Dorset delight for Bognor rugby veterans

Bognor's veterans at Swanage
Bognor's veterans at Swanage

Bognor’s rugby veterans headed to Dorset to face Swanage and Wareham in their annual tour match.

The tourists were keen to continue their unbeaten streak of recent years and the first half was dominated by Bognor.

Although some of the vets had difficulty coming to terms with the new scrummaging protocols, Lewin, Paul Mitchell and Williams worked hard to keep the scrum solid.

Control at the base of the scrum was made difficult by a strong Swanage & Wareham pack and Bognor’s forwards were driven off several balls the front seven had won.

O’Connor switched to No8 and the forwards were superior in the all other areas, with Baldwinson and Parsons leaping in the lineouts and Rimmer and B Mitchell securing good possesion in the rucks and mauls.

Marshalled by Spurle at stand-off and with superb lines run by Nigel Mitchell and Gordon, they punched holes in the opposition defence. Clarke and Shipp came off the wings to support their good work, and Hay at full-back weaved his magic.

Bognor couldn’t break through until just before half-time. Sterling work saw Clarke steal the ball 22 yards out and he fed Brownand it went on to Hay. It was almost a formality for birthday boy Shipp to score in the corner.

As the second half began, Swanage and Wareham put Bognor under pressure. As they surged forward, the referee put his own interpretation on the knock-on laws and allowed play to continue after a blatant offence, which resulted in them making it 5-5.

The Bognor forwards began to get the upper hand, ably supported by sub Corbold. Surging runs Pigden and the frightening sight of Williams in full flight saw the tourists batter the defence.

More tries followed after Spurle, unopposed, threw himself to the floor. Cullen sat down three tacklers in an impressive 40-yard waddle.

Superior handling and fitness from Bognor saw three more tries run in by Spurle, O’Connor and, the pick of the bunch, by P Mitchell, who wrongfooted several defenders and ran in from two yards before going off with back pain.

The final score of 22-5 capped an impressive display by a Vets side who got their preparations spot on.

Man of the match was O’Connor.

BOGNOR: Lewin, Mitchell P, Williams, Parsons, Baldwinson, Mitchell B, Rimmer, O’Connor, Brown, Spurle, Mitchell N, Gordon, Clarke, Shipp, Pigden, Corbold, Cullen, O’Brien.