Jan 22 2009 by George Topp, Lanark & Carluke
AFTER a four-week lay-off, the Biggar second XV were keen to build on the steady improvement they had made prior to the Christmas break.
As the squad warmed up in a determined and self-motivated way, a spirited team performance against Cartha Queens Park was to be expected at the Showfield.
Changes to the team that had previously ground out a 6-0 win against Hamilton in difficult conditions in the last league game of 2008 included Michael Dunlop in for Colin Arthur, Derek Brown and Ally Walker returning to number 8 and inside centre, respectively, Michael McKeand on the wing and Gary Morrison at full back. The only other change to the starting line up saw Boab Aitken take to the field in his first game for four months due to the injury he received in September.
Biggar started in confident fashion playing into the wind and were able to pin Cartha in their own half for a large part of the first twenty minutes. Biggar’s possession went largely unrewarded with the absence of many try making chances in the first half. However, after half an hour of play, the Biggar forwards did drive over Cartha’s line but the try was not given due to an alleged infringement.
Shortly afterwards, Cartha were awarded a penalty when the referee judged Renwick to be offside at the base of a scrum. Fortunately, Cartha’s penalty attempt fell short of the posts. As the first half came to an end, Biggar seemed willing to settle for the 0-0 score line, content in the knowledge that the wind would be on their backs throughout the second half.
Biggar started with renewed enthusiasm and secured a penalty in front of the posts. This they opted to take a quickly rather than kick for three points but were unable to breach Cartha’s defence on this occasion. A further twenty minutes of play saw few chances for either side to pick up any points although Biggar remained fully in control of the game. The next opportunity fell to Renwick with a penalty out by Cartha’s 10m line and the Biggar scrum half fully exploited the wind to secure the first three points of the game.
Having secured the first spoils the home side played with renewed self-belief and opportunities that had been lacking up to now starting to unfold. Moffat kicked in confident manner, intuitively using the wind on a number of occasions. Thornborrow’s pace frequently troubled Cartha as he linked up well with McKeand. Brown, at 8, threatened Cartha’s defence and Aitken played as if he had not been away at all.
Having worked hard throughout, Robison surged forward and off-loaded to Fowler who crossed the line for the first try of the game. Renwick’s conversion attempt went wide and at 8-0 Biggar started to move toward their third win in a row.
With play in the centre of the park Walker broke through the gain line and ran over unopposed for the second and final try of the game which was, on this occasion, successfully converted by Renwick. As the final whistle blew, Biggar secured a worthy 15-0 win.
Biggar 2nds 15 Cartha 2nds 0
Biggar Under 16 played Forresters with the help of a few of the Under 15’s, since the team were struggling for numbers.
The match was very even with Forresters taking the lead and converting their try after impressive defence from both sides. The weather didn’t help ball handling but there turned out to be some good backs play from both sides despite a slippery ball.
Biggar answered with a try, which was played through the backs and scored by visiting player Rory. Biggar missed the conversion.
In the second half there was further impressive defensive play from both sides, but Forresters struck first scoring half way though the half from their backs. They missed the conversion. The Biggar team didn’t put their heads down and continued to take the game back to the Forresters 22 but nothing came from it. However, with the last play of the match, James Jackson won opposition lineout and Biggar got the ball to their centres who made a break with support from Andrew Gibson and George Porter.
George then tried to beat the defence with a grubber kick on the 22 but was impeded without the ball and gained a penalty. Biggar took a tap and through good forward play from Adam won another penalty on the 5 metre line. Biggar again tapped it and gave the ball to the inside centre Rory who scored under the posts and slotted the conversion to make the score 12 –12. Man of the match went to John Muir who played his best game of the season.
Biggar U-16’s 12 Forresters U-16’s 12
It was colder than it looked when the Minis turned up for training last Sunday.
The New Image players continued in the sports centre, where, once again, tee-shirts and shorts were the order of the day. Good numbers again enjoyed the various drills.
This Sunday, the Minis welcome teams from Linlithgow and Peebles, kick-off scheduled for 11am. Biggar players are asked to be at the clubhouse for no later than 10.15am. The New Image players have a 1pm start at the sports centre. The Minis visit to Melrose on February 8 has been cancelled.
There are three 6 Nations internationals games at Murrayfield this season – February 8 (v Wales); February 28 (v Italy); March 14 (v Ireland). A number of the Minis’ parents have already returned the ticket request form to Keith, but there’s still time for those that haven’t. For the Midis, Patrick McGinn, is the contact. Tickets are £10. Travel adds another £5 per person.
Saturday - All kick-offs 2pm. 2nd XV v Hamilton : away; 3rd XV Murrayfield Wanderers - Hartreemill; Colts XV v tbc. Sunday - New Image Christmas training 1pm Biggar Sports Centre; Min v Peebles and Linlithgow 11am; Midis :S1 v Uddingston - home; S2 tbc; U-15 and U-16 v Haddington - away.