Bognor under-15s’ development team, the Blades, won a great friendly tussle 31-29 against the Heathens.
The pitch had recovered well after significant snow in the preceding days.
Captain Ollie Page set the tone with a crunching hit early on from the first Fareham carry. Fareham’s Zac Shute returned the ball from kick-off to the Bognor five-yard line but Bognor turned over and Sam Lush kicked and cleared.
After great carrying in the midfield from Piotr Nowakowski and Dan Betsworth, Bognor were awarded another penalty and Page found James Billingham, who went over for a try that was converted.
Jacob Booth showed great strength alongside second rows Alex Chapman and Lewis Arbuckle, the locks linking up fantastically in the central channels. Harry Lindsey continued to prove his worth at flanker but Bognor were pegged back after Josh Loosley couldn’t wiggle out of a ruck.
Fareham bounced back after early pressure from the home side, the full-back going over and converting.
Billingham and Booth showed excellent hands to Lewis Jordan with the 12 finishing in style.
Nathan Chitty and Fin Glass showed lovely skill out wide with a lovely crash and offload but Fareham scored two quick tries to take the lead.
Bognor’s new boy at No10 was Sussex cricketer Ben Woolnough. His sublime kicks managed to find Fareham’s full-back with pinpoint accuracy.
Bognor’s back line made an impact with a rocket-like line through the centre of the field. The forwards built on this with Charlie Weller in charge with a driving maul that couldn’t be stopped, Rhys Davies dotting down under the posts for his first of two tries, easily converted by Billingham.
Heathens continued to pile on carry after carry and Elvis Millen, on loan to Fareham, linked with their full-back Shute for another try and a 24-14 lead.
Dylan Giles looked deadly in the outside channels and set up Davies for his second.
Owen Thomas showed great strength in the scrum and Bognor kept the heat on the and the next score came from Lush, the lightning-fast full-back scoring after some brutal running – 26-24.
From kick-off Bognor gave the ball away and Fareham scored a try but they were unable to convert from such an acute angle so it was 26-29 with five minutes to play .
Bognor received the kick, taken and returned by Jack Trenam and offloaded, and after an incredible 22 phases they went over in the corner, enough to win the game with Dylan Giles finding touch to end it 31-29 to Bognor.
Men of the match were Nathan Chitty and Dan Betsworth.
Bognor: Dan Betsworth, Piotr Nowakowski, Charlie Weller, Alex Chapman, Lewis Arbuckle, Harry Lindsey, Nathan Chitty, Ollie Page, Jacob Booth, James Billingham, Zac Stanley, Lewis Jordan, Sam Lush, Rhys Davies, Dylan Giles, Finlay Glass, Owen Thomas, Jack Trenam, Ben Woolnough, Josh Loosley, Liam Johnston.
Bognor’s under-15s travel to Ellingham & Ringwood this Sunday to continue their successful twin county campaign, having finished second in their Sussex league and looking to top their Hampshire pool with two matches to play.
* Elvis Millen and Finlay Glass, both of Bognor under-15s, have been selected to represent Hampshire versus Berkshire on Sunday at London Irish and are set to be involved in the ongoing county season.
The pair have been undergoing county trials to fight for a place in the Hampshire squad since November. Millen has also been with the Hampshire elite player training programme since September and Glass with the London Irish Academy since October. They regularly play for Bognor U15s in the Hampshire league system.