Rugby: Weather dries up... Bognor's try count does not
After a series of postponements due to waterlogged pitches, Bognor secured a comfortable but vital 62-0 Hampshire League first-division victory over the Isle Of Wight in their first home fixture of 2016.
The IoW travelled to Hampshire Avenue on the back of good wins against Fordingbridge and Sandown & Shanklin. Bognor, however, produced an excellent, ten-try performance.
The afternoon began with an minute’s silence for Macauley Campbell of Romsey RFC, Mike Richardson of Hove RFC and John Norris. John was the founding member of BRFC, who sadly passed away over the Christmas period.
Bognor took control of the game immediately from kick-off. Excellent tackles from Lee Balchin and Tom James kept IoW rooted in their own half.
New recruit Mike Calton enjoyed a fine debut at fly-half. His measured kick gave Bognor territory on the IoW 22m line. From a set-play Calton broke the line and gave a scoring pass to Patrick Gibbs. Calton added the extras.
Facing a heavy wind, Bognor elected to run almost everything and it paid off. Returning captain Jack Tompkins used his strength to power over the line. Calton converted.
Gibbs broke almost immediately from kick-off and found Sam Newcombe in support. Expectant father Chris Barlow scooped up the ball, cradled it in his arms and rampaged 30m upfield. Vintage Barlow.
The ball was whipped wide and centre Josh Burgess ignored the six-man overlap to grab a five-pointer for himself. Calton kissed the post with a successful conversion.
Tompkins scored his second try after the front row of Joe Burns, making his 100th appearance for the club, Mark Ubsdell and Lee Mason shoved a scrum over the IoW line. Calton missed the conversion.
Ubsdell bagged a score of his own. A wizardly dummy from Tompkins allowed the lanky No8 to gallop through the line and offload to his old chum Ubsdell for a score. Calton missed a sitter of a conversion.
Coaches Martin Broome and Rob Outen were almost pleased with the performance. They begged for more of the same in the second half to put pressure on league equals Millbrook who are 120 points ahead on points difference.
Flying winger Chris Clare struck first. A pick up from the base of the scrum allowed Newcombe a chance to snipe and give Clare a scoring pass. Calton nailed the conversion.
The IoW did attempt to mount an attack but never really left their own half. Bognor’s patient and organised defence was backed up with ferocious tackling from Balchin, Jumbo James and Nathan Archer.
As the IoW tired Bognor’s backs began to run riot. Newcombe sniped through a gap for a 60m try. Calton converted.
The enormous duo of Dan Brock and Chris Webb were introduced.
Webb made an immediate impact. He surged downfield from kick off hurling away any defender brave enough to stand in his way. A scoring bounce-pass to Ubsdell was deemed forward by referee Neal Hyett.
Bognor dominated the ensuing scrum and went close to another pushover score. One quickly recycled phase allowed Clare to dash over for his second. Calton missed with the conversion.
Clare grabbed his hat-trick soon after when Brock made a long range break. Calton missed the conversion.
Young Darren Bidwell was introduced for his debut and the 18-year-old contributed immediately with several tackles and a strong carry.
The final score of the game came from Brock who burst through a gap in the defence to dot down. A scuffle broke out towards the end of the game; both sides finished with one player in the sin bin whilst Bognor had to do without Josh Burgess as well. The large centre was red carded for his part despite being some distance away from the fracas.
This week Bognor entertain old rivals Fordingbridge in a 2.30pm kick-off at Hampshire Avenue. Bognor edged a close encounter at Fordingbridge and this is a game that always produces exciting rugby.
BOGNOR: J Burns, Ubsdell, Mason, C Barlow, James, Balchin, N Archer, Tompkins, Newcombe, Calton, Stevens, Burgess, Gibbs, Clare, Riggall. Webb, Bidwell, Brock.
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