Midhurst’s magic finish sees off Bognor challenge

Midhurst's first XV and supporters before a recent game    Picture by Clive Bennett
Midhurst's first XV and supporters before a recent game Picture by Clive Bennett

MIDHURST RFC enjoyed a close 28-25 win over Bognor seconds.

They had leapfrogged Heath into top spot the previous week and cemented their position with this win.

The game began with Midhurst collecting possession but a knock-on after a couple of phases handed the ball to Bognor. This started ten minutes of Bognor dominance.

They used their forwards to power through the Midhurst defensive line and score a try out wide.

Midhurst flanker Harry Opperman, Hugo Seccombe, Charlie Naisbitt and fly-half James Watson led the fightback and it was soon 7-5 with a conversion.

Bognor created a gap in the Midhurst defensive line for Bognor to step inside and cross the line for a converted try.

Soon Bognor came at Midhurst hard and fast and got over the line once more for an unconverted try to make the score 17-7.

Again, Midhurst were saved by Watson when, after solid build up play and strong carries from the likes of Ed Mitchell, Tom Angus and Ed Winterton, Watson again found himself in possession of the ball and bearing down on the try line.

With no Bognor defenders to contend with, Watson was able to dive over the line and score Midhurst’s second try.

Midhurst were awarded a scrum and the ball was passed wide to Charlie Naisbitt. From inside the Midhurst 22, Naisbitt dance round the first line of defence and found himself at the halfway line. With the full-back in front of him, he stepped one way then the other and got round his defender and made a charge to the line.

Naisbitt had enough juice in the tank to score a brilliant solo try and make it 17-17 at the break.

Midhurst were hit by an injury to centre Dan Hird and he had to go off.

The sintroductions of Lee Travers and Jason Smith helped stabilise the Midhurst scrum.

A 20-minute spell of constant Bognor pressure saw Midhurst pinned back and they lost prop Lee Travers to a head injury, which meant John Bryant returning.

Simon Craig was also replaced by Ash Caparelli and George Burdfield made way for Ross Clarke.

Bognor were able to cross the line for an unconverted try to take the lead with ten minutes left.

Midhurst were awarded a penalty and opted to go for the try and kicked to the corner. Winning the lineout and putting pressure on the Bognor defence, they won another penalty.

They ran the ball through Seccombe, who broke through three tackles to score the try to draw Midhurst level. Unconverted, the score was 22-22 with five minutes left.

Midhurst put boot to ball to get into the Bognor half and the resulting kick from Bognor was chased by offside players and so a penalty was awarded to Midhurst. Captain Tom Angus opted to kick for the posts and Stephen Adams duly converted the penalty for a 25-22 lead.

Bognor were awarded a penalty of their own and replied with a successful kick to level it at 25-25.

Midhurst turned the ball over and Bognor cracked by conceding a penalty about 35m out to the left of the posts. Up stepped Stephen Adams to put the game to bed, dissecting the posts perfectly to make it 28-25 in favour of Midhurst.

Midhurst just had to get through the final minute – and the final whistle was greeted by of cheers from the home crowd.

Man of the match was Hugo Secombe.

Midhurst have to wait until December 6 for their next game, at home to East Grinstead.