Biggleswade 1st XV come out on top after bruising encounter6th February 2018
Biggleswade 9 Northampton BBOB 7
A penalty with two minutes left to play salvaged a victory for Biggleswade winning by 9-7 against Northampton BBOB in Midlands 3 Eat (South)
The pitch was in good condition despite the early rain and there was very little wind – perhaps the merest zephyr. Biggleswade made just one change with Gareth Rutt returning to the second row. Chinese whispers had suggested that the severity of his shoulder injury was greater than it actually was.
Biggleswade was the dominant side and deserved to win having most of the territory and the possession. But a series of injuries robbed them of top try scorer Alex Borg, centre Will Simkins and hooker Sacha Heath. Replacements had to be summoned from the A XV which was playing on the nearby Sheepwalk.
Once again Biggleswade camped for long periods in the opposition’s half without being able to find a way of getting through the packed defence. Several kickable penalties were instead put into the corner in the hope of getting a try and a greater reward for their efforts.
It was all very frustrating for the players and spectators alike. The Biggleswade pack had the edge in the scrums shunting their opposite numbers back so that their pack broke up in disarray. But Biggleswade were not rewarded for their efforts. Finally fly-half Luke Haverly broke the deadlock with a successful penalty kick and then another to put Biggleswade six points up at the break.
Biggleswade worked hard at creating chances with several periods in which they recycled the ball again and again. But too often moves broke down with a lack of support at the breakdown giving away a penalty which lost them ground.
Sean Hopper spent ten minutes in the bin late on in the game when his attempt to dissuade a defender from hanging on to him as a ruck ended was interpreted as a punch by the match official.
As usual flanker Liam Dunne did his impression of a prowling lion. He crouches down low watching for his prey to break from cover before chopping him down at the knees. With his piratical beard he just needs an eye-patch to complete his appearance of menace.
Coach Shane Manning summed up the game after the match. “We deserved to win as we were superior in most phases of the game but often went unrewarded. Last season we would have lost a match like this so there is a definite improvement in the morale and the motivation of the squad.”
Team: Dom Nott, Sacha Heath (Shane Manning), Jimmy Caulfield, Paul O’Sullivan (Kyle Loan), Gareth Rutt, Liam Dunne, Michael Haddow, Sean Hopper, Zack Pates. Luke Haverly, Gavin Taylor, Will Simkins, Michael Hall, Alex Borg, (Will Roake), Shane Austin.
This week-end there is a gap in the league action as Biggleswade prepare for a run of four important games. First up is an away trip to Northampton Casuals to whom Biggleswade lost in the home tie back in October. Casuals lost heavily to Stockwood Park in their latest match.
Then there is the Beds Cup semi-final tie at home against Leighton Buzzard who play in Midlands 1 two leagues above Biggleswade. Leighton Buzzard were downed at home when Biggleswade won the Cup for the first time in March 1991.
The following week there is a home league match against Northampton Men’s Own followed by a short trip to Bedford to play Queens in Putnoe Woods.
Pictures courtesy of Wayne Allen Photography