Biggar 24

Hamilton 17

Al Stewart at Hartree Mill

BIGGAR kicked off their League season with a testing encounter against Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton.

The Hartree Mill grounds were looking their best in the late summer sun and with the pre-season displays still fresh in the memory, Biggar opened up strongly.

They met a resolute Hamilton defence, however a penalty saw stand off Carne Green kick for an early lead.

Biggar’s pack featured a real mix of youth and experience and demonstrated that they would make things really difficult for their visitors both in the tight exchanges and in the loose.

Props Andrew Nimmo and Dan O’Connell were hitting up well, supported by the back row of Ewan Sanderson, Andrew Orr and Douglas Notman.

The pack paved the way for the backs to attack off go-forward ball which they enjoyed.

Hamilton should have equalised from a penalty kicked by full back Alan Wilson.

But he did make amends by converting a try scored by Inglis.

The conversion took Hamilton into a 7-3 lead, this just past the half hour mark.

A fairly frantic period of play ensued within the Hamilton 22 and this should have seen Biggar score bar for an infringement of a ‘new’ rule in that the hooker must hook the ball.

But in an attempt to run the ball out of defence, play moved across the width of the pitch before Notman managed to disrupt ball at the ruck base sufficiently to allow winger Ross Bradford a chance to poach a try.

A well struck conversion from Green put Biggar ahead by 10-7.

Biggar’s defence was efficient, their use of the choke tackle meaning that Hamilton were held up and conceded possession.

Hamilton were not to be put off however and a neat passage of play which saw ball shifted wide and then back inside, allowing Wilson a tilt at the line. He was unable to convert, the score now 12-10 to Hamilton.

Biggar hit back with two quick fire scores.

An attacking play with ball passed to Gregor Stewart saw the young centre shape to pass left before switching the ball back inside to Robbie Lavery who was running a good line. His off-load was taken by Orr who in turn popped the ball to Davy Reive, the scrum half needing a telescopic arm to reach out for a fine score, which Green converted.

Directly from the restart a kick ahead by Green saw Hamilton try once more to run the ball out of defence.

An inside pass was well read by Stewart who started off for the line. The cover defence was good but the youngster made a backhand pass to Reive who linked with Orr to crash over despite the attentions of two Hamilton tacklers for another try. Green’s conversion took Biggar into a half time lead of 24-12.

Hamilton responded with a score from Wilson, who was able to profit from a neat break and pass by stand off Stuart Whitelaw.

Biggar made some decent breaks with replacement prop Donald Voas in the van on a couple of occasions and with a neat kick ahead almost spawning a try bar for some last ditch Hamilton scrambling defence.

With Green orchestrating things behind the scrum, and with the pack carrying ball tirelessly and working together in defence, Hamilton were thwarted and their efforts were generally cross pitch.

There were some really big efforts made by the whole squad, second row work horses of Jamie Orr and Andrew Peacock and Alan Warnock being noteworthy.

Prop O’Connell received the man-of-the-match nod however, this after another workmanlike performance in all areas.

Biggar: A. Nimmo, E. Stewart, D. O’Connell, A. Warnock, A. Peacock, E. Sanderson, A. Orr, D. Notman, , D. Reive, C. Green, A. Sinclair, G. Stewart, R. Lavery, R. Bradford, A. Jardine Reps: D. Voas, J. Orr, R. Moffat, S. Hull