Biggar 22-22 Gala: Hartreemill men go 10 points clear at top of league

Delight as Richard Bassett scores Biggar's fourth try (Pic by Nigel Pacey)
Delight as Richard Bassett scores Biggar's fourth try (Pic by Nigel Pacey)

Biggar moved 10 points clear at the top of Tennent’s National Division 1 after a 22-22 home draw against Gala, writes Alistair Stewart.

The match brought the curtain down on an extraordinary 2019 for the Hartreemill men, whose unbeaten home record this year is maintained.

The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes by the visitors when Ross Cooke landed a penalty awarded as Biggar crept offside in defence.

But the hosts hit back when Conor Lavery and Mark Bertram set up centre Andy Jardine who crossed for an excellent score but one which he just failed to convert.

There was then disaster for Biggar when Orr’s wide pass evaded Bertram and Gala stand off Ruairi Howarth hacked forward and scored a try which Cooke converted for 10-5.

And things got worse for the home side when a misplaced Rory Hutton pass was intercepted by Cook. In a 75m chase he was just able to elude the tackle of Orr to score a try under the posts which when converted took Gala into a 17-5 lead and the half-time break.

But Biggar reduced the deficit in the second half when a Jardine penalty took play to within 10m of the line where the catch and drive was employed once again to such an effect that prop Donald Voas crashed over for a score.

It was soon 22-10 when Gala scrum half Fergus Johnston ran a beautful line to carve through the midfield defence and score, conversion missed.

After Gala prop Logan was yellow carded for bringing the line drive down illegally, Biggar opted for a scrum and by completing a pushover try credited to Ross Jackson. Jardine was just wide with the conversion.

The drama continued as Richard Bassett touched down for Biggar after a driving maul.

Jardine’s conversion levelled things up at 22-22.

The league now takes a winter break and the senior squad will have the opportunity to relax and recharge their batteries in preparation for the resumption on January 11 when the 1sts travel to take on Dundee High while the 2nds host Heriots.