Things go from bad to worse as two go off
CARTHA QUEENS PARK....... 36
BIGGAR RFC............................... 7
ELLIOT McLaren returned to the Biggar side for the first time this season to replace the injured Stewart Wright, while Michael Erskine started in place of Fraser Campbell and Drew Moore played his first game at the expense of Davy Reive.
One of Biggar's main failings is playing to the referee and this came to haunt them again this week with it becoming very obvious that the referee would stand no lip, all the more frustrating when decisions seemingly went against Biggar. The first Cartha try was a case in point as it looked a very clear knock-on.
Things then went from bad to worse as Biggar lost two very influential players in Eady Manawaiti and Andy Dunlop, the former for persistent use of hands in the ruck and the latter for obstructing play.
Rugby is very near impossible with 13 v 15 and so it was hardly surprising that Cartha managed to extend their lead with a penalty and a second try. 17-0.
Biggar hit back with a deserved try at a very opportune time - just prior to the break. A well taken lineout spawned the move with the pack rolling play to allow McLaren a great touchdown, the props contribution throughout Saturday being well worth mentioning.
Conan Sharman kicked a neat conversion and Biggar were right back into things. An excellent start to the second half probably should have brought some reward but despite playing virtually the third quarter of the game deep inside Cartha's half Biggar managed to do everything but score. The quality of the home side's defence is worth noting, although a sterility to Biggar's play made things a little easier to defend against.
Another concern was that, as against Stirling, when a break was made the Biggar support, while managing to hit the first contact or ruck, were found wanting thereafter, turnovers a regular occurrence as a result. Cartha proved to be a fitter and better drilled XV on the day.
Having weathered this storm however, Cartha grew in confidence and with the home advantage came storming back, their tails high. A breakaway score widened the gap further to the extent that Biggar now required three scores to win but with Stuart Harrison, the third Biggar played to be sin-binned, Cartha opened up in the last 15 minutes to run in no fewer than three more tries of their own, putting the seal on a very disappointing afternoon for Biggar.
Cartha therefore notched a bonus point, very much in the same way that Biggar notched theirs against Selkirk in their opening game, by exploiting their fitness and the opposition's lack of cohesion.
Jedforest travel to Hartreemill this weekend. This is a big game for Biggar who must seek to regroup and combine to put the Border side to the sword. Of course having won two of their first three games Jed will be another tough nut to crack.
Jed are immediately above Biggar in the Premier 2 league table at present although they have nine points in comparison with Biggar's five.
TEAM: C Sharman, G Walkinshaw, S Harrison, L Kirisome, C Parker, M Thomson (G White 65 mins), D Reive, E McLaren, M Rutherford (K Anderson 70 mins), M Erskine (F Campbell 40 mins), S Cunningham, A Cairns, E McAlpine, A Dunlop (G Fisken 65 mins), E Manawaiti.