National One preview: Biggar aim to sign off 2019 with perfect home record

League leaders face a tough challenge against Gala at Hartreemill, while second-placed Heriot's Blues are on the road to Cartha

Biggar are looking to end 2019 unbeaten at home. Image: Nigel Pacey
Biggar are looking to end 2019 unbeaten at home. Image: Nigel Pacey

BIGGAR have won all 10 of their home league matches so far in the 2019 calendar year and they are looking to make that 11 this Saturday, which will maintain their healthy lead at the top of the National League One table heading into the festive break.

While the Hartreemill men were on the way to earning promotion from National Two last season, they won their final three home matches in January, February and March, respectively. They have since backed that up this term in a higher division with seven wins on home turf from seven since September.

And when you note that the lowest points total they have scored in any of those seven outings is 31, and the most points scored by an opponent has been 15, it shows just what a tough task Gala face this Saturday.

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The Maroons, sitting in sixth place in the table and 26 points behind pace setters Biggar, will be out to spoil the party though.

Having played for Gala in a previous life, Biggar player/forwards coach Craig Borthwick knows that only too well.  “This weekend will be a tough test,” he said. “Gala have been in good form of late an will be looking to end their year with a win to build momentum going into the new year.

“We need to put in an 80 minute performance that will take us into the Christmas break and a well-earned rest. There will be a big crowd up at Hartreemill and if the weather holds it should be a very good game.”

Biggar’s lead at the top of the table is currently seven points with second placed Heriot’s Blues are on the road to Cartha Queens Park on Saturday.

When the two teams played earlier in the campaign, Heriot’s won 80-27 at Goldenacre, but fifth placed Cartha are a much improved side since then and a different beast at Dumbreck.

It will be an emotional day at Canal Park in Inverness when third placed Highland host Kelso. Last week, Highland player Lewis MacDonald, just 23, passed away and was laid to rest on Monday. A large crowd is expected at this game to pay tribute to him with the team keen to put in a big performance for their friend.

“It’s sure to be an emotional day, especially before kick-off as we pay our respects to Lewis who we lost so suddenly last week,” said Highland head coach Dave Carson. “It is going to be a tough match against Kelso because we only beat them by one point when we went don there earlier in the season. The players are desperate to put in a good performance for the home faithful an end 2019 on a high note.”

Kelso travel in 10th place, seven points ahead of the drop zone, after a 26-25 home loss to Cartha last time out.

Fourth placed Melrose will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 44-10 loss at Watsonians. They host 11th placed Boroughmuir at The Greenyards, the visitors buoyed by a much needed win over bottom side Dundee High in their last outing.

Talking of Dundee, the Mayfield men end their year at home to Ayr. It has been a tough season for Colin Sangster’s side to date while Stuart Fenwick’s ninth placed Ayr outfit will feel they are a bit too close to the drop-zone for comfort, so will keen to pick up a win to ease their way into the New Year.

One point separates Stirling Wolves in seventh and Watsonian in eight and the two mid-table sides meet at Bridgehaugh. Stirling won their last home game against Kelso two weeks ago while Watsonians are yet to win on the road in 2019-20.

This weekend’s National League Division One fixtures (all 2pm unless stated) –

Cartha Queens Park v Heriot’s Blues

Dundee High v Ayr

Biggar v Gala

Highland v Kelso (3pm)

Melrose v Boroughmuir (3pm)

Stirling Wolves v Watsonians (3pm)

How it stands –

There is no table associated with this shortcode.

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About Gary Heatly 207 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.