Cup holders downed by Biggy!16th October 2018
Biggleswade u15s 10 Kettering U15s 0
Biggleswade hosted Kettering in the second round of the East Midlands cup on Sunday, pulling off a superb victory to knock the reigning champions and division one leaders out of this season`s competition.
In terrible conditions, Biggleswade ditched their normal running game to effectively play 10 man rugby, employing flanker Luke Howells in the centre to negate Ketterings potent attacking threat. This proved to be a decisive tactic as both Luke and fellow centre Ronan Watson proved an effective foil for the classy Kettering backline, both having superb games. Biggleswade kept the ball tight when they had it and used the ball better than their opposition, taking their opportunities when they were presented to them. Despite a very powerful Kettering scrum who dominated the set piece battle, Biggleswade more than countered this with a superb display of rucking from the forwards and defensive line speed from the backs. And it was Biggleswade who always looked the most dangerous in attack with scrum half Quinn Heath constantly providing a good platform for his backs to work with and fly half Ollie Pike distributing the ball excellently in the abysmal conditions
Kettering forced the early pace and played the first five minutes camped in the Biggy half. Just as things were looking ominous for the home team, Biggy began turning the ball over in the ruck and started to make progress into the opposition territory. Biggleswade gained confidence from this and came close to scoring from an attacking scrum when Quinn was held up close to the try line. Biggy continued to press and deservedly opened the scoring when Ronan showed great strength to score from close range. With Ollie converting, Biggleswade were 7-0 up.
As half time approached, Kettering continued to press, and actually crossed the Biggleswade line, but a combination of Lee Petitt and Ben Yates held the Kettering forward up. Biggleswade were forced defend further waves of attack from Kettering, but their well organised defence managed to hold out until the break.
Early in the second half, Biggleswade pressed, showing great handling skills moving the ball forward well in such poor conditions. Their patience was rewarded when constant infringing from Kettering at the ruck resulted in Biggleswade being awarded a penalty on the 22. In such a tight match, the decision was sensibly taken to go for goal. Ollie skilfully converted from the angle to put the hosts 10-0 up. Kettering bounced back, threatening the Biggleswade try line as they went in search of a score, but the dogged hosts kept Kettering at bay.
A nasty injury to a Biggleswade player who was thankfully later cleared as being ok, resulted in the match being stopped and a change of pitch needed.
The drenched players were sent back to the changing room for twenty minutes so that another pitch could be made ready. This could easily have swung the momentum in the match, but as the players were recalled, the deafening noise from the Biggleswade changing room as the troops were rousted by captain Ben Yates could be heard miles away and showed just how much the Biggy boys were up for the game.
With 25 minutes left on the clock, there was still time for Kettering to turn things around. Kettering showed what a determined and classy side they are, throwing everything that they could at Biggy, but despite spending almost all of the period in Biggleswade territory, they never really threatened to score, such was the organisation and never say die attitude of Biggleswade`s defence who repelled wave after wave of Kettering attack. Flankers Toby Moore and Sam Wischussen putting in some particularly crunching tackles to repell the Kettering forwards. Time began to be against Kettering and as the conditions worsened the game became ever more disjointed allowing Biggleswade to see the last few minutes of the match out.
The performance was a real team effort with great performances all over the pitch including a special mention for winger Kyle Francis having his best game for a long while, but the MOM went to tryscorer Ronan Watson who had an immense game at outside centre.