Big defeat, but it was no Cornish pasting for Bognor

Bognor were hindered by injuries and unavailability but put in another spirited performance away to fifth-placed London Cornish in London two south west - only to come away defeated 53-21.

Cornish struck early, their full-back taking advantage of missed tackles as his pace and sidesteps beat the covering defence for a converted score.

This was followed by penalty to open up a ten-point lead in no time.

Bognor, to their credit, turned defence into attack. Nigel Mitchell and Jonny Lang worked hard at the breakdown to turn over possession.

Dave Sweeney made inroads into the home defence. Rob Legge spotted the overlap on the left, he fed the flying Lee Thompson and the man mountain carried three defenders with him to score out wide.

Cornish came straight back and their pace and power saw them run in three unanswered tries. But for heroics in defence by Josh Burgess and Ashley Butt, Cornish would have been out of sight by half-time.

As half-time approached, Bognor began to assert themselves. Graham Broome won a penalty at the scrum with a dominant drive on his opposite number. The pinpoint kick to the corner for the lineout led to Paul Mitchell finding older brother Nigel.

The forward pack drove for all their worth and Lang was the benefactor with the simple task of falling over the line for the try.

The second half was more evenly-fought as debutants Adam Knight and Adam Groome acquitted themselves well at first XV level with brilliant defence and skill at the breakdown.

Knight was on hand to turn over the ball and set his backline moving only for Josh Riggall to be tackled just short in the corner.

Cornish did add to their tally with two quick scores and it could have been more if not for the intervention of last-ditch and brilliant defence by Tony Johnson and Thompson on their own line.

Bognor did get a try of their own: Sweeney fed the flying Pat Gibbs, his acceleration took him away from the covering defence and with two men to beat he fed the supporting Sweeney, who showed great pace for a big man to round the full-back to score the try which he converted.

The Londoners had the last word with a try on full-time.

Bognor will again take positives from a gritty and determined second half as they gear up for a stiff test against chairman Andy Sweeney’s former club Camberley at home this Saturday (2.15pm).

Support will be welcomed by this promising Bognor side as they continue their battle to stay up.

BOGNOR: Butt, Burgess, Gibbs, Sweeney, Riggall, Parry, Legge, Groome, N Mitchell, Lang, Thompson, Tompkins, Broome, P Mitchell, Morgan, Johnson, Knight, Upton.