A late try finally wrapped up the last league match of the season as Biggleswade beat St Neots 22-16 on Saturday.
Biggleswade had dominated the match in both territory and possession apart from a ten minute spell before the break when the visitors had a purple patch.
Leading by 14-3 after scoring two tries Biggleswade conceded 13 points and went into the interval trailing their neighbours.
In the first match of the season way back in September on the St Neots’ Common Biggleswade had ran out comfortable winners putting nearly thirty points on the board. But this was a much different encounter.
The visitors had large forwards and backs who wanted to take the direct route and took some determined tackling to bring them down. There were often two or three players clinging to some part to haul the attacker down. Biggleswade’s early keenness to get at them saw the backs stray off-side. The successful penalty meant that Biggleswade were three points down in the first five minutes
Despite having determined runners throughout the back line Biggleswade could just not get that break to get over the line as often as they deserved. One player blamed the shirts as Biggleswade had to play in the white strip which was easier to grab hold off .The referee decided that there was a colour clash possibly the first time in 40 years that the two clubs have played each other.
Biggleswade, having gone behind, rallied and played the brand of rugby which has often seen them get a bonus point for try scoring. It was number eight Shaun Hopper who scored the first. He jinked and gyrated to get into a direct line for the touchdown.
The second try came from another forward. This time it was young Tom Alright who powered over. Luke Haverly added both conversions to put Biggleswade 14-3 up and apparently getting into top gear.
But then the wheels came off with the St Neots kicker putting over one penalty from the ten metre line and then doing the same from half-way. Worse was to follow as the robust tackling failed allowing St Neots in under the posts with an easy conversion to follow.
Coach Shane Manning had stern words to his troops at the break which had the desired effect as there were no more points for the visitor’s earnt or given away. In fact Biggleswade’s dominance was so great that the visitors were only in Biggy’s half of the pitch when they restarted after a score.
It was still very difficult for Biggleswade to actually get over the line. They were held up, knocked on over the line or the final pass went astray when the line was beckoning. One bizarre moment came when Biggy caught the ball at a five metre line aiming for a drive over. But St Neots stood back and won a penalty to clear the danger.
It was the boot of Luke Haverly, who has played in every match this season, which saw Biggleswade edge ahead by a single point. The try from Alex Borg in the closing minutes just put the cherry on top!
The result means that Biggleswade finish in seventh place in the league table one short of a top six spot that was targeted. They could have been much higher having lost five matches by a single score.
There is no game on Saturday but the season concludes in a match between a Biggleswade XV and Team Thunder on May 6 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Biggleswade 3rd XV were runners-up in the Middlesex/Hertfordshire Plate final losing out to Watford.