The big game was at Canal Park as the 1st XV took on Biggar in National League One. The visitors were Highland’s bogey side last season so there was much anticipation of another close encounter.
The game started as expected with two good sides playing some fine rugby and with both defences showing up well it was obvious that this could be a low scoring game. Highland were first to find a gap as they turned over Biggar possession in the home half. Some quick play saw the ball moved quickly in attack to see full-back Ruaridh MacDonald in at the corner. With a fine conversion kicked by Scott Fraser Highland led 7-0.
It was still a very tight game and just as it looked like Highland could break through for a second score Biggar struck back. The ball was turned over near the Biggar line and they repeated what Highland had done earlier and ran the length of the park to score near the posts. The conversion levelled the score at 7-7 and that’s how the game reached the break.
The tight nature of the game continued, but Highland were just about edging it and they were soon to take the lead again. They won the ball back during a Biggar foray and Highland surged up the pitch with good ball handling between backs and forwards. Winger Mike Gordon collected the ball and made a big surging run and just as he was stopped short the ball went to skipper Stuart MacDonald-Butler who went over near the posts. The wind which had been as much a hindrance as help to Highland in the first-half now thwarted Fraser’s attempted conversion so Highland led 12-7.
Even though Highland were leading it was never fully secure as Biggar continued to come back. It was not until the next score that Highland’s victory was assured. Another passage of play featuring over ten phases saw Highland push up the park. With Oscar Baird taking the ball and breaking a tackle he was unopposed as he sprinted for the line and a try. This easier kick was made by Fraser and Highland were worthy winners at 19-7.
This was a very satisfying win for Coach Dave Carson and he was very pleased to see his squad get the better of such a good rugby side. The only bad news was the earlier retirement of hooker Kevin Brown with a foot injury and his recovery will be assessed early in the week.