Bognor beat Sandown and Shanklin - and second spot is theirs for now

Bognor edged this thrilling battle for second spot in the league at Hampshire Avenue.

The hosts started excellently in defence, and strong work from George Castleton and James Barlow saw the islanders gain next to no forward momentum.

Dave Sweeney - Bognor's MoM and scorer of all their points

Dave Sweeney - Bognor's MoM and scorer of all their points

Nathan Archer, back in the side, turned the ball over superbly with a huge hit in the midfield, Dave Sweeney capitalised on the spilled ball and kicked through, and chasing his own kick the No10 piled over the white line among a number of bodies.

Chris Webb started to make inroads in the S&S back line, and carry after carry meant Billy Toone could really start using his vast skill set and experience to control the game after a solid foundation was set.

The backs were running hard and, in typical fashion, Dan Robinson and Sam Newcombe were stepping their way through tackles and looking more and more dangerous.

The forwards were dominating the ruck area but not so much the scrum, Tom Orchard working hard with Adam Groome to secure quick ball for Toone and Sweeney to work with.

Again Sweeney broke the line majestically. He fed Nathan Archer who gave the ball back to MoM Sweeney and it was 14-0.

The second half started with ill discipline from the home side, and a few penalties saw S&S really take the game by the scruff of the neck and score a penalty in front of the posts – 14-3.

Darren Bidwell was carrying monstrously alongside captain Josh Burgess, the two linking up in what could be a key partnership over the next few years at Bognor. However, Sandown caught a lucky break and the back row for the away side steaming down the right wing created a try out of nothing and now it was squeaky bum time for Bognor at 14-10.

George Hutchinson was introduced for Tom James and made an instant impact in the loose. Paddy Burnett as always ran with intent and incredible speed, but he was isolated in the final third – probably because no one can keep up with him.

Jeremy Newton-Young was making hit after hit and kept the home side in the game during the final 15 minutes, the youngster coming on for Jack Hornibrook.

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S&S had the opportunity to score another penalty after an offside infringement from Bognor. Adam Knight worked hard after coming on for Orchard but got caught out this time and it was 14-13.

The home side saw the game out with some terrific last-ditch tackles and great game management in the forwards.

What a win for Bognor on a day when many present thought they produced their best display of the season – and a stalwart performance it was from Sweeney.

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