When Fordingbridge visited Bognor RFC, they were full of confidence after a good result the previous week. And the match couldn’t have started worse for the home side as a lapse in concentration meant Fordingbridge could score from the kick-off. But it ended well - Bognor won the Hants League division-one game 43-7.
Bognor had to get over this early setback quickly and did so with a score from captain Shane Stevens after a fumble and ricocheted kick between two opposition players. Dave Sweeney edged the conversion kick wide.
Hard yards done in training started to show as George Castleton at No8 rolled back the years with some excellent carrying in among the midfield with great support from Darren Bidwell and Casim Ali.
Stevens stamped his mark on the match again, excellent footwork from the lanky winger giving him the opportunity to dot down again, Joshua Burgess and Joshua Riggall were key in the build-up.
The conversion was good and the score was 12-7 to the home side.
Billy Toone started to ease into the game after some powerful rucking from James Barlow and Thomas James. Quick ball meant he could feed Sweeney with precision passing and after a few mean phases in midfield Chris Webb went over to score his first try of the season – 19-7.
Paul Mitchell made his mark by finding Bidwell and Nathan Archer over and over again in the lineout. Strong mauling from Riley Chute and Castleton meant the visiting defence was sucked in and Pat Gibbs made easy work of finishing his first try since coming back from a bad knee injury. The conversion was again good from Sweeney.
Gibbs beat his opposite number for pace and finished past another two defenders to show what an asset he is – 31-7.
Bidwell started to show off his carrying skills, supported by Webb in the midfield. Webb ran the ball 40m before being stopped by two defenders.
Bidwell carried hard from a driving maul and scored in the corner to the delight of the Bognor crowd and Sweeney’s conversion made it 38-7.
Will Cullen was introduced with 25 minutes to go, carrying and tackling brutally, a three-week concussion break finally over for the young utility back.
James was yellow-carded after a high tackle just outside the Bognor 22. Bognor defended magnificently and turned the ball over and Archer scored his maiden try of the season to seal an impressive win for the green and purples.
Special mention goes to Paddy Burnett, who ran some special lines.
Bognor: Webb; Mitchell; Ali; James; Barlow; Bidwell; Archer; Castleton; Toone; Sweeney; Stevens; Riggall; Burgess; Burnett; Gibbs; Chute; Cullen.