Traveling to Boroughmuir for our first Shogun conference game the weather was glorious sunshine and very warm making playing conditions very difficult in a different way than we are used to in Scotland.
We were missing Connor and had a late call off from Robbie who had hurt his back on Saturday but had a boost in the return of Ruari Watson. The guys were very quiet in the warm up, not sure if it was nerves or the heat but we didn’t seem to be quite as up for it as last week.
We started slow, not quite as ferocious in our tackling and letting them get a run up to us rather than closing them down fast which led to us losing a couple of early soft try’s. We rallied though and started to put some nice passages of play together, hitting up through the middle with quick support to retain the ball and then shipping wide. The Boroughmuir scores in contrast seemed to be coming from 2 or 3 of their big lads just breenging through us, one of which they got right through and another score looked certain, but Ruari chased him all the way back, ankle tapped him to the ground with Kyle Gibb not too far behind able to get round and over the top to win the ball back. As the first half was coming to a close they were 12-3 ahead, we managed another well worked score and conversion thinking that would bring the half time whistle, but there was one more play. Boroughmuir took the tap looking confident of running through us as again to extend their lead but some excellent tackling halted them, Ruari then read the play to grab an interception and run half the park to score under the posts 12-11 half time, one point in it and everything to play for.
Due to the heat and relentless sun we took our half time chat over to the shade with the boys dousing themselves in water.
At the start of the second half Boroughmuir drop kicked the restart, which we didn’t deal with very well, letting it bounce back to Muir, this is an area we haven’t practiced and will have a look at over the next few weeks, Muir worked the ball well and scored a nice try with the kicker adding the extras (he didn’t miss all day getting all conversions). We rallied again with some superb work from all the forwards, making ground working the legs and importantly retaining possession with good support and rucking, we scored two in a row with both converted to take us 3 points in the lead (16 - 19).
We looked the better team at this point and thought we might go on to win it but Muir had a full bench so had 9 subs to our 3 and brought on some fresh legs, the big guys making some ground through the middle sucking our guys in to take them down, this left space out wide allowing them to score again to retain the lead. We were frustrated at ourselves behind the posts but used this to our advantage, Fergus Conn taking the ball into the heart of their big guys, pumping his legs he managed to get through 3 of 4 of them before presenting the ball. We worked our way up the park well and were at their line when the ball came loose, they kicked ahead picked up by a speedster who ran the length (even Ruari couldn’t catch him this time although he tried his hardest), a double blow of being on the brink of scoring to losing a score. That with the heat took any wind out or sails, we didn’t stop trying but with Muir on the up they managed another score at the end to make it 28-19 a score that doesn’t reflect how close the game was.
We win and lose as a team and the guys should still take pride in their performance in difficult conditions.
Special mention to Ruari Watson for his first game back with 3 Try’s and some excellent chasing back but the man of the match goes to Archie Allister who made some hard yards going up through the middle and excellent presentation of the ball for quick distribution.
Well done all, training Thursday for preparation of the visit from Highland.
Normally spending a Sunday afternoon in sunny Edinburgh during the festival would be an enjoyable experience, however this afternoon was somewhat of an exception.
Being 5 men down before the game started was always going to make things difficult in today’s heat. However the 13 that took to the field played their hearts out in the seriously challenging conditions.
With a squad of 25 our hosts had plenty of resources to call upon, but our boys dug deep and can hold their heads high with super performances from everyone.
Unfortunately I was unable to record too many details of the match as I was called upon to look after Harry after his medical issue, but by all accounts Hyland scored our try early in the second half, and the final score was Boroughmuir 23 Biggar 3.
Hopefully everyone has recovered and will be fighting fit for next weeks match at home to Highland.
First the important stuff, great to see Euan down at Hartreemill this afternoon, good luck with the injury.
On to today's match and from a safety perspective, please make sure your player takes plenty of fluids on board this evening, it was hot out there and the boys worked extremely hard.
Huge positives from today's game, 'Muir selected a squad (from their pool of 40 players) to come through the middle of us this afternoon, that never happened.
Our midfield defence was exceptional and special mention must go to Fergus and Max for their spectacular tackling.
It is no disgarce that at least six of their tries were scored by a prodigious talent out wide who could step someone in a phone box.
As we grow as players and learn to trust each other and the defensive shapes we will be coaching over the coming months, players like that have a limited shelf life and he won't always be such a threat.
Great to see Charlie over the whitewash in his first game for Biggar, ably supported by both Connors and Stuart, the forwards put in a hell of a shift.
We'll speak about it on Tuesday night but have a think about how we can 'limit' the amount of time some of the 'Muir backs had on the ball today.
All in all, a very positive first fixture, lots to work on but lots to be very proud of, thanks guys.