Biggleswade started the New Year with a win over basement boys Aylestone St James but it was far from a pretty spectacle winning just 17-7.
The heavy overnight rain made the pitch very claggy and for some it was like “running in treacle”.
The wet ball made catching a lottery and both sides might have added to their tally if passes had stuck at the crucial moment.
It was a day for a heavy pack and despite having ‘big’ Arran Pickering in the front row Biggleswade struggled in early encounters. Both second rows Gareth Rutt and Tom Allwright prefer a running game rather than the heavy grind in the engine room.
As the game went on Rutt showed his former expertise as a winger with a storming run. Young Allwright again impressed coach Shane Manning as being a real ‘grafter’ at close quarters.
The ‘Jimmies’ play on the highest part of Leicestershire next to Stoneygate who have now sold their ground for building. It was misty and murky all afternoon and with time added on for stoppages was completed in a gathering gloom.
After a lively start by Biggleswade which netted zero points the hosts came into their own using their heavy but immobile pack to batter their way down field.
Biggleswade defended well with some serious tackling. One was judged to be ‘high’ but the culprit stayed on the pitch. This is unlikely to be the case in future weeks as referees have been instructed to impose sanctions for tackles above the shoulders.
Hooker Shane Manning was not so fortunate being sent to the touchlines for a ten minute cool off after a repeated infringements in the ‘red zone’. This gave the Jimmies juts the advantage that they needed to score under the posts after a forwards move. Averaging just over one point per match seven points is a real plus for them.
Stern words at half-time had the required impact so Biggleswade were soon back on level terms after the break. A long kick downfield from stand off Like Haverly led to tall centre Will Simkins dotting down for the try. Haverly added the extra two points.
Biggleswade might have gone ahead after a scything break from centre Michael Hall but the final scoring pass just would not stick. But when Hall received the scoring pass from number eight Ian Robinson who made a powerful break from the base of the scrum he made no mistake. The successful conversion put Biggleswade ahead but the Jimmies were still within sight of their first league point for the season for coming close in defeat.
This was not to be as the trusty boot of Luke Haverly added a penalty from in front of the posts to stretch the lead beyond seven points.
But as the light started to fail the hosts mounted one more effort to try and get that elusive prize. Again Biggleswade had to move into heroic mood to withstand the challenge laying their bodies on the line time after time. Henry V came to mind. “Once more into the breach dear friends” which might have been the inspiring words of club captain Jimmy Caulfield.
The four points moves Biggleswade to sixth place in the league. Next up though is the far more serious challenge of unbeaten league leaders Stewarts & Lloyd who visit Langford Road in two weeks’ time.