Bognor rugby youngsters and not-so-young guns take centre stage
The Bognor RFC first XV might have finished their league campaign but the action continues for other teams - read here how the under-16s got on in a county final and the vets fared against Littlehampton
Battling Bognor RFC under-16s were defeated 45-13 in their Hampshire final by a strong Havant side.
Despite good spells, Bognor struggled with their opponents’ well-drilled team and after ten minutes found themselves 14-0 down.
Bognor responded with forwards Dylan Giles, Rhys Davies and Charlie Weller all carrying well in a physical contest orchestrated by scrum half Ollie Page.
Still under the pressure of Havant’s physicality, Bognor conceded a penalty which put Havant 17-0 up.
Bognor didn’t back down and a throw from Teasdale found Owen Thomas in the air. Teasdale escaped the maul, diving over the line scoring a superbly worked try to reduce the deficit to 17-5.
Havant extended their lead to 15 points but Bognor looked sharp thanks to captain Elvis Millen and Kieron Swailes, who returned the ball and, with an offload to full-back Ben Woolnough, recovered ground for Bognor after fancy footwork down the pitch.
A last-ditch tackle from Havant resulted in a penalty to Bognor, making the score 20-8 at half-time.
The second half was feisty and with the score 25-8, Havant recieved a yellow card for a high tackle before Bognor were reduced to 14 men after Davies’ dismissal. Havant were quick to take advantage of the extra man and scored another try to make it 30-8.
Bognor’s 14 men didn’t give up easily and after a lost Havant lineout, Thomas powered through their defence for a try that made it 30-13.
After the restart Dru Cannon tore his ankle ligaments while turning, making Bognor’s uphill battle even steeper without their star winger. They struggled in the dying minutes but showed great character.
Any players aged 16-plus and in Year 12/13 from September, experienced or not, that would like to be part of Bognor RFC are welcome to join. Contact Doug, Tom or Rob at [email protected] or call Doug on 07790 022713.
Bognor hosted Littlehampton in an end-of-season vets’ friendly.
Bognor assembled a huge squad, with many donning their boots for their once-a-year runout.
Littlehampton arrived at Bognor looking fresh-faced and fit, a worry for the Bognor men.
A mistake in midfield led to Littlehampton scooping up the ball, spinning it wide and easily running around Bognor’s flagging defence to score in the first two minutes.
Bognor began to play, recycling the ball efficiently and using their power to force Luke Rokotakala over the line. However, the score was wiped off for an infringement and it was a penalty to Littlehampton.
Bognor again went on the attack and Mike Page scored in the corner.
Littlehampton came out fighting. They could not match Bognor’s strength in the front five, but after another Bognor error, Littlehampton had to use their pace out wide to breach the Bognor try line.
The tit-for-tat try-scoring continued. Littlehampton kept edging ahead, only to be pegged back by another Bognor try.
With Rich Hay at No9 and Nick Baker orchestrating at No10, Bognor started to get it together in the backs and were able to utilise what pace they possessed for Mike Reed to score. Half-time 19-24.
The second half was a case of history repeating. Bognor had rung the changes but Littlehampton’s front three began to exert more pressure and there was another Littlehampton try.
Bognor weren’t finished yet. They ate into the deficit with further scores from Reed, Page and Rokotakala. With the reintroduction of specialist hooker Paul Brown, the Bognor scrum stabilised and the forwards scored a rumbling try in the corner. The conversion was missed, which left Bognor leading by one point with five minutes left.
Bognor tried to spin the ball wide but tired legs and minds cost them as their sprightly opponents intercepted and sprinted from their own half to score. The successful conversion left Littlehampton 42-36 up.
Rampaging runs and deft handling from Bognor got them quickly into Littlehampton’s half, looking for another try. But it was not to be.