Biggleswade 2nd XV 19 - 45 St Albans 2nds
The final game of 2019 saw Biggleswade 2nd XV welcome runaway unbeaten league leaders St Albans 2nds to Langford Road.
Last time they played, Biggy lost 82-0, so were determined to put in a better performance. Although a win was unlikely, the aim was to give St Albans their toughest game yet in a season where they have dominated every side they’ve played.
St Albans initially secured territory from the kick-off and their powerful forwards went through multiple phases to score under the sticks.
It was a wake-up call for Biggy to do the basics in defence, and they then had a period of play where they looked dangerous but weren’t able to go over themselves.
St Albans did well to soak up this pressure and scored a second try from a counter attack from their own half.
As the game progressed, Biggleswade still looked dangerous with ball in hand, but it was clear why St Albans were top of the league by some distance. Despite this, the home side kept digging in deep with Matt Horgan and Shaymus Hancock in particular racking up huge tackle counts.
As St Albans built up the points again there was extra incentive for Biggy to get themselves on the score board. Matt Horgan took a quick tap penalty 10 metres out and showed great strength to almost go over. The Biggleswade forwards trucked it up, creating an opening for a Dave Leslie to open Biggy’s account. Cameron Plant was on hand to knock over the conversion.
Glad not be nilled again Biggleswade figuratively dropped the ball from the kick off and St Albans went over with several missed tackles allowing easy passage.
St Albans effective game plan proved tough for Biggy’s defence, and the home side conceded two further tries before half time to leave the score at 32-5.
With the risk of the game ending up going the same as the last one, Biggleswade’s team talk focused on the basics and a plan to play their own game and see out 2019 with a strong finish.
Sure enough, the second half was much tougher for the visitors. Onlookers noted the exciting ‘end to end’ nature of the match (in stark contrast to last week’s 15-15 away draw at Enfield).
St Albans were the first to score again, but after that Biggleswade really hit their straps and played some of the best rugby of their season so far.
As the tighter nature of the half took hold, both sides saw a few tempers flare which resulted in a player from each side sent to the bin. During this period, Biggy worked their way up the pitch, went through the phases on the left hand side and made a big pass out to Chris Horgan, who - in only his second game of senior rugby - went over after good movement in contact allowed him to reach out and dot the ball down. Plant again knocked over the conversion.
As both sides threw themselves into everything there were fewer points but better rugby being played. St Albans eventually notched up another try to take their score to 44.
Biggleswade weren’t done yet and with a dangerous backline and time ticking down, Plant spread the ball wide and Leslie hit a perfect line to barnstorm his way over for his second try.
Overall, it was an excellent performance against the strongest team in the league, with the two tries apiece in the second half prompting St Albans to say it was their toughest game league game so far..
Post-match, the monthly Captain’s Choice award was passed onto Dave Leslie for three tries in two games and being ever solid in defence.
As 2019 draws to a close captain Jack Unite can look back on a strong start to the season for the re-established second team, which is going from strength to strength.
PHOTO: The Horgans (L to R Matt, dad Graham, and Chris)
Royston 2nds 32 - 20 Biggleswade 3rd XV
With a second game in two weeks, the revived Biggleswade 3rd team travelled to Royston for a friendly. Despite being short of players due to withdrawals, the team put in a great performance and went down 32-20 to Royston 2s. Captain Aaron Surman remarked “The game felt closer than the score suggested but considering we played the whole game with a man down I’m very proud of the lads.”
If you are interested in playing rugby at Biggleswade, whether you are experienced or new to the game, please get in touch.