Biggleswade defeat local rivals.22nd October 2018
Biggleswade 33 Dunstablians 21
Midlands 3 East (South)
Biggleswade were 0-14 down after ten minutes and reeling but they fought back and ran out 33-21 winners against Dunstablians in Midlands 3 East (South).
Dunstablians arrived at Langford Road with three wins from four starts including most recently victory over Stamford the pre-season favourites for the league title. The referee assessor reported that the visitors had a good set of strong running three-quarters and were a force to be reckoned with.
It certainly looked that way as Biggleswade were stung by two well worked tries in the opening ten minutes as their defence was holier than a kitchen colander. One regular watcher on the side-lines observed that if it carried on like that Dunstablians would amass a point a minute.
Injuries and unavailable players had forced the Langford Road based club to have a forty-two year old on the flank (Damien White) and a recall for the well-seasoned prop Adam “Tink” Fage in the front row. Luckily soldier Sean Hopper was free of military duties so came off the bench after just ten minutes to give greater depth to the wilting defence.
And how wrong the pundits proved to be!
Biggleswade worked their way back into the match. Their pack had the edge on Dunstablians shunting them back and giving them uncomfortable possession at the back of the scrum. A penalty for off-side was kicked into the corner to set up an attacking play. The resulting maul seemed to be going no-where when suddenly a player detached himself from the melee with ball in hand and crossed the line unopposed for the try. It was Zack Pates who makes this kind of score his speciality.
Buoyed up by this Biggleswade redoubled their efforts and ran anything kicked at them back with a purpose. Unfortunately in one counter attack Elliot Tunstall damaged his shoulder. He was replaced by Callum Cochrane back after a year’s absence. Tunstall is no slouch but when Callum turns on the after-burners he really motors.
Fly-half Tom Flather scored Biggleswade’s second try. When he gets the ball he off-loads straightaway and lops round. But just once in a while he doesn’t pass. Seeing a rabbit hole in the defence he threads his way through for a score. Del Tribeck added the conversion and another three after the break.
Winger Will Roake was well fired up in all phases of back play falling on loose balls, supporting the full-back in the counter attack and running hard with ball in hand. Had he eaten three shredded wheat for breakfast?
Dunstablians started the second half with real intent but there was no repeat of the first ten minutes of the game. Instead it was Biggleswade that took the lead.
Turning over an opposition scrum it was Sean Hopper who started the move which was carried on by many hands before Luke Gadsby swooped in the corner to score his debut try. The conversion put Biggleswade ahead by five points but they were not in the lead for long.
One missed tackle at the back of the scrum allowed Dunstablians the chance to get back in front with another converted try. But there was more drama still to come.
Tom Flather made a searing break which saw the ball swiftly passed from hand to hand until Gavin Taylor crossed the line for the try which earned the bonus point. With just seconds left on the clock another rabbit hole appeared. Young Tom Flather shot through it to put the cherry on the top of a win which had looked very unlikely after ten minutes. The score denied Dunstablians the chance of a losing bonus point which was a devastating blow to their morale.
Team v Dunstablians: Adam Fage, Sacha Heath, Jimmy Caulfield, Liam Price (Sean Hopper), Kyle Loan, Damian White, Zack Pates, Michael Haddow, Luke Gadsby, Tom Flather, Will Roake, Del Tribeck, Gavin Taylor, Chris Simmons, Elliot Tunstall (Callum Cocharne) Will Wheeler.
This Saturday Biggleswade head north to take on Leicester Forest on their new all-weather pitch. Forest lost to Casuals before beating Queens easily but only drawing with Rushden & Higham. Their match against St Neots was postponed and last week they just beat Stamford away from home. There is much more confidence in the Biggleswade team who will believe that they can do it all again in Leicester.