Greens rise to Biggar challenge

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Hawick emerged from this very tight match as 13-12 winners to extend their unbeaten league run to nine games and remain firm title contenders with only one point separating the top three teams.

The match was not pretty though as a rejuvenated Biggar team struggled to avenge the heavy defeat they suffered at Mansfield earlier in the season.

Hawick began well with good pressure in the opening minutes leading to a penalty, which was put wide by Neil McColm.

This was followed by a further period of good Hawick running rugby when, on 15 minutes, Gary Johnstone made a good break. The ball was passed well and Steven Anderson ran in under the posts for the first and only try of the game and McColm converted.

Biggar responded well and following good driving play from forwards and backs, gained a penalty in front of the Hawick posts to open their account. But a second Biggar penalty on the half-hour mark fell victim to the strengthening wind.

As half-time approached, Hawick made a good break up the left wing, forcing some scrambling defence from Biggar which led to a penalty. This time McColm used the strong cross-wind to drift the ball between the posts to stretch the visitors’ lead at the interval.

With the wind now increasingly in Hawick’s face, the Greens played good 15 man rugby for the third quarter and extended their lead with another McColm penalty after a good drive by Nick Mactaggart.

However, the last quarter of the game belonged to Biggar as they fought to get back in touch.

A second successful penalty was followed by a third for a deliberate knock-on which brought a yellow card for Hawick fullback John Coutts and some away supporters were left glancing nervously at the scoreboard.

With the powerful wind making many of the Hawick clearance kicks impotent, the pressure resulted in a period of poor discipline from the Hawick forwards around the rucks and mauls.

One of the penalties conceded seemed to be blown wide but the touch judges’ flags went up to bring Biggar to within one point with seven minutes to go.

A minute later a very kickable Biggar penalty was pushed wide by the wind, to great Hawick relief.

Hawick seemed to find a better rhythm at this point and camped out in close proximity to the Biggar line for most of the remaining time, although the intensity of the forward play led to a second yellow card for Hawick as Liam Launders was sent to the bin for the last two minutes.

Hawick had a final flourish a minute from time with a penalty for offside but the wind was too strong for replacement Lee Armstrong and the ball went wide.