Discipline and defence worries at Bognor - but there’s reason for hope

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After their 39-17 London two south defeat at home to Gosport & Fareham, Bognor will again look back on a defeat rueing their missed opportunities and questioning their defence and discipline.

It was a match full of errors and missed tackles and the early league leaders made Bognor pay.

The early stages had the visitors keen to show their intent by stretching the home defence out wide, and only some great cover defence by Jonny Lang and Shane Stevens preventing the opening score.

It wasn’t long before Gosport got on the scoreboard as a well-worked backs move confused the home defence and their pacy full-back cruised between the posts.

This was followed by two quickfire tries direct from the kick-off, poor defence by the home side gifting tries out wide to make it 17-0 after 20 minutes.

As in the previous week’s clash with Tottonians, this gave the Bognor a wake-up call and for the remainder of the half they produced some great rugby to put the visitors’ try-line under pressure.

Rudi Upton secured high ball and placed a pinpoint kick to the corner; Tim Stickland, who dominated the lineout all match, stole the Gosport throw and the Bognor pack drove to the line only to be held up.

Luke Rokolatata, making a welcome return, used his bulk and power to attack from the scrum, but as the burley Fijian was about to score the ball was dislodged and the chance went begging.

Bognor started to take control.

Pat Gibbs, showing great form, instigated another good attack as he sidestepped his way in the visitors’ 22, quick ruck ball released the backline and 17-year-old Josh Burgess soared towards the try line only to be hauled down a metre short. Ben Archer was on hand to throw an inch-perfect pass for Upton to go over out wide untouched.

Skipper Lee Balchin secured the kick-off and set off like a raging bull, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake.

A great offload released Sussex sprinter Stevens on the wing but he was brought down by the covering defence. He managed a pop a pass to the supporting Rokolatata, who crashed over for a converted try to make the half-time score 17-12.

The second half saw the home side attack from the kick-off but poor handling and a lack of composure let Gosport off the hook.

Gosport started to dominate and after Bognor had conceded several penalties they took advantage and scored three unanswered tries to effectively take the result beyond doubt.

Bognor, to their credit, hit back with their best try. Graham Broom, returning after a ban, leapt high to take the kick-off and fine interplay from the forwards sent skipper Balchin haring towards the line.

As he was tackled his great offload to the supporting Paul Mitchell was handed on to older brother Nigel, his pinpoint 25m pass was taken on the wing by the former junior springbok Armundus Morgan to dive over in the corner.

Gosport added two penalties to end the match 22-point victors.

Bognor need to work on their discipline and defence if they’re to avoid a basement battle but there are plenty of positives too as they travel to Chobham this weekend.

BOGNOR: Upton, Stevens, B Archer, Rokolatata, Burgess, Parry, Gibbs, Flinn, Lang, Balchin, N Mitchell, Stickland, Morgan, P Mitchell, Broom, Johnston, N Archer, Watson.