Published 16th April 2019
Biggleswade lost their last game in Midlands 3 East (South) to Stockwood Park 5-13 writes Nigel Aldis but it was a close run thing.
The pitch was dry and the sun warm but there was a biting east wind which chilled fingers and made handling errors rife. The elements favoured Biggleswade at the start of the match which fly-half Tom Flather used to good effect.
But mid-way through the first forty minutes the breeze died away to a mere zephyr only to return late in the second period.
Biggleswade scored first through an excellent try from Eithan Sinclair his first of the season. It was a storming run from half-way. It came after a wayward defensive kick by Stockwood was run back at pace by Elliot Tunstall.
The score remained five nil in Biggleswade’s favour until the half-time break although both sides had their attacking moments. A lack of penetration from Biggleswade was again evident although their defensive work was very sound.
Coach Will Wheeler was replaced at prop after thirty minutes by Kyle Loan just off the plane from his Australian adventure. For Will it was a poignant moment as it was his last game as coach and player as he is moving to Dunstable. Like others before him he is unwilling to travel the twenty-five miles plus several times a week from his new location.
Stockwood took the lead soon after the break to the satisfaction of their large travelling band of vociferous supporters. The crowd was very big for a match in which there was nothing at stake except pride.
The visitors increased their lead with a penalty but scorned another one opting to kick for the corner. Instead the ball went dead and it was a scrum back with a Biggleswade put-in and a chance to clear the danger.
The whole team tackled well but Gavin Taylor, Chris Simmons and Michael Haddow put in some of the biggest hits.
Biggleswade’s hopes of a losing bonus point were dashed when Stockwood had a third kick at goal which successfully stretched their lead to more than seven points.
Biggleswade had one last chance in the closing seconds of the game but a possible scoring pass went to ground and the opportunity was lost. Club Captain Jimmy Caulfield was disappointed to lose but praised his team for their efforts. “They played with a lot of heart and guts,” he said afterwards, “and we deserved a losing bonus point for the commitment that they showed against a side from the top half of the league table.”
Team: Will Wheeler (Kyle Loan), Liam Price, Jimmy Caulfield, Arran Pickering, Jake Deveraux (Andy Deutchler), Tom Seabrook (Dan “Plank” Rogers), Michael Haddow, Sam Watson, Luke Gadsby, Tom Flather, Eithan Sinclair, Gavin Taylor, Tom Anderson, Chris Simmons, Elliot Tunstall.
Next season Biggleswade will be in the bottom tier of the Midlands East league structure playing the likes of Bedford Swifts, Kempston, Brackley and Stamford College Old Boys. They will hope to follow the example of Northampton BBOB who will be promoted back to level three after just one season out of it.
My successor who records the exploits of Biggleswade Rugby Club should be able to write about some successes which are always an easier assignment.
photo credit: David Kay