Biggleswade 3rd XV go down fighting25th March 2019
Datchworth 3rd XV 26 – 17 Biggleswade 3rd XV
After a thrilling cup game which saw Biggleswade 3rd XV come from 21-7 down to win the last time the two sites met, this long awaited league game was set to be another great encounter.
The game started with Biggleswade kicking off down the slope. A period of possession underlined the forward power and attacking guile in the side. After probing the Datchworth defensive line, Mark Rastrick saw an opportunity to step back inside and put a kick through. However, disaster struck as his Achilles went shortly after. This resulted in positional changes as Biggleswade lacked a regular fly half to replace him.
Despite this, Biggleswade still controlled the next 5 minutes and managed to score first. It was sheer hard work in the forwards which saw Mark Salter drive over from the back of a ruck however, with the conversion on the 15 metre line, Dave Dawe was unable to take the extra two points.
Following this period Biggleswade started to find it difficult to manage territory without an out-and-out ten despite Aaron Surman did a sterling job creating several opportunities through the game. Dave Dawe at 9 also stepped up and put in several big touch-finders which allowed Biggleswade to stay in the game.
It was to be the home side who scored next, taking a 7-5 lead. From the kick off Biggleswade camped themselves inside the opposition 22 eventually earning a penalty. Having had some earlier success with the lineout drive, Biggleswade kept it in the forwards. After the maul started to stagnate, Ben Wischhusen saw an opportunity to charge to the line and bumped off several Datchworth players to go under the sticks, giving Dave Dawes an easy conversion to make it 7-12.
Next came the deciding period of the game, a series of Biggleswade penalties resulted in the Datchworth dominating both possession and territory. In the end it was a counter attack from a rare Biggleswade excursion which resulted in a Datchworth back breaking through. A kick was put in behind and as the chasing ensemble all dived for the ball, a Biggleswade player went to make the tackle, however the Datchworth player missed the ball which resulted in a yellow card.
With a man-advantage it was only a matter of time before the home side made it count, scoring in the corner which was followed by an excellent conversion which made it 12 apiece. It was to Biggleswade’s credit that they forced the home side to play 5 minutes of overtime, with a dogged defensive effort keeping the Men in Green from crossing the try line again.
The second half saw a much better disciplined Biggleswade team come out. However, several injuries meant further positional changes resulting in the visitors struggling for rhythm at times. This allowed Datchworth to build a lead, including one lucky try which came from a kick for touch and saw the counter attacking player break the line and pass to his supporting player who went over.
Biggleswade showed real spirit and determination to get back into the game. In particular the set piece continued to go well with several scrum turnovers whilst the lineout was much improved. However, it was to be some Biggleswade errors which stopped them from working their way back into the game.
Biggleswade still continued to throw their bodies at the opposition in both attack and defence, with Aaron Surman and Matt Cowley both putting in big hits. With the maul proving an effective weapon there was an opportunity to try a special lineout call which saw the visitors trundle closer to the try line. From the resulting lineout a ruck was set up, the ball made its way to Jack Unite who flung out a pass to Dave Leslie and managed to evade two would-be tacklers- only to be brought down on the 5 metre line. Jacob Martin, however, was on hand to pick up from the ruck and power over, which was just reward for another strong game from the young player.
In the end Datchworth were worthy winners but on another day, without the injury to their fly half, Biggleswade may have come back up the A1 as victors. There were plenty of positives to build on, including a strong debut from young Calum Macfarlane. With several players due to be back for the following week against league leaders Bishop’s Stortford, the boys from Langford Road will be chomping at the bit to finish the league season in style at home.
Biggleswade 3rd XV: M Salter, J Unite, G Caple, B Hughes, J Martin, S Rutt, T Harding, B Wischhusen; D Dawes, M Rastrick, G Jones, A Surman, D Leslie, M Showell, O Vagg.
Replacements: M Cowley, A Applegate, T Hill, C Macfarlane
Tries: M Salter, B Wischhusen, J Martin
Con: D Dawe