Bognor bulldoze their way to win over Fordingbridge

Action as Bognor get the better of Fordinbridge at Hampshire Avenue / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Action as Bognor get the better of Fordinbridge at Hampshire Avenue / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Bognor are a full 11 points clear in third place in the Hampshire premier - and just five points off second - after a superb 39-13 home win over fourth-placed Fordingbridge.

The home side started brightly with a try from kick-off. Fly-half Dave Sweeney zipped the ball out wide to his pacemen Dan Robinson and Sam Newcombe, the outside centre dotting down within 30 seconds of the whistle blowing.

Fordingbridge were kicking excellently and using the strong wind to their advantage. The territory was theirs and they began to force Bognor into penalty-conceding situations and they soon made it 5-3.

Josh Burgess made a clean line break before, busting his gut to get outside his man on the right wing and finish in the corner. 10-3.

The boys in green were now under relentless pressure from the away side, Paddy Burnett and Tom Orchard putting their bodies on the line in defence to prevent any Fordingbride scores. The scrum then felt the pressure as the Bridge made light work of Bognor in front of the posts. A great turnover from Adam Knight and George Castleton meant Dave Sweeney could clear to relieve the constant barrage.

The men in blue struck at the heart of Bognor’s midfield, Ross Bealey the No7 rolling over from a great five man line-out. 10-10.

Bognor frequently gave away penalties despite showing flashes of brilliance with ball in hand. Chris Webb and Adam Groome looked dangerous all game, making valuable yards with every carry. Bridge then scored a drop goal to take a 13-10 lead.

The second-half started with the home side knowing they had to begin to control this game, otherwise they would have no chance of securing the much-needed win. Jack Hornibrook was smashing everything that came down his channel and beginning to string his passes together, helping Bognor control the tempo, and Josh Riggall began to stamp his mark on the fixture with some heavy ball-carrying and expert handling out wide.

It came as no shock that Bognor’s next score was earmarked by some physical Webb carrying, the loose-head bowling away the poor defenders and smashing over the white line. Sweeney;s kick was good, 17-13.

George Hutchinson was brought on at loose-head for Tom James and Webb shifted into tight head. The young prop was making his debut for the club. Darren Bidwell was also introduced after a long spell out of the game, the second row making an immediate impact with some vicious tackling.

The forwards carried well again and Castleton made mincemeat of his opposite man. Webb broke through shortly after and fed Bidwell, who stepped and popped to Newcombe who as always finished with ease. 22-13.

Jeremy Newton-Young was brought on for the talented Chris Hay, the young winger not putting a foot wrong all game.

Sweeney put the captain through a lovey hole out wide before the amateur bricklayer assisted Burnett, who scored again to take it to 27-13.

Bridge kicked off and Robinson took the high ball well. He proceeded to fizz a pass out to Burnett who showed stunning footwork and pace to burn. It was 34-13 after the conversion.

James Barlow demolished the ruck and Robinson latched on to the pass out wide and scored a well-deserved try.

Bognor: Webb, Groome, James, Barlow, Orchard, Castleton, Knight, Burgess, Hornibrook, Sweeney, Hay, Riggall, Newcombe, Burnett, Robinson, Hutchinson, Newton Young, Bidwell.