First XV


First XV
Coaching Staff
Match Reports

The 1st XV has been a key part of Biggar RFC since its establishment in 1975 from their first ever fixture at the Showfield to there most recent success winning Tennents National 1 in 2020 prior to the season being declared Null and Void.

The 1st XV has enjoyed many successes over the years rising up the Scottish rugby divisions which included reaching the Top Flight of Scottish Club Rugby with promotion to the premiership in 2004.

In recent years Biggar RFC has put a major on emphasis on youth development and transitioning local talent into the 1st XV squad.

The current squad lead by David Wilson, Dougie Fleming and Craig Borthwick is dominated by local players who have came through the ranks at Biggar RFC and many have also been part of our High Performance Academy.

The 1st XV have and continue to be extremely well supported by community. Biggar supporters follow the team all around the country and everyone associated with the 1st XV thank members and the community for their continous support.

Having just fallen short of the promotion spot this season the team well again compete in Tennents National 1 in the upcoming 2023/24 season.

Head Coach – David Wilson

David Wilson has been a part of the 1st XV coaching set up for 5 seasons. Initially working alongside ex Head Coach Gary Mercer David is now head coach and lead the squad to the National 1 Title before the Season was declared Null and Void. David brings a wealth of expereince to the squad having previously coached at Glasgow Hawks, Kelvinside Academy, Boroughmuir Bears and Scotland Age Grade squads.

Forwards Coach – Dougie Fleming

A Local and ex 1st XV player Dougie Fleming has been involved with the senior squads for many years now. Dougie was previously coached the 2nd XV guiding them to a championship winning season.

Forwards – Craig Borthwick

Craig has played for Peebles, Gala and Watsonians and has had a stint as a Scotland rugby league internationalist.. He started life as a centre but gravitated to the pack where his physicality is best suited. A keen rugby brain he instills confidence and belief whilst always looking for ways to develop players.

SEASON 2023-24

Match Report 28th January 2024

Biggar 36 Watsonians 28

Biggar maintained their unbeaten record for 2024 with a narrow, but very welcome bonus point win over visitors Watsonians. The Edinburgh outfit took the honours in the first outing and they too were unbeaten in 2024 so there was a deal at stake.

With Ben White now in South Africa, the very reliable Andrew Peacock took his place in the front row while the rest of the side was largely unchanged from the squad that faced Gala with the exception that Euan Bogle replaced Finlay Crozier on the wing and Harry Stewart returned to the bench after injury and district call ups. Both these two would prove their worth in this match.

There was a touch of spring in the air on Saturday – for the first half at least – and a great crowd was present to witness what turned out to be an entertaining contest with the sides sharing 9 tries.

Biggar began against the breeze but took the game to their guests and for the first 20 minutes took control. Watsons, despite the freshening breeze found themselves pinned down in their half and struggled to take play downfield.

In this period Biggar showed some really good touches and were able to go through their phases. One such play after 12 minutes saw them attack on the right, then left this creating a gap for skipper Andy Jardine to take the ball at pace and breach the Watsons defence for the opening try. Euan Bogle added the conversion.

The joy was short-lived however as back row man Morris McDairmid was forced off with a shoulder injury and one which will keep him out for the rest of this campaign. His replacement was the afore-mentioned Harry Stewart.

On 19 minutes Biggar added to their tally when Bogle kicked well for a penalty and 10-0.

This score seemed to galvinise Watsons who, for what was almost the first time, managed to create a head of steam and take play into the Biggar 22. Awarded a penalty and using a lineout drive to good effect, Biggar conceded a further penalty whereupon Watsons employed the same tactic to take play right to the Biggar line. There was some stout defensive work from Biggar with Callum Dunlop proving his worth with a great tackle which led to the ball being held up over the line and giving Biggar a chance to relieve pressure. The drop out in the breeze provided little respite however and Watsons were soon back on the attack.

Biggar continued to defend well with some big hits but eventually the dam burst and their winger Harry Fisher squeezed in at the corner for the try. Scrum half Fin Broomfield added the conversion and it was all to play for.

Frustratingly for the home support, Biggar then seemed to lose their way a bit and their play became scrappy and somewhat disjointed.

It was a matter of minutes before Watsons scored their second with their backs running hard to create a space for centre Ronan Kerr who skipped in close to the posts for the try which was duly converted by Broomfield. Biggar were now 14-10 down and worse was to follow as Kotze tried his best to prevent a kick going into touch. His tap back saw ball snapped up by the visitors and this play ended with stand off Lewis Burns going in under the posts. Broomfield added the extras and Biggar, having been aheadminutes earlier ended the half 21-10 down.

To add to their woes, Peacock was ruled out of action after taking a thump to his face and head. Paul Davidson was his replacement.

There was some fairly robust half time chat with the coaches asking for a response, and happily for the home support this paid off, immediately!

The half had hardly got underway before a neat series of passes from the Biggar backs created a first opportunity for winger Andy Lamb who made light of the distance or the Watsons cover defence before crossing at the corner. This was just too wide for Bogle but Biggar were back in the hunt and they got another boost when the Watsons restart was too long. A scrum, followed by a Biggar penalty gave the home side field position again and a great attacking opportunity.

The forwards took charge and laid siege to the Watsons line which was well defended. With ball shifted out Biggar ran all the angles and the ball was seemingly lost then regathered by Kotze who dived over for a try, much to the bemusement of all present.

Referee Galashan was unsighted and took advice from the touch judge before awarding Biggar with the points. Unfortunately the video camera battery had given up the ghost at half time and so there is no actual record of what did happen, but the score was awarded and with Bogle kicking the converison Biggar were ahead once again at 22-21.

In years past the Watsons backs were always strong and they always sought to move the ball wide but on Saturday it was their pack who did much of the hard graft and it was a forward effort which they used to good effect to pressure Biggar.

Having conceded a couple of penalties Watsons set up a good attacking position from which their pack took another lineout drive right to the line. A further penalty saw them repeat the move and Biggar were forced back in defence – Ryan Whitefield losing his strip in the process but applying himself well nonetheless.

An accidental offside gave Biggar a chance to relieve the pressure and this they did, the Watsons backs making some uncharacteristic errors under the high ball to aid Biggar’s efforts.

There was another stoppage as Biggar hooker Andrew Orr took a head knock, Tom Roper on as his replacement.The youngster has covered several positions this season and he is to be commended again for his work ethic and resilience.

Watsons were not undone however and able to mount another attack their pack delivered via another driven linout with prop Tom Gracie credited with the try, converted by Broomfield for 28-22.

The restart gave Biggar some good ground and in a ding-dong battle it was their turn to pressure Watsons. A couple of missed tackles and then a penalty from Owen McLeish took play deep into the Watsons half where a neat combination between Kotze and Rowan Stewart saw the latter scorch through a gap to crash over under the posts for a try which Bogle converted to put Biggar back into the lead at 29-28. Nip and tuck!

Biggar were then deprived of another of their forwards as Callum Dunlop, another who was clearly enjoying the contest, took a head knock. With all the forwards cover already deployed, Lamb moved into the back row and Crozier took up station on the wing. He was hardly on the pitch before he was celebrating a try, Biggar having moved the ball well again to the right. This created all the space Crozier needed – maybe a yard – and the winger sold a terrific dummy to outwit the Watsonian defence to dive over in the corner. This was much in the same place as Lamb’s try earlier in the half and Bogle adapted his kick well to this time nail the conversion. Biggar were ahead at 36-28, making it a two-score lead.

Gregor Lang replaced McLeish for the last minutes, the final passages seeing some scrappy play again before the referee blew for full time.

Overall an excellent win, though at some cost with potentially 4 out for this coming Saturday through injury. Another who will not be in the side is back row man Mark Bertram. Having played for Biggar through minis to seniors he left to play Premiership rugby for Watsons before returning to Biggar 2 seasons ago. Initially a winger, Mark took up a place in the back row where he has shone. A change of career and an impending series of fitness tests for said career, prevents him from playing on and the game between his two former clubs proved an ideal stopping point. A big thank you Mark for your time with the club – and never say never to a return to action!


F. Jackson, A. Lamb, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, E. Bogle, O. McLeish,L. Kotze, A. Peacock, A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Dunlop, R. Jackson, S. King,M. McDairmid, M. Bertram. Reps P. Davidson, T. Roper, H. Stewart,G. Lang, F. Crozier

Biggar travel to GHA on Saturday, at both 1st and 2nd XV level. The Glasgow side are currently in 5th spot and will provide a stern challenge as Biggar seek to creep up the National 1 table.


Match Report 6th January 2024

Biggar 21 Gala 14

Biggar kicked off 2024 with a home match against Border XV Gala at Hartree Mill. This was a match rescheduled from November when heavy frost put paid to any play and at 10am on Saturday morning, with a heavy mist and more frost it looked very likely that this match too would succumb to the conditions. A lengthy deliberation followed with a weather eye on the sun which was doing its best to break through the mist. And then a conversation was had with Gala – would they travel to fulfill the fixture depsite there being a chance that the pitch would be unplayable? The answer was ‘yes’ and so with fingers crossed the news broke that the game was on!

Come 1pm there were still crusty patches but with an hour until kick off and with both teams tramping over the pitch to break the bone up, the officials and players agreed to play. Even at kick off there remained some harder places but happily and in front of a great crowd, the game took place.

Biggar showed several changes to the squad which took the field against Glasgow Accies in December. Craig Borthwick who has played a pivotal role both on and off the pitch in the past 4 seasons has finally ‘retired’, for just now at least! Robbie Orr through injury and the chance to play the Super 6 series with Ayr was not available while Lohan Kotze, Ewan Stewart and Ross Jackson were unavailable through injury and suspension. Those filling the places were Xander Lyon, Andrew Lamb, Finlay Crozier, Euan Bogle, Morris McDiarmid and Mark Bertram and all acquited themselves very well throughout – McDiarmid particularly catching the eye with some excellent defence and equally excellent carries. His first try was just reward for those efforts. Prop Ben White was another in fine form, this his swan song for the year as he now flies to South Africa for his 5-month scholarship through the SRU/John MacPhail trust. Best of luck Ben!

Playing towards the clubhouse Biggar enjoyed the lions share of early pressure, keeping Gala pinned in their half and demonstrating an early advantage in the tight scrum, the first earning a penalty which Euan Bogle kicked successfully for 3-0. The same player was on target just a few minutes later and Biggar were 6-0 up.

Callum Dunlop made a real nuisance of himself at lineout time and his and Sam King’s efforts made it difficult for Gala to gain quality possession. Pressure should equate to points however, and this was not the case, penalties conceded far too frequently and spoiling much of the lead up play while Gala showed a typical doggedness in defence which kept Biggar at bay. There were several other frustrating errors, some with the boot and others with poor handling, perhaps easily excused after a 3 week festive lay-off and a couple of brief training sessions.

It was some 25 minutes before Gala really mounted an attack. They linked several phases together and took play into Biggar territory, stand-ff Gregor Mein using the boot at every opportunity to turn Biggar’s defence. This attack ended with Fraser Jackson, who had a strong game at fullback, making a mark in the Biggar 22. His clearance was charged down but the ball broke for White who made 20+ metres to relieve the immediate danger. Ball was then shipped wide with some good running from Biggar’s three-quarters, Gala eventually getting Lamb into touch on the far wing.

A steal at the lineout gave Biggar possession again but a knock on and then a penalty allowed Gala to kick clear. With only a handful of minutes remaining before half time, Biggar, while still ahead, had little to show for their territory and possession but this would quickly change.

Several good phases gave Biggar a good attacking platform and a penalty gave them another opportunity. Having taken this quickly Biggar used the pack to pick and go and to keep Gala in some desperate defence. The pressure told in the end with McDiarmid earning his try. Bogle’s conversion rebounded off the upright, but Biggar were 11-0 up.

Having gained possession from the kick off Gala were quick to mount an attack of their own, but this was brought to a swift end when Biggar’s skipper Andy Jardine intercepted a wide pass. With Gala all in attack the chase was on, one which Jardine won, the efforts of Gala winger Ritchie Mitchell curtailed by what looked like a hamstring tear. Bogle added the conversion and Biggar went to the dressing rooms in a relatively comfortable position – certainly a much stronger postition than it had been just 5 minutes previously!

The plan was to come out and complete the job! But how rarely does that happen in sport?

Things looked promising when, with the game barely under way, lock Dunlop managed to get a boot to a dropped Gala pass and hack all the way to the Gala line where fullback Murray Wilson managed to drop on the ball to concede a Biggar scrum. Unfortunately for Biggar, referee Craig Clark deemed Dunlop’s tackle to be high and Gala escaped via a penalty.

Perhaps forgetting how long it had taken to break the Gala line in the first half, Biggar failed to account too for the resolve of the Gala squad. This initial attack and opportunity boded well but things changed again fairly quickly. A neat Jackson chip ahead broke for Gala and they were quick to mount their first attack of the half. Their first half lineout work had not been tidy but on this occasion and despite coach Borthwick’s call, the Gala pack took control and drove Biggar back, Gala lock Cammy Pate on hand to touchdown. Replacement Russell Kerr kicked the conversion to take the score to 18-7 to Biggar.

Several errors with the boot from both sides disrupted much of the next 10 minutes, kicks going straight out or giving the recipient an opportunity to counter. A great steal by Biggar at the breakdown by Rowan Stewart gave Biggar some relief but minutes later the combined efforts of the centre and winger Andy Lamb fell foul of referee Clark and this gave Gala their next attacking opportunity.

Having made a good touch within the Biggar 22, Gala worked their way to the Biggar line with centre Callum Pate making the crucial break to score under the posts. Kerr added the conversion and Gala were now just 4 points adrift with just less than a quarter of the match to go.

Biggar made a couple of changes, Olly Keast replacing Bogle, Whitefield coming back for Davidson and minutes later Tom Roper replaced McDiarmid.

With 10 minutes remaining Biggar forced the best from the Gala defence after another Jardine interception, Bertram getting to within metres of the Gala line before a penalty was awarded to Gala for holding on. This gave the visitors some respite and a long kick downfield gave them field position but a penalty won by Biggar gave the home side the advantage again. Having taken play into the Gala half another penalty saw Owen McLeish step up to go for goal. His kick was accurate and although it was still a one score game, Biggar were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

A slight misjudgement of time remaining saw Keast blast the ball off the pitch thinking the game was over but although Gala had a last lineout Biggar scrambled back and referee Clark brought proceedings to a close.

The win was important to Biggar and although there is still a mathematical possibility of relegation as Biggar are just 16 points clear of bottom place GHK, this would be a very feint chance of coming to pass. Ironically, they are also just 11 points adrift of being second!

There is no league game scheduled for this coming Saturday and in its place a midweek match against Premiership side Musselburgh has been organised – Thursday 7pm. The forecast suggests that this is more than doubtful and so realistically Biggar now prepare for the next league encounter, this an away match at Dundee (20th Jan KO 2pm).

The winter freeze prevented any other weekend action .


F. Jackson, A. Lamb, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, F. Crozier, O. McLeish,E. Bogle, B. White, A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Dunlop, X. Lyon, S. King,M. McDiarmid, M. Bertram. Reps P. Davidson, A. Peacock, T. Roper, G. Lang, O. Keast

1st XV match report

Glasgow Accies 43 Biggar 29

The last match of 2023 saw Biggar travel to Glasgow for a match which had been rescheduled from October when the New Anniesland pitch was flooded. While the pitch was certainly playable it was still very wet and slippy although this had no bearing on the result.

Biggar made two changes to the starting XV with Paul Davidson coming it at prop for Ben White and Callum Dunlop for the injured Mark Bertram. White was on Scotland U20 duty alongside another Biggar youngster Fergus Watson at nearby Scotstoun – the Scotland side lost out to Wales by 53-46. The bench was very different however with Neil Jones coming in for his debut appearance and joining Xander Lyon, Morris McDiarmid, Gregor Lang and Andrew Lamb.

The Glasgow side extracted some revenge following their defeat at Hartree Mill the previous weekend although Biggar’s efforts were hindered following the dismissal of Ross Jackson for an altercation after just 10 minutes on the clock.

This came after Biggar opened their account via a Robbie Orr try with Craig Borthwick, Sam King, Owen McLeish and Rowan Stewart all involved in the build up.

The lead was quickly retaken by the home side as they eventually crossed the Biggar line following a prolonged passage of play when they retained possession over multiple phases.

Biggar had the better of the early forward exchanges in the scrum but lineouts for both sides were problematic, possession rarely won by the team with the throw in. Both sides looked to run the ball which made for an exciting contest and one which entertained those watching.

Biggar seemed to have regained the lead when Euan Bogle kicked a penalty after 25 minutes but although the touch judges indicated success referee Scott Cubitt deemed otherwise and Accies were given a goal line drop out. The same player then found his mark with a penalty to put Biggar ahead at 8-7. This was short lived however as almost from the restart Accies stand off Asam Scott weaved how ay over the line for a try which he converted for 14-8. This was the half time score and so everything was to play for after the break.

Biggar replaced McLeish, who had struggled all week with a heavy cold, with Lang at the start of the half. Unfortunately an early defensive error as the extra man told, gave Accies a chance which they took, scoring a try within a minute of the restart and which, following a successful conversion, put them 21-8 ahead.

Accies were now looking dangerous whenever they had the ball and only some stout defence, with Robbir Orr to the fore everywhere, kept them out.

For their part Biggar also looked dangerous with ball in hand but a couple of handling and kicking errors thwarted any advantages gained. Rowan Stewart did get a good run on the wing and seemed to have almost scored, referee Cubitt deeming that an illegal play by Accies was deliberate and therefore showing Accies a yellow and awarding Biggar a penalty try: 21-15 to Accies.

With 15 minutes of the half gone Accies struck again with a 3rd try, but one which was not converted. At this point Xander Lyon came on for Davidson, this resulting in the pack being rearranged, with a new front row and back row.

Almost immediately the Glasgow side struck again some good angles once again paving the way for their 4th and bonus point try. Robbie Orr picked up a knock in the build up to this score and he was replaced by Andrew Lamb, this forcing the backs to make changes.

Within minutes Accies were over the line again, this one coming from a Biggar attack, a wide pass being intercepted to give the Accies player an almost clear run to the line for a try converted to pretty much seal the game at 38-15.

McDiarmid replaced Sam King and Jones came on for Ryan Whitefield. As the daylight waned Accies added another score, this from a driven lineout but Biggar were in no mood to give up and a free kick was the precursor to their 3rd score, this credited to skipper Andy Jardine who hit a good line off Lohan Kotze’s pass. Bogle converted for 43-22.

With the game almost at en and Biggar added a valuable 4th bonus point try. Accies had been reduced to 13 at this point following the interjection of the neutral touch judges.

This was not the way Biggar would have preferred to sign off 2023. There has been a welcome upturn in the standard of play over the past 6 weeks and it would have been so much better to have maintained that form to the year end. The players now have a reduced training programme and will prepare for the next match which is on 6th January when Gala come to Hartree Mill.


F. Jackson, E. Bogle, R. Orr, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, O. McLeish, L. Kotze, P. Davidson, A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Borthwick, S. King, R. Jackson, C. Dunlop, E. Stewart. Reps N. Jones, X. Lyon, M. McDiarmid, G. Lang, A. Lamb


Match Report 10th December

Biggar 37 Glasgow Accies 22

This was another great 5 point win for Biggar, facing as they were, a team who were sitting third in the table. Quite amazingly, but a factor throughout this season, is that there now only 11 league points between Biggar who are still 3rd bottom and the Glasgow side, who still retain 3rd place. All the more significant however, is that there are now, after GHK defeated Dundee, just 12 points between Biggar and the relegation spot (held by GHK)! With 5 games still to go, Biggar need to keep winning to ensure their National 1 spot.

Their first opportunity to maintain the run is against Glasgow Accies! The initial match was postponed from early October due to a waterlogged pitch and Saturday was the first ‘free’ date, so it’s back-to-back with Accies who this time round have home advantage.

In dreich but generally dry conditions, despite a much poorer forecast, Biggar opened well, a penalty after less than a minute converted by Euan Bogle. He had been recalled to the starting XV after injury to Andrew Lamb, the only other change to the side seeing Ewan Stewart at hooker, his place in the back row going to Mark Bertram with Andrew Orr dropping to the bench. Other replacements were Fin Barr, Finlay Crozier and Ollie Keast, the Kiwi making his first step up at top team level.

Accies came right back into the match and used a driven lineout to open their account, this after 10 minutes. A kick and chase on the restart had Biggar scrambling back to cover, a good picee of skill from Fraser Jackson securing possession and haltnign what could have been a cheap score.

Back in attack there was confusion when Bogle kicked a second penalty, or so it seemed as both touch judges signalled that it was successful. The arbiter of law, the referee, Gordon Galashan, deemd otherwise however and Accies were given a drop out which helped clear the immediate danger. In what can only be described as a ‘double-whammy’, Biggar then conceded a second try, an attacking move ending with a pass from Andy Jardine being intercepted by an Accies back. Having scored under the posts the try was duly converted and from being ‘6-0 up’, Biggar were 12-3 down.

A second somewhat controversial decision came on 24 minutes when Owen McLeish kicked a penalty to touch close to the Accies line. With the touch judge barracked by the Accies calls, referee Galashan then over-ruled the dead-ball decision and instead awarded Biggar their lineout! Unfortunately, Biggar failed to capitalise on this play and Accies got some relief although this was relatively short-lived, Biggar piling on the pressure with every handling move. McLeish almost broke clear through the visitors defensive line, Ben White made a brilliant break in the centre while then Robbie Orr – a constant threat every time he got hands on the ball – and Fraser Jackson went close.

Able to retain possession and territory and after a series of forward efforts from Ryan Whitefield, Ewan Stewart and Craig Borthwick, Ross Jackson was quickest to react to a loose ball and crossed the line for Biggar’s first try, converted by Bogle to reduce the gap to 12-10. As the minutes ticked towards half time, Biggar continued to look dangerous but a second score was proving elusive. A long kick downfield which led to an Accies drop out preceded that second score.

The drop out restart was half blocked by winger Rowan stewart which led to Biggar getting a series of handlibng movements in the Accies 22. Fraser Jackson was held up short and other picks from Whitefield, White, Ross jackson and others eventually paved the way for one by Ewan Stewart, the hooker crashing over for a deserved try. Bogle added the conversion and then on the stroke of half time kicked another penalty to send Biggar into the break at 20-12 up.

Now playing toward the clubhouse, Biggar with their tails up found theior efforts thwarted as they conceded penalty after penalty. Just about every penalty offence seemed to be spotted by referee Galashan and this certainly spolied Biggar’s rythym, one being kicked to give Accies some hope at 20-15.

The restart gave Biggar a chance to get ball and this they did to get into the Accies half. Andrew Orr replaced the industrious Morris McDiarmid. With the Biggar scrum performing well throughout, one set piece saw the home side drive their opponents downfield for the best part of 20 metres. At this point the referee blew as he belived the scrum had spun round. A reset was the obvious answer but a bit of back chat saw the reset turned into a penalty to Accies. Scant reward for Biggar for what had been a great forward effort.

Minutes later and following a scrum penalty this time to Biggar which McLeish sent flying to the Accies 22, the Biggar pack took the driven line another 20 metres forward. An inside pass to blind-side winger Stewart took play to within a couple of metres but the following drive to the line saw some desperate yet effective Accies defence hold Bertram up over the line.

The drop out failed to give Accies any break and Biggar swept play back into the Accies 22 with a penalty giving the home side a chance at another driven line. This was held up but possession retained and while Ross Jackson was held up, the next phase saw Whitefield, with the help of Ewan Stewart cross the line for what was the youngsters first try for the top team. Bogle kicked the conversion for 27-15.

The restart this time gave Accies some possession although again a series of penalties from Biggar did as much for the Accies effort as they did from their own play. A driven line was their go to, and a wise tactic given the weather and ground conditions, and this they used to creep to the Biggar line. Their scrum half took the ball and with a jink burst through the Biggar fringe defence to dot down under the posts for a try converted for 27-22.

Biggar were quickly back on the attack and with their pack causing the visitors real problems, a spilled ball aided the Biggar cause no end. More driving play from the pack with Bertram, Orr and Stewart to the fore took play to the Accies 22 where a short pass from McLeish put skipper Jardine

into space. Having drawn the cover his inside pass was taken by Orr who crossed the line untouched. bogle added the conversion for 34-22.

Paul Davidson replaced Whitefield. The newcomer soon won a penalty but it was Accies who benfited as Biggar struggled to retain possession. In what was their best attacking period, no doubt assisted by the presence of Rory McGinn who played all his youth rugby at Biggar, Accies should probably have scored a last ditch tackle from the ever-present Orr disrupting what looked to be a certain try.

As time wore on it seemed that the game might be cut short such was onset of dusk. The scoreboard proved to be the brightest and almost provided some much-needed light. Fin Barr replaced Bertram and towards the dying moments Ollie Keast replaced Luhann Kotze and Finlay crozier replaced Bogle.

In the Accies 22, a last penalty gave McLeish the chance to add to Biggar’s tally and this he did to take final score to 37-22.

As explained Biggar travel to Glasgow on Saturday for the return fixture. With Accies claiming they were some 5 players short of their top side it will be an intriguing contest. Biggar will look to field a similar XV to that which has been selected over the past 4 weeks a definite factor in the sides resurgence.


F. Jackson, E. BogleR. Orr, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, O. McLeish, L. Kotze, B. White, , R. Whitefield, C. Borthwick, S. King, M. McDiarmidR. JacksonE. Stewart Reps P. Davidson, A. Orr, F. Barr, F. Crozier, O. Keast.

McPhail scholarship

One player who deserves the heartiest of congratulations is prop Ben White who will play for Scotland U19 this coming weekend against Wales at Scotstoun. Ben will be joined in the team by fellow Biggar player and Glasgow Academy member Fergus Watson. Details are really sketchy at the moment as the SRU media department struggles to promote the match.

Ben was a Biggar member throughout his younger days but played for Peebles where he was schooled. He returned to Biggar this season and has been performing really well in the top side. Perhaps more importantly he has been selected to travel in January on a McPhail scholarship to South Africa where he will spend 5 months learning about rugby and life. Many will recall that Andrew Jardine and Guy Kelly were both recipients of the McPhail scholarship back in 2018.

Someone else worthy of mention is White’s front row partner Ryan Whitefield. Having also just made the step up from Colts Ryan is gaining in confidence as the season progresses. He has just begun training with the Edinburgh Academy and travels with Ben to the sessions in Edinburgh. Ryan’s debut try against Accies on Saturday earned him the man of the match award.

Match Report 3rd December

Highland 15 Biggar 15

I am happy to be corrected but as far as I can tell only 2 senior matches beat the frost and snow which swept the country at the weekend. There was a match in the south where Newton Stewart defeated Kirkcaldy 41-17 and one some 240 odd miles to the north where Highland and Biggar shared the honours 15-15.

Biggar travelled north through snow storms and hard frost scarcely believing that the game would be on but not for the first time Inverness had escaped the worst of the frost and this allowed the match to be played on the astro surface albeit the surrounds of were still white. As the game progressed from the 3pm kick off temperatures plummeted and left spectators and players shivering.

Last weekend Biggar’s starting XV selection for the match against Gala was the same as had opened against Melrose the previous week, but the side which travelled to Inverness showed one change Ross Jackson coming back after injury to replace Mark Bertram. On the bench Finlay Barr was another returning from injury while there were also places for Andrew Peacock, Xander Lyon, Finlay Crozier and Fraser Jackson.

Opening with the watery sun on their backs Biggar were soon on the defensive as Highland began in confident form gaining ground from a penalty which took them to the Biggar 22. Having won the lineout and with another penalty advantage to go, ball was shifted quickly across the pitch, winger Magnus Henry sprinting over from 20 metres for the first score. The conversion from Scott Fraser was wide but Highland were 5-0 up within 3 minutes. This has been a regular feature of play this season but happily Biggar came back within 5 minutes, an angled run from Rowan Stewart taking play to the Highland posts. While tackled, ball was recycled and a penalty awarded as Highland transgressed. Euan Bogle kicked the points for 5-3.

Stewart was again to the fore as centre Robie Orr freed his winger for another burst into the Highland half, this culminating in a series of forward drives which ended when Andrew Orr was held up by the Highland defence over the line. Able to maintain territory Biggar took good lineout ball in the Highland 22 and mounted a drive to the Highland line. Prop Stephen Murray was adjudged to have interfered illegally as the Biggar pack drove towards the Highland line and following an exchange of opinion, referee Craig Clark issued the Highland man with a yellow card.

Opting for a scrum from the penalty and with the extra man Biggar mounted a concerted effort and took the ball to the Highland line where unfortunately and with the line beckoning, the ball was pushed into the Highland pack and touched down for another drop out. A second escape for the home side.

On the half hour mark a well engineered move by the Highland threequarters saw Fraser kick crossfield to winger Daniel Corr who managed to get a foot to the ball as it landed between him and Biggar fullback Bogle. Now behind the Biggar defence the ball bounced up and into the wingers hands which gave him a clear run to the line for an opportunist score. Fraser was wide with the conversion: 10-3 to Highland.

Within 5 minutes Biggar were back in the hunt as their backs handled well from halfway to create a space on the wing for Stewart whose angled run and dive took him to the line. There was a discussion between referee and touch judge before the try was awarded, Bogle just short with the touchline conversion. 10-8 to Highland.

There was time before the break for Biggar to mount another attack and with prop Ben White in possession a last ditch piece of defence by Highland saw the Biggar effort held up again, this bringing the half time whistle.

This was proving to be a very entertaining match and with the score close at 10-8 there was the prospect of a good second half in the offing.

The opening exchanges saw Biggar concede a couple of penalties which gave the home XV a good position in the Biggar 22 where they tested the visitors defence. Highland might have opted for a kick at goal from the second award but instead went for a catch and drive. A handling error spawned ball for No 8 Ewan Stewart who opened up well to help take play downfield and out of danger. Now with play in the Highland half Biggar were frustrated by a couple of handling errors and were then quickly back in defensive mode as Highland ran well to take play back to the Biggar half.

A cross kick, similar to the one which led to their second try, was gathered by Rowan Stewart who linked well with the ever-present Robbie Orr. His return pass was taken by Stewart who set off to halfway, his chip, chase and catch almost seeing him free to the line. Having been tackled he tried to find the supporting Andrew Orr but this off-load was intercepted by the Highland cover and immediately it was Highland back on the offensive. A good run was aided by a slipped tackle and then centre Michael Gray found himself in space on the wing and he outstripped the Biggar defence to score a good try out wide. Given that the game was eventually tied, the centre might have made an attempt to get closer to the posts which would have made the conversion slightly easier for Fraser but as it was the kick was pulled wide. 15-8 to Highland, still a one score game

Biggar made changes to their side at this point Barr on for Morris McDiarmid and Fraser Jackson for Bogle. A penalty award gave the visitors another catch and drive opportunity but on this occasion while making ground forward, there was an accidental offside and Highland were given the chance to exit. This was not with ease however as Biggar’s pack disrupted the scrum. Forced to regather possession before the kick, Rowan Stewart was up quick and able to partially charge down the clearance kick, the ball squirting out of play as he dived to score.

At the restart a penalty and then some lip to referee Clark saw Highland penalised and the award advanced 10 metres forward. Owen McLeish kicked for the lineout and Biggar went for another catch and drive. On this occasion they took play to the Highland line at pace but somehow prop Murray managed to gain possession and as Biggar fought to get the ball back they conceded a penalty to give Highland an easy exit.

With 20 minutes to go there was still plenty of action left, a Biggar error in defence giving the home side a chance to attack but a lineout error and then another penalty error which saw referee Clark reverse the award in Biggar’s favour gave the visitors another attacking opportunity. This was squandered as the lineout was adjudged squint, much to the delight of the Highland support.

Another Biggar penalty preceded a superb break by Robbie Orr who cut through the Highland line on a run which looked likely to end in what would have been a peach of a try. He was just caught however, Corr’s despairing tap tackle enough to bring the big man down. The support ensured that Biggar retained possession and attack after attack was mounted. Having got within metres of the Highland line a very flat pass from scrum half Lohan Kotze found its mark in skipper Andy Jardine who crashed over between two Highland defenders for a try under the posts and one which, when converted by McLeish, levelled the scores at 15 all.

While the temperature had dropped to -3 at this stage tempers were a bit higher, a high tackle on the restart from lock Euan Milton on White seeing the Highland player shown a yellow. A handling error gave Highland possession and then a penalty advanced by 10 metres after Biggar failed to retire gave replacement kicker James Blair an attempt at goal. This fell short and despite getting the lineout Highland lost possession and Biggar ran the ball out from defence. A scrum in the Highland half saw Stewart make good ground and his run took play to the Highland 22 but a knock on at the ruck gave Highland a chance to escape again. It was then Highland’s turn to make an error, these no doubt down to cold hands. Last play was called at the resultant scrum and while it looked as though a penalty might be the award, the ball was fed to McLeish who went for the drop goal. This was pushed wide and the game was brought to a close with referee Clark blowing the final whistle.

A month ago Biggar might have been more than happy with 2 points gained from this match but such has been the improvement in the sides play that the post-match chat was very much that this was in fact two points lost, rather than two points gained.

The league table sees Biggar gain a little more room from the bottom two places held by GHK and Dundee and therefore a step closer to being sure of retaining National 1 rugby. There are still 6 games to go however so Biggar must continue to work to reduce the unforced errors that have plagued their play on so many occasions this season. The side has rarely played ‘badly’ but the positive efforts have been undone by these errors.


E. BogleA. Lamb, R. Orr, A. Jardine,R. Stewart, O. McLeish,L. Kotze, B. White, A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Borthwick, S. King,M. McDiarmidR. JacksonE. Stewart Reps A. Peacock,Z. LyonF. Barr, F. Crozier, F. Jackson.

Match Report 19th November

League successes, Cup wins….another busy and successful weekend for BRFC!

Melrose 29Biggar 45

Biggar lost out big time in the first meeting of these two clubs back in September when Melrose rode out to a 31-0 win, one of the few occasions when Biggar have been ‘nilled’ and when they have claimed neither a 4 try or losing bonus.

There was considerable motivation therefore for the Biggar squad, although playing at the famous Greenyards is always special while the astro pitch is still a bit of a novelty for Biggar and clearly gives the home team an advantage.

Those regular Biggar supporters would have been forgiven for thinking that this was not going to be an easy afternoon as the home side came out the blocks at pace, notching 2 tries and a penalty (the first try from Kieran Clark, the second from Conner Spence, both tries and penalty converted by James Brown) within 20 minutes to go ahead at 17-0, Biggar having scarcely had an opportunity to reply. There was further upset for Biggar when lock Craig Borthwick was forced off after getting a finger in his eye. That was bad enough but rubber pellets from the pitch became lodged in his eye which resulted in blurred vision and he was replaced by Xander Lyon.

The pace of the Melrose play, their big pack taking ball into contact with authority and their backs running great angles as befits a XV coached by Iain Chisholm (a past Biggar DO), caused all sorts of problems for the Biggar XV. The visitors did not help themselves mind, with a series of penalties conceded doing nothing to give them opportunities to attack.

One penalty to Biggar at 7-0 down and right in front of the posts might have given them a foothold but it was tapped and taken quickly, Melrose able to shut the attack down and clear.

The Biggar pack at scrum time did show some promise as they gave nothing away to Melrose whose cause was not helped when they lost a prop due to a blood injury.

With 25 minutes gone Biggar eventually managed to strike, a penalty to touch from Owen McLeish giving Biggar an opportunity via the catch and drive which they took, hooker Andrew Orr getting the credit. Euan Bogle kicked the conversion and Biggar were off the mark.

The joy was short-lived however as in the next Melrose attack, Biggar’s defence was found wanting and Clark ran in his second score, wrong-footing Bogle, something in which the winger took great delight! Brown converted and the gap was back to 17 points.

As half time approached Melrose hooker Ben McLean was in the wars but he was allowed to continue.

Biggar had a penalty advantage off the next play and that was lucky as in their attack, Melrose intercepted a pass and would have been home alone but the referee halted the home team cheers and brought play back. Having opted for the scrum Biggar went for the pushover but with penalty advantge again, Biggar were frustrated when Bertram knocked on in the pick up. The next Biggar attack seemed also to have foundered as a low pass was missed by McLeish. That should probably have prevented the attack but Orr was quick to get back. The centre picked the ball up and, as so often is the case in such situations, the defensive shape was lost, allowing Orr the opportunity to turn and sprint under the posts for an opportunist, yet hugely important try. Bogle converted for 24-14.

In several games this season Biggar have not started the second half well. Against Dundee, Watsons and Ayr to name three, scores have been lost within minutes of the game restarting, these scores making things ever more difficult. There had been a stern half time team talk from the coaching staff and with Borthwick returning to the fray – several pellets having been washed from his eyelid – it was refreshing then that on Saturday it was Biggar who opened up strongly, a passing movement freeing winger Stewart for a run which took play into the Melrose 22. A high tackle from Spence did not please the official and not only was a penalty conceded but because the Border side had received a warning about persistent infringments just before half time, Spence was shown a yellow and Melrose were down to 14 men.

The penalty was duly kicked to the corner by McLeish and Biggar’s catch and drive worked perfectly with Andrew Orr scoring his second try of the day. Bogle converted and Biggar were right in the fight at 24-21.

Melrose scrum half Bruce Colvine had taken some flak in the first half from his team-mates but his kick on the restart and out of defence was pretty well judged. It was now Biggar’s turn to run ball back however and this they did well with McDiarmid, Rowan and Ewan Stewart, Robbie Orr and Ben White all advancing play. The ball was worked back to Rowan Stewart who outstripped the Melrose defence for try number 4, the bonus point try, and one which, when converted by Bogle, took Biggar into a 28-24 lead. The Biggar support were vocal and dared to believe!

With 12 minutes gone Biggar scored again, another penalty from McLeish creating another lineout drive, this one rounded off by Bertram, though the referee took some time to be convinced! Bogle kicked for 35-24 and the home side were somewhat on the rack.

The game then entered a frenetic period, both sides trying to add to their tally but making errors to cede possession to their opponents. Play was centred in the middle of the pitch with lots of effort but with little gain. Biggar skipper Andy Jardine, in similar fashion to Melrose in the first half, was warned about persistent infringement but happily Biggar managed to cut out further penalties and retained their full complement to the game end.

Biggar certainly had the better of the chances however and in fact should have added two if not three scores, as Robbie Orr, White and Borthwick all made inroads through the Melrose defence. Passes failed to go to hand however while others were not given to the support.

After one sustained passage of play deep in the Melrose 22, there was reward for Biggar, a penalty try the result, and with an automatic 7 points gained Biggar were almost home at 42-24.

A penalty on the 10m line after some 33 minutes saw Biggar go for goal and Bogle made no mistake – the penalty taking Biggar’s tally to 45. Could they get the magical 50?

Biggar rang the changes and Paul Davidson, Lyon, Tom Roper, Alasdair Sinclair and Gregor Lang replaced Ryan Whitefield (the youngster had a really good game in both tight and loose), Sam King, McDiarmid, Luhan Kotze and McLeish respectively.

In actual fact however, and credit to Melrose who did not give in, it was they who had the last score, this their 4 try bonus try and run in at the corner.

Away wins are precious – especially when home form is inconsistent – and so this was a fantastic result. Down by 24-14 at half time, Biggar won the second half by 31-5, a real triumph. The focus now shifts to a home match with the other Border XV in National 1, namely Gala. Biggar are in 8th spot butwith 7 games still to go, there are a host of points available to all sides, crucially Dundee and GHK who are in 9th and 10th spot. Only one team goes down and so Biggar desperately need another 2/3 wins to confirm their National 1 status.


E. BogleA. Lamb, R. Orr, A. Jardine,R. Stewart, O. McLeish,L. Kotze, B. White,A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Borthwick, S. King,M. McDiarmidM. Bertram, E. Stewart Reps P. Davidson, Z. LyonT. Roper, A. Sinclair, G. Lang

Match Report 11th November

Ayr 40 Biggar 22

Biggar travelled to Ayr in relatively confident mood given their previous 2 weeks performances and that the first encounter between the two sides back in September had seen Ayr win by virtue of a last kick penalty.

There were just 3 changes to the starting XV from last week, Andrew Orr out through injury, Sam King preferred to Nathan Brown in the back row and Fraser Jackson back in at fullback. That meant that Ewan Stewart was in at hooker, Zander Lyon was on the bench alongside Andrew Lamb and Morris McDiarmid who made his first top team squad.

In perfect conditions Biggar started well again taking the game straight to their hosts. Euan Bogle kicked a penalty and then converted Biggar’s first try scored by Lohan Kotze. This was set up by a flat Owen McLeish pass to centre Robbie Orr who made a break through the Ayr defence. Having made the space, his pass was taken bKotze who dived over under the posts. Biggar 10-0 up with 6 minutes gone.

Ayr are not top of the table for nothing of course and so it was no surprise that they replied swiftly. Having made ground into the Biggar 22 the penalty award and possible kick at goal was shunned for a scrum and the pressure exerted led to a second scrum. Their pack then did the rest and try as they did Biggar could not halt the Ayr pack and their No8 Cameron Reece touched down for the score, converted by their stand off Craig Gossman. Ayr 7, Biggar 10.

Not content with that, and having put Biggar under pressure from the restart, Ayr scored their second try this after a prolonged attack which saw ball swept from the right to the left, to tax Biggar’s defence, Tom Lanni on hand to touch down. Although not converted Ayr took the lead at 12-10.

In attack Ayr were fast and direct, their forwards quick into their stride and really accelerating into contact. While Biggar’s defence was sound with several big hits being put in by, among others Ben White, Ewan Stewart, Orr, Tom Roper and Gareth Jones, this was strength-sapping stuff. In defence, Ayr were equally as quick into contact, often verging on offside but this put huge pressure on Biggar and a couple of unforced handling errors meant that good attacking positions were lost, allowing Ayr respite.

On 25 minutes another penalty kicked to the corner gave the home side an opportunity to score. Biggar via Craig Borthwick sacked the first drive but with ball retained the Ayr pack regained control and their No5 Angus Troop crashed over for the score, which when converted by Gossman put them 19-10 up.

Not to be outdone, Biggar replied in similar fashion, their catch and drive pushing the Ayr side back and giving Jones the chance to score which he took. This score came at a cost however, Jones forced off by injury. His replacement was Lyon. Bogle was just wide with the conversion but Biggar were back within a score at 19-15.

Biggar’s pack were under the cosh with a couple of penalties going Ayr’s way and giving them good field position in the Biggar 22.A change in the front row saw Ryan Whitefield give way forPaul Davidson, but this was not enough to prevent Ayr grabbing another try, this their 4th and coming from another close series of forward picks, Jac Stafford credited with the score. Duly converted by Gossman Biggar went in at half time 26-15 down.

For whatever reason this season Biggar have frequently fallen foul of a sluggish second half start and so it was again on Saturday. A kick out of their half was initially tidied but the attempt to run ball back to Ayr saw a slack pass create real pressure and with ball lost Ayr hacked through, picked up and ran in for a score from Angus North which took them 33-15 ahead. There was no doubting the effect on morale that this had: a lift to Ayr and a kick in the teeth for Biggar.

Now facing an uphill task Biggar deserve credit for the pressure they exerted over the next half hour, Ayr rarely able to escape their half and finding themselves in defensive duties for most of the half hour.

Conor Lavery replaced McLeish, skipper Andy Jardine taking over at stand off. Shortly after this Andy Lamb came on at wing, Euan Bogle taking over at scrum half for Lohan Kotze.Biggar attacked from all areas, often via their pack but their options on the touchline were severly curtailed due to the absence of Jones and innovate though they did, little seemed to work efficiently and promising attacking opportunities were lost. The Ayr defence continued to operate right on the offside line, and this rush defence had a big impact on Biggar’s ability to break over the gain line.

Virtually all this time Biggar restricted Ayr to their own half but they could not get close enough to the Ayr line to break the second half deadlock. Just as the game entered the last quarter McDiarmid replaced Roper who again showed great tenacity in everything he did, both in attack where he ran some great lines and also in defence where he showed great courage.

Ayr infringed on a fairly regular basis and this eventually saw one of their number, Troop yellow carded but while this gave Biggar a numerical advantage they were unable still to press this home and get closer to the Ayr line.

In fact it was Ayr who, facing another attacking move, managed to make an interception on their 10m line. With Biggar flat in all attack mode the chase to the line was always in Ayr’s favour and they added a final try and conversion to make the score 40-15.

All out territorial advantage to Biggar, but no points. Minimal territory for Ayr but 14 points!

The game ended with Biggar finally managing to convert, McDiarmid the debutant driving over from close range to notch the try, converted by Bogle for 40-22.

There was huge disappointment in the Biggar camp not least because there was a realisation that they had not performed to their potential. Of course a side can only play as well as they are allowed and there is no doubt Ayr’s defence was a much tougher prospect than that of the previous weeks.

Other results in the league were pretty much on form with Dundee claiming a 4 try bonus point which brings them level with Biggar on 17 points, 4 ahead of bottom placed GHK. The search for league points to guarantee National 1 rugby next season continues this Saturday with a trip to Melrose. Biggar lost out big time to the Border outfit when the sides met at Hartree Mill. It will be important to try and reverse that result on Saturday.


F. Jackson, E. BogleR. Orr, A. Jardine,R. Stewart, O. McLeish,L. Kotze, R. Whitefield, E. Stewart, B. White, G. JonesC. Borthwick, S. King,T. RoperM. Bertram. Reps P. Davidson, Z. LyonM. McDiarmid, A. Lamb, C. Lavery.

Match Report 5th November

Biggar 55 GHK 8

Biggar’s second home match on the bounce saw GHK make the journey to Hartree Mill and one the visitors will not remember fondly.

The first match of the league campaign saw the Glasgow side sneak a win by 1 point at 32-31 but this latest match was never as close, Biggar storming into an early lead and then adding points at regular intervals thereafter. Importantly, the 5 points gained lift Biggar from 10th to 8th spot with GHK dropping to bottom place. Given GHK’s track record, aside from wins over Biggar and Gala, it does not look good for their hopes of retaining their National 1 place.

Much of Biggar’s woes this campaign can be attributed to the number of personel and positional changes the side has had to contend with and so significantly, on Saturday, there were only a couple of changes to Biggar’s starting line up from last week’s contest against GHA. Rowan Stewart returned on the wing as Fraser Jackson dropped to the bench – Euan Bogle moved to fullback – while up front Nathan Brown replaced Callum Dunlop at flank forward. The bench included returnee Ewan Stewart who had a huge impact when he came into the match in the second half.

As had been the case last week Biggar opened the scoring with a Bogle penalty within a minute of kick off, but GHK cancelled this with a penalty of their own from Adam Ivins to level the scores.

Minutes later and Biggar were back in front, Bogle kicking his second penalty for 6-3. GHK made some decent attacking plays on the restart but the Biggar XV to a man were resolute in defence and while the visitors retained possession well, they were unable to make much headway into the Biggar half.

The first scrum on 13 minutes resulted in a free kick to Biggar who, sensing an advantage in the tight, quickly opted for a re-scrum. Ball won was fed wide via McLeish and then Jardine who in turn released centre Robbie Orr. The big centre’s pace and angled run took him through the GHK defensive line. With options either side Orr popped the ball inside to Rowan Stewart who made the line for a cracking score. Bogle added the conversion, this one of 7 he slotted over the afternoon and which, with his earlier penalties saw him record 20 points in the game.

GHK were full of running and they added to their tally with a try after a missed tackle shortly after the restart. It was fullback Ivins who touched down in the corner despite the attention of Bogle, but too wide for his conversion which he pushed wide. 13-8.

Biggar’s attack was always fluid with players looking for the off-load, none more so than Orr who continues to impress when on the ball and who forces the opposing side to tackle. So often however, he manged to get his hands free and with support to hand the broken play attack of the Biggar side proved devastating.

The next score was rounded off by Mark Bertram who forced his way past two GHK defenders to the line. The play to get into the GHK 22 was initiated by the backs who attacked off a weak GHK clearance. Many others were then involved with Ben White, Brown and Gareth Jones all contributing before McLeish fed a flat pass to Bertram for the try.

Shortly after the restart GHK put in a relieving kick but this was not deep or long enough and was tidied by winger Stewart. Bertram made a darting run to the blind side and then after a further ruck a neat inside flick from Lohan Kotze gave Stewart the chance to break the GHK defence and win the sprint to the line. Bogle added the points for 27-8.

White collected the restart expertly despite the attentions of the GHK pack and McLeish forced the visitors back with an angled kick which was gathered by Ivins. His chip was in turn gathered by Kotze whose pass found Bertram. The big No8 made good yardage before freeing winger Andy Lamb who was able to run almost to the posts for Biggar’s 4th and bonus point try. Bogle’s conversion took the score to 34-8 and with barely a half hour played.

To make things worse for the visitors the restart failed to go the required 10m and Biggar were gifted a scrum on half way. While Bertram again made good yards a knock on ended this attack and then a couple of penalties later GHK kicked long towards the Biggar try line. Craig Borthwick made his trademark sack of the lineout but the visitors managed to retain possession to set up a good attacking position in the Biggar 22. The GHK pack made a good job of attacking the Biggar line through numerous picks and forward drives but once again the Biggar defence was up to the mark and kept GHK out, a knock on bringing the half to a close. Sometimes a successful defensive effort can almost equate to a score and it can do so much to lift a team – such was the case for Biggar who got a definite boost from their efforts.

Biggar opened up well in the second half and with Jones dominating the lineout and taking clean possession, Biggar were able to set up in the GHK 22. A penalty and another lineout drive saw Biggar edge ever closer to the GHK line. From here Bertram was on hand to pick up and touch down for an opportunist try. Bogle added the points for 41-8.

Not to be outdone GHK then mounted another decenattack, breakaway forward Hamish Bottomley getting up a good head of steam to take play into the Biggar 22. The home sides defence held firm however even when the visitors gained territory and then, from a penalty, a 5m lineout. Although GHK won the ball it was quickly lost and Kotze kicked deep to relieve the pressure.

Orr put in a couple of excellent tackles at this point which further weakend the GHK effort and resolve.

Having seen their attack foiled GHK could only watch as Biggar, via Orr, opened out again, the centre’s pace taking him clear in similar fashion to his arcing run in the first half. With Lamb and Stewart again in support the big man held on a fraction too long and was brought down deep in the GHK 22. All was not lost however and a couple of phases later ballpossessionwas retained close to the GHK line. Here Kotze shaped to pass wide before diving over for a neat try converted by Bogle. 48-8

Having replaced White by Ryan Whitefield in the first half, this due to a dodgy hamstring, Biggar then rang the changes with Borthwick, McLeish and Roper giving way to Sam King, Fraser Jackson and Ewan Stewart.

As the game moved into the last quarter, Rowan Stewart just failed to get hands on a Kotze box-kick which, had it gone to hand would have led to a try for Bogle. As it was and with possession coming from a scrum, a neat handling move broke down as Biggar sought to keep the ball available.

After several weeks of inaction due to injury, Ewan Stewart had a huge impact over the last quarter with a handful of turnovers which stymied the GHK attack. One tackle and rip saw him break downfield for some 30 metres with GHK’s defence flailing in pursuit. Another thrust saw some neat passes which freed Lamb who would also have made the line save for a foot in touch. There were several other attacks which failed due to errors. Bogle’s pass to Rowan Stewart was deemed to be forward, the winger clear to the line had it been legal. On another occasion Ryan Whitefield just lost possession with the line at his mercy.

The last score was created by Lavery who had replaced Orr. The centre latched onto a loose GHK pass on the Biggar 22 and with the GHK backs in attack he was able to burst clear towards the GHK 22. He was eventually caught but his pop pass was collected by Jardine who put in a neat reverse pass to Lamb, the winger cantering over for his second score. Bogle’s conversion took the score to 55.

In truth the last quarter was a tad loose but having lost 7 games in a row, the fact that Biggar have now recorded back-to-back wins is of note. The aim on Saturday was to make the most of the confidence boost gained following the win over GHA. The task now, with confidence levels higher, is to take the game to league leaders Ayr on Saturday next. Given their respective league positions, undefeated Ayr will start firm favourites. They will be a tough nut to crack and Biggar will need to up their game again if they are to record a win, but there was nothing between the teams when they met in September, so this has all the hallmarks of being a cracking contest.


E. BogleA. Lamb,R. Orr, A. Jardine,R. Stewart, O. McLeish,L. Kotze, P. Davidson, A. Orr, B. White, G. JonesC. Borthwick, N. BrownT. RoperM. Bertram. Reps R. Whitefield, E. Stewart, S. King, F. Jackson, C. Lavery.

Match report 28th October 2023

Biggar 42 GHA 40

A win! The first of the season and by the very skin of the teeth!

Biggar’s squad was again much changed from that which played against Watsons last week. Into the starting XV came Ben White, Paul Davidson, Craig Borthwick, Tom Roper, Owen McLeish, Robbie Orr and Andrew Lamb. Of these Borthwick, McLeish and Orr were playing their first games of the season, and their contributions were considerable. One swallow does not a summer make…..but the 5 points gained on Saturday is a step forward in the right direction and one from which the squad can take huge confidence.

The quick report would be along the lines of:

First half: Game kicks off, Euan Bogle kicks a penalty with less than a minute on the clock. Biggar win the first half 25-7.

Second half. Biggar lose the second half 33-12 but last minute Bogle penalty seals the match at 42-40.

What a finish! Bogle’s winning penalty gave him a personal tally of 17 points for the game.

Having taken an early lead via that first penalty, Biggar were then encamped in their own half as GHA kicked well to put the Biggar defence to the test. A series of catch and drives from lineouts tested the Biggar effort and despite the pressure the defence held firm, helped, it would have to be acknowledged, by several GHA errors.

On those occasions from penalty’s awarded, McLeish kicked well to give some respite. One penalty around 15 minutes provided an ideal attacking position and from the lineout take, Biggar controlled the drive well to force their opponents back and over the line, hooker Andrew Orr on hand to touch down. Bogle added the conversion for 10-0.

From a morale point of view this was significant, Biggar’s ability to repel GHA’s catch and drive in contrast to a relatively easy Biggar try off a similar move.

GHA were, until this season, a Premiership club and therefore not short of experience and they showed this with a try of their own just minutes later, this coming not from the initial driven maul but after play had been spread wide to the left, centre Charlie Longeran scoring. Ruari O’Keefe added the conversion and the visitors were right back in the hunt at 10-7.

Lohan Kotze had helped push GHA back with some accurate box kicks, which Biggar followed up well to put pressure on the GHA back three.

Just shy of the half hour mark Biggar struck again, a midfield incursion by winger Lamb taking him through the initial GHA line. Accelerating into space he neatly dummied the oncoming full back to step inside and cruise to the line for a great try under the posts and one which Bogle converted for 17-7.

Just minutes later and following a good take from the restart by Mark Bertram, winger Lamb was back on the attack, a touchline sprint seeing him into space. While his pass to Kotze enabled the scrum half to maintain the move, the next pass in a tackle saw the ball lost and allowed GHA to clear.

Biggar didn’t have long however to wait for their next score. A McLeish penalty took play downfield to the GHA 22 and with ball won, the stand off put in a neat cross-kick which initally looked like being collected by the GHA winger. He was caught in two minds however and Bogle took possesion at pace to sprint past his stranded opposite number and then the remaining cover to cross at the corner. He was unable to add the conversion from the wide angle but he did kick a penalty shortly afterwards to put Biggar into the driving seat at 25-7.

On the restart and again in attack, Robbie Orr’s big hit saw his target up-ended, referee Scott Cubitt showing the centre a yellow and Biggar were down to 14 men. Half time called.

In the second half Biggar had what slight advantage was offered by the unsual east wind which augured well, but things did not start well, prop Ben White incurring the wrath of referee Cubitt for what was deemed to be a late tackle. Biggar were down to 13 men for the next 8 or so minutes. Tom Roper (who again and throughout the match was arguably the man with the biggest punch and the tightest defence) was the man to drop out in order that Biggar could field a front row at scrum time, Ryan Whitefield coming on to prop.

Bizarely, Biggar made light of this imbalance and scored their 4th and bonus point-winning try. This was scored by skipper Andy Jardine who took a good crash ball to force his way over for a try converted by Bogle for 32-7. The score coincided with a nasty ankle injury for Callum Dunlop who limped off to be replaced by Sam King.

Minutes later and Biggar were back to 14 men as Orr returned to the fray. Unfortunately, it was at this point (no reflection on Orr!) that things went somewhat awry. Until then GHA’s attack had often faltered through handling errors or penalties but suddenly phases and passes were strung together successfully and Biggar were on the rack. A missed tackle in the centre and a number of neat passes saw O’Keefe run under the posts for a try he converted.

The restart was well taken and a touchline break saw GHA into open space. Several passes later and they had another try, O’Keefe converting for 32-21. Robbie Orr and skipper Jardine showed theirworth on a couple of occasions when last ditch tackles prevented what would have been certain scores.

In short however, GHA were soon back on track, a neat inside pass close to the Biggar line seeing fullback Kyle Dixon over, O’Keefe again on target. Biggar 32 GHA 28.

In a rare second half attack Biggar were then penalised as lock Gareth Jones (who arguably had his best performance to date) was deemed to have held onto the ball in the tackle and at the ruck. Whatever was said or done then saw a stramash as players from both sides got involved. The upshot was another GHA penalty, referee Cubitt unable to pin-point any one player more culpable than another.

Lavery came on at stand off to replace McLeish but the newcomer lasted barely a minute before he was shown a yellow for a high tackle. With a penalty advantage coming after this high tackle, GHA were over the line again, a deft chip by stand off Andrew Goudie cleverly collected by Dixon for his second score, O’Keefe’s conversion seeing GHA take the lead for the first time at 35-32.Although White had returned to the fray by this time, Biggar were back to 14 and therefore a man down again.

The Biggar support which had been in bouyant mood at half time were now perplexed….what was going on, would Biggar be able to mount a comeback? On this season’s form when the side has lost out on at least 3 occasions in the last quarter, the omens were not great. And even less so as GHA ran in their 6th score, another break down the touchline taking the winger past the dispairing Biggar cover for a try under the posts and one easily converted by O’Keefe. Now 40-32 down, and despite having secured a 4-try bonus, Biggar were staring defeat in the face, especially with just around 8 minutes remaining. Kotze was replaced by Alistair Sinclair at scrum half.

Thankfully Biggar rose to the challenge. Another strong run by Bertram took play into the GHA half where the visitors conceded a penalty. The kick, if successful would secure a losing bonus point for the home side. This could in time be vital and it would also make it a one score game. Sadly Bogle pulled the kick wide in his haste to make the most of the time left. GHA still held the advantage at 40-32.

Lavery returned and so Biggar were back to full strength for almost the first time in the half. Fraser Jackson had taken over the kicking duties following the departure of McLeish and his long touchfinder from a penalty took play to within 10 metres of the GHA line.

A catch and drive followed by a series of probing ‘pick and goes’, culminated inanother Biggar penalty. Eschewing the penalty kick on this occasion Biggar opted for a quick tap and go and after another big forward effort, Andrew Orr forced his way over from a close ruck. Bogle added the conversion and Biggar were now a single point adrift at 40-39 and with just 2 minutes to go.

The restart saw Biggar rumble up the pitch and into the GHA 22 where the visitors again conceded a penalty. Despite having the breeze on his back this was still a long range effort.With the whole of Hartree Mill in absolute silence, Bogle thumped the ball long and over for the win! Cue huge celebration from the Biggar support.

The 2nd XV, who had also managed a win and this too against GHA, joined the post-match huddle, coach Wilson congratulating all for their efforts but also pointing out the loss of concentration which could so easily have seen defeat (as had been the case at Watsons).

The win changes little with regard to the league table. Biggar are still in 10th and bottom spot but they have gained on GHK and are now just 1 point adrift. Coincidentally, GHK are next up as they are due at Hartree Mill on Saturday. Given that this was the first win of the season nothing is guaranteed but a second win at this stage would be priceless.


F. Jackson, E. BogleR. Orr, A. Jardine,A. Lamb,O. McLeish,L. Kotze, P. Davidson, A. Orr, B. White, G. JonesC. Borthwick, C. Dunlop, T. RoperM. Bertram. Reps R. Whitefield, L. Henderson,S. King, A. Sinclair, C. Lavery.

Match Report 22nd October 2023

Watsonians 46 Biggar 29

Biggar lost out to Watsons, largely due to a 15 minute spell at the start of the second half when the host side scored 3 converted tries to take the score from 19-17 to


They would kick a penalty and add a 6th try before Biggar staged a spirited but ultimately ‘little too late’ fightback.

Lack of consistency in selection due to injury and unavailability has plagued the side this season and Saturday was no exception with 9 personnel and positional changes to the 20 man squad from the Dundee selection the previous week.

Out were Donald Voas, Ben White, Sam King, Harry Stewart, Finlay Crozier and Conor Lavery with Ryan Whitefield, Louis Henderson, Lohan Kotze and James Barr their replacements. Euan Bogle, Gareth Jones and Mark Bertram all came into the starting XV with Andrew Peacock and Tom Roper added to the bench.

As has also been the case all season, none of those selected played poorly, but obviously there was a relative unfamiliarity in their game play and this caused some issues.

Fortunately the weather had relented somewhat although Watsons, with a Super 6 match scheduled for later in the afternoon, had booked alternative pitches had the weather been worse and had also asked (and were granted) an earlier kick off of 2pm.

Biggar opened strongly and within 5 minutes had scored a try, this credited to hooker Andrew Orr who, from close range, rounded off a decent lineout drive. Euan Bogle was unable to add the conversion from the wide angle.

Mark Bertram, who was making a return to Myreside after spending a few years there, provided a good deal of go forward ball and is always secure under a high ball while Kotze at scrum half looked pretty sharp following his recovery from knee surgery, a few neat variations of pass and direction catching the eye.

Biggar almost added a second score minutes later as a charged down clearance and chase saw James Barr dive for the try. Referee Craig Clark judged that Barr had knocked on in the process however and the try was denied.

With 12 minutes gone and with Biggar exercising a good deal of control, a grubber kick in attack from fullback Fraser Jackson was charged down by Watsons centre Ally Davidson who controlled possession well, before making the line for a good score and one converted by stand off Benn Morris for 7-5.

On the 20 minute mark Biggar handled nicely to provide winger Rowan Stewart with just enough space to make the line for a deserved score. Bogle was unable to add the conversion from the wide angle.

Watsons are reknowned for their handling but there were a number of errors and this hindered their play although their pack made up with a line drive very similar to that of Biggar’s and which saw hooker Jamie Holligan touch down. Morris added the conversion for 12-10 and then added the 2 points to Watsons next score, this on 35 minutes and emanating again from a period of pressure from the Watsons pack.

Having already replaced Whitefield with Davidson, Biggar made a further change as Zander Lyon was forced of with a cut head. He was replaced by the ever-green Peacock. Jackson engineered a good attacking position from a kick to the Watsons 22 and full advantage was taken as the home side spilled lineout ball, flanker Fin Barr on hand to score. Bogle added the conversion for 19-17 and half time.

Given Biggar’s recent performances this was a decent account but sadly as previously explained the 15 minutes after half time decided the result, Watsons 3 scores taking them out of reach. Home prop Tom Gracie notched a brace with fullback Aaron Tait touching down for the 6th try.

Biggar’s cause was not aided by the half time retiral of Jones who took a head knock, this meaning both locks were now changed. Tom Roper was the replacement, Callum Dunlop moving from flank forward to the second row.

Biggar had moments, including a great counter from Andrew Orr who made an excellent break throught the Watsons cover. Sadly however, the support was not close enough for this to see a try.

Having only played half a game since his comeback Kotze was replaced by Alistair Sinclair but it was good to see the scrum half back in Biggar colours after his spell with Musselburgh and then injury.

Watsons added a penalty following this and shortly afterwards as the game entered the last quarter Biggar scored their 3rd try, this rounded off by Rowan Stewart but instigated by a Jardine break. Bogle added the conversion for 41-24.

Forced back into defence Biggar put in a solid effort but this held out only so long, a tapped penalty by Watsons catching the Biggar defence wrong footed for a final Watsons try, though unconverted on this occasion.

Back on the attack and with the game lost Biggar still made inroads. A line break by Andy Jardine who by this time had moved to stand off (Andy Lamb had replaced the original incumbent, Lang) saw the skipper make ground towards the Watsons line, where a last ditch cover tackle halted his progress. Kotze – who had returned after Stewart was off – was up in support and fired a pass to his right only for it to hit referee Clark. Frustrated by having already been impeded, Kotze let off a mouthful of abuse which referee Clark deemed to be directed at him, Watsons escaping via the subsequent penalty award.

Biggar had the last word, Jardine running an excellent line off a Kotze pass and which saw the skipper breech the Watsons defence for what was a 4thand bonus point try.

Lots of effort but little reward has so often been the case this season and Saturday was the same. Last season saw Biggar use over 40 players in the 1st XV and this season has seen a repeat with 41 players involved and that after just 7 league matches.

Biggar must move on and that means they host GHA on Saturday. As a relegated side from the Premiership GHA will pose another serious challenge. One day! Please note the KO is 2.30pm


F. Jackson, E. BogleA. Jardine,J. Barr, R. Stewart, G. Lang,L. Kotze, R. WhitefieldA. Orr, L. HendersonG. JonesZ. Lyon, C. Dunlop, F. Barr, M. Bertram. Reps P. DavidsonA. Peacock, T. RoperA. Sinclair,A. Lamb.

Match Report 15th October

Biggar 19 Dundee 24

Another changed Biggar side from the last outing and another losing bonus. In the backs Biggar fielded Conor Lavery at stand off with Gregor Lang dropping to the bench. Up front there was a debut for school boy and Academy No 8 Harry Stewart while Mark Bertram made his first league appearance this season from the bench.

It is several years since Dundee had a win at Hartree Mill but this time they claimed the points as they shaded Biggar by 3 converted tries and a penalty to 3 tries and two conversions.

Biggar remain rooted to bottom spot with a 6 point gap between themselves and 9th placed GHK. Somewhat amazingly however, they are just 12 points from 4th place! This is a tight league, but Biggar must pick up points if they are to retain their National 1 place. There is time with just 1/3rd of the games gone, but the sooner the better!

In bright sunny, but cold and windy conditions, Dundee opened strongly, settling themselves in Biggar’s 22 where they battered at the line through multiple phases. Inevitably when under pressure, penalties were conceded and eventually referee Lazenby identified Lavery as the latest culprit and he was shown a yellow card.

Within 3 minutes and obviously understrength, the Biggar line gave way, Dundee scoring a try in the scoreboard corner. There was a lawbook lesson for the support as the scoring pass was clearly forward but apparently in windy conditions a ball passed back but blown forward does not equate to a forward pass! Given that the wind so often blows the length of the Hartree Mill grounds, it is somewhat amazing that this rule has never before been invoked. But it seems this is indeed a Law!

Dundee stand off Frazer McKay added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Biggar replied via a good run initiated by Rowan Stewart whose progress was summarily halted by what looked like a high tackle. A Biggar scrum was all the reward but following some decent movement in the backs a position close to the Dundee line was achieved. Pick and go was the option and prop Ben White was on hand to touch down under a pile of bodies for what was his first try for the club. Finlay Crozier added the conversion and with Lavery returned to the fray things were all square.

A missed penalty from McKay gave Biggar some relief but this was short lived as, following a weakish clearance taken by Dundee hooker Joe Roberts, his angled run from the touchline took him through and round the home defence for an opportunist score. Although from wide out, McKay added the comversion for 14-7.

As has been the case so often this season, much of what Biggar did well was then spoiled by an error, unforced or otherwise. A series of great defensive plays ended with a shoulder stinger to White who was then replaced by Paul Davidson; a Dundee scrum, disrupted by Biggar saw a chance for Sinclair to start an attack but the ball slipped out of his grasp and Dundee were given a let off; a dynamic pick and go from Harry Stewart promised much but the support, just a split second slow allowed Dundee to jackal well to win a penalty; lineouts in promising positions were lost… frustrating for all involved!

One such lineout error saw Dundee break clear down the touchline with a last ditch tackle from Andrew Lamb saving the day. And then on the stroke of half time a penalty to Dundee was kicked by McKay for 17-7 and half time.

Playing towards the clubhouse in the second half Biggar began shakily, despite the award of two penalties which should have promised much more. A knock on from an attacking Dundee kick saw the visitors awarded a scrum in a good attacking position on the Biggar 22. The next passage of play ended with Dundee winger Andrew Denver touching down, McKay on hand again to add the conversion for a 24-7 lead.

Biggar made changes to their side with Gareth Jones, Mark Bertram and a recovered Ben White replacing Sam King, Zander Lyon and Donald Voas. Minutes later and Biggar were reduced to 14 permanently as Lavery made a high tackle. As this was deemed a yellow on the intervention of the touch judge, and therefore Lavery’s second yellow, this then was upgraded to a red. With just 12 minutes of the half gone Biggar now faced a much tougher challenge if they were to make up any ground on the visitors. Gregor Lang came on at stand off, Finlay Crozier giving way.

Callum Dunlop made a good turnover in the next Dundee play and the visitors were forced to concede a lineout close to their line. A subsequent penalty saw Orr tap and go and while this initial surge was halted, ball shipped right saw centre and Biggar skipper Andy Jardine drive over for a try. Just prior to the try referee Lazenby had offered a penalty advantage to the home side and while this was not needed the persistent infringements culminated in Dundee losing their flanker Finlay Overend who was shown a yellow card – the sides were numerically equal at 14 a-piece. Crozier just missed the conversion. Biggar 12 Dundee 24.

Biggar were quickly back on the attack and a series of probing runs took play to the Dundee line. Orr, White and James all featured and although a try looked most likely

Biggar failed to cross the line, Dundee successful with a solid defence which culminated in Jardine being held up over the line.

Euan Bogle replaced Sinclair at scrum half and shortly after this in another attack, the newcomer madehis presence felt with a neat drive to and over the line. The try was converted by the try scorer. Referee Lazenby then sent Dundee replacement Avi Nataglaci to the bin for illegal interference as the try was scored.

With some 8 minutes remaining this was now just a one score game. The next attacking move came to nought as Rowan Stewart’s chip was annoyingly taken by the wind over the deadball line which led to a Dundee scrum on half way, an ideal result for the visitors.

Biggar were then denied a penalty as the award was reversed for some ‘afters’. The kick to the corner seemed inoccuous enough and while Biggar fullback Jackson seemed to touch the ball down for what would have been a try line drop out, the touch judge thought otherwise, and the award was instead for an attacking Dundee 5m scrum.

Biggar managed to defend the forward surges but a Dundee penalty saw them kick the ball out of play, this heralding the end of the match.

Another tough one and a bitter pill for the Biggar support who have yet to see their side win this season (other than in pre-season warm ups). The pressure is mounting on the Biggar squad, most of whom are strangers to long losing runs. Sport can be a challenge and the squad must pull together to ensure that this losing runs ends – but as previously noted, the sooner the better!

Plus points to Lyon who made his first appearnace of the season, to Fin Barr who punches way above his physical size and to Harry Stewart whose positive contributions led to him being awarded the man-of-the-match award. And this in front of his proud family.

A trip to the capital is next up with Watsonians the opposition. The Edinburgh outfit are currently in 7th spot so not far removed from Biggar. A win would be most welcome.


F. Jackson, A. Lamb, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, F. Crozier, C. Lavery,A. Sinclair, B. White, A. Orr, D. Voas, S. King, Z. Lyon, C. Dunlop, F. Barr, H. Stewart Reps P. DavidsonG. Jones, M. Bertram, E. Bogle, G. Lang

Match Report 1st October

Biggar 20 Highland 25

Highland’s first win at Hartree Mill for many years, if not ever, came at the expense of Biggar and one which, despite a losing bonus, keeps the Lanarkshire side firmly at the foot of the National 1 table.

Bolstered by the return of skipper Andy Jardine and those who were unavailable the previous week for the Gala match the Biggar squad was arguably the strongest it has been since game 1 of the league campaign. But once again, whilst holding a slim lead, Biggar lost the match in the last quarter, Highland overturning a 20-10 lead to sneak the match at 25-20.

In second top spot with 3 wins from 4 Highland came in confident mood, knowing that they would need to play well to record that elusive first victory. Their hosts meanwhile were desperately seeking a win of any sort, although an 80 minute performance would have given an indication that Biggar were on the verge of regaining some reasonable form.

Though the weather conditions were generally good there was a heavy drizzle in the second halfbut this had little impact on proceedings. There was however, many fairly controversial incidents, not least a disputed conversion for Biggar’s first score – but more of that later.

Biggar had a dream start when Andrew Lamb rounded off a neat handling movement to score. The conversion, kicked by Euan Bogle was signalled as ‘good’ by one of the SRU appointed touch judges but not by the second. The referee’s decision was to award the kick, this much to the disgust of the Highland side. But Biggar held the lead at 7-0.

Ewan Stewart, who has had a good start to the season at No8, was then forced off with a hamstring injury, his replacement being Andrew Orr.

Highland hit back with a try of their own, scrum half Hugo Crush taking advantage of a big Highland scrum to pounce on the ball and breech the Biggar defence for a try converted by stand off Scott Fraser. The scrum had been a very positive aspect of the game at Gala the previous week but the bulky Highland pack were a different proposition, with their set piece both at scrum and lineout time serving them well.

Andy Jardine then forced his way over for a try after a period of real pressure from the home XV. Having initially gone for a rolling maul, ball was swept right then left with the support play always ensuring possessionn was retained before jardine forced his way over. There was no conversion, Bogle’s kick, though well struck, finding the upright and bouncing away. Biggar 12 Highland 7.

Highland then laid siege to the Biggar line where only some stout defence held them out. A lost ball after a series of plays gave Biggar the chance to clear their lines which they did although Highland were soon back on the attack, a Biggar handling error, followed by a charged down clearance causing some panic.

Back in possession Biggar used the ball well on the wing with Rowan Stewart, Lavery, Donald Voas, Callum Dunlop and Ross Jackson all making inroads and forcing the Highland side deep in defence. Paul Davidson then replaced Ryan Whitefield at prop, the big man doing much to nullify the Highland drive. With half time approaching Biggar then struck again, Stewart rounding off another neat play in the backs which again saw play swept from touchline to touchline. Bogle’s conversion from wide out just missed the target.

Frustratingly, and almost from the restart, Biggar gave Highland an opportunity to reduce the leeway and this they took via Fraser, his penalty kick making the score 17-10….or was it? Just as the teams were leaving the field at half time the announcement came that the first Biggar conversion had in fact been chalked off after all and that Biggar’s lead was not 17-10 but actually 15-10 insteadThis clearly seemed a tad unusual and there was some discussion during the break, the upshot being that on their return, Biggar’s lead was confirmed as 17-10!

Now playing down towards the clubhouse, the Biggar support were keen to see Biggar resume from where they had left off and hopefully claim that elusive first league win. The half started well enough as Biggar had a good deal of pressure but were unable to capitalise on this. Another kick charged down – this time from Bogle – created further panic but Biggar’s line held. A Biggar penalty shortly after this saw Highland prop Stephen Murray shown a yellow card after he issued a few verbals towards referee Gordi Reid.

A player to the good Biggar should have been able to take advantage but try as they did they were denied. Some errors combined by a series of penalties, several for tackles deemed ‘high’, thwarted the Biggar effort. Highland might also have added to their tally save for a miscued Fraser penalty and it was eventually Biggar who stretched their lead, Bogle kicking nicely for 20-10.

Having got their first points of the half, it was ever frustrating that Biggar then conceded a try just minutes afterwards. A dropped ball and the ensuing kick and chase gave Highland the breakthrough they needed with winger Andrew Kellock nipping over at the corner.

On the half hour mark, despite Biggar stringing some decent phases together though not well enough to trouble the scorer, there was almost a sense of inevitablility and deja vue about proceedings. Against both GHK and Ayr this season, Biggar had enjoyed the lead going into the final quarter before losing out in the final minutes. And sadly this was the case again on Saturday. Timoci Waqanibau (one of several flying Fijians in the Highland ranks) was the man to take Highland into the lead for the first time, his pace taking him clear of the Biggar defence although the back-hand batted pass from his team mate was a nice piece of improvisation. Having not had the best day with the boot, Fraser struck the long range conversion well to take Highland ahead by 22-20.

The same player was on target just minutes later, and with less than 4 minutes remaining Biggar needed some real inspiration. Unfortunately this was not to be and a last minute penalty to touch, which would have given the home side a great attacking position from which to launch a final attack, was just short and immediately dispatched to the touchline by the Highland side. There was a quick debate between referee and touch judge as to whether Biggar’s kick had made touch or not, but referee Reid drew proceedings to a close.

A straight 5 defeats makes for dismal reading and with further changes this week as injury and unavailability will again impact on selection, the squad must work extra hard to turn things around. Glasgow Accies are the next opponents and although they are newcomers to National 1 they have recorded 3 wins and currently sit joint 3rd top.


F. Jackson, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, G. Lang, E. Bogle, B. White, D. Voas, R. WhitefieldG. Jones, S. King, C. Dunlop, R. JacksonE. Stewart, Reps P. DavidsonA. Orr, F. Barr, H. Lang, F. Crozier,

Match Report 17th September

Biggar 0Melrose 36

A hunt back through the match report file identifies 6th Dec 2015 as the last time Biggar failed to score in a league match. That occasion was a match against Hamilton who in that 2015/16 season were promoted as Champions from National 2 to National 1. Whether Saturday’s victors, Melrose, will be crowned Champions of National 1 come the end of the season is debatable but they stand a much better chance than do Biggar whose performance was sadly lacking across all departments.

Deprived of 7 from last week’s squad, this due to injury, work comittments and unavailablity, Biggar drew on their reserve strength with Adrian Kotze coming in at hooker and Harrison Lang given his first league start at scrum half. Gregor Lang started on the bench alongside experienced campaigners Craig Borthwick and Conor Lavery. Neither of the last two have played this season though Borthwick has been coaching and is therefore up to speed with new law variations. Not so for Lavery but their availability meant that the 2nds were able to field a side against Stirling County.

From the outset this appeared to be a very different Biggar XV from that which had competed well in their previous two matches albeit that both of these had ended in defeat. The one and two point losing margins pointed to a side more than capable of mixing it and suggested that Biggar should have provided guests Melrose with a tough challenge. Not so, as within 5 minutes Melrose notched trheir first try and converison.

With 12 minutes on the clock, Melrose scored a second and then with some 20 minutes gone a 3rd. Aside from a general lack of cohesion, there were among other misshaps, handling errors, missed tackles and unforced errors, all of which played into the Border sides hands. Coached by Iain Chisholm who was Biggar DO some 7 years ago, the Border XV could scarcley believe their luck so generous were the hosts.

A 4th try – to give Melrose their 4 try bonus – was scored before the half time whistle.

Coach Davy Wilson spared no one in his half time chat and while the second half was marginally better, Melrose were still able to add 2 further unanswered tries to take the final score to 36-0.

This was a performance which was at odds with the two previous matches. There is little doubt that the changes were significant but players must adapt. Biggar must now draw deep again as further unavailability this Saturday when the side travel to take on Gala will not ease the situation. Gala are going through a tough time as well and currently sit 3rd bottom to Biggar’s 2nd bottom.While there is a long way to go as regards league games, the result will give the winning team a boost.


F. Jackson, F. Crozier, R. StewartT. Main, A. Lamb, Aird Jardine, H. Lang, D. Voas, A. KotzeP. Davidson, C. Dunlop, S. King, C. Frame, R. Jackson, E. Stewart, Reps R. Whitefield, T. RoperC. BorthwickG. Laing, C. Lavery

Match Report 10th September

Biggar 34 Ayr 36

On another fantastic day weather-wise, although o0ne almost too hot for rugby, the scene was set with an excellent atmosphere as the Ladies Day sponsored match with visitors Ayr brought great colour and excitement to the occasion. Throw in 2 mascots, a flag-waving Mini section guard of honour and it was all go for the large crowd. And the non-stop action lasted for the full 80 miniutes but sadly for the second league match of the season Biggar found themselves on the wrong end of a closely fought, pulsating match, and one only decided with what was virtually the last kick of the game.

Biggar made a few changes from last week’s match at GHK. Euan Bogle was preferred to Alistair Sinclair at scrum half, the injured skipper Andrew Jardine was replaced by James Barr, with Rowan Stewart switching from wing to centre with Andrew Lamb moving out. In the pack Paul Davidson came into the side at prop with Louis Henderson dropping to the seconds, Sam King started at lock and Gareth Jones moved to the bench. He was joined there by Tom Main, who was returning from injury.

Having thrashed Glasgow Accies the previous week, Ayr were full of confidence and this was perhaps justified as after less than two minutes centre Jamie Bova was given an easy run in for the first try which he converted.

Biggar almost snatched an equaliser on 5 minutes when in the act of scoring Lamb lost control of the ball as he prepared to touch down. The knock on led to a scrum and then a penalty to Ayr but this was reversed as the assistant referee had spotted an Ayr indiscretion. With Bogle kicking for the corner, Biggar worked a neat line drive which culminated with hooker Andrew Orr touching down for Biggar’s first try. Bogle was on target with the conversion to level the scores at 7-7.

The game had barely restarted before Ayr notched their second score, this going to Yeadon Davie with Bova kicking again for a 14-7 lead. 3 tries and the game not 10 minutes old!

With Ayr quickly back on attack it was clear that the home side would be stretched in defence. With 15 minutes on the clock, Ayr added a third try, this created by Bova who as always proved to be a big threat. It was his break that created space for scrum half Ben Frame to cross almost under the posts, Bova adding the 2 points for 21-7.

With a quarter of the match gone, a dangerous high tackle from Bova on Lamb saw the Ayr man shown a yellow card – 10 minutes in the sin-bin. The penalty awarded was kicked by Bogle for 10-21. Minutes later and the gap was narrowed yet again as after a series of forward pick and go’s featuring Ewan Stewart, Donald Voas, Andrew Orr and Ross Jackson, ball was moved wide, this giving the backs a chance. Aird Jardine’s pass was taken by Fraser Jackson and he was able to touch down for the try. Unfortunately Bogle was not able to add the conversion, the ball rebounding off the upright, but at 21-15 down Biggar were right back in the hunt.

Bova’s return coincided with Ryan Whitefield’s introduction to the fray, the youngster taking over from Paul Davidson.

An attacking box kick saw a collision between Biggar’s Callum Dunlop and the Ayr fullback Jack Craig. This resulted in Dunlop being shown a yellow and so Biggar were now short-handed for what should probably have been the rest of the half.

Worse was to follow for the home side as in a jarring tackle hooker Orr clashed heads and he was forced off the field, Jones his replacement with Ewan Stewart moving back into the No 2 spot.

At this point Ayr were in the ascendancy in the tight scrum where their front row in particular was exerting considerable pressure on the Biggar 8. The last score of the half came from a penalty, which Ayr opted to re-scrum. The Ayr pack had laid siege to the Biggar line but Biggar’s defence held firm until space was created for winger Davie who notched his second. Bova added his 4th kick to give Ayr a 28-15 lead and the 4 try bonus.

Biggar needed a solid start but an unfortunately a knock on on the restart gave the visitors a good attacking position in the Biggar half. Another scrum penalty and another re-scrum followed by another penalty for not releasing, ended with lock forward Conrad Lynch touching down to stretch his side’s lead to 33-15. Bova missed the conversion.

There were several on the touchline who thought that this might be the start of an Ayr mauling but on the contrary much of the rest of the half – all 35 minutes plus, was Biggar’s.

A break from Finlay Crozier initiated Biggar’s first attack of the half. Retaining possession, Biggar handled well to whip the ball right where Lamb opted for a kick and chase. While this did not lead to a try Biggar won a scrum and then opted for a scrum at the next penalty. Ball swept left saw Rowan Stewart make good yards before the pack took over with the almost impossible to defend,‘pick and go’. It was from this that prop Donald Voas got over the line. Bogle’s conversion reduced the gap to 33-22.

Barely 5 minutes after this try, Fraser Jackson rounded off a fantastic breakout, begun again by Crozier. There was some neat interplay between the ever-present Ewan Stewart and Jackson before the latter was set free for the line. Bogle added the conversion to take Biggar to within a score at 33-29.

Having seen their lead reduced, Ayr were now in some measure of panic. Things were not going their way at all and there were creaks appearing as their effort waned. Ben White replaced Dunlop.

A series of fairly average kicks preceded Biggar’s next score. A scrum and then Biggar penalty gave the home XV the chance to gain some good territory. A lineout drive ended with Ewan Stewart scoring under a pile of bodies. Bogle was just wide with the conversion but Biggar were in the lead for the first time in the match, albeit by a solitary point. Unfortunately an over-enthusiastic celebration displeased referee McIntosh and after a long consultation and debate, Ayr were awarded a penalty on the restart.

This naturally gave them a foothold in Biggar territory and it was now a question as to whether Biggar could add to their tally or survive the final 20 odd minutes to earn the win.

A couple of errors added to the tension but what appeared to be a reasonable challenge by Ewan Stewart was deemed high by the officials and he was shown a yellow card. To lose 2 hookers is somewhat unusual but it has a major impact on the game as they are absolutely crucial to set piece play. As it was, Voas took over the lineout duties but Biggar opted for uncontested scrums and this did them no real favours as it gave the Ayr pack some repreive as they had been finding the going increasingly tough in this department.

Both sides continued to make wee errors which broke play up but which added to the excitement. As the game drew to its close however, there was a certain inevitability that Ayr might sneak a penalty which, if kicked, would turn the tables once again.

Such was the time played that Ewan Stewart made his return to action after the sin-binning but a lost lineout and then a penalty allowed Ayr a foothold in the Biggar half. Frustratingly, from a Biggar point of view, the visitors won a penalty and Bova stepped up to successfully add the 3 points to take the score to 36-34.

While there was time for the restart, Ayr managed to hold onto the ball long enough before stand off Daniel McCluskey kicked to touch to end the contest.

As had been the case the previous week at GHK, Biggar earned 2 important points with a 4 try bonus and a less than 7 point losing margin bonus. In reality however, the 4 league points gained from these two matches could so easily have been 10!

Biggar now await the arrival of Border side Melrose on Saturday. They have a 1 – 1 win loss record but will provide another big challenge for Biggar who will be without 2/3 of the squad which took the field on Saturday.


F. Jackson, F. Crozier, R. StewartJ. Barr, A. Lamb, Aird Jardine, E. Bogle, D. Voas, A. Orr, P. Davidson, C. Dunlop, S. King, E. Mitchell, R. Jackson, E. Stewart, Reps R. Whitefield, B. White, G. James, A. SinclairT. Main

Match Report 3rd September

GHK 32 Biggar 31

In near perfect conditions on a great surface Biggar ended up on the wrong side of their share of a 63 point match, the two points gained from a losing bonus and a 4-try bonus being but little consolation.

Preparations had gone fairly well in pre-season save for the fact that none of these games had the cut and thrust of league rugby and ultimately it was perhaps this which was Biggar’s undoing. Friendlies are undoubtedly vital but there is no comparison to league action where errors are immeditaely pounced upon, where the side making the error is punished and where the side which benefits is given a corressponding lift.

That was much the case on Saturday when a couple of unforced errors meant that potential scores were missed allowing the Glasgow side major reprieves. To have two tries chalked off (probably rightly so) for forward passes was also frustrating as were two missed conversions, one of which came off the upright. Having said that GHK had a similar result from one of their conversions so tit-for-tat in that department.

Biggar fielded a strong XV, the pack a mixture of youth and experience and the backs as dangerous group as Biggar has fielded this season so far. It was great to see Rowan Stewart returning at wing while the inclusion in the replacments of lock Sam King making his return after nearly two years out following knee surgery was a boost to the squad.

Starting off with the wind on their backs, Biggar took time to settle, GHK, via stand off Charlie Greaves taking a 3-0 lead from a penalty. This lead was short-lived however as on the 12 minute mark Rowan Stewart took a great line off skipper Andy Jardine to scorch over under the posts virtually untouched. Fraser Jackson’s conversion took Biggar ahead at 3-7.

In what was to be a busy day for the score-keepers, GHK were given the opportunity to reply as Biggar failed to clear their lines as they should have. A couple of unusually weak midfield tackles gave GHK a good position close to the Biggar line and after a good number of pick and go attempts the home XV, courtesy of their captain Paul Henderson, grabbed their first try, this converted by Greaves for 10-7.

Biggar’s pack worked hard in both set piece and loose play, neither side really gaining the upperhand. Callum Dunlop took some quality ball at lineouts where Biggar’s attempts to play at pace gave GHK much to think about. It was from one such lineout that Biggar almost scored their second try, ball spread wide before the pass to Rowan Stewart which would have given him his second try adjudged forward.

The visiting support did not have long to wait for the second score however, a couple of penalties taking play to the GHK line. Here another successful catch and drive saw hooker Andrew Orr dot down, this on the 20 minute mark. Jackson’s kick rebounded off the upright but Biggar regained the lead at 10-12

Just 4 minutes later and almost from the restart, a penalty advantage gave Biggar an opening and with Andrew Lamb kicking through the GHK defence he was first up to secure possession, his run round the GHK fullback taking him clear to the line. Jackson’s conversion was good for 10-19.

GHK’s big men were still breaking tackles, save those of No8 Ewan Stewart who proved his usual steadfast self with some huge hits. A GHK penalty saw them opt for a scrum and this paved a way for another penalty which scrum half Sandy Greig took quickly to catch the Biggar defence napping. Lock Mark Preston touched down to take the score to 15-19.

Euan Mitchell had put in a big shift and made a good steel in a GHK attack this setting up a position from which ball won was sent to the backs. Stand off Aird Jardine put in a neat kick which Rowan Stewart took to run in for his second try. Jackson was just off target but Biggar held the advantage at 15-24 at half time.

Coming out after the break Biggar needed an early score to settle things and had they got this – there was a clear opportunity which was missed virtually on the restart – the final outcome would have been very different. GHK escaped however and with a handling error and then a penalty GHK were able to take play back to Biggar’s 22. Here another driven lineout, which is almost impossible to halt if it is set up properly, allowed GHK captain Henderson to get his second try of the day. 20-24.

Play was then halted as an injury to the GHK No7 and then shortly afterwards to Biggar’s Andy Jardine. Ultimately, while Biggar were able to score again, this stop-start period favoured GHK and disrupted Biggar’s focus. The try came after a penalty gave them an ideal attacking opportunity in the GHK 22. Just as GHK had managed earlier, Biggar took full advantage of the pick and go to trundle over, Ross Jackson credited with the try. Euan Bogle, who had replaced Alistair Sinclair a few minutes prior to the score, took the conversion, this taking the score 31-20 in Biggar’s favour.

The game now entered the last quarter and Biggar should have managed to hold their own to record the league win. GHK had other things on their mind however and an error on the restart allowed GHK to get back into Biggar’s 22. A series of penalties to GHK as they threw everything into attack eventually ended with captain Andy Jardine being shown a yellow. Now down to 14 men Biggar faced a sustained passage of play from their hosts, ball being passed quickly to their left wing. Outnumbered, Biggar’s defence was caught out and GHK notched their 4th and bonus point try. Greaves added the conversion and with 10 minutes to go it was once again ‘game on’.

The last match-winning score, stemmed from an interception, this catching the Biggar side at sixes and sevens. Although the conversion came off the upright, the try was enough to give the GHK side a slender 1 point lead. James Barr was the last Biggar replacement as he came on to the pitch at the end of Jardine’s yellow card. There was little time to get into the game for him however as GHK managed to hold onto this slender lead, despite Biggar doing their best to get back into the GHK half where anything, a penalty, drop goal or try would have been enough. Sadly from a Biggar point of view this was not to be and they lost out.

This was a big disappointment for the Biggar squad as much because they contributed to the defeat as GHK did to win it. A clear lesson to make sure to take every opportunity to keep the scoreboard ticking over and to retain focus regardless of circumstance. Congratulations to those making their senior league debuts: Ryan Whitefield, Gareth Jones and Ben White.

The side must regather quickly as they entertain Ayr this Saturday.


F. Jackson, F. Crozier, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (c), R. Stewart, Aird Jardine, A. Sinclair, D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Dunlop, G. James, E. Mitchell, R. Jackson, E. Stewart, Reps R. Whitefield, B. White, S. King, E. Bogle, J. Barr

26th August 2023

Selkirk 19 Biggar 53

Last years 5th placed Premiership side, Selkirk, were hosts to Biggar on Saturday. Having played two full games against differing standards of teams, Biggar’s top string was prepared for a step up in quality of opponents when they tackled their Border hosts. In fact however, this proved to be anything but that and the Selkirk squad who have struggled pre-season with numbers at training were put to the sword, Biggar running in 9 tries to Selkirk’s 3 (one of which was a penalty try). Crucially and unusually, Biggar could only convert 4 of these 9 tries, so had their kicking been better the total would have been well over 60 points.

There were many positives from this performance but this must be tempered with some deal of caution. It is unlikely that their trip this Saturday to take on GHK in what is the first league match of the season will see them face a side just so disjointed as Selkirk. As for the Border outift they will need to hope for a big change as they welcome Premiership runners up Currie to Philliphaugh.

In the previous pre-season matches Biggar had fielded almost all who have trained so as to give all valuable game time. The 2nd XV had played against Moffat on Thursday however and while the match they had picked up against Hawick Quins on Saturday was cancelled, a 1st XV squad had been selected for Selkirk and so this was an opportunity to give a runout for those who are most likely to be in the starting league squad.

On an almost perfect day for rugby with a warm sunshine throughout, Biggar opened strongly with some abrasive play both in attack and defence. The pre-season work is paying off as although the squad is ‘small’ it is full of running with several of the more senior players – Ross Jackson, Andrew Orr and Ewan Stewart leading from the fromt with some big carries and eqaully big tackles.

Biggar created a few chances, taking full advantge of some poorish handling by Selkirk which gave Biggar possession or at worst had the home side having to scramble back in desperation, before the first try, this on the half hour mark and credited to Finlay Crozier. The position had been created by a neat break from stand off Aird Jardine with Andy Lamb at centre carrying the ball forward at pace.

Five minutes later and Biggar made it two although this came after a very squint Biggar lineout was missed by the officials and which gave Biggar possession. This they exploited well, full back Fraser Jackson, who is making a return after two years out with injury, crossing. The conversion was missed but Biggar went in at half time 10-0 ahead.

Sam King, another who was making a return to play after injury, started after the break and his influence could well be crucial this season. An early carry by the back rower saw ball taken forward into the Selkirk half. Play was advanced by Euan Bogle whose pass to Donald Voas almost ended in a try. This was merely delayed however as a big shunt from the Biggar pack saw them drive their hosts back, No8 Ewan Stewart grabbing the try.

Both sdies showed a willigness to run ball, Biggar making a much better job of this than Selkirk whose cause was not helped by a number of injuries which further tested their bench. The home side did cross for a try however, this scored close to the posts and despite having scored 3 tries to 1, the successful conversion brought Selkirk right back into the match at 15-7.

A sclaffed clearance from Selkirk gave Biggar their next attacking opportunity, Stewart and Callum Dunlop paving the way for a try for Andy Lamb. As the match entered the 4th quarter Biggar nabbed a 5th try after another slack Selkirk clearance. Jackson and Dunlop combined well again before the ball was passed to prop Voas who scorched home for the try, this converted by Crozier for 27-7.

A try for skipper Andy Jardine after another dubious lineout was missed by the officials was answered by a second for Selkirk for 32-12. Thereafter it was Biggar who took control, further scores falling to Lamb and Bogle. Selkirk got a bit of a consolation score after a high tackle which earned Aird Jardine a yellow so Biggar finished the match with just 14 on the pitch. Despite being a man down, Biggar had the last word with a try from James Barr and as Bogle converted these last three tries this gave Biggar their 53 point tally.

As suggested earlier, Biggar can take confidence with this score but they must also be on their mettle on Saturday for a tricky league opener in Glasgow. There is much competition for places in the top side, with a handful of players still to return to action after injury or work and so it will be interesting to see who makes the starting XV. The 2nds will play in the new Inter-city league however, and that is surely the most competitive of 2nd XV competitions so they too will need a good strong squad.


F. Jackson, F. Crozier, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (c), E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, H. Lang, D. Voas, A. Orr, R. Whitefield, C. Dunlop, G. James, C. Frame, R. Jackson, E. Stewart, Reps L. Henderson, P. Davidson, B. White, S. King, A. Sinclair, J. Barr

Match Report :

20th August 2023 v Hawks

Biggar 26 Glasgow Hawks 36

Closer to home there was disappointment in the fact that the Hawks XV was a 1sts/2nds combine with the Glasgow side fielding another combine XV at Greenock to celebrate that club’s 100th anniversary. Biggar were initially under the impression that there would be two Hawks sides at Biggar giving both 1sts and 2nds a good work out but this was not to be.

Biggar fielded over 25 players on the day and several different combinations were tested which was great match preparation for all but perhaps less valuable in terms of getting a settled XV together at 1st XV level. There are some concerns over whether this weekends Border opponents Selkirk will have two sides either, so as a precaution Biggar 2nds will travel on Thursday to near neighbours Moffat for a training match.

Kicking off into the breeze Biggar escaped when a Hawks try looked to be a certainty, a knock on virtually in the act of scoring meaning the chance was missed. Likewise Biggar might have taken the lead when Andy Jardine was foiled by the Hawks defence with the line in sight. On the 20 minute mark Hawks managed a try from their scrum half who cleverly chipped over Biggar’s defence before regaining possession to outstrip the Biggar cover. The conversion rebounded off the upright.

There was a second missed conversion from Hawks 2nds score, this in the corner and rounded off by their hooker.

Biggar struck back with a try and conversion from Finlay Crozier on 30 minutes and then Andy Lamb crossed in the corner for a try which Crozier also converted for a 14-10 lead. Frustratingly, Biggar conceded a 3rd try just on half time when a defensive mix up gave Hawks a clear run in from 20m. As this was close to the posts the conversion was successful and Biggar went into the break 17-14 down.

Given the wind strength and the fact that the visitors had a small squad there was a quiet confidence within the Biggar support that Biggar would be able to quickly add to their tally. This was not to be however as the visitors came out eager to take the advantage and this they did though Biggar’s cause was hampered significantly as they had no recognised hooker after first half injuries and so lineout ball and possession, which is so vital in both attack and defence, proved illusive. When Biggar were awarded penalties the kick to the corner option which is beloved by most teams and would usually be a source of quality ball dried up. The other option of a scrum was useful but the Hawks pack was much heavier than that of Biggar’s so this too had limited valueAnd worse was to come when a collapsed scrum saw veteran Andrew Peacock in considerable pain with a rib injury. He joined a growing line of injured players which may have an impact in the coming weeks.

The Hawks hooker nabbed his second and this, when converted, put the visitors ahead at 24-14. Just minutes later and it was 29 with Hawks 4th score and then they were awarded a penalty try after another defensive error saw the Hawks backs, with their fullback a particular threat, exploit a gap. Euan Bogle made a valiant effort to stop the try but he was adjudged to have played the man after the tackle and so the try and 7 points took the score to 36-14.

The last 15 minutes saw a much better performance from Biggar who were able to run in 2 tries , one a piece for the Jardine brothers which rounded off the scoring at 36-26.

Match Report: Biggar v Berwick 12th August

Biggar 83 Berwick 21

Having had a conditioned game on Thursday against near neighbours Peebles Biggar had had some limited match time. A squad of some 25 were selected for Saturday’s match and this proved to be a real challenge for the visitors who were not as numerous.

Biggar opened the scoring early on and never really looked back save for a couple of periods when the frequent personnel changes had an impact. Midway through the second half however, Biggar’s fitness really told and the last 10 minutes saw them run in several unanswered tries to run away with the match.

For the record points were scored by Ton Main (2 + a yellow card), Callum Dunlop (2 + a yellow card), Callum McCallum ( 2 tries and 4 conversions), Andrew Orr (2), Andy Lamb (2), Fraser Jackson, Aird Jardine and Andy Jardine. Finlay Crozier added 4 conversions.

SEASON 2022-23

Match Report 16th April

Biggar 47 GHK 14

Biggar rounded off their season in style on Saturday with their 4th win from 4 outings. In so doing they have now created a winning run of home games which stretches back to early November and which will resurrect the impression of Hartree Mill being a ‘fortress’.

There was no possibility of catching 5th place Highland who earn their better position to a much better 4 try bonus record.

This was not the result GHK would have wished as it was the last match for their coach Peter Wright who is set to retire from coaching to focus on his radio work. In the first meeting back in October, GHK had set their stall out from the outset and had largely been in control of the match until an implosion towards the 4th quarter when Biggar came from behind to snatch victory. On Saturday, Biggar started well and while they were just 12-7 ahead at the break they took control of the match in the second half to secure a convincing win.

Aside from the absence of Conor Lavery and Andrew Orr the squad was at full strength and this includes the handful of youngsters who have now made their starting positions their own. A fine performance from the pack allowed Gregor Lang at stand off to run some excellent lines and to get the three quarters running at pace, potential retirees (though we’re working on that) Davy Reive, Ross Bradford and Mark Bertram all showing up well with the first two getting on the scoresheet!

GHK took an early lead through a well-controlled driven lienout, prop Paul Henderson touching down. This was a simple score, converted by Ben Frame and did not bode well for Biggar who had tried a similar tactic with only marginal success.

Having said that the Biggar pack even then was in the ascendancy with the Biggar front row of Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart and Louis Henderson on top in the tight scrum. In fact is was Voas who opened Biggar’s account a neat passing movement creating space on the left wing which gave the prop the chance to cross the line.

Jack Connor scored Biggar’s second try the centre running a lovely straight line off Andrew Lamb to split the GHK defence to cross under the posts. Euan Bogle had been off target with his first conversion from wide out but he was on target with this kick, Biggar 12 GHK 7.

GHK should have added to their tally just before the break when a well engineered breakout from a penalty saw their backs make easy progress to the Biggar22. A pass to the support might have seen the recipient in for a try but the hesitation allowed Bertram to put in an excellent cover tackle to stop the score.

After the break the breeze seemed to shift in direction and this helped Biggar’s cause no end as it was almost on their backs as it had been in the first half. With barely 2 minutes gone No 8 and birthday boy Ross Jackson made the line off another solid Biggar scrum in the GHK 22.

Bogle added the conversion for 19-7

GHK then crept right back into the game, putting the home side under some real pressure with some good carries and running angles. The Biggar defence held firm however, the visitors efforts hampered by some daft comments to the referee. This had been part of the reason for their implosion at Old Anniesland in the first match and it seemed as though there would be a repeat as whistler Greg Cameron had earlier had words with coach Wright and then at fairly regular intervals with various players including skipper Frame.

Things did calm down a bit however and GHK notched their second try, this credited to winger Max Wood.

Biggar made a change with Aird Jardine replacing Connor.

Biggar replied almost immediately with their 4th and bonus point try, Lamb taking a well-timed pass from new stand off Aird Jardine to scorch over from some 29 metres. Bogle added the extra 2 points. Jamie Tucker then replaced Andrew Peacock.

Bradford made a great run into GHK territory and while GHK made a timely interception Biggar regained possession and Andy Jardine exploited a half chance to round the GHK defence for a try converted by Bogle. This was his last contribution as he was replaced by Gregor Forrest with Tom Roper having replaced Bertram minutes earlier.

Another breakout by Biggar exploited a tiring GHK and Aird Jardine’s chip began a 3 man race for the ball and a likely try. The Jardine brothers and Lamb were in hot pursuit but it was the latter who won the race. Unfortunately GHK winger and try scorer Wood made a sloppy last ditch tackle to stop the try. This initiated some afters and while the offence was not in itself a yellow card, referee Cameron had issued a ‘final warning’ for the next GHK offender and Wood was shown a yellow.

Nor down to 14 men, GHK struggled to combat the Biggar side who ran some great angles and with great confidence. This ended with a neat move from Lang which freed Bradford for a great score, fittingly converted by Reive for the 47 point total.

The post match chat focussed on the 4 from 4 wins at the tail end of the season. A significant number of young players had been ‘blooded’ and had fitted into the Biggar system easily, this a tribute to the coaching they have received at Colts level and also via the Academy and Hypers programme.

One who is definitely retiring is lock Craig Borthwick. Craig has been with Biggar for 4 years and has made a huge contribution to the club both on and off the field in that time. His on the pitch contribution has been significant not least because of his physical size but also because of his game knowledge and understanding. He has been a dominant figure across the pitch particularly in his thumping, bone jarring defence and he also engenders huge respect amongst his team-mates. Off the field he has contributed much as a player coach and it is fantastic news that he intends to stay at Hartree Mill as a coach next season.


D. Voas, E. Stewart, L. Henderson, c. Borthwick, A. Peacock, T. Young, M. Bertram, R. Jackson, D. Reive, G. Lang, A. Lamb, J. Connor, Andy Jardine (capt), R. Bradford, E. Bogle
Reps : J. Tucker, A. Kotze, T. Roper , G. Forrest, A. Jardine

Senior Presentation Evening

The first ever Joint Senior Presentation Night was held in the clubhouse on Saturday. Over 70 members from the Ladies and Gents squads were in attendance, many with partners which added to the evening.

Club President Rab Ramsay was in charge and following a typically excellent meal provided by Carolyn Cairns, Jan Harper and their band of helpers, he introduced the Ladies captain Emelia Knights and her Vice Captain Alison Orr.

The girls highlighted the highs and lows of the season past and the positives for next season all of which were very well received. They then made the following presentations:

Eric Shearer Award: Alison Russell

Most Improved player: Emma Bell

Players Player: Farah Conn

Coaches Player of the Season: Megan McCarry

The stage was then passed to Gents Captain Andy Jardine who provided an in-depth summary of Senior Gents rugby at Biggar, again referencing the highs and lows. This too was equally well received by those present. The following presentations were made:

Hugh Barr, Spirit of Biggar: Aird Jardine

R.A.M. Stewart Players Player: Andrew Orr

2nd XV Player of the season: Tom Roper

Coaches Player of the Year: Mark Bertram

Al Stewart provided a Vote of Thanks to the catering team, the Bar Staff (Robin, Kim and Anna), top table guests (Nic and Anna Humphries, Rab, Emelia, Alison and Stuart and Jenny Moffat), all those in attendance and to the event organisers the brothers Jardine (Andy and Aird).

2nd April 2023

Biggar 24 Aberdeen Grammar 21

For this penultimate league match Biggar were forced once again to ring the changes as a handful of players were unavailable due to the Young Farmers Talent Spot and the Colts tour to Ireland.

This match was another largely error-strewn contest against an Aberdeen squad who, although already relegated to National 2, proved to be a stuffy outfit. Of the Biggar squad which took the field in Aberdeen back in November, only 8 retained their place for this latest outing and the fact that the side recorded a bonus point win speaks volumes for the players involved, 7 of whom are in their first season of senior rugby.

On a cold breezy afternoon Biggar had a dream start when Ross Bradford crossed the Grammar line after less than 3 minutes. The first quarter was probably Biggar’s best section of the game as they retained possession well and made good yards at each attack. A main problem all season has been the sides inability to fully capitalise on possession and territory and this was much the case on Saturday. In addition a series of penalties awarded to the visitors did much to disrupt the continuity Biggar sought and while there was some cause for some frustration, there is a long held argument that the team which ‘plays’ the ref best gets the rewards, while the team which fustrates the ref can often end up disappointed.

Biggar nabbed a second score after some 18 minutes, Andrew Orr continuing his good form with another try, this coming after a well organised driven lineout. In Euan Bogle’s absence the kicking duties fell to skipper Andy Jardine and while he was off target with his attempt after the first try, he made no mistake with his second and Biggar were 12-0 up.

The rest of the half provided little in the way of good cheer, Biggar finding themselves penalised regularly, one of these leading to the sin-binning of evergreen lock Andrew Peacock, this on the half hour mark. His absence was immediately felt. In a rare Grammar attack, some stout Biggar defence eventually saw them rewarded with a defensive scrum. Bertram at No8 elected to pick and go and while he made some good yards he then had the ball ripped from his grasp. Quick to set up an attack, the Grammar backs did well to engineer a space for their big centre and captain Tom Aplin to cross for the visitors opening score. The same player then added the conversion and despite having had the lions share of possession and territory, Biggar’s lead was down to just 5 points. Bertram took a blow to his face and eye in the tackle and he was replaced by the live-wire Tom Roper. Although normally a hooker the youngster is terrier-like around the pitch ever-ready to tackle or to carry ball into contact.

The remainder of the half was largely inconclusive, Biggar seeking a 3rd try while Grammar were content to soak up the pressure. There was no further scoring and so Biggar reached half time with a slender 5 point lead.

Louis Henderson replaced Will Kelly at the break. Able to mount an early attack Biggar were unlucky not to gain another score this coming after some good pressure on the Grammar clearance saw the ball charged down. The chasers were just unable to reach the ball before it went dead. The third score was merely delayed however as stand off Aird Jardine was rewarded for his persistence as he chased his own grubber kick which he had cleverly threaded through the Grammar backline. The retreating Grammar defenders were unlucky when the ball evaded their grasp, the ball rolling further towards the deadball line. Jardine just got to the ball first however and he notched a well-deserved try. His brother couldn’t add the conversion but the try put Biggar 17-7 ahead.

This lead was sadly only shortlived as Grammar gained some excellent ground from a probing kick from No9 Patrick Ritchie. Managing to retain possession through a number of phases Grammar’s attack eventually spawned ball for lock Cameron Robertson. Aplin added the conversion for 17-14. Having recovered, Bertram returned to the game as he replaced Jamie Tucker, the youngster having had another decent performance. Aird Jardine also came off with Jack Connor taking over in the centre and Conor Lavery moving from centre to stand off. The final changes saw Euan Laing replaced by Gregor Forrest and Peacock replaced by Adrian Kotze. These changes necessitated further positional switches, Biggar’s back row filled by prop Donald Voas, hooker Roper and Bertram a converted winger!

Biggar’s bonus point try, only their 4th of the season came shortly after these changes were made. Although in their own half and in defensive duties Ross Bradford began the movement when he took control of a Grammar kick ahead. Bradford is a very elusive runner and he invariably makes good ground with ball in hand. Having done so he found Lavery who also made good yards before feeding onto Jardine. He in turn carried the move forward before releasing his winger Andy Lamb who ran in from some 40 yards for his 4th try in two weeks. Jardine added the conversion for 22-14.

Most Biggar supporters felt that at some point the visitors would collapse, much as they had done on home territory back in Noveber (when Biggar won 50-17). This was not be and at this stage too, Biggar were forcing the pace and running ball from almost anywhere. While this ground was hard won it was quickly lost as errors crept into the Biggar play. This played into the Grammar hands as the visitors were quick to break each attack down. As a result they enjoyed another prolonged period of pressure before they scored a try with the last movement of the match and which earned them a losing bonus point.

The bottom line is that Biggar had a bonus point win and there is much to be grateful for that – they won the maximum points from the match. There is no doubt though, that Grammar on Saturday and Stewarts Melville the previous week are much weaker than the next visitors, namely GHK (now confirmed for April 15th, KO 3pm). The Glasgow outfit will provide a much, much sterner test and Biggar will have to be at their best to return a positive outcome.


D. Voas, A. Orr, W. Kelly, J. Tucker, A. Peacock, E. Stewart, T. Young, M. Bertram, D. Reive, A. Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, E. Laing, R. Bradford
Reps : L. Henderson, A. Kotze, T. Roper , G. Forrest, J. Connor

Match Report 27th March 2023

Biggar 22 Stewarts Melville 3

But let’s go with the 1st XV.

Hosting already relegated Stewarts Melville, Biggar might have expected to record a rare 4 try bonus but this was not to be, the Edinburgh outfit, although only threatening the Biggar line fleetingly, managing to hold Biggar to a 23-3 win.

Part of this was due to the absence of several regulars, this due to a stag weekend organised prior to the postponement from December of the Stew Mel match. While there is no complaint about the performances of those who came into the side – Tom Roper at hooker turning in another fiercely competitive and gritty performance, Jamie Tucker showing increasing confidence with ball in hand and Drew Brewster proving that the shortest distance between two points is either over or through the opposition – the side couldn’t make their possession and territory count.

In cold, windy conditions and on a greasy surface Biggar had some great patches but they were unable to string these passages together to score points – largely the story of the year.

The early exchanges will be best remembered for a Craig Borthwick touchfinder, the big man sending play back downfield after a Stew Mell attack and a near miss when Ewan Stewart seemed to be on the point of scoring only to have the ball dislodged as he prepared to dot down. This allowed Stew Mel some relief, but with some 15 minutes on the clock, Euan Bogle kicked Biggar into a 3-0 lead.

A passage of attacking play from the visitors looked promising but stand off Kyle Henderson wound up for a Russel-esque wide pass to his winger. The option was well read by winger Andy Lamb who, although juggling the catch, managed to hold onto the ball prior to sprinting the length of the pitch for a great individual score which Bogle converted for 10-0.

In a scrappy, error strewn contest not helped by the surface or wet ball, play was largely confined to the area between the 22’s, neither side showing sufficient control to take charge of the match.

Just before half time a possible forward pass at the scrum base was missed by referee Galashan and this gave Biggar another attacking position but one which came to nought. A reply from Stew Mel saw them awarded a penalty and while the quick tap and go took play into the Biggar 22, a Biggar offside gave them another chance which they opted to kick for goal, centre Euan Morrison on target to take the score to 10-3.

An early try – this also from Lamb – suggested that the game might open out, but errors and some questionable options prevented Biggar from adding to their tally. Jack Connor replaced Brewster, Adrian Kotze came on for Tucker, while slightly later in the game Will Kelly replaced Louis Henderson, and Gregor Forrest came on for Finlay Crozier.

Despite being 17-3 up there was little between the two sides on the day, Biggar’s defence once again proving crucial with Donald Voas, Roper, Forrest and several others all making several big hits to send their opponents backwards. Indeed the decisive score was another long range effort. Having kicked quite well throughout the match a Stew Mel chip to the wing found not grass but the arms of Lamb, who, having turned to face the Stew Mel chasers, set off on another lung bursting sprint down the touchline, this eventually seeing the big man cross in the corner for what was his hat-trick.

Try though they did Biggar could not add to their tally and therefore did not collect what should have been a bonus point. There are still two home matches to come. Abderdeen Grammar are next up as they come calling on Saturday coming. Stirling and GHK met on Saturday past in what was a combined league/Cup match. As GHK won the game, they will remain in the Cup and so the last match of the season will now be on 22nd April. Had GHK lost attempts would have been made to get the match played early in April.


D. Voas, T. Roper, L. Henderson, C. Borthwick, J. Tucker, A. Peacock, A. Warnock, E. Stewart, D. Reive, G. Lang, A. Lamb, D. Brewster, Andy Jardine, F. Crozier, E. Bogle,
Reps : W. Kelly, A. Kotze, G. Forrest, J. Connor, Aird Jardine.

Match Report March 19th

Gala 7 Biggar 14

Biggar played their last away match of the season against Gala on Friday evening under the Netherdale floodlights.

That they ended the game as winners was down to a massive defensive performance which frustrated and thwarted Gala’s best efforts to break through. Every player in the Biggar squad played their part in this and had they managed to replicate this in half of their previous matches this season, Biggar would surely have been in contention for a top league spot.

Biggar will finish the season with 3 home matches, each of which has been rescheduled after poor weather caused postponements to the orginal fixtures.

There was a familiarity about the pack on Friday with perhaps the one surprise being the selection of Tom Young at second row as he is normally a back row player. Having said that his lineout play was very effective and provided Biggar with much good go-forward ball. In the backs, stand off Gregor Lang played a very important role in providing swift, accurate passes to his outside backs while he was not slow in showing up in defence.

On a fine clear, calm evening it was Gala who had the best of the opening exchanges, as they put Biggar on the back foot and virtually camped in the Biggar 22. On the 10 minute mark a nasty collison between Biggar’s Craig Borthwick and the Gala No 8 Angus Dunn saw both players leave the field, Dunn for a concussion, Borthwick for 10 minutes as he was sent to the sin bin.

Taking advantage of the extra man and the loss to Biggar of some considerable bulk, it was not surprising that the home side took the lead shortly afterwards, the try scored by Jack Easson and converted by Craig Dods. At this stage it looked as though Biggar might be in for a torrid evening as they were put under real pressure by the Border outfit. Despite the territory and possession they enjoyed, Gala could not add to their tally, a series of errors and sound Biggar defence doing enough to prevent scores.

Another major factor was in the tight scrum where Biggar had the advantage, this seeing them win at least 3 scrum penalties and which denied Gala tidy ball from which to attack.

Borthwick’s return was a phillip for the visitors and in a rare incursion into the Gala half, and then 22, Biggar converted what was really their first scoring opportunity. A lineout take and drive saw Gala driven backwards at some pace and although Andrew Orr was initally held up he was able to retake possession from Mark Bertram a couple of phases later to crash over for a try which Euan Bogle converted to level the scores.

Biggar have been unable to get much turnover ball this season, much of this to do with the fact that several of those most accomplished at this dark art have retired (Chris Mulligan, Angus Thomson, Jamie Orr) but for whatever reason on Friday, Biggar won several crucial turnovers, this again much to the frustration of the Gala XV. The half ended with Biggar back on the attack and deep into the Gala 22, the position for this last attack coming after a chip ahead saw the Gala cover take the ball over their own line when it appeared a kick to touch would have been the better and safer option. A first pushover attempt was foiled as Gala transgressed under pressure but annoyingly, the referee elected to penalise Biggar as they prepared for a second tilt at the line. This brought the first half to a close.

Biggar could scarcely have begun thes econd half any better as within 3 minutes of the contest resuming Biggar scored their second try, this a virtual carbon-copy of the fhe first. A penalty to the corner gave them good field position and having won tidy ball Biggar prepared to repeat the lineout drive of the first half. Gala were initally able to slow this down but a second surge ended with Donald Voas crossing for a good try, aagin converted by Bogle for 14-7.

That there was no further scoring might havesuggested that the rest of the match was a tad boring but that could not be further from the truth as the game ebbed and flowed to the final whistle. For their part Gala seemed to change their tactical play, opting to kick for position much more often than in the first half and while this threatened to gain easy yards, Biggar were frequently able to return their kicks, several times with interest.

Penalties interrupted play as players erred in their desperation to gain possession: Gala to get back onto even terms, Biggar to get another step ahead of their hosts. As the game entered the final quarter, Gala continued to apply huge pressure and it looked likely that they would eventually get the better of the Biggar defensive effort to score. This was not to be however as Biggar retained their shape and as players continued to fling themselves into the defensive chores. Gala did not help themselves either however, a desire to cut back inside rather than to exploit the space on the wing making it marginally easier for Biggar to control.

Biggar made changes with Will Kelly replacing Louis Henderson at prop, both youngsters performing really well throughout, and Andrew Peacock for Tom Young.

Now in the final 10 minutes Gala continued to press, and with a yellow card for Biggar’s Conor Lavery as he attempted to make the tackle, the extra man Gala would enjoy to the end of the match threatened to be decisive. With 20 seconds to go and with the final play, Gala were able to mount a last attack. Having retained possession for a number of phases, this last throw of the dice ended with a Biggar penalty as Gala players were deemed to have sealed off the ball. Unfortunately this decision was not a welcome one in Gala eyes and a torrent of abuse aimed at the official ended with a red card to one of the Gala number.

Play had by this time been advanced to almost the 10 metre line and Biggar opted to kick for touch to end the contest.

All in all an enthralling match and one played with no quarter given. Biggar’s win saw them gain some revenge for the first meeting, back in October which saw the Border side sneak the win by 23-17.

Plaudits to all in the Biggar squad with particular praise for Andrew Orr, Conor Lavery, Ewan Stewart and Davy Reive, all of whom had excellent performances. Above all however, this was a real team effort and one which, if it can be replicated, should see Biggar end the season a real high. This latest win takes


D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Borthwick, T. Young, M. Bertram, E. Stewart, R. Jackson, D. Reive, G. Lang, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, F. Crozier, E. Bogle,
Reps : A. Peacock W. Kelly, T. Roper, J. Tucker, Aird Jardine.

Match Report 5th March 2023

Ayr 33 Biggar 10

Biggar travelled to Ayr on Saturday to face a side vying with Kelso for the sole promotion place to the Premiership.

The encounter at Hartree Mill had ended in a handsome win for the Ayrhsire side but hopes were high that even with another very young side, Biggar might be able to pull something out the bag.

Up front Louis Henderson returned to the front row while Ewan Stewart came into the back row alongside Mark Bertram, another making a comeback following injury. Absent on Saturday was skipper Andrew Jardine who was suffering from a headknock while Euan Bogle replaced the unavailable Davy Reive.

For the fist half hour, Biggar enjoyed their fair share of possession and territory as a mis-firing Ayr struggled to put any decent phases together. Biggar gained some vital turnovers from among others Andrew Orr and Conor Lavery and with the backs running hard, Ayr were under the cosh.

After 15mins Biggar got their first score. A loose ball in midfield was gathered by Aird Jardine who fired a very flat pass out to Lavery. His step took him behind the Ayr defence and his deft grubber led to a chase for the ball which Andrew Lamb won for a great opening try. Bogle’s conversion rebounded off the upright.

Just 3 minutes later and Lamb crossed for his second score, this following another Ayr error. From almost the same position, Bogle’s kick drifted wide. But 10-0 was not a bad return.

Unfortunately those would be Biggar’s last points! Ayr responded and gained ground into the Biggar half for virtually the first time in the game but again they coughed up possession to give Biggar some respite. Biggar’s pack had much the better of the Ayr 8 with penalties won at scrum time as well as in the open. This prompted Ayr into an early change of personnel in the forwards, this in an attempt to counter Biggar’s advantage.

Another turnover saw Biggar back on the attack but the score was denied them with a dropped pass.

Just after the half hour mark however, Ayr’s big centre Jamie Bova took play into the Biggar 22. Although this attack was foiled the kick to relieve pressure was not followed up as it should have been and Bova, although almost dropping the ball, managed to beat the onrushing Biggar defence to cross virtually under the posts. Crucially he added the conversion and after all their efforts Biggar could only claim a 3 point lead.

Worse was to follow however as with half time approaching Ayr struck again. A Biggar penalty and kick to touch should have given Biggar a chance for another attack but the lineout was lost and possession conceded. Ayr were then awarded a penalty and as Biggar expected the kick, Ayr chose to tap and go to catch the Biggar defence napping. This was indeed the case and the Biggar defence was pretty much ripped apart with winger Howard rounding the defence for Ayr’s second score. Bova again converted and Biggar were behind at 14-10 at half time.

Ayr came out the traps in determined fashion and a 10 minute purple spell at the start of the second half virtually put paid to Biggar’s hopes of an upset. Targeting Biggar with some astute kicking Biggar began to make errors which the partisan crowd loved. Every kick was then cheered on and this had an impact on the Biggar cause.

A 3rd try was scored after the Biggar defence was once more breached after some weak defence, scrum Ross McCorkindale the scorer. Bova added the conversion for 19-10.

With barely minutes gone Ayr then struck again. Once more it was a missed tackle which caused the problem, Danny McCluskey the scorer and with Bova adding the conversion Biggar had a bit of a mountain to climb, the momentum now firmly with the home XV.

Biggar did counter well and having won a penalty they opted to go for the scrum rather than the posts. Having comfortably won the ball a neat flat pass was sent to Drew Brewster and with the line a matter of metres away the ball slipped from his grasp and the try was missed.

Ross Bradford who had earlier picked up a knock to the face was next to reply and while good ground was made, the hack forward saw Lamb unable to gather as he too had a great chance to score.

Biggar then made a couple of changes, Euan Laing and Gregor Lang replacing Finlay Crozier and Aird Jardine respectively. This lasted for a matter of seconds as Brewster was then led off the pitch following an accidental clash of heads. Crozier returned but to the wing rather than fullback, Lang operating at stand off.

Biggar fought gamely on but Ayr had their tails up and while Biggar enjoyed moments of control they could not press home their attacks which has been a recurring theme when faced with the top sides.

Jamie Tucker replaced Mark Bertram and then Andrew Peacock came on for Henderson who had again made an impact with some great scrummaging. With some 5 minutes left a neat kick ahead by Ayr saw their chasing winger Howard bundled off the ball, the referee having no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. A penalty try equates to a yellow card and Bradford was identified as the culprit when he was in fact an innocent party. The official was unconvinced however and it was Bradford who left the pitch.

Tom Roper came on for Andrew Orr who had also made a big impact with some aggressive carries. It was Biggar who finished on the attack although again they were held up short.

D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Borthwick, C. Dunlop, M. Bertram, E. Stewart, R. Jackson, E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, D. Brewster, R. Bradford, F. Crozier
Reps : A. Peacock, T. Roper, J. Tucker, G. Lang, E. Laing

While the game was over, the day was certainly not with 6 of the squad hot-footing it, not to home, but instead to Motherwell where they were competing on stage for their resepctive Young Farmers clubs in this years Lanarkshire Talent Spot competition. And while boys did not enjoy success on the pitch, Lanark, with Gregor Lang in their number, came top and Biggar with Bogle, Crozier, Dunlop, Jackson and Orr all starring were placed second. Both clubs will now prepare for the West Area event at the Armadillo next month. All credit to those involved for a tremendous effort!

Match Report 27th Feb

Biggar 36 Watsonians 10

There were many positives to be gained from this latest result not least in the appearance of another two youngsters making their 1st XV debuts but this must be countered by the fact that there were insufficent numbers for a 2nd XV. At the start of the season there were occasions when the 2nds had a full 20+ squad but with injuries mounting and others unavailable, this has diminished to a squad on Saturday which barely reached double figures. The 2nd XV travel to Musselburgh on Saturday and it would be good to think that more will be available for what is that sides last league match this season.

Drew Brewster and Jamie Tucker were the latest debutants at 1st XV level and both can be congratulated on their efforts, Tucker starting at second row and Brewster in the centre when he took the field after the break. Fergus Watson was unavailable for this match as he has been included in the initial U18 Scotland squad which involved a whole weekend of sessions at The Oriam. Many congratulations to Fergus and the Watson family on his selection. Fingers crossed he will be included when the squad is cut in the next few weeks. There was another change in the front row with Andrew Peacock starting at prop. This was due to the fact that Louis Henderson had played an important role on Friday in a Glasgow Uni v Strathclyde Uni clash. The youngster was fresh enough to take a place on the bench however and he deserves credit for his second half efforts. Peacock meanwhile played as only he can, offering himself consistently in defence, attack and in his role as prop.

City side Watsons have had a poor season although they have recorded better performances recently. They have a pacy set of backs but they made far too many unforced errors while a lack of fire power up front did them no favours.

Opening strongly Biggar were in attack mode but almost conceded a score when a dropped ball saw the Watsons backs react the quickest to hack the ball downfield toward the Biggar line. A forward pass was all that kept them out from an opening score. Things got little better when a rushed clearance from skipper Jardine saw the ball charged down resulting in another sprint to get the try, Watsons foiled this time by the ball rolling out of play.

It was third time lucky however when a penalty was kicked by Ben Heber for 3-0.

Biggar were stung into action and barely 5 minutes later they took the lead. A penalty won at scrum time was taken quickly and ended with hooker Andrew Orr plunging over the line for a try. Finlay Crozier converted for 7-3.

In what was a helter-skelter affair as both sides made errors and possession changed hand on multiple occasions Biggar had the best of the play but were prevented from scoring by their own errors – a missed lineout, a knock on and forward pass and the like.

Watsons made good ground on occasion and their backs looked full of running but much of their play was behind the gain line allowing Biggar to restrict Watsons forward progress.

Just after the half hour mark a Crozier penalty was pulled wide then minutes later, with Biggar again putting pressure on the Watsons defence a decent take and run from Ross Bradford which saw him switch direction to gain yards gave him the space to pass. Orr was on the end of this and he crashed over for his second score of the afternoon. Although struck well by Crozier, the conversion missed the target and Biggar had to be content with their 12-3 lead.

Callum Dunlop then required attention to a dislocated finger, physio Alison Orr on hand to get it back in place to allow him to continue. Biggar were quickly back in attack but another knock on and a linoeut error brought the half to an end.

The home side could not have begun the second half much better as they ran in a 3rd try which came from what was really their first concerted attack of the half. A series of phases were strung together before some excellent passing saw Andrew Peacock and Finlay Crozier then provide the scoring pass for…..yep, that man Andrew Orr to claim his hat-trick, this celebrated with a massive dive for the line.

Watsons continued to make their mark on the game but their efforts continued to be thwarted by some poor handling and decisions. Biggar’s 4th try was the exact opposite and demonstrated the sides ability to play decent rugby when they get the opportunity. Begun again by Bradford who cut a great inside line, the ball eventually found its way to Conor Lavery who had an excellent match overall. His deft offload found full back Crozier who galloped home for the score. Unfortunately the conversion was wide but Biggar were now 24-3 up.

Henderson had replaced Peacock by this point and Biggar made further changes with Craig Frame on for Tucker and Euan Bogle for Davy Reive. Frame was immediately into action as he fielded the restart kick and and made good ground from the take.

The next change saw Aird Jardine replaced by Brewster, this necessitating a positional change, Lavery moving to stand off to accommodate Brewster at centre. Minutes later and with a penalty awarded Biggar opted to take a scrum rather than a kick to touch or goal. With the pack in control Biggar were able to walk the Watsons eight back over their line, Ross Jackson on hand to score the try. Bogle, the third kicker Biggar had used, added the conversion for 29-3.

Brewster gave note of his intent with a typical straight-running breenge up the middle of the pitch but Crozier’s kick and chase saw the ball go just too far for him to get the try. Tom Young gave way to the diminutive but very combative Tom Roper, this the teenagers second run out with the 1st XV. He was immediately in on the action taking ball into contact with great relish.

Watsons were not about to give up of course and they replied with a decent passage of play, this eventually ending with a penalty try for 29-10 as Biggar collapsed the scrum. Not to be outdone Lavery then got just reward for his efforts, his persistence in the chase seeing him out-strip the Watsons cover for a try converted by Bogle for 36-10.

With their goal-kicking not on form, Biggar missed out on some 9 points and had they got these the 45-10 scoreline would have better represented their overall dominance. This was just the result the side needed prior to travelling to take on Ayr, one of the promotion contenders this coming Saturday.

The Ayr game will be a very diferent affair as only a win for the west coast side will do as they are currently two points behind Kelso in the promotion race. Biggar have not had much joy against the Ayr side in the past few meetings so would dearly love to make things difficult for the promotion hopefuls.

D. Voas, A. Orr, A. Peacock, C. Borthwick, 
J. TuckerC. Dunlop, T. Young, R. Jackson, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, R. Bradford, F. Crozier
Reps : L. Henderson, C. Frame, 
T. Roper, D. Brewster, E. Bogle.

Match Report 20th Feb

Melrose 31 Biggar 13

Biggar travelled to Melrose on Saturday looking to get some payback after the Hartree Mill side lost out in the home match last year. That match was spoiled by a team selection error from Melrose which eventually saw the Borderers penalised with a 2 point penalty.

That their prop Callum Cruikshank was sin-binned in the opening few minutes was again significant and a couple of scrum penalties which followed led to Biggar’s first try, this from Craig Borthwick.

Melrose redressed the balance with a penalty from David Colvine and they took the lead when a series of missed tackles allowed Cameron Spence to nip over for their opening try.

Just after Biggar notched their second try, this from Andrew Orr, the Border side replied with another penalty from Colvine to see them back ahead at 11-10.

In the dying minutes of the half scrum half Davy Reive almost scored but he was denied the try and this was perhaps a turning point, Biggar having been in control and enjoying pressure but without reward.

After the break the contest ebbed and flowed with neither side able to control the match in the wet conditions.

A lineout drive took Melrose close and an opportunist pick and go from scrum half David Colvine saw the Melrose man cross for a try to take Melrose further ahead at 16-10.

In this fixture last season Melrose lost the services of a player to a late and dangerous tackle and history repeated itself when try scorer Spence’s tackle on winger Fergus Watson was rightly deemed high and dangerous and a red card issued. With Melrose down to 14 men, Biggar might have expected to put their hosts under real pressure and while this was largely the case, Biggar could only add a penalty to their cause.

With just 10 minutes remaining and the game in the balance at 16-13, it was Melrose who finished strongest, a two try burst from Donald Crawford taking the score to 31-13.

The first of this brace came from a neat kick ahead which had the Biggar defence at sixes and sevens while the second came from an interception as Biggar attempted to open play up and rescue something from the match.

There was no doubting the disappointment felt by the Biggar squad. Pressure must end in points and without a cutting edge and some clinical finishing this is something the side have struggled to do this season.

Biggar now turn their attention to this Saturday when a rejuvenated Watsonians side make the trip to Biggar.

D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Borthwick, A. Peacock, M. Bertram, T. Young, R. Jackson, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, F. Watson, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, R. Bradford, F. Crozier
Reps : C. Gray, A Kotze, C. Frame, E. Bogle, J. Connor

Match Report 5th February 2023

Biggar 14 Heriots 33

In a break from league rugby Biggar welcomed Heriots to Hartree Mill for this first round Scottish Cup tie.

Biggar were short of a few regulars due to work, Calcutta Cup trips and injury, but this gave the opportunity to blood another couple of recent graduates from the Colts with both Gregor Forrest and Gregor Lang given a run at wing and stand off respectively. They both produced sound performnaces and should be proud of their contributions.

The game kicked off in reasonable conditions and Biggar opened well taking good ball on the touchline and spoiling the Heriots efforts in defence.

Despite their largely promising start however, Biggar could not make their territorial advantage or the possession they enjoyed count. Heriots were able to disrupt Biggar’s best efforts with some decent defence although the home side did not help themselves as handling errors gave Heriots opportunities to clear their lines or where a better pass might have led to more sustained attacks.

These opportunities to relieve pressure were used well by the visitors who opened the scoring with a try from John Lascelles and another from Sam Wallace. Both were converted by evergreen scrum half Graham Wilson.

Biggar enjoyed spells of good play with the backs forcing Heriots into defensive chores but these were pretty well dealt with and the Heriots line held.

On the half hour mark and having made their way back downfield via some decent kicking, Heriots mounted another series of probing runs in the Biggar 22, their stand off Dominic Martin shifting the point of attack cleverly throughout and then with a neat grubber kick through the Biggar defence set up a nice try for Wallace to claim his second score. Wilson was off target with the conversion.

Biggar would have settled for this score at half time but unfortunately the city side were not done and they added another two tries before the break, the first from a lineout drive, scored by Lascelles and the next from lock Duncan Webb. Wilson converted both of these for the 33-0 half time tally.

Before the break Adrian Kotze had replaced Cameron Gray and at the break Gregor Lang came on for Finlay Crozier, this change seeing stand off Aird Jardine slot into fullback.

Biggar began the half really well and took the game at a much better pace and confidence, forcing Heriots into some desperate defence. This saw their flanker Martin Hughes shown a yellow by referee Craig Clark. The resultant penalty saw Biggar tap and go and, as had been the case against Stirling the previous week, it was hooker Andrew Orr who rounded off the movement with a try which was converted by Euan Bogle for 33-7.

Conor Lavery then roused his team and the Biggar support with a massive hit on Heriots centre Fraser Stainer. This ensured Biggar maintained their territorial advantage but again handling errors were their undoing, Heriots able to escape.

James Barr entered the fray on the wing for Gregor Forrest and shortly after this Craig Frame replaced Mark Bertram.

Biggar claimed their second try, this coming from some better work by the backs which saw Lavery and Andy Jardine combine well to create space for the hard running Andrew Lamb who used both pace and power well to cross for a try, this again converted by Bogle.

Will Kelly replaced Louis Henderson at prop, Biggar’s youngsters deserving of plaudits for the way they took the game to their much bigger and more experienced opponents.

The weather had deteriorated considerably at half time and the last quarter of the game was played in pretty miserable conditions as first a heavy drizzle then rain spoiled the occasion.

Biggar were forced to play off scraps as they could not guarantee quality possession and as handling became more difficult as conditions deteriorated further. There were opportunities, Biggar kicking clear on a number of occasions to force the Heriots side into deep defence but on each occasion the Premiership side managed to extricate themselves without conceding any further points.

Referee Clark blew for full time and it will be the Edinburgh side who now progress to the second round, their reward being a trip to take on Kelso in March.

Biggar now have a fortnight to prepare for their next league match, this an away match against Melrose. With some luck those carrying injuries will have time to recover while the performance of Saturday’s squad will surely create some interesting selectorial problems for the coaching team.

A. Orr, C. Gray, L. Henderson, C. Dunlop, J. McLean, M. Bertram, E. Stewart, R. Jackson, E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, G. Forrest, F. Crozier
Reps : A Kotze, W. Kelly, C. Frame, G. Lang, J. Barr

Biggar’s 2nd string were without a game on Saturday as Stew Mel were unable to field a XV after calling off their 1st XV match due toa shortage of front row. The offer to play a friendly match was not one the Biggar XV were keen on as this was an international weekend and so it was anothetr blank day for the boys.

Match Report 29th January 2023

Biggar 25 Stirling 10

Biggar’s second outing of 2023 saw Stirling County as visitors.

Prior to the match Biggar sat in 6th spot and Stirling in 10th, this a dangerous position for the County side given that 3 teams are to be relegated this season. With both Stewarts Melville and Aberdeen Grammar destined for the drop, Stirling really needed a win to take them clear of the two other teams currently in the 10th spot dogfight – GHK and Watsonians. It was expected therefore that Biggar would face a really stern challenge.

In actual fact Biggar stuttered to get into the game and while they recorded a good this was against a team which had little really to show that they should remain in National 1. An in-form Biggar side might have collected a 4 try bonus but as it was they had to be content with the win. It was an important one nonetheless as while Biggar remain in 6th spot, it takes the club further away from the aforemnetioned bottom of the table dogfight.

Biggar’s squad was largely that selected for last week’s postponed tussle at Gala. Fergus Watson returned at fullback for the recovering Finlay Crozier while up front the pack were on similar lines, Ewan Stewart starting at flank forward. Stirling fielded Liam Quarm at prop this player having moved to Stirling following several early season appearances for Biggar after a move south from Dundee.

Biggar began well and were quickly deep in the Dundee half and opening their account from a neat lineout ploy involving Callum Dunlop and the pack which ended with wing forward Mark Bertram crashing over. Andy Jardine was just wide with the conversion.

Frustratingly however, and as is often the case, the restart was not dealt with particularly well and Stirling opened their account via a Gregor Smith penalty.

Biggar were quickly back into attack but although Andy Lamb and Bertram were both close to getting further scores the Stirling defence held firm. Biggar then lost the services of winger Rowan Stewart following a crunching tackle, the youngster unlucky to sustain another head knock. Ross Bradford was the replacement.

In what was pretty much their first sortie into the Biggar half and therefore their first reall attack, Stirling then scored what was to be their only try, this really far too easily for the Biggar support as a massive gap opened up midfield. The try was converted by Smith for a 10-5 lead at the half hour mark.

Andy Jardine then knocked on in another Biggar attack but the next score was not far away, Biggar’s offensive defence making a nuisance of itself and putting real pressure on the Stirling play. A hack forward by Conor Lavery ended with Ewan Stewart crossing for a well deserved try. From a more diffcult angle skipper Jardine added the conversion for 12-10.

Referee McGlashan then had a very stern word with veteran Stirling stand off Johnny Hope, who clearly felt that there had been an error in the Biggar attack and Biggar’s play.

A Smith kick from a penalty to the corner saw an attacking Stirling lineout but the Biggar pack spolied the attack and the whistle blew for half time.

Kicking off towards the clubhouse the second half began with what appeared to be a rejuvenated Stirling XV but the end result was a somewhat scrappy passage of play as both sides endeavoured to get control of proceedings. A series of errors contributed to a somewhat stop/start game and while this meant for an exciting contest it was not because of the quality of the play!

Biggar added to their total with a straightforward Jardine penalty – 15-10 to Biggar.

Ewan Bogle replaced Davy Reive while Quarm who had had a tough afternoon facing young Biggar prop Louis Henderson was replaced in the Stirling ranks. Craig Borthwick picked up a nasty injury but happily while clearly in pain he was able to continue.

The next Biggar attack saw the referee penalise Stirling on two occasions and with no clear advantage accruing, Jardine was given two options of a penalty, the one closest to the posts the obvious one to select. His kick took Biggar ahead at 18-10, and one which, were things to stay the same, would deny the visitors a losing bonus.

Lamb and Watson then combined well from a neat blindside move, Lamb kicking ahead into space but the Stirling cover did just enough to prevent a Biggar score. To add to the frustration, a series of largely unforced errors saw Stirling breakout at pace to take play right back for a rare incursion into the Biggar half.

A long raking kick from Aird Jardine took play straight back into the Stirling half where fullback Dan Tomanek chose to kick clear rather than opt for an arguably much safer goal line drop out.

With the lineout won Biggar’s pack laid siege to the Stirling line but Biggar’s efforts came to nought as the visitors defence held firm. There seemed to be a lack of control in the Biggar play with indecision and some poor options leading to errors.

Prop Andrew Peacock then gave way to another of Biggar’s youngsters just out of Colts, Adrain Kotze. In what was his first senior match at this level the youngster can take great credit for his work in both the loose and tight scrum. His involvement wasn’t long enough to deny his fellow prop for the man of the match award however, this rightfully going to Louis Henderson after another big shift.

Further sustained attacks saw play concentrated in the Stirling half and 22 but again try though they did, Biggar could not better the Stirling defence which somehow held strong. A miss from a Jardine penalty then saw play continue to stutter with a series of reset scrums slowing things down. This didn’t help Biggar’s cause but it did much less for Stirling who really needed to take something from the contest.

As it was however, Biggar continued to batter away at the Stirling line. There were a number of penalties and with just 3 minutes remaining another penalty had coach Fleming roar to his charges to go for a scrum. Andrew Orr was unconvinced however and with a very effective pick and go the hooker hit the Stirling defence at pace, his dip and spin taking him over the line for a good score. Bogle took the conversion and this he struck well to take the score to 25-10.

Biggar were keen to get play restarted as they sensed the outside chance of a 4 try bonus. It was not to be however and the game was brought to a close.

A. Peacock, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Dunlop, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, E. Stewart, R. Jackson, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, R. Stewart, F. Watson.
Reps : A Kotze, C. Gray, C. Frame, E. Bogle R. Bradford.

Given that Biggar have not had much success this season at home, the fact that this was a scrappy win is still a bonus. Biggar have still got 4 home games to come (3 away) and it would do much for the confidence of the side if they could record wins in each of these home ties.

First up however is a home Scottish Cup tie this Saturday against Heriots. The Edinburgh side sneaked the top spot in National 1 last year to gain promotion to the Premiership. They have struggled a bit and are currently embroiled in a bottom of the table fight for survival with GHA and Musselburgh.

The Cup match will give both sides a measure of where they are although Biggar are going to be without a handful of their regular starters due to unavailablity and injury. As a side in trouble it may be of course that Heriots will wish to focus on league position and may rest some of their top XV. Their 2nds are going particularly well in the Reserve league however so regardless Biggar will have a tough challenge ahead. Please note that this match kicks off 1.30pm to allow for any potential extra time and to allow players and spectators the opportunity to take in the opening round off this years 6 Nations, the Calcutta Cup contest between Scotland and England at Twickenham.

Biggar 2nds were on the wrong end of a 47-7 defeat at the hands of Edin Accies. Biggar had a strong squad which included Jamie Orr, this the big man’s (very welcome) first outing this season.

Biggar took an early lead but found the bigger City side too strong, this ending up as a difficult afternoon for the Biggar lads.

Match Report: 15th January 2023

Biggar 16 Highland 7

Biggar had not played at home since November 12th but it was even longer since they enjoyed a home win. In fact that was in the first game of the league season, 19 weeks ago back in September! That is surely one of the longest winless intervals on record for Biggar and it could not have come at a better time, other results in the league table seeing no fewer than three sides vying to break away from the third bottom spot which, in this season of league reconstruction, means relegation. The remaining matches will see 5 of the sides sitting below Biggar travel to Hartree Mill while the away games are to three of the sides sitting in the 5 places above, starting with a trip to Gala this Saturday.

Biggar came out on top against Highland in what, given the conditions, was a much more entertaining match than one might have expected. Heavy rain during the week, sleet and snow forecast to coincide with kick off on Saturday combined with freezing temperatures suggested this might be a mudfest but both sides did their best to play rugby. With tries traded one a-piece, Biggar won by virtue of kicking 3 penalties, 2 from Finlay Crozier and one from Euan Bogle.

Biggar were forced into two major changes in the pack with both Donald Voas and Paul Davidson picking up injuries at Kelso alongside winger Rowan Stewart. Andrew Peacock demonstrated his value to the club by taking over at prop while youngster Louis Henderson, who gets better every week, joined him in the front row. Fergus Watson took over on the wing.

Highland play on an artifical pitch and while their away matches are inevitably on grass, Hartree Mill, in winter, is a different proposition and one the visitors clearly did not relish. Their Fijian contingent in particular looked, for the most part, pretty miserable and this certainly had an impact on Highland’s handling, several wayward passes in both halves doing much to hamper their attack and providing opportunties for Biggar although they home side was unable to capitalise directly on these errors.

Biggar opened with the wind on their backs, the rain having relented a little as kick off approached. Some solid running from the home side had Highland deep in defence and flanker Mark Bertram, in much more productive form, made excellent ground before finding a gap close to the Highland line to dot down for the opening score. With less than 10 minutes gone Crozier’s conversion gave Biggar a 7-0 lead.

A missed kick to touch by Crozier from a penalty gave Highland some reprieve but the conditions meant that the game was played for the most part in Highland’s half. Able to use the wind to kick for position Biggar maintained territory while Highland were forced to pick and go with only hard yards gained from this strength sapping method. For this very reason the fact that they regularly switched prop forwards threatened to pay dividends, although their expectation that Biggar would tire as the game wore on were unfounded. Biggar’s offensive defence stood strong with all putting in some major hits to knock their opponents back, this giving a lift to the squad and the support.

Penalties were exchanged as the game progressed but few were in kicking range. A yellow card to Biggar’s Ross Jackson meant that Biggar found the going much tougher than they would have wished but in actual fact it was the home side who added to their total with Crozier’s first penalty, this coming when they were down to 14 men.

With Jackson restored half time approached though the home side had to defend really well as the Highland pack looked to capitalise through a couple of lineout drives close to the Biggar line. Fortunately these were disrupted via some pretty stoic defence and so the sides trooped off to the shelter of the dressing rooms with Biggar 10-0 up. The simple question was whether that 10 point lead would be enough to grind out a win.

Ewan Stewart, who has spent a number of months out following injury replaced Craig Frame at half time. Biggar opened well against the elements with Craig Borthwick, Andrew Orr and Jackson all carrying well, the latter’s grubber kick and chase a real crowd pleaser! Highland found themselves back in their 22 and in defence, Bertram getting really close in one run before a wayward pass to Watson spoiled a good attacking movement in the Highland 22.

With the wind on their backs it was not long however, before Highland found their way downfield and into the Biggar 22. Lineout drives are so hard to stop and with the visiting pack clearly outweighing Biggar’s it was no real surprise that the Highland pack trundled up to the Biggar line, scrum half Hugo Crush on hand to open the visitors account. Stand off Scott Fraser, who had a somewhat mixed day with the ball in hand and some inaccurate kicking, notched the conversion for 10-7.

Largely unfazed by this try Biggar continued to pressure the visitors with some uncomprimising defence, Highland finding it just as difficult to gain yards as it had been in the first half. Andrew Lamb was unlucky not to be able to control the ball as he collected a ricochet with Highland in control but it was opportunities like that which took the sting from the Highland attack.

Add to that some neat and confident running out of defence from the Biggar threequarters and it was Highland who were forced into defence. It is frustrating that Biggar did not add to their try tally, several chances spurned as the wingers appeared to be in space.

An attacking play in the Highland 22 was foiled but advantage was being played and so Crozier was given the chance to add to Biggar’s lead, this extended to 13-7. There was still just a score in the game however with 15 minutes still to go. A penalty is always a good option as attacking opportunites in the conditions were few, but the restart gave Highland a chance to get back into the Biggar half which they immediately took as the restart was poorly dealt with by Biggar.

Euan Bogle replaced Davy Reive at scrum half. Highland coughed up another attack with some poor handling and Biggar were able to return in attack, Lamb making more good ground with some powerful running which asked some big questions of the Highland defence. Ross Bradford replaced Crozier and after another penalty advantage Bogle was brought in for the resultant penalty kick. This was on target and took Biggar ahead at 16-7 with just 5 minutes remaining. The same player then pulled off a magnificent cover tackle to virtually save the day. Highland’s Callum Carson had snapped up a loose pass but Bogle made good ground to the flanker who, though visibly slowing, looked to be heading for a try.

A crucial intervention then and one which largely ended Highland’s chances. There was time for one somewhat comical event, this when the match official was sucked into the play, his whistle halting play but as he was at the bottom of the ruck, few could see from where it had come! Restored, Biggar took advantge of the scrum to take play back into the Highland half where the match ended.

A significant result on so many levels. Highland had won the clash at Inverness in October by a large margin, and have recently been running in points for fun. Since returning to National 1 in 2019, Highland have yet to defeat Biggar at Hartree Mill and it was felt that they were on the brink of making a wee bit of history on Saturday. The conditions played a part there is no doubt but Biggar had to face the same conditions and it was they who came out on top.

A bigger challenge lies in wait this coming Saturday when Biggar travel to take on Gala. The Border side have been out of sorts of late, their away defeat at the hands of GHK at the weekend another surprise but they are a different animal at home and they will be very keen to return to winning ways. Kick off is 3pm.

A. Peacock, A. Orr, L. Henderson, C. Dunlop, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, C. Frame, R. Jackson, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, F. Watson, F. Crozier.
Reps : E. Stewart, C. Gray, L. Coetze, E. Bogle R. Bradford.

Biggar 2nd XV, who have endured a long spell of inactivity were back in action at the weekend but as a result of the injuries at 1st XV level, they travelled with just 13 players. Biggar ahd own the match at Hartree Mill ealrier in the season but were immediately uop aaginst things as they were short-handed. Not to be outdone the took the first honours before the Border side took control, winning by 49-19. Good to see Conor Lang make a confident senior debut.

Match Report: 8th January 2023

Biggar RFC lost a stalwart following the death last week after illness of past President Doug Ward. A late convert to rugby, Doug joined the club committee in 2010 and led the club through the clubhouse extension project as President in 2011/13.

His growing interest in the game and an acute business brain led him to joining the SRU Council on which he served for 4 years. Aside from his role as a council member, his position helped successive Biggar presidents as they made their way to Murrayfield as members of the league forums, Doug’s advice and guidance appreciated by all.

Doug was a very popular club member, regularly holding court in the members lounge after game when he was the epitome of a great host, making many friends from all visiting clubs.

A real gentleman, Doug will be sorely missed at Hartree Mill and the club’s sympathy goes to his wife Jackie and the family.

Kelso 29 Biggar 19

Games between these two sides have often been hugely entertaining affairs with the result in doubt until the dying minutes. This latest clash didn’t disappoint with each side winning a half and the home side sneaking the win by virtue of their second half try and late penalty.

Deprived of action over the past month both sides looked rusty and will doubtless improve on this showing, Kelso to maintain their promotion challenge while Biggar will look to advance from their current mid-table position.

Playing ‘downhill’ in the first half Biggar had an early opportunity to attack following a penalty conceded by Kelso with Rowan Stewart just blocked from getting his pass to skipper Andy Jardine. The same player was then involved in kick and chase as an attempted grubber kick from Kelso 10 Murray Hastie was blocked by Conor Lavery. Kelso scrum half Andy Tait just managed to scramble the ball to touch.

As had been the case when the sides met at Hartree Mill however, Biggar struggled to win lineout ball and this hampered their play. A lineout error gave Kelso the opportunity to pressure Biggar and the Border sides dynamic play from their pack made things difficult as they carried hard and well, testing Biggar’s defence to the maximum.

A penalty gave Kelso good field position and Bruce McNeill was able to round off a well controlled driven lineout to score the first points, Dwain Patterson on hand to add the conversion, this after 13 minutes.

Biggar were able to exert their own pressure from the restart but despite working their way deep into the Kelso 22, the visitors were unable to convert the pressure into points and an error in attack saw Kelso clear the immediate danger. Worse was to follow as a kick and chase saw Stewart unable to get control of the ball, Kelso fullback Miki Stingl on hand to cross for try number two, Patteron’s conversion attempt rebounding off the upright.

Biggar had some decent attacking plays but again these foundered as errors coughed up possession, Kelso replying with a good handling movement on the half hour mark which almost created a third score, the try-scorer just stepping into touch before the line.

Their third try was not far away however, and Tait claimed this score, Patterson on target with the conversion for 19-0. While there was time for the restart and a few panicky moments for Biggar with Finlay Crozier under pressure before he tidied things up with a decent clearance, referee Gordon Galashan’s whistle brought the half to an end.

Not for the first time at Kelso, Biggar’s squad were read the riot act by the coaching staff. The side have made comebacks from this size of deficit previously but again, whatever was said seeemd to do the trick (again) as Biggar began the second half as a very different side. With just 4 minutes gone, Biggar were on the scoreboard, this coming somewhat ironically given the first half troubles from a Biggar lineout! Play was swept quickly from right to left with Stewart taking the scoring pass before squeezing over at the corner. Despite the wide angle Euan Bogle added the conversion for 19-7.

A lift indeed for the visitors but an error on the restart led to a Kelso penalty which threatened to take the shine off the score. Happily from a Biggar point of view Patterson missed the kick and Biggar escaped. The next score ws not long in coming however and it was back to normal as a lineout error gifted kelso a scrum in the Biggar half. The Kelso pack hit up several tiems and while the Biggar defence initally held firm space was eventually created, McNeill rounding off the move for his second try. Patterson added the conversion for 26-7.

Biggar brought veteran Davy Reive into the action, replacing Bogle. The change had barely been made before another sweeping backs movement ended with Stewart diving over the line in almost identical fashion for his second score. The passing from the Biggar backs had Kelso struggling and it is such a pity that more opportunities weren’t used to take advantage of this aspect of the Biggar play. With Bogle off the field, the kicking duties fell to Crozier who calmly slotted a great kick from virtually the same spot as Bogle had just minutes before. 26-14 and it was definitely ‘game on’!

The restart saw Biggar quickly back in attack. Donald Voas gave way to Louis Henderson while Ross Bradford replaced Stewart. Kelso continued to make changes as their pack looked to weary.

Andrew Orr was all the more prominent in carrying ball into the Kelso line and this created space and helped advance play into the Kelso 22. Another backs move saw the burly Andrew Lamb make more good ground through the Kelso defence. Ross Jackson was held up in a drive for the line while Andy Jardine was next to almost break through. The resultant scrum provided good ball and Reive took a pass as he broke right, his run taking him around the Kelso defence for a try. Crozier was off target but with just 10 minutes remaining, Biggar were within range of the losing bonus, surely the very least their second half effort deserved.

How frustrating then, that another largely unforced error gave away a penalty which Kelso opted to kick, Patterson adding the 3 points to take the score to 29-19. Kelso then had just a handful of minutes left to run the game down although Biggar remained positive and continued to look for that elusive try which would have brought them a losing bonus as well as a 4 try bonus.

Sadly this was not to be and Biggar were left to rue a stuttering first half performance. A 19-0 nil first half ‘defeat’ was avenged with a 19-10 second half ‘win’. The post match chat was all about starting the game at ‘game pace’ and not, as it appears, building slowly into the game.

Biggar host highland this coming Saturday. A hefty 36-16 defeat back in October should be motivation enough for the squad, although their home form ahs been sadly lacking this season.

It’s a New Year if not a new season however, so all to play for.

D. Voas, A. Orr, P. Davidson, C. Dunlop, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, R. Jackson, J. MCLean, E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, A. Lamb, C. Lavery, Andy Jardine, R. Stewart, F. Crozier.
Reps L. Henderson, A. Peacock, C. Frame, D. Reive, R. Bradford.

There was disappointment for both the 2nd and Ladies XV’s as their games suffered. Selkirk were unable to field a 2nd XV to travel to biggar while the Ldies match was postpoend due to a water-logged pitch. The 2nds ‘won’ a 28-0 result while the Ladies game will be re-arranged, date as yet unknown.

Match report 27th November

Aberdeen Grammar 12 Biggar 50. 

Biggar completed their first round of this seasons league programme with what was, eventually, a comprehensive win over Aberdeen Grammar. In doing so they recorded only their second 4 try bonus point but significantly a 4th away win from 5 starts which is the exact opposite from their 1 win from 6 starts home record.
A 50 point scoreline is good at any time but it would have to be acknowledged that the Grammar are currently experiencing a tough time with both their 1st and 2nd XV’s languishing at the foot of their respective leagues, and especially worrying for the club given that they were part of the Premiership last season.
It is some 7 years since Biggar last played at Rubislaw with Conor Lavery, who started at stand off for Biggar, was in Grammar ranks the last time the teams met. It is almost as long since Craig McDonald was involved at this level. He covered back row off the bench alongside Alan Warnock, Louis Henderson, Aird Jardine and Jack Connor.
In the pack Craig Borthwick returned for the unavailable Callum Dunlop with Andrew Lamb preferred to Ross Bradford on the wing.
Kicking off with the breeze on their backs and on a pitch which last week had been so badly flooded as to render play impossible, Biggar started well 
and a penalty after just 1 minute from Euan Bogle was followed by a try after 10 minutes from Borthwick who burrowed over to round off a decent line drive by the pack.
Biggar were dominate in most areas and the hosts were struggling to hold onto possession and were only rarely able to make inroads into the Biggar half, any promising moves broken up by some stoic Biggar defence or by handling errors.

Borthwick nabbed a short lineout and Jordan McLean made good yards by exploiting a poorly defended blind side. His pass was taken by Bertram who crashed over which was again converted by Bogle. Twenty minutes gone and 17-0 up suggested a big score.

This was not to be however as Grammar benefited from some Biggar errors, a kick straight to touch taking play back into the Biggar half and then a marginal forward pass spoiling another attacking move. It was clear though that the Grammar pack was creaking as they were taken to task at scrum time and when pressed into defensive duties, as the carries from the Biggar side with all involved but with McLean, Borthwick, Orr and Bertram to the fore began to take their toll. In addition possession kicked deep into the Biggar half was well dealt with by the back three of Fergus Watson, Andrew Lamb and Finlay Crozier who is growing with confidence with each game.

While Biggar might have expected to have added to their tally Grammar got a lifeline just on half time whan in whatw as pretty much theitr first attack into the Biggar half saw winger Steven Rutledge burst through some uncharateristic Biggar tackling to cross close to the posts for a try converted by Sam Knudson to make the score more respectable at 17-7.

Biggar nearly conceded a second try at the start of the second half when an attack deep in the Grammar half ended with a dropped pass. Grammar captian Tom Aplin got a boot to the ball and hacked downfield. From a Biggar perspective at least his second connection with the breeze helping, took the ball out of play which resulted in a scrum back on half way. A real let off of the visitors!

An attack by Biggar might have led to more but a pass from Andy Jardine to his supporting centre Rowan Stewart just failed to go to hand. Jardine made amends almost immediately however as he made a mazy run from some 30 metres out to beat the bulk of the Grammar defence for a tryy which was again converted by Bogle for 24-7.

Grammar lost their skipper at this point and this deprived the hosts of their main attacking weapon. Having said that the Biggar score should have done much to settle the Biggar efforts but undeterred by this score Grammar took advantage of a kick error to launch an attack on the blindside which led to a second try for winger Robertson.

The try wasd too wode for the conversion by Knudson.

Andrew Peacock was replaced by another veteran, the evergreen Alan Warnock as Biggar begain introducing their bench. A simple handling movement by the Biggar backs was then rounded off by winger Watson who sliced through the Grammar cover like the proverbial knife through butter. Bogle added the extras.

Aird Jardine came on for Conor Lavery and Jack Connor for Crozier, this leading to no fewer than 3 positional changes in the backs. Biggar addedd to their tally as McLean again took advantage of scrum dominance to laucnh another attack. The ball was moved wide to Lamb who provided the cutting edge for a try but which was not converted.

Grammar stuck to their task but came up against an uncompromising Biggar defence which prevented much of their forward momentum. Another blind side move by Biggar came to nought but another try was scored just minutes later as Bertram took a cleverly weighted pass from Connor. Bolge was back on target with this score. Bertram gave way to McDonald at this point.

A no arms tackle on Donald Voas saw Grammar’s lock Aaron Robertson dispatched to the sidelines for the remainder of the match. Now a man to the good there was more space and the unlikely figure of hooker Andrew Orr appeared on the wing to score Biggar’s final trya nd one when converted took the Biggar tally to 50.

Stewart was deprived of a try when another pass was adjudged to have been forward, the last few minutes going to Grammar who managed a third try depsite being a man short, Rutledge the scorer.

A comprehensive victory but one which did not generate the satisfaction it perhaps should, the squad still frustrated that they had been unable to gain the consistency they are seeking. This coming Saturday Biggar face another trip, this time to Dundee where they will face a side they only just managed to overcome at Hartree Mill at the season’s start. The Biggar outfit have certainly gained in strength since then but they will face a Dundee side seeking to improve on their 7th place with a big win enough for them to leapfrog Biggar into 6th.There is everything to play for still!

D. Voas, A. OrrP. DavidsonA. Peacock, C. Borthwick,M. Bertram, R. Jackson, J. McLeanE. Bogle, C. LaveryF. WatsonAndy Jardine, R. StewartA. Lamb, F. Crozier.
L. HendersonC. McDonald, A. Warnock,J. Connor, Aird Jardine, .

Match Report: 20th November 2022

GHK 24 Biggar 32

With relegation facing the bottom three teams this season, both teams new that this was a ‘must win’ as they were sitting perilously close to becoming embroiled in a basement battle. GHK, newcomers to this division had started the season poorly and had this game taken place when it was originally scheduled (the first match was postpoend due to the death of Queen Elizabeth) Biggar would have had a much easier task but the Glasgow side have since gained confidence and can count Highland as one of the sides they have been beaten.

There were few survivors from the last time these two teams met – GHK had 2, Biggar 4 – but that match had seen Biggar triumph by the proverbial barrowload at 61-7. There was little chance that Biggar would repeat that feat, with a win the priority.

Paul Davidson made a return to top team action for the first time this season, Louis Henderson dropping to the bench and which allowed Donald Voas to retunr to his preferredloosehead. Craig Borthwick was unavailable for this match and his place was taken by Callum Dunlop who had made a big impact when he played against Watsonians last month. There was a debut at stand off for Euan Laing, the youngster having made several choice appearances for the 2nd XV with Aird Jardine dropping to the bench where he was joined by Andrew Lamb with Fergus Watson operating on the wing.

The game was barely 7 minutes old when Biggar, in forcing the pace with a quick lineout, paid a heavy price as GHK used their backs to good effect, winger Rayan Trache crossing for a try converted by Grant Anderson.

Biggar made a positive restart with Laing featuring in a breakout with skipper Andy Jardine and Rowan Stewart linking well to take play into the GHK 22. A penalty was converted by Euan Bogle for Biggar’s first points.

There was a deal of cagey play as the sides tried to gain control, but with several errors seeing their efforts thwarted. Biggar, as has been the case this season, had much the better of the tight scrum and with Dunlop and Jordan McLean working well they achieved parity and more at lineout time.

Anderson kicked a penalty after 26 minutes and then saw Biggar draw level just after the half hour mark. A Laing kick saw Mark Bertram gather to begin the attack. He exchanged passes with Andrew Orr, this culminating in the latter making a determined run to the line for a great try and one converted by Bogle.

The restart saw GHK benefit from a penalty and in attack a neat grubber kick had Biggar scrambling back in defence. The ball eluded all hands but referee Calum Lazenby judged that in his attempt to gain control of the ball Biggar winger Ross Bradford had tackled the GHK chaser off the ball. His decision was to award GHK a penalty try and issue a yellow card to Bradford. A sucker punch and a real sickener for Biggar as Bradford, and the Biggar support, did not believe he had made any contact whatsoever.

Undeterred, Biggar were quick to make amends, the restart taking play into the GHK half where another long range break saw Dunlop make great yards to within 5m of the GHK line where he was eventually caught.

Biggar were able to maintain their territorial position however but while they had enjoyed scrum advantage prior to this point, they then lost the next from a crucial attacking position and half time was called, 17-10 to GHK.

Biggar were still down to 14 men for the first 5 minutes of the second half and just after Bradford returned they were forced into a change after McLean sustained a nasty cut to the lip, his replacement the ever-green Andrew Peacock.

Biggar were pressed into defensive duties and credit is due to their hard work that they repelled the first series of GHK attacks. Shortly after this Aird Jardine came on for Laing who had done pretty well on his debut despite being subjected to several hefty dunts!

Another series of errors, Biggar kicking the ball straight out to concede hard won yards was then followed by a piece of piracy by the GHK pack after it looked as though Biggar had taken good lineout ball in defence. Bertram then managed a similar feat to initiate an attack from deep within the Biggar half, this coming to grief as GHK won a penalty after Biggar were adjudged to have ‘crossed’ in their attempts to break out.

Thomas Young replaced Craig Frame at flanker and then Biggar emptied their bench with Lamb and Henderson replacing Bradford and Davidson respectively.

A GHK penalty saw the home team take full advantage from their lineout and rolling maul, No8 Hugh Parker credited with the score and Anderson again on target to convert the try for a 24-10 lead to GHK. With the game entering the last quarter things looked ominous for the visitors as their hosts had their tails up, looking fitter, sharper and quicker to react to broken play situations.

In what had become a bit of a rarity in the second half, Biggar launched an attack from their half, Aird Jardine’s pass was cleverly weighted to give Lamb the space he required to burst through the GHK defence. Watson took Lamb’s pass and the teenager romped home for Biggar’s second try, this converted by Bogle to keep Biggar in the hunt for (at minimum) a losing bonus point at 24-17.

GHK were still in control and they did their best to slow things down, more so when they lost flanker Callum Moglia to a yellow card with some 8 minutes remaining.

Having conceded a penalty Biggar were forced back into defensive duties but as GHK took play into the Biggar 22 an opportune interception by Watson saw the winger set off for the GHK line with the home side largely trailing in his wake. With a potential draw in his sights, Bogle pulled his conversion wide but with just 5 minutes remaining Biggar were right back into contention at 24-22.

A knock on by GHK gave Biggar a scrum on the restart and another neat combination of passes featuring Lamb and Finlay Crozier took play to the left wing. Here with a 2 on 1, Crozier freed that man Watson (again) who romped home for a hugely important hat-trick. Bogle was on target with the conversion. Somewhat ironically a pre-match chat between Stewart and Watson had seen the centre inform the young winger of his (Stewart’s) 4 try scoring spree in the last meeting between GHK and Biggar back in 2019! Watson with a hat-trick was just one score short of repeating this feat.

Biggar’s lead was then increased after a second Bogle penalty took Biggar clear at 32-14. In a matter of minutes Biggar had converted a 24-10 loss into a 32-24 lead and one which denied GHK a losing bonus.

Somewhat rattled, a clumsy jump and challenge by GHK’s Mark Preston took Dunlop out of the air on the restart and saw the GHK man issued with a yellow. To add injury to insult, some back chat saw play advanced further upfield but the game was brought to an end as Biggar kicked to touch.

This was not a classic by any manner of means and there is still much room for improvement. GHK have struggled to get up to speed but Biggar have not had their problems to seek either and this was a very important win. The squad must aim to repeat the performance over the next two weeks as they have another two away games. The first on Saturday against Aberdeen Grammar is the last match of the first half of the season while the following week, Dundee is the destination and marks the first of the return fixtures.

Current league positions show that Biggar will face the top sides – save for Highland – away and home to those sides currently lying in the bottom half of ther table. This would normally be a ‘banker’ but Biggar’s home form, of just one win from 5 starts, has not been that of old and so nothing can be guaranteed.

D. Voas, A. OrrP. DavidsonJ. McLean, C. Dunlop, C. FrameM. Bertram, R. Jackson, E. Bogle, E. LaingR. BradfordAndy Jardine, R. Stewart,F. WatsonF. Crozier.
L. HendersonA. Peacock, T. Young, Aird JardineA. Lamb.

Biggar 28 Ayr 41

Biggar lost their fourth home match in a row, another of those very disappointing statistics which this season has flung up, while the score was yet another, the 41-28 reversal Biggar’s biggest losing margin in League rugby for some 5 seasons.

Prior to the match there was a feeling that as Ayr had played most of the sides towards the bottom of the table and few from the top, that their position of second top might be a tad inflated. Despite the score, this impression remains and there was little between the sides save for a much more clinical approach from the Ayrshire side. Biggar’s other Achilles heal reared itself again, and that is of an underperforming lineout. This has been an issue this season and one that is proving difficult to remedy. It is so difficult to build momentum when possession is not guaranteed from this set piece when the sides are separated by the 20m gap and when the advantage should be with the side throwing in.

While Biggar’s back division was that which took the field against Watsons a fortnight ago, the pack and bench was much changed. Mark Bertram and Ross Jackson returned at 7 and 8 while the departure of Liam Quarm to Stirling County prior to a move to that club’s Super 6 side saw Guy Kelly return to top team action after an absence of some 4 years. Cameron Gray was the only survivor on the bench from the Watsons match with Andrew Peacock, Davie Reive and Fergus Watson filling the spaces.

Thankfully the extreme winds which did so much to dry the pitches before Saturday’s games but which would have spoiled them as a spectacle, had relented by match day and in fact conditions were nigh ideal for play.

An early Biggar penalty from Euan Bogle put the home side 3-0 up but this lead was quickly erased after Ayr’s first real foray into Biggar territory. Despite some decent defensive work by Biggar, some good hits from Andrew Orr and Jordan McLean, a line drive by Ayr’s Seth Rae, though seemingly stopped saw the prop spin out of the tackle to crash over for the game’s first try, this converted by centre Jamie Bova.

Unsurprisingly both sides kicked for position, Biggar’s Finlay Crozier, ably supported by Ross Bradford and ex-winger Mark Bertram dealing with Ayr’s kicks pretty well, but frustratingly a couple of returns by Biggar were just too long and ceded possession and territory straight back to Ayr. This of course put Biggar’s defence to the test but happily this worked, Ayr halted and then forced to concede a penalty which the home side used to relieve pressure.

On the 20 minute mark however an Ayr penalty gave Bova the opportunity to extend his sides lead which he took for 10-3.

The restart saw Ayr win another penalty but Biggar were able to regain possession from the Ayr line and play was taken right into the Ayr 22. With some momentum in attack Rowan Stewart burst through on a neat angle before slipping the ball to the supporting Orr who was able to cross the Ayr line for a try which Bogle converted to tie the scores at 10-10. This was a very positive statement, the try coming from what was Biggar’s first real foray into the Ayr 22.

Just after the restart, Biggar seemed to err and a mix up led to a knock on and advantage to Ayr. Having elected to run and then kick, this advantage was ended, just at the same time as Stewart made an interception which took the centre through the Ayr defence and to the line for an opportunist score, again converted by Bogle to give Biggar a 17-10 lead.

With less than 5 minutes to go this would have been an encouraging score going into the break. Unfortunately however, this was not to be, a suspiciously squint throw from Ayr, following an unforced error and penalty, leading to a driving maul right up to the Biggar line. Ayr scrum half Ross McCorkingdale was credited with the try which Bova again converted to tie the scores at 17-17.

There was still time for a last Biggar attack, McLean, Andy Jardine and Stewart all threatening before Crozier was set free for the line, but the move fizzled out some 5m out.

A free kick gave Ayr the chance to end the half, referee Todd blowing for the break.

Most Biggar supporters were relatively content with this showing, Biggar matching their opponents in all facets and having the upperhand in the tight scrum, though as described previously, not on the touchline.

Kicking off towards the clubhouse, Bogle took full advantage of an early penalty to put Biggar head at 20-17, this exactly how the script was written.

Howsomever, that was where the script came unstuck, Biggar then allowing Ayr to come right back into the game. An error at the ruck base when Bogle was dispossessed and then a (harsh?) yellow card shown to Biggar skipper Andy Jardine for a ‘deliberate’ knock on saw Biggar reduced to 14 men. Less than a minute later and Ayr regained the lead, another driven maul seeing hooker Stuart Collier on hand to dot down. Bova adding the conversion for 24-20.

A huge touchfinder from Crozier saw Biggar regain the intiative in attack but a neat steel on Biggar’s attack prevented a try but Bogle was able to add a penalty to take Biggar to within a point at 24-23.

There had been an undercurrent of aggravation throughout the match and as the match approached the last quarter both teams suffered yellow cards, Biggar’s McLean leaving the pitch to take Biggar to 13 but of course Ayr were reduced to 14, so still enjoying a one match advantage.

Awarded a penalty Ayr used the ball well to again put pressure on the Biggar defence. Their first thrust was thwarted by a forward pass but there had been a second penalty and this McCorkindale took quickly to maintain the pressure. A series of pick and go’s ended with No 8 Pete McCallum crashing over for what would be a decisive and bonus point-winning try. Bova converted for 31-23.

Biggar rang the changes at this point, Andrew Lamb giving way to Fergus Watson, and Louis Henderson for Guy Kelly. Lamb had barely gathered himself before he was back in action, this after Aird Jardine was replaced, his brother Andrew having returned to the fray and taken over at stand off.

Shortly after this Andrew Peacock replaced Mark Bertram and then Davy Reive came on for Bogle. A Bova penalty took Ayr further ahead at 34-23. Another penalty gave Ayr the chance to go for a catch and drive and this they took with McCorkindale scoring and Bova converting for their 41 point total.

An error on the restart gave Ayr good field position but Biggar managed to regain possession and after a few phases Crozier was sent scurrying for the line and a 3rd try for Biggar.

With barely 5 minutes remaining Cameron Gray who had replaced Orr became the third Biggar player to be shown yellow after he retaliated to a punch.

The last few minutes were fairly frantic as Biggar sought to get possession for one final assault to perhaps claim a losing bonus. This was not to be however and the Ayr pack took control to run the clock down and end the match.

There is no doubting the disappointment felt by the squad at this latest reversal. As has been pointed out however, any change is down to the players themselves and of course the coaching team. The enforced changes which arose over the summer still haunt the squad and the response has not as yet been sufficient. In 8th spot Biggar are too close to the teams at the bottom of the league and they need another handful of wins to ensure they do not get into what will become a dog-eat-dog relegation battle.

On Saturday Biggar travel to Glasgow to take on recently promoted GHK. This game was scheduled for earlier in the season but this round of matches were all postponed follwing the untimely death of Queen Elizabeth. The Glasgow club have struggled a little but they are just one league point behind Biggar so there is no doubting the importance of the result to both teams. The fixture list always throws up a pair of matches played away from home and coincidentally Biggar’s pair follow on from the match against GHK so the club now embark on a 3 match away run with a visit to Aberdeen Grammar being followed by a trip to Dundee. A tough series of matches which will further test Biggar’s resilience.

D. Voas, A. OrrL. Henderson, C. Borthwick, J. McLean, C. FrameM. Bertram, R. Jackson, E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, R. BradfordAndy Jardine, R. Stewart,A. LambF. Crozier.
C. Gray, G. KellyA. Peacock, D. Reive, F. Watson.

Match Report: 29th October 2022

Watsonians 5 Biggar 21

With a total of 7 changes to the Biggar squad from last week to this, even some regular touchline supporters were struggling to work out who was who! Injury deprived the services of Andrew Peacock, Conor Lavery and Archie Damer while Ross Jackson, Mark Bertram and Davy Reive were unavailable. In addition there were positional switches, debuts for teenage fullback Finlay Crozier and replacement centre Jack Connor while Calum Dunlop joined evergreen Alan Warnock in the pack. All of which led to a level of unfamiliarity for some of the onfield combinations but very happily however Biggar came out on top, the side demonstrating a much greater energy and urgency than had been the case in previous weeks and taking the game to their Edinburgh hosts from the outset.

Referee George Pounder, travelling from Glenalmond was caught in traffic and so the 2pm kick off was delayed until nearer 2.20 with another hurdle for the two National 1 sides being the presence of Watsons Super 6 side who were using the Myreside pitch for their Sunday match preparations and which prevented early use of the pitch for the National teams warm up. Another example, following that of a fortnight ago at Stirling where the priority side is definitely Super 6 with National 1 coming a very much second best.

Both sides had earmarked this game as a ‘must win’ as with 3 relegation places this season, neither side wished to fall further down the table. As it is Biggar, while not completely clear from those 3 bottom spots remain in a much healthier 6th spot in comparison to Watsons who now occupy that third bottom place.

Biggar had the better of their hosts in the opening exchanges and in truth throughout the match, Watsons rarely managing to gain a foothold in the Biggar half and finding the Biggar defence a tough nut to crack. Up front Biggar had the upper hand in the tight scrum and with Warnock and Dunlop had two other lineout options to that offered by Jordan McLean. Although this aspect was not perfect, partly due as previously explained to the different combinations in the side, there was a much more regular stream of better possession which gave newbie scrum half Euan Bogle more opportunities to give his backs a run. The Watsons backs had plenty of running but on two occasions failed to take advantage of 2 overlaps, preferring the chip ahead to the pass which undoubtedly would surely have led to a try. In addition their fullback Ben Heber had one of those days he will wish to forget, no fewer than 3 kicks from Biggar seeing the lad knock on to cede territory and possession. In contrast, debutant Crozier had a much more accomplished performance, high balls being plucked confidently and run back with the benefit of some neat footwork.

Biggar had good fortune to withstand an early Watsons attack, referee Pounder adjudging that a neat grubber kick to the Biggar line had been touched down over the line rather than carried over. His decision to give Biggar a relieving touchline drop out rather than a 5m scrum not endearing him to the Watson support.

Having worked their way up to the Watsons 22 Biggar opted for a line drive and made excellent yards before being held up and giving the Edinburgh side the chance to kick clear. Terrirory was still in Biggar’s favour however and a concerted attack featuring some good handling from the backs mixed with some quality forward drives eventually spurned ball to the backs, winger Andrew Lamb hitting a great angle to split the Watsons defence and giving him the chance to touch down under the posts – although his flambouyant dive prior to touching down will surely merit some criticism from the ‘oldies’! Bogle added the conversion for 7-0.

Biggar continued to enjoy the better possession and had some promising moves again, but as has been the case recently the side was unable to press these attacks home. Previous seasons have ended with Biggar striking regularly to keep the scoreboard ticking over. On this occasion Biggar had to wait for a penalty on the half hour mark – there were most unusually only 10 in the match – with Bogle kicking successfully for 10-0. The same player notched a second penalty after 35 minutes, the last passages of play seeing Watsons stung into action and mounting their first really concerted effort on the Biggar line which held firm, the half brought to its conclusion after a neat bit of piracy on the ground by hooker Orr.

Lliam Quarm replaced Henderson at the break and Biggar maintained their positive performance throughout. The forwards efforts in the loose in both attack and defence exemplified by flanker Craig Frame who carried tirelessly all match long and who added some sound tackles to what was a very sound performance. He was ably backed by Dunlop and Warnock with the other members of the pack also all worthy of mention, so well done to all including two not alreay mentioned, Messers Voas and Borthwick.

Unsurprisingly Watsons came out well at the start of the second half but again they found the Biggar defence up to the mark. Likewise although showing well in attack Biggar failed to take advantage of an early passge of play which looked to have their hosts on the ropes. Good work by the pack and promising attacks by the backs went unrewarded and while Biggar had a decent lead, there was always the chance that a score would lift the city sides effort.

Another good run by Lamb and then a similar effort from Crozier saw these players eventually bundled into touch short of the line but as Biggar were still on the attack, Biggar retained the upperhand. The second try was a really simple effort in the end and came on the 25 minute mark of the second half. Having engineered a good attacking position and with their put in at the lineout a short throw to the unmarked Borthwick set up the line drive. No 8 McLean took control and was driven over for a try which, although not converted from the wide angle, put Biggar further ahead at 18-0.

Jack Connor replaced Ross Bradford who had made several telling contributions, his mazy runs out of defence and in attack something the side has undoubtedly missed this season. Able to gain possession in the Biggar half, Watsons ran ball left and would surely have scored save for a crunching tackle from Rowan Stewart who had moved to the wing after Connor’s introduction at centre. Taking man and ball the ball was thrown forward and out of play.

Minutes later, and in a very similar attacking move, Watsons swept play left again and this time, despite the efforts of both Andy Jardine and Stewart, which appeared to have held the ball up, the ball squirted free from the tackle and was touched down for a Watsons try. The conversion was pulled wide and so at 18-5 Biggar had a handful of minutes to survive. In fact they added another penalty via Bogle this after a big defensive hit by Voas. In the end a very valuable 4 points, and perhaps more importantly, from a much improved performance.

The large number of changes at 1st XV level left the club in no position to field a 2nd XV which is a great frustration but indicative of the relatively small player pool available. With a free weekend this coming weekend, those with injuries will hopefully get a chance to recover and things should be back to normal for the 12th November when Ayr and Heriots are respective visitors at 1st and 2nd XV level.

D. Voas, A. OrrL. Henderson, A. WarnockC. Dunlop, C. Borthwick, C. FrameJ. McLean, E. Bogle, Aird Jardine, R. BradfordAndy Jardine, R. Stewart, A. LambF. Crozier.
C. Gray, L. Quarm, W. KellyJ. ConnorJ. Barr

Match Report: 22nd October 2022

Biggar 15 Melrose 20

Biggar returned to Hartree Mill but could only garner a losing bonus point as they succumbed to Melrose. This was the 3rd home defeat in as many games and all to Border opponents and another frustrating performance from the side. There is no doubting the collective effort but on far too many occasions unforced errors again proved their undoing with the last 10 minutes the only time when, in throwing caution to the wind they played any consistent attacking rugby. Last week that had proved to be just enough time but on this occasion while they crept back to earn the losing bonus there was no time for another final surge which might have seen them sneak another win.

A work injury to Andrew Orr gave Cameron Gray his first 1st XV start and gave 2nd XV hooker Tom Roper the chance he deserved after a great performance last week to come off the bench in the dying munites for his first experience of top team senior rugby. Elsewhere Conor Lavery returned at centre, Andrew Lamb moving to the wing and Euan Bogle to the bench.

Thankfully the very wet morning conditions had relented come kick off with the game played in reasonable weather although still a tad slippy on foot.

Melrose got the dream start when a clearance from Lavery was charged down and gathered for a score after just a couple of minutes. Fullback David Colvine added the conversion.

Minutes later and biggar skipper Andy jardine opened his side’s account with a penalty for 7-3.

Using the breeze well Melrose continued to pin Biggar back in their 22 and on 10 minutes an offisde gave Colvine the chance to add to the Melrose tally which he did confidently for 10-3.

Biggar were once again well on top in the set scrum and the linoue at this point was working pretty well but errors elsewhere undid much of this good work with a handling error off good lineout ball and the a forced pass which went forward in a good attacking movement allowing Melrose off the hook.

Defensively Biggar were doing OK, with two huge hits from winger Rowan Stewart drawing gasps from the crowd. Another attacking move from Biggar floundered after another forward pass and then a huge Biggar scrum saw Melrose driven back at a great rate of knots yet still they managed to scramble the ball clear, scrum half Bruce Colvine putting in a neat grubber kick to turn the Biggar defence, this then compounded with a squint lineout throw.

Melrose kicked whenever they had the chance and this had the Biggar back three scampering back, the Melrose chase often putting the Biggar lads under pressure and unable to kick for anything other than touch.

Given their superiority in the scrum a penalty against Biggar was a surprise but Melrose took full advantage, Colvine kicking for 13-3 with some 25 minute shaving elapsed.

With some 15 minutes remaining Biggar were still very much in the hunt. However, another handful of errors, these from a couple of knock-ons when passes were forced and penalties conceded again allowed Melrose to escape. Any type of Biggar score at that time would have changed the game but as it was Melrose trooped with a 10 point lead.

Turning round after the break to play towards the clubhouse the Biggar support would expect Biggar to have the best of the second period and in fact their team opened really well. In similar circumstances to those which gave Melrose their opening try an attempted clearance saw Stewart charge the ball down, the retreating Colvine able to just knock the ball out of play as the Biggar chase prepared to swoop. A 5m scrum should have led to the visitors being put under real pressure, save for the fact that the replacement issue as described meant that scrums were now uncontested. This gives the team in possession the opportunity to clear their lines without any pressure whatsoever and this Melrose did. As mentioned there will be further discussion about this situation, Melrose clearly benefitting from their interpetation of the rules.

A clearance kick upfield, a Biggar error and then another handling error as Biggar attempted to run the ball out of their half, gave Melrose an attacking opportunity and in a matter of minutes Biggar found themselves back behind their line awaiting the conversion after scrum half Colvine rounded off a series of pick and go’s from his pack to cross to the right of the posts. His brother added the conversion and Biggar were now 17-3 behind. Just not the strat to the second half Biggar had planned.

Not to be outdone, Biggar were quick to reply. A tidy lineout and ballw as spread to the right hand side where Stewart on the wrond wing was able to make good yards before off-loading ‘out the back’ to his supporting winger Andrew Lamb. The big man still had some work to do but he bundled his way through the remaining cover to touch down for a try, but one just to far out for the conversion. 17-8 to Melrose.

The Border side then opted to go for a quick restart taking the Bigar side by surprise and only some desperate defence after a tapped penalty stopped the Melrose attack. A Reive chip and great sliding take by Stewart ended with a Melrose penalty and then Biggar had Reive to thank for two excellent cover tackles, the 2nd some 50m away from the first and demonstrating what the old fella can still do! His reward was to be replaced by Archie Damer, this the second replacement as James Barr had just given way to Euan Bogle. This was quickly followed as Louis Henderson replaced Liam Quarm, and Craig Frame for Andrew Peacock, the latter having been felled by a collision with the Melrose hooker which earned the Borderer a 10 minute suspension. In reality this was but a small penalty when Biggar lost Peacock for the rest of the game and most probably another 2 weeks at least.

A Lavery grubber kick had the Melrose defence back-pedalling to clear the danger just in time. Unfortunately a potential scoring chance from Biggar’s lineout catch and drive went a-begging as the ball was lost with the line just metres away. Lavery was the next to leave the field, the centre having injured his shoulder which will most likely keep him out of the side for a few weeks. His replacement was Barr who returned to the fray.

In the dying minutes Roper replaced Gray and in a last thrust for the line Mark Bertram crashed over for a try converted by Bogle for 20-15, this the last act of the game as referee Reid called time.

This was clearly another one that got away. Biggar have lost two games by less than 5 points but they have also won 2 by less than 5 points so it is clear that the side isn’t clicking as it should. The players have the answer andonloy hard work will get them through this current bad patch.

Watsonians are next up and given the Edinburgh side is in the bottom half of the table Biggar really need a win to bolster confidence. Please note that this match is a 2pm kick off due to the Scotland/Austrlai international which kicks off at 5.30pm.

D. Voas, C. GrayL. Quarm, A. Peacock, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, R. Jackson, J. McLean, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, R. Stewart, Andy Jardine, C. Lavery, A. Lamb, J. Barr
L. Henderson, T. Roper, C. Frame, A. Damer, E. Bogle.

Match Report: 16th October 2022

Stirling County 17 Biggar 19

In recent weeks Biggar have been denied potential wins as their opponents have finished strongly to take the points. It was a relief then that on Saturday, in a game which probably should have been out of reach given that the Stirling stand off missed a total of 11 points from the boot, Biggar came good in the last 20 minutes to score 2 tries and to steal the win. Both tries came from Rowan Stewart who has been out of action for 3 weeks following a wrist injury and so this was a timely and opportune return to action for the winger.

In addition to Stewart’s contribution it was pleasing to see solid performances from 2 of Biggar’s youngsters as replacements. It was a senior league debut for hooker Cameron Gray and Louis Henderson turned in another solid performance. And in the 2nds Tom Roper, who has also just taken the step into senior rugby, was awarded the man-of-the-match award for his efforts in his sides very pleasing 32-17 win over Melrose.

Back to Brideghaugh and Stirling County. Bouyed by their performance against Gala last week, Biggar were keen to get back to winning ways after a run of three defeats, something that the side has not suffered for several seasons. The pack has been pretty settled this season but the backs have seen several changes and these were in evidence again as neither Conor Lavery or Fergus Watson were available, their places amongst a wee reshuffle being the aforementioned Rowan Stewart and James Barr.

The Bridgehaugh pitch is seldom dry in the winter months and with rain falling throughout it was a slippy surface. This may have gone some way to explaining why there were so many knock-ons, balls lost in contact and unforced errors, although it would have to be said that far too many of these seemed to come from Biggar and not Stirling. Perhaps they are used to the conditions!

Biggar were in the ascendancy in the forward set piece exchanges, the pack dominating at scrum time – there was no difference when the two youngsters entered the fray – and enjoying another good day on the touchline although here too there were probably more errors than the side would have wished. Plenty to work on at training.

The early exchanges were tentative although Biggar had the better of territory and possession but little to show for it as errors disrupted proceedings. A good series of plays led to Biggar setting up a good position close to the Stirling line where the pack sought to burst the Stirling defence. The home side stood up well however, hooker Andrew Orr held up over the line. Having managed to extricate themselves from defence Stirling managed to take play upfield following a couple of penalties. A line break looked to be an almost certain score but flanker Mark Bertram made a telling last ditch tackle to halt that attack. The Stirling No 6 seemed to have been knocked out at this point but in a bizarre decision given the current concern over head injuries, he was allowed to continue, only to decide just minutes later that he was not fit to play on.

After play resumed a couple of Biggar errors saw Stirling gifted possession which they used well to provide a chance for the left winger who scorched round the Biggar cover for a try. The conversion was missed, this, as previously alluded the first of 5 to miss the target. Having had the lions share of possession Biggar were now 5-0 down following just one Stirling attack and some 20 minutes of play.

Biggar restarted well, taking play back downfield towards the Stirling 22. Jordan McLean, Orr, Donald Voas, Liam Quarm and Craig Borthwick all made telling charges to the line but all were held up, the best effort again seeing Strling halt play when the ball was over the line, this resulting in another goal line drop out. With the breeze on the kickers back this is a real advantage, but when the breeze is in the kickers face it is a challenge to get play away from the danger area. In this instance Biggar took the restart well to get back on the attack, Stewart and Bertam combining well to present ball, skipper Andy Jardine making ground towards the Stirling line.

Having made good yards he passed the ball inside to the evergreen Davy Reive who managed to outstrip the remaining Stirling defence for Biggar’s first score, this under the posts and converted by Euan Bogle for 7-5.

The restart gave Stirling the opportunity to return to the attack and this they did with several timely interventions by Biggar’s defence all that prevented them from adding to their tally. In addition their try-scoring winger was unlucky to step into touch with just a few metres between himself and the Biggar line.

It was not all Stirling however and Aird Jardine raised Biggar hopes when he made a cracking interception from the Stirling 10 metre line. The stand off didn’t quite have the gas to make the line however and there was a good deal of cover which cut out offloads and which ended this attack.

Shortly after this the same player required attention to a head cut as he stemmed a Stirling attack in defence. Following this Biggar conceded a couple of penalties the second of which, with half time beckoning, prompted Stirling to have a go at the posts. This was missed and represented a bit of a let off for Biggar as a catch and drive from the lineout might have been more profitable.

And so half time came with a 7-5 score and with all to play for.

Biggar had the worst possible start as almost from the kick off they were reduced to 14 after Rowan Stewart was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball forward to stem a Stirling move. His defence that it was in the process of making a tackle had no impact on the match official and he retired to the bench for the requisite 10 minutes.

Worse was to follow as a defensive error in midfield saw Stirling’s centre scorch through a massive gap for a try under the posts which was kicked for 12-7. As if things couldn’t get any worse a lapse in concentration after a penalty award gave Stirling the perfect opporuntity which they took with a tapped penalty to run at the Biggar defence. Taken by surprise the try was scored and Stirling now had a 17-7 lead and this with just 5 minutes of the second period gone. It looked as though it was to be a long afternoon!

Stewart returned to the fray and getting back to 15 was an advantage, more so when Stirling lost the

services of their No8 and then hooker through injury, this disrupting their play. Davy Reive and Euan Bogle were then replaced by Archie Damer and Ross Bradford respectively, the latter making his first league appearance this season following injury. Biggar had their moments through Andrew Orr and Liam Quarm both of whom made decent yards but there was no consistency in these attacks and they were either mopped up by the Stirling defence or came unstuck as Biggar were dispossessed when ball was lost in contact or as passes were dropped. As frustrating as it was, things seemed to be going against Biggar, any loose ball seeming to bounce away from the Biggar support but into the hands of the Stirling players when they made similar errors.

Biggar did eventually benefit however, albeit in an unusual fashion. Stirling opted to kick a penalty after 16 minutes of the second half and as this was wide of the target this was another major let off for the visitors.

Let off or not Biggar still struggled to get a foothold in the game and they found themselves deep in defence, running the ball out being a strength-sapping exercise and any kicks to touch providing only limited relief.

As the game entered its last quarter Biggar introduced Craig Frame and Louis Henderson to the action, Andrew Peacock and Liam Quarm coming off after decent shifts. Further errors in defence ensured Biggar were kept in their own half Stirling content to mop up the attacks as they were so far from the Stirling line as to not threaten at all. With just less that 10 minutes to go Cameron Gray made his debut when he replaced Andrew Orr.

In a rare Biggar attack, something at last clicked and with ball swept to the right hand side passes went to hand from Bertram to Jardine and then to Bradford. Winger Stewart was the final recipient and he made short work of splitting the Stirling cover to score almost under the posts. With regular kicker Bogle off, the kicking duties fell to skipper Andy Jardine who thankfully had no problems in adding the conversion to secure, at the least a possible losing bonus, and a very slim chance of a win.

A Gray breenge set up the next attacking position, a grubber kick from Jardine turning the Stirling defence. Bradford ensured there was no escape for the Stirling fullback and another attacking position was gained. A penalty, Biggar opting for the scrum when, as had been the case in the first half for Stirling a kick to touch and catch and drive might have been the more obvious option.

Biggar’s scrum held firm and with possession won and ball fed wide again, Stewart duly took the scoring pass from Jardine to crash over for a try which took the score to 19-17. Jardine’s conversion rebounded off the upright.

The Biggar support had to endure a restart and a nervy few moments before, at the next lineout, ball won by Biggar was walked into touch by Craig Borthwick, this heralding the final whistle and suitable celebrations from the Biggar squad and support.

This was the very epitome of a ‘get out of jail card’ if there ever was such a thing outside the famous board game. Stirling will rue their missed chances which, had they converted even half of them, would have seen them out of site. But the same was said last week after the Gala match and so things eventually even themselves out.

Biggar now prepare for the visit of Melrose on Saturday. The Border side are sitting above Biggar in the league table but have yet to play any of the top sides. They should never be underestimated however and there is certainly much room for improvement from the Biggar squad.

D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Quarm, A. Peacock, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, R. Jackson, J. McLean, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, E. Bogle, Andy Jardine, A. Lamb, R. Stewart, J. Barr
L. Henderson, C. GrayC. Frame, A. Damer, R. Bradford

Match Report: 9th October 2022

Biggar 17 Gala 23

So near yet so far!

Biggar deserved more from this performance and, as was the case with the Scotland Women on Sunday they will rue missed opportunities, particularly from the boot where Euan Bogle had an unusual off-day.

That aside the squad can take credit for the way they played and will take great heart from their performance against the league leaders. The consolation of one losing bonus point is small reward for their efforts.

Davy Reive came back into the side with Conor Lavery, these two instrumental in last weeks 2nd XV victory and there is no doubt their experience proved vital on Saturday. Importantly the pack did their bit taking the game to Gala and coming out on top in set scrum and parity at least if not ahead at lineout time, this a massive improvement after the disappointments of the previous two weeks when both Kelso and Highland dominated the touchline.

Gala took the early initiative and with a defensive lapse which was every bit as damaging as missed kicks, a midfield burst from the Biggar 22 led to a try from Angus Dun who, somewhat ironically, leaves this week to support girlfriend Emma Orr in New Zealand! Young stand off Russell Kerr, son of ex-Melrose stalwart Andrew, kicked the conversion.

Down 7-0 worse was to come as Biggar struggled to break free from their own half, the breeze, though not strong, making kicking tricky. A Kerr penalty on 12 minutes after Aird Jardine was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball down in his attempt to gather possession during another Gala foray ended with the Biggar man being shown a yellow card. In actual fact this was almost a let off, another Gala try at that time might have proved crucial. As it was though 10-0 down Biggar were still in the game and their efforts for that 10 minute spell when down to 14 men was massive. Reive pulled off an excellent last ditch tackle on Andrew Mitchell who looked clear – he probably should have passed – while a poor Gala lineout also helped Biggar’s cause.

Further Gala attacks saw great work from among others Jordan Mclean, Craig Borthwick, Andrew Orr and Andy Jardine.

Managing to extricate themselves from their half a good break from Ross Jackson and some good phase play promised more but a couple of errors prevented Biggar from staying in control. A knock on and then another kick straight into touch proved frustrating for the side and support but crucially the heads did not go down. Another impressive last ditch tackle, this time from young fullback Fergus Watson prevented a score but a great intervention from Reive earned Biggar a penalty to clear the danger.

This preceded a dynamic burst on the wing by Andrew Lamb which took play beyond the Gala defence. Liam Quarm and Andrew Peacock advanced play and eventually after a series of Biggar forward hits Gala conceded a penalty which Bogle kicked for Biggar’s first points in what in effect after 30 minutes was their first real incursion onto Gala territory. 10-3 to Gala

Another couple of errors allowed Gala back into the match after the restart and a speculative kick ahead from the Gala fullback saw ball spilled and a good attacking position for the visitors which they used to good effect to score their second try, this from skipper Liam Scott. Ker added the conversion for 17-3.

All the hard yards undone!

A take from Biggar fullback Watson after a Gala kick looked promising but the kick to touch which followed was too long which meant the ground made was quickly lost. A lineout error from Gala gave Biggar possession however and a Lavery burst preceded some good work by Quarm, Jackson and Orr which led to a Biggar penalty. In a prearranged move and with half time beckoning a tap penalty was the choice of attack and a few phases later Borthwick ploughed his way over the line for a try which Bogle converted to reduce the Gala lead to 17-10.

Given the territory and possession enjoyed by Gala, this was not too bad a half time score and Biggar would turn to play with the breeze on their backs after the break.

Within 2 minutes Biggar had their first opportunity for points albeit a long range effort from half way. Though very well struck Bogle could only watch as his kick rebounded off the left upright and while this caused some panic in the Gala defence they were able to clear the immediate danger. It did still give Biggar a good field position however and some good hands saw Lamb eventually pushed into touch with the line almost within reach. The pack had another go at the Gala line but found the Border side’s defence up to the mark though Biggar did get a penalty as Gala centre McKavanagh intervened – illegally – his reward being a yellow card.

Further pressure from the Biggar scrum kept Gala in defence and another penalty was awarded. McLean took control to tap and go, the big man forcing himself over before the Gala defence could react. Bogle added the conversion to tie the scores.

With half an hour to go it was anyone’s match!

Biggar seemed to gain in confidence and began to play as Biggar can, hands and support play making inroads and clearly upsetting the Gala XV who fell off tackles. Voas and Bertram (the big man staking a claim for Biggar’s man-of-the-match with some telling contributions) made breakthroughs but Gala held firm.

In what was a rare Gala attack a loose pass found Andrew Jardine up in a flash and he hacked the ball downfield. His last contact was just too long however and took the ball over the dead ball line.

Gala were now being penalised on a fairly regular basis, this allowing Biggar to retain possession and territory and in the next attack it was flanker Taylor Wilson who earned a yellow as he was caught offside with Biggar in a strong attacking position.

The pack went through the phases and put some real pressure on the Gala defence which held although a Biggar knock on at an attempted pick up gave the visitors an opportunity to clear the danger.

Minutes later another Biggar penalty gave Bogle a chance to give his side the lead but he pulled it a fraction left.

Shortly after that miss a fluffed Gala pass saw Watson kick for position but frustratingly this was a fraction long and led to Biggar being put right back under pressure.

With barely 10 minutes remaining Gala came right back into the game and for the first time in the half Biggar found themselves deep in defence. It was the home sides turn to concede penalties and while the Biggar line held pretty well, a penalty was conceded. Gala’s Ker had been replaced by Craig Dods who is as a reliable kicker as you would wish to have and he slotted the kick for a 20-17 lead.

The restart was kicked long and gave Gala a scrum on half way from where they launched another last attacking phase, there being a certain inevitability about the outcome. And yes they gained another penalty and again Dods made no mistake. There was time for the restart but a couple of plays later and Gala kicked the ball to touch to end the contest.
So Biggar had just a losing bonus to show for the match. As the coaching team emphasised it has been the wee things that have punished Biggar this season and this makes the whole thing all the more frustrating. Out of the 5 games played 2 have been won but those against Kelso and Gala have been there for the winning. Given the lack of big men in the forwards and the loss of so many players over the summer combined with a handful of injuries to significant senior players a mid table position is ‘OK’ but only just! Biggar and better required.

D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Quarm, A. Peacock, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, R. Jackson, J. McLean, D. Reive, Aird Jardine, E. Bogle, Andy Jardine, C. Lavery, A. Lamb, F. Watson.
Reps L. Henderson, C. Cochrane, C. Frame, H. Lang, J. Barr.

Match Report: 25th September 2022

Biggar 13 Kelso 31

The final score flattered Kelso a little, the end of the game panning out in similar fashion to when the clubs met at Poynder Park last year, Biggar ending that match in style to claim a bonus point win much as Kelso did this time round.

Having been so close for so long it was a hard result to take, though Biggar can only point to their own errors, decision making at crucial times and perhaps more damagingly at the lineout when they struggled to gain any consistency.

Biggar made several changes in personnel for this match. These were all in the backs where James Barr, Euan Bogle and Conor Lavery lost out to youngsters Fergus Watson, Michael Girdler and Andrew Lamb respectively.

The first score came after 15 minutes, the opening minutes seeing the sides test each other as they both had decent passages of play to turn and probe the defences. Early doors it looked as though Biggar would enjoy parity at elast in the tight scrum but in fact as the day wore on Biggar were solid on their own ball and often able to disrupt the Kelso put in. As describer however, this was not the case on the touchline where, having won penalties were unable to press home the attack as ball was lost or guddled.

A speculative kick downfield from Kelso forced a touchline drop out this one of the new truial rulings for this eason and one which puts the defence under consdierable pressure. Having swept play back towards the Biggar line from the restart, a driven line and several close phases ended with Kelso No8 Bruce McNeil (who played at Biggar for a couple of seasons) touching down. Dwain Patterson added the conversion for 7-0.

Undeterred by this setback, Biggar came back into the match with some good hands from Watson, Girdler and Andy Jardine looking promising while another long passage of play saw pressure switched from right to left and seeing Biggar on the attack throughout. Kelso’s defence was fairly solid however and although good yards were made on each occasion by those in possession – Rowan Stewart, Donald Voas, Craig Borthwick, Andrew Orr, Liam Quarm all involved – they could not engineer a breakthrough.

Kelso lost hooker Euan Knox after he took a head knock and this again allowed Biggar to put the Kelso 8 under further pressure. Kelso held their own although they conceded several penalties but insufficient for referee to justify a yellow card. Another sustained passage of play involving the pack in pick and drives saw Kelso under the cosh but a loose pass ended that particular barrage of attacks.

Biggar were able to retain field position however and on 35 minutes a forward surge gave Quarm the opportunity to crash over for a try which Andy Jardine converted to put the sides level.

Aird Jardine, via a charged down kick from Kelso preceded a solid hit from Lamb which gave Biggar an attacking opportunity as half time approached. This was soon followed by a kick and chase from Mark Bertram which took play back into Kelso territory all looked so promising. Further yards were gained by scrum half Archie Damer whose footwork took him through the Kelso defence and closer to the Kelso line. Voas in support advanced play but in a rare occasion it was Biggar who were penalised and half time brought relief to the visitors. A Biggar try at that stage might have changed the shape of the match but as it was score were level at 7-7.

Playing towards the clubhouse Biggar were quick to return to the Kelso half but a couple of lineout errors gave Kelso some respite. Biggar did earn a penalty after 7 minutes which Andy Jardine converted for 10-7 and barely 5 minutes later the same player added another to put Biggar 13-7 ahead.

Just when a stable period of play was required Biggar committed a couple of unforced errors which allowed Kelso to put pressure back on to the home XV. Ironically, after several touchline malfunctions the next score, to Kelso, actually stemmed from a lineout Biggar had won! A midfield turnover gave Kelso possession and having engineered a lineout in the Biggar 22 the Kelso pack drove for the score which Patterson converted from the touchline to put his side ahead at 14-13.

A loose kick out of defence Kelso shortly after the restart gave possession to Watson who was able to burst through the Kelso support, his 40m weaving run taking him deep into the Kelso half. His option to chip ahead was gathered by Kelso however and while the visitors were still under pressure they did manage to clear their lines.

Another error on the touchline saw Kelso mount another attack and some decent handling saw play swept upfield towards the Biggar line and a try following a penalty advantage saw Kelso increase their lead to 21-13. This put some daylight between the sides – it was now a 2 score lead – and with the game entering the last quarter, Biggar needed a swift reply. Reive replaced Damer while Lavery replaced Girdler, Lamb moving to the wing as Lavery partnered Andy Jardine in the centre. Andrew Peacock then came on for Bertram who had made another positive contribution.

A decent passage of play again promised more but again Kelso stood strong as a line drive, a solid thrust from Lamb and then a series of pick and go’s put kelso under the cosh. Reive was so close to scoring but the ball was dislodged as he picked to touch down. An advantage had been called however and a Biggar scrum promised much until Kelso’s scrum half Andy Tait nudged the ball from Reive as the Biggar man prepared to put the ball into the scrum. Unsighted by the referee as he was on the other side of the scrum Kelso were able to clear their lines.

In what was fast becoming a fairly frantic stage of the game Biggar attacked again with a penalty award taken quickly to maintain pressure on the retreating Kelso defence. While Andrew Orr and Ross Jackson combined to make good ground, possession was lost and the danger for Kelso cleared.

Now on the attack a penalty in midfield was slotted by Patterson for 24-13 which with less than 5 minutes remaining put the result beyond doubt. There was just time to give Thomas Young and Louis Henderson a run but it was little more than that as time was fast running out.

Frustratingly, the restart kick off was taken by an eager Kelso and they attacked with confidence that caught Biggar off guard, Keith McNeill romping over for a try which put the icing on the cake for the Border side. Pattersons’ kick ended the match.

There was no escaping the disappointment in the Biggar ranks, more so becauswhile they had contributed so much, they had ceded possession at crucial times so easily. Some are ‘easy’ fixes but the squad will have to be better come Saturday when they make the long trip north to Inverness to take on Highland, then again the following week when Gala come calling. There are no straightforward matches this season! It’s a long trip for supporters but one which would be very much appreciated by the team if it could be made.


F. WatsonM. Girdler, Andrew Jardine, A. Lamb, R. Stewart, Aird Jardine, A. Damer, D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Quarm, M. Thompson, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, J. Maclaine, R. Jackson. Reps: A Peacock, L. Henderson, T. Young, C. Lavery, D. Reive

Match Report: 18th September 2022

Stewarts Melville 12 Biggar 15

Biggar returned from Edinburgh with their unbeaten record intact……..just! This was another nail biter with the winning score the only one of the second half and coming after just 10 minutes of that period which left a half hour for the Biggar support to endure, ever-mindful that a home score would have surely have seen Biggar defeated.

That Stew Mel didn’t get that score was down to some stoic defence, one particular effort from back row man Mark Bertram an absolute gem and which stopped a certain score.

Last weekend’s postponement gave Biggar’s injury list an extra spell for recovery but in fact it made little difference, that list lengthened with call offs from Charles Cochrane while Liam Quarm was unavailable. With little pre-season in the bag Louis Henderson stepped up to the plate and made a huge contribution at prop, helping Biggar take the honours in the tight scrum while he carried well in open play. Newcomer Michael Thompson was another who made a very positive contribution, while the bulk and experience of another returnee, Craig Borthwick, cannot be underestimated. The big man thrives on contact and the example he sets, alongside his leadership and commitment can only lift spirits.

A minutes silence preceded events, the Edinburgh side then bursting into the game and desperate to make good their return to National 1 after gaining promotion last season. Their first outing, against GHK who were also promoted last season ending with a win.

Biggar enjoyed the benefit offered by the breeze but the opening exchanges were fairly frantic, neither side able to gain any good possession and play interrupted at fairly regular intervals by refree Davy Wilson’s whistle. Biggar seemed to suffer most at this point, penalties awarded against them for a whole range of offences. The first real attack Biggar put together came after 15 minutes when lineout offered a good attacking position. Retaining possession in attack, but Stew Mel were able to weather the storm.

minute later however and Biggar opened the scoring from a penalty in front of the posts kicked by Euan Bogle.

Play was still somewhat frantic, possession won and then lost with ease. This certainly made for an entertaining spectacle for the neutral supporter but was frustrating for both camps. It was the home sdie who scored the first try, this as they engineered a good attacking position with Biggar’s 22. A lineout take followed by a well controlled maul led to a number of close range drives from the pack resulted in a try converted by fullback Adam Fraser. Stew Mel 7-Biggar 3.

Both sides took good lineout ball during this half and it was from a lineout drive that Biggar should have regained the lead but a rushed pass was spilled allowing the home side some respite. This they used well to take play back into the Biggar half. Trying to play too much rugby in their own half Biggar continued to be focussed on defence, Borthwick urging his side for more at each attack. In a scramble for possession it looked as though Biggar would escape but a ruck in Biggar’s 22, after thefailed to clear their lines ended with a decent backs move from Stew Mel, winger James Ferguson rounding the Biggar defence for a score to put his side ahead at 12-3. The conversion was missed but with les than 10 minutes remaining in the half Biggar badly needed a score (of any kind) to keep in touch.

Thankfully they managed this, a penalty from Bogle taking Biggar deep into the Stew Mel 22. A solid lineout and Biggar’s pack drove their hosts back to allow Andrew Orr the chance to score. The conversion was just wide but virtually on half time, Biggar were back in the hunt, at 12-8 down.

A couple of unforced errors saw Biggar under the cosh a bit at the start of the second half, Stew Mel almost stretching their lead as their attack was only eventually halted by Biggar’s scramble defence. Another attack from the home team was repelled, and play taken back in to the Stew Mel half, a great turnover by Graham – who had replaced Thompson at the break – aiding the cause no end.

A Bogle penalty kicked to touch gave Biggar a great attacking opportunity and having won possession a neat initial break by Aird Jardine created a space for Bertram, the former winger using his foot work and pace to burst past and through the home defence for what would prove to be a match winning try. Bogle added the 2 points for 15-12.

Another error on the restart gave Stew Mel good field position and they looked to be in at the corner but that man Bertram was on hand to execute a near perfect tackle on the touchline to deny the score.

The absence of Thompson reduced Biggar’s lineout options and for the bulk of the half Biggar struggled to maintain a hold on possession, their attacks breaking down as the opportunity to attack was lost or at best delayed. Borthwick was replaced by Andrew Peacock and it was shortly after this that an intersting debate ensued on the touchline between referee Wilson and the Stew Mel bench. Having replaced one of their number due to a head knock Biggar rightly questioend the decision to allow the injured player back on. After a brief conversation Stew Mel were denied the change and play continued. Worse was to follow as a very obvious offside ended with their wing forward being shown a yellow card. With 70 minutes gone this meant the home side would be one man short for the rest of the match.

The remainder of the match was a testing encounter as both sides searched for the next score. As it was neither side could cross the white wash or earn a penalty kick attempt. With the clock at 80 minutes Aird Jardine took the chance to kick the ball to touch and end the game.

Two wins from two starts can’t be bettered, aside that is from 2 bonus point wins! Gala have those two bonus points and so they top the table. Kelso are next on 9 points alongside Highland. Biggar are in 4th. How Biggar will progress this season will largely be decided over the next 3 weeks as they have Kelso (H), Highland(A) and Gala (H) to play! These will be 3 massive matches and a big support at Hartree Mill would do so much to help the team!

After being unable to field a side against Heriots in their league opener Biggar 2nds were raruin gto go on Saturday as they weer due to host Boruoughmuir. Sadly the edinburgh club couldn’t raise a XV and so there was yet another empty Saturday for the squad. Fingers crossed there are enough boides to play Currie this weekend.


J. Barr, E. Bogle, Andrew Jardine, C. Lavery, R. Stewart, Aird Jardine, A. Damer, D. Voas, A. Orr, L. Henderson, M. Thompson, C. Borthwick, M. Bertram, J. Maclaine, R. Jackson. Reps: A Peacock, W. Kelly, G. Graham, A. Lamb, E. Laing.

Match Report: 11th September 2022

The very quick decision taken by the SRU on Thursday evening following Queen Elizabeths very sad passing led to all rugby being postponed/cancelled last weekend.

The decisions as to whether friendly matches and Mini rugby were played was left to individual clubs and Biggar took the decision to cancel their involvement, Sunday’s Mini Festival being the biggest loser but with several visiting clubs electing to cancel this was, in the end, not a diffcult one to make.

It was however a big disappointment for all the Mini players and too for Mini Convenor and Festival organiser Trina Malone and her team of volunteers who had done so much to organise the event.

Things should be back to normal this coming weekend with a full programme of matches.

MATCH REPORT 4th September 2022

Biggar 18 Dundee Rugby 17

For the second year in a row Biggar welcomed Dundee Rugby to Hartree Mill for the National 1 League opener. And for the second year the Tayside team left defeated, although on this occasion Biggar’s win was ground out and in doubt until 2 minutes before time when Rowan Stewart crashed over for a try which gave winger Euan Bogle the chance he needed (and took) to put Biggar in the lead and to take win at 18-17. Talk about a nail-biting finish!

Last season Dundee improved immeasurably between that opening encounter and the return match at Mayfield and that improvement continued for this latest meeting although Biggar have also lost a bit of the power they enjoyed last season.

Liam Quarm and Jordan MacLaine made their league debuts for Biggar on Saturday as did Archie Damer at 9 with a performance which ultimately earned him the man of the match award. The backs were missing a few ‘shoe-ins’ but that only creates competition as those who played did little wrong. The pack performed well enough but a couple of injuries may deprive them of some of their number for this weeks Glasgow trip when Biggar take on last years National 2 Champs GHK.

On a pleasantly warm afternoon and in front of a decent crowd Biggar might have opened the scoring from an early passage of play in the Dundee 22 but a rushed attack led to the ball being stripped with the line only yards away.

The subsequent clearance from Dundee and then two swift penalties gave the visitors an opening which their fullback Fraser McKay took to put his side 3-0 up. The early exchanges were pretty even as both sides craved for some consistency in attack, errors leading to loss of possession and territory. Bogle kicked a penalty after 22 minutes and then put Biggar aheajust after the half hour mark with a second attempt.

A neat passage of play from Dundee saw Conor Lavery and Ewan Stewart combine well to thwart the Dundee attack, this ending with a pass, adjudged forward from Bogle to Rowan Stewart which would have been the opening try. In the end this was merely delayed, a penalty to touch and then a series of pick and go’s ending with MacLaine crashing over for a score which was greeted with the usual Hartree Mill cheer. Bogle was just wide with the conversion but Biggar were ahead.

Another couple of errors prevented any further scoring as referee gordon Reid brought the half to a close.

Thomas Young replaced Craig Frame at flank forward at half timeFrame having picked up a shoulder injury, this the only Biggar change.

The wind was from the east which meant that while Biggar were playing towards the clubhouse they did not have the customary advantage from the breeze. Dundee opened in attack but the Biggar defence held strong, and in attack a neat break by Lavery might have promised more but for the fact that possession was lost in contact.

It was the visitors who scored first again, this from a driven maul with scrum half Grant Harley on hand to touch the ball down over the line. The conversion from McKay made the score 11-10 to Biggar.

A couple of minutes later and Dundee recovered their leadA neat passage of attacking play stemming from a Biggar error and with a few slipped tackles, ended with Dundee wing forward Ian Reid cross for a try converted again by McKay. 17-11

Up to this point Dundee had enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory but thereafter it was Biggar who seemed to up their game, play largely confined to the Dundee half as Biggar poured on the pressure. Frsutratingly however, a number of errors prevented the home side from adding to their tally. Andrew Orr replaced Andrew Peacock, the big lock having made his usual very positive contribution. Minutes later and following another foray into the Dundee 22 featuring a neat break from Aird Jardine and followd up by Lavery, Ewan Stewart picked up a shoulder injury and was forced off, Charles Cochrane making return to top team league action after an absence of several years.

A handling error, and errors in both lineout and scrum allowed Dundee to ease the pressure. The forward exchanges will doubtless test the patience of both sets of coaches this week, neither side able to dominate for any length of time, each putting their opponents under pressure but then losing control just as easily and as damagingly.

Converted winger Mark Bertram then pulled up with a calf injury, his replacement being James Barr who had started at fullback. Alistair Sinclair took over on the wing and he almost got the all important try when a penalty advantage saw Lavery put in a neat cross kick to Sinclair who was eventually brought down.

Another attacking play from Biggar saw ball lost within feet of the Dundee line and it seemed that Dundee might hold on for the win. Where there is time left however, there is hope. Iwhat could well have been their last chance a passage of play deep in the Dundee 22 ended with a neat inside pass from Aird Jardine to Stewart who cut an acute angle and which took the winger through the Dundee defence and a dive over for the all important score. Unfortunately play was halted after Dundee flanker Reid dived all over the try-scorer, this creating a potentially nasty situation, calmed down by referee Reid who showed the Dundee man a yellow.

Bogle, meanwhile, prepared for the conversion which he struck cleanly through the uprights for 18-17.

The restart would normally have given the kicking side (Dundee) the advantage of putting the receiving side (Biggar) under pressure but the yellow card was also a penalty and so instead of receiving the kick, Biggar were able to prod the ball back into the Dundee half where, seconds later, the ball was scrambled into touch, this marking the end of the match and seeing Biggar take the narrowest of victories. They all count however and so Biggar took the win.

There is much to work on and much to improve. GHK will be desperate to open their home campaign with a win after Saturday’s defeat by Stewarts Melville.


J. Barr, E. Bogle, Andrew Jardine, C. Lavery, R. Stewart, Aird Jardine, A. Damer, D. Voas, E. Stewart, L. Quarm, A Peacock, J. Maclaine, M. Bertram, C. Frame, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Orr, C. Cochrane, T. Young, A. Sinclair, C. McCallum.

Very unfortunately there were insufficient players available for Biggar to field a 2nd XV in their opener against Heriots. There is therefore a call out to all players to make themselves available for this week. It is vitally impoprtant that the club fields two sides.

SEASON 2021-22

Match Report: 24thApril

The season may be coming to an end but it was another busy weekend for Biggar RFC with two emphatic wins for Biggar’s senior teams plus some excellent performances from the Youth sides at Dalziel and Tynedale and from the Minis at Boroughmuir.

Biggar 57 Highland 14

The curtain closed on season 2021/22 for Biggar’ 1st XV on Saturday with an emphatic win over Highland RFC; a 9-2 try result which confirmed Biggar’s 3rd place in National 1. There is no denying that this was a great result with some excellent rugby but whilst there was the usual euphoria present, the win was one tinged with a mass of other emotions. There was relief that this protracted season was finally over, satisfaction in signing off with a convincing win, frustration and disappoinment that having been in top spot for so long that the side came so near yet so far, and sadness in that this was the last outing for several players of this squad.

Progression to other clubs, retirals and injury will rule out several but for skipper Chris Mulligan, a new life in Australia beckons. As someone who played all his youth rugby at Biggar before moving whilst at Uni to Heriots, Chris’ return four seasons ago was very welcome and his contribution over those seasons has been nothing short of massive. A clear leader and one who leads by example, he has been an asset and as a dynamic, ball carrying back row he has been at the forefront of much of Biggar’s play in these years. Nicknamed the ‘human lung’ because of his ability to maintain his level of commitment from start to finish he will be sorely missed. He had some great years at Heriots and his years at Biggar included two league Championship years (albeit one was declared null and void) and a very respectable 3rd in this current campaign, one in which he sustained a broken leg.

His emigration should have taken place in 2020 but Covid intervened and so the club benefitted from his being around for another year – a rare ‘Covid’ bonus!

This match was originally scheduled for October and then March with Covid preventing either fixture from taking place. As a last league match, Highland were never going to relish the long trip south to Hartree Mill and it must have been an even longer trip north after the defeat. Neither club was able to field what would have been considered their ‘top’ team as played in the bulk of the season’s matches to date but those who played in the black of Biggar rose to the occasion.

Andrew Orr was the beneficiary of another excellent break from Biggar fullback Robbie Orr for Biggar’s first score which came after just 2 minutes. Orr then claimed one of his own as he picked a great line to slice through the Highland defence for Biggar’s second.

Highland hit back with a try, this credited to prop Patrick Ratumaisese before Mulligan ran in Biggar’s 3rd. Euan Bogle added conversions to each of Biggar’s tries while Scott Fraser kicked the conversion for Highland to make the score 21-7 to Biggar at half time.

Biggar opened up at a cracking pace after the break, scoring 3 tries to 1 within 15 minutes of this period. Aird and Andy Jardine notched one a-piece with Andrew Orr getting his second – Euan Bogle added 2 conversions. Scott Fraser notched Highland’s second try which he again converted.

A brief lull was brought to an abrupt end as Biggar scored another three tries, these scored by Euan Bogle – this his first try of the season and featuring a lung-bursting touchline sprint from some 40 metres – a second for Andy Jardine (converted by Bogle) and another for Andrew Lamb.

Plus points came in the performances of Robbie Orr (another stand out performance), Craig Frame (who tackled effectively throughout and carried ball well in attack), Euan McAra (whose cover tackle prevented Highland centre Rory Cross from what on every other occasion was a certain score) and a well-deserved debut for scrum half Archie Damer.

The club has been invited to a couple of Sevens tournaments so these and the forthcoming summer Touch Rugby should provide planty of interest for rugby fans over the next few months.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the top two teams in the league, Heriots and Gala made short shrift of their opponents with the win for Heriots over now relegated Cartha meant that the Edinburgh side pipped Gala to the National 1 title and with it promotion to the Premiership.


R. Orr, F. Jackson, A. Jardine, J. BarrE. Bogle, A. Jardine, E. McAraA. OrrE. Stewart, C. Bachurewski, J. Orr, A. PeacockC. Frame, C. Mulligan, A, Thomson Reps: D. Voas, E. Mitchell, C. Lavery, A. Damer and A. Lamb.

Match Report: 17thApril

Biggar 26 Ayr 25

For the second game in a row Biggar scored 4 tries to notch 26 points and a winning bonus. This was achieved against a stuffy Ayr XV which, like Biggar, was a little understrength due to Super 6 promotions, holidays and injury. It was also achieved despite the fact that Biggar played 10 minutes with just 13 men after two were shown yellow cards for a fracas in the second half.

The win cements Biggar’s 3rd place in National 1 with an outside chance, if Biggar can defeat Highland this Saturday and Gala were to lose against Dundee, of a 2nd place finish. In what was effectively a league decider on Saturday Heriots defeated Gala and so are odds on favourites to gain promotion this weekend.

Biggar have said farewell to Josh King and Guy Napier who have signed Super 6 contracts with Boroughmuir Bears and Southern Knights respectively, wishing both every success in their rugby career. King scored the opening try of the Super 6 Sprint competiton when he touched down for B’muir against Ayr on Friday, the Ayr side fielding 2 former Biggar players in Andrew Nimmo and Calvin Henderson.

Also missing from recent starting line ups were skipper Chris Mulligan, stand off Conor Lavery (both on stag weekends), Paul Davidson, Angus Thomson, Fin Barr and Rowan Stewart (all injured). There were therefore several changes to the starting line up while onto the bench came Craig Frame and youngster Thomas Young, the last named getting a promotion after several good performances in the Colts XV .

Despite this being a ‘nothing game’ in terms of league results, there was still pride to play for and a large turnout of supporters was much appreciated by the squad.

Ayr grabbed the early intiative with 2 penalties kicked by veteran centre Jamie Bova.

He was instrumental in Ayr’s win in November, but his kicking aside, he was largely nullifeid this time round by some solid defence from the Biggar three-quarters, with Andy Jardine and James Barr working well together.

A fairly major clash involving Donald Voas meant that he was forced off the field with a blow to the nose. He has been in the wars on several occasions this season and was clearly frustrated to play just a handful of minutes. This was a blow indeed as the prop has been on eof the most conssitent performers this league campaign. Craig Frame came off the bench with Andrew Orr moving from back to front row.

Biggar got back into the game after 22 minutes when a well-timed flat pass by Aird Jardine found the electric Robbie Orr who cruised through the split Ayr defence to run in untouched. The fullback was a joy to watch on Saturday, lighting up the game whenever he was on the ball. Euan Bogle added the conversion to take Biggar into a 7-6 lead.

Ayr hit back just minutes later when their pack took control in a lineout drive which took play to the Biggar line. Though the initial picks were halted scrum half Ross McCorkingdale dived over the line from close range. Nova’s conversion put Ayr ahead at 13-7.

A couple of penalties put Biggar into the Ayr 22 where they launched a couple of phases in attack. Ball was again moved left and this time it was winger Fraser Jackson who took a good pass to scorch over the Ayr line. The try was just too far out for Euan Bogle to add the conversion but at 12-13 down Biggar were right back in the hunt as the half drew to a close.

There was a change in the Biggar XV for the second half, Ewan Mitchell giving way to debutant Thomas Young. He had the start of all starts as within 10 minutes of being on he latched onto a pass to score Biggar’s 3rd try. The position for this was created by Robbie Orr who made the break before feeding Andrew Orr. His angled run looked as though it might take him to the line but he was tackled some 10 metres out. Fortunately the Biggar support was swift and a neat inside pass from Andy Jardine set Young free for a 5 metre gallop to the line, his try greeted by surely the biggest cheer of the day (maybe season!).

Bogle added the conversion for 19-13. The restart was taken and pressure exerted again in the Ayr half. The tight scrum had held well and while the lineout possession hadn’t quite matched that another penalty to Biggar – this reversed after some silliness by the Ayr 9 – gave Biggar an attacking opportunity and one which they did not waste. The initial ball won was not particularly tidy and Euan McAra did well to tidy and set up a maul. It was Craig Bachurewski who ended the move by driving over from close range. Bogle added the conversion for 26-13.

Callum McCallum was the next to get his top team start as he replaced Aird Jardine though not directly as he played on the wing with Fraser Jackson operating at stand off in Jardine’s absence.

At this point it looked as though Biggar might be able to control things but a stramash in midfield saw referee Grant Stephen resort to his pocket, that man Young and Frame being shown yellow and spending the next 10 minutes in the sin-bin. With around 12 minutes remaining it now appeared that Biggar would have a real test as they were two men short. This obviously taxed the remaining players and sensing a potential win, Ayr attacked hard to stretch the Biggar defence.

Euan Bogle gave way to Andrew Lamb while the veteran Andrew Peacock who had given his all as usual, was replaced by David McGivern. A frustration over the past 8-10 weeks has been the lack of games for the 2nd XV which has meant that few of these players have played much rugby. Their attendance at training has fortunately meant that their fitness was not in doubt but after long periods of inactivity, match fitness remains a struggle.

It was almost inevitable that Ayr would score during this period and this was indeed the case as wing forward Cameron Reece found space for his try. Unusually, the conversion, a reasonably straightforward kick for Nova, was missed. Biggar were still ahead at 26-18 and crucially 8 points clear meaning that Ayr required two scores to claim a win.

In the nick of time Biggar were able to recall their two yellow carded players so they were back at full strength for the remaining few minutes. These were, nevertheless, spent mostly in defence as Ayr gathered themselves to go for the win. A number of penalties were conceded by Biggar and this meant that the pressure was all on Biggar in defence. A lineout drive did prove successful and with a better conversion kick Ayr crept to 26-25. This was however the end of the match as whistler Stephen brought a halt to proceedings.

Over the last two plus seasons every game Biggar has played has been crucial in maintaining a league position and potential title. This was not the case on Saturday and there was a much more relaxed feel about the game which must be a boon to the players. The same will no doubt go for Saturday when Highland are the guests. There will of course be pride to play for and for those older members of the support, that remains the defining motivator!


R. Orr, F. Jackson, A. Jardine, J. BarrE. Bogle, A. Jardine, E. McAra, D. Voas, E. Stewart, C. Bachurewski, J. Orr, A. PeacockE. Mitchell, A. Orr, R. Jackson Reps: C. Frame, D. McGivern, T. YoungA. Lamb, C. McCallum

Match Report: 2nd April

Biggar 26 Gala 29

Biggar’s promotion hopes rested on a win not only on Saturday but in all their remaining games and so defeat against Gala has all but put paid to those hopes. There is still a mathematical chance but that would only be the case if both Gala and Heriots were to draw their match and then lose their last matches so as long shots go, it is the longest ever possible!

The 3 point defeat was hard to take, but with three yellow cards Biggar played over a third of the match with just 14 men. With their opponents challenging for promotion as well the match was always going to be tough with 15 on 15, but to be a man down for as long makes things incredibly difficult.

There is always much debate and conjecture when cards are shown and especially when apparently similar offences by Gala were unpunished, but these things happen and in the end promotion wasn’t lost on Saturday – there were other games, notably the home defeat by Heriots which was equally, if not harder to take.

Biggar have two games still to play, both at home and with Ayr (16th April) and Highland (23rd April) the visitors.

A very large travelling support matched that of the home side and with both sets of supporters known for their passion, this made for some inetresting touchling banter. A note here of the grateful thanks from Biggar RFC for the support from all those in attendance for the Ukraine appeal. All proceeds from the takings at the gate on Saturday are to be donated to provide assistance to those from Ukraine who are suffering in the war. A fantastic total of £1750 was realised, a sum which is almost double that of a ‘normal’ gate.

On a pleasant spring afternoon, the game was expected to be a thriller and this it turned out to be with fans from both sides enduring some very tense moments and with the result pretty much in the balance until the final whistle. Both sides scored 4 tries so in addition to the league points won both sides gained another 4 try bonus point while Biggar also gained a losing bonus by finishing within 7 points of Gala.

The early exchanges were dominated by Biggar fullback Robbie Orr who showed remarkable anticipation by making a touchline tackle on his right flank before getting back across to the left to make another equally devastating and arguably try-saving tackle there. Minutes later and after ball was won well by Ewan Stewart, skipper Chris Mulligan broke clear from his own 22. Having made 30+ yards he looked for support and found that man Orr again, the big man outsprinting the Gala defence to score the opening try. This had been the script when the two teams met in February, Gala losing possession when in attack and Biggar scoring from deep in their own half. Ewan Bogle added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

As coach Davy Wilson commented later the ‘detail was missing’ – the next couple of phases being indicative of that failing. Having taken the lead, Biggar lost out when the restart from Gala was fumbled and the ball played by a player in an offisde position. Gala stand off Craig Dodds stepped up to open his sides account: 7-3.

Biggar lost ground immediately on the restart which was kicked long and ended with a knock at the scrum base. From a position of strength Biggar were now very much on the defensive.

Minutes later prop Paul Davidson had to be replaced after he picked up a shoulder injury in contact. Craig Bachurewski was his replacement. Worse was to follow as Gala No 8 Angus Dun was impeded after he had taken a quick tap penalty. Ross Jackson was shown a yellow and so Biggar were down to 14 men. The penalty kick to touch preceded a good take and lineout drive which ended with Jack Easson touching down. Although Dodds was unable to add the conversion Gala were ahead at 8-7.

Order was re-established after 22 minutes when Guy Napier bull-dozed his way over the Gala line. The lead up to this score had seen Biggar go through a number of phases, using ball via the forwards and also the backs with Gala put to the test in defence. Bogle added the 2 points for 14-8.

With Jackson back Biggar were restored to 15 and all were put into action to defend a series of Gala attacks. When Biggar did manage to break out, and this they did well, they were stymied by a lack of support at vital times, Gala breakaway Liam Scott making a number of great turnovers and forcing the penalty. This happened when Ewan Stewart broke free having again stolen good ball in the face of a Gala move and then again when Robbie Orr had engineered a break. Both positions were lost to the boot of Dodds who forced Biggar back.

Biggar were reduced again to 14 on the half hour mark when prop Donald Voas was adjudged to have made a no-arms tackle. The run in to half time is always a critical time and Biggar were as keen to retain their lead as Gala were to catch up and in the end it was the visitors who profited. Another big defensive shift thwarted Gala’s attempts to score but eventually the wall was breached, stand off Dodds making a neat show-and-go to beat the defence for a try which he converted for 15-14.

Biggar had time to make another assault on the Gala line and following a good line drive it appeared to most that referee O’Neill had awarded a try to Ewan Stewart. The Biggar joy was short-lived however as he had instead penalised Stewart for a double movement, his surge to the line coming up short.

This brought the half to an end, Gala ahead by 15-14. Nothing between the sides.

Biggar opened the half well putting pressure on the Gala side with some deft kicks which turned the visitors and forced them onto the defensive. Another great passage of play saw Gala defend well before Conor Lavery exploited a gap to nip through and touchdown. Bogle’s conversion was just inches wide of the post but at 19-15 Biggar had importantly regained the lead.

Although Voas had rejoined the side, Biggar lost the services of Jamie Orr who was the third player to be shown a yellow card. Biggar managed to hold their line intact after the next phase of plays by Gala who were in the ascendancy but again it was really a matter of time before they would score again, with flanker Scott the man to round the stretched defence for a try in the corner which Dodds converted well for 22-19.

With less than a quarter of the match remaining the nerves were beginning to be stretched, any errors likely to prove costly. Orr returned to the fray while Gala’s centre John Turnbull, Biggar’s Andy Jardine among others picked up injuries.

Another Gala attack took play into the Biggar 22 and while initial surges were again held up possession was crucially retained and a clever break by winger Fergus Johnston close to a ruck saw him skip inside the Biggar cover for what would prove to be the winning try, converted by Dodds for 29-19.

Biggar had to come back somehow and this they did with a sustained passage of play which saw Napier, Robbie Orr, Lavery (now at stand off after James Barr replaced Aird Jardine), Voas, Bachurewski and others all make determined drives to the line, each held up by a solid Gala defence. Moving the ball a little wider did pay off however, Lavery’s inside pass to Rowan Stewart seeing the winger crash over untouched for a try which Bogle converted for 29-26.

Some 5 minutes remained and there was of course every chance that Biggar could grab another try or even a penalty which would have tied the scores at least. Gala had been miserly in the number of penalties they had conceded however and this continued through those last minutes. Biggar managed to break into the Gala half and with a scrum between half way and the Gala 22 there was all to play for but to Gala’s delight and Biggar’s disappointment, an error brought a final stoppage, referee O’Neill blowing for full time.

As expressed earlier this was a huge disappointment for the home XV. Each game recently has been a ‘cup final’ and Biggar have managed to keep the run going. Gala on the other hand were understandably over the moon with the win as they are now in pole position to gain promotion. Their next match, a home game on 16th April against Heriots will be the decider.


R. Orr, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, C. Lavery, E. Bogle, A. Jardine, E. McAra, D. Voas, E. Stewart, P. Davidson, J. Orr, G. NapierJ. King, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson Reps: A. OrrC. Bachurewski, A. Peacock, J. Barr, C. McCallum

Match Report: 26thMarch

Boroughmuir 14 Biggar 38

A bonus point win was the aim for Biggar and this was achieved just after the start of the second half so essentially it was a case of ‘job done’ but in the end this will be remembered by the Biggar support as a somewhat scrappy affair with some excellent rugby outdone by some pretty shabby rugby. Of some frustration was the fact that Biggar conceded two scores and that they didn’t manage to add to their total for a lengthy period in the second half.

Having said all that with both Gala and Heriots also recording bonus point wins there is little change at the top of National 1. This means that next Saturday’s home match against Gala will, as expected, go a long way to determine which side claims that one, much coveted Premiership promotion place.

In perfect spring sunshine Biggar ran out at Meggetland to the roar of encouragement from the large travelling support. The home side gave note of their intent as they opened up at pace with veteran No 8 Rory Drummond a key figure in their attack, the big man making some good yards whenever he was on the ball and asking questions from the Biggar defence which shepherded him well. An early run ended with Drummond and Biggar stand off Conor Lavery sustaining leg knocks but happily both were able to continue.

Biggar’s fullback Robbie Orr ran with great effect throughout the match and gave indication of his value to the side, tidying any loose kicks by ‘Muir and running some fantastic lines in attack. It was from one such run after 12 minutes that ended with ‘Muir conceding a penalty which Euan Bogle dispatched to touch close to the ‘Muir line. A well taken ball by Josh King and lineout drive saw Andrew Orr dot down for try number one. Bogle added the conversion for 7-0.

The early play was symptomatic of how the game would unfold, players making good breaks but conceding turnovers with some regularity, much to the frustration of both coaching teams. After 20 minutes a high tackle by Drummond on Biggar’s Ewan McAra which could well have been a yellow on another day, saw Biggar opt for a scrum. A Ross Jackson pick up at No 8 and a pop pass to McAra gave the scrum half an easy pass to Robbie Orr who crashed over for a score under the posts. Bogle’s conversion was pulled wide.

At two tries up there was an expectation that Biggar would soon add to their tally but this was not the case as possession gained and attacks made were either too complicated or ended in penalty awards to ‘Muir. In their attempts to break out of defence Drummond made another challenging run which was halted by Angus Thomson but which saw the latter leave the pitch injured, his replacement being Finlay Barr.

The home side then came right back into the match and with the referee playing a lengthy period of added time ‘Muir looked odds on to score as they laid siege to the Biggar line. Opting to keep things tight with forward drives, it was only some really stout defence from Biggar which kept them out. A penalty award, close scrum and further probing runs kept Biggar firmly on the defensive until a lost ball was gobbled up by Robbie Orr who broke quickly upfield. He passed to centre Rowan Stewart who continued the move into the ‘Muir half where the home side conceded another penalty. A textbook lineout take and drive gave Andrew Orr the simplest of chances to score his second try. Bogle converted for 19-0 and half time.

Had ‘Muir made the most of their earlier pressure the game may have panned out very differently so the defensive effort and subsequent score was equivalent to a 14 point ‘swing’.

Within 5 minutes of the second half it was that man Robbie Orr who once again tore great holes in the ‘Muir defence to create space into the ‘Muir 22. Looking all round for a suitable off-load he eventually found his scrum half McAra who was able to sprint over the line for the all important bonus point winning score. Bogle’s conversion was pulled wide, this much to do with the ‘Muir chase which was fast and very nearly successful at every attempt. 24-0 to Biggar.

The following 20 minute spell saw some great breaks by virtually everyone in the Biggar side. This possession gave Biggar some excellent field positions but as had been the case in the first half these promising attacks came to nought as errors were made and penalties conceded. ‘Muir were able to collect themselves and after one loose passage of play which gifted ‘Muir possession their replacement winger Gavin Welsh crossed under the posts for the opening home score, converted by their stand off. 24-7 to Biggar.

A great turnover by Donald Voas, followed by a touchline run from the same player ended with a ‘Muir penalty after the next ruck, this ending in an injury to the home hooker. His departure led to scrums being uncontested as ‘Muir had only 1 recognised hooker. This plays into the hands of the ‘weaker’ side as they are now guaranteed quality possession without any effort.

Aird Jardine had replaced Lavery just after half time and Biggar made further changes at this juncture, Stewart giving way to James Barr and Andrew Peacock replacing Voas. Further loose play gave ‘Muir hope and their efforts were rewarded with a second score as one of their replacements, Stevens ran in under the posts for try converted for 24-14.

The last 10 minutes resulted in two further tries for Biggar. Josh King scored the first of these, a very well deserved try for a youngster who has played well all season. Bogle converted this and then added another to the 6th Biggar try scored by Andrew Jardine.

In truth this was a somewhat freak score given the prelude to the actual tryA ‘Muir prop had been shown a yellow card (with barely a minute remaining) and skipper Chris Mulligan had just knocked the ball on after a burst deep into the ‘Muir 22With the referee all but blowing his whistle ‘Muir opted to run the ball from just in front of their line. The speculative wide pass to open play up missed its intended recipient and instead thumped into the protective post padding before rebounding to the feet of Jardine who had the fairly straightforward task of picking up and touching down. Bogle converted for the final 38 point tally.

There was no hiding the frustration felt by coach Davy Wilson at the inconsistency of the Biggar play. There is little doubt that there will need to be a fairly big step taken next week before Gala come a-calling. The Border side have withdrawn from their Border league fixtures in order to focus on the National 1 title and following their loss to Biggar in February the visitors will be keen to make amends.

Saturday’s was not a welcome one for Boroughmuir who saw their slim hopes of retaining their National 1 place finally dashed. They have been at the foot of the table for some time but until Saturday’s result there was still the mathematical possibility of staving off relegation. That is now gone and with their 2nd XV in a similar position in East Reserve league 1 it was a glum day indeed for the Edinburgh club.


R. Orr, F. Jackson, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, E. Bogle, C. Lavery, E. McAra, D. Voas, A. OrrC. Bachurewski, J. King, G. NapierJ. King, C. Mulligan, A. Thomson, R. Jackson Reps: P. DavidsonA. Peacock, F. Barr, A. Jardine, J. Barr.

Match Report 5th March 2022

Highland 0 Biggar 15

Biggar’s preparations for this match were upset to a great degree on Saturday when a booking time mix up and a mechanical problem with the bus meant that the team was over an hour late in leaving Biggar for the long journey north to Inverness. A quick phone call to the Highland club secured a delayed kick-off and many thanks to them for so readily accomodating this request. As seasoned travellers themselves they appreciate that these sort of issues can occur.

On a beautiful ‘spring’ day the scene at The Bught Park was set with the Highland club making use of their astro pitch to run their Colts match as a warm up prior to the main event.

Biggar’s match kicked off at 3.30 and Biggar had a dream start when they secured their first try after some 2 minutes. A good attacking position ahd beens et up following a cracking run on the wing by Euan Bogle who was almost over the line when he was derailed by the Highland Fijian winger Adriu Muritoki. A loose kick from Highland was gathered by Bogle who popped the ball to Robbie Orr. A stumble as he accelerated almost led to a tackle but this seemed to be to his advantage as he then stepped his way over the line for a cracking score. Unusually Euan Bogle was off target with the conversion but this was from an acute angle.

Highland are a proud club however and have a great record at home and were always going to be in contention and they were soon back on the attack when their runners created ground and into the Biggar half. Biggar’s defence was tested to the limit against Gala the previous week and it was to the fore at Highland as well where time and again Highland found themselves knocked back and when sometimes risky off-loads were the only option. Too frequently these saw ball thrown forward or knocked on which ended the attack.

A penalty to touch from Bogle created a good attacking platform for Biggar and with the forwards via Josh King taking good ball the drive was well set and this saw hooker Ewan Stewart on hand to finish the move off. Bogle’s converison looked good but bounced off the left upright. Biggar 10-0 ahead.

Highland replied almost immediately with a penalty attempt but stand off Scott Fraser could only watch as his effort slid left past the upright signalling a lucky break for Biggar.

Throughout the match and something the Highland coaching team was well aware of was the power of the Biggar pack and this was certainly the case as they enjoyed relative dominance in the tight scrum and in the loose where breaks and carries were more dynamic than those from Highland. It was Highland’s backs who looked more dangerous, their trio of Fijians from the Black Watch regiment at nearby Fort George alwayas looking fleet of foot and elusive although they might have expected to have gained more yards, Biggar’s rush and scramble defence up to point.

At fullback, Biggar’s Robbie Orr had a great game, continually asking questions of the Highland defence and always making many yards both in attack and in making sure he got back quickly in defence.

One factor which would prove telling was the consistent barracking of referee Fergus Hollins by many of the Highland side but by co-captain Callum Carson in particular who questioned almost every decision. This was clearly an attempt to influence the decisions and it worked but not in the way it was intended, Biggar benefiting on several occasions as he was warned about his comments and chat.

Half time then and Biggar ahead but few of the Biggar support felt that a 10 point lead would be enough to win the match.

An early penalty for Highland gave them a good opening but again the possession was soon turned over following another handling error which will be a cause of frustration for the Highland side as the conditions were near perfect for running rugby.

The whole game saw some really exciting passages of play with both sides opting to run on the firm pitch. A longish passage of play and pressure saw Biggar on the defensive once again but following a kick to touch Biggar saw lock Craig Borthwick limp from the pitch, this due to an ankle injury sustained at the start of the second half. Jamie Orr was his replacement, Guy Napier having already replaced No8 Angus Thomson.

A breakout by Biggar and a neat inside pass from Craig Bachurewski to Rowan Stewart saw the centre beat the first line of defence before passing to the ever-present Josh King whose run took play into the Highland 22. A series of pick and go’s and pop passes promised much but the Highland defence held firm and the inevitable result was a Highland penalty which took them out of their danger zone, albeit that the subsequent lineout was lost.

In their efforts to score and get into contention, Highland continued to force the pace of the game, with a quick lineout putting Biggar under pressure but possession remained scrappy and a loopy pass to the wing saw ball eventually secured by Robbie Orr to Ross Jackson, the No8 making a break on the touchline and to the Highland 22. Jamie Orr took Jackson’s pass and only a despairing tap tackle by the cover defence prevented what would surely have been a Biggar try. Biggar did manage to retain possession and territory and camped themselves in the Highland 22. They were unable however to burst through the Highland defence which was to the home sides credit. A number of penalties didn’t aid Biggar’s cause and these did give Highland some respite.

After one series of plays Biggar gained a penalty and while the advantage was there Conor Lavery tried an optimistic drop goal.There being no advantage referee Hollins awarded the penalty, Lavery tapping quickly to run at the Highland defence. His progress was summarily halted by the retreating defence and as this was within the designated 10 metres Highland prop Stephen Murray was dispatched with a yellow card. Biggar eschewed the penalty and opted instead for the scrum to maintain their pressure. Highland needed two scores to win the game and the longer Biggar kept play in the Highland half the better. There was still the fear however that a breakout try would take the game perilously close as has been the case in the past couple of weeks.

Another series of attacks saw Biggar retain their field position with some dynamic runs from the pack, Donald Voas showing a great turn of speed on the wing and this after 75+ minutes – an undoubted benefit of playing on an astro surface which is much less tiring.

A knock on by Biggar within 5 metres of the Highland line was enough for referee Hillins to indicate ‘last play’ and ever keen to somehow gain a losing bonus the home side tried to run from deep behind their goal line. The wide pass from stand off Fraser took a cruel bounce in front of its intended recipient, Biggar centre Andrew Jardine on hand to put downward pressure on the ball for a last second try.

Bogle’s conversion made the score 17-0, a fair reflection on the game but a try short of the much needed bonus point try. With both Gala and Heriots recording anticipated large margin victories the pressure mounts on Biggar in their promotion chase.

This Saturday it is Biggar’s turn to welcome Highland, this fixture re-arranged following a Covid outbreak in the Highland camp last month.


R. Orr, F. Jackson, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, E. Bogle, C. Lavery, E. McAra, , D. Voas, E. Stewart, C. Bachurewski, J. Orr, C. Borthwick, J. King, C. Mulligan, A. Thomson. Reps: G. Napier, P. DavidsonR. Jackson, A. Jardine, A. Lamb

Match Report: 26th February

Gala 29 Biggar 33

For the second week in a row Biggar’s supporters were on tenderhooks as they awaited the final whistle which would surely signal a win. On this occasion the rugby gods answered postively and Biggar took the maximum 5 points from a tough and hugely entertaining contest – especially for the neutral supporter!

Biggar were able to welcome back Robbie Orr to the fray with Craig Bachurewski another to come into the side, Ross Bradford and Paul Davidson missing out. With last week’s massive disappointment still very fresh and sore Biggar had to come out with all guns firing and this they did, scoring 28 points, more than a point a minute, to claim the 4 try bonus point and set up what should have been an unassailable lead.

Ewan Stewart rounded off the first driven maul to record the opening try after just 3 minutes, the hooker now this season’s top try scorer! Euan Bogle converted for 7-0.

An indication of things to come saw Biggar dominate the first scrum with a penalty the result which bogle used well to pin Gala back in the corner. While the driven lineout was halted and held up an unfortunate handling error from home stand off Craig Dods saw the ball knocked forwarand into the path of his opposite number Conor Lavery. The Biggar man scooped the ball up and flopped over for try No2, also converted by Bogle.

Gala had to get back into the match and this they did after a series of penalties led to a sustained passage of play in the Biggar 22. With the home support egging their team on Biggar conceded a raft of penalties with Craig Borthwick (whose red card from last week had been successfully appealed and expunged from his record) shown a yellow after he was adjudged to have taken the Gala lineout jumper out early.

Down to 14 men Biggar remained under the cosh in their 22 until a loose pass was collected by Robbie Orr who ran wide before kicking long up the touchline. Able to win the race to this first kick he hacked on and with support from Fraser Jackson it was the winger who touched down for try No3. Defence into attack with devastating effect and a sucker punch for the home XV who had been pressing hard. Bogle’s conversion took Biggar into a 21-0 lead.

Once again Gala worked hard to get a foothold with their preference to run the ball proving dangerous but ulitmately without success as it came up against a formidable defensive effort by Biggar. A ruck in midfield and an assumption that ball would be given to the backs by scrum half Euan McAra saw Bachurewski pick and go and break through the Gala defence. He had ample support on both sides and opted to use scrum half McAra who romped home from 30 metres for a cracking try. Bogle added the conversion for the 28-0 lead.

Somewhat shell-shocked Gala still struggled to get into the game but following another forward orientated series of charges Biggar conceded a penalty when there looked to be ample room wide on the right. A 5th try would probably have sealed Gala’s fate but this let off gave them a bit of respite and suddenly able to retain possession they launched a series of attacks in the Biggar 22. Biggar were pinged for another raft of penalties with Bogle next to be shown a yellow after his attempted interception led to a knock on. Down again to 14 men and able to kick to the corner Gala via wing forward Taylor Wilson opened the home sides account, Dods adding the conversion for 28-7. There was just time for the restart but Biggar cleared the ball to touch and half time.

A game of rugby is compiled of two halves and this was certainly the case on Friday, Biggar winning the first half 28-7 but losing the second by 22-5! What a turnaround and what excitement! Why Biggar fared so badly in the second half is as big a question as why Gala performed so poorly in the first 40. It’s not easy being a supporter on such occasions but it must be doubly frustrating being a coach when things don’t go to plan!

The breeze seemed to both shift and strengthen in Gala’s favour for this second period and this aided their cause as they began to pin Biggar back. Their second try was a a fairly simple affair coming from a lineout. Ball won was transferred at pace to centre Rex Jeffrey whose well-timed pass was collected by No 8 Angus Dunn who crossed almost at the posts, Dods converting for 28-14.

Their next score came just minutes later and was a penalty kicked by Dods although there seemed to be some confusion in the Gala ranks as to whether a kick to the corner might have been a better option. Biggar at this point were still down to 14 men and their defence would have been stretched but as they had signalled for goal they were unable to change their mind and the 3 points took them to 28-17, still somewhat too close for comfort for the Biggar support.

As if to prove that the lineout might have been a better option the next penalty saw a lineout drive which eventually involved all bar 3 of the Gala team. There was little chance of halting the drive with the scorer Jack Easson emerging under the huge pile of bodies. Crucially Dods missed the conversion: 28-22

The game now entered its final quarter with absolutley everything open. A forward pass denied Andy Jardine a run into the Gala 22 preceded a huge Biggar scrum which rocked Gala back and ended with a penalty to the Gala 22. A driving line paved the way but Gala escaped as Biggar were penalised for holding on. A couple of Gala lineout errors let Biggar off the hook while a neat gather, turn, touchline sprint and grubber from Bogle took play back to the Gala 22.

With the Biggar offensive defence led by Bogle and Rowan Stewart and up quickly the Gala cover was swamped and led to a series of phases for Biggar led by skipper Mulligan which ended with Bachurewski managing to dot the ball down for a 5th Biggar try. For once, and in the face of a couple of Gala sprinters, Bogle was wide with the conversion but this did give Biggar a bit of leeway at 33-22.

And boy, did they need it!

Biggar were then on the wrong end of another series of penalties as the referee found fault with many different parts of their game. Biggar lost the penalty count by a considerable margin and this is an area which is a major cause for concern.

One penalty gave Gala a good attacking position within the Biggar 22 and as they had done before their driven lineout worked to good effect, Euan Dods touching down and Craig Dods on target to take the score to 33-29 with still some 4/5 minutes remaining.

These last few minutes were as tense as they could be. With a penalty award referee Tom French Gala were told that one minute remained. Thiswas kicked to the Biggar half and saw Gala in possession. Unable to kick for position as this would have heralded the end of the match Gala were forced to attack with ball in hand while Biggar were forced into a defensive role, ever mindful that to concede a penalty could well see a repeat of the Heriots debacle the previous week. Somewhat ironically given the number of penalties they had conceded up to this point the Biggar defensive effort was first class and kept thumping the Gala runners back.

At a count, there were 34 phases in this final attack which ended some 7 minutes after the end of what would have been normal time! A massive effortf rom both sides!

As it was the ball was eventually spilled forward but Biggar had to endure a heart-stopping finale as their first attempt to scramble the ball to touch failed, Orr racing back to end the game with pursuing Gala players in chase.

The target was a win, a bonus point win was the icing on the cake.


R. Orr, F. Jackson, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, E. Bogle, C. Lavery, E. McAra, , D. Voas, E. Stewart, C. Bachurewski, J. Orr, C. Borthwick, J. King, C. Mulligan, A. Thomson. Reps: G. Napier, P. DavidsonR. Jackson, A. Jardine, A. Lamb

This win keeps the pressure on the league leaders Heriots. Gala meanwhile despite losing the match still gathered another two points and so are still very much in the hunt for the top spot and only promotion place.

This weekend Biggar make the long trip north to take on Highland and then on the 12th host the same club at Hartree Mill. It’s a big ask but Biggar’s support is fantastic and on Friday certainly made a difference so if you are able, your attendance in Inverness would be very much appreciated.

Biggar 17 Heriots 19

Sport can be cruel.

It can be decided by centimetres, milliseconds, good play and luck (good or bad). As an example on Saturday at the Bejiing Winter Olympics GB curling skip Bruce Mowat saw his last stone miss it’s target by a centimetre or two to cede the Gold medal to Sweden – small margins. At Hartree Mill on Saturday at the end of an enthralling match which had everything – disallowed tries for both sides, a yellow card, a red card – and after arguably the longest 10 secs of time, the ball squirted out the back of the last scrum and was pounced upon by Heriots hooker Danny Dineen to score a match-winning try. The unsuccessful conversion ended the match.

Having never been behind at any point until then this was the cruellest of blows for Biggar and one which silenced the large crowd which seconds prior had been ecstatic when it appeared that Heriots had knocked the ball on and which would normally have ended the game. The try which followed was the cue for mass celebrations from the Heriots squad and support.

And so for the first time in at least 3 seasons Biggar are no longer in the top two of their division, this reversal seeing them drop blow Heriots and Gala who themselves recorded a score in the dying minutes of their match against Melrose. Now 7 points adrift from Heriots, Biggar must win all their remaining matches while hoping that Heriots drop points somewhere along the line if they are to realise their aim of promotion.

Given the midweek weather and the snow which had been forecast for Friday there was considerable doubt about the chances of the game being played. That snow largely failed to appear however while a dry Friday night and a calm Saturday morning meant that although the surface was heavy there was no question of any postponement. Pitch No 1 was the only playable pitch of the 4 pitches available in the Hartree Mill estate however and this led to the postponement of the 2nd XV match and all Youth matches scheduled for Sunday.

Having had a fortnight ‘off’ due to 6 Nations matches and a covid related postponement neither side was ‘battled hardened’ but this did not effect the comittment of the two squads who put on a tremendous spectacle. Kicking off towards the clubhouse the early exchanges were high tempo with both sides feeling their way into the match. Running at pace was difficult and both sets of backs preferred to kick for position with relative success.

The first points came after 20 minutes and after a penalty advantage gave Biggar the option to kick to the corner. It appeared that lineout jumper Josh King had initially slipped but he recovered to take a textbook catch and the drive which followed took play to the Heriots line, hooker Ewan Stewart in control to dot the ball over the line for a great score converted by Euan Bogle for a 7-0 lead.

Heriots restarted strongly and exerted a great deal of pressure in the Biggar 22 where a series of plays saw Biggar forced to defend hard. Three successive plays – including one from a Heriots driven line which might have been a score – ended with goal line drop outs to Biggar. This restart doesn’t really favour the defensive side and it can be difficult to gain territory so it was great to see a piece of innovative play from Biggar centre Rowan Stewart who chipped over the Heriots attack before regathering possession to free skipper Chris Mulligan who made a great run to take play to the halfway mark.

Visiting fullback Rory Steele was always a threat if he got space to counter attack but Biggar’s first up defensive line is sound and while the fullback made ground Biggar were able to slow ball down and halt his progress.

Just after the half hour mark a sustained period of pressure saw Biggar take some control and exert pressure in the Heriots 22. A driven line out, too far for a try ended unfortunately with a handling error but a second just minutes later spawned ball for a good phase of attack, King, Ross Bradford and Rowan Stewart almaking good ground towards the Heriots line. Using a penalty advantage a neat scooped pass from Fraser Jackson to winger Euan Bogle saw the winger scamper over for what appeared to be a try but one which was chalked off for a forward pass. The penalty stood however and on the stroke of half time Bogle added the 3 points to take Biggar into a 10-0 half time lead.

This was never likely to be enough against a side which is top of the table and so this proved.

A lengthy Heriots lineout drive gave the visitors a great attacking position and then a quickly taken lineout found the Biggar defence for once at sixes and sevens and hooker Daniel Dineen flopped over for a try which Graham Wilson converted for 10-7.

The next quarter of the match saw the game confined to the areas between the 22’s as neither side was able to get sufficient control to manage possession or territory. Ross Jackson gave way to Guy Napier in the Biggar ranks. A number of penalties awarded against Heriots eventually saw the referee lose patience with the Edinburgh outfit and he dispatched lock forward Callum Marshall to the bin with a yellow card.

This penalty award gave Biggar the opportunity to gain good ground to the Heriots 22. Stand off Conor Lavery appeared to have taken a nasty knock to the face but he was happily able to continue – not the same for Heriots replacement Maxwell Oliver who was knocked back in a Biggar attack a few minutes later.

Capitalising on the territory gained another lineout drive for Biggar was once again rounded off by hooker Stewart who notched his second score of the day and one also converted by Bogle for 17-7.

Frustratingly from a Biggar point of view this extended lead lasted for just a few minutes as Heriots restarted to mount a sustained attack in the Biggar half. Having retained possession over a number of phases the Biggar defence was eventually breached and centre Dominic Martin rounded off the movement with a try converted by Wilson. 17-14 to Biggar. Scoring when your opponents are short-handed is always the aim but losing a score to opponents who are short-handed is never good.

A kicking duel between the two sides then ensued as the teams vied for position. Heriots gained another foothold in the Biggar 22 and from a line drive, replacement Maxwell Oliver was thumped in a tackle by some excellent offensive defence with Craig Borthwick and Mulligan both involved.

Unfortunately the referee did not agree with the tackle and after a short delay he sent a clearly shocked Borthwick off as he felt the lock had caught the Heriots man on the head. This was to have a major impact on the match as the big lock is a significant figure in the Biggar pack.

With around 10 minutes remaining it was clear Biggar would be forced into a defensive role and this proved to be the case as Heriots mounted attack after attack. Any piece of possession which was won by Biggar was greeted with great excitement from the crowd and this undoubtedly helped the Biggar effort. One turnover secured a penalty and this took play into the Heriots half but a missed lineout saw Heriots back on the attack once again.

Another steel to get out of defence saw Biggar opt to try and close the game out by keeping the game tight through a series of pick and goes from their pack. A penalty awarded for ‘sealing off’ gave Heriots one last opportunity to nick the game – but with just 10 secs remaining (according to the official) there was surely insufficient time?

And so we arrive at the situation explained in the opening paragraphs and which decided the honours. In the first meeting between these two sides in Edinburgh Heriots held on at the death to record a one point win. On Saturday the try gave them a 2 point advantage so it is clear to see that there is very little between the two sides.

Biggar have now to pick themselves up and dust themselves down for their next test, this a floodlit match against Gala on Friday evening (KO 7.30pm). Regardless of Saturdays reversal every game was going to have to count and so there isn’t any real added pressure. It’s sure to be another exciting contest and as usual there is a call for the Biggar support to get down to Netherdale for the match.


F. Jackson, R. Bradford, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, E. Bogle, C. Lavery, E. McAra, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. King, C. Borthwick, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson, A. Thomson. Reps: G. Napier, A. Orr, J. Orr, A. Jardine, A. Lamb

Match Report: 30th January

Cartha QP 0 Biggar 31

In very testing conditions Biggar managed to retain a clean sheet and claim a 4 try bonus point win against Glasgow side Cartha Queens Park.

With the other two top sides (Heriots and Gala) recording similar league wins there is no change at the top of National 1 and therefore all is still to play for as we enter the critical month of February. There is a rest week for the opening 6 Nations Calcutta Cup match before league action resumes with, in consecutive weeks, Highland (H), Heriots (H) then Gala (A) with the results of these matches likely to determine the league positions as the season reaches it’s denouement.

Biggar were able to select from their full squad again this Saturday with minimal chnages to the one which hosted Kelso last Saturday. Ross Jackson was preferred to Angus Thomson at No 8 while James Barr got the nod at centre over Conor Lavery. The team faced a very typical Cartha XV, a combative squad with few giants or stars but a with willingness to play for each other. The match was preceded by a minutes applause in respect of one of the games great characters, namely Ian Leslie of Watsonians.

Storm Malik played its part with the match confined to the leeward side of the pitch and pretty much ruling Biggar touch judge Kevin Dempster out of a job!

Handling was always going to be tricky, with the ball being either blown into or away from the receiver depending on whether he was playing with or against the gale. Having said that there were some good passages of play when both sides contributed to an entertaining contest.

An opening score came after just 5 minutes as Biggar, playing with the wind on their backs used the driven maul to good effect, hooker Ewan Stewart able to dive over for a try. Euan Bogle added the conversion for 7-0. There was a change for Biggar as scrum half Davy Reive took a sore one to the ribs, his replacement Euan McAra quick to make his mark with a good turn of pace which saw him take play upfield toward the halfway line.

Biggar’s lead was then doubled as for the second week in succession Biggar’s pack was awarded a penalty try after their intial shunt saw their hosts pushed back towards their line. Referee Gregor McIntosh took no time to make his decision and Biggar were 14-0 ahead.

Some dynamic play by Cartha lock Graham Williamson set Biggar hearts a-flutter with a very determined break to the Biggar 22 but the Biggar defence held firm and this attack was successfully repelled. Major contributors in this regard were Chris Mulligan at flank forward and James Barr at centre, although given the clean sheet this was not their role exclusively.

In their search for another quick score Biggar made a couple of what could have been crucial errors, opportunities to increase their lead escaping as ball and possession was lost close to the Cartha line. On one occasion Donald Voas looked to have scored a good try but referee McIntosh was unsighted. The visitors had to be content in the end with their 14-0 lead although the conditions suggested that they would have a very tough second half playing, as they would be, into the wind.

The half got off to what was an almost perfect start as lock Josh King – who had an excellent match taking lineout ball well, making great yards whenever in possession and regularly knocking folks back – burst over the line after another successful line drive.

With less than 10 minutes of the half gone Biggar collected their 4th and all important bonus point try as Ewan Stewart claimed his second, this again following a well controlled lineout drive. The conversion attempt saw replacement Conor Lavery utilised to help steady the ball on the kicking tee (such was the strength of the gusts). This did not find favour with those who study the games rules believing that this was in fact illegal, Biggar in effect using a 16th player. The help was not sufficient in any event to get the ball between the posts and so 24-0 was the score.

Within another 3 minutes Biggar had stretched further head as replacement Andrew Orr (who had come on for Paul Davidson) gathered a neat inside pass from Fraser Jackson to burst over for a 5th try.

Biggar then added to this earlier change with Chris Mulligan giving way to Fin Barr, Ross Jackson for Angus Thomson and James Barr for Conor Lavery.

Making ground against the elements proved difficult and while they did on oaccsion get play into the Cartha half Biggar were unable to add to their tally. Indeed, much as had been the case in the first half, a kick and chase from Cartha looked to many to have been touched down by the attacking side, the only person unconvinced being referee McIntosh and Biggar escaped with a goal line drop out.

In better condtitions Biggar would probably have expected to record a higher total (than 31) but 5 league points is all a team can garner from a win and with an already commanding positive Points Differential of almost +80 points the 31-0 tally was reward indeed.

Those with niggling injuries – and there are plenty – will welcome the league programme break, offering as it does the opportunity for rest and recuperation prior to the big task to come.


E. Bogle, R. Bradford, A. Jardine, J. Barr, R. Stewart, F. Jackson, D. Reive, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. King, C. Borthwick, C. Mulligan, J. Orr, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Orr, F. Barr, A. Thomson, E. McAra, C. Lavery

Rugby Match Report – Saturday 22 January

Biggar 12 v Kelso 10

In a game that was very fragmented and where they were well below their best form, Biggar kept themselves in league contention with this narrow win. Kelso have a big set of forwards and their game plan was clearly to try and control the game through their pack. On the other hand, Biggar wanted to keep the ball in play, move it quickly and try to attack by stretching the Kelso defence through several phases of play. This plan worked to perfection after 10 minutes when good work on the ground by A Thomson secured possession just outside the visitors 22. This led to an excellent break by R Bradford which created space for R Stewart on the wing and he did well to finish off a very good attack with a try in the corner to put Biggar 5-0 ahead.

Kelso were then able to put their own game plan into operation leading to a concerted spell of pressure well inside the home half. This led to a series of penalties against Biggar and they were fortunate when the Kelso kicker missed a fairly straightforward opportunity to open their account. However, despite gaining temporary relief, after a very good break by C Mulligan took play into the visitors half, Kelso continued to dominate possession and kept Biggar pinned inside their own 22. The game became very static going from one set piece to another with almost all of these resulting in yet another penalty decision. After Biggar conceded three penalties in fairly quick succession they were reduced to 14 men when the referee showed a yellow card to J Orr. Kelso stuck to their task and eventually from a line out deep inside the home 22, they had another forward drive resulting in a pile of bodies on the goal-line. Much to the disappointment of the Biggar support, the referee believed he had seen a grounding and awarded Kelso a try which was duly converted to put them ahead 5-7.

The remainder of the half followed a similar pattern with Kelso largely in control as Biggar struggled to get possession and even when they did get hold of the ball, they turned it over all too quickly and soon found themselves back on defensive duties.

The second half began in very similar fashion and for the first 10 minutes play was bogged down in midfield. Finally, Biggar were able to put together a decent attack and forced play into the Kelso 22 leading to a 5 metre scrum. Biggar’s forwards had had a slight edge in the scrums throughout the game and from this position forced the Kelso pack to concede ground. However, it still came as something of a surprise when the referee immediately awarded a penalty try and the home team found themselves 12-7 ahead.

Kelso continued with their strategy of keeping the game very tight and with the referee very happy to blow his whistle at every opportunity, the game was certainly not one for the rugby purist! After another series of penalty decisions play was taken back into the home 22 where Kelso had a simple kick to make the score 12-10. At this stage the league points were far from secure from a Biggar perspective as they found it hard to get any continuity or rhythm into their play. However, a pin point kick from F Jackson brought a line out close to the visitors’ line. The referee deemed the ensuing drive from the Biggar pack was held up over the goal-line and this was as close as Biggar came to extending their lead. The game continued as before with regular penalties and very static play. The final minutes were somewhat nerve wracking for the home support as Biggar were again reduced to 14 men when A Jardine received a yellow card for a deliberate knock on. However, there was no further scoring and Biggar were delighted to finish with the victory.

As a result of this win, Biggar keep second place in the league with other results from the weekend now making it likely that the league winners will certainly come either Heriots, Gala or Biggar as these three have now opened a gap on other teams.


E. Bogle, R. Bradford, A. Jardine, C. Lavery, R. Stewart, F. Jackson, D. Reive, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. King, C. Borthwick, C. Mulligan, J. Orr, A. Thomson. Reps: C. Bachurswski, R. Jackson, G. Napier, A. Lamb, C. McCallum

Rugby Match Report – Sat 15th January

Melrose 18 Biggar 25

With a number of fixtures having been postponed due to Covid in recent weeks, Biggar were keen to get back into league action against a Melrose team who are also challenging at the upper end of the table. Almost straight from the kick off, Melrose opened the scoring when one of their centres, much too easily for Biggar’s liking, burst through to score at the posts followed by a straightforward conversion.

Stung by this early reverse Biggar fought back to eventually gain some territory inside the Melrose half leading to a series of line outs and scrums inside the 22. Biggar did well to recycle the ball through several phases of attack but the Melrose defence held firm and eventually Biggar conceded a penalty for ‘holding on’ which allowed the home team to clear their lines. However, a nicely judged kick by F Jackson took play back into the 22 and this time Melrose were guilty of hanging on to the ball allowing E Bogle to kick a simple penalty to make the score 7-3. The Melrose backs continued to look dangerous when in possession as they tried to move the ball wide at every opportunity. However, Biggar’s forwards looked to be gaining a slight advantage at the scrums and this pressure won a second penalty inside the Melrose 22 allowing E Bogle to make it 7-6. Biggar’s first try came after excellent work by R Orr who fielded a kick inside his own 22 and then broke upfield leaving a trail of defenders in his wake. The ball was moved wide for R Stewart to use his speed to touch down in the corner putting Biggar ahead 7-11. The Melrose stand off produced a series of very good kick offs throughout the game and another of these this led to a line out inside Biggar’s 22. However, an excellent ‘sack’ saw Biggar regain possession and surge back upfield. Following good work by R Orr and F Jackson, a delightful chip from C Lavery into the home 22 looked to be straight into R Stewart’s hands and a certain try. However, the Melrose full back had other ideas and his mid-air tackle led to him being sent off by the referee and unfortunately caused R Stewart to retire from the game.

At the start of the second half, E. McAra replaced R Stewart. Biggar began where they had left off and were soon back on the attack. Their second try came from C Borthwick who was ideally placed to take advantage of a lovely pass from A Jardine, the successful conversion made it 7-18. The provider was soon the scorer when, after some very good work by the Biggar forwards, they created the opportunity for A Jardine to break through the defence for another try which was again converted. It looked at this stage that it would only be a matter of time before Biggar would score a bonus point try. However, despite being a player down, it was Melrose who began to take control of the game as Biggar seemed to lose their focus. The home team reduced the deficit with a very good converted try to bring the score to 11-25. Then almost with the last play of the game, Melrose scored their own third try which was converted from the touchline allowing them to secure a losing bonus point.

This win takes Biggar into second place in the league, 2 points behind Heriots but with a game in hand. Gala are in third place although they would go ahead of Biggar if they win their game in hand. With Biggar still to play Heriots at home and then Gala home and away there should be some exciting rugby in the weeks ahead.


R. Orr, E. Bogle, A. Jardine, C. Lavery, R. Stewart, F. Jackson, D. Reive, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. King, C. Borthwick, C. Mulligan, J. Orr, A. Thomson. Reps: F. Barr, A. Orr, J. Barr, E. McAra

Match Report: 12th December

Watsonians 17 Biggar 40

There is no doubting refereeing a rugby match is a tricky prospect and in all honesty it is possible to stop the game at almost every contact as some players ‘bend’ the rules while others blatantly break them. A half-time penalty count of 15 equates to a penalty, on average, every 3 minutes. The final penalty count was 26. Add in the time it takes to take the penalty, the time it takes to set a lineout and then the time it takes to set (and most often re-set) a scrummage, and then finally add on the time it takes for players to be attended to if injured and you will understand that Saturday’s contest was far from free-flowing! Hard to believe in fact that there was time for 9 tries!

That Biggar were on the wrong end of that half time penalty count by a 12-4 margin and it is also easy to imagine the frustration felt by those in black and red! One of those 4 rare penalties to Biggar was awarded as a penalty try and this did help as did the fairly dramatic shift after the break which saw things evened out and a 5-4 split to Biggar….what did Davy Wilson say?

Watsons are having a difficult time in National 1 and currently prop up the table in bottom spot. That this was a different XV from the one which turned out Hartree Mill is not in doubt, no fewer than 15 different names (from a squad of 20) appearing on the team sheet in sharp contrast to Biggar who had 13 of the same players featuring (from 20). This ‘new’ Watsons outfit proved to be a far more competitive squad than before although their cause was not helped by injury.

In much calmer weather than had been the case last Saturday, despite a strongish wind blowing cross pitch, the opening exchanges were interrupted by the whistle (6 penalties in the opening 10 minutes). Neither side could gain any control and play was centred around the middle of the pitch. Biggar struck after 13 minutes when Donald Voas latched onto a break by Angus Thomson to romp home in fine style. Euan Bogle added the conversion for 7-0.

Watson’s cause was not helped when one of their props limped off shortly after this score. They had been competitive up until this point but the tables were soon turned although the next scrums saw Biggar penalised for a variety of offences.

A quickly taken penalty by the home scrum half saw Thomson half intercept the ball but this was within the 10m zone and Biggar were down to 14 men for the next 10 minutes. One of several huge boots, this one from Euan Bogle, with Fraser Jackson and Ross Bradford also both kicking well in open play and utilising the wind well, took play to within 5 metres of the Watsons line. A rampant line drive was halted illegally and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try and yellow card. The sides were now even at 14 a-side and Biggar were 14-0 up.

Euan McAra at scrum half over-cooked a kick from the restart and this created a position for the home XV who attacked well with the pack taking the initiative to Biggar with some dynamic pick and goes. Biggar’s defence held well however and there might have been a try for Biggar in a long range break out had the ball stuck as Rowan Stewart tried to (legally) intercept. Advantage was being played and Watsons opted to end the half with a kick at goal. The ball rebounded off the upright and Jackson immediately turned defence into attack with a huge boot to take play deep into the Watsons 22. With another attacking opportunity on the cards……the referee blew for half time.

Watsons had the advantage of the breeze in the second half but they initially seemed loathe to make use of this, preferring instead to run ball out of defence.

Chris Mulligan replaced Fin Barr at the break and then Watsons lost the services of another front row player, this latest injury leading to scrums being uncontested. This gives both sides really safe ball at scrum time but is absolutely no advantage to the team who were in the ascendancy – as Biggar were – and so Watsons got a real break with this change.

Watsons then engineered an attacking position in the Biggar half and after a number of charges which stretched the Biggar defence a try was scored under the posts – with a generous interpreatation of a double movementThis was converted for 14-7. The lack of continuity was beginning to tell on the visitors who couldn’t get their game moving and things were not helped when Fraser Jackson put the restart out on the full – scrum back, quality possession for Watsons.

Things were compounded as in their frustration Biggar began to force the play and chase the game. Passes which would usually have gone to hand were spilled while off-loads were less accurate then normal and often droppedA telling tackle by Voas however spilled ball and Rowan Stewart was set free on the wing after a great run by fullback Robbie Orr. Frustratingly the centre failed to get the bounce he needed after he chipped ahead to get the try but having gained the foothold, Biggar were not to be denied this time and a crash ball from skipper Andy Jardine saw him over the line for a try which, when converted by Bogle, gave Biggar a 12 point lead.

This was not to last long however, as another Watsons backs movement took play to the Biggar 22. With men seemingly well marked the Biggar defence was breached as a pass missed its intended recipient and bounced invintingly into the hands of a supporting player. This led to a charge to the line and a second Watsons try. The conversion took the score to 19-12.

The game was now into the last quarter and a possible upset looked on the cards, Biggar suffering again as the restart resulted in another scrum to Watsons on halfway, and then again when a seemingly fair challenge to a high ball saw Jardine penalised for taking the man out in the air. The only ‘benefit’ was that Jardine wasn’t shown a yellow. The resultant penalty took play to the Biggar line and another very effective line drive saw Watsons awarded a 3rd try to get even closer at 19-17. Biggar touch judge George Allison was adamant that the ball had been grounded well short of the line but he has no authority as a neutral official and so the try was awarded. There was no conversion but with just 2 points seperating the teams things were definitely not going to plan for Biggar.

And then things changed, and fairly dramatically! A penalty to Biggar and a good touch finder by Jackson created the position in the Watsons 22. A line take by the very productive Josh Kingquickly followed by a series of carries from among others Paul Davidson, Ross Jackson, Thomson and Mulligan saw Jardine burst over for his second try converted by Bogle for 26-17 and of course that all important 4 try bonus point.

With less than 10 minutes to go Biggar finished in some style, an arcing run of some 40 metres by Voas was followed by a Robbie Orr breenge before Ross Jackson finished the move off with a try. The conversion put the game beyond doubt but a third try for Jardine and a 5th conversion for Bogle wrapped things up at 40-17.

The final score suggests a fairly predictable result for a top of the table versus bottom of the table clash, but those present know just how difficult the match was and how Biggar struggled to stay in the game.

The National League takes a festive break and resumes on 9th January when Kelso come to Hartree Mill. The Border side got the better of their rivals Gala on Saturday, an important result for Biggar which puts some breathing space between Biggar in 2nd spot on 47 points and Gala in 3rd on 43 points. Heriots are top but they have played one more game than Biggar. The 3 point penalty incurred has obviously dented Biggar’s tally as those additional points would see them top the division.


R. Orr, E. Bogle, R. Stewart, A. Jardine (capt), R. Bradford, F. Jackson, E. McAra, D. Voas, E. Stewart, P. Davidson, C. Borthwick, J. King, A. Thomson, F. Barr, R. Jackson. Reps: A. PeacockD. McGivern, C. Mulligan, A. Lamb, J. Barr.

Biggar 33 Stirling County 0

In absolutely brutal conditions – almost constant snow in the first half and a bitter temperature throughout – Biggar secured another bonus point win over their visitors Stirling County. That they achieved the win whilst denying Stirling a point is tribute to the efforts of the squad who worked hard throughout the 80 minutes.

The match was preceded by a minute’s applause following the tragic passing of one of Stirling’s internationalists Siobhan Cattigan (26). Situations like this put the game firmly into some perspective and Biggar RFC extends it’s deepest sympathy to Siobhan’s family and the wider Stirling County RFC family.

The forecast suggested snow and rain showers from around 1pm and this was unfortunately very accurate, cars rolling in with snow-covered bumpers as the pitches began turning white. There was some conjecture as to whether the games would be completed and indeed there were several games across the country which did succumb to the conditions so fair play to Biggar and their opponents (Stirling at 1st XV and also Currie at 2nd XV level) for sticking to their task and competing when frozen!

Biggar made another few changes to last week’s starting XV as Paul Davidson was ruled out due to concussion. Rowan Stewart and Ross Bradford returned after injury while there was a very welcome return to the bench for 1st XV captain Chris Mulligan who sustained a broken leg against Stirling in the first meeting between the two sides back in September.

Biggar opened against the breeze (had there been a stronger wind then things might have played out differently) and were soon on the attack. This ended up being the situation for the best part of the afternoon, indeed in the second half Stirling were only able to escape their half when they restarted the match after conceding a score.

Ross Jackson was first on the score sheet as he completed a nice handling movement to cross under the posts this coming after 23 minutes. Euan Bogle kicked the first of his 4 conversions.

Play was unsurpringly stop/start although while there were errors these were forgiveable as hands got colder and colder. The backs in particular suffered as they didn’t have the opportunity to ‘hide’ in the scrum, lineout or driven maul.

Indeed it was this last named tactic which threatened to spawn points for Biggar as the pack drove Stirling back on several occasions for many metres and at times at a rate of knots. These initial forays ended in disappointment however as Stirling spoiled the party as they strove successfully to counter the drive.

A super carry from flanker Fin Barr who deservedly earned the man of the match award for a really combative performance took play upfield and into the Stirling half. A penalty kicked to the corner by Fraser Jackson who gained ground well in the conditions, set up the position from which Biggar used the catch and drive to good effect hooker Ewan Stewart, who notched 4 tries last week at Dundee, on hand to flop over the line for a second Biggar score, and one again converted by Bogle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it was that man Stewart who scored Biggar’s 3rd try, this another driven maul from lineout possession won by Josh King. The lock forward had another good game although there was definite pressure on his young shoulders as he had been in Stirling’s team in September before joining brother Sam at Biggar last month.

Bogle was unable top land the extra points from the conversion and so Biggar had a 19-0 lead at half time. The players made a bee-line for shelter at the break and there was a noticeably smaller crowd in the second half, many moving inside to escape the harshness of the day. Conditions did improve slightly after the break as it stopped snowing but it was still very cold, several players struggling to feel their feet!

Stirling lost the services of 3 of their front row players and so scrums were uncontested after the break, this perhaps a bonus for the visitors as they were at least guaranteed good possession at scrum time. The addition of replacement stand off Johnathon Hope also helped steady their ship as he worked possession better than the original incumbent, youngster Callum Beckett.

There was a reluctnace to kick for position however and Stirling made brave attempts to run ball back at Biggar the host side’s defence was solid and gave nothing away. Rowan Stewart was next to score, the centre running a good angle and collecting a neat pass from Davy Reive to run in virtually unopposed under the posts. Bogle converted this and with just 6 minutes of the half gone Biggar claimed the bonus point for 4 tries.

Andrew Orr was forced off after a collision and while his normal replacement at prop would have been Louis Henderson it was Euan Mitchell who took over, this as a result of scrums being uncontested. Euan McAra then replaced Reive.

Biggar might have expected to score more points in this half than they eventually did, the uncontested scrums a hindrance as they were unable to exert as much pressure on the visitors as they would normally have managed. As it was several penalties were conceded and Stirling were able to relieve pressure even if only temporarily.

Rowan Stewart picked up an elbow injury and he was replaced by James Barr while Mulligan took over from Angus Thomson, another who contributed much during the afternoon. The last replacement saw Henderson take over from Donald Voas. It would have to be said that none of the replacements at this juncture were as enthusiastic as they would have been had conditions been more reasonable. Mulligan for one admitted later that he was in two minds for the bulk of the half…..stay off and stay cold, get on and freeze!

The last try went to King who scrambled after a loose ball to win the race after a dropped pass, to touch down for Biggar’s 5th score. The last quarter of the match was played as light faded, the corner of the pitch closest to the new electronic scoreboard being the brightest area of the pitch by far.

The 5 points gained take Biggar back to 2nd top. The Heriots match against Cartha was postponed due to flooding and the Melrose/Boroughmuir match was abandoned. That means that there is just 1 point between Heriots in top spot on 43 points and Biggar and Gala, together on 42 points. It’s all getting somewhat confusing however as none of the top sides have played the scheduled 13 fixtures. Gala have 3 games to catch up (one of these is against Biggar), Biggar have two (one against Gala obviously) while Heriots have one. Fingers are now officially crossed that winter is not too harsh as rescheduled matches will quickly mount up.

This coming weekend Biggar travel to the Capital to take on Watsons. This is the last National 1 match of 2021 and kicks off at 3pm


R. Orr, E. Bogle, R. Stewart, A. Jardine (capt), R. Bradford, F. Jackson, D. Reive, A. Orr, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, J. King, A. Thomson, F. Barr, R. Jackson. Reps: L. Henderson, E. Mitchell, C. Mulligan, E. McAra, J. Barr.

Match Report: 28th November 2021

The wintry weekend put paid to the bulk of Biggar RFC’s packed programme of matches with only 3 from the 10 scheduled actually played. Those 10 games had players travelling the length and breadth of Scotland from Inverness in the north to Alnwick over the Border and from Dundee in the east to Oban in the west! A logistic issue but one which players, coaches and supporters relish. As it was the Girls U18 trip to Alnwick on Saturday fell victim to Storm Arwen while the snow and frost of Saturday night put paid to all Sunday’s matches.

Here’s to better conditions this weekend!

Dundee 8 Biggar 26

Biggar travelled north to Dundee on Saturday in the knowledge that they would face a much better side than the one which had opened the league season at Hartree Mill in September. Returning Uni students and some positive recruitment has strengthened the Dundee squad while every side tends to be stronger on their home turf. As has been the case for the bulk of this season Biggar showed several changes from the XV selected the previous week against Gala, that match ulitmately postponed because of Covid.

On a bright, sunny but bitterly cold afternoon due to the wind sweeping over the pitch, Biggar opened strongly with a great carry by Angus Thomson. This was the precursor to Biggar’s first try after 2 minutes. A clearance kick from Dundee was fielded by Biggar fullback Robbie Orr who then did what he alone can do, cutting through the Dundee chase to burst clear into space on the Dundee 22m line. Having been tackled he popped the ball to the supporting Ewan Stewart who romped home for a cracking try, converted by Euan Bogle for 7-0.

Dundee burst back into the game with some strong running from No8 Sam Cardosi and centre Murray Mitchell which tested the Biggar defence. An early Dundee penalty attempt was kicked by full back Fraser McKay to make the score 7-3 to Biggar.

A good touch finder from Fraser Jackson after a penalty awarded to Biggar after 18 minutes created the position for a driven lineout, Ewan Stewart on hand to claim his second score, also converted by Bogle.

Josh King provided an insight into why he was a Super 6 player with Stirling with a surging run while he along with his lifters took some excellent lineout ball, so crucial to launch attacks.

A similar attempt just minutes later saw Biggar penalised for obstruction and this heralded a period when Biggar threatened but failed to convert. Some unforced errors in the pack at the lineout – which otherwise worked really well – at the scrum base and in open play gave the home side some welcome breathing space. Indeed a forward pass, some rushed plays and finally an excellent cover tackle on Thomson who looked to be in at the corner menat that Biggar had to be content with their 14-3 half time lead.

With the breeze now favouring the home side, although this was never constant, Biggar expected to be put under the cosh and an over-cooked restart did not help. A crunching tackle from centre James Barr put Biggar back on the front foot and a neat handling movement involving the same player and winger Euan Bogle took Biggar to within metres of the Dundee line.

Biggar lost the services of prop Paul Davidson at this point the big man flattened in a clash as he took ball forward. Teenager Louis Henderson who is gaining experience with every game was his replacement, the youngster doing well under the circumstances.

With some 10 minutes of the half gone, another succesful, dynamic lineout drive saw, (yes, that man again) Ewan Stewart dot down to claim his hat trick. This position had been created by some good work from stand off Andrew Jardine and Donald Voas. Bogle added the conversion.

Biggar made their second replacement at this point with Ewan McAra taking over from Reive.

Within 5 minutes Biggar stretched their lead to 26-3. Almost unbelievably it was Stewart who again touched down. A driven lineout, Josh King again responsible for taking some great ball on the touchline, was halted by the Dundee defence. Able to retain possession however, Biggar’s pack laid siege on the Dundee try line with some very aggressive carries before Stewart made the final breenge for the try. The hooker runs some excellent support lines and is evasive when on the run and this industry justifies his selection week on week.

With a quarter of the match remaining Biggar were then forced onto the back foot as the Fifers came right back into the match with some direct and very forceful plays. Once again it was the back row, centres and wingers who came to the fore, forcing Biggar into defence. A try was always likely and after a spell where the home side showed considerable control, ball eventually reached McKay who crossed for a try but one which he was unable to convert. Dundee 8 Biggar 26.

The last few minutes saw Biggar once again tasked with defending their line and this they did really well, a fact player/coach Craig Borthwick remarked upon in the post-match chat. Biggar have the second best defensive record in the division.


R. OrrE. Bogle, A. Lamb, J. Barr, F. Jackson, A. Jardine, D. Reive, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, J. KingA. Thomson, F. Barr, R. Jackson. Reps: L. Henderson, A. Warnock (NU)A. Peacock, E. McAraA. Jardine (NU)

Match Report: 21st November 2021

There was frustration at the weekend when a Biggar 1st XV squad member returned a positive Covid case on Friday morning. Applying the latest SRU/Covid protocols the SRU were informed and the Biggar squad asked to complete lateral flow/PCR tests. The outcome was that the game against Gala was postponed, much to both clubs frustration, both having already had one previous game postponed for the same reason and because this past month has been a stop/start affair which ultimately destroys any match continuity. Biggar 2nds were unaffected because they were already without a fixture.

Hopefully things will return to normal for the coming weekend when both senior sides are in action in important away matches, the 1sts to Dundee and the 2nds to Hawick.

That there were no senior matches had no impact on the rest of the club sides with all other sections in action.

Match Report: 7th November 2021

Biggar 54 Boroughmuir 12

Biggar returned to winning ways on Saturday when rugby resumed after the previous week’s postponements.

Edinburgh side Boroughmuir, who have historically always been an edge ahead of Biggar, are going through some tough times at all levels from the semi-pro Super 6 to their club sides, were the opponenets. Indeed it is only the ‘Muir youth sections who are going well but then the future of any club is dependent on its youth numbers so there are potentially good times to come.

On Saturday however, the visitors found Biggar a handful and it was only the very poor conditions experienced by Biggar in the first half as they played into the elements which saved Boroughmuir from another drubbing – Biggar’s tally of 54 points comparing quite favourably with the 92 ‘Muir conceded the previous week against league leaders Heriots.

Biggar made several changes to their starting XV as players returned from injury although this win came at a cost with another handfull forced off due to injury and unlikely to feature in the weeks ahead. Jamie Orr, Sam King and Angus Thomson are all major doubts while there are also concerns over Andy Jardine and Fin Barr (injured in the 2nd XV match). These will all have an impact on those crucial matches coming up with 3 very challenging away games featuring Ayr (this Saturday 13th KO 11am), Gala (20th Nov) and Dundee (27th Nov) to come.

While the midweek weather had allowed the pitch to dry out, the conditions at kick-off were poor to say the least, a strong west wind blowing down the length of the pitch and bringing with it some horizontal rain. Playing into the elements in the first half Biggar were forced into defensive duties with little respite provided as ball had to be taken upfield by short, lung-bursting carries. Any ball kicked from hand was virtually blown back to give Boroughmuir an easy get out. Indeed one of Andy Jardine’s first penalty kicks scuffed across the turf as it was almost blown away from his kicking foot as he dropped it prior to striking it. Fortunately, the ever-alert Ross Bradford was on hand to gather and to make it look as though it had been a pre-arranged kick pass to the wing!

Having said that, Biggar had a dream start with skipper Andy Jardine benefitting from the Boroughmuir defence being posted missing in what was virtually the first Biggar attack, the centre bursting free with bags of support to dot down for a try which he converted for 7-0.

The weather, as suggested, did much to negate attacking moves from Biggar and the side spent the bulk of the rest of the first 40 minutes confined to their own half. They did manage to extricate themselves on occasion but containment and defence were the main aims and this they succeded in doing pretty well. Pick and go with small pods of forwards was very much the order for the conditons on the day and while this was strength-sapping for the Biggar pack, it must have been doubly hard for Boroughmuir who were forced to make tackle after tackle as the Biggar pack drove relentlessly forward. An interesting statistic would be to get a tally on the number of tackles made by the city side!

It would be unfair to pick out individuals from Biggar because every player made their mark to test the B’muir defence. On those rare occasions when Biggar managed to escape into the Bmuir half, any loose ball or error was punished by a kick which took play back into the Biggar half. A major problem for ‘Muir however was that despite engineering a foothold in Biggar territory, they were unable to retain possession, Jamie Orr plundering lineout ball almost at will to allow Biggar to relieve pressure and repeat the process of pick and go.

B’muir did manage a score of their own when, after a couple of penalties awarded against Biggar, and in the home 22, wing forward Stuart Ferguson touched down under a pile of bodies. Callum Anderson added the conversion to tie the scores.

Biggar lost the services of Jamie Orr after some 36 minutes with an ankle injury. The lock is a very influential member of the Biggar 8 and there is no doubt he will be missed. His able replacement was Josh King, brother of Sam, and a recent Biggar recruit. Biggar managed another score towards the end of the half. The position for this score was as a result of another big forward effort with Paul Davidson, Ewan Stewart, Craig Borthwick and Donald Voas all involved. The score was credited to skipper Andy Jardine who, with the ‘Muir defence in trouble, ran a neat angle to take a pop pass from his brother Aird to cross to the right of the posts. Despite the wind Andy managed a great conversion to put Biggar ahead at 14-7.

With the wind on their backs Biggar were in the ascendancy after the break. B’muir were exposed to the elements and while the rain was not as heavy, the wind still made life difficult for them. ‘Muir had no option other than to work their way out of their half as Biggar had prior to the break. It would be fair to say that the ‘Muir carries were less convincing than those of their hosts while the Biggar offensive-defence was a step up on what ‘Muir offered in the first period. In reality it was a torrid time for the visitors who came a poor second in most facets of play, Biggar continuing to dominate at set piece and in the loose.

Such was this dominance that it was not long before the ‘Muir defence was breached. Donald Voas was the first to score, the big prop bursting through and over the cover defence to dot down for a try converted by Jardine. Rowan Stewart in the slightly unfamiliar role of outside centre, was next, a neat pass from Euan McAra providing the space with the ‘Muir defence moving across to create a gap. Jardine kicked this conversion and the next to the first of a brace of scores for Fraser Jackson, the winger rounding off a neat break from his fullback Robbie Orr. Jardine was then replaced by Andrew Lamb, with McAra giving way to Euan Bogle.

Jackson then scored his second, this arguably the pick of the day, and created after some good work in the middle of the park from Rowan Stewart. Ball was moved swiftly to the right via Aird Jardine (twice involved) and Lambwhere Ross Bradford made good ground before providing a neat ball inside to the supporting Jackson. Bogle added the conversion for 40-7.

Sam King suffered a really nasty looking knee injury which is ironic given that he and his brother Josh had only just teamed up at Biggar, with Andrew Peacock his replacement. Angus Thomson was next to depart, the flanker colliding with a Boroughmuir player and Robbie Orr. This movement helped pave the way for ‘Muirs’ second try. With the Biggar cover stretched ‘Muir prop Tom Gracie made a long run to the Biggar 22. His pass found centre James King who in turn made ground before freeing lock Neil Colvin who crossed for a try.

Ewan Stewart notched the next Biggar score, this almost identical to the one scored by Voas while Josh King scored a debut try in very similar fashion, both scores owing much to the driving play of the Biggar pack which did so much damage on the day. Bogle added the conversions to both of these tries to take the Biggar tally to 54 – in the end a comfortable yet hard-fought win.


Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Paul Davidson, Jamie Orr, Craig Borthwick, Angus Thomson, Sam King, Ross Jackson, Euan McAra, Aird Jardine, Fraser Jackson, Andy Jardine (c), Rowan Stewart, Ross Bradford, Robbie Orr.

Reps: Andrew Orr, Andrew Peacock, Josh King, Euan Bogle, Andrew Lamb

There is always plenty to work on and plenty room for improvement and it can sometimes be difficult playing when an opposition is struggling as ‘Muir clearly were. There will be no repeat this coming weekend when Biggar travel to take on Ayr, this the game postponed from September when Biggar sought a postponement after running short of front row qualified forwards. This was not viewed sympathetically by the SRU who slapped Biggar with a 3 point penalty as a result. Incidentally, the appeal to this sanction is to be heard over Zoom this coming week and so Biggar should know their fate prior to the Ayr match. In sharp contrast to ‘Muir, Ayr, as Super 6 Champions and with their club side sitting in 5th place just 2 points behind Biggar who are still in second spot, are on a real roll at the moment. The recent news that they have a £3 million development plan for their Millbrae home is sure to be another massive boost for the Ayrshire club.

Please note that because of the Scotland/South Africa international and because of an Ayr club function, this match kicks off at 11am! An early start for all but as always a big travelling support would be very much appreciated.

Biggar 2nds 5 v Musselburgh 22

The East Lothian side are currently second top in the East Reserve league having lost just one of their 9 matches so far. Biggar’s young side were always going to find this a tough ask but they can take confidence again from their performance which ensured M’burgh had to fight all the way for their win. Given a steer by veterans Alan Warnock and Davy Reive the youngsters all shone up well but couldn’t prevent a ‘Burgh win.

Biggar Colts. This group were playing gtheir first match in the Conference D series with West their guests. Biggar ran out 25-5 winners. The u16’s recorded a big win on Sunday (60-12) with the U14 and U15 sides forced to cancel due to lack of numbers this due to injury and a clash with the Scotland/ Australia international. The U13 side did play losing out by 23-11.

Match Report: 24th October 2021

Heriots 29 Biggar 28

You have to look back to Sept 2019 since Biggar last lost a National League match. That was to their opponents for this Saturday’s match, Highland. Obviously last season was a wash out because of Covid so the winning run extended to a run of 24 unbeaten matches. A proud record but one which at some point was always going to come to an end.

Having ridden their luck on a couple of occasions this season – at Stirling for example when the side sneaked home by two points or at Kelso when only a brave second half performance ensured an eventual win – the defeat was perhaps on the cards although there is no doubting the disappointment felt by all involved. Especially as there were areas where Biggar failed to match their high standards, with defence an area of particular concern.

It is easy to use injuries as a reason for the loss, and there is much truth in that argument with no fewer than 12 players, all of whom have been used this season to date, unavailable for this match. But in a physical game such as rugby, injuries are a factor with which every side must deal. And while only one of the bench was used on Saturday, there is still a very strong squad of players available, and that with a full 2nd XV complement at Boroughmuir at the weekend.

Heriots are a mid-table XV but one that clearly has a lot to offer, their ability to run from everywhere a well known Heriot trait. Fullback Jacob Lineen, son of ex-Scotland international Sean, epitomising this with one try a perfect example of pacy, balanced running. They also possess a physical pack.

This season, every game for Biggar is a cup final, the League Championship triumph of the 2019/20 season making them the side everyone wants to beat, this clear from the reaction at the final whistle of the Heriots squad who clearly felt they had won that Cup final. The trick for Biggar is to bounce back and this they must do on Saturday when Highland travel to Hartree Mill, the Inverness side no doubt determined to make up for a surprise defeat on Saturday to Cartha.

Early dominance by Heriots gave them both field position and possession as they were able to dictate to Biggar. Indeed the match was only 6 minutes old when they struck first, their try scorer unidentifiable as he had no shirt number. The conversion was missed. Up to this point Biggar had scarcely put together any phases and this continued for the next 5 minutes until in another attack a wide pass was intercepted by Biggar winger Rowan Stewart who romped home from some 40 metres. Andy Jardine converted and despite their limited involvement Biggar were 7-5 ahead.

Shortly after the restart Biggar’s cause was hampered as Craig Borthwick picked up a yellow card for an off-the-ball tackle. His absence was a considerable loss for Biggar and it was perhaps not surprising that Heriots were able to capitalise as Biggar’s defence was stretched and their scrum put under ever more pressure.

Heriots second try owed a bit to luck as their attempted pushover saw No8 Callum Anderson pick up and dive for the line. Referee Tom French was unfortunately unsighted as he missed the ball being dropped before being touched down. The try was awarded and converted by Graham Wilson and Heriots were back in the lead at 12-7.

In an already enthralling contest Biggar fought back with a Jardine penalty for 12-10. By this point Biggar, despite still being a man short had begun to make inroads, the carries of the pack which had been so much a part of the game against Cartha the previous week having a telling effect once again. Donald Voas was to the fore in this respect although ably backed up by Andrew Orr, Andrew Peacock, Euan Mitchell (this the youngsters first full start) and Euan Stewart.

An inopportune celebration at a Biggar scrum win, saw referee French reverse the penalty which gave Heriots another great attacking position deep in the Biggar half. There was some surprise that they did not opt for the posts or a scrum, as they instead favoured the kick to the corner for a lineout. On this occasion some sterling work in defence deprived the Edinburgh outfit from adding to their score.

Borthwick’s return to the fray gave Biggar a lift and they very nearly added a second try when Voas took an interception. His run took play to the Heriots 22 when he fed Andy Jardine. The fleet-footed Heriots scramble defence brought the Biggar centre to the ground but Biggar retained possession with Mitchell set free for the line. He almost made the try although a pass to his right might have seen a certain score. As it was Heriots were just able to clear the danger.

Virtually on the stroke of half time another Jardine penalty found its mark and Biggar, somewhat surprisingly given their lack of quality possession and fraught defensive effort, went in at 13-12 ahead.

A serious looking injury to a Heriots 2nd XV player on the adjoining pitch delayed the restart as the stretcher had to be carried over the 1st XV pitch. Best wishes go to the injured player.

Biggar began the second half in much better form. The pack continued to carry well, Borthwick putting some real pace in his running and forcing at least 2 Heriots players to stop his progress. Voas had another great run on the wing before being forced into touch. Jardine kicked his 3rd penalty to extend Biggar’s lead to 16-12.

Heriots struck directly from the restart as a somewhat loose clearance was fielded by Lineen who set off on a mazy 60 metre run for a try in the corner. The kick was not good but Biggar’s kick chase was not effective and this gave the Heriots man the opportunity he was only too keen to accept.

Less than 10 minutes later and Heriots benefitted from another poor defensive effort, their big lock forward Leo Gordon advancing play from his own half from a lineout to the Biggar 22. While the Biggar defence eventually halted his progress ball was transferred to the supporting Lewis Govenlock who crashed over at the the posts for a try which was converted to give Heriots a 24-16 lead.

As the match entered the final quarter Biggar came right back into things, a series of probing runs from, among others, Sam King and Borthwick, both of whom contributed much throughout the afternoon, putting Heriots under some real pressure. These were hard yards however as Biggar faced the breeze, which made kicking clear tricky.

Managing to retain possession deep in the Heriots 22 a series of picks from the pack asked some really serious questions of the home team’s defence which managed to hold out in the face of some fairly physical plays. It was Borthwick who eventually got the better of the Heriots defence for a try which when converted by Jardine put Biggar pack into the picture and back within losing bonus point territory at 24-23.

From the restart Biggar were quickly back in attack mode and were soon back in the Heriots half. One particularly powerful Borthwick carry ended with a Heriots player sustaining a leg injury which saw the game halted until he could be given treatment and taken off.

This stoppage allowed Heriots to regroup a bit as the pace of the match was taking effect, some of their big forwards beginning to wane a little. It may also have played on Jardine’s mind as the penalty he kicked to restart the match was pushed wide.

It was Heriots who struck next. Biggar lost too many turnovers on Saturday, far more than is usual and Heriots benefitted from one such loss of possession. This play almost involved Biggar physio Ali Orr who had been waved on to the pitch as Mitchell took cramp. Able to continue without need of further treatment, referee French allowed play to resume with Orr still in the midst of play. Not that this was the reason for the try when it came but a lucky escape for the physio!

3rd Heriots try was the result and although this was unconverted Biggar were 29-23 down.

There were fewer than 5 minutes remaining and although down Biggar were far from being out. Returning to the Heriots half Biggar began to press again, ball being used well by both forwards and backs and possession retained pretty well depsite the urgency of the situation. This pressure eventually told after a series of penalties were conceded and Gordon was shown a yellow as he was identified as creeping offside as Biggar attacked.

The next series of assaults on the Heriots line ended as home centre Peter Burns intercepted a loose pass to begin a long run home. Thankfully for Biggar however there was a penalty advantage being played and play was brought back. Another series of probing runs from the pack created some space which Biggar exploited well, fullback Fraser Jackson making a breenge for the line. With 5 metres to go he popped the ball outside to Rowan Stewart who crossed for his second try and one which brought Biggar to within a point of the win.

The conversion attempt from the touchline and into the breeze was a tough ask for Jardine and though well enough struck the ball was pushed wide. With less than 3 minutes remaining it was Biggar who finished the game in possession as they sought another score. A knock on at the scrum base seemed to give one last opportunity for Biggar but they could not convert and Heriots took the win.

A defeat then, albiet a very narrow one. A losing bonus was all Biggar could claim although this of course is very much better than nothing. Coach Davy Wilson didn’t mince his words in the post match chat but he was complimentary of the overall effort from the squad. The task as explained at the outset is to make sure that normal service is resumed on Saturday coming when Highland are the opponents – no mean task as the Inverness club have been very much to the fore in the last two seasons and have a proud record of their own to re-establish.

Please note that this match is a 3pm kick off. Most other matches are early 12.30pm kick-offs to allow spectators to attend the Scotland/Tonga match but this would require a ridculously early start for Highland so the SRU were happy to accept the 3pm kick off request.


F. Jackson, R. Bradford, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (Capt), R. Stewart, A. Jardine, D. Reive, A.Orr, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, A. Peacock, S. KingE. Mitchell, R. Jackson. Reps: L. Henderson, A. WarnockD. McGivern, E. McAraM. Girdler

Match Report: 16thOctober2021

Another great weekend with all 3 senior sides recording deserved victories in their league games.

Biggar 54 Cartha Queens Park 24

Cartha QP, hailing from Glasgow were opponents for Biggar’s 1st XV and looking at the respective league positions (Biggar 2nd top, Cartha 2nd bottom) many assumed this would be a fairly straighforward outing for Biggar in their search for league points. The final result which saw Biggar outscore their opponents by 8 tries to 3 suggests that that was indeed the case, but Biggar had to fight all the way for their lead, especially given that there were another handful of changes to the starting XV from that which took the field at Kelso.

Injuries to Fin Barr, Ross Jackson and Conor Lavery coupled with illness affecting Paul Davidson and Biggar’s resources were once again taxed. Indeed following a head count on Saturday, while 2 full 20 man squads took to the pitch, there were no fewer than 15 players out or unavailable, this representing another full side.

Into the starting pack came Sam King and Guy Napier while into the backs came Aird Jardine, who rejoined his brother Andy at stand off with Ross Bradford displacing Micheal Girdler. Louis Henderson, another Colt making the step up to the 1st XV squad took Davidson’s place on the bench.

In much more pleasant conditions than had been the case for the Melrose match a fortnight previously the game kicked off in the presence of a very healthy touchline support. And within the first minute Biggar capitalised on a Cartha lineout overthrow. The ever-alert Ewan Stewart took possession and made the initial surge. His off-load was taken by Andrew Orr who fed supporting lock Andrew Peacock whose shimmy burst the defence wide open to leave Davy Reive a fairly simple run to the line for the opening score, converted by Andy Jardine. 7-0.

Some would suggest such a simple, early opening score does a team no favours and this was virtually the case on Saturday when the try was followed by a lengthy period of play and territory for Cartha who controlled the game well, retaining possession over multiple phases.

A penalty from centre Wayne Burrows was followed up by a try for scrum half Thomas Davidson although it appeared to many that there was a neat bit of obstruction on King who was unable to make any tackle on Davidson. Burrows added the conversion for a 10-7 Cartha lead.

The end of the first quarter of the match coincided with Biggar’s second try. The forwards had made inroads into the Cartha half with some fairly dynamic carries – this a feature of their play throughout the match – and this gave the backs space. The try came from a clever backs move involving Fraser Jackson and Andy Jardine who created space for Rowan Stewart who romped home from the 22. The winger had been involved in a nasty looking collision in the early part of the match and physio Alison Orr soon made the decision to have him taken off as a precaution, Girdler his replacement. Jardine kicked the conversion for 14-10.

Another prolonged period of possesion for Cartha saw Biggar keep their try line intact beforlaunching another foray of their own into the Cartha half. A couple of penalties gave Biggar good field position and while the first line was lost – aside from this the lineout proved to be a much better source of possession than it had been against Kelso with King and Jamie Orr making several good takes – the second spawned possession for a decent driven maul. Both Orrs, Peacock and Voas all took ball on before Reive fed Andrew Orr who with the assistance of Jamie Orr crashed over a for a try converted by Jardine for 21-10. Unfortunately Voas had picked up a head cut in his carry and while he received attention Henderson came on as replacment. The youngster is not yet 19 so this was a big ask but in this spell, and later in the game when he replaced Voas again, he did enough to suggest that he will be a 1st XV fixture in the years to come.

It appears Biggar are getting into a habit of squeezing scores into the dying minutes of the half or game and with less than 5 minutes remaining there was just time left for a 4th try, this the sought after bonus point try.

Biggar’s pace and attack was relentless at this point with forwards and backs being used to switch play left and right but always gaining ground. In the face of this onslought the Cartha dam had to break but the angle at which try-scorer Andrew Peacock picked to run onto Andy Jardine’s pass was exceptional, top drawer and unstoppable – a fantastic piece of play! Jardine converted for 28-10 and half time followed.

There was a much calmer half time team took this week and the second half was a virtual repeat of the first as Biggar ran in another 4 tries although frustratingly Cartha scored two of their own to take the score to 54-24.

The second half saw Biggar open strongly, making Cartha tackle, tackle and tackle again. This was strength sapping work for both Biggar and Cartha and it is to both teams credit that they lasted the pace to the game’s end. Guy Napier took a bad looking ankle knock however and was replaced by Alan Warnock.

The next stoppage was for referee Craig Clark who required some assistance as his calf muscle cramped. Happily he was able to continue. Cartha engineered a breakout as Biggar failed to take their lineout ball, play swept almost the length of the pitch as Biggar scrambled back in defence.

Cartha capitalised on their position with a second try, converted again by Burrows. Peacock gave way to Euan Mitchell another ex-Colt and one who has featured on the bench several times without getting much game time. Shortly afterwards Euan Bogle took over the scrum half duties from Reive. In a short burst Biggar ended any faint hopes Cartha might have had of a comeback as they ran in 3 unanswered tries. First up was Euan Stewart who carried with pace and strength the whole game and which was sufficient for him to earn the man-of-the-match for the day.

Second was Girdler who took an interception as Cartha sought to open out from their own half. The winger has pace and he easily outstripped the cover to score under the posts. Sam King who had been at the heart of the forward effort rounded off a very combative performance with his try, Biggar’s seventh. This was created by a monster pass from lock Craig Borthwick to winger Bradford. He carried before laying off to King.

Cartha then grabbed their 3rd score, this another interception as Biggar ran from their 22. Burrows converted this while Jardine added a conversion to each of Biggar’s tries. The kicker then rounded off a fine afternoon with his own score, as he breached the now tired Cartha cover. Wide out on the right he was unable to add to his 19 point tally.

All in all a solid performance with the post match chat about trying to maintain concentration for the 80 minutes. Given that this was a more complete display than had been endured at Kelso, there was improvement but again, against tougher opposition, there were mistakes which could prove costly.

Guy Napier, Jamie Orr and Rowan Stewart may well struggle to be fit for the coming challenge, this against Heriots who are lying in 6th spot but just 5 points behind Biggar who are top courtesy of a better points differential over Melrose in second spot. Biggar have now played almost all of the teams in the bottom half of the table and so the challenges posed in the next two weeks by Heriots then Highland will provide a better indication of where Biggar stand.


F. Jackson, R. Bradford, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (Capt), R. Stewart, A. Jardine, D. Reive, A.Orr, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, A. Peacock, S. King, J. Orr, G. Napier. Reps: L. Henderson, A. WarnockE. Mitchell, E. Bogle, M. Girdler

Match Report 9th October

Kelso 20 Biggar 32

This was a cracker of a match, especially if you were supporting Biggar who, as Kelso waned, definitely snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!

With some 67 minutes on the clock, Biggar were 20-13 down and so high was their catalogue of errors, that there was a feeling from the large travelling support at least, that a losing bonus was probably all that the side would ‘win’. The collective will of the squad was not for settling for that losing bonus however and in the space of the next 20 minutes (there was a good deal of injury time) that losing bonus and 4 point win for Kelso had been turned completely upside down and inside out into a 4 try winning bonus 5 points for Biggar while Kelso were left with nothing whatsoever to show for their efforts.

What a performance from the Biggar squad, Jekyl and Hyde in terms of first to second half play, but one which again should instill confidence into what is still a very young side (with a few notable exceptions!).

Robbie Orr and Angus Thomson both of whom had played influential roles against Melrose the previous week were unavailable for the Kelso trip and so Sam King started at wing forward while Fraser Jackson returned to the starting lineup in place of Orr. There was a return to the squad, on the bench, for Ross Bradford.

Kelso are mid table and have the luxury of a very big pack which features one of Border rugby’s characters in Bruce McNeil who played at Hartree Mill for a couple of seasons back in 2012/14. At 38 he deserves great credit to be still playing at this level albeit that his performance on Saturday was over-shadowed by two of Biggar’s oldest starters in Craig Borthwick (35) and Davy Reive (38).

Although the forecast was for rain the day proved much kinder than had been the case the previous week and the game was played in reasonably dry conditions. Playing down the slope in the first half Biggar were stung by the ferocity of Kelso’s opening salvos and while penalty kicks were shared one a-piece by Kelso’s Dwain Patterson and Biggar’s Andy Jardine, the home side went ahead after 11 minutes when their huge lock Keith Melbourne bundled his way over after a fine 20+ metre run through and over Biggar’s normally very sound defence. The conversion to this try was kicked by Patterson as was the conversion to their next try, this coming after 25 minutes and credited to prop Terry Logan who pounced from a metre out. Kelso 17 Biggar 3.

It was pretty much all one-way traffic at this stage as well, Kelso in the driving seat and being given space and opportunity as Biggar really struggled to gain any semblance of control. A malfunctioning lineout did nothing to help, any territory gained lost as quickly as ball was pinched on the put in or which resulted in poor, scrappy possession. This was coupled by a hesitancy in the three-quarters who as a unit failed to gel, kicks lacking accuracy and passes somewhat laboured and going astray.

For Kelso the loss of try-scoring prop Logan at the restart after his try did nothing to aid their cause although as the match moved into its latter stages the Kelso forward effort generally waned as Biggar’s fitness told.

second Jardine penalty on 35 minutes reduced the leeway slightly but Patterson struck back with another for kelso. A 3rd attempt from Jardine on the stroke of half time and arguably the most-strightforward was wide – would this prove costly? This 20-6 half time score represented the biggest half time league match deficit Biggar have had for some 3 years.

The players trooped off to the changing rooms and as the windows of Biggar’s were quickly closed, there was (perhaps mercifully) no chance to hear the blunt offerings of coach Doug Fleming and player-coach Borthwick.

Whatever was said must have been fully understood however as it was a very different Biggar which began the second half. Much more aggressive in defence, much more assertive in attack, it was Biggar who, for almost the first time, were on the front foot. A series of penalties helped as Kelso transgressed (the final tally this half was 9-1 in Biggar’s favour!) and Biggar, via Jardine, were able to advance play toward the Kelso line. The lineout was still not as good as it has been however and this best attacking position was lost.

Another play ended as Conor Lavery’s pass was intercepted and then other errors gave possession away and gave Kelso a little respite – Rowan Stewart was on the receiving end of no fewer than 3 passes which referee Scott Cubitt adjudged to be forward while the same player just put a foot in touch as he off-loaded inside on another attack.

Guy Napier replaced Ross Jackson (shoulder) after the break and he began well making good yards whenever he was given the opportunity. A tap penalty by Andrew Orr saw a couple of phases and possession retained before Donald Voas made a well timed run to crash over for Biggar’s first try. Jardine converted and Biggar were within touch of a losing bonus.

Biggar’s other replacements were introduced (all bar the luckless Bogle who did not get a run), Alan Warnock for Fin Barr (shoulder), Bradford for Michael Girdler and Paul Davidson for Andrew Orr. The restart following Biggar’s try should have given Kelso some respite but Biggar were back on the attack almost immediately and with Jamie Orr pinching a Kelso lineout, another run saw Voas bundled into touch.

The home side made several crucial errors however, their penalty count creeping up on a regular basis, a series close to their line leaving referee Cubitt no option but to show a yellow to Matt Kindness. Given that there were just 10 minutes left he should probably not have been able to return but such was the amount of injury time accrued that he did make a return later.

series of scrum penalties conceded by Kelso might have led to another yellow but an injury to replacement prop Cessford saw referee Cubitt announce instead that the remaining scrums would have to be uncontested. This should have given Kelso further relief and hope but a knock on by McNeill turned the game back to Biggar. A knock on at the scrum base, a couple of poor passes and while Biggar were encamped in the Kelso 22 time seemed to be running out. There was a feeling that a losing bonus would be the reward. And then with yet another penalty advantage called, a sweeping movement from right to left saw Lavery react with some agility and accuracy to pop a pass through his legs to centre Andrew Lamb who was then set free on an arcing line for a try. 20-18 and the possibility of a draw? Would the missed penalty come back to be a factor? The conversion was short and therefore, as time marched on, a losing bonus was still the most likely result.

Once again however a Kelso error on the restart gave Biggar another chance and following a series of ‘pick and go’s’ with the Biggar pack in full flight, Euan Stewart and King advanced play (the latter taking a couple of grasps to get control) before feeding Napier who made another great carry to cross for what would surely be the last score. Jardine converted and Biggar found themselves ahead (for the first time) by 25-20!

Ever conscious that an error could lead to a Kelso try, supporters in both camps had their hearts in their mouths but it was Biggar who returned on the attack with another free-running backs move begun directly from the restart and a turnover. Jardine and Stewart were in fine form and the latter was at last the recipient of a pass deemed to be legal and he sprinted over from the 10m line to score Biggar’s 4th and bonus point winning try.

With the clock now reading 88mins there was just time for a restart, Biggar kicking the ball into touch to finally end the contest! What a match, certainly not one for the faint-hearted! For Biggar a massive escape after a very poor first half and for Kelso massive disappointment in that they had nothing to show for their hard work.

Cartha are vistors to Hartree Mill on Saturday. The Glasgow side are in second bottom spot in the National 1 table. That might suggest an ‘easier’ prospect for the home XV but they cannot afford to relax. Every Nat 1 side will aim to be the first to end Biggar’s current run and so the squad cannot afford another slow start.


F. Jackson, M. Gridler, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (Capt), R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, A.Orr, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, S. King, F. Barr, R. Jackson. Reps: P. Davidson, G. Napier, A. WarnockE. Bogle, R. Bradford

Biggar 2nds

The 2nd XV lost our by 38-15 to Edinburgh Accies in Edinburgh. Short of a couple of regulars the side conceded several early scores before engineering a bit of a second half comeback (as the 1sts!).

The eventual score was more respectable than it had looked but this young side was still disappointed not to have done better.

Match Report: 2nd October2021

hat-trick of wins on Saturday meant for a very happy Hartree Mill clubhouse on Saturday evening. Some positive news and solace then after the huge disappointment felt by the club as the 3 point penalty appeal for not fulfilling the previous weeks fixture against Ayr was dismissed by the SRU. The club has until midweek to submit an appeal to this ruling.

St Andrews Timber and Building Supplies, the new Club Sponsors, were on hand to see the new 1st XV strips being worn for the first time and their management, Andy Barr and Ronnie Robinson, could not have wished for a better start to their 5 year sponsorship deal with the club.

Whether it was their presence, the frustration felt by the rejected appeal which provided additional determination or perhaps the fact that league leaders Melrose were their opponents cannot be confirmed but the 1st XV were in top form to dispatch their Border visitors. The 2nds disposed of their opponents Selkirk in even more convincing style (38-3) while the Colts returned from Currie with a handsome 21-14 victory under their belts.

It should be noted that all 4 teams and both match officials at Hartree Mill (conditions were slightly better at Currie in the morning) deserve huge credit and great praise for their efforts on the day. The overhead conditions during the first half of both matches were surely amongst the worst for many years with the only saving grace being that this was October and not December when temperatures would most likely have been several degrees lower.

There were a few debuts in the 1st XV squad with Conor Lavery making his first appearance at this level this season, Angus Thomson making a return to the top team after several years at West and youngster Michael Gridler making his 1st XV debut after some solid peformances with the 2nd XV.

Melrose came to Biggar on the back of 4 bonus point wins from 4 starts and (still) sat at the top of the table. They were expected to provide a much sterner challenge to that they provided 2 seasonago as they have inherited a few of the former Super 6 Southern Knights players.

As the match preparations began so did the rain, just as forecast! The first half was played in monsoon like conditions with everyone – players, officials and spectators – quickly soaked through.

That the quality of the game was as high is testimony to the fitness and skills of the players. There were errors, lineouts missed and passes dropped but percentage wise not nearly as many as might have been expected given the weather.

Much of the first half play was in the middle of the pitch as neither side managed to gain control of the game. Huge cheers, much back slapping and high-fiving were in evidence after the first two scrums with Melrose and then Biggar winning penalties, so much so in fact that this prompted referee Calum Worsley to speak to both captains and point out that while congratulating your team mates was one thing, mocking your opponents was not on and would henceforth be penalised. Good bit of reffing!

The first scoring opportunity went to the visitors as veteran scrum half Davy Reive was penalised for holding on after the tackle. The wind was from the south(ish) and of little help to either team but it did have an impact on the Melrose stand off’s kick which fell short, Rowan Stewart taking a sliding catch before feeding Robbie Orr who dispatched the ball with a mammoth boot back towards the Melrose half. Indeed it was these two plus debutant Girdler who were to the fore as Melrose sought to kick deep in the hope of gaining easy ground with a potential fumble. Aside from one such error, and this on the half way line, the back three stood firm and always proved effective on the counter attack – more of that later!

The opening score fell to Biggar as they held onto possession well despite the conditions, switching their attack between forwards and backs with every one of the pack eager to carry into contact and with the backs running well when they had the opportunity. A penalty to Biggar in the 26th minute gave Andrew Jardine the chance which he took, Biggar 3 Melrose 0.

Throughout the half Lavery at stand off provided real control with a variety of kicks pinning Melrose back. Arguably one of the most effective clearance kicks however came from Craig Borthwick who thumped the ball upfield out of defence and with Girlder up in support to make the first tackle saw Biggar gain another foothold in the Melrose half.

Jardine was on target a second time with a similar penalty attempt just 10 minutes later as the Melrose 6 crept offside.

And that was essentially the tale of the first half as neither side was able to gain sufficient territory or control to threaten their opponents line. Defences stood firm, scrums were by and large shared with Biggar perhaps gaining a slight advantage while the Melrose lineout, inventive and secure though it was, failed to provide the platform that it had been hoped.

The forecast had suggested a wet afternoon of showers with sunny spells and this proved to be the case; the showers coinciding with the first half while the sunny spell coincided with virtually all of the second half, the driving cross-pitch rain replaced by some very welcome sunshine.

Now kicking towards the clubhouse Biggar opened really strongly taking play almost immediately to the Melrose 22 from a dynamic 30 metre driven lineout. A series of effective pick and go’s for the pack saw ball spun right where only stout defence and an alert pounce on Reive disrupted what might have been a scoring chance.

Melrose continued with their kicking game but again the Biggar back three were able to deal well with whatever was thrown at them, Orr kicking back with interest. Neither side had made many line breaks up to this point, defences up flat and tackling hard although not without effect and impact, the wet conditions combined with the huge physical effort sapping the strength of all.

On the hour mark Melrose were fortunate not to concede a try as a kick ahead from Reive landed in no man’s land and was fly-hacked on by Lavery toward the Melrose line. It looked to be a certain try but the ball bounced and rolled as only a rugby ball can, squirming its way out of the reach of Biggar’s chasers.

With just over three-quarters of time played Biggar scored the games first try. A clearance kick by the Melrose 10 was fielded by Stewart who fed inside to Orr. The two then combined together with some neat inter-passing to take play to within 5 metres of the Melrose line. Having secured possession and with a penalty advantage Lavery put in a neat cross kick to the right where it was gathered by Lamb. His inside pass was taken by Gridler who stretched for his debut try (and one which would later see him claim the man-of-the-match award). Jardine added an excellent touchline conversion for 13-0.

Another astute kick by Lavery exploited the 50-22 rule to give Biggar a lineout within 5 metres of the Melrose line. A line drive appeared to result in a try for Ewan Stewart but referee Worlsey adjudged the hooker to have made a double movement. To make amends Stewart then plundered a Melrose maul to win precious possession for his side. A blindside move saw ball passed to Voas who embarked on a 20 metre sprint to the Melrose line, the diminutive Melrose scrum half his only obstacle. There was only going to be one winner despite the Border man’s bravery and Voas scored in the corner, to round off a very good performance from the prop. Jardine kicked very well again for 20-0.

Melrose are not top of the table for nothing however and while the game had less than 10 minutes remaining they managed to hold their line intact and then, with just 2 minutes to go, grabbed a try of their own as Biggar’s defence finally gave way. A couple of penalties to Melrose were kicked for lineouts close to the Biggar line and it was from the second of these that the try was scored. A quickly taken conversion attempt failed to find its mark and with time left for just one final play Biggar took the honours, denying their visitors any points at all – a potentially important factor.

As previously mentioned the efforts of all are praiseworthy as conditions in the first half in particular were very challenging to say the least. In contrast to recent post match chats when the over-riding impression, despite positive results, was one of disappointment, there was genuine satisfaction and pride in a job well done. The celebrations included a team photo with sponsors Andy and Robbie from St Andrews.

Congratulations to all involved. Aside from those who scored the points it would be wrong in summary to make mention of individuals in what was a real team performance and so all can take the honours; the forwards for their willingness to look for work in both attack and defence and the backs for their handling in attack and their contributions in dealing with the Melrose kicking game and with their defence.


R. Orr, M. Gridler, A. Lamb, A. Jardine (Capt), R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, A.Orr, E. Stewart, D. Voas, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, A. Thomson, F. Barr, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Peacock, G. Napier, S. King, E. McAra, F. Jackson.

Biggar 2nds 38 Selkirk 3

This was possibly one of the youngest 2nd XV’s Biggar has fielded for some time, the half dozen ‘old men’ of the squad well out-numbered by 14 of the 20 man squad aged 21 or younger. That they recorded such a convincing win is testimony to their work rate, effort and application with coach Deke Armstrong full of praise for their efforts.

For the record Ross Bradford, Callum Dunlop, David McGiven (2) and Euan Bogle (2 tries and 4 conversions) scored Biggar’s points.

This result takes them into 5th place in the East Reserve League 1 with an opportunity this coming Saturday to leap above hosts Edin Accies.

Match Report: 26th September 2021

With the current pandemic still making its presence felt a number of games across the SRU leagues have been postponed in the past few weeks but Biggar lost out on Saturday when an absence of front row players led to them seeking a postponement from the SRU.

In recent weeks the 1st XV have lost the services of Craig Bucharewski and Chris Mulligan with long term injuries while Donald Voas and Euan Stewart played last week against Watsons despite carrying injury niggles, neither of which responded well after the game. Add an eye injury to Paul Davidson and the club was left with no cover, the 2nd XV front row already struggling with unavailability.

In the club’s relatively short 46 year history this has never, as far as anyone can remember, happened at 1st XV level before although that doesn’t hide the disappointment felt by all involved in having to seek a postponement.

It is to be hoped that the injuries clear up sufficiently over the next few days to allow the club to field a XV against league leaders Melrose this coming Saturday.

There were of course additional ramifications for the 2nd XV who also suffered albeit that their squad still managed to play, the game becoming a ‘Development match’ with scrums uncontested. The result saw the Biggar XV lose out by 28-14 although this is most likely to be recorded as a 28-0 score for the purposes of the league table, Biggar awarded a single point for playing the match and not cancelling it altogether.

The frustrating apsect of all of course comes in the shape of the 15 or so other 1st XV squad members who were desperate to play, but who couldn’t take the field at 2nd XV level.

There were encouraging signs for the second string, and club however, with Conor Lavery making a first appearance for a league match and Angus Thomson turning in another stellar performance as he made a return to action after injury and to Biggar after several years in Glasgow playing for West.

19th September

Biggar 45 Watsons 6

A third win and another 5 league points means Biggar get back onto the top of the National League Division 1 table, albeit only on points differential from a similarly unbeaten Melrose. The over-riding feeling in the Biggar camp was one of frustration however as several chances went amiss and these against a Watsons side which was there for the taking. Given the possession and territorial advantage Biggar enjoyed the score should have been closer to 70.

There are several very good reasons for this with some questionable decisions – nothing unusual there as referees are fallible – allied to another plethora of changes in the Biggar squad which makes continuity all the more difficult. In the 3 league games to date, only 3 players have started each game in the same position, Saturday seeing 6 changes to the side which played at Stirling the previous week.

Add the fact that 5 of the squad are in their first season of senior rugby and all aged 18/19 and it is easy to see why things haven’t gone as smoothly as one might have hoped – and yet, as previously noted, this was a third staright win with a maximum 15 points gleaned!

Saturday’s match saw a welcome return for front rowers Donald Voas and Ewan Stewart although a fractured leg sustained by skipper Chris Mulligan was a blow to the squad. Andrew Jardine took over the captaincy.

In wonderful late summer weather and in front of another healthy support Biggar took just over 1 minute to open their account, their first attack seeing ball moved wide from a huge Robbie Orr pass to winger Fraser Jackson. The youngster sent a great kick downfield and parallel to the touchline with scrum half Euan McAra winning the race to the ball for the opening try, this converted by Andrew Jardine.

scrappy passage of play ensued as neither side could gain control of play, referee Callum Lazenby awarding penalties liberally as players strove to beat the offside line and/or made tackle errors. Biggar’s lineout yielded several pieces of possession although the pack were dominant in the tight scrum this providing No 8 Guy Napier with a solid platform to pick and go with several hard yards gained with this tactic. It also paved the way for Biggar’s second try, credited to Napier who rounded off a huge Biggar scrum with a No8 pick up.

There was a huge cheer from the visitors when they won a penalty in the Biggar half which stand-off Lewis Jamieson converted for 12-3 but this joy was short-lived as Napier scored his second in identical fashion to his first this just before the half hour mark. Jardine missed the conversion to the first Napiet try but notched his third attempt for 19-3.

There were several near misses, a great follow up chase and tackle by Robbie Orr and Rowan Stewart seeing the Watsons wing fumble possession, the next despairing tackle just enough to deprive Stewart from a score. In another instance and after Watsons had opted for the lineout in preference to a scrum, an overthrow was snaffled by hooker Ewan Stewart who took play downfield for some 20 yards, and this despite the attention of most of the Watsons pack. A couple of neat breaks by McAra also caused some havoc amongst the visiting XV although these petered out due to lack of close support, the scrum half’s pace taking him beyond his pack.

As it was Biggar struggled to add to their tally, the only other score of the half going to Jamieson from Watsons who kicked another penalty for 19-6

Fin Barr, who had produced another industrious performance with some copybook defence, was forced from the fray just before the break after sustaining a cut to the head. His replacement was another teenage debutant, James Walker, who had been called up to the bench after Sam King called off on Saturday morning. The youngster turned in a polished performance and was in little awe of his mostly senior opponents making some good defensive tackles, winning ball on the floor and adding to the Biggar attack. Indeed he was very unlucky not to score a try after he was given ball just outside the Watsons 10m line towards the end of the match. A suspect high tackle was all that stopped him from what would have crowned a great debut. Off on Sunday to study in Newcastle James will be missed but he will of course be a welcome returnee at Christmas, if not before.

Biggar made a series of scrum drives as they continued to dominate the visiting 8 but these failed to yield a try, the next and the bonus point winning score going to Andrew Jardine who made a solid burst through the vistors defence for a good try which he converted for 26-6.

There was another change for Biggar when Andrew Peacock, who had taken a leg knock in the first half, was replaced by Andrew Orr just 7 minutes into the second half. The replacement was just held up over the Watsons line after another line drive by the dominant Biggar 8. Davy Reive replaced McAra at scrum half as another series of Biggar errors, several again from the lineout, preceded a high tackle on Lamb who looked to be on his way to score a try, Watsons flanker Keegan de Vos shown a yellow for his efforts. Lamb almost immediately added to the Biggar tally as his outstretched arm proved just long enough to dot the ball down for Biggar’s 5th try, this again converted by Jardine – 33-6.

With Watsons effort waning and their bench almost emptied due to injury Biggar scored two excellent individual tries, one-apiece to Rowan Stewart and Robbie Orr, both requiring some really determined running and strength. Stewart took the first, this a 30m run through, round and over the Watsons defence while Orr scored Biggar’s 7th try, this another long range effort from the fullback who looked to pass inside before setting off to go round the Watsons cover. Jardine added one conversion from his two chances to record his own 15 point tally.

Watsons injury woes continued to the point where they ran out of front row cover, this leading to uncontested scrums and seeing replacement back Robbie Lavery press-ganged into appearing in the second row! Jackson moved infield to replace Aird Jardine at stand off with McAra returning to play on the wing.

Craig Borthwick was shown a yellow card and so Biggar played out the match with 14, their last replacement Ross Jackson not used as he was carrying a chest injury.

Saturday’s 45-6 score was virtually identical to Biggar’s score against Dundee a fortnight previously (Biggar winning that match by 47-3) but was in marked contrast, Dundee offering a much sterner challenge. This coming Saturday Biggar journey west to take on Ayr who sit in third place in the league, one point behind Biggar and who will certainly provide a much tougher challenge. Biggar will have to be at their very best if they are to return with their unbeaten record intact.


Donald VoasEwan Stewart, Paul Davidson, Andrew Peacock, Craig Borthwick, Jamie Orr, Finlay Barr, Guy Napier, Euan McAraAird Jardine, Rowan Stewart, Andy Jardine, Andrew Lamb, Fraser Jackson, Robbie Orr. Reps: Andrew OrrRoss Jackson, James Walker, Davie Reive, Robbie Lavery.

Match Report: 5th September 2021

Stirling Wolves 29 Biggar 31

Biggar’s win last week against Dundee came at a significant cost, no fewer than 6 players being ruled out for Saturday’s meeting with Stirling, including the whole of the front row. In addition, Robbie Lavery was unavailable so in total there were 7 changes to the side which took the field at Stirling!

In these circumstances coach Davy Wilson had asked his team to do what they could to get a win, the likliehood of Stirling being as easy a target as they were for the last match between the sides (which saw Biggar win by 45-15) quite remote. In fact this proved to be a massively entertaining contest between two sides who looked, at times, to be full of running and with bags of ambition. The game swung one way and the the other and was in doubt right up to the final whistle, Biggar scraping over the line by just two points but managing to collect all 5 league points (4 for the win, 1 for the 4-try bonus) in the process.

The early exchanges were positive as Biggar spent the best part of the first 20 minutes in the Stirling half. Had the bounce of the ball been kinder Fraser Jackson, who started at wing, might have opened the scoring after 3 minutes instead of having to wait until the 17th minute, his try coming after an Andy Jardine break. Add a missed overlap when a 3 on 2 would surely have led to a try, and then a second try, this credited to Rowan Stewart, and things were looking very positive. To understand what then happened is difficult, as Stirling, who had initially looked at sixes and sevens, came as quickly onto their game as Biggar fell off theirs.

A 12-0 lead courtesy of the two tries and an Andy Jardine conversion was reduced in the space of a few minutes to a 14-12 deficit as Stirling made the most of a malfunctioning Biggar lineout and more slipped tackles in one game than were perhaps missed in all of the 2019/20 season. Stirling stand off Hope was the chief architect as he made the most of the Biggar errors, running and kicking well to pin Biggar back.

The visitors cause was not helped however by an injury to centre Gregor Stewart, the youngster cutting a somewhat forlorn figure as he limped off having sustained a knock to his knee which he has spent the last two and a half years rebuilding. His able replacement was James Barr, his involvement meaning that although not all on the field at the same time, there were 4 sets of brothers in the Biggar squad (Barrs, Jardines, Orrs and Stewarts). One Club, One Family or in this case several familiesCoincidentally, Biggar newcomer Sam King was in direct opposition to brother Josh in Stirling colours!

Things got worse for the Biggar side as Stirling made the most of another series of errors to score their 3rd try on the stroke of half time – which in all honesty couldn’t have come at a better time for the visitors. Stirling 19- Biggar 12

Biggar introduced King to the fray in place of the hard-working Finlay Barr and Craig Borthwick (who had dropped to the bench due to a calf injury) for Guy Napier. Biggar were now playing with the slight advantage provided by the breeze but they failed to capitalise on this and instead opted to gain ground by running the ball at their hosts who largely dealt well with these attempts to break out.

Whilst still struggling to gain any real consistency Biggar’s efforts were hit again as skipper Chris Mulligan limped off with what appeared to be a serious looking leg injury. Having lost first choice hooker Ewan Stewart in the Dundee match, Mulligan’s departure meant that Andrew Orr (who had been in Stirling colours the last time the sides met) took over the throwing in duties and while he has plenty of experience he has not had any practice this season so far and so this increased the problems faced by the Biggar side. Thankfully however, Borthwick provided some stability to the Biggar lineout, his first 4 takes simply copy-book in execution and providing a much needed platform from which Biggar could attack. Indeed his 4th take led to a driving maul which saw Andrew Orr dot down for a good score. Jardine was wide with the conversion but Biggar were back in things at just 19-17 down.

This respite was only temporary as this pulsating encounter maintained its flow, Hope kicking a penalty to stretch his sides lead to 22-17.

Biggar were forever looking dangerous when in possession but continued to concede ground with a high error count. Territory and possession hard won was often given up and lost and so as the half progressed it started to look as though Biggar might struggle to regain the lead. A quickly taken tap penalty by Stirling forced King to make what turned out to be an excellent try-saving tackle while the quick reactions of scrum half McAra helped save another difficult situation although this too led to an error and Stirling possession.

With Stirling in the attack and in Biggar’s 22 a timely interception by centre Andy Jardine gave him an opportunity for a long run in and one which he won to secure the bonus point, the Stirling cover trailing in his wake. He added the conversion to put Biggar ahead at 24-22 and then again to the next try scored just minutes later by Robbie Orr. This try came from a Stirling counter attack which saw their fullback kick upfield. Biggar’s backs are no more dangerous than when they take possession in open play and Orr is a master in this respect. Having got free of the first Stirling runner, he took the next player on, ran past him and then kicked toward the Stirling line, managing to win the chase to the ball for a truly wonderful try.

Now 9 points ahead at 31-22 and with just 10 minutes remaining it looked as though Biggar might just sneak the win but that script was not being followed by the host side who launched a series of attacks to pin Biggar back deep into their 22. A number of probing runs to the Biggar line were repelled but not without fault, King the player to eventually fall foul of the referee’s ruling and shown yellow. Biggar would play the game out with just 14 men. This of course gave the host side a one man advantage in the scrum where Biggar’s Davidson and replacement prop Peacock were tiring after a huge shift.

Almost inevitably and not surprisingly, the dam burst and Biggar conceded a 4th try through Hope who kicked for 31-29. Could Biggar hold out?

In an attempt to speed the game up a scrum half has just 5 seconds to play the ball from the base of a ruck or maul. This is something which is very rarely punished but it was in this game. Biggar’s McAra, whilst not deliberately trying to waste time, failed to hear the referee’s instruction….and Biggar found themselves on the back foot again! Fraser Jackson got boot to ball to clear the danger shortly after this lastest Stirling attack and then it was all over – Biggar winning by 31-29 to stay unbeaten.

A hard lesson in league rugby and evidence as coach Wilson pointed out, that because of their ‘championship’ winning season of two years ago, Biggar are the hunted, with all teams giving that wee bit more to try and beat them.

Two more injuries – at least – will test Biggar’s strength in depth. They now await the arrival of city side Watsons. Other results in the division mean that Biggar sit in 3rd place due to points differential, their 46 not as good as that of Kelso’s 51 and Melrose’s 47.


Andrew Orr, Chris Mulligan (c)Paul Davidson, Guy Napier, Andrew Peacock, Jamie Orr, Finlay Barr, Ross Jackson, Euan McAraAird Jardine, Rowan Stewart, Gregor Stewart, Andy Jardine, Fraser Jackson, Robbie Orr. Reps: Sam King, Craig Borthwick, James Barr, Iain Renwick and Euan Mitchell, .

Match Report 5th September 2021

Biggar 47 Dundee Rugby 3

A 5-try bonus point win for Biggar over visitors Dundee, played in front of a large enthusiastic crowd, would suggest ‘job done’ and that, after an 18 month break, things were back to ‘normal’ at Hartree Mill.

This was a meeting of two teams which finished the 2019/20 season at opposite ends of the National 1 table – Biggar denied promotion and Dundee escaping relegation by the ludicrous null and void decision – so as things stand not much has changed.

Things were not as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest however, this a very much harder fought win than was the case in January 2020 when the teams last met and when Biggar won by a near identical score of 52-5. The youthful Dundee squad – 6 remained from 2020 while 12 of the Biggar squad featured in that game – proved to be a tough nut to crack and only in the last 10 minutes or so did their effort crumble, Biggar moving clear from 26-3 to 47-3 with 3 late tries.

Biggar’s win came from a dominant forward performance which from the outset made life really difficult for their visitors, penalties awarded regularly at scrum time and this without prop Donald Voas who was forced off after some 20 minutes. His able replacement was Paul Davidson.

Scoring was opened with a Biggar try after some 3 minutes, Dundee fullback Fraser McKay having missed a penalty awarded in the first contact following kick off. The try came after a Dundee lineout was overthrown and ball snaffled by the ever-alert Ewan Stewart. His pass was taken by Craig Bachurzewski whose charge took play into the Dundee 22 where Ross Jackson was released for a clear run in on the left. Andy Jardine was unable to add the conversion, his only miss of the day.

Biggar gave note of their intentions by running ball at every opportunity but a lack of control and some odd options meant that their efforts were unrewarded, Dundee’s defence able to deal with this threat. For their part Dundee also opted to run the ball when they could, their centre Murray Mitchell showing some decent footwork to test the Biggar defence but this stood up well with, among others, skipper Chris Mulligan, Craig Borthwick and Fin Barr putting in some super tackles, the latter’s consistency in this regard earning him the man-of-the-match award.

McKay reduced the deficit to 5-3 with his second penalty attempt but he was off target again after 20 minutes. This kick would surely have given his side a deserved boost but instead Biggar then seemed to step up their effort and after a series of pick and go’s close to the Dundee line Borthwick was bundled over for a try which Jardine converted for 12-3.

The half ended with Dundee on the attack after stand off Tommy Armstrong made good ground from a penalty award to take play deep into the Biggar 22. The Biggar defence stood up well again however, with Borthwick’s sacking of their lineout proving crucial and with Barr’s thumping tackle leading to spilled possession.

Now playing toward the clubhouse and the bulk of the Biggar support, Biggar wasted no time in claiming their third score, this credited to hooker Ewan Stewart who rounded off a very tidy driven lineout, ball having been won again by Jamie Orr. Biggar 19 Dundee 3.

A touchline fracas erupted on the touchline following a probing run by Robbie Orr. With a host of players involved referee Gordi Reid had little option but to show someone a yellow card. He eventually settled on Bachurzewski from Biggar and Kieran Deith from Dundee although others could easily have been picked. These were the first of 5 cards shown by Reid although it has to be said that this was not a dirty game, the others awarded for repeated infringements (Fraser Black and Kieran Mitchell for Dundee) and one for a tip tackle (Robbie Lavery for Biggar).

Ewan Stewart then added his second try and his sides 4th to secure the bonus pointthis from another driven line and maul. Had there been a TMO this try might not have been given, Dundee’s scrambled cover defence seeming to rip the ball from Stewart’s grasp as he dived for the line. It was easy to see why the score was given however, Reid following play and likely to have thought the ball had been grounded.

With Bachurzewski on the naughty step Andrew Orr took over at prop, Fin Barr forfeiting his place as a result. Biggar maintained territory as they kept play deep in the Dundee half this despite a couple of wayward penalty kicks to touch by Fraser Jackson, the youngster just kicking too long which denied Biggar lineouts close to the Dundee line. This pressure was eventually rewarded however when, with the Dundee scrum disintegrating, replacement scrum half Euan McAra was on the point of touching down. The scrum collapse saw referee Reid have no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. This is an automatic 7 points and so Biggar moved into a commanding 33-3 lead.

Dundee was then reduced to 13 men as they received two more yellow cards, and this gave Biggar more space, McAra benefiting as he latched onto a pass from Ewan Stewart to cross on the barren right wing. Jardine again converted.

With time running out there was just time for a 7th try, this a solo effort from Robbie Orr who glided and stepped his way through and round the Dundee defence to dive over under the posts. Jardine’s conversion brought the game to a conclusion.

A team can only gain a maximum of 5 points in any game and so this was a full tally for Biggar though an unhappy Davy Wilson as coach was quick to point out that there were too many passages of play which were untidy and which, on another day and better opposition would have been punished. There will be concern over Voas and Borthwick who both sustained calf injuries but those who came on off the bench showed that they are able replacements. This was the case for the whole bench with Aird Jardine replacing Jackson and Andrew Peacock coming on for Borthwick.

The side now prepare for a trip to Stirling, a side who lost their game on Saturday to Gala by 34-7. It is expected that they will be a different propsoition at home however as well as being keen to avenge the defeat by Biggar in 2020.


Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Craig Bachurzewski, Craig Borthwick, Jamie Orr, Finlay Barr, Chris Mulligan (C), Foss Jackson, Davy Reive, Fraser Jackson, Rowan Stewart, Andy Jardine, Robbie Lavery, Euan Bogle, Robbie Orr. Reps: Paul Davidson, Andrew Peacock, Andrew Orr, Aird Jardine, Euan McAra.

Match Report 29th August 2021

Biggar’s senior sides were both in Glasgow at the weekend where they were hosted by GHA.

In perfect summer weather – for spectators at least, perhaps a tad warm for the players – the two sides played some great rugby. The 1sts were edged out by 31-26 while the 2nds recorded another confidence building 33-12 win.

GHA were arguably the most physical and best organised of the 3 Premiership clubs Biggar have faced in the pre-league season warm up matches and while this was a third defeat, there was little in the result, with both sides scoring 4 tries.

Biggar fielded a near first choice XV for this last warm up match and will hopefully have the same players available for Saturday when the league season kicks off with a home match against Dundee Rugby (KO 3pm). There will however be a doubt over centre Andrerw Lamb who took a knock to his knee which forced him out of the action just before half time while it is to be hoped that winger Ross Bradford (calf) and No 8 Guy Napier (shin splints) will be available for selection. Interestingly the oldest player in the Biggar three-quarters starting line was Andy Jardine at 21 with Euan McAra making his 1st XV debut at scrum half and aged just 18.

Biggar’s tries were credited to back-rower Ross Jackson, prop Craig Bachurzewski (his second in as many games) and Robbie Orr (2). Andy Jardine kicked 2 conversions while Euan Bogle notched one.

Despite the positives displayed by the side in these 3 warm up games, caoch Davy Wilson rightly pointed to the fact that league rugby is a very different beast and that Biggar would have to be on their very best to record a win against visitors Dundee on Saturday.

The 2nd XV were somewhat short-handed with a number of late call-offs depriving them of a bench, so the 15 who turned out had a tough task in the hot weather and on the 3G pitch which tends to retain heat far more than a grass surface.

To make matters worse a car load of players were held up in the M74 road works which meant that with just some 15 minutes left prior to kick off Biggar had only 10 players ready to go. That they then got together and won by 5 tries to 2 is credit to their talent and endeavour. This was another very youthful XV which bodes well going forward, their efforts aided by the experience of Messers Renwick and Reive who boosted the average age by 10’s of years!

For the record, tries were scored by Michael Gridler, Andrew Orr, Archie Damer, Jamie Tucker and Louis Henderson. Livewire fullback Callum McCallum kicked 4 conversions.

Match Report 22nd August 2021

Another rugby mad weekend at BRFC with all sections in action – in total some 160 players in competitive rugby with the Mini and Micro sections on the training pitch! Fantastic!

The action kicked off on Friday with an eveing game between the 2nd XV and visitors Moffat who stepped in after Hawks found that they were unable to field a 2nd string for the Saturday. Many thanks to Moffat for providing the opposition.

With a handful of notable exceptions the squad members were mostly in their early 20’s with a good number of teenagers as well. Their speed was crucial and try thought they did Moffat could not cope with the pace and Bigar recorded a handsome win. It was encouraging to see the youngtsters in action though as many were again making their first steps into the senior game.

Biggar 5 Hawks 14

Saturday saw the 1st XV squad host Premiership side Glasgow Hawks, who included the Stewart twins Matthew and Lewis, both of whom began their careers at Hartree Mill. A difficult return for the boys but both stood up well to the expected barracking from their former team mates.

Biggar dominated the first half but had only one try to show for their efforts, this a forward effort rounded off by prop Craig Bachurzewski who was making a return to Biggar colours after being away for some 4 seasons. Biggar’s backs and pack drove relentlessly at the Hawks line but a combination of handling errors, slow ball and a solid Hawks defensive effort prevented Biggar from adding to the first score. A number of regulars were unavailable meaning that the Biggar youth were also given a run, with another handful of new faces including Archie Damer and David McGivern making their debuts. It was also pleasing to see a return to action following injury for Gregor Stewart who last played in March 2019. The coaching team faced a major task to give all 24 players present on Saturday some proper game time and as the 2nds had 20 for Fridays game, the task of selecting a match day squad of just 19 for both sides will become all the more difficult in the coming weeks.

Up against a Biggar tidal wave a rare foray into the Biggar half just before half time almost saw Hawks tie the scores but the Biggar defence held strong and the teams turned round with Biggar holding their slender lead.

Now playing toward the clubhouse the Biggar support could have been forgiven for thinking that Biggar would retain control of the match and record a win. Quite what happened is anyone’s guess but Hawks began better and then put Biggar under more pressure, the home side losing a bit of their drive and shape. Biggar made several largely unforced errors (partially explained by the conditions which saw both sides drop passes) and holes appeared in the Biggar defence as the Hawks backs came onto their game, ably led by their stand off who had hitherto been frustrated by his sides play.

lineout error from Hawks seemed likely to deprive them of an attacking position but Hawks won the ball back and after a couple of phases the vistors recorded their opening try, converted by their stand off. The same player then added the two points to his sides second score as the Hawks pack eventually rounded off a lineout drive close to the Biggar line.

Try as they did and while they came close again, Biggar could not finish and Hawks recorded a 14-5 win.

Neither side were happy with their performance; the Hawks coaching team pointing to a lack of game time (they have struggled to get quality pre-season opposition) while Biggar felt they had let the game go after being in control for the first half.

Biggar travel to Glasgow this Saturday to take on GHA, their third Premiership opponents and last match before the league season kicks off on 4th September. Three regulars made their return to action on Saturday and hopes are high that another 4 will be available for selection this coming week.

Match Report: 15thAugust 2021

What was the highlight at the weekend?

There were so many……..

  • a Colts win to kick start their pre-season

  • inaugural ‘starts’ at senior rugby for SO many youngsters at both 1st and 2nd XV level

  • a successful return to rugby after 4 years for Aird Jardine

  • the quality of play demonstrated by all sides – home and away – after a massively long, Covid-related lay off

  • seeing 3 sets of brothers playing together at 1st XV level

Or maybe, top of the list, most importantly and certainly most welcomewas the fact that Hartree Mill was once again BUZZING with rugby action!!

What a wonderful sight:

  • a rammed car park,

  • loads of spectators,

  • loads of families taking in the action

  • the site of some dozen and more youngsters playing their own ‘game’ on the spare pitches

  • the sunshine highlighting and setting off the well-prepared pitches (thanks Hugh and GY)

  • 4 games – 3 rugby and 1 football

  • the touchline banter

All those present could not help but enjoy the return of rugby to the club. It’s been a challenging time for all and it was nice to get some form of normality back. The results might not have been those Biggar desired but the most important aspect was getting players back onto the field of play and members back on the touchlineResults will come, getting to play will ensure that is the case.


Biggar and Currie last met 2 years ago in a Cup competition. Currie won that match 29-24 and they also took the honours on Saturday by 38-22. That only tells half the story however as only 8 Biggar players remained from that match two years ago, while the Biggar squad that took the field on Saturday was minus 12 players from the squad which took National 1 by storm that season.

Few clubs can cope with that sort of player turnover without some impact on their play but pleasingly, while the side still lost, there was plenty to suggest that those who stepped up will prove to be instrumental in the league season ahead.

Played in 4 quarters Biggar were ahead after the second session and held that lead until the last quarter when Currie stretched out by scoring a couple of straightforward tries as Biggar’s effort waned, partly due to fitness and partly due to ensuring everyone in the squad was given crucial game time.

Having recently played and beaten Stirling’s Super 6 side, Currie’s preparation was well ahead of that of their hosts and this was a telling factor as players were thrown into the contest having never played together before. In addition there was a total of 7 players making their senior debuts – a daunting prospect in itself.

Currie opened the scoring with a try in the corner as Biggar’s defence was stretched wide. A similar score to Biggar, falling to Ross Bradford, another scored by Rowan Stewart and a third by hooker Ewan Stewart (this off a driven maul) gave note of Biggar’s intent as they used the conditions well.

A second Currie try and then an interception by Rowan Stewart made the score at the end of the second session 22-10.

Currie were not to be denied however and they ran in 4 unanswered tries to take their tally to 38 to take them clear of Biggar.

There were many positives however with Fin Barr, Andrew Lamb, Fraser Jackson, Zander Lyon, Louis Henderson and Guy Napier among others all showing up well. In the next 2/3 weeks several of those currently struggling with injury are likely to be making a return to the fray and this will make selection all the more challenging for the coaching team.


The 2nd XV, now in the capable hands of Deek Armstrong who is no stranger to Hartree Mill, also showed up well with some 80% of their cohort in their early 20’s. The addition of some old-heads will make a big difference and it was great to see Charles Cochrane and Andrew Goodall, to name two, back in a black jersey after several years absence.

There were bright senior debuts for Archie Damer and Euan Laing, both of whom were stepping up from Colts.

Match Report: 1st March 2020

A packed clubhouse courtesy of Club Sponsors Halls of Scotland, a big enthusiastic support, a top of the table clash, an extremely hard fought contest………but one played out in what must surely have been equal to, if not worse conditions than those experienced at Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup match in February.

The bright, dry, windy and cold conditions of Saturday morning gave way, not as was forecast at 3pm, but at 2.55pm(!), exactly at the point when the players came out onto the pitch to observe a 1 minutes silence in respect of former club members Alan ‘Mick’ Wilson and Dougie Telfer. From that point on and for virtually the rest of the match a snow storm swept across the pitch from south to north and which made watching, never mind playing, a real test.

All credit then to the two squads for their efforts but also to the ball boys, the officials and of course the spectators for braving the elements.

The result was the lowest scoring match of the season but a win for Biggar nonetheless and one which takes them another step closer to a second League championship and title. Mathematically however, Heriots can still catch Biggar and while the odds are stacked against that happening, it is still a possibility and therefore Championship celebrations must remain on ice until those last two points (one in fact would probably be enough) are secured. To stop Biggar, Heriots would have to win their remaining 4 games with 4 try bonus points and Biggar would need to lose all 3 of their remaining matches all without recourse to a losing bonus.

Biggar were without Donald Voas for this latest contest, the prop having damaged a calf in that game. Robbie Lavery who also came off injured had recovered but Rory Hutton was unavailable due to illness. Other than these there were few changes to the starting XV with Andrew Peacock filling the prop berth and Robbie Orr returning to full back although sadly his game lasted barely 5 minutes after he picked up a shoulder injury which could preclude any further involvement this season.

The gale force conditions favoured neither side, it was certainly not the weather either team would have chosen, and in short this was an arm wrestle between the forwards with the (poor) backs left as bit parts and to trying to remain warm, yet still ready to join the fray whenever required.

Biggar got off to a dream start which was to prove crucial. A take by Robbie Orr from a Heriots attacking kick set play up on the right hand side of the pitch. Ball was transferred left with Robbie Lavery making ground before offloading to Peacock. He gained important yards before passing to Luhann Kutze who sprinted clear to the line for a try which Andrew Jardine converted for 7-0, and this with barely 2 minutes on the clock.

Bertram replaced Orr with Rowan Stewart moving from wing to fullback.

Heriots enjoyed a large passage of play but with their attack stifled by Biggar’s defensive efforts they were able to gain only marginal yards. They also fell foul of referee George Pounder’s interpretation of their line-out drive, with several penalties denying them the opportunity to maintain pressure in the Biggar half.

With some 25 minutes on the clock Biggar seemed to have stretched their lead with a well taken driven maul. Unfortunately however, the maul broke apart short of the line with half of the players involved spilling into touch. Refree Pounder blew for a lineout but had missed the fact that the remaining players, mostly in the black of Biggar, were still in control of the ball and had gone on to ‘score’ a try. A genuine mistake and one which fortunately didn’t have any material effect on the outcome. The resultant line and scrum looked odds on for a try as well but a knock on in the pick up denied Biggar the score.

Conditions never let up and kicking was never an easy option with the ball flight at times resembling that of a bent banana! Add in the fact that a straight lineout throw was an almost impossibility and play was, unsurprsingly, a tad scrappy.

Biggar used their pack to carry ball and this proved successful in that yards were gained and the Heriots defence was tested to the max. As usual, the whole side made their presence felt with Messers (Lewis) Stewart, Mulligan (who spent many seasons at Heriots before returning to his home club) and Bassett to the fore with Craig Borthwick another to make inroads.

The game moved to half time with all players and officials beating a hasty retreat to the relative warmth and shelter provided by the dressing rooms. Ross Jackson who had been unwell for most of the week was replaced at half time by Alan Warnock.

The second half opened with Heriots on the attack and able for once to maintain possession and territory in the Biggar half. As had been the case in the first half, getting play upfield was a major task and a combination of some good ball retention and some neat chip kicks kept Biggar pinned down although when given the opportunity to run the ball back, Biggar’s back three looked eager for the task – grateful of course for the opportunity to run and create some body heat! At times and particularly at scrum time the backs could be seen doing 10m shuttle runs whilst the packs prepared to scrummage, this in a vain attempt to create some warmth!

At the start of the 4th quarter, Heriots finally breached the Biggar defence.

The Heriots score came from a catch and drive at lineout. Whichever side got a push on put their opponents under great pressure and so, having got the maul moving toward the Biggar line, the addition of several of the Heriots three quarter line took the ball over for the try.

In reality, this is the first try created and scored by an opposing team for many moons; tries for the likes of Gala, Kelso and Melrose all emanating directly from Biggar errors, and often whilst Biggar were in attack. The try was right on the touchline and so although the conversion attempt was well struck by Heriots scrum half Graham Wilson the ball fell short. Biggar still ahead by 7-5. There was a just a score in the match however and all was to play for.

Ironically, the fact that Heriots scored gave Biggar an ‘advantage’! The restart from Conor Lavery was kicked into the Heriots half, an area of the pitch which had seen sparse action and as a result was firmer and which made running marginally easier.

The score also seemed to galvinise the Biggar effort and they were rarely back in their own half for the remainder of the match. The winning score came just 5 minutes after the Heriots try and was inspired by a neat midfield break by Jardine. The position created put Heriots onto the back foot and having retained possession on a handful of phases, play was taken to the Heriots line with prop Richard Bassett the man credited with the try, his 4th in just three matches! Jardine calmly stroked the conversion over to give Biggar a 14-5 lead and one which also denied Heriots a losing bonus which, on balance and given their efforts, few would have begrudged.

The rest of the match saw both teams manfully continue to play although there would surely have been no complaints had referee Pounder decided to end the match early because of the conditions, which never for once let up. Rowan Stewart was replaced by James Barr and later his brother Fin came on for Mulligan.

There was a tangible sense of relief from everyone at the match – both on and off the pitch – when Kutze lashed the ball into touch followed by Mr Pounder’s final whistle. Players and officials still managed to observe the post-match formalities however though by this time player identification was in itself quite a challenge.


Andrew Peacock, Euan Stewart, Richard Bassett, Craig Borthwick, Ross Jackson, Chris Mulligan, Lewis Stewart, Euan Sanderson, Lohann Kotze, Andy Jardine, Rowan Stewart, Conor Lavery, Robbie Lavery, Ross Bradford, Robbie Orr. Reps Andrew Muir, Alan Warnock, Finlay Barr, James Barr, Mark Bertram

Biggar travel to take on Stirling County this Saturday in the knowledge that just one point would, should all else go belly up, give them the title on points difference. Two points would remove that possibility and would give Biggar the title. There must be a doubt over the match however, as Stirling’s match on Saturday was postponed because of a water-logged pitch.

Match Report: 16th February 2020

Melrose 10 Biggar 42

This was a first!

In 3 previous attempts, stretching back to 1993/94, Biggar have never before won at The Greenyards. They came really close in season 2004/05 when in their first Premiership visit they were ahead 19-13 going into the last minute only to concede a converted try to lose 20-19, but they have never come away with a win….until Saturday that is when in a hugely compelling second half, the Lanarkshire side dominated proceedings to score 4 converted tries and to run out convincing and deserved winners.

What a result and what a performance! This bonus point result ensures that the Biggar side keep their 15 point advantage at the top of National 1 with the biggest game of the season to come on 29th February when second placed Heriots are visitors to Hartree Mill. While even a full 5 point win in that match would still not be sufficient to give Biggar the title, it would go a very long way to that goal.

To the match….

Biggar fielded an almost unchanged XV for the trip to Melrose save that is at lock where Jamie Orr, injured at Boroughmuir, was replaced by Ross Jackson.

Storm Dennis had made itself felt throughout Friday and Friday night. This resulted in the rest of Biggar’s weekend fixtures being cancelled and made the trip down the overflowing Tweed to Melrose one of massive puddles and sheets of spray. Conditions in the game, bar for the first 10 minutes, deteriorated quickly with rain being driven the length of the pitch and making things incredibly challenging for players, officials and spectators alike, save that the latter group were ensconced in the Greenyards stand!

As had been reported in the press, Melrose were out to avenge a savage 55-12 defeat suffered at Hartree Mill back in October and with a number of players back from injury and following a set of decent results, the Border side posed a real threat. Melrose’s preparations on their new astro turf pitch were in sharp contrast to that of Biggar who aside from being reduced to just a couple of sessions in the past fortnight also had to contend with the absence of 4 of their number who were all starring in Biggar YFC’s annual concert.

Having lost the toss Melrose were forced to play with the gale in the first half and were soon on the attack, earning an early penalty as they kept Biggar in their half. Fullback David Colvinne kicked well for 3-0. Biggar’s defence stood up well to these initial forays by the home side who although retaining possession well were unable to get any real forward momentum.

When Biggar had the ball they were able to get that go-forward and with the pack in fine form, picking and driving play was taken into the Melrose half and then their 22. Only a couple of handling errors denied them an opening score. The forward exchanges were fairly even at this point although Biggar had the Melrose scrum in some trouble. Biggar’s cause suffered a setback when at the end of the first quarter, prop Donald Voas fell to the ground after a scrum. A calf tear was diagnosed and he was replaced by Andrew Peacock who was himself carrying a knee injury but who went on to make a huge contribution in the match. Voas’s injury is a harsh one as he has played a pivotal and crucial role in this season’s play – and he had started this game well, carrying deep into Melrose territory and putting in his usual timely and solid tackles when in defence.

Undaunted by this change however, Biggar laid siege to the Melrose line from a lineout and after a couple of forays by Ewan Stewart and Chris Mulligan, Richard Bassett was on hand to dive over from close range for Biggar’s opening try. Andrew Jardine, making a return to the ground where he played two season’s ago, stroked the first of six successful kicks for 7-3.

The wind was playing havoc with any ball kicked – much as had been the case the previous week in the Scotland/England debacle – and it was from one such kick that Melrose scored their try. A chip ahead appeared to be covered by scrum half Luhann Kotze but the youngster dropped the ball, and then, to compound matters, he flung the ball forward in frustration. Playing the advantage, South African referee Craig Clark dodged the ball which then fell to Melrose prop Jake Fairley who made good ground in open space before passing to winger Aidan Cross for what was really a gift of a score. Always play to the whistle!!

Having managed a really good score to take the lead Biggar were now behind at 10-7.

A number of errors – hardly surprising given the conditions – prevented any further scoring for the next 15 minutes or so and until the dying minutes of the half. In another strong passage of play Biggar probed at the Melrose defence and having won a penalty, Kutze, desperate to make amends for his earlier error, took a quick tap penalty only to find his way illegally barred by Melrose lock Tom Brown who was shown a yellow card for his efforts.

This provided an ideal platform from which to attack although Biggar’s first effort at a driven line ended in disappointment as the ball was knocked on in the transfer. Under great pressure the Border side only managed to scrape the ball into touch, this giving Biggar one final opportunity in the half. The throw foiled all jumpers but the ball fell invitingly for Bassett who, in showing the defence a clean set of heels, set off for the line some 20m distant. He managed to secure the score with Jardine’s second conversion bringing the half to an end and signalling a sprint by both teams to the shelter of the dressing rooms.

Ahead at 14-10, Biggar now resumed with the wind on their backs, Melrose coming out to find the wind ever stronger and making things equally more difficult.

Melrose were still a man down and it is always key to make the most of any numerical advantage.

This Biggar did, just at the end of the 10 minute suspension, although their cause was helped by some chat which led to referee Clark overturning a decision which gave Biggar a penalty which took play back into the Melrose half. Chris Mulligan rounded off a concerted effort by the pack with several of their number forcing Melrose to make tackle after tackle. Biggar showed great patience however and that was rewarded by Mulligan’s try and Jardine’s 3rd conversion.

Things were now going increasingly Biggar’s way with Melrose infringing in their desperation to stem the black tide. At each opportunity, Biggar pushed Melrose back deep into their half and it was from another kick that Biggar took play deep into the Melrose 22. Another dominant scrum and then a carry by Conor Lavery, Kutze whipped the ball out to Euan Sanderson who weaved his way through a weak Melrose defence to secure Biggar’s 4th and vital bonus point try. Jardine slotted the kick for 28-10.

There were still errors as Biggar looked to finish their hosts off but given the amount of possession they enjoyed and the still dreadful conditions, these were hardly surprising. Melrose were unable to make the most of these errors as any ball kicked was held up in the wind and swiftly returned. Biggar rang a couple of changes, Rowan Stewart making way for Mark Bertram although Stewart was soon back into action after Robbie Lavery sustained aknee injury.

The Border side then made things even more difficult for themselves as their repeated indiscipline saw decisions overturned giving Biggar the chance to mount repeated attacks. Some ill-advised comments to referee Clark ended with stand off Donald Crawford being shown a yellow but worse was to follow as replacement hooker Richard Ferguson was shown a straight red for verbal abuse. Down to 13 men and without a recognised front row, scrums were then uncontested. Biggar quickly replaced prop Bassett with Alan Warnock while Finlay Barr took the field for Peacock.

A poorish pass from Mulligan menat that another score was shunned but Robbie Orr ran in for try number 5 and then shortly after that, and with just seconds to go, another series of forward surges was rounded off by Ross Jackson who bundled his way through a tired Melrose defence and over the line for the 6th try. As had been the case at half time Jardine’s kick brought the half and indeed the match to its end. This was a significant effort for Jardine who was returning to the Greenyards after a largely unsatisfactory spell there.

There was much delight amongst the Biggar contingent – players, coaches and spectators alike – who recognised this as being a huge performance in the most trying of conditions and against a proud Border side. Great credit to all who took part with best wishes to Donald Voas and Robbie Lavery for a speedy return. Their absences may well have a profound effect on the games to come.

There is no 1st XV match this weekend due to the 6 Nations programme so Biggar have a fortnight to prepare for the Heriots match on the 29th.

As suggested, that is now the biggest match of the season and so a plea to the cluib membership to mark the date in your diary. Please try and get along to the match and give the boys your support!! It promises be a fantastic occasion!

Match Report 27th January 2020

Boroughmuir 0 Biggar 26

Biggar continued their 100% start to 2020 in Tennents National 1  following a trip to a blustery Meggatland in the capital on Saturday afternoon.

Biggar travelled to face Boroughmuir on the back of two handsome bonus point wins to start their year, while Boroughmuir have struggled in this year’s competition, sitting in 11th place and scrapping for survival.

It would be fair to say that the form book suggested that an away win would be a safe bet, however those in sport and with a penchant for a gamble understand that the form book is often deceptive.

Biggar kicked off into a gusty wind on the back pitches at Meggatland, with the first XV pitch unavailable due to a Scottish cup fixture involving Tynecastle FC who ground share with the Edinburgh side. The fact that the game was rearranged due to an earlier postponement in November ensured the pitch was not available prior to the rearranged date being agreed.

From the early exchanges it was easy to see the team who were fighting for survival, as Boroughmuir came flying out of the traps, showing a tremendous energy ensuring a lion’s share of early possession and a disruptive influence on Biggar possession. This resulted in an early penalty attempt on goal for Boroughmuir stand-off Calum Anderson, who pushed his effort on goal wide from 15m out.

A see saw battle ensued in the lead up to half time with Biggar starting to exert more dominance on proceedings thanks to the hard running of their pack and dominant scrum, counteracting Boroughmuir’s use of the gusty wind at their backs, with the game remaining scoreless at half an hour.

More sustained pressure led to a Biggar scrum in Boroughmuir’s 22. Biggars backline took advantage with Connor Lavery feeding Ross Bradford, the winger offloading to Andy Jardine who coasted in for the first points of the day. Jardine converted his own try to leave the score 7-0 at half time.

The Second half continued in the same vein as the first, with both sides making errors that disrupted the flow of the game, but with Biggar taking more advantage of opportunities that presented themselves in comparison to their hosts.

On 55 minutes after further carrying from the pack, Biggar found themselves camped within Boroughmuir’s 5m line. Numerous Carries were repelled by the home defence, before the ball was fired wide to Rory Hutton who crossed on the left hand touchline once the ball had been released to the backline. Andy Jardine once again added the extras to double Biggar’s tally.

It was not long before Biggar once again found themselves deep in Boroughmuir territory. A characteristic barnstorming run by Donald Voas (not his first of the day) punched Biggar deep into Boroughmuir’s territory. An infringement led to a lineout 7m out from the home team’s line. An effective catch and drive took Biggar close to the line, with Hooker Euan Stewart peeling off the maul carrying two would be tackles over the line with him.

There was time for one further score with further forward pressure leading to Richard Bassett driving over from close range under a pile of bodies not for the first time this season. This ensured the crucial bonus point try with 15 minutes remaining. Jardine again added the extras to take the score to 26-0 and that is how it finished in front of another brilliant travelling support, despite Boroughmuir’s best efforts to breach Biggar’s line in the final minutes, solid defence keeping them at bay.

An Important win on the road for Biggar who now find themselves 20 points clear of Heriots at the top of the table, albeit having played two games more. Particularly pleasing will be the shutout although this was harsh on Boroughmuir, who battled manfully up front, disrupting Biggar’s flow, with a highly effective lineout set piece to boot. They certainly contributed to the encounter far more than the score line may suggest.

Biggar now face a 3 week hiatus before they face Melrose at the Greenyards on 15th February 2020, another game which is critical to the Lanarkshire side’s Tennents Natonal 1 title aspirations.

Biggar: Donald Voas, Euan Stewart, Richard Bassett, Craig Borthwick, Jamie Orr, Chris Mulligan, Lewis Stewart, Ross Jackson, Lohann Kotze, Connor Lavery, Rowan Stewart, Andy Jardine, Robbie Lavery, Ross Bradford, Rory Hutton. Replacements – Andrew Muir, Andrew Peacock, James Barr, David Reive, Mark Bertram

Match Report 19th January 2020

Biggar 52 Kelso 6

For the second week in a row Biggar recorded 8 tries (4 in each half) and 52 points in their National League match! This takes their ‘points for’ total beyond the 600 mark, a quite fantastic achievement. As nearest rivals Heriots were beaten by Gala, Biggar now have a 15 point lead at the top of the table. This is slightly misleading however as Heriots have a game in hand and are likely to get 5 points from that match (against Dundee). The lead then is 10 points and with 5 games remaining there is still plenty of scope for strange things to happen.

Biggar were able to select from a full strength squad as once again there were no injuries sustained in the Dundee clash the previous week – an undoubted factor in the past two campaigns. Donald Voas returned to the starting XV, Paul Davidson forced to withdraw following a nasty car accident on Friday which, thankfully, he escaped from unscathed. Euan Sanderson – more of him later! – was at a wedding and so Lewis Stewart resumed on the flank. Rowan Stewart joined Rory Hutton, Andrew Peacock and Luhann Kotze on the bench with the 5th spot going to Andrew Muir who was making a return to Biggar colours after a sojourn at Marr.

In the first encounter at Kelso the home side imploded towards the end of the match, ending the contest with just 11 players on the pitch. The general feeling was that the Border side would come out all guns blazing as only a Border side can, with pride in the town and in their performance foremost on their minds. That was the case for the first quarter when their kick and chase tactic, combined with some clever lineout ploys had Biggar struggling. These factors, allied to referee Calum Worsley’s interpretation of the lineout rules which had Biggar dumbfounded led to the visitors taking an early lead via a massive penalty kick by Craig Dods which founds its mark from the half way line.

Kelso elected not to contest the Biggar throw at lineout time and while this tactic has been employed before (by Gala for example) Biggar fell short of dealing with it and this saw them penalised on a number of occasions. Other infringments allowed Kelso some respite as they were able to kick clear, although with Biggar’s back three as always looking full of running, this respite was short in length.

Dods added a second close range penalty after 10 minutes as Biggar were still unable to get to grips with the match. There was soon some light however as at scrum time the Biggar 8 were in dominant form and able to cause havoc for the visiting pack. This extended to possession from Kelso lineouts which Biggar stole almost at will and which put Kelso under real pressure in both attack and defence.

On the 20 minute mark Biggar struck. A rare penalty to the hom,

e side gave Andy Jardine the chance to take play into the Kelso 22. Kelso stood off once again but on this occasion hooker euan Stewart took advantage of the delay to turn and drive at the Kelso line. This was successful and with jardine kicking the conversion biggar found themselves ahead at 7-6 and all after just their first real attacking opportunity.

Some 7 minutes later and Biggar sctretched their lead. A lineout steal on the Kelso throw gave Ross Bradford and Euan Stewart a chance to test the Kelso defence. While the initial thrusts were repelled, a powerful run on a good angle by Mark Bertram took the winger over the line.

Biggar’s dominance up front was beginning to pay off. Their tight play was particularly effective but the influence of their forwards in the loose was also a big headache for Kelso who were stoic in defence but who took some battering. One such run of 40m plus by Voas is worthy of mention while the carries of the ever-present duo of Mulligan and Lewis Stewart aided by Ross Jackson, Richard Bassett and Jamie Orr were telling. With a handful of minutes of the first half remaining Biggar swept play from left to right with Bradford on hand to cover the last few yards to the line for a try converted by Jardine for 19-6.

There was barely time for the restart but Biggar made the most of it to claim their 4 try bonus. Another tunrover, this time by Bassett provided ball for the backs and some swift passing by among others Jardine created space for the flying fullback Robbie Orr to cross in the corner. Jardine rounded things off with his 3rd conversion. Half time and Biggar were 26-6 ahead.

Conditions, though cold, were so much better than the previous week and this did much to make the contest an entertaining one for the very pleasing large Biggar support at least!

Biggar opened thr half in fine form and were very quickly on the attack deep in the Kelso 22. Some desperate Kelso defence was all that stood between Biggar and the Kelso try line. Infringements led to penalties and soon the penalty count, which had once been 6-1 to Kelso, began to even out. A series of collapsed scrums as the Kelso pack continued to toil might have ended with a Biggar try but an error at the scrum base prevented Biggar from turning this pressure into points. Indeed this and an interception by the Kelso centre as Biggar ran ball in the Kelso 22 saw a chase which was inevitably won by Robbie Orr who not only made the tackle but got up to challenge for possession was a great piece of play. Assisted by replacement scrum half Luhann Kotze who had taken over from Davy Reive created (yet another) valuable turnover.

Biggar then lost the services of Conor Lavery who was shown a yellow for what appeared to be an innocuous tackle but one which was deemed by referee Worsley to be dangerous. Given the pressure Kelso were under both in scrum and lineout it was no surprise that on this occasion they opted to tap and go and run the ball but the attack foundered on a Lewis Stewart turnover. Another driven line ended with a try for the ever industrious Richard Bassett. This score also signalled an evening up of numbers as the Kelso 7 Fergus Common was shown a yellow as the players stood toe to toe after an altercation begun by Kelso’s combative scrum half Andy Tait. In addition to the yellow card Biggar were awarded a penalty on the restart to the game. Jardine meanwhile had added the conversion for 33-6.

Mark Bertram and Robbie Lavery then made way for Rowan Stewart and Rory Hutton, both players into the action quickly with Stewart scoring with his second touch of the ball. A position deep in the Kelso half had been won by a great charge from Euan Stewart who had benefitted from some good work by Lewis Stewart and Craig Borthwick. On the front foot Rowan Stewart took a pass from Lavery to romp over under the posts. Jardine’s conversion took Biggar to the 40 mark.

More was to come as almost directly from the restart Biggar forced a scrum close to the Kelso line. Another massive shunt forward from the pack and a scrum collapse gave Mr Worsley little option and he awarded the penalty try. Euan Stewart was replaced by Muir while Peacock came on for Borthwick.

In typical fashion Peacock marked his appearance with a try as he ran a lovely line off a Jackson breenge. The build up to this try included some fantastic handling from the Biggar backs who have great confidence and skills. Rowan Stewart’s pass out the back of the hand for this score was followed quickly by a very similar transfer from Robbie Orr.

There was still around 10 minutes remaining fo the contest but Biggar were unable to add to their tally. A desire to take things too quickly and to force passes when a slower more considered build up would have done the trick proved to be Biggar’s undoing but if this is the only criticism then there is not too much to worry about. That was not quite how coach Davy Wilson put it in his post match chat but given the comprehensive nature of the win these are the things which get the focus.

Biggar now prepare for a trip to the capital to take on Boroughmuir. This match was due to have been played in November but fell victim to the frost. The city side have not had a great start to 2020 but as with all Biggar’s opponents they will be eager to take the scalp of the league leaders.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Lavery, A. Jardine, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, R. Bassett, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, C. Mulligan, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Peacock, A. Muir, L. Kutze, R. Hutton, R. Stewart

The 2nd XV travelled to play Currie in their league match. This is still a very young group and they have yet to match their potential. Having got themselves into a good position in the first half Biggar failed to deal with a Currie fightback eventually losing out by 41-16.

Match Report: 12th January 2020

Dundee 5 Biggar 52

Biggar opened their 2020 account with a resounding 8 try win over bottom of the table Dundee. The high winds and heavy rain led to the cancellation of many matches at the weekend, including Biggar’s 2nd XV match against city side Heriots. There was concern over the Mayfield grounds but an inspection on Saturday morning declared the pitch playable and while the journey north featured driving rain and winds, the weather in Dundee was much more pleasant. Indeed virtually the whole match was played in dry overhead conditions.

Following the draw against Border side Gala prior to Christmas Biggar were looking for a return to form and a solid 80 minute performance. The first aim was achieved easily, the second not so convincingly, as the control evident earlier was lost and which contributed to a scrappy passage of play. Symptomatic of a side which has not played for 3 weeks and suffering from the Christmas/New Year festivities.

Donald Voas and Rowan Stewart who have featured in all previous matches were absentees due to skiing holidays while the lurgy which has been prevalent throughout the holiday period ruled out Rory Hutton. From the Gala starting line up their places were taken respectively by Paul Davidson, Ross Bradford and Robbie Lavery. Luhann Kutze made a welcome return to the squad after injury, starting on the bench alongside Andrew Peacock, Alan Warnock, Lewis Stewart, and James Barr.

Dundee have had a very testing season to date with just two wins although as these were from their last 3 pre-Christmas matches it was felt that they were perhaps gaining some form. Theirs is a very young side however and they found the physicality of the Biggar squad very challenging.

It took just 3 minutes for Biggar to open their account, Ross Bradford rounding off a forward line drive. Jardine’s fiorst conversion put Biggar 7-0 up.

Dendee were on the receiving end of a string of penalties from referee Robbie wilson and this did nothing for their cause, Jardine sending them scurrying back into their 22. Ewan Stewart scored his first try after the pack took and controlled a forward drive well from a position gained from one such penalty.

Shortly afterwards Dundee lost possession in contact No 8 Ross Jackson ripping the ball free as Dundee were in possession. This tunrover got Biggar back onto the front foot and another penalty put Biggar back into the Dundee 22 where Stewaert was on hand once again to round off the driving maul with a try. Jardine had been successful with the first of Stewart’s brace but he was just off target with his 3rd attempt.

Dundee then scored their only try this coming as Biggar tried to run ball out of defence. The sticky pitch made this difficult but it makes for exciting play. In the event a pass from Conor Lavery to his left was well read by Dundee centre Chad Ward who sprinted clear of the Biggar cover from some 20 metres out. The conversion was missed but it gave Dundee reward for their efforts.

Biggar were not to be outdone however and a series of good carries from both backs and forwards saw Biggar awarded another penalty in the Duindee 22. Opting for the scrum rather than the kick to touch it took the pack two attempts before Ross Jackson trundled the ball over the line from a pushoevr try. Conversion added by Jardine made the score 26-5.

Biggar were taking good ball from the lineout where Sanderson was almost unchallenged at the tail and they were pretty much dominant in the tight scrum where the Biggar 8 out muscled their hosts. A series of positive Biggar plasy saw them put the dundee defence under severs pressure but a couple of fumbles and knock ons deprived them from adding to their tally, half time then at 26-5 with the 4 try bonus secored.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first with Biggar’s next try coming just 3 minutes into the half, Euan Sanderson with the touchdown. Jardine converted for 33-5.

Biggar had run some great lines to commit the hosts defence and this continued via the back row of Mulligan, Jackson and Sanderson all of whom made inroads to and then through the first up tackling of Dundee. When Dundee sought to kick clear, ball was tidied well by the visitors with Bradford in particular taking some good catches whilst under pressure. A foray into the Dundee 22 saw winger Bertram latch onto a neat inside pass from Reive. His pace took him past the Dundee cover for a try under the posts which Jardine again converted for 40-5.

This was Reives last contribution to the action as he was replaced by Kutze. Lewis Stewart also took to the field as he replaced Sanderson.

The following 15/20 minute middle section was the untidiest part of the match as neither side gained sufficient control on possession to turn this into points. There was a passage of aerial ping pong and while both sides played some enterprising and entertaining stuff, errors proved costly and so Biggar failed to add to their tally until some 6 minutes before the end of the match. By this time Biggar had made all their changes with Peacock replacing Jackson, Barr for Conor Lavery and Alan Warnock for Craig Borthwick.

For Dundee’s part, although they held onto ball better than they had in the first half they found the Biggar close quarter defence giving very little away. Even when under severe pressure and with Dundee spending a good deal of time within the Biggar 22, the hosts found the door to the try line well and truly locked.

Biggar’s 7th try went to winger Bradford who was on hand to take full advantage of a quickly taken tap penalty. A fitting finale to the match and one which led to beating the 50 point barrier, saw Andy Jardine scamper home for Biggar’s 8th try. His conversion gave him an excellent personal 17 point haul.

Plaudits then to all with Jackson’s rip in the first half matching Borthwicks lineout steal and Orr’s very astute play which saw the big man leap back into play to cleverly and bravely secure possession in the face of the onrushing Dundee feet. As is their desire there will be several areas for immediate improvement but its hard to be too critical when the score is so convincing.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Lavery, A. Jardine, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, D. Reive, P. Davidson, E. Stewart, R. Bassett, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, C. Mulligan, E. Sanderson, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Peacock, A. Warnock, L. Stewart, L. Kutze, J. Barr

And so Biggar will now prepare for the visit on Saturday of Kelso. The first meeting finished in quite bizarre fashion as the Border side lost control, with several yellow cards and a 1 red seeing them finish with just 11 players on the pitch. It is highly unlikely that there will be a repeat and with a decent win over Gala, Kelso will be in fine form and confident mood for the Hartree Mill side. A big crowd would do so much to encourage the squad and so once again if you are able, please try and get along. KO 2pm.

As recorded the 2nd XV were left without a match as the Hartree Mill pitches were unable to rid themselves of the heavy rainfall which had left them already swamped on Thursday. The Colts match was also cancelled.

Match Report: 22nd December 2019

Biggar 22 Gala 22

Biggar rounded off the calendar year – one that will long be remembered as being a quite extraordinary 12 months period – with a deserved draw with Border rivals Gala. In so doing they preserved their 2019 unbeaten home record at Hartree Mill and also their lead at the top of National 1. There was a maximum 5 points on offer and while the match was drawn Biggar claimed 3 points courtesy of their 4 try bonus. The Cartha/Heriots match was postponed due to a flooded Cartha pitch and so Biggar lead their Edinburgh rivals by 10 points. Were Heriots to take the full 5 on offer, they would still be 5 points adrift from the top spot.

The League now takes a winter break and the senior squad will have the opportunity to relax and recharge their batteries in preparation for the resumption on 11th January when the 1sts travel to take on Dundee High while the 2nds host Heriots. They began their R and R with a senior players Christmas lunch on Sunday which the squad fully deserved, the 2nd XV having recorded a hard-fought win over local rivals Peebles.

There were only a couple of changes to the Biggar squad to that which defeated Ayr the previous week. Chris Mulligan was unavailable and so Ewan Stewart started again at hooker. Craig Borthwick came back into the starting XV with the dogfight in the back row ending with Euan Sanderson on the bench to the starting trio of Jamie Orr, Lewis Stewart and Ross Jackson. The backs were the same as those which were fielded against Ayr.

Biggar have no divine right to win matches against anyone and as their winning run continues the pressure to perform grows at exactly the same rate as the motivation of their opponents to end that winning run. Pressure, pressure! It’s a great place to be however and not even the most optimistic amongst the Biggar faithful would ever have predicted a 10 point lead by Christmas at the top of the Division!

The Lanarkshire side was under no illusions that this would be a real test, their experiences in the first match indicating that the Border outfit were a very difficult side to play. That first encounter at Netherdale ended with Biggar deep in defence as they tried in desperation to maintain a slender 3 point lead. That they did so was down primarily to a water-tight defence but also to the fact that Gala chose to go for touch on 3 occasions rather than the kick at goal which would, if successful, have given them a draw. It was really ironic therefore that in this latest encounter and with just a couple of minutes remaining on the clock, Biggar, faced with a similar option, elected to go for goal to win the game, opinion amongst coaches, players and support split as equally as had been the case in October as to whether this, or a kick to touch and line drive, was the better option.

It is over and done now but in hindsight a draw was probably the fairest result, both halves ending in a 17-5 score – the first to Gala and the second to Biggar after a determined comeback. That Biggar made more errors in this contest than they have almost all season was compounded by the fact that their opponents were able to make capital of those errors and streak into a 17-5 and then a 22-10 lead.

The opening exchanges were fairly fraught as both sides sought to gain control of the match. Biggar fell foul of referee Duncan’s interpretation of the scrum laws and while they have been dominant in this area in recent weeks – and that the same referee gave Biggar a penalty try against Cartha 3 weeks previously – Gala were able to benefit despite the general feeling that they were clearly the ones under pressure.

Both sides looked full of running and with the Hartree Mill pitch in good condition despite the recent heavy rain, this made for an engrossing contest. The Gala pack, with prop Terry Logan and Ozzie Cody Roman to the fore (neither of whom played in the first encounter) had Biggar under pressure while the strong running of centre Rex Jeffrey was also causing problems. For Biggar, the pack, bar from the problems in the set piece, looked up to the challenge with the back three of Robbie Orr, Rowan Stewart and Mark Bertram as usual looking dangerous.

The deadlock was broken on the 20 minute mark when Ross Cooke landed a penalty awarded as Biggar crept offside in defence. This lead lasted just a few minutes however as Biggar pressed home an attack from the restart. Bertram had made a darting run on the blindside from a scrum and the big man featured in the very next phase as he took an inside pass from Conor Lavery to slice through the initial line of defence. His pass found centre Andy Jardine who crossed for an excellent score but one which he just failed to convert.

Another Biggar offside gave Cooke another opportunity for points but this fell short and was well cleared by Orr. Gala’s next attack was initially well tidied by Orr but in his attempt to counter attack his wide pass evaded Bertram and Gala stand off Ruairi Howarth was on hand to hack forward and score a try which Cooke converted for 10-5.

Quickly back on attack and whilst trying to put together a number of phases Biggar unusually ceded possession on a handful of occasions which gave Gala respite. Having cleared their lines Gala were then back down into the Biggar half where another penalty, this from just about half way proved to be again just outside the range of kicker Cooke.

In a see-saw match Biggar then proceeded to put pressure on the Gala backs, Bertram’s interception setting up another passage of play in the Gala 22. Another error however, this from Rory Hutton who missed his target with a pop pass saw the ball drop to the ground. Cooke was onto the ball first and in a 75 metre chase he was just able to elude the tackle of Orr to score a try under the posts which, when converted took Gala into a 17-5 lead and the half time break.

To be behind at half time is not a familiar position for Biggar. Indeed it is over a season and a half since they were last in this position. There was little to be said other than to put pressure on the visitors and to try and eliminate the mistakes.

Biggar’s lineout had shown some inconsistency in the first period and this was also the case with the first of the second period but when ball is won it opens up all sorts of avenues and having won a penalty and then the subsequent lineout Biggar opened up with a high speed driving maul which took play some 20 metres upfield and was only halted as Gala infringed. Another penalty from Jardine took play to within 10 metres of the Gala line where the catch and drive was employed once again to such an effect that prop Donald Voas crashed over for a score. The big man had already put in some terrific runs and some thundering tackles and thoroughly deserved the try.

With 6 minutes gone this looked as though it might signal a Biggar fightback but this was derailed somewhat when just a few minutes later Gala scrum half Fergus Johnston ran a beautiful line to carve through the midfield defence. Although the conversion was missed, Gala led 22-10 and Biggar had it all to do again.

The Biggar pack were now gaining ascendancy however and this began to tell. Sanderson replaced Jamie Campbell and having forced Gala to concede another couple of penalties Jardine again kicked Biggar to the corner. At this point and with a try in the offing Gala prop Logan brought the line drive down illegally and referee Duncan had no hesitation in showing him a yellow and 10 minutes in the bin. Biggar pressed home their one man advantage by opting for a scrum and by completing a pushover try credited to No 8 Ross Jackson. Jardine was just wide with the conversion but with some 15 minutes left there was now just one score in the game.

Biggar had made a change in their backs with Rory Hutton clearly in discomfort replaced by Robbie Lavery. Shortly afterwards Ross Bradford came on for Bertram.

A long passage of play with Biggar on the front foot had Gala firmly on the defensive and a series of big carries by among others Jamie Orr, Lewis Stewart and Sanderson took their toll on the Gala legs and strength. Hooker Easson was the next to depart and this gave Biggar another advantage on the touchline on the Gala throw as it was their No 8 Dods who was forced into the unfamiliar role.

There was a Biggar lineout error in the Gala 5 metre line and a speculative pass by Jardine to touch for the Biggar support to endure before they scored the try which, when converted, put the sides on equal terms.

The position had again been won from a penalty and kick to touch and the driving maul was this time converted by prop Richard Bassett. Jardine’s conversion did the trick and the match was all set for a superb climax.

There was of course the very real possibility of a penalty deciding the contest and Biggar hearts soared as the Gala restart was kicked too long and which therefore led to a Biggar scrum on half way. This put Biggar back on the attack and sure enough with just injury time remaining Biggar worked their way into the Gala half and won yet another penalty which heralded the debate described previously.

In the event the kick at goal was chosen and a hush as has rarely been witnessed descended on the Hartree Mill pitch. While well struck the ball flew wide and referee Duncan blew for full time.

A cracking contest and one which both teams should take pride in. There was barrowloads of good honest endeavour and it was clear both teams were out to play open rugby and to go for broke. The mistakes Biggar made, and these have been rare in number this season, were pounced upon by Gala. Given their form on Saturday it is a bit of a wonder that the Border side is sitting as low as 6th spot, having won just 6 games. Injuries have played their part and if fit they are very likely to cause problems for other sides as the league progresses.

A massive thank you to all who have been down to Hartree Mill so far this season. Saturday’s crowd, swollen by a very welcome large Gala support have been royally entertained. It makes a big difference to the side on the pitch.

All at Biggar RFC offer their thanks for the support of the Biggar community and wish all those connected to and associated with the club a very Happy Christmas!


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Hutton, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, R. Bassett, C. Borthwick, J. Campbell, J. Orr, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: D. Voas, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, R. Lavery, R. Bradford.

The 2nd XV had a toughie against local rivals Peebles and owe their win to a huge defensive effort with many showing a real grit and determination to hold their line intact. Loads of credit to all but with the Barr boys (James and Finlay) deserving particular praise.

Match Report: 14th December 2019

Ayr 14 Biggar 43

Biggar retained their top spot in National League 1 with a 7-2 try win over Ayr which saw them breach the 500 point mark while reaching 60 league points. Heriots in 2nd spot maintained their challenge with a 26-0 win over Stirling while the Highland/Gala match was postponed following the untimely death of one of Highland’s senior players.

There was a right royal cuffuffle surrounding the venue for this match. As Ayr were hosting a Super 6 game alongside the Nat 1 contest and wished both matches to be played at Millbrae, Biggar had agreed to play their match after the Super 6 game with a 4pm kick off. The rainfall midweek was such that few in Biggar felt that there was any chance of the game going ahead at Millbrae as the surface is not the best on a dry day. Ayr were determined to delay the decision until they were absolutely certain one way or another as to the suitability of the home pitch. Indeed Biggar had arrived at Millbrae while their support was en route before the decision was taken and in reality only then because a power cut in the Millbrae threatened to derail the whole afternoon. Happily the Super 6 game was completed while the Biggar match took place at the Queen Margaret Academy astro turf facility. The only saving grace was the availability of mobile phones which allowed messages to be exchanged during travel. Even then there was a delay to the scheduled kick off of 4pm as the Biggar bus was hemmed in at the Millbrae ground and could only be moved after a number of car owners, all in attendance at the Super 6 match, had been alerted to the issue.

All fun and games but not particularly satisfactory when a National League fixture appears to be so far down the pecking order when taken alongside the Super 6 fixture.

In the first game Ayr were brushed aside 62-15 by a rampant Biggar. That Ayr would improve was never in doubt but they still struggled to contain the Biggar XV who, apart from a couple of pretty much self-inflicted errors, were in control for large periods of the match. It is difficult to perform consistently week on week and so good had been the performance the previous week against Highland that there was always a very real chance that Biggar would drop off the pace a touch. Add in the very different playing surface from Hartree Mill grass to Academy astro turf and errors are a virtual certainty. These were roundly punished by the Ayr side but such was the pressure exerted by Biggar in all other aspects of the game that Ayr only ever got marginal relief from any penalties won. So in short, another 5 point tally without ever really playing as well as potentially the side can.

There were several changes to the squad for this match. In the pack, Ewan Stewart resumed at hooker with Skipper Chris Mulligan moving to the back row. Ross Jackson started on the bench with Lewis Stewart moving to No8. Jamie Campbell who played for Scotland U19 last week against Wales and who has missed 4 weekends, came in at lock with Craig Borthwick moving to the bench.

In the backs Conor Lavery came back into the side at stand off with Andy Jardine moving to centre where he partnered Rory Hutton. The casualities with this selection were James Barr and Ross Bradford, neither of whom had done much wrong the previous week against Highland.

Typically, there was a strong wind which swept the length of the pitch and although initially the referee had confined spectators to the pitch ends, it was not long before the touchline was lined. This created a cosy atmosphere on what was otherwise a bitterly cold afternoon/early evening.

Biggar had the breeze in their faces in the first half and popular opinion suggested that they would spend the bulk of the game in defence in their 22.

A tough opening salvo kept Biggar in defence but as has so often been the case this (and last) season, Biggar’s defence was more than a match for anything Ayr could provide.

In the tight scrum Biggar again dominated their hosts with every scrum seeing Biggar on the front foot. At lineout time, Jamie Orr took a whole lot of quality ball while the Ayr effort was inconsistent and somewhat laboured.

On the 10 minute mark, having weathered the Ayr attack, a penalty kicked by Lavery to the Ayr half, saw the pack win good ball before setting off on a line drive straight into the Ayr 22. A couple of dunts by Lavery and then Bertram freed centre Jardine who cruised over for the opening score. Unable to convert the try meant Biggar led 5-0.

A similar attack just minutes later ended with an uncharacteristic fumble by the ever-present Lewis Stewart and this with the line at his mercy.

Bertram rounded off the next foray into Ayr territory with the pack providing inroads before the big winger was set free for the line. He had a profitable day and made good yards with every carry. Unconverted Biggar were 10-0 up but this lead was quickly reduced following an error by veteran Davy Reive. A pass into ‘space’ ceded possession to Ayr with their prop needing no second invitation to score. The conversion put Ayr right back into things at 10-7.

Although the restart from Lavery failed to go the requisite 10metres Biggar regained possession and with Donald Voas set free on the left and taking play deep into the Ayr half, possession was then swept right with Jardine making a breenge before finding fullback Robbie Orr who rounded off the move with a try.

Ayr replied well after this latest restart but they gifted possession with a kick to the Biggar line which Biggar then took to go through the phases to take play out of the danger area. Having worked their way upfield and out of their half Biggar launched another attack before the half time whistle. Voas appeared again on the wing to advance play before the ball was again swept right with Lavery providing the scoring pass to skipper Mulligan who crashed over for the bonus point winning try. Jardine added the conversion and so the half time score was 22-7 to Biggar.

The wind seeemd to drop a little at the start of the second half but it was still sufficient to give Biggar the opportunity to clear their lines quickly although they were happier in taking ball forward via close quarter drives and by keeping the ball in hand.

Ayr managed to pick their game up at this point and they seemed to put Biggar under much more pressure than had been the case prior to the break. Only another massive defensive effort managed to keep Ayr out and then, in a flash, Biggar scored their 5th try. A kick donwfield saw Biggar get a lineout some 15 metres out. Although it appeared that ball had been lost Ewan Stewart managed to regain possession and with a head of steam well and truly up, the hooker bulldozed his way to and then over the line for the try.

Biggar have not been guilty of conceding too many penalties this season but of course every referee sees things differently and so for whatever reason Biggar were then penalised on a host of occasions and all in quick succession which culminated in Lewis Stewart collecting a yellow card and forced to take a 10 minute break.

With Biggar now understrength, it was hardly surprising that Ayr were able to capitalise and this came through a second try and conversion to take the score to 29-14. Would Ayr be able to mount a fight back?

This was answered almost immediately as the Biggar pack took control once again, and this with just 7 men. Jamie Campbell was replaced by Craig Borthwick while Voas sustained a nasty head cut and was replaced by Paul Davidson. The new starts were quick to make their mark, the next series of scrums putting the Ayr 8 under significant pressure. After one massive drive the referee awarded Biggar a penalty try, the third such award in the same number of weeks and emphasising the strength of the Biggar pack. A yellow card was issued to the Ayr prop and as the conversion is granted automatically, Biggar drew ahead again at 36-14 and with a quarter of the match remaining.

That Biggar managed just one more try in the third period is a telling factor and one which points at a reasonably strong Ayr effort as well as a series of unforced errors from Biggar which saw them unable to gain the consistency they sought.

Ewan Sanderson was the last to dot down. Picking up at the base of the scrum he feinted a pass to Reive before straightening up and gliding through a massive gap as the Ayr cover was posted missing. Jardine added the conversion for 43-14. Biggar introduced the rest of the bench with Euan Bogle replacing Reive, Ross Bradford replacing Lavery and Jackson for Lewis Stewart.

The last 12-15 minutes were a tad scrappy and they also featured a massive scuffle between the sides after an errant Ayr boot found a Biggar body. Happily the referee was content to issue warnings rather than issue any other sanctions.

Biggar gained the maximum 5 point reward from the match but again they were left rueing errors which in another game might prove much more costly. The next test, a home match against Gala will be uppermost in their minds. Gala were a resolute outfit back in September and had they made better choices towards the end of the first match they would surely have shared the spoils if not won the game. This is the last match of 2019 and should they win the match Biggar will have lost just the one league match from 22 starts in those 12 months! Not a bad return! A defeat would take some of the tarnish off that stat, so all good luck to the squad on Saturday.

In addititon to the 1st team, our 2nds are also at home. Away to Musselburgh last Saturday the 2nds conceded 17 points before getting into the game. At the end a Drew Brewster try meant that Biggar ran out victors by 22-20! A fantastic achievement, especially when Musselburgh were 2nd top and this was an away match. Well done lads!

If you can spare an hour and a half, please get down to Hartree Mill to cheer the senior squads on. . KO’s are both at 2pm


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Hutton, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, D. Voas, E. Stewart, R. Bassett, J. Orr, J. Campbell, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan, L. Stewart, Reps: P. Davidson, R. Jackson, C. Borthwick, E. Bogle, R. Bradford.

Match Report: 8th December 2019

Biggar 31 Highland 0

In very taxing conditions Biggar recorded a bonus point win on Saturday over 2nd top Highland with what many spectators believed to be one of their most complete performances of the season.

This was rightly billed as a top of the table clash but incorrectly as a championship decider; there are still 10 games to be played and literally anything can happen. The win does cement Biggar’s place at the top of the division however with Heriots in second spot, 7 points adrift. Highland are in 3rd but have played an extra match. Two matches remain before the Christmas break: Ayr away and Gala at home. To be top of the table is a position few would have believed possible but it is a tribute to the efforts of the senior playing squad and coaching team who should all be extremely proud of their contribution.

For this contest Biggar fielded a pack on very similar lines to that of recent weeks while in the backs Davy Reive returned to top team action following injury to Luhann Kotze while James Barr came back in at centre.

In their pre-match build up Highland had hoped for a dry pitch. Unsurprisingly, given the midweek rain, Hartree was anything but dry though possibly still drier than was the case say 10 years ago. Overhead conditions were little better with a strong wind and sweeping rain greeting spectators and players as they took the field for this clash. That there was still a very healthy support is testimony to the fact that the side is playing good rugby and winning being the bonus. A big thank you to all who turned out, including of course the band of supporters from Highland who made the long joureny south.

Biggar opened with the wind on their backs and from the kick off to the final whistle dominated both territory and possession, the visitors scarcely able to register a toe hold in the Biggar half never mind the Biggar 22. All credit to the Highland squad however, who maintained a solid defence and managed to restrict Biggar to 5 tries when other sides, in the face of such a relentless display, would surely have crumbled.

It was assumed that the match would be one of two halves with the bulk of play deep in the clubhouse end of the pitch and so it proved at the start of the match, Biggar quickly on the attack and giving note of their intention to make things difficult for their visitors at every opportunity. Highland were given neither time nor space – facing an onslaught from the Biggar pack in attack and then requiring gritty determination to scramble ball clear when in defence. In the tight scrum Biggar had almost total dominance and time after time Highland were to be found on the retreat. Indeed Biggar’s 2nd try was a penalty try on 35 mins and came as referee David Changleng found fault with the retreating Highland pack.

The opening exchanges featured some punishing carries from the Biggar pack. Highland were forced into defence as the aggression, power and control from Biggar seemed to be on a different level as the side sought some recompense for the defeat they suffered in Inverness back in September.

Given the conditions it was no surprise that there were errors but though this at times gave possession to Highland, such was the ferocity of the offensive defence, combined with the wind, that the visitors had real problems in clearing play beyond their 22. Add in the pressure exerted at scrum time and the energy of the Biggar lineout and Highland were in difficult times.

A series of probing runs from the pack saw play confined to the Highland 5 metre zone before Robbie Orr appeared to score following a neat pass from Andy Jardine. The pass was adjudged to have been forward however and so there was some relief in the Highland camp. This relief was short-lived as another attack saw Biggar on the offensive, Jardine’s grubber kick just too long for the support. Another series of driving plays took Biggar back into the Highland 5m area and after a patient build up was thwarted by some stout Highland defence, prop Richard Bassett managed to crash over for the opening score, converted by Jardine for 7-0.

Lock Craig Borthwick was next to almost score, before the penalty try which took Biggar to 14-0 and then to compound matters for Highland, referee Changleng gave a yellow card to Highland’s loose head prop as the scrum continued to creak.

Half time saw both sides scurry to the changing rooms for shelter and a fresh set of strips while spectators made for the tea cabin and a hot drink. Thankfully, from a Biggar point of view at least, the wind and rain both eased for the second half. Coach Fleming felt that Biggar needed a strong 15/20 mins to break the Highland resolve and this he got. Thoughts of the game being played in the Biggar half were almost immediately dispelled as Biggar took play directly into the Highland half. The determination shown by the pack to provide Reive with options to right and left forced Highland back again and again and hard though they tackled, this was a strength sapping period especially when they might have hoped to have been on the front foot.

Very unusually, this was a game with few penalties. Before the match referee Changleng had suggested that he would keep the game as open as he could and whether this was a factor or whether the sides were more disciplined than usual is not certain but Highland had conceded only a few before the break – perhaps no more than 5 or 6 however – with Biggar escaping the whistle until the opening passages of the second half. Maybe a record?

A couple of errors, down to the weather and perhaps slight over-complication, provided a let off for Highland who were quick to kick downfield out of defence. As has been proven on many occasions however, any ball falling into the hands of Biggar’s back three sees them quickly return to the attack. The support shown to the runner means that Biggar were able to quickly secure possession and return to the offensive.

Another passage of play which had Biggar knocking on the door of the Highland line was rounded off by Ross Jackson who drove over from close range to take Biggar to a 19-0 lead.

Jardine had had a productive afternoon at stand off with some very determined forays into the Highland defence but it was from one of the these that he picked up a shoulder injury – ironically he injured the same shoulder in the first Highland match. He was replaced by Barr with Rowan Stewart moving into centre and Mark Bertram coming off the bench.

It was the ‘new’ centre who scored the bonus point winning try. Rory Hutton, whose footwork and caused Highland some problems previously, created space with another mazy run and with some options available it was Stewart who snapped up the pass to cross in the corner.

The game was now almost out of Highland’s hands but they continued to press forward and for almost the first time in the match they were able to retain possession to pose some problems for the Biggar defence. In this capacity Biggar were again up to speed, one very brave tackle from Barr on the powerful Rokoduguni being a perfect example of how the side was playing for each other and determined not to concede a point.

The introduction of the rest of the Biggar bench – Euan Bogle, Andrew Peacock, Paul Davidson and Ewan Stewart – gave Highland no respite, each filling the shoes of those that had gone before and asking all sorts of similar questions.

The final try, the last play of the afternoon came from a lineout. Ball won by Orr was quickly shifted by Bogle to Peacock who, as he has done oft before, cruised through a big space to dot the ball down. Bogle’s conversion took Biggar to 31-0 and the success also marked the end of the match.

There was massive satisfaction gained from the performance and the manner of the win. The conditions dictated that it was never going to be an open, free-flowing spectacle never mind that none of the 3 previous matches had been try fests. To beat the second top side is a great achievement. To record a bonus point and to keep the line intact is even more impressive. Many congratulations to all.

It is really hard to find fault with any of the squad. All made their mark and while the pack took the game to Highland, the backs did absolutely everything that was asked of them, despite being virtually frozen due to the conditions. There was a man of the match and this went to prop Bassett who carried ball and made yards at every opportunity and who combined that with some bone shuddering defensive efforts.


R. Orr, R. Stewart, R. Hutton, J. Barr, R. Bradford, A. Jardine, D. Reive, D. Voas, C. Mulligan, R. Bassett, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: E. Stewart, P. Davidson, A. Peacock, E. Bogle, M. Bertram

This coming weekend Biggar travel to take on Ayr. There is a clash of fixtures at Ayr because their Super 6 side is also in action. Initially, the plan was for Biggar to play on the 2nd XV pitch but this is in poor condition and so the match is now to follow the Super 6 match and will kick off at 4pm. Parking at Millbrae is notoriously bad and given that they would expect a large crowd for the Super 6 match please make travel arrangements which will allow time to park and walk to the ground.

Match Report: 24th November 2019

Cartha QP 26 Biggar 43

The 5 points won on Saturday at Cartha brought to an end the first half of the league season; this a near perfect series of 11 games for Biggar with 50 points garnered from a 55 point maximum and with the defeat by Highland the only blemish. Other results in the division went pretty much with form on Saturday and so Biggar retain their 7 point lead over Heriots (43 points) at the top of Divsion 1 with Highland in 3rd (on 40 points).

The second half of this campaign sees Biggar travel to Boroughmuir on Saturday before hosting Highland on the 7th December. There are of course no easy games with Biggar’s table-topping exploits providing added incentive and motivation to all to try and be the team to take the leader’s scalp.

There were a couple of enforced changes again for the starting XV with Robbie Orr sitting out after taking a head knock against Watsons. His place was taken by Robbie Lavery while Conor Lavery returned at centre. In the pack, fit again Ewan Stewart returned at hooker with Chris Mulligan moving to the back row with Paul Davidson giving way to Richard Bassett at prop. Another very strong bench included Davidson, Zander Lyon, Lewis Stewart, James Barr and Ross Bradford (who dropped to the bench after mid week games for the Scottish Police).

The Cartha pitch has a high spot on half way with the ends of the pitch slightly lower, all of which perhaps contributing to the impression that the pitch is shorter than most. Throw in the only American style goal posts in the country and this provides an unusual setting for the travelling side and support. One of course the Cartha XV are very familiar with however and it was clear from the outset that the boot of stand off and skipper Wayne Burrows would be a signficiant factor in the game. That he consistently found long touch finders meant that Biggar were soon back on the defensive when they lost possession in attack or were set back into their own 22 when Cartha had possession of their own.

This tactic is all the more rewarding when ball is controlled up front, but in this match Cartha, who have often relied on their big, stuffy pack found the going very challenging as Biggar’s pack took the game to them with considerable force.

The opening minutes saw Biggar get off to a dream start with a penalty kicked by Conor Lavery to the Cartha 22 followed by a text book driven lineout. This swept the Cartha pack back at an unhealthy rate, referee Matt Duncan taking no time to penalise Cartha as they collapsed the maul by awarding Biggar a penalty try. There is, nowadays, no need to kick the conversion, this being awarded as part of the penalty try and so Biggar found themselves 7-0 up without really breaking sweat.

On the 10 minute mark Biggar stretched their lead to 14-0 when Jamie Orr rounded off another lineout, which he himself had won, by crashing over at the back of the pack as it once again drove to the Cartha line. Jardine added the conversion.

Unfortunately Biggar then ‘gifted’ their hosts a first try. An error on the restart saw Cartha gain the intiative while a couple of slipped tackles allowed them to gain a foothold in the Biggar 22. It was their turn to use their pack and so they did, Burrows converting the try for 14-7.

In a tit-for-tat 8 minute spell Biggar scored their third try almost directly from the restart. Another series of forward drives featuring some tidy work at the breakdown created a gap for Craig Borthwick who dived over from close range, Jardine again on target with the conversion. 19-7 to Biggar!

Given decent ball Borrows was able to control things a bit better but Biggar again ceded both territory and possession after another couple of unforced errors gave Cartha hope. Their 2nd score came after a defensive mix up gave winger Sam Harrison and then full back Graeme Docherty far too much space which they exploited well to create a try for the latter, this under the posts and making Burrows’ conversion a formality.

While Burrows again cleared his lines with another long raking kick this respite was relatively short lived as another penalty to Biggar saw Lavery kick to the Cartha 22. The familiar forward orientated option was taken again and ball was moved via some good work by Borthwick, Ewan Stewart and Ross Jackson ever closer to the Cartha line. On this occasion however, play was swept right with Rory Hutton latching onto Jardine’s inside pass to cross under the posts. Jardine added the conversion to this bonus point try and then to Biggar’s 5th after Chris Mulligan crashed over for a try which had almost been scored a moment earlier as Bassett seemed to be over the line.

Referee Duncan brought the half to a close at 33-14 to Biggar. A handsome and deserved lead.

The second half was a very different affair, as despite their first half play and usual ability to push on and really punish teams, Biggar seemed to fall of the pace and loose control of proceedings.

Cartha of course deserve credit for their efforts as they strove to get back into the match. Their pack, rather than tire, upped the pace and their belligerence was rewarded by ‘winning’ the second half 12-10 and also by recording a 4 try bonus. It is over a season and a half since Biggar last conceded a 4-try bonus and this is something not lost on either the players or coaching staff and which will most likely feature fully in training this week.

Things had begun pretty well though with Ross Jackson rounding off another patient passage of play when Biggar took their time after creating a good attacking piosition in the Cartha 22. A number of pick and drives had the Cartha defence in all sorts of trouble before Jackson rounded off the play with the score. Jardine was just wide with the conversion.

The restart saw Biggar return to the offensive with Mulligan, Ewan Stewart, Jackson and then Mulligan again taking play deep into the Cartha 22 where only a knock on from Hutton deprived Biggar another try.

This heralded the longest passage of play without a score being added, Biggar’s efforts failing as they over-complicated things or tried to go it alone and as Cartha worked hard to first of all frustrate Biggar’s play before creating their own attacks. Play was generally much scrappier than had been the case before the break with neither side able to gain the control they sought to create and convert possession into points. Both sides were given opportunities via penalty awards to get into promising positions but handling errors, interceptions and sound defence prevented any further scoring.

Cartha had made a few changes to personnel as a result of injury while Biggar made just the one, Lyon indirectly replacing Ewan Stewart in the pack.

The stalemate was eventually ended as the half hour mark approached. Another scrappy passage of play ended as Hutton took the ball on the right hand side of the pitch and on roughly halfway. A chip and chase saw the centre do just enough to out-pace the Cartha defence for the score. At 43-21 the game was all but done but Cartha kept plugging away and were rewarded as they gained a penalty in the Biggar 22. Despite being under pressure at scrum time Cartha opted for an attacking scrum and although they were pushed back they were able to retain possession and launch one final attack, this seeing Burrows chip over the advancing Biggar back line to win the chase to the touchdown in very similar fashion to Hutton a couple of minutes earlier. Burrow’s drop kick conversion was virtually the last passge of play although the game did end with Biggar deep in the Cartha 22.

The trip to Glasgow had all the hallmarks of being a possible banana skin for Biggar, the city side having proven to be very tough opposition in previous matches and especially as they have already recorded some very good results this season including wins over both Kelso and Melrose. That Biggar gained another ‘full-house’ was therefore deemed as being a great result, albeit in retrospect one over-shadowed by the concession of 4 tries. Biggar retain the best defensive record in all the divisions but games are easily lost and this was, as coach Davy Wilson quickly pointed out, not at all representative of the standards set by the coaching staff or senior playing group.

Biggar now travel to Boroughmuir. The first match ended with Biggar winning by 50-7 in what was a pretty much one-sided affair. There are no illusions that the Edinburgh outfit have improved considerably since then however while previous trips for Biggar sides to Meggetland have never been particularly rewarding! Game on!


R. Lavery, R. Stewart, R. Hutton, C. Lavery, M. Bertram, A. Jardine, L. Kutze, D. Voas, E. Stewart, R. Bassett, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan, R. Jackson. Reps: P. Davidson, Z. Lyon, L. Stewart, J. Barr, R. Bradford

Match Report: Saturday 16th November 2019

Biggar 40 Watsonians 7

For the penultimate match of the first half of this League campaign, Biggar welcomed the 6th Super 6 Club side, Watsonians, to Hartree Mill.

There were several changes in the Biggar squad. Ewan Stewart was struggling with a neck injury sustained against Stirling and unfit and was replaced by Chris Mulligan who moved up while a fit again Euan Sanderson took his place in the back row. Conor Lavery who had been away on business and therefore unable to train all week was replaced by Andy Jardine at stand off with Robbie Lavery partnering Rory Hutton in the centre. The bench featured Fin Barr who was making his first appearance in the 1st XV squad after some excellent performances in the 2nds.

Interestingly, and a direct result of Super 6 recruitment, with Craig Borthwick in the pack and Rory Hutton and Mark Bertram in the backs, Biggar had more players from Watsons 1st XV of last season (2018/19) than Watsons!

Atop the League having lost just one match to date, and facing a side in 9th place, Biggar were favourites for the win but nothing is ever a certainity in sport and so the visitors from the capital were given every respect, especially as they have a very proud tradition of expansive, running rugby.

Such are the expectations of the Biggar support however that there was some discomfort that the scoreboard had not been troubled in the first quarter. Folks are too quick to forget that Biggar, as league leaders, are regarded as a top scalp and that their opponents have a squad of 20 and coaches who are all motivated and equally keen to win!

The opening exchanges were as tough as any encountered this season. The Watsons XV did more damage to Biggar’s lineout and won more quality ball on their own put in than has been the case at any point to date. They did struggle in the tight scrum though, with ex-Biggar lad Guy Kelly, while enjoying the match, having a testing time and finding Biggar’s Donald Voas to be a tough host.

The opening exchanges were fairly equal, Biggar’s attacks being well dealt with by a stuffy Watsons defence. Ball was uncharacteristically dislodged in a number of tackles and position and possession lost as a result.

In reply, Biggar’s defence, which is by far the most frugal within the league system, ensured that the Biggar line was not breached or on those rare occasions when Watsons did get a toe hold, that this was quickly stifled.

Watsons have favoured kicking in previous matches and Saturday was no exception, scrum half Finlay Broomfield using this option to pop the ball into Biggar territory on a regular basis. Biggar have a talented, speedy and elusive back three however in Robbie Orr, Rowan Stewart and Ross Bradford and so this tactic was rarely successful. One such riposte featuring Hutton, Lavery, Stewart and Orr ended as Orr was pushed into touch but only after some 40 metres had been gained.

A couple of kicks did see Biggar scrambling back but these were, by and large, comfortably dealt with.

In attempts to break the Watsons defence down, Biggar opted to speed the game up, scrum half Luhann Kutze taking quick tap penalties when given the opportunity. Having created a good attacking position deep in the Watsons half, it was Kutze who rounded off a solid penalty scrum with a darting dive which took him under the Watsons defence for the opening score. Andrew Jardine kicked the conversion for 7-0.

Five minutes later and on the half hour mark, Biggar notched their second score, this falling to Lewis Stewart who was able to dive over after the pack had taken control at a lineout in the visitors 22. Jardine added the conversion from an acute angle.

Lewis has continued to develop his game and is becoming a livewire in the Chris Mulligan mode, one passage of play seeing the youngster make a huge carry into, through and then under the Watsons defence in what amounted to, in footballing parlance, a (human) ‘nutmeg!’

Paul Davidson who was suffering from a bad cold was forced off after another impressive performance, his deputy being Richard Bassett who had been on the bench and looked to be the epitome of the coiled spring. Any apparent relief felt by the Watsons front row at the departure of Davidson was quickly dispelled at the next scrum which saw Biggar drive and then win the ball on the Watsons put in.

To score as half time is close is always a big boost and so it proved as Biggar mounted another attack. Having taken play to within 20 mteres of the Watsons line a typical Kutze/Rowan Stewart move provided the winger with another clear run under the posts. Jardine’s conversion took Biggar ahead at 21-0.

Conor Lavery had replaced Hutton at the break and as Biggar turned to play towards the clubhouse they were soon back on the attack. Having made good ground towards the Watsons 22 Biggar saw another lineout malfunction, Watsons creating pressure on the catcher to dislodge control. This and then an interception as Biggar carried ball forward via Jamie Orr saw Biggar fullback Robbie Orr come to the rescue.

A penalty award then gave Biggar another opportunity in the Watsons 22. On this occasion ball was retained and after play was advanced toward the Watsons line Euan Sanderson barrelled his way over for the all important bonus point-winning try. Jardine was just off traget with the conversion.

This was the start of a purple patch for Biggar as within a 10 minute period this and another 2 tries were scored to take Biggar into an unassailable 40-0 lead.

Rowan Stewart was replaced by Bertram and shortly afterwards Andrew Peacock replaced Donald Voas, the prop having made another explosive performance.

The 5th try was credited to Sanderson, the flanker making a fantastic pick up off a slightly wayward Kutze pass. Jardine added the conversion to this try.

A yellow card to visiting hooker Callum Lauder gave Biggar an important one man advantage which they used well. The next score was a somewhat bizarre try, created and scored by Mulligan. Having taken the Watsons kick off Mulligan almost dropped the ball. He managed to salvage the situation however by somehow kicking the ball ahead. The fact that he was going full tilt forwards put him ahead of the advancing Watsons line. Mulligan won the race to the bouncing ball, hacking it forward and over the line before winning the next race to dive on the ball for the try. Coming as it did from what appeared to be a most unpromising start struck a blow in the Watsons ranks.

There was still some 20 minutes remaining however and ample time therefore for more scores.

Fin Barr replaced Sanderson at this point, the teenager immediately in on the action in a defensive role.

The next 10 minutes or so saw Watsons enjoy their best passage of play as they managed to retain possession and work through a series of phases. This resulted in them working their way to Biggar’s 5 metre line to which they laid seige. Biggar’s defence held firm for a prolonged period but eventually the Edinburgh outfit found a space and centre Thomas Klein managed to sqeeze over for a deserved score and one converted by Lucca Rosso.

To the surprise of all who were recording the matches progress referee Craig Clark then blew for fulltime. This was totally unexpected as to most at least 7 minutes remained on the clock! Nevertheless the referee is sole judge of everything and so the usual courtesies were extended as the teams trooped from the pitch.

The final score of 40-7 virtually matched this season’s average of 38-12. Challengers Highland who occupied 2nd place prior to their match at Melrose lost out by 32-14 and so Biggar’s lead at the top is now 7 points.

The league leaders travel to Glasgow this weekend in the hope that they will be able to round off the first round of matches with a played 11 won 10 record. Cartha have had a very inconsistent season to date with a couple of big wins mixed in with a couple of equally surprising defeats. Their home form is better than their away form however and so Biggar will need to be at their best to defeat a side which, with a big pack, has always offered a real challenge.


R. Orr, R. Stewart, R. Hutton, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine, L. Kutze, D. Voas, C. Mulligan, P. Davidson, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: R. Bassett, A. Peacock, F. Barr, C. Lavery, M. Bertram.

Match Report: Saturday 9th November 2019

Biggar 31 Stirling County 15

Another win and another 5 league points which, with Cartha’s defeat of Melrose, gives Biggar a 5 point advantage at the top of National 1.

This was as hard a fought match as any bar perhaps Highland and Gala with the visitors proving to be a tough nut to crack. Having scored two early tries it looked as though Biggar might run away with the match but a strong comeback which saw Stirling enjoy possession and territory promised much. Biggar’s resilience and defence was the difference however and try as they did Stirling could manage just two scores, one in each half, while Biggar collected their 8th try bonus (from 9 matches) to retain their No1 spot.

Richard Bassett, Jamie Campbell and Ross Bradford were all out of the starting line up for this match, the first two having picked up injuries against Heriots while the 3rd was still having issues with a hamstring injury sustained in the Melrose game. Their replacements were Paul Davidson (who later was awarded the man of the match award for a great afternoon’s scrummaging and a devastating 25 metres burst through the Stirling line), Lewis Stewart (Jamie Orr moved from the back row to cover lock) and Mark Bertram (who returned to the side after missing last weeks match because of a wedding).

Stirling have been playing inconsistently to date and before the match sat in 6th spot with a 50% success record. A proud club drawing from a massive geographical area with a big population however they were never going to lie down. One of their number was hooker Andrew Orr who moved north from Biggar to facilitate his Uni studies and he, for one, was determined to give a good account of himself on his old home turf. He did!

Kicking off up the ‘slope’ Biggar could not have had a better start when, within two minutes, they opened the scoring, Bertram set free by Lewis Stewart to cross under the posts. Andrew Jardine converted this and was on target again some 5 minutes later to add the conversion to Biggar’s 2nd score, this from Chris Mulligan. This try, conming from a scrum and featuring a No8 pick up from Ross Jackson and a mazy run from the elusive Robbie Orr was far too easy for this level of competition.

Having barely begun to sweat, Biggar could have been forgiven for thinking that it was going to be all plain sailing so easy were these two scores and especially as Stirling had hardly had the ball. This feeling was quickly dispelled however as the visitors, enjoying their first real possession, managed to string a few phases together and to put Biggar on defensive chores. A penalty kicked by Craig Robertson was their first score, this after Jamie Orr was penalised for not releasing the man. 14-3 to Biggar.

Biggar’s cause was not helped by an injury to hooker Ewan Stewart (Mulligan moved up from the back row while Alan Warnock came into the side from the bench) and because of an unusually high penalty count against them; referee Fergus Collins finding fault on a number of occasions for a variety of offences. This culminated in Jamie Orr being shown a yellow card just at the start of the second quarter.

Now with a one man advantage Stirling were quickly back on the attack via some good hard runs combined with some great running lines and angles which took them into the Biggar 22. The Stirling pack were a robust lot and with Orr in the van it took all of Biggar’s legendary defensive effort to repel the Stirling attack. This they did well until, that is, the half hour mark, when a rhino-like charge from prop Benjamin Mace resulted in their first score. Stand off Robertson added the two points from the conversion.

Biggar had had their fair share of possession during this period and had made some good ground but a series of errors had also disrupted their flow. What was needed before the half time whistle, was another score and with the clock approaching the 40 minute mark they duly obliged, Luhann Kutze initiated the score after he collected a loose Stirling clearance to begin a counter attack. His run created space but his vision to throw a pass to Rowan Stewart saw the winger take the ball at almost full speed and around the stretched cover defence for a try which Jardine again converted for 21-8 and half time.

Now playing towards the clubhouse, the general feeling was that Biggar would be able to open out as the Stirling effort waned. Not so however as the visitors maintained their dogged approach. In fact the first 10/15 minutes of this second period saw Biggar restricted to their own half as Stirling managed to retain possessiona and to constantly run at the Biggar defence. The home side were also guilty of a series of poor passes which, as had been the case in the first half, led to possession and territory being surrendered.

A number of timely interceptions, some good solid tackling, allied to some equally poor decisions from the Stirling side when in possession, contrived to keep Biggar ahead.

An injury to Rory Hutton saw Robbie Lavery enter the fray while Conor Lavery then gave way to Ross Bradford. With some 30 minutes of what had become a fairly bland period of play Biggar kicked a penalty for 24-8 (by Jardine) which crucially put them ahead by more than two scores.

Almost immediately and clearly spurred on by this, Stirling hit back with their second score, credited to replacement George Breese who was in possession when a driven maul took Biggar back and over their line. Robertson added the conversion for 24-15.

With less than 10 minutes remaining the two questions posed were 1. could Stirling mount suficient attacks to cross for further tries and 2. could Biggar gain another score to claim their 4 try and bonus winning point?

In the end the question was answered by a wonderful slieght of hand from Kutze. Biggar had worked their way into the Stirling 22 and had created a ruck almost in the middle of the pitch. Having retained possession the wee scrum half broke to his left, but rather than feeding to his outside backs, he popped a pass out of the back of his hand to Rowan Stewart who hit the line at cracking pace and into a gap to cross untouched from some 20 metres out. Jardine added the conversion for 31-15 which also brought the contest to its conclusion.

In the end another great result, though a little scrappier than had been the case against both Melrose and Heriots. The surprise defeat of Melrose by Cartha was a big ‘lift’ for Biggar as it allowed them to increase their lead at the top of the division (to 5 points from 3).

Watsons provide Biggar with their next home match before the first half off the season is rounded up with a trip to Glasgow to take on Cartha.


R. Orr, R. Stewart, R. Hutton, A. Jardine, M. Bertram, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, E. Stewart, P. Davidson, C. Borthwick, J. Orr, C. Mulligan, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: A. Warnock, A. Lyon, A. Peacock, R. Bradford, R. Lavery.

Match report Saturday 20th October 2019

Biggar 55 Melrose 12

This match was rightly billed as a top-of-the-table clash with the visitors, Melrose, atop the league and with with a record of 6 wins from 6 starts while the hosts Biggar were sitting in 3rd place with 5 wins from 6 starts.

At the end of the match, league positions were swapped after Biggar who, following a number of faltering performances, chose the perfect day to put together an unrelenting 80 minutes of play that had the Melrose team on the rack. This included a blistering start which saw Biggar score their 4th try and collect the bonus point after just over half an hour of play.

The Melrsoe support will point to the fact that they have picked up a number of injuries and were forced to field a very young side but with a couple of notable exceptions Biggar’s squad is peppered with teenagers and others in their early 20’s. The bonus for the home side is that they have had a season’s experience of playing together and have got into a winning habit. With a week off, the group must now focus on their next challenge and another similar task when they travel to take on 2nd placed Heriots at Goldenacre (2nd November KO 2pm).

In Biggar’s pack, Chris Mulligan returned at hooker after a holiday to the exclusion of Douglas Voas, while Craig Borthwick started at second row for his first run out since the Highland match, Andrew Peacock dropping to the bench.

In the backs Rory Hutton began at centre with Mark Bertram on the bench and Rowan Stewart shifting to the wing from centre.

Overnight rain had rendered Biggar’s pitch 3 unplayable and so the Colts midday match against Musselburgh had been cancelled but the main pitch was good to go and held up well throughout what was a dry afternoon. It was great to see a large travelling support with Melrose which made for a bumper crowd of around 500.

Kicking off towards the clubhouse Biggar suffered a blow as Ross Bradford picked up a hamstring injury after his first run on the wing and with just two minutes played. Bertram, who probably expected a restful first half, was pitched right back into the action.

Biggar’s cause was then helped when Melrose’s Thomas Brown was shown a yellow after referee Sam O’Neill adjuged that the lock had illegally collapsed a Biggar driving maul. Biggar took immediate and full advantage of the extra man to score a pushover try, with No8 Ross Jackson credited with the touchdown. Andrew Jardine who, having been with Melrose for a year and who was particularly keen to put one over on his old team mates, was wide with this conversion and the next one after Mulligan crashed over on the 10m minute mark. The build up to this had Bertram running a great line off stand off Conor Lavery. With yards gained and space created, Mulligan ran an equally good angle to make the line despite the attention of a couple of Melrose players.

Just minutes later Jardine anticipated well to collect a Melrose pass and then show the cover defence a clean pair of heels to score under the posts. This he then converted for 17-0.

Both sides employed the boot to put pressure on their opponents and while this did not always work it made for an intriguing contest. There were some excellent scraps for possession with players from both sides being adept at tidying up ball to regain possession or to make turnovers. Play was largely confined to the Melrose half however as Biggar continued to exert pressure on the visitors.

Mulligan, Richard Bassett, Lewis Stewart, Rowan Stewart and Donald Voas were all to the fore in this respect. A big factor in the match was that Biggar’s pack, still with the one man advantage made life really difficult for the Melrose side who were shunted back on almost every scrum. That their No8 Grant Runciman tidied ball well on a retreating scrum saved them on several occasions.

A Lavery touchfinder from a penalty saw Biggar come close to scoring from a well managed driven lineout, Melrose’s defence in the end doing just enough to prevent the try. The resultant scrum was won and with scrum half Luhan Kutze feeding Lavery, the stand off popped the ball to winger Rowan Stewart who ran in untouched for the 4th try. Jardine converted for 24-0.

There was just less then 10 minutes of the half remaining and for the first time much of that spell saw Melrose in attack. Biggar conceded a handful of penalties and must have been in danger of conceding a yellow. Referee O’Neill was not moved by the visitors protestations however and then right on half time Melrose crossed for their first try. After several good attacks on both flanks scrum half Douglas Crawford exploited a gap on the blindside of a ruck close to the Biggar line to nip around the cover. This was converted by Donald Crawford for 24-7 and half time.

Biggar prepared for a Melrose onslaught at the opening of the second half and while the visitors opened well and were given a boost when Hutton was shown a yellow in the early exchanges, there was not the required firepower or drive to upset the home side. Try as they did with the man advantage they could not add to their tally and Biggar survived Huttons’ absence without conceding a point.

Kicking was again a favoured option but, with Biggar in particular possessing a great counter attacking back 3, kicks had to be accurate and this was not always the case. There were some more great skills on show with some great pick ups and feeds under pressure maintaining the excitement.

With the match approaching the end of the third quarter Biggar then produced a hammer blow of two tries scored within 2 minutes of each other and putting the match beyond any doubt.

Another Melrose scrum was disrupted and with a Lavery penalty kick to the corner, Jackson crashed over from close range for his second try which Jardine converted for 31-7.

The kick off was collected by Bertram who made a fantastic run out of defence for some 40 metres. Having found a massive amount of space he then fed Hutton who drew the cover before freeing Rowan Stewart for a run to the corner. Jardine was off target with his conversion and having picked up a knock he gave way to Robbie Lavery.

From 24-7 the score was now 36-7 and with Biggar in confident mood, there was an expectation of more tries.

It was now almost all Biggar, Melrose living off scraps of possession as they struggled to contain the Biggar side and to maintain possession in the face of a very committed Biggar defence which continues to be extremely frugal. Indeed in the Premiership and National Leagues, only Dumfries have conceded fewer points; their 85 just one point less than Biggar’s 86.

Another assault on the line by Biggar saw Ewan Stewart (who had just come on for Jamie Campbell) go close off a pick up. His efforts were rewarded shortly afterwards as he was on hand to touch down following another driven scrum. Conorl Lavery added the conversion for 43-7.

Having earlier kicked the restart to Bertram the Melrose re-start should probably have been kicked away from him, but instead he gathered the kick and began the process once more. Though a score didn’t come directly from his run, possession was maintained and play swung from left to right and then back before space was created for Robbie Orr who sprinted over.

Bertram’s involvement in this score led to the only scuffle of the match, he and Melrose hooker Richard Fergsuon have a tug-of-war with each others’ shirts. The Melrose man might have been much better advised helping his side out in defence!

Peacock had replaced Jamie Orr by this juncture and Paul Davidson was soon to replace Richard Bassett, the wee man having put in naother fine performance in both tight and loose play.

With the minutes ticking by Robbie Orr notched his second of the day and his 12th of the season, Hutton again providing the scoring pass.

This was to be Biggar’s final try but there was time for Melrose to score a second. A passage of play deep in the Biggar 22 was such that Biggar were forced into defensive chores, Peacock being yellow carded for foul play at a ruck.

Now a man up Melrose plugged away at the Biggar line until a gap was created on the blindside which centre Connor Spence was able to exploit for a deserved score. Crawford’s conversion was pushed wide and although there was time for the restart the next stoppage ended the contest.

This was an excellent result but more importantly, a much better performance from Biggar. There was general satisfaction in a job well done and this was all the greater when news came of Heriot’s defeat at the hands of Kelso which promoted Biggar into top spot.

There is much work still to be done however and this was to the fore in the post-match chat when Borthwick noted that the two scores conceded, while well taken, were as a result of sloppy defence which on another day might prove costly. Congratulations to lewis Stewart whose workrate saw him identified as man of the match.

This coming weekend is a Cup weekend and Biggar therefore, at both 1st and 2nd XV level, are without a game.

The preparations now begin for the Heriots match. As was the case with Melrose, Biggar were last pitted against the Edinburgh outfit when the sides were in the Premiership together way back in season 2005/06. Goldenacre is not a familiar venue therefore and Biggar will need to be at their best against a side which will be desperate to rid memories of their Kelso defeat.

A very interested attendee at Saturday’s pre-match luncheon and on the touchline was Gary Parker. A Melrose favourite as a player and coach, Parker was also proud to coach at Biggar during those premiership days and he was quick to remind friends of matches and events from games. Now resident in Melbourne, Australia, he devotes his spare time to coaching not rugby but soccer, a game which he also played professionally with Hearts. Unsurprisingly he was very complimentary about Biggar’s performance on Saturday but with a foot in both ‘camps’ he was measured in his words!


R. Orr, R. Stewart, R. Hutton, A. Jardine, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, C. Mulligan, R. Basset, C. Borthwick, J. Campbell, L. Stewart, J. Orr, R. Jackson. Reps: E. Stewart, P. Davidson, A. Peacock, R. Lavery, M. Bertram.

Match Report: 13th October 2019

Kelso 5 Biggar 29

This was another match which will perhaps be remembered more for what happened during the final 10 minutes than for the score.

In short, this last 10 minutes saw Kelso finish the match with just 11 on the park, referee John Shaw finding fault and showing yellow to 3 of their number (Frankie Robson, Blair Robertson and Andrew Ford) and then issuing replacement back Dwain Patterson with a straight red. As if that was not enough there was a final yellow issued to flanker Kevin Dryden after the final whistle!

Bizarre circumstances indeed and an incredible follow up to last week when the Dundee match was finished early following injury to the referee.

The fact that Biggar returned from the Borders for the second time in 3 weeks with another 5 points in the bag is of course the best of news for Biggar, particularly when the side failed again to play to its potential. Managers and coaches of many sports have stated that it is only a good side which can win when playing badly and this is definitely the message from the Biggar coaching team, but there is equally no more obvious a fact that the squad will need to up their game considerably for this Saturday when they entertain league leaders Melrose who have, to date, swept all before them.

This promises to be a real cracker of a match and with the 2nds also at home, Hartree Mill will be the place to be on Saturday. If you haven’t already witnessed a ‘big’ match at Biggar, then this is your chance. KO 3pm – we’d love to see you there!

Biggar made 2 changes to the side which defeated Dundee. In the pack Chris Mulligan was unavailable and so Andrew Peacock came off the bench and into the second row while Jamie Orr moved back to cover flanker. In the backs Andrew Jardine replaced Robbie Lavery who dropped to the bench.

Kelso have had a particularly inconsistent start to this campaign. A massive 98-3 defeat by Cartha would have indicated a side in meltdown but the very next week they lost to Highland by the odd point 27-26. They have yet to win a game however and on paper it still looked as though Biggar should cruise to a 5th win from 6 starts.

That this was not the case was down to another struggle for form by the Biggar squad who again made heavy weather of things, a batch of unforced errors and wrong options meaning that ball was dropped or attacking opportunities lost. Throw a belligerent Kelso XV desperate for points into the mix and it was there for all to see.

Kicking off with the wind on their backs Biggar should have opened their account early on when Jardine went for the line when an outside pass might have produced a score. Biggar maintained their position within the Kelso half however with some decent play and carries from among others Richard Bassett, Lewis Stewart and Jamie Orr. A penalty, initially awarded to Kelso was reversed by Referee Shaw who took umbrage at the reaction of Kelso after the whistle. This gave Biggar an attacking platform within the Kelso 22 and the lineout – which incidentally held firm throughout the match – provided good ball for the backs. Mark Bertram made the first incision through the Kelso defence before popping the ball to Jardine who accelerated through the remaining cover for a try close to the posts. His conversion was misssed but Biggar had a toehold at 5-0.

Biggar then suffered as some back chat saw them marched back 10m at a penalty. These two incidents (penalty reversal and added yards) should have been warning enough for all but subsequent events indicated that the lesson had fallen on deaf ears.

Biggar as has been the case recently were again in control in the tight exchanges, driving Kelso back to disrupt ball at the scrum and taking good ball at the lineout. Add in the sides usually stout defence and the ability to attack from anywhere, and it looked to be only a matter of time before they would again breach the Kelso line. The Border outfit had other thoughts however and with some equally uncompromising defence they sought to mess things up, disrupting Biggar possession whenever and however they could. Biggar made things hard for themselves as they sought to rush passes and kicks, ball too frequently failing to go to hand.

It took a full half hour for Biggar to notch up their second score, this falling to fullback Robbie Orr who rounded off a sweeping backs move which had seen ball swept from one side of the pitch to the other before Orr crashed over at the posts for a try converted by Jardine for 12-0.

This signalled a much better period of play although Biggar were unable to add to their account. Half time then and turning to face the breeze, the question was whether or not this slender lead would be sufficient. In additition Biggar had conceded penalties at far too high a rate, with a half time ‘score’ of 7 conceded to 3 by Kelso.

Ewan Stewart made a return to action for the second half. Within 3 minutes Biggar got their 3rd score, a crucial one given that Kelso had looked to strike quickly. Luhann Kutze with some dancing feet made ground before freeing Jardine in the middle. Jamie Orr supported well to take the scoring pass. Jardine added the 2 points for 19-0.

A series of promising attacks broke down again as passes were less accurate than the norm and as others were dropped. In the thick of the action up front, Bassett continued to impress with some solid carries as did Jamie Orr (who won the man-of-the-match award for a great all round display), Donald Voas and Lewis Stewart. In the backs all contributed well, Bertram always making the gain line and with Rowan Stewart, Ross Bradford and skipper Conor Lavery all making ground and defending well.

Kelso did manage a try in this period, winger Gareth Walker nipping over for a score which was just too wide for Hastie to convert, well though he had kicked at other times.

Biggar made another change with Hutton replacing Bertram, this seeing Rowan Stewart move to the wing. Peacock was then replaced by Warnock. Biggar had a couple of decent attacks without ever really getting close to the Kelso line.

It was as the game entered its 4th quarter and with things relatively evenly balanced, that events turned for Kelso. A penalty to Biggar on the Kelso 10m line was advanced not just once but twice (20m gain) as Kelso skipper Hastie offered the referee some advice. This gave Lavery an easy kick to the corner but although ball was won, Biggar were unable, at this point, to increase their lead. Biggar made their final changes with just over 5 minutes to go: Paul Davidson came on for Bassett and Robbie Lavery replaced Jardine.

A 5m scrum ended in disarray as a real ‘all in’ stramash ensued. Quite what the referee saw is not clear but whatever it was was sufficient for him to yellow the Kelso centre and hooker. Biggar disrupted the next scrum and won a penalty which Kutze elected to run. He was immediately pole-axed by the Kelso prop who joined his team mates on the bench.

Now down to 12 Kelso were strung out and gaps quickly appeared, Hutton able to take full advantage for his first try in Biggar colours. With Jardine off it was left to Conor Lavery to kick the conversion but he was just wide with this first effort.

The drop kick restart was taken well by lock Jamie Campbell but Kelso’s replacement Patterson mistimed his approach and Campbell was spun in the air prior to landing on his back. Fortunately he was able to get straight back up and although there was no malice whatsoever in the challenge this is nowadays a straight red card and Kelso were now down to 11, just one more than is required before a game is abandoned.

Just a couple of minutes remained but such was the imbalance of numbers that Biggar were able to run in their 5th try, this created by Robbie Lavery who drew the defence before off-loading to Jamie Orr for the try which rounded off an excellent afternoon for the flanker.

It was a difficult match to judge. Biggar had gained another 5 points, not something they have ever before managed at Kelso and yet there was little real celebration in the camp, the last few minutes bringing a sense of unreality to proceedings.

A pleasant surprise came with the news that close rivals Highland had lost their match at Watsonians. That leaves Biggar in 3rd spot, 4 points clear of Highland and 3 behind Melrose.

Efforts this week and prior to the visit by Melrose will be to concentrate on the basics and the pace of play whilst also reducing mistakes.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Stewart, A. Jardine, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, D. Voas, R. Basset, A. Peacock, J. Campbell, L. Stewart, J. Orr, R. Jackson. Reps: E. Stewart, P. Davidson, A. Warnock, R. Lavery, R. Hutton

MOM: Jamie Orr

Match Report: 6th October 2019

Biggar 50 Dundee 7 (Match Sponsor: Bryson Tractors)

Dundee’s first appearance at Hartree Mill will be remembered for long and weary but not for the reasons either Biggar or Dundee would prefer.

A hamstring injury to RFU exchange referee Kristian Garland threatened to end the contest after some 57 minuites had elapsed and led to a lengthy delay while the respective management teams, coaching teams, SRU assessor Dave Kerr, SRU rugby supremo Tappe Henning, ex-referee Jim Yuille and anyone else within earshot debated the options. In the end Mr Garland agreed to continue for as long as he could and certainly until the 60 minute mark had been reached, this the time required by the rule book to allow the match result to stand.

As it was he managed another 10 minutes in which time Biggar recorded and 8th try and 50 points whereupon it was decided to end the contest. From Biggar’s point of view they had secured the full 5 points and were therefore able to gain nothing else from the match other than a better points differential and potentially injury while from Dundee’s standpoint their depleted squad had already conceded 50 points from just two thirds of the match and were going to get absolutely nothing else other than perhaps a far worse points differential and most probably further injuries.

Up until this season National 1 rugby had involved 3 SRU appointed match officials but a lack of officials, combined with a change in SRU policy, means that this season the SRU provide just the referee with clubs responsible for touch judges. Injury to an official is not a particularly common occurence but it has a fairly major impact when it does, this the main topic of conversation in the clubhouse after the match.

The result and the fact that Highland lost their unbeaten record to visitors Heriots means however that Biggar move up one place, albeit just on points differential over Highland, to 3rd spot behind leaders Melrose and second placed Heriots.

An element of frustration pervaded Biggar’s post match huddle with the fact that most of the bench had gained next to no game time, this of particular reference to the returning Andy Jardine and newcomer Rory Hutton both of whom had literally just taken their places on the ptich when the game was brought ot its premature conclusion.

With Craig Borthwick unavailable and Euan Sanderson suffering from concussion Jamie Orr started at lock while Lewis Stewart made a return to action after missing the last two matches. As mentioned earlier, Jardine and Hutton were on the bench alongside Andrew Peacock and Ewan Stewart another two happily recovered from injury. Dundee, who traditionally rely on a big student presence have not had an easy time this season with injury and unavailablity a huge factor in their results which means that they are stuck at the bottom of the table with just one league point from 5 matches. One of their number however who gave his all to the cause was ex-biggar man Danny McGinn who ahs been part of the Dundee set up since his Uni days. His was not the happist of return visits but he can be proud of his efforts.

The match began in much more pleasant conditions than had been forecast although with the wind coming from the east there was a suspiscion that conditions might quickly deteriorate. This in fact was not the case and the match – all 60 minutes – elapsed without rain.

The respective league positions suggested that this might be an easy win for Biggar and while that was ultimately the case, Biggar’s pack totally dominat in almost every aspect, the visitors did stick gamely to their task and provided a challenge for Biggar. Added to that the Biggar squad lacked the patient build up that any game demands their play often a little too hurried with players making ambitious off-loads from the start which gave possession away or which conceded territory. That said there were another coupple of sweeping plays which took play from one end of the pitch to the other and which had the visitors chasing shadows and at sixes and sevens.

The match opend with both sides using the boot to turn their opponents though without particular success, ball being fielded and the return kick and chase more often the not giving possession away.

Mark Bertram, who ended with another hat-trick was the first to cross, ths coring pass delivered by fullback robbie Orr who made a break in midfield. Conor Lavery added the conversion, this the first of 5 successful kicks in the game.

Bertram nothced his econd after 15 mins, Ross Bradford’s inrusion doing much to create the space for the big winger to exploit.. Just 6 minutes later and Lewis Stewart scored Biggar’s 3rd try another midfield break, this time from centre Rowan Stewart splitting the Dundee defence.

Haviong scorched into a 19-0 lead Dundee unsurprisingly took a hand in the next passages of play and they opened their account with a trywhich somehwat irnoically came from a retreating Dundee scrum – this a feature of the game and one which saw Dundee suffer badly as Biggar’s 8 took full advantage of the visiotrs weaknesses.

On this occasion however ball won by Dundee was advanced by scrum half McGinn who found team-mate Tim Brown in support, the back rower crossing for a try converted by Kieron Scoular for 19-7.

Just after this score, which should have given them a boost a yellow card to centre Sean Gauld (this perhaps a tad harsh as he seemed to just miss out on an interception) and an injury to No 8 Donald Sangster added to Dundee’s woes.

The score had also acted as a spur to Biggar who scored their 4th and bonus point winning try when Conor Lavery exploited a gap created by a neat backs move to go over under the posts. Having converted this try the stand off was on target again, this a much harder kick from the touchline after No8 Ross Jackson had made the most of another retreating Dundee scrum.

With just a few passages of play remaining referee Garland blew for half time.

The second period began ominously for Biggar as Jackson was shown a yellow. They made light of this imbalance in numbers however as Conor Lavery probed the corners and touchlines with some well angled kicks to pin the Dundee defence back. Having manufactured another midfield breenge Rowan Stewart put in a long pass to fullback Robbie Orr on his wide right who, having made more ground found Bradford with a wonderful ‘out the back’ pass. The winger cruised over at the corner for a try. Lavery was short and wide with the conversion.
Biggar had begun to make changes, Ewan Stewart maing a welcome return to action after injury and there were further changes to the side with Donald Voas and Jamie Campbell making way for Paul Davidson and Andrew Peacock.

A slightly frantic passage of play ensued as again errors crept into Biggars’ play, everyone keen to make their mark as Dundee faltered. Jackson resumed after his yellow while Bertram steadied the ship with his third try. The winger rounded off a sweeping move which saw play moved right to the touchline and then back left via Rowan Stewart, Robbie Orr and Robbie Lavery who delivered the scoring pass to the winger with no fewer than three other players available in support. Bertram’s hat-trick ‘reward’ was to be immediately replaced alongside Robbie Lavery with Jardine and Hutton their replacements. Hutton’s first touch saw him make a promising break down the rigbt touchline with the cover just able to push him into touch. This was the beginning of the end as it was at this point that the referee was injured.

A prolonged debate ensued to discover what the protocol in such situations was and what options were available. This included an appeal for assistance from one of the Colts officials who had been on duty earlier but who was on his way home. He agreed to return but as described the Mr Garland was able to resume for the required spell to allow the result to stand.

In that time Rowan Stewart ran a great angle off scrum ball, Luhan Kutze provising the perfect flip pass inside to allow his team mate to cross between the posts for a try converted by Conor Lavery for Biggar’s 50.

As suggested there was a deal of frustration in the Biggar camp but with no injuries and a hefty win this means the full squad is available for selection for a testing fixture away this Saturday to Kelso. This has never been an easy trip and while the Border side, like Dundee, are not having the best of starts to their season they ran leaders Melrose close at the weekend. They should never be underestimated and so Biggar will need to be at their best to maintain their current run of good form.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, D. Voas, R. Basset, J. Orr, J. Campbell, L. Stewart, C. Milligan, R. Jackson. Reps: E. Stewart, P. Davidson, A. Peacock, A. Jardine, R. Hutton

MOM: Richard Bassett

28th September – Gala

Gala 21 Biggar 24

On three occasions and with just minutes left on the clock Gala opted to go for the lineout and try rather than the penalty at goal, 3 points and a deserved draw. Biggar however, stuck to their task and time after time were up to the mark defensively, demonstrating a determination to hold their line intact as belies a side which last season had the best defensive record in the league. A 4-try bonus point win then at Netherdale is a fantastic result and ensures Biggar retain their 4th place slot behind Melrose, Highland and Heriots.

Biggar were without Lewis Stewart for this match, the youngster, who has been in great form having picked up a leg knock midweek. His place was taken by Chris Milligan who moved to the back row from hooker, with Douglas Voas coming in as Milligan’s replacement. The backs showed one change, James Barr dropping to the bench in favour of Robbie Lavery at centre while Jamie Orr returned to the squad on the bench.

On the Netherdale turf Biggar endured a torrid start to the match as Gala threw everything at them, their big pack making inroads into the Biggar half and then the 22 and with stand off Dean Keedie orchestrating things well with some deft off-loads and some very accurate angled kicks. It was from one such forward drive from a lineout and then a great cross kick which gave Simon Fairbairn the opportunity to take and cross for the opneing try, this coming within the first minute of the match. While Keddie missed the conversion and a penalty just minutes later – this a great effort which saw the ball rebound off the upright – he was on target in the 11th minute with a penalty to put his side 8-0 up.

At this stage the game had barely moved from the Biggar half and it looked as though it might be a very long afternoon for the Biggar side. Gala’s play was full on, their option to tap and go off penalties causing some havoc, but there were Biggar errors to compound things and this made the task all the more difficult; a lineout error and soft penalties allowing the home side to maintain their stranglehold on the game.

The law of averages suggested that things should change however and so they did, a mark and kick to touch by Ross Bradford giving his side the opportunity to control possession. A penalty award taken quickly by Luhann Kutze and Biggar were off and running to take the game for the first time into the Gala 22. Some great handling which swept play right and then left stretched the Gala cover and created just enough space for Robbie Orr to draw the cover before feeding Mark Bertram who crossed for a cracking opening try. Conor Lavery missed the conversion but this try gave Biggar some heart – a score from what was virtually their first attack.

Gala replied with Gregor Mein at centre pushing Biggar back into their 22 but a blindside break featuring Robbie Lavery and Kutze took play back into the Gala half. Conor Lavery kicked a penalty to within 5metres of the Gala line where a textbook take by skipper Euan Sanderson gave Biggar a great chance. Having learned a harsh lesson at Currie whom Biggar met in the Cup, Sanderson turned as Gala stood off the lineout, exploiting the space to drive over the line for a score which put Biggar ahead at 10-8 and, as importantly, served notice that with 2 tries in effectively 2 attacks, Biggar would be a match for the Border outfit.

The half was not quite over however and an offside gave Keddie the chance to regain the lead for Gala at 11-10.

Despite now having the benefit of the breeze Biggar found themselves almost immediately back in defence for the opening minutes of the second period, their defence and the intervention of two timely turnovers giving them both space and time. The first saw Robbie Lavery kick deep to push Gala back while the second, coming from a poor pass gave Mark Bertram the chance to take ball upfield. Although tackled, he found Rowan Stewart in support, the centre making a great run into the Gala 22. His lateral run then created space for the ever-present Milligan and the neat ‘out-the-back’ pass saw the backrower over and almost under the posts for a crucial score. And one converted by Conor Lavery.

Another restart error ended with a Gala penalty which Keddie kicked to keep his side in touch at 17-14. In what was fast becoming a really entertaining contest Gala then regained the lead after another series of errors from Biggar which saw Douglas Voas forced to concede a 5m scrum. Now deep in the ‘red area’, the initial thrusts to the Biggar line by the Gala pack, with captain Euan Dods looking almost certain to cross for a try were repelled by some really stout offensive defence as all Biggar’s players stood up to the charges. The line had to break however and a converted try, a second for winger Fairburn put the homeside ahead at 21-17 and this with some 25 minutes remaining.

Both sides had begun to ring the changes, Orr on for Craig Borthwick and then Alan Warnock for Sanderson. Paul Davidson would soon enter the fray for Douglas Voas. Gala had already been forced into changes as their injuries again mounted up. Neither side could quite gain control of the match at this stage as both erred to cede possession when in attack. Penalties were awarded as referee Michael Todd found fault, both sides equally guilty as they crept offisde trying to cut down space. An accidental offside from one such penalty kicked deep into the Gala 22 and after Biggar had built up a head of steam was a frustration, especially as real attacking opportunities were few and far between.

The winning try came from what was essentially a defensive scrum on Biggar’s 10m line. The pack had been a match for the Gala 8 and ball won was then passed swiftly through the hands to Orr who, having committed two men, found Bertram with an off-load. The winger put in a neat grubber kick which had Milligan on a chase which he very nearly won, Gala replacement Struan Mitchell just getting control of the ball as it bobbled toward the Gala line. From the resultant lineout a forward drive was halted but a neat backs move – not, mind you, the one intended – saw Conor Lavery find Orr with a wide pass, the fullback staying strong to carry the ball over the line for a deserved try which the stand off kicked for 24-21.

There was now just under 10 minutes remaining and what a fraught 10 minutes they turned out to be as both sides did their utmost to win the game, Gala in possession and Biggar more often the not in defence. Biggar had to make another change as Richard Bassett took a nasty cut to his ear and at exactly the same time as Warnock was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.

The last minutes were played out as previously described, the Border side eschewing the kick at goal and possible draw for a try and a win. Time and again they ran at the Biggar defence but it did just enough to hold firm.

A pulsating contest, one which the home side will rue as having got away and one which the visitors will delight in recounting for some time to come. For the record this was the first meeting between the two sides in almost 10 years, Gala winning that encounter by 27-25 so there is clearly still not much between the two teams.

Chris Milligan deservedly picked up another Man of the Match award while there is good news regarding the Gala winger Fairburn who was injured in the last play as he made for the line. Though requiring an ambulance he has a concussion and a perforated eardrum which, although very unpleasant, is not as bad as had been envisaged. The club wishes him a speedy recovery.

Biggar will now regroup and prepare for the visit of Dundee. The Tayside club are not enjoying the best of starts to their season and are currently propping the table up with no wins. Amongst their number are the McGinn brothers, Danny and Rory, who both hail from Biggar so they will doubtless enjoy a return to their home club!


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, D. Voas, R. Basset, C. Borthwick, J. Campbell, E. Sanderson, C. Milligan, R. Jackson. Reps: P. Davidson, J. Orr, A. Warnock, J. Barr and E. Bogle.

MOM: Chris Mulligan

21st September 2019


Ross Bradford leads a counter attack.                                           Jamie Campbell carries into contact

Biggar 62 Ayr 15 Match Sponsor: Andrew Dunlop, RSABI)

Biggar’s response after defeat by Peebles last season was an emphatic 39-0 defeat of Dumfries. On this occasion the defeat last week by Highland saw an even more emphatic performance on Saturday as Biggar thumped Ayr by 62 -15.

That Ayr expected a tough game was in no doubt but few would have predicted the margin of Biggar’s victory which found Ayr wanting in all areas. Those who compared the contest as being one between men and boys conveniently overlooked the fact that of 6 Biggar’s 20 man squad are teenagers!

This was the ideal riposte to the previous weeks match against Highland and takes Biggar back up the table from a lowly 8th to 4th with the best points differntial at +81.

That this result was then backed up by wins for the 2nd XV (at Jed), the Colts (at West) and the Rams (at Burnbrae) made Saturday one of those sepcial days at Biggar RFC.

There is of course a whole host of games to go in this difficult division, none more so than the match this coming weekend which sees the 1sts travel to take on the might of Gala. It’s sure to be a cracker so if you can please get down to Netherdale to cheer the boys on.

The injuries picked up in Inverness were perhaps less of a concern than had initally been the case but they still led to changes. In the backs to mitigate the loss of Andrew Jardine, Conor Lavery returned at stand off while James Barr moved one out to partner Rowan Stewart in the centre. Up front Craig Borthwick partnered Jamie Campbell at lock in place of Andrew Peacock.

On a truly beautiful Saturday afternoon when Hartree Mill looked its absolute best, the opening exchanges were a tad frought with errors on both sides but Biggar took the lead when, after a series of phases, Lavery dropped a neat goal from some 35 metres out to put his ahead at 3-0.

A mix up on the restart by Biggar led to a period of pressure and with their backs linking well and displaying a decent cutting edge Ayr ran in the first try credited to stand off A. Morrison. Baird was just wide with the conversion.

A neat exit kick from Lavery set up the next attacking position for Biggar and having gone through a number of phases the stand off then sent a cross field kick from left to right. Just wide of Ross Bradford the ball conveniently bounced up and into the hands of Robbie Orr who, despite having earlier needed some treatment for an ankle knock, took full opportunity to nip over for Biggar’s first try which Lavery converted for 10-5.

Ayr made a meal of the restart – this the first of three similar costly errors – and Biggar were right back in attack, Orr notching his second try within minutes of the first, this keeping scoreboard operator Alex Tennant busy!

In what was now a purple patch Biggar scored their bonus point winning try from their nest foray into Ayr territory. Ross Jackon created the position with a No8 pick up, Luhann Kutze advanced play and Lavery rounded the move off by crossing for his first of the season. His conversion took the score to 22-5.

A no-hands tackle by Biggar prop Richard Basset gave Baird the chance to add to Ayr’s tally for 22-8. Ayr’s prop Bryce picked up an arm injury at the next scrum and as he was their second front row forward to be injured this meant that the scrums were then uncontested.

Biggar had the last word in this first half when Orr claimed his hat-trick, this a long run in from some 40 metres and somewhat fortuitious as it appeared he had been gulity of a ‘crossing’ offence as Ross Bradford broke downfield. Lavery kicked the conversion for a comfortable half time lead of 36-8.

Biggar began the second half much in the same way as they had finished the first with the backs running well and at pace. A massive pass from Stewart set up Bradford but in his follow up kick and chase the ball eluded him and ended up in touch. Moments later however his fellow winger Mark Bertram was on the end of a great move as play was swept from right to left, ending up in a score in the corner.

The match then entered a period of fairly scrappy play as Biggar players tried to force things and as Ayr were forced to try anything to get back into the match.

It was Ayr who profited as they scored a second try, the uncontested scrums giving them a stable platform from which to launch their attack. Having scored, the last thing they needed was for there to be an error on the restart but this there was and the visitors found themselves immediately back in defensive mode.

Biggar’s evergreen replacement Alan Warnock made the most of his introduction to the match as he was on the end of a backs movement which also featured Jackson and Borthwick. Lavery kicked the conversion for 48-15.

Orr, Bradford and Kutze combined well again to take play into the Ayr half with Lavery kicking well for position. A wonderful diving ‘save’ from Warnock as ball was tapped back was the prelude to the next try this going to Kutze who sold an outrageous dummy to catch the Ayr defence napping before skipping in under the posts for a try converted by Lavery.

A yellow card shown to Ayr’s Doolan added insult to injury, this again leading to an unstructured passage of play as the match entered its last quarter.

Milligan, who was again so very industrious in all phases of play made a great breenge through the Ayr defence and as the Biggar backs latched onto the opportunity it was a well-tiemd pass by Lavery which found Bertram for his second score of the game. Lavery added the conversion for a Biggar total of 62 and a personal total of 22 points.

Doolan returned for the final few minutes, this featuring one opportunistic passage of play which included a lung bursting touchline sprint by Reive who was just forced into touch by the Ayr cover.

And so referee Graeme Ormiston blew for full time to end the match.

There were a number of large margin wins in National 1 again this weekend and it very much looks as if it could be several weeks before the division pans and levels out. Biggar face a massive challenge this weeeknd when they travel to take on Gala at Netherdale. This will be a real test from a club which has been in National 1 for a number of seasons. It will be a hostile atmosphere and the larger the Biggar support the better. And on that note a big thank you to all those Biggar supporters who turned out in numbers on Saturday.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, R. Stewart, J. Barr, R. Bradford, C. Lavery, L. Kutze, D. Voas, C. Milligan, R. Basset, C. Borthwick, J. Campbell, E. Sanderson, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: D. Voas, P. Davidson, A. Warnock, D. Reive and E. Bogle.


Scoreboard operator Alex was busy on Saturday!

14th September: National League Division 1

Highland 19 Biggar 7

In the corresponding fixture last season Highland were protecting a long unbeaten run of wins at home and in a close fought match Biggar did just enough to sneak the win and break that run. On this occasion Biggar were protecting an unbeaten run of some 12 league matches and in a very similar type of contest which was dominated to a large extent by a howling gale, it was Highland who prospered to end Biggar’s run.

This was undoubtedly Highland’s day. They played aggresively and made the most of all the chances that came their way. In contrast Biggar lacked their customary accuracy and struggled to gain any consistency particularly after the break when, with the wind at their backs, they should have been able to boss the game more.

There was always the expectation that this season would see a fairly large step up in the level of rugby. Last week’s opener against a weakish Boroughmuir may have suggested otherwise but Highland provided a very different challenge to that offered by the Edinburgh outfit and it was this intensity which Biggar failed to cope with, Highland’s offensive defence up to that of Biggar’s and their use of ball when in possession every bit as good as anything Biggar met last season.

And that is not to say that Biggar played badly. A first half performance which saw Biggar restrict their hosts to just one try and to nip one of their own was deemed by many Highland worthies to be well worth a win, the wind, popular opinion suggested, being worth 20 points at least. As it was it was the home side which had the better part of the s3econd period, running some great angles and putting pace on the ball. And uncharacteristically, it was Biggar’s defence which was, on two crucial occasions, found to be wanting. Small margins was all that seperated the sides last season and so it proved again this time round.

Biggar now prepare for the visit of another super 6 club side, Ayr RFC. To date they have enjoyed two wins, one against Watsons and the second against Boroughmuir. Another tough test for Biggar then with the loss a great disappointment. Perhaps more worrying however are the injuries sustained at Inverness with a handful of players forced off as they took knocks. How this will effect selection for this Saturday is not known as yet but ceratinly out is centre Andy Jardine who sustained a shoulder injury which is likely to keep him out for at least 3 weeks.

The side selected for the trip north – never an easy journey and one which is a tough ask for any side – was the same as played against B’muir save that Craig Borthwick was on the bench as he struggles with a calf injury and Conor Lavery who came back into the squad after injury.

The weather on the day was probably not as wild as had been forecast but the wind which swept down the length of the pitch certainly had a fairly major part to play with kicking almost impossible.

Both sides opted to play a tight game with the packs taking short pop passes and hitting up to gain ground. This was largely well executed by all with of course close quarter defence the only possible answer. In these respects while all players played their part, both sides had their ‘go to’ men and for Biggar these were Chris Milligan and his team mate Lewis Stewart both of whom took on an awful lot of ball and consistently made yards and consistently put in some big hits. For Highland their front row and flanker Callum Crason were always to the fore. All players are to be commended however in what was an uncomprimising contest played out in difficult conditions.

Highland crossed the line first, their try coming after 12 minutes as predictably due to the wind, Biggar struggled to escape their half. Highland enjoyed some good early pressure and might have done better save for a high penalty count which on one occasion saw then penalsied and then marched back a further 10 metres.

A breakout which involved ex-Biggar and now Highland DO Iain Chisholm saw Craig Findlater set free but a superb tackle by James Barr halted him in his tracks. The build up to the try had the pack hitting up repeatedly, this providing nice quick ball for scrum half Hugo Crush who orchestrated things well at the back. His pass to Jonny Milton saw the replacement make a crucial yard past the Biggar defence and his off-load gave fullback Findlater just enough space to crash over for a try converted by stand off Scott Fraser.

Jardine picked up his injury just prior to this try and there is no doubt his absence in the back division gave Highland that wee bit more room to exploit than would have been the case had he been in position. Despite getting back into the action he was clearly not right and he gave way to Lavery.

From the restart Biggar then enjoyed a longish passage of possession although this was essentially deep in their own half as they tried to break out. Some text book work by the pack in picking and driving saw them make great yardage but this was strength sapping stuff (for both sides), the Highland defence press-ganged into service to counter Biggar’s driving play. This passage of play was too far out to convert into points however and eventually an error spawned possession for Highland who went back on attack.

A well taken Highland lineout – this another area which did not operate as well for Biggar as is the norm – saw Highland drive for the line. Some great scramble defence saw the initial drive halted just as it seemed Highland would score. Ball moved right was then met by a massive hit by Donald Voas – another who worked his socks off in all areas – and possession was lost. Milligan was first to react and his pass found Lewis Stewart who in turn fed Luhann Kutze. The scrum half freed Robbie Orr who sprinted clear up field and into the Highland half. It took two men to halt his progess but he cleverly found winger Mark Bertram who swapped passes with Rowan Stewart before crossing just to the left of the posts for a cracking score converted by Lavery. This was more like Biggar. A patient period in defence and then with just a sniff of opportunity, a score!

A Kutze breakout promised more and then a knock on from Orr as he attempted a pick up from a Highland knock on was another tough chance which on another day might have been converted into points.

Half time came shortly afterwards however and so it was again game on for the start of the second period with the scores tied at 7-7.

Playing against a really strong wind is always incredibly challenging. Playing with the wind is not always as easy as one might think and this was certainly the case for both sides on Saturday as all bar one of the 4 tries was scored by the team playing into the elements.

Biggar certainly found this tough but they also met a home XV which seemed to up their game.

Neither side had kicked much, this a surprise for the Biggar support who thought it much easier to gain yards via a kick rather then by running, especially when the breeze carries ball much further. Kicking of course tends to give the opposition the ball and so the chase after the kick has to be accurate. On the first occasion at the start of the second period Lavery opted to put in an angled kick towards the Highland line.

The astro turf often provides a more unpredictable bounce but this kick was taken by Findlater who intitiated a breakout on very similar lines to that of Biggar’s before the break. Crush, Fraser, Stuart McDonald-Butler and Steven Rutledge were all involved and although there was more than a suspicion that Rutledge was in touch as he made the scoring pass, the touchjudge thought differently and so the score stood. A narrow lead for the hosts at 12-7.

Biggar had been forced into using all their replacements by this point, Bertram, Kutze, Andrew Peacock and Euan Sanderson all having come off and been replaced by Davy Reive, Craig Borthwick, Paul Davidson and Douglas Voas, these changes resulting in other positional changes.

At the start of the fourth quarter Highland struck again with what turned out to be the decisive score. A passage of attacking play seemed to stall as Chisholm threw a massive pass right. It was gathered on the touchline however and a phase later, a pop pass from Crush found lock Oscar Baird who burst through in the midfield before sprinting clear of the Biggar defence to score under the posts, Fraser kicking for 19-7.

There was still time for a riposte but try as Biggar did they could find no way through the Highland line. A number of forward passes and an equal number of spilled passes meant that this was not to be however and so with the whistle signalling another forward pass, the Highland support and squad leapt as one to celebrate the win.

It is clear that, on this evidence at least, both Highland and Biggar will be a force to be reckoned with in this division. Both sides have a togetherness and team spirit which other clubs can surely only hope for and a tremendous support that few other clubs can match. With that in mind many thanks to all those whom made the trip north at the weekend – the players really appreciate your efforts.

Biggar now turn their attention to the visit of Ayr. This will be another tough encounter and it would be important to bounce back.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, R. Bradford, J. Barr, L. Kutze, D. Voas, C. Milligan, R. Basset, A. Peacock, J. Campbell, E. Sanderson, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: D. Voas, P. Davidson, C. Borthwick, D. Reive and C. Lavery.

MOM: Lewis Stewart

7th September: National League Division 1

Biggar 53 Boroughmuir 7 (Match Sponsor: Bill Watson)

A fantastic win for Biggar in their National 1 League opener against Boroughmuir, one of the 6 Super six club sides.

This season is a bit of an unknown quantity and it is unlikely that this result gives any clearer picture of how things will pan out. Indeed it is much more likely that it will take until the first round of games are complete before anyone can really predict with any certainity how sides will play.

Having said all that, a try count of 7to 1 (with 6 conversions and 2 penalties) is about as good as Biggar could ever have expected from this first outing and it should give the squad confidence as they prepare for a tough fortnight with an away trip to fellow Nat 2 promotion side Highland followed by a visit from Ayr, one of the top club sides over the past decade and more.

A minute’s silence preceded the match, this in tribute to Eric Shearer who lost his battle with cancer a fortnight ago. There was some emotion in this act of rememberance which ahd also preceded the Colts matches started at 2pm for a member who did an awful lot of the club.

Add to that the traditional keen rivalry between Biggar and Boroughmuir and the scene was set for a cracker, and all this played out at Hartree Mill, looking a real picture on a beautiful September afternoon.

There was only a couple of changes from the side which came up just short against currie last week. Chris Milligan returned to the side (at hooker) after missing the last 3 weeks while Lewis Stewart who had not been available the previous saturday came into the back row. Craig Borthwick moved to second row with Zander Lyon dropping to the 2nds, this just one of a handful of very tough choices for the coaching team.

Biggar opened strongly with Andrew Jardine kicking a penalty after just 3 minutes as ‘Muir struggled to cope with the pace of play. Five minutes later and Biggar notched their first try. A breakout by Luhann Kutze created a good attacking position for Biggar and with the scrum half making things really difficult for his opposite number at scrum time Biggar managed to regain possession. A neat pass from Jardine set his fellow centre Rowan Stewart free but the youngster – who ended up last season as top try scorer with 20 to his tally – had a lot to do as he barged his way over from some 10 metres for a great score. Jardine added the conversion for 10-0.

The pattern of this try – ‘Muir possession lost in the face of stern Biggar offensive defence – was to be repeated on many occasions during the match.

Before the next score ‘Muir were forced into a couple of changes as their men were hurt in collisions, this undoubtedly having an effect on their play. Mark Bertram had his best game to date this seasona nd he lad a couple of breakouts before Jardine kicked a second enalty to put his side 13-0 up.

‘Muir did their utmost to break the Biggar line but they found the Biggar defence resolute and solid. Their closest chance came when scrum half Murray Johnstone’s 18th minute penalty kick rebounded off the upright, Bertram just unable to gather the ball cleanly and conceding a knock on close to the Biggar line.

The resultant ‘Muir attack ended with a Biggar penalty which agve them an opportunity to clear their lines. As the game approached the half hour mark Biggar struck again, winger Ross Bradford latching onto a loose pass to grab the interception and make the long run in from some 70 metres dotting the ball down just in time as opposite winger Gavin Welsh made a valiant bid to stop the try. Bradford, who scored two tries in ‘Muir colours the last time ‘Muir visited Biggar 5 years ago, made a habit of such scores last season and it was clear he really enjoyed this latest effort! Jardine’s conversion made it 27-0.

‘Muir then enjoyed a prolonged passge of play and possession but the home defence was once again up to the mark and with each man putting themselves on the line, Biggar retained their shape and repelled attack after attack. This defensive set was quite outstanding with ‘Muir, hard as they tried, unable to find a way through the Biggar line.

‘Muir might have been better to have taking stock as they were awarded a couple of penalties deep in the Biggar 22 but instead Johnstone went for the quick tap and go and while these runs at times threatened the Biggar line the Biggar defence was up to the mark.

Half time and 27-0 to Biggar, this a score Biggar would have gladly accepted at fulltime!

Biggar an immediate change at the break Andrew Peacock replacing Borthwick. Their cause was then made marginally easier as referee David Young sent their flanker Dan Coultar to the bin as he transgressed in the face of another Biggar attack.

A ‘Muir clearance which just failed to make touch was taken well by Bertram who set out on what was almost a dircet line straight through the spreadeagled ‘Muir defence for a great score under the posts and therefore making Jardine’s conversion all the easier.

Paul Davidson then came on for Richard Basset who had dislocated a finger.

A Jardine interception saw the youngster breakout downfield for 40 metres before he put in a neat cross kick, not an easy skill to get right when carried out at full pace and with defenders breathing down your neck. The infield kick was taken by Kutze who popped the ball to Lewis Stewart, the flanker crashing over for a well-deserved try, Jardine on target for 41-0 .

A better ‘Muir scrum ended with another penalty their kick to touch and subsequent take and line drive rewarded with a try which Johnstone kicked for 41-7.

Further changes were made to the Biggar side, Robbie Lavery replacing Rowan Stewart, Davy Reive replacing Kutze and lastly Douglas Voas replacing Euan Sanderson who is still carrying a shoulder injury.

This was arguably the start of ‘Muir’s best period of play as they managed to hold their line in the face of a determined Biggar attack. Having taken play to the ‘Muir line Biggar effectively laid siege to the ‘Muir line, the pack picking and driving well. Milligan was almost over but while the scrum put in was Biggar’s, a slight lapse in concentration allowed the hosts to kick clear and then re-group.

This proved insufficient however to do anything other than slow down the Biggar effort. A No8 pick and go from Ross Jackson on the half way line saw the ball was passed out to Jardine, who again broke free before passing to Bertram. He in turn fed Orr who scampered over for his second try. Jardine converted for 46-7.

Many thought that this would be the end of the match but referee Young and Biggar had other thoughts. Yet another breakout from Biggar as ‘Muir crumpled in the face of the aggressive first up tackling saw Jardine and Reive initiate an attack. Donald Voas, who had been all over the park and who showed up well in all areas was keen to get his hands on the ball and go for a try. A ‘Muir error saw ball drop conveniently into Lewis Stewart’s hands the flanker moving ghe ball left to the awaiting Voas who needed no second invitation to run for the line, his pace and power taking him clear and under the posts. Jardine was again on target for his 18 point tally.

A great start then and one which, as previously suggested, should give the squad a good deal of confidence.

The 5 points from the days efforts gives the club a very healthy points differential and one that sees Biggar sit once again at the top of their League. A taxing fortnight awaits.


R. Orr, M. Bertram, A. Jardine, R. Stewart, R. Bradford, J. Barr, L. Kutze, D. Voas, C. Milligan, R. Basset, C. Borthwick, J. Campbell, E. Sanderson, L. Stewart, R. Jackson. Reps: D. Voas, P. Davidson, C. Milligan, A. Peacock, D. Reive and R. Lavery.

MOM: Ross Bradford

31st August National League Cup

Currie 29 Biggar 24

Biggar missed out on what would have been a fantastic Cup win as they just fell short of catching their Premiership opponents and hosts, Currie.

Having had their Super 6 bid rejected Currie ended up in a top four play off slot in the Premiership last season but still lost several players to the Pro game and to some of the Super 6 Edinburgh clubs. They have undergone a deal of rebuilding over the close season therefore and clearly have a way to go before they will be happy with their squad as they approach their 50th season.

Biggar will take lots of positives from this encounter, not least that they came off the match with no apparent injuries and can still look forward to the return, in the coming weeks, of at least 5 players who might have featured on Saturday but who are curently recovering from injuries or are on holiday. Of note was the forward effort at scrum time when Biggar had the better of the play, halting any thought of Currie using that aspect to launch attacks.

In relatively dry but very windy conditions Biggar opened up with the wind on their backs and were very quickly on the attack. Indeed their first foray into the Currie 22 ended with a great angled run by youngster Jamie Campbell who crashed over for the opening score.

Currie responded as swiftly and with their backs well directed by stand off Gregor Hunter and running all manner of angles they drew level with a try of their own after just 7 minutes. It was clearly going to be an entertaining afternoon.

Just short of the 20 minute mark Currie took the lead at 12-5 from a penalty try awarded for collapsing a maul and it looked as though this might be the half time score until a technical decision from referee Jonny Perriam gave Biggar a close 5m scrum when to most it appeared to be a Currie drop out. A free kick against Currie was the trigger for Luhann Kutze who tapped quickly to dart over the home line. A 12-12 the half time score was just reward for Biggar whose defence had proved a match frot he currie attack which had posed a very different challenge to that offered in previous pre-season matches.

Biggar couldn’t have got off to a worse start to the second period when Kutze’s clearance kick off the restart was charged down giving Currie the simplest of tries and the lead at 19-12.

Worse was to befall the visitors as Hunter kicked a penalty and then converted their 4th score to put his side virtually out of sight at 29-12 – or so it seemed!

Biggar had very different thoughts however and following a long stoppage for an injury to one of the Currie lads (it looked as though he would have to be strecthered off but happily he managed to walk off) Biggar resumed with some real endeavour, taking the game straight to their hosts and causing them all sorts of trouble.

Biggar rang the changes to get their bench into the game and after another solid scrum the backs launched a great attack which saw Rowan Stewart and Robbie Orr combine well in the midfield and which ended with Orr crossing for a score which Andrew Jardine converted for 29-19.

Clearly caught out, the Currie effort seemed to wane as Biggar’s increased and it was the visitors who scored again, this after another passage of play which had the Biggar backs causing all sorts of problems for Currie. Another series of attacks saw Simon Horell squeeze in at the corner for a great try to make it 29-24.

Quickly back on the attack but with time running out Biggar were caught out as Currie employed a neat lineout tactic to catch Biggar napping and win a free kick. This worked perfectly and gave them Currie the opportunity to clear the immediate danger. A second free kick at the next scrum was also crucial and as a result Currie ran out winners. Having mathed Currie try-for-try however there was no real major disappointment within the Biggar ranks. Preparations now begin in earnest for the main act, the National 1 league programme which sees Biggar host Boroughmuir in their opening match. Competition for a starting place in the Biggar XV will be huge and will give the coaching team a real headache.

Penrith 19 Biggar 43

Biggar made their annual jaunt down the M74 to Penrith on Saturday, this their third visit south in this series.

Unfortunately the home side were unable to field a 2nd XV and so several of the 30 strong Biggar squad did not get a run out as coach Doug Fleming continued his preparations for the forthcoming Cup match against Currie (31st August) and the National league fixtures (beginning on 7th Sept v Boroughmuir).

Included in the starting line up was Jamie Campbell who has joined Biggar from Kelvinside Academy. As a Scotland U18 cap Jamie is a big lad and his pairing with Craig Borthwick in the second row and when combined with the rest of the pack means that this was arguably the biggest pack Biggar have ever fielded.

Others making their debuts this season were skipper Euan Sanderson, centre Rowan Stewart and home again full back Robbie Orr.

In near perfcet conditions – almost too hot for the new Penrith 3G surface – Biggar opened strongly and were rarely bettered in the game which was played over 3xthirds (2x30mins, 1x20mins).

There are still plenty of aspects of the game to work on but this was a pleasing performance with several excellent tries – a hat-trick for returning winger Mark Bertram.

Other tries were scored by Donald Voas, Andrew Muir, Robbie Orr (plus 1 conversion) and Andrew Jardine (plus 4 conversions).

Meanwhile the defence remained tight with Penrith scoring towards the end of the match as Biggar rang the changes.

Pre season match 2 – Biggar 17  v Marr 31

click the link below for the match report for our preseason friendly against premiership outfit Marr.