Biggar Rugby Club 45-6 Watsonian FC: Third straight win puts Biggar top

Biggar Rugby Club’s bid to seal the league title so controversially denied to them in season 2019-2020 has got off to a fantastic start.

Jamie Orr (in possession) has been a key man for Biggar this season (Library pic by Nigel Pacey)

Saturday’s comprehensive 45-6 home victory over Watsonian FC made it three bonus point wins out of three for Biggar in Tennent’s National Division 1, putting them top and on course to emulate what was achieved two campaigns ago, only for the championship to be stripped from Biggar as the leagues were null and voided due to coronavirus.

Biggar secretary Mike Booth told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “I’m very pleased with the way it’s going this season, although Saturday’s result wasn’t as easy as it looked.

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"We’ve had a few injuries but I think we’re still managing to put a very strong team out.

"Jamie Orr has stood out in the first three games. He’s a machine.

"He plays at the back, he’s just so darn fast.

"He has been outstanding since he first started playing firsts rugby for us.

"He’s a local lad and came up through the club.

"I’m sure he could get a position in a Premiership club if he wished so to do but he’s always wanted to stay with us which has been fantastic.”

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, writes Alistair Stewart.

Andrew Jardine took over the captaincy.

In wonderful late summer weather and in front of another healthy support Biggar took just over one 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.

A 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 seven 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 fifth 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 seventh 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.

Biggar: Donald Voas, Ewan Stewart, Paul Davidson, Andrew Peacock, Craig Borthwick, Jamie Orr, Finlay Barr, Guy Napier, Euan McAra, Aird Jardine, Rowan Stewart, Andy Jardine, Andrew Lamb, Fraser Jackson, Robbie Orr. Reps: Andrew Orr, Ross Jackson, James Walker, Davie Reive, Robbie Lavery.