National One round-up: Biggar clinch title with victory over Stirling Wolves

Boroughmuir grasp a lifeline with a hard-fought victory over Kelso, but still have a lot of ground to make up to escape the relegation zone

Biggar were crowned National One champions on Saturday after defeating Stirling Wolves at Bridgehaugh.
Biggar were crowned National One champions on Saturday after defeating Stirling Wolves at Bridgehaugh. Image: Nigel Pacey

BIGGAR put in a dominant performance to clinch the National League One title at Bridgehaugh with a comfortable win against Stirling Wolves at the weekend.

The Hartreemill men have been the model of consistency this term and now have 92 points from 20 games after 18 victories, one draw and one defeat. They have two games to go and could still top the 100 point mark, but the most important thing for head coach David Wilson, his assistants Dougie Fleming and Craig Borthwick, and the players is that they will be playing Premiership rugby in 2020-21.

At the weekend, they were victorious at Stirling 45-15, with tries from Ross Bradford (3), Ewan Stewart, Mark Bertram, Andrew Peacock and Conor Lavery, plus five conversions from Andy Jardine seeing them home to spark celebrations.


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“It was a day all about getting the points needed and getting the job done,” said Borthwick. “There were definitely a good few nerves being shown early on and we took a bit of time to get a foothold in the game, but our driving line-out functioned really well and it was good to score 45 points in the end.

“Overall, this season the boys have been a pleasure to work with they have shown massive interest in getting better individually and as a group. They have put in a lot of work to learn new systems and new stuff that’s been brought in and, rightly, a lot of the young lads are excited about getting a go in the Premiership next year and want to see how they get on against the top teams.”

Stirling, who are sixth in the table, scored tries through Morgan Whitton and Donald McLaren with five points kicked by skipper Jonny Hope.

Second placed Heriot’s Blues battled back from 17-7 behind at half-time to defeat Watsonians 38-31 at Myreside, but Biggar’s triumph ended their title hopes.

Stewart Mustard, Oisin Quinn, Louis Meynier, Cammy Lineen, John Rae and Charlie Simpson scored tries for the victors in this entertaining Edinburgh derby, with Graham Wilson kicking four conversions.

“I was very disappointed with the way the boys played in the first half, but we asked them for a bit more desire and accuracy in both attack and defence in the second half and they delivered by scoring 31 unanswered points,” said Heriot’s head coach Jamie Parker. “We will need to be better in the upcoming weeks if we want to finish second in the league and challenge Marr in the Scottish Cup semi-final.”

Parker also paid tribute to Biggar.  “Massive congratulations to Davie and his players, they have shown they are the most consistent team in the league and are well deserved champions. I’m sure they will do well next year in the Premiership,” he said.

Skipper Chris Bell, Stuart Allison, Jamie Stephen, Donald Kennedy and Finlay Broomfield scored Watsonians’ tries with Lewis Jamieson kicking three conversions. They picked up two bonus points and they sit seventh in the table.

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Third placed Highland won 43-12 at already relegated Dundee High. Stuart MacDonald-Butler, Oscar Baird, Andrew Findlater, Sean Blair, Mikey Gordon, Stephen Murray and Gordon Gregor scored Highland’s tries, and Scott Fraser kicked the rest of the points. Angus Thomson and Finlay Ormiston scored tries for Dundee, with Fraser Mackay adding a conversion.

“I still believe we can overhaul Heriots, and snatch second place, which in our first season in the top national league would be an amazing feat for this great squad who still look remarkably fresh, even at this stage in our campaign,” said Highland head coach Davie Carson, as he looked ahead to two home games against Stirling Wolves and Melrose during the next fortnight.

Meawnhile, fourth placed Melrose defeated Cartha Queens Park 50-13, with Matthew Klein, James Brown (2), Aiden Cross and Gregor Lindsay all crossing the whitewash in he first half. Cross (again), Ben McLean and Christiaan Smit scored further tries in the second period, and Colvine kicked five conversions in total. Cartha’s tries came from Cameron MacMillan and Mark Barrowman.

Boroughmuir secured a big win in their bid to stay up in the division,  seeing off Kelso 20-19 at Meggetland. It means the Edinburgh side are still 13 points behind Ayr and 17 behind Kelso, but with games in hand they have kept their hopes of avoiding relegation alive for now. Gavin Welsh (2) and Gavin Inkster scored the tries for Boroughmuir, with Calum Anderson kicking five points.

“It was a great feeling to get the win and massively deserved after our first half performance especially, indeed it was incredible that we didn’t go in at half-time with a lead,” said head coach Richard Sievwright. “Earlier in the season, we may not have had the experience or resilience to stay in the fight for 80 minutes, but the boys dug in well.”

Boroughmuir captain Mark Hare added:  “We were really pleased to get the win against a strong Kelso team. We absorbed a lot of pressure in the second half and managed to sneak it at the end, and we are hoping to take some momentum into the next game [against Gala this Saturday].”

Frankie Robson, Gareth Clark and Allan Frame scored tries for Kelso, and Craig Dods converted two as they picked up a losing bonus point.

Tenth placed Ayr were edged out at home by fifth placed Gala. The hosts had taken the lead through a penalty try which saw Gala’s Martin Christie yellow-carded, but the Borderers bounced back through a Richie Tod try converted by Dean Keddie. Aiden O’Connor’s five points put Ayr back in front before Robbie Irvine’s score – converted by Keddie – made it 14-12 at the break and it stayed that way throughout the second period.

National League Division One results –

Ayr 12 Gala 14

Dundee High 13 Highland 43

Melrose 50 Cartha Queens Park 13

Stirling Wolves 15 Biggar 45

Watsonians 31 Heriot’s Blues 38

Boroughmuir 20 Kelso 19

How it stands –

Nat 1PWLDFADTBLBPts
Biggar20181175622553118092
Heriot's Blues19145067236530716173
Highland18135057436221211164
Melrose191270456486-3010159
Gala1999246246207451
Stirling Wolves18981413429-166347
Watsonians208102488569-818347
Cartha QP197111559587-2811445
Kelso207130387606-2197439
Ayr196121372531-1596335
Boroughmuir185130313448-1353427
Dundee High203170313695-3823116

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 173 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia

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