Rugby: Bognor can’t bridge league gap

Chris Misselbrook couldn't prevent defeat for Bognor at Fordingbridge
Chris Misselbrook couldn't prevent defeat for Bognor at Fordingbridge

The huge gulf in playing resources between the top and bottom teams of division one of the Hampshire League was highlighted again on Saturday when Bognor were well beaten 30-0 by Fordingbridge - the best all-round team they have played this season.

Injuries and unavailabilities meant Bognor were forced to make eight changes from the previous week and Fordingbridge, second in the table, were not in a sympathetic mood.

The hosts quickly got into their stride with some aggressive lines of running from their three-quarters.

Bognor weathered the early storm and put together some impressive phases themselves when Vee Angelov and Armandus Morgan led the charge into the gale-force wind.

The visiting forwards, in fact, more than held their own all afternoon both at the set-pieces and in loose play, but they were constantly pinned back in their own half by some intelligent kicking by Fordingbridge.

The home backs created space cleverly outside and, aided by a static Bognor defence, they scored three tries in a devastating ten-minute spell which effectively put the game out of Bognor’s reach.

Turning around 20 points down, Bognor utilised the wind to come back strongly and pressurise the home defence for the first time of the match.

Time and again Josh Burgess crossed the gain-line through the heart of the Fordingbridge defence and he received excellent support from Chris Misselbrook and Jack Tompkins.

Unfortunately, after five or six phases, Bognor seemed to run out of patience and ended up turning over the ball because of a loose pass.

Fordingbridge, who never looked like losing the game, defended well and, when the mistakes came, they counter-attacked strongly using their superior pace on the outside.

It was from two such turnovers that they broke away to kick a penalty and then, finally, to score their bonus-point try.

Injuries to Josh Riggall, Tompkins and Angelov made matters worse for the visitors and they finished the game with 14 men battling bravely to the final whistle.

Reinforcements will be needed this Saturday when they entertain third-placed Milbrook, who demolished Overton by more than 70 points (kick-off 2.30pm).

BOGNOR: Reed, Stevens, Burgess, Riggall, Watson, Upton, Hornibrook, Morgan, Ubsdell, Angelov, Misselbrook, Barlow, Smith, Dyer, Tompkins. Reps: Wolf