Biggleswade star in a Men’s Own thriller

The University of Chichester is celebrating an England rugby call-up
The University of Chichester is celebrating an England rugby call-up

In a thrilling game Biggleswade edged ahead in the last quarter beating Northampton Men’s Own 32-24 in their latest Midlands 3 East (South) fixture.

“They do something really good, and then something really bad,” was how club physio Helen summed up the match. And she was absolutely right!

The sentiments were shared by club player-coach Shane Manning. “We really applied ourselves for 55 of the 80 minutes and deserved to win,” he said afterwards, “but we also had some awful moments when nothing seemed to be going right.”

It was certainly true with the lead changing hands several times as each side had their purple patch before languishing into very ordinary play.

There was a past Players’ Reunion before the match with many rare visitors to the club turning out to enjoy the excellent buffet sponsored by Satchells, one of the club’s main sponsors. They then enjoyed a splendid feast of running rugby.

Biggleswade were forced to make changes from last week with a new second row partnership which was the 16th different pairing so far this season. Michael Haddow teamed up with Tom Alwright but Michael still made some of the monster tackles for which he is so recognised.

Biggleswade scored first and last with their sixth try wrapping up proceedings for the victory. It came from flanker turned centre Michael Kendall who backed himself to reach the line when the opposition players were closing in on him.

The first score was a solo effort from Shaun Hopper who stormed through a packed defence from 30 metres out. Luke Haverly added the conversion but it was his only successful kick of the afternoon.

Shaun was also involved in another move which appeared to result in a try but the ball was knocked on in the grounding. On his way towards the line the tall number eight sold the most outrageous dummy which completely wrong-footed the covering defence.

Instead it was full back Shane Austin who rounded off a good three-quarter move with a try in the opposite side from where it started. He fell awkwardly on the ball and had to retire from the fray along with skipper Jimmy Caulfield who also did not bounce well.

Will Roake celebrated his return to the side after a week off for work with his first try of the season. Men’s Own hit back with their first score.​

The start of the second half saw Biggleswade playing their worst rugby of the season. Kicks failed to find touch, passes were dropped or knocked on and tackles missed. The result was that the visitors who had previously looked ordinary suddenly looking unstoppable as they ran in two more tries to take the lead.

Biggleswade bounced back to regain the lead with an Alexa Borg try in the corner. But the lead was soon over turned by another try from the visitors.

This lead too was soon overturned as Elliot Tunstall went in for his second in two weeks. Michael Kendall stretched the lead with Biggleswade’s sixth touchdown.

The result sees Biggleswade bound two places up the league table to eighth. Next week though it is a tough away tie to St Ives who have put 169 points on the board in their last two matches.

The final league game is the week after Easter when St Neots are the visitors to Langford Road.