Rugby season isn’t getting any easier for youthful Bognor

Bognor’s poor start to their London two south west season continued as they lost 42-1 away to a competitive Chobham side who were also looking for their first win of the season.

This was the youngest Bognor team to take to the field for many years and they handed 17-year-old Ashley Butt a well-earned debut at full-back.

The youngster showed great promise as he linked on the wing with Tom Watson, also making his first start for the first XV.

Bognor had an early attack, Ben Archer linking well with fellow centre Josh Burgess only for the final pass to go astray. Chobham had a ten-minute spell featuring superb handling to open up a healthy 12-point advantage with two well-taken tries.

Bognor looked lethargic compared to their energetic hosts, and other than some excellent last-ditch defence by skipper Lee Balchin and Jack Tomkins they could have been on the end of a cricket score.

Chobham settled for a snap drop goal to extend their lead.

Bognor eventually got their hands on the ball and started to play with width. Shane Stevens used his pace down the wing and his offload inside looked perfect, only for Butt to be double-teamed in defence. A resulting penalty was kicked to get Bognor on the scoreboard.

The second half was a better-fought battle as Bognor upped their defence and showed they had made improvements from previous weeks.

They fought hard and frustrated the hosts as big hits from Tim Stickland and Graham Broome seemed to inspire Bognor to their best period.

Rob Legg, another league debutant, made inroads down the wing and some fancy offloads looked to have opened the home defence.

Pat Gibbs sidestepped several players but tripped over his own feet and the opportunity was gone.

As the visitors began to tire Chobham took advantage and scored three unanswered tries in the final ten minutes to put a gloss on the score, but Bognor will take heart from a resolute 50-minute period where they didn’t concede any points.

Further improvement will be needed as they face a strong Twickenham side at Hampshire Avenue on Saturday (3pm), but this young team will no doubt face up to the challenge in what promises to be a difficult learning curve.

BOGNOR: Butt, Stevens, Archer, Burgess, Watson, Parry, Gibbs, Flinn, Mitchell, Balchin, Stickland, Tompkins, Morgan, Burns, Johnston, Broome, Legg, Dove.