Bognor pass 50 points on visit to Portsmouth

Bognor in recent action against Sandown and Shanklin / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Bognor in recent action against Sandown and Shanklin / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Bognor remain in third place - two points behind second - after a 54-23 win away to Portsmouth IIs.

Bognor started brightly with rugged defence in the midfield, Tom Orchard and George Castleton making tackles left right and centre and firing Bognor firmly into the contest.

The away side broke from deep with young stand-off Jeremy Newton-Young stepping through a gap. The fly half fed Dave Sweeney, who passed with ease to try addict Paddy Burnett.

Bognor kept building the phases and Billy Toone was providing quick ball for the big boys Chris Webb and Josh Burgess; who both carried in equally menacing fashion throughout. The ball was shipped from right to left through the soft hands of Sam Newcombe and Dan Robinson, eventually finding the Irish winger Burnett for his second and it was 12-0 already.

The men in green got another score and it was that man Burnett with the goods again, stepping past his opposite man to complete a hat-trick within 10 minutes. Sweeney converted for a 19-0 lead.

Bognor gave away a few silly penalties after some pressure from the home side’s forwards, Tom James getting dragged into the thick of it and James Barlow impeding for offside; the big second row not puttng a foot wrong elsewhere. It was 19-3 after an easy penalty.

A typical Robbo weaving run from the St Mary’s graduate left five men for dead before he passed to skipper Burgess, who finished in space. Portsmouth bounced back immediately with a great carry in the midfield from the ever rampant No13 to reduce the deficit to 26-8.

Adam Groome and Darren Bidwell were their usual selves, creating a nuisance in the breakdown and making hit after hit around the fringes.

Orchard capitalised on a loose ball and picked up out wide and he steamed down the wing for Sweeney to pick up a dropped ball and fed colt Chris Hay; the inexperienced but talented winger dotting down to make it 33-8 at half-time.

Newtown-Young started the second half with ball in hand and an air of confidence about him, but was injured shortly after half-time. Frankie Jolley made a quick start and was passing well from the get go.

Burnett got his fourth try of the afternoon, and Newcombe with a trademark line burst through enemy defences to offload to Burnett, who slid over to make the score 40-8. Portsmouth scored again swiftly after some poor Bognor tackling to make the score 40-13.

Chris Webb was dominating every scrum and the accountant was replaced by George Hutchinson and the young prop did excellently to get under his opposite man. The captain Burgess wanted a second try and did so with a lovely turnover strip out wide and had a clean run to the line - 47-13.

Adam Knight was introduced for Josh Burgess and Webb was brought back on after Groome suffered a neck injury. The home side were not laying down without a fight and drove a maul over the Bognor try line.

Next a piece of sorcery was conjured up by Sweeney, Knight hit the home side's full-back creating a great turnover and Sweeney received the ball out wide and sold a dummy to beat three men and touch down himself.

Portsmouth didn’t want to end on a low and with the last play of the match scored a well-deserved try from consistent forward carrying, the Bognor side becoming complacent in defence towards the end of the contest.

Bognor host Fareham Heathens on Saturday at Hampshire Avenue, so get down and support Burgess’s boys if you can.

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