Lasswade 31 Biggar 6
In this opening game of the 2015-16 season of BT National League 2, Biggar hoped to halt their downward slide from Division 1 last season, while Lasswade’s equal but opposite aim was to continue the upward momentum of their Division 3 Championship.
After a best-forgotten hammering at the Watsonians friendly last week, even the home supporters had doubts about victory from this encounter. Their lack of confidence was misplaced as their team dominated up front and close marking and at times fierce tackling stifled any Biggar attacks.
Kicking off on a perfectly manicured pitch with the sun and a light Rosewell breeze at their backs, Biggar took full benefit of these advantages and within two minutes, with a well struck penalty, Francois Nel took the lead for his team for the first, and the last, time.
The restart forced Biggar back into their 22 and their hosts kept them there for the next five minutes until a lineout fed the ball to their backs and Jamie Elliot appeared to be tackled on the 22 but wasn’t held and bounced straight up and had a clear run to the posts for Hunter to add an easy two points.
Nel closed the gap to one point with another penalty 3 minutes later but that ended Biggar’s scoring.
Although play was mostly in the Biggar half and a fair chunk of that in their 22, half-time was barely a minute away before Lasswade troubled the scorer again. Biggar won their own scrum on their 22 but the attempted clearance kick was too slow for Jamie Elliot, who charged it down and followed through to touch down the rebound.
The 12-6 half time score lasted just four minutes of the second period when Donald Hearn finished off a short range catch and drive, with Hennessey slotting the conversion.
With plenty of good ball from the forwards, the backs battered away at the Biggar defence with David Hall standing out in this to claim man of the match.
However, it was the near total forward dominance that brought the next score close to the hour with surely one of the longest catch and drives from 25 metres out and Lamond claiming the touch down and the four-try bonus point.
Lasswade’s fullback, Gray, wrapped up the scoring with ten minutes still to play, joining the play with a great angle he forced past the first tackle and shrugged off a couple more before grounding under the bar. Hennesey drop-kicked the conversion to bring up the 31-6 final score.
A five point win has to be a good way to start a season but with 21 games still to go there will be bigger challenges than Biggar.
This Saturday, Lasswade renew an old rivalry when they travel to Greenock. Wanderers flirted with relegation last season but have held on in Division 2 since their promotion there alongside Lasswade and may be a better barometer for the Division. Having played each other nine times in that recent past, Lasswade’s 8-1 advantage has to be seen in the context of most of those games being decided by a one score difference. Kick off 3pm.