The curtain finally came down on Bognor’s disappointing, injury-ravaged season with a 65-12 loss to Tottonians, who they had beaten in the corresponding fixture last year.
The fact that almost half of the team were either still suffering or recovering from injury was evident from the outset as the home team set about spraying the ball all over the field, stretching the visitors’ defence to the limit.
Bognor held out for the first ten minutes but then the gulf in fitness and, even more importantly, in pace began to tell as Tottonians scored their first of many tries.
In sunny conditions and on hard ground, high scores are not unusual at the end of the season but it is no fun being on the receiving end of a rout, even when your future in the league is guaranteed next year.
Totts played some exhilarating rugby and scored some great tries but, disappointingly, Bognor made it easy for them in the first half, falling off tackles and failing to pressurise their opposite numbers.
As a result, the 43-0 scoreline meant the game was over by half-time and Bognor were looking down the barrel of a potential century of points.
It is to their huge credit, therefore, that the players rallied in the second half, playing with much more pride and conviction and managing to score two well-deserved and tries.
Rob Parry’s efforts in defence were rewarded when he crossed for Bognor’s first try following the first real period of sustained pressure from the visitors.
The second try came when Dan Brock, on for injured George Castleton, made inroads into the home defence.
The ball was quickly recycled which allowed Karl Flinn to slip the ball out of the tackle to the supporting Richard Heydon. The big prop, who looks almost certain to join Welsh club Usk next season, touched down in the corner for a consolation score.
This was always going to be a tough season but Bognor can at least look forward to three months’ rest and recuperation before the hard work begins again.
Head coach Karl Flinn and skipper Lee Balchin will be determined to build on the potential shown by the youngsters so the end result is a fitter and more street-wise group of players.
Special mention must go to the much-respected Stuart Pearce, playing his last game after an incredible 30 years of first-team rugby.
Thankfully Pearce will continue to be involved in a coaching capacity where he can pass on his wealth of experience to players a whole generation younger.
BOGNOR: Pearce, Stevens, Castleton, Sweeney, Burgess, Parry, Smith, Morgan, Ben Burns, Joe Burns, Thompson, Tompkins, Balchin, Archer, Flinn. Reps: Heydon, Brock, Wolf.