Biggleswade just edged home 14-11 against Northampton Men’s Own in the gloom and damp of rural Northamptonshire in Midlands 3 East (South) on Saturday.
It was the trusty boot of Luke Haverly that saw Biggleswade across the line as he slotted home three successful penalty kicks to add to the solitary try.
The game was played in constant drizzle which made the ball slippery to hold. Spills and knock-ons were frequent as the players struggled to cope with the greasy pitch.
Tackles were missed in the treacherous conditions although the ball carrier too failed to get enough traction to get away from the covering players in the second line of defence.
The match was billed as the ‘Battle of the Packs’ as Men’s Own had upset Casuals just like Biggleswade had done in their last outing.
Men’s Own were notably larger as the sides squared up but size is not everything when conditions are tricky. Certainly the front row of Jimmy Caulfield, Shane Manning and Sacha Heath were able to get below their opposite numbers at the scrum down.
Men’s Own missed out on an early penalty attempt so Biggleswade scored first. A kick ahead by full back Harry Worboys was hacked on by Ian Robinson. Fly-half Wade Allen coming up fast won the race for the touchdown.
Biggleswade should have increased their tally as once again they were camped in their opponent’s half for much of the first period. But despite three five metre lineouts in quick succession they could not force their way over the line.
In fact it was the hosts who opened their tally with a penalty when the Biggleswade backs strayed offside close to their line.
As the half drew to a close Men’s Own threatened to take the lead but the scoring pass missed the winger and flew into touch instead.
Men’s Own did take the lead in the first minute of the second half. The restart kick landed inches inside the touchline giving Biggleswade the throw in. But as the ball was tapped down to little Jack at scrum-half making his debut he was steam rolled by the attacking prop. He grabbed the ball off him and raced away for the touchdown in the corner.
This pepped up Men’s Own who launched a ferocious wave of attacks on the Biggy line. Despite several close calls and with the help of the conditions the Biggleswade defence held out. Instead they drew level with the first of Luke Haverly’s three penalties.
Men’s Own did regain the lead with a second penalty but calm Luke squared the scores again and then kicked Biggleswade ahead.
Biggleswade, in the bulky form of Michael Hall, did take a quick penalty tap five metres out. The clash of the Titans must have been heard in the village centre half a mile away but even Hally could find no way through.
The result sees Biggleswade move up a place in the league table to sixth with the halfway match of the league campaign next week against St Ives.