edinburgh outfit long before they added to their total. Having regained the ball they continued to put the ball wide, moving it right then left before scoring in the left hand corner.
Half time 24-10.
Biggar started the second half by kicking deep into Watson's half. Although Watson's cleared the immediate danger, ball was taken on by Biggar number 8 Craig Simmons who frustratingly then managed to lose the ball trying to offload. Watson's won a penalty, and kicked to the right hand touchline and on the 22m line. Utilising their lineout to full effect Watson's caught and drove the lineout to score, 31-10.
Biggar’s luck was in when, from the restart, Watson's knocked on. Biggar had a couple of passes before Graeme Jamieson made the most of his opportunity to score in the left hand corner. 31-15.
A passage of much more scrappy play then ensued and as it did so Biggar lost their shape. Watson's eventually re-gathered possession before making a drop goal attempt from 30 yards out. 34-15. (53 min.)
Biggar had already contributed to their own downfall by ceding possession and they did so again directly from the restart which went straight out. Watson's put a couple of passes together before going into touch themselves. Biggar stole the lineout through Alan Warnock (who along with Jamie Orr was the pick of the Biggar pack), but then quickly lost the ball again as Watson's broke down the left hand side to score. 39-15.
Biggar then enjoyed their best part of the game with some good play taking them deep into the Watson's 22m. Watson's were reduced to 14 men when their centre (No 13) was yellow carded for deliberately slowing up ball. Biggar were awarded a scrum, but instead of steadying the ship with some possession play contrived to lose possession and then concede a penalty for pulling down! Watson's took full advantage to clear their line. A good move featuring fullback Swankie looked promising but Watsons spoiled the party as they managed to dispossess the wee man and with no cover at full they kicked long with no cover to tidy possession. Despite this Biggar managed to secure the ball but then found themselves turned over and seconds later Watsons scored out wide (again). 46-15.
Despite fielding some big men the Biggar scrum toiled in the game as their opponents proved a little more adept in the tight. Under considerable pressure and as the Biggar scrum was going backwards, No 8 Craig Simmonds deserves credit as he picked up before managing to provide some good ‘go forward’. Disappointingly the referee adjudged the final pass to be forward.
Watson's won the scrum and their Number 12 made a break from a missed tackle. Biggar scrambled back to slow play down before Davy Reive was yellow carded for pulling the Watsons 9 back in. The No 9 in question was non-other than ex-Biggar Colt Reiss Cullen who moved to the Edinburgh club over the summer.
Watson's opted to kick the penalty for a lineout, which they won and while Biggar again managed to clear the immediate danger, the ball was cleared down the open side before their centre squeezed in down the right hand side to round off the scoring at 51-15.
Scot Swankie, Mark Bertram, Andy King, Graham Hunter, Craig McDonald, Andrew Watt, David Reive, Craig Bachurewski, Ewan Stewart, Danny Jennings, Jamie Orr, Edlyn Serge, Douglas Notman, Alan Warnock, Craig Simmons (Captain). Reps Mike Dunlop, Andrew Muir, Andy Peacock, McKenzie Pearce, Graham Jamieson
This was a harsh lesson for the Biggar side but one from which they will doubtless learn. This Saturday sees the side play their first game at home this season and what a cracker it promises to be with Border side Selkirk the opposition. Needless to say a big, vocal home crowd would be a boost for the Biggar side in their quest for a strong opening performance and league game.
Sadly the 2nd XV did not have a match this weekend and indeed their next outing is a league game at Jedforest on the 13th.
Story date: 02/09/2014
Senior Player Facebook Group
Story date: 29/10/2013
Biggar RFC 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