Biggar 79, Selkirk 10

Biggar blitz below par Selkirk

OUT OF REACH. Selkirk found line-out possession hard to come by at Hartree Mill on Saturday.

SCORELINES like the one recorded at Biggar on Saturday might have become common currency in recent World Cup matches, but such massive victories are an altogether rarer phenomenon in the BT Premiership. Perhaps that is why, after the home team had secured a bonus point within 20 minutes of the kick-off, a Biggar committee man patrolling the touchline at Hartree Mill kept turning to his companions and saying: “I keep pinching myself, thinking I’ll wake up!”
To be fair, there was something of a dream-like quality about the exciting brand of rugby served up by Biggar on Saturday. The home team’s ball presentation, support running, speed of transfer and all-round dynamism was of the highest order, leaving Selkirk’s players chasing shadows for much of the contest. Virtually everything the home side tried came off, leading to an incredible haul of 13 tries. The fact that eight of the Biggar team were playing second XV rugby last season, demonstrates just how much coach Gary Parker has managed to achieve since his arrival at Hartree Mill from The Greenyards four months ago.
The absence of Dwayne Jackson and Martin Murray from their starting line-up certainly didn’t help Selkirk’s cause, but there again Biggar also had several absentees. Poor first-time tackling proved one of the visitors’ biggest shortcomings.
Former Ayr pack leader Eddie Manawaitti and ex-Kirkcaldy fly-half ‘Quinny’ Sanift emerged as two of Biggar’s most influential figures, although 19-year-old number eight Andy Dunlop didn’t put a foot wrong all day.
Selkirk never looked likely to recover their poise after being blown apart by Biggar’s whirlwind opening. Neil Darling and Matt de Franck bravely tried to stem the tide by making the lion’s share of tackles throughout the afternoon, although the visitors were forced to play the last 10 minutes with only 14 men after de Franck limped to the touchline with a hamstring pull.
The writing was on the wall as early as the first minute when Selkirk lost possession from the kick-off, and several phases later flanker Andrew Cairns squeezed over the line for the match’s first try, converted by full-back Murray Thomson.
The visiting supporters’ spirits rose when Guy Blair kicked a penalty soon afterwards, but another mix-up at the restart saw Manawaitti slip inside the Selkirk cover, and the supporting Dunlop touched down behind the posts.
From then on every error the visitors made was mercilessly punished by Biggar. An overthrown Selkirk line-out ball saw the home team steal possession and power their way 50 metres down the field, where prop Elliot McLaren scored his side’s third try.
With Selkirk on the back foot and Biggar’s confidence growing by the minute, the contest turned into a procession for the remainder of the half, the Hartree Mill men eventually posting a 50-3 interval lead through scores from Thomson, Stuart Harrison, Gary Walkinshaw (2) and Warren Daley.
Either side of halftime Selkirk managed to stop the onslaught, and de Franck was over the line before being called back by referee Imlach, who had adjudged Fraser Harkness’ pass forward.
Normal service was eventually resumed, however, with tries coming at regular intervals from Rutherford, Baillie, Sanift and Dunlop — Thomson and Baillie adding conversions.
In the closing minutes of the match Selkirk’s pacy wing Craig Hunter scored a consolation try, converted by Blair, but by then the Biggar committee man had long stopped pinching himself.

UP AGAINST IT. Selkirk skipper Scott Tomlinson valiantly tries to stem the tide as Biggar’s rampant pack launch another drive.

SELKIRK — F. Harkness, N. Brown, A. Lyall (rep. A. Jamieson, 42 mins), C. Cochrane, C. Hunter, G. Blair, S. Tomlinson, S. Renwick, E. Robbie (rep. I. Walling, 47 mins), S. McColm (rep. G. Ruthven, 47 mins), N. Darling, D. Lithgow, J. Ross (rep. R. Crockatt, 52 mins), A. Heatlie, M. De Franck.

Referee — N. Imlach (Grangemouth).