Big­gar stretch lead at the top

Hamilton Advertiser - - SPORT -

BIG­GAR ............................. 45 FALKIRK ............................... 5 Big­gar made a dream start to 2019 with a com­pre­hen­siveten­nent’s Na­tional League 2 win over Falkirk, stretch­ing their lead over idle High­land to nine points.

The two will clash head-to-head on Jan­uary 19, and while the In­ver­ness side have a game in hand, Big­gar have points on the board, mean­ing it’s up to High­land to catch them.

Falkirk en­joyed good pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory in the open­ing ex­changes, but when they tried to make an as­sault on the line, Jamie Orr in­ter­cepted and took play swiftly away from the dan­ger area.

Sub­se­quent han­dling er­rors put Falkirk un­der more pres­sure, but a rolling maul which was deemed to be a case of ob­struc­tion al­lowed them to clear.

An­other line drive with flanker Chris Mul­li­gan in the van was even­tu­ally brought down, but with pos­ses­sion re­tained, Big­gar stand-off Conor Lav­ery drifted through the splin­tered de­fence for a try un­der the posts, which Matthew Ste­wart con­verted for 7-0.

On the half-hour mark Big­gar dou­bled their lead af­ter winger Ross Brad­ford glided through the Falkirk de­fence to set up a fine at­tack­ing po­si­tion.

Matthew Ste­wart and Orr con­tin­ued the good work, which prompted Lav­ery to re­lease Ross Jack­son for their se­cond try of the game, again con­verted by Matthew Ste­wart.

Prop Don­ald Voas was next to cross the white­wash, his pow­er­ful run from some 30 me­tres out see­ing him go round, through and over the stretched de­fence for a try in the cor­ner, and a 19-0 lead.

Falkirk hit back on the stroke of half-time, when a penalty was ad­vanced for chat, which set them up for a li­ne­out close to the Big­gar try line. Ball was driven by the pack, be­fore play was spread right, where Conor Faulds off­loaded to his brother Glen to cross in the cor­ner, re­duc­ing the deficit to 19-5.

A ham­string prob­lem robbed Falkirk of Conor Faulds, and while the in­jury isn’t too se­ri­ous, it helped Big­gar’s cause as he had been pre­sent­ing prob­lems for the de­fence.

Big­gar claimed their fourth try with less than 10 min­utes of the half gone, when, af­ter sev­eral at­tempts had been re­pelled, Lav­ery took ad­van­tage of the stretched de­fence to touch down for 24-5.

Falkirk tried to at­tack and a promis­ing move was ended as Ross Brad­ford stuck out a hand, grabbed the ball, and set off on what was a 90-me­tre sprint for the line, beat­ing the cover de­fence to score, with Matthew Ste­wart’s con­ver­sion stretch­ing the lead to 31-5.

Five min­utes later and it was Matthew Ste­wart who man­aged to beat the Falkirk de­fence and get on the end of a neat Lav­ery chip to get be­tween the Falkirk cover and score, with Matthew Ste­wart slot­ting the ex­tras.

Big­gar were keen to in­crease their tally and they should maybe have done so sooner, but ac­cu­racy let them down with the line in sight on a few oc­ca­sions.

The fi­nal score of the af­ter­noon fell to Chris Mul­li­gan, who ben­e­fited from Davie Reive’s has­sling at the scrum base. The ball popped up nicely for Mul­li­gan, who at­tacked the line at full pace to cross un­touched for a try, con­verted again by Matthew Ste­wart.

First foot Conor Lav­ery scored Big­gar’s first try of 2019 in their 45-5 win at Falkirk (Pic by Nigel Pacey)

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