Highland 10

Biggar 12

Al Stewart

at Canal Park

In what will never be classed as a classic game of rugby, at the end of the day this was a massive performance from Biggar against what is undoubtedly a very good side.

This was an emotion-charged match at Inverness with the Highland club still in some shock after the passing of one of their coaches and stalwart Alistair ‘Porky’ Wymess.

The 30 seconds of silence and 30 seconds of applause in his memory which preceded the kick off, plus the fact that ‘his’ number 3 jersey was rested for the match were all very fitting tributes.

Having played strongly to repel the first Highland foray Biggar opened the scoring with a very typical Conor Lavery try.

The stand-off’s angled run taking him through the Highland defence.

Matthew Stewart added the conversion to a score which clearly settled the Biggar effort.

That Biggar scored a second try after just eight minutes was astounding.

This was a long lung-bursting run in for winger Ross Bradford who latched onto a loose pass from Highland stand off Iain Chisholm to run almost the length of the pitch.

Euan Bogle pulled the kick across the face of the posts.

A couple of penalties gave Highland field position and with their lineout drive, the host side took play to within five metres of the Biggar line.

Referee Smith had signalled for another penalty as Biggar tried to halt the drive but two further drives to the line eventually saw centre Rob Eatough barge over. Chisholm was off target with the kick.

Biggar’s attack has been devastating this season and this speed and distribution almost provided a third try.

An initial attack had been thwarted but ball popped to Robbie Lavery saw the centre move the ball left to Stewart who broke past the initial cover.

With players in support but perhaps just out of sight he opted to go for the line himself and almost got there save for a very good cover tackle from fullback, Rupeni Rokoduguni.

The half ended with the home side very much on the ascendancy.

With Chisholm and Eatough again involved ball was taken by winger Rorry Cross who crashed over for their second try.

While the try was scored closer to the posts Chisholm was again just wide with the conversion, leaving the half time score at 12-10.

Biggar almost opened the second half with a try, Stewart looking to be free on the left wing only for play to be halted for a forward pass.

Minutes later and another break through the centre after Bradford latched onto another misdirected pass from Chisholm that could well have led to a try was also halted but this time illegally by Highland lock Stuart MacDonald.

The penalty and subsequent yellow card reduced Highland to 14 men but Biggar couldn't take advantage.

That there was no scoring in the whole of second half was unusual but there were loads of very close run things, the errors providing opportunities for both sides but with the cover and scramble defences up to the mark on each occasion.

For Highland that saw centre Eatough almost through before fullback Robbie Orr saved the day.

This just one of several such incidents when the youngster tidied up loose ball.

For Biggar perhaps the best chance came from a neat chip ahead by try scorer Lavery.

Having secured possession from his own chip he fed flanker Chris Mulligan who looked set for a long run in to the line, only for cover to get back.

With just a few minutes remaining Highland won a penalty to the left of the posts and some 30 metres out.

Ruaridh MacDonald stepped up with Chisholm, who had missed both previous kicks, at his side.

There was a complete silence around the packed ground as the youngster took the kick.

Fingers were crossed and breath held by both sets of supporters but the kick was short and pushed to the right of the posts.

Over 60 made the 380 mile round trip to support their team while dozens of others made good use of Highland’s ‘streaming’ of the match.

Biggar: R. Orr, R. Bradford, M. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Stewart, C. Lavery, D. Reive, F, Carrosi, E. Stewart, D. Voas, J. Orr, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, C. Mulligan & R. Jackson. Reps: G. Kelly, D. Dinnen, R. Moffat & E. Bogle.