Coming from behind in the closing quarter, Biggleswade just edged ahead of Stockwood Park winning 12-10 in Midlands 3 East (South) on Saturday.
Conditions were dire for running rugby with a wet pitch following days of snow and drizzle. Numb fingers chilled by the icy blasts of winter did not help the cause.
On the day Biggleswade were the better side as they had most of the possession and the territory. But determined Park defence, the conditions and a string of handling errors all made for a very tight encounter.
With Stockwood opting to play in the London Division to cut distances travelled to away games the two sides had not met since the Beds Cup Final three years ago at Langford Road. Stockwood had been narrow winners. The previous season the boot had been on the other foot as Biggleswade won the Cup in Luton.
Biggleswade started well but like on so many other occasions could not turn pressure into points. Instead it was the Park who scored first. They worked their way into Biggleswade’s “22”. A deft chip over the defence was regathered and grounded for the opening score.
The home team looked likely to go ahead as a clear overlap near Biggleswade’s line looked a certain try. But university boy Tom Flather took a chance and went for the interception running almost the length of the pitch before being caught.
Back on the offensive it was not long before Biggleswade created their own overlap thanks to good work by Liam Dunne and Flather again. This saw Alex Borg cross the line for the touchdown to level the scores at five apiece.
Hooker coach Shane Manning hobbled off soon after the break with a recurrence of a calf strain. Arron Pickering came on into the front row with Zack Pates at scrum-half and Gavin Taylor on the wing. Club captain Dom Nott missed this match as he was 12,000 miles away in New Zealand.
Ieuan Evans, who had an excellent game at full back injecting pace into the line and making several try saving tackles, had to leave the field with cramp. It was during this period that Stockwood scored second try. As the light started to fail making it even more difficult to tell which mud plastered side was which Biggleswade dealtd the coup de grace.
A spirited break up the blindside in which the galloping wing turned lock Gareth Rutt showed his true colours Biggleswade took the lead as young Tom Flather scored under the posts. Luke Haverly added the conversion to give the visitors a slender lead. Asked afterwards for his thoughts on the game Haverly said it was “Tough” and then “Muddy” as an afterthought.
The result takes Biggleswade above Daventry in the table on points difference. This scenario had looked unlikely until it was learnt that St Ives had crushed Daventry by over 90 points. Biggleswade now have two Saturdays off before returning to league action on January 6 when they travel to Daventry.