Match Report: 15th May
National Plate final
Biggar 36 Ayr 22
The curtain fell on the Ladies season with an emphatic win in the National Plate Final, played at Murrayfield.
On a fantastic spring afternoon and in front of a huge Biggar support, Biggar Ladies were never behind in the game and in out-scoring their opponents by 6 tries to 3 served note of their intention next season when, having been promoted to National 1, they will face Ayr on league rather than Cup duty.
A Cup final is a very different animal from a league match and there is little doubt that next season will see a step up in the quality and strength of their opposition but that can wait – the celebrations lasted until the wee small hours, and deservedly so!
Fielding the strongest squad they could muster and one which included both Emma Orr and Kirsty Ritchie who returned to Biggar colours after their international duties, Biggar pressurised the Ayr squad in just about every area, save perhaps the scrum where the Ayr 8 had a slight advantage. Ayr were unable to capitalise on this however as Biggar held onto possession despite being on the retreat and, on those odd occasions when Biggar struggled to retain possession, their defence was more than up to the task and frequently knocked Ayr back, Emelia Knights first thundering hit a perfect example.
Biggar were forced into an early change when winger Emily Inglis was injured making a tackle, her replacement being Farah Conn. This was the 18 year olds first senior appearance, but not her first on the big pitch, Farah one of at least 5 of the Biggar squad who had previously played in age group Cup finals on the same pitch.
Minutes later, and following a trademark pass and loop by Emma Orr, Gerry Kimm was set free for the Ayr line. Although Emma Orr was unable to add the conversion she was on target when, after 15 minutes, Kimm notched her second. This try emanated from a probing kick by stand off Orr, Ayr’s replacement winger who had only just taken the field beaten by a wicked bounce which saw the ball drop into Kimm’s hands when she was virtually over the line.
Kimm claimed her hat-trick within the first quarter of the game. A long pass from Emma Orr set Kimm free but having received the ball just in her own half, this was a long range effort which saw the fullback out-strip the Ayr defence to score under the posts. Orr’s conversion took Biggar into a 19-0 lead.
Emma Orr’s elder sister Alison was able to take most of her own ball at the lineout while her ability to keep her momentum going even when tackled ensured her side go-forward ball.
Ayr are a National 1 side for a reason of course and in patches they did make ground, Biggar forced into defensive duties after some strong attacking play. Their handling was not as secure as Biggar’s however and promising moves ended with knock-ons and dropped passes. On the half hour mark however Ayr got reward for their efforts, a series of pick and goes paying dividends and seeing Erin McSorley cross for a try. The ever alert Emma Orr managed to get a hand to the attempted conversion and so Ayr had to be content with the 5 points.
Biggar ended the half with a 4th score, this a cracker! Biggar retained possession for a number of phases with Alyson Henderson, Alison Orr and Anna Forsyth among others making good ground. The ball was moved left and then right with neat interpassing creating space for Abi Baillie to free Emelia Knights for a run to the line. Emma Orr added the conversion for 26-5, referee Allana McLean bringing proceedings to a close.
The second half saw Biggar open strongly with Emma Orr taking advantage by taking a quick tap penalty to drive over from close range. A similar award to Ayr minutes later ended with a handling error. Some 6 minutes later Kirsty Ritchie was the on the end of a long looping pass from her stand off Emma Orr, the U18 internationalist making the line with ease. The position for this try was made by Farah Conn with a great touchline run before some dynamic drives by Emelia Knights, Megan McCarry, Laura Watson and Emma Orr pushed Ayr back, their defence standing firm initially but eventually out-numbered.
Biggar replaced Emma Orr with Vicky Haddow, Ayr replied with a good number of runs but again errors in passing were their downfall, although some of their off-loading was excellent. Their effrots were rewarded when winger Alice Wilson crossed for the second Ayr try. Biggar 36 Ayr 10.
As the game entered its last quarter injuries mounted as players began to tire, this due in no small part to the unaccustomed sunshine and the occasion itself. A penalty to Ayr following a high tackle saw Ayr make more ground this seeing centre Hannah Young score, her skipper Catherine Sheddon providing the one-handed off-load. Sheddon added the conversion.
Laura Watson was injured in this movement and was replaced, Rebecca Coffey returning to the fray. Cristina Ertze and Bria Boyd replaced Verrity Kennit and Farah Conn. Bria Boyd’s appearance was significant in that 25 years ago her father Denis Lavery played for Biggar when they met Selkirk in the Bowl final. She marked her time with an excellent touchline run into the Ayr 22.
Ayr definitely finished the game strongly as they seemed to take confidence in their ability to make ground via route one. The match ended with an Ayr try, scored in the corner by Robyn Gibson.
McLean’s whistle was greeted with huge cheers from the massed ranks of Biggar’s support.
There were plus points for everyone involved; whether through hard yards by the pack, direct running and support play by the likes of Megan Mcivor, Jennifer Bell, Robyn Struthers and Alison Russell, distribution and accuracy of pass from Rebecca Clarke, speed to the breakdown from Abi Baillie, Alison Orr or the pace and skill of Emma Orr, Gerry Kimm and Emelia Knights.
Gerry Kimm was awarded Player of the Match, a just reward but one which several others could have claimed.
Geraldine Kimm, Anna Forsyth, Emelia Knights, Abbie Baillie(c), Emily Inglis, Emma Orr, Rebecca Clarke, Verity Kennet, Alison Orr, Rebecca Coffey, Alison Russell, Laura Watson, Megan Maciver, Alyson Henderson, Robyn Struthers. Reps: Cristina Ertze, Megan McCarry, Jennifer Bell, Kirsty Ritchie, Bria Boyd, Victoria Haddow, Farah ConnMany congratulations to the coaching and management team of John Bogle, Stewart Moffat, Nathan Knights and Kim Laird aided by physio Jen Baillie. Congrats too to the ball boys and members of the guard of honour and finally to the massive turnout of Biggar supporters who cheered as is their custom from start to finish.
Match report 24th April 2022
Biggar Ladies 51 Dundee Valkryies 0
National Plate semi final
Biggar Ladies took this semi final game by the scruff of the neck and with this comprehensive win over Dundee made a date at the Dam Stadium, Murrayfield for the 14th May. They will meet Ayr in the final of the National plate competition.
Dundee were Biggar’s opponents in the National league promotion decider in March and proved tough competitors on their home ground but Biggar were the dominant force on Sunday, rarely allowing their visitors any time on the ball to develop any attacking phases. Biggar’s defence, exemplified by the whole squad meant that time and again, the Dundee runners were brought to the ground or thumped back in the tackle.
Credit to the Taysiders who never gave up despite the fact that Biggar’s early lead gave ample indication that this would be a long day for them and in similar fashion to the previous day for Highland, a long return journey home.
Gerry Kimm scored first after 6 minutes, notching a well-deserved first half hat-trick with a conversion thrown in for good measure while Megan McIver and Anna Forsyth also scored before the break.
In the second half Kimm scored her 4th try (and 2 conversions) shortly followed by a second for Forsyth and others for Alison Orr and Laura Watson.
It would be difficult to pick a ‘best’ try as each had special qualities involving outright lightening speed, dogged determination, great feet and/or skill. Great to watch.
Finals day on the 14th promises to be an exciting day with several of the Biggar squad making a return to Murrayfield (albeit perhaps not to the main pitch) having played in age group finals in recent years.
Match report 12th March 2022
Dundee Valkyries 15 Biggar 22
Of all the squads to play this weekend it is the Ladies who deserve most credit and top billing after they travelled to take on and eventually overcome a powerful Dundee Valkyries side with the winners prize being promotion to the National league.
The Valkyries have been in existence for a shorter period of time than Biggar but with huge numbers attending training – they can now field two XV’s, something very few other clubs can match – their player base is large. Given their meteoric rise through the Midlands region league and the extensive programme notes illustrating the importance attached to the Dundee Ladies section, and this game in particular, it is more than clear that promotion was as important to them (as was expected) as it was to Biggar. The Valkyries will be a force to be reckoned with in the future and it would be a brave person who would bet against their return to the same play off fixture next season.
Shetland were worthy opponents in the first play off game last week, (Dundee were accorded a ‘bye’ after their opponents Kelso withdrew from the National league) and with the Dundee side having, like Biggar, gone through the season unbeaten the scene was set for a cracking match. That is turned out to be the toughest match Biggar have had this season is in no doubt.
Deprived of several key players due to international commitments, unavailability and injury the Biggar side looked to travel with the bare XV but a concerted effort and limitless powers of persuasion meant that 20 players were involved in the end. Well done to those who answered the call!
Played on the Morgan FP pitch, in front of a large crowd (very typically Biggar enjoyed the support of another fantastic number of travelling fans), the game was a tense, exciting contest which was at times frantic, at times controlled but always committed.
The first score was claimed by Valkyries but Biggar struck back with a very typical blistering run by Gerry Kimm. Better still was that she scored under the posts which gave stand-in kicker Emily Inglis a relatively straight forward kick which she converted for 7-5.
Dundee had a powerful pack and were particularly sharp over the ball which helped them engineer frequent turnovers, but Biggar’s defence held strong with some huge hits from across the squad and exemplified by skipper Abbie Baillie, Alison Orr, Emelia Knights and Gerry Kimm. Biggar’s efforts however were thwarted on many occasions by some strange decisions which frustrated the crowd and threatened to spoil the match. Far too often Biggar found themselves penalised for something and with Dundee opting to tap and go, Biggar further incurred the wrath of the referee with advantage after advantage giving Dundee good field position. The continued pressure ensured Dundee maintained a foothold in the Biggar half and then 22 where they found space on the wing to cross for a second try to regain the lead at 10-7.
Further determined defence from Biggar then led to a turnover from a loose Dundee pass and this gave full back Anna Forsyth an opportunity to show her pace and this she did to good effect, running around the Dundee defence from just inside her own half. The kick was too far out for the conversion to be successful but at 12-10 Biggar held an important lead at half time.
Turning round to play against the breeze but with the aid of a gentle slope Biggar continued to run hard at the Dundee defence, forcing them to tackle and this undoubtedly had a major effect on the home side who began to struggle. Biggar’s offensive defensive pressure paid off and it was Kimm who once again managed to score a vital third try for 17-10. There was no way that this was going to be enough to close out the match as Dundee were not going to go down without a fight.
A series of odd decisions created an attacking position for Dundee who pushed deep into the Biggar half where the tactic of quickly taken penalty awards proved effective in turning the Biggar defence. The Biggar dam was eventually breached again and a Dundee try offered their kicker a chance for a conversion to tie the scores. What seemed worse was that no one seemed to know how the match would have been decided were the scores level at the end of the match – and no one wanted extra time! In the end this was not to be as the ball fell short but at 17-15 and with some 4 minutes remaining the supporters were set for a nervy finish as the match remained very much in the balance
In fact if anything the Dundee score seemed to galvinise and energise the Biggar squad and their response was both swift and decisive. An attacking position was created and with Kimm (who was at this point sporting a natty pair of unmatched boots following a major boot malfunction earlier in the game) in possession the centre ran with huge grit and determination, bursting through and round the Dundee defence for her hat-trick and a 22-15 score line, Inglis just short with the conversion attempt.
There was still time remaining for the restart and while the game was now a 2-score contest meaning Biggar were essentially ‘safe’, it’s never over until the final whistle. It was appropriate that having won ball from the restart and having played a couple of phases it fell to Kimm to thump the ball out of play to signal the end of the contest – and HUGE celebrations from the Biggar players and supporters.
Anna Forsyth, Vicky Haddow, Geraldine Kimm, Emily Inglis, Niamh Stewart, Emelia Knights, Abbie Baillie, Megan Mciver, Robyn Struthers, Megan McCarry, Alison Russell, Laura Watson, Rebecca Coffey, Alison Orr, Jennifer Bell. Reps: Cristina Ertze, Rebecca Clarke, Lauren McDonald, Ruth Elliot, Rachel Ferguson
A MASSIVE thank you to all those who have supported the team and who travelled north to witness the play-off final. It really does make a difference when the away support matches the home support!
All Nigel’s photos can be viewed in the gallery pull down and those and others taken by Ian Glennie are on the club Facebook page. Well worth a look!
The Ladies now have a couple of weeks off until they begin the National Plate competition with matches against Livingston (away, 27th March), Wigtonshire (away 3rd April) and Orkney (home 16th April).
Next season in the National League, Biggar will face a new set of opponents featuring Stewartry, West of Scotland, Howe of Fife, Ayr, Annan and Broughton with the bottom team from the Premiership likely to be included also as this season’s National 1 Champions Garioch should move up.Exciting times!
If you are interested in taking the game up, there is no restriction on age and/or experience – you will be made more than welcome!
Match Report 6th March
Biggar 51 Shetland 0
Pride of place goes to the Ladies who secured victory against far travelled Shetland Ladies and therefore can now take the next step on their way to promotion to the National League. They still have a match against Dundee Valkyries to play and again this will be a tough match against a side so far unbeaten in their league. This match is scheduled for next Sunday (KO 2pm).
The Shetland Ladies had a monster round trip of some 760 miles to complete for Saturday’s match at Hartree Mill but fortunately the weather was fine and had no effect on their travel arrangements.
Played in front of a great support Biggar dominated the exchanges and had virtually secured the game by half time although the visitors never gave up and proved very worthy opponents.
Biggar’s points came from tries by captain Abbie Baillie (2), Megan McCarry (2), Gerry Kimm (2), Alison Orr, and Emma Orr who also kicked 3 conversions.
Geraldine Kimm, Vicky Haddow, Emily Inglis, Emelia Knights, Anna Forsyth, Emma Orr, Abbie Baillie, Robyn Struthers, Alyson Henderson, Megan McCarry, Alison Russell, Laura Watson, Rebecca Coffey, Alison Orr, Jennifer Bell. Reps: Verity Kennet, Megan Maciver, Cristone Ertze, Jenny Leech, Rebecca Clarke.
A bonus on Saturday was the appearance of John Gillies of the SRU who presented skipper Abbie Baillie with the West Region Trophy which the Ladies won back in December. This was a great addition to the day’s success.
The focus is now on Sundays match at Dundee.
Match Report 19th Sept 2021
Biggar Ladies 92 Hamilton 0
Pride of place this weekend, and this despite a good win for the mens 1st XV (report below), must go to the Ladies XV which opened their league account with a landslide win over Hamilton.
In recent years games between these two clubs have been fairly tight, tetchy affairs but this latest contest was in the realms of being a mis-match, the Biggar squad rarely in any danger of conceding a try and whenever under pressure offering up some very good determined defence to keep their line intact. It was really encouraging to see how so many of the squad are growing in confidence.
Individual scorers have yet to be confirmed but Biggar ran out winners by 92-0 which is bound to send shockwaves through the West division.
The trick will be to steer clear of injury as the squad is not a big one. There are a few past players however who, on the back of this display and due to the positive reports coming from training, may be persuaded to return to Biggar ranks.
Emma Orr, Gerry Kimm and Jenny Bell among others led from the front with some stand out performances but this was a team performance from the squad and one which was very much enjoyed by the very enthusiastic touchline support. Such was the occasion that the club offered a pre-match meal which proved very popular.
This all made for a very busy day for Carolyn and Jan and their catering team: around 80 minis in the morning, 60 plus Youth players at lunchtime, a pre-match lunch and then post match food for the Ladies teams in the afternoon. And all this after a Saturday which featured a pre-match meal for over 50 and then post match food for the Biggar and Watsons boys! Never a dull moment!
Well done girls and to the coaching duo of John Bogle and Stewart Moffat. Training is now on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. All interested will be made very welcome regardless of experience.
Tennents National Bowl
Biggar 60 Livingston 5
Biggar ladies marked international Women’s day with a fantastic 60-5 victory over Livingston in the opening round of the National Bowl. The squad also had two debutants as Emelia Knights and Jenny Leech tasted senior rugby for the first time. Both debutants where on the scoresheet alongside Geraldine Kimm and Abbie Baillie as a squad marched to a bonus point victory. The squad will now need to wait and see the results of the pools remaining fixtures to determines if they will progress to the National Bowls semi finals.
Wigtownshire 28 Biggar 0
Insufficient players away
Biggar 28 Liberton 0
Insufficient players away
Tennent’s West Women’s League Results
Round 7 – Hamilton 10 Biggar Ladies 7
Round 6 – Biggar Ladies Forfeit
Round 5 – Biggar Ladies 19 West of Scotland 31
Round 4 -Biggar Ladies 54 v Greenock 31
Round 3 – Biggar Ladies 43 v Wigtownshire 19
Round 2 -Biggar Ladies 78 v Hamilton 36