A joyous season for Biggar Rugby Club has culminated in them being promoted as champions for the first time since season 1984-’85, writes Craig Goldthorp.
The 34-year wait was ended via Saturday’s 25-7 win at Peebles – Biggar’s 20th Tennent’s National League Division 2 victory out of 21 games this campaign – which was followed by scenes of unadulterated celebration.
“The boys had a fantastic time celebrating after the game,” Biggar head coach Gary Mercer told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette. “They were a very joyous group and there was heaps of champagne and beer on the go.
“Winning this league wasn’t plain sailing but the camaraderie among the group got us through.
“Looking at the stats, we have only conceded 140 points in the league all season.
“I think that is the best out of every senior league in Britain!
“We are only conceding an average of six or seven points a game which is phenomenal.
“And our differential is 681 points with still one league game to go.
“This has been a real collaborative effort.
“I’m so proud of the players, the coaching group of me, Davie Wilson and Dougie Fleming and the committee of Ian Notman, Ian Warnock and Jim Yule who work with the coaches.”
Saturday’s success at Peebles was achieved thanks to tries by captain Alan Warnock, Ross Bradford and Gregor Stewart, plus two penalties and two conversions by Matthew Stewart.
Biggar prevailed despite losing prop Donald Voas to a suspected popped rib injury in the first half and having scrum half Davy Reive yellow carded early in the second half.
Another major plus from the weekend’s events was the massive travelling support backing Biggar, surely the biggest turnout of away fans this league has seen for many years, if not ever.
Mercer added: “We have put on good rugby this year and the Biggar fans have been absolutely fantastic.
“They have stayed with us. It is a great club.
“We are up to National Division 1 now and we need to make sure we stay in that league next year.
“It is important that we recruit wisely this summer and get players that are going to complement the current playing group. If we get the recruitment right and the playing style right then I don’t see why we can’t stay in that division.”
Mercer revealed that he faces a fight to keep hold of some of his best players due to interest from Premiership sides.
“When you do really well people are going to come poaching,” he said.
Biggar have no game this weekend. Their final fixture is away to Preston Lodge on Saturday, April 13.
* Biggar under-16 boys were defeated 22-17 by their Stirling County counterparts in last weekend’s Under-16 Youth Cup final at Murrayfield.