Stirling County 15

Biggar 45

Al Stewart

at Bridgehaugh

IT was a case of mission accomplished in Stirling on Saturday.

With a seven tries to two win over Stirling County, Biggar wrapped up the Tennents National 1 Championship.

There was some doubt at the start of the week as to whether this match would go ahead, so severe had the flooding been last weekend at Bridgehaugh.

Happily however, the pitch, though soft, was eminently playable.

Playing into a gale the opening exchanges saw Biggar pinned in their 22 with Stirling starting the match with some confidence.

An early penalty from stand off Johnny Hope settled their nerves but play resumed in the Stirling half and after a penalty award was kicked to touch Biggar used the driven maul to good effect.

And hooker Ewan Stewart had the relatively simple task of dotting the ball down for the opening try.

Andy Jardine, facing the gale, dragged the ball across the face of the posts and did the same with his second attempt after Ross Bradford scored the second try on 15 minutes.

Biggar’s defence has been a real feature of the past two seasons, and it was pressure that led to Stirling flinging an early pass which was intercepted by winger Bradford who scampered home from some 70 metres.

Jardine converted for 17-3.

Stirling replied almost immediately with a try, this from centre Morgan Whitton who came onto a pass from some 20 metres out at tremendous pace.

Hope added the conversion.

Biggar then suffered another blow as scrum half Luhann Kutze was driven backwards at a ruck, pulling his hamstring in the process. His replacement was the veteran Davy Reive who proved to be his usual motivating, combative self.

Half time came then with Biggar a score up but with the advantage of the wind to come.

The ideal scenario for Biggar was to strike again quickly after the restart and this was indeed the case.

A driven maul took play to within 10 metres of the Stirling line and after a couple of useful ’pick and goes’ from the pack Reive picked out the stampeding Andrew Peacock.

The big man hit the ball at pace and at a wonderful angle to storm over for a great bonus point score.

Jardine added the conversion and Biggar led by 24-10.

That was a vital bonus point and virtually confirmed Biggar’s championship title.

There was a desire to win the title in style however and so it proved.

Ten minutes later and it was Bertram who rounded off a lengthy passage of play which Biggar controlled well. The winger took on the Stirling defence with some gusto and crossed for try number five which was again converted by Jardine.

Stirling may have been down but they were certainly not out and a speculative kick from Hope saw Bertram and opposite number Nixon compete in the air for possession. Although neither managed to secure the ball it fell to Daniel Tomanek to pick up and score. This was not converted, but Biggar’s lead was reduced all the same to 31-15.

Biggar made a couple of changes with Davidson replacing Peacock and then some time later James Barr coming on for Robbie Lavery.

Within minutes the young centre provided the link to Conor Lavery who, with the aid of Bertram, burst through the Stirling defence for try number six, also converted by Jardine. 38-15.

Fin Barr replaced Chris Mulligan and there was just enough time for Bradford to notch his hat-trick, Jardine on target once more with the conversion to round the day off with a 10 point tally.

The celebrations which erupted at the final whistle were more than deserved.