Pipped At Hartreemill

Biggar 24 pts Hillhead/Jordanhill 23 pts
Although the “Hills” contingent were disappointed to lose by a single point in their opening game of the 2011/2012 season, there was much encouragement for the new coaching team of Derek Busby and Colin Dickson to take from this performance.    The “Hills” squad contained some seven players making their debut in Premier 2, but all who played contributed well to a decent game.  Despite the threat of rain, the skies cleared for the game with near perfect  conditions, and the “Hills” certainly betrayed no signs of nerves in the opening quarter where they monopolised territory and possession to keep Biggar in their own half for a considerable period.  But the well organised home  defence kept the visitors out,  and pojnts came finally when Angus Twaddle was successful with his third penalty kick at goal after 30 minutes.  The continued prompting and sniping runs from the “Hills” half back pairing of scrum half, Haddon McPherson, and stand-off,  Stuart Howie,  proved troublesome for Biggar,  and the visiting stand off made good ground to chip over the home line.  He was, however, impeded when trying to ground the ball, and a penalty try was awarded which Twaddle converted.  A further successful Twaddle kick took his team to a 13 points to nil half time scoreline.
While not becoming a “game of two halves”, Biggar certainly exerted considerably more pressure in the second period;   in particular, their no.9, David Reive, was a constant thorn in the  “Hills” side with his disruption of the visitors’ scrummage ball.  The third quarter of the game saw Biggar ease to a 14 points to 13 points scoreline with two well taken tries from dynamic inter- play from their backs and forwards.  But Angus Twaddle moved “Hills” back into the lead with another confidently struck penalty, only for Biggar to re-take the lead when a rolling maul produced a fine score for Craig Parker again to kick the goal points.    Biggar were now 21pts to 16 ahead with some 8 minutes left and anxious to close the game out, but the “Hills” spirited team hit back following a fine break from  left winger, Andy Leslie, who raced into the home twenty two to put the supporting Haddon McPherson in for an excellent  try beneath the posts.  Twaddle converted to swing “Hills” back into a two point  lead with only 6 minutes now left.  Unfortunately,  some poor ball retention from the Biggar kick-off and a fluffed clearance kick allowed the home team to establish territory in the visitors’ twenty two, and, inevitably,  Craig Parker kicked a penalty goal.  Biggar were now one point ahead with fulltime looming only for “Hills” with their indefatigable captain, Stuart Ross, in the van to make a charge up the field.  A ruck was created in the home “red zone”,  and Angus Twaddle lined up what the visiting support hoped would be the winning drop kick,  but it was not to be as the ball sailed to the right of the uprights.  That was that with Biggar holding on for narrowest of victories, and “Hills” departing from Hartree Mill with a losing bonus point for their efforts.
“Hills” 1st XV – Angus Twaddle, Daniel Osugo ( Kirk James-Williams ) , Chris Butler, Ally Wright, Andy Leslie, Stuart Howie, Haddon McPherson, Joe Stafford, Corey Buchanan, Will Goulden, Johnny Agnew ( Douglas Wood ) , David Fisken, Donald Pitkethly, Stuart Ross ( Captain ) and Douglas Crichton. Subs – Mark Stewart, James Lowe.