Having been successful throughout Sussex and Hampshire since the New Year, Bognor’s under-13 girls’ rugby squad – aka the Flamingos – were invited to participate in the Harlequins under-13 Switch Festival, part of the Harlequins women Game-Changer event.
Their invite also included complimentary tickets to the Harlequins v Gloucester-Hartpury Tyrells Women’s Premier League match.
The competition included ten teams, split in to two pools, with the prize for winning a pool being the chance to play the final on the main Stoop ground at half-time in the Harlequins game and a trophy. The games were 15 minutes duration and ten-a-side.
On a beautiful day, Bognor were pooled with Wimbledon, Battersea Ironsides, Old Reigatians A and Pulborough; with Sutton and Epsom, Havant, Old Reigatians B, Old Guildfordians and Horsham in the other pool.
Against Old Reigatians, Bognor defended constantly for the first five minutes. But they didn’t score, and Bognor gradually got some ball. Then a break from defence led to a Bognor score. Confidence flowed and two more tries were scored without reply.
Battersea Ironsides were dispatched 6-0 with a display of fantastic attacking rugby. Wimbledon had to pull out, so the final game was against old foes Pulborough.
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A tight first few minutes with defences on top ensued, but Bognor’s teamwork took hold and they opened up a 2-0 lead. Pulborough pulled a score back.
This revitalised the Flamingoes and they blew Pulborough away in the last five minutes and won 6-1 to claim a place in the final on the Stoop main pitch, sparking great excitement.
The girls enjoyed the first half of the Harlequins game and started to prepare for the final against Old Reigatians B. The main game had attracted the highest attendance ever for a women’s league game of 4,800, so the team had a bit crowd to perform to.
The final was very one-sided. Bognor dominated from start to finish and hardly let Old Reigatians get the ball. They ran out worthy winners 3-0.
Celebrations followed and the girls were presented with the winners’ shield on the pitch at the end of the Harlequins game.
Coaches Steve Andrews and Simon Pegg were delighted and so proud of the effort, spirit, teamwork, commitment and skill which the girls showed.
Andrews said: “This is the proudest day of my rugby career. I’m so happy watching the girls doing something they love and being successful. Thanks to all parents for their commitment, but mostly to the team for everything they do.”
Bognor: Steve Andrews (Head Coach), Nicole Dobrucki, Daisy Evans, Emily Evans. Tilly Brook,. Annie Gallagher, Eve Ursell, Felicity Poole, Nelia Groome, Nellie Pegg, Simon Pegg (Coach); Front Row : Lily Smith, Grace Callaway, Georgia Brudershaft