Hillhead/Jordanhill 24 pts Biggar 20 pts
By any standards this was an excellent game of club rugby played on a beautiful March afternoon without a raincoat or umbrella in sight. Statistically, “Hills” triumphed by two goals and two tries to one goal and two tries and one drop goal, but the try bonus gained by the home team may yet prove to be significant in the final placings in this league of death come the 8th April, the final weekend of the season. For the connoisseur, there was a sharp contrast in styles with Biggar favouring the more explosive but riskier offloading game to “Hills” less accident prone strategy of always taking the ball into contact, and then working through the phases. That said, there were fine examples of individuals’ contribution to the game with another terrier like performance from Haddon Macpherson at scrum half for the “Hills” and some mazy running from Chris Butler on the right flank, with the Wilbore twins and Jade Gardner proving to be equally elusive at times for the visitors.
It was “Hills” who settled immediately with a fine break from Stuart Howie leading to a ruck on the visitors line which Haddon Macpherson scuttled over from for his first try of the afternoon with Andy Leslie adding the goal points. The game proved to be fast and furious with first one side in the ascendancy then the other, but Biggar broke through in the centre of the field with Gardner finishing a move which he started for their opening try which was unconverted. “Hills” maintained their momentum, but it was not easy for them to break through the disciplined Biggar defence until Stuart Howie profited from a rolling maul to score close to the posts with Andy Leslie again adding the goal points. Biggar then roared back into the attack and some clever interplay between their dangerous backs found full back Wibore crossing for a try which Parker converted. Half time arrived with the “Hills” having a two point advantage over their rivals.
The intensity in the second period of play matched the first with little between the sides in the set scrummage, although “Hills” benefited on the touchlines from Corey Buchan’s accurate throwing in. From an injection of pace from Andy Leslie and clever linking from stand off Howie, Daniel Ozugo forced his way over the line to give his side a seven point advantage, but a snap drop goal from the Biggar stand–off Lavery reduced this. The final quarter of the game saw both teams having to use the full range of bench replacements as players went down from the physicality of the play. Biggar edged ahead with another Wibore try which was unconverted, and the “Hills” were now up against it as the visitors varied their tactics to a long kicking game which required the home team to run the ball back from deep in their own half at the opposition. But from an attacking maul on the Biggar ten metre line, Andy Leslie found some space to scuttle up his flank and race for the line only to be tackled some three metres short, but support from the irrepressible Haddon Macpherson was at hand and he raced on to uplift the ball and touch down in the corner. This conversion was missed but “Hills” were now four points ahead, but with some seven minutes of injury time to play. The tension was unbearable both on and off the field as uncontested scrums had to be ordered as “Hills” front row replacements were now all injured. Thanks, however, to a show of fierce determination and collective will power, the “Hills” held on to win an enthralling contest against an excellent Biggar side.
“Hills” final Premier C game is at Hughenden on Sunday the 8th April vs Selkirk with the kick-off time to be confirmed. If “Hills” win this game, then their place in the second division of the national Leagues will be confirmed.
Hills” 1st XV – Daniel Ozugo, Chris Butler, Robbie Williamson , David Mitchell ( David Paterson ) , Andy Leslie ( Douglas Crichton ) , Stuart Howie , Haddon McPherson , Paul Sheerin ( Will Goulden ) , Corey Buchan , Joe Stafford( Donald Pitkethly ) , David Fisken , Jonny Agnew , Stuart Ross (C ) , Donald Pitkethly ( Douglas Grove ) and Douglas Crichton ( Douglas Wood ) Subs All used