1st XV v Biggar 01.09.18

Dumfries Saints 5   Biggar 17

After last weekend when Saints progressed to the 2nd Round of the National Cup and Biggar were knocked out, there was always a concern that there may be some kind of backlash in the opening league game.   It was a typical start of the season game with neither side up to the levels of accuracy needed to balance their speed and enthusiasm.

Biggar had the bulk up front with a heavy pack which did not dominate the set piece and did not bully the breakdown but kept good shape in defence and made it difficult for Saints to build momentum.

The pace in the first half was relentless and the errors high leading to possession changing frequently but it was Biggar who opened the scoring after a missed tackle on the 22 gave their winger a clear run to the line and an easy conversion for their stand off.

Biggar were starting to dominate possession and territory and drove back a Saints put in at a 5 metre scrum forcing some robust defence at the tail of the scrum and a clearance kick from Jack Johnston which was chased and picked up by Sam Hiddleston who carried it forward before feeding the ball to Andrew Whiteford who ran it in from halfway. An excellent try from try line to try line but unfortunately the conversion was missed.

The rest of the half was end to end stuff with neither team able to add to the score with Biggar missing a penalty attempt. Right at the end of the 1st half a late and high tackle on Jack Steele led to a yellow card to the Biggar send row forward and the 2nd half restarted with a penalty to Dumfries.

Saints worked hard to capitalise on the extra man but lack of accuracy in passing and offloading made it easy for Biggar to use the wind to clear their lines. One particular kick to the corner was deemed to have been touched down by Saints and they were able to clear from the resulting 5 metre scrum.

After sustained possession in the Saints 22 Biggar were able to move the ball wide and score in the corner. Despite the angle the conversion was successful taking the score to 5 : 14.

With 10 minutes left on the clock Michael Yates received a yellow card for a late tackle. Biggar piled on the pressure with the extra man forcing a penalty on half way which the referee marched 10 metres closer after some Saints backchat making it an easy 3 points for the Biggar standoff.

Despite their being few stoppages there was enough time added a the end for Saints to be restored to 15 men but Biggar kept them out to finish the game 5 : 17.

Next week Saints are away to Glasgow Accies in the league and will be looking to reduce the handling errors and get some longer spells in possession.

Squad: Craig Goldie, Tom Martin, Douglas Boyd, James Clyde, David Andrew, James Thomson, Ryan Cruikshank, Euan Miller, Jack Johnstone, Jack Currie, John Carlisle, Michael Yates, Jack Steele, Andrew Whiteford, Sam Hiddleston, Gareth McCall, Michael Scott, Callum Smith and Robert Douglas.

Saints 2nd XV faired better against Kilmarnock 2nd XV scoring 54 points to no reply. They are also playing Glasgow Accies away in a double header next Saturday.

The 2nd Round of the Cup draw set Saints up an with an away game at Kelso on 24th November which is the day Scotland plays Argentina at Murrayfield.