Bognor's promotion push survives trip to Ell and back
Bognor won an important league fixture 30-17 away to Ellingham & Ringwood, who desperately needed points to stave off relegation from division one of the Hampshire League.
E&R have a very impressive defence record at home, and not many teams have achieved a five-pointer at their place.
Bognor camped for long periods in the hosts’ half, but unforced errors and penalties let the home team off.
The breakthrough came with a penalty by full-back Jack Hornibrook. After unrelenting pressure, a sweet flowing move through the half-backs resulted in flanker Nathan Archer stepping forcefully around the cover defence and through the full-back, and Hornibrook converted.
E&R had a wise old head on young scrum half shoulders as a quick penalty taken while half of the Bognor team were questioning the ref saw the home side scored a try under the posts which was converted.
At half-time coaches Rob Outen and Martin Broome asked the team to up the energy and cut out the errors to get their rewards.
A physical game got harder in the second period as big collisions all over the park made for a scrappy start.
Bognor put their dominance in the scrum to good use by driving E&R over the try line from almost 15m out and No8 Lee Balchin finished it off, the try converted by Hornibrook.
E&R had a breakthrough after flanker Masters was sinbinned for contesting a ball in the air. The penalty was again taken quickly and lack of concentration from the defence resulted in another home try.
E&R had a player binned for a dangerous tackle and Bognor’s response was immediate – their pressure ended in Archer’s second and a Pat Gibbs penalty almost wrapped up the win.
E&R sneaked a try against the run of play making a tense last 15 minutes, with Bognor chasing the bonus point and the hosts chasing a losing bonus point.
Bognor threw on subs in hope of fresh legs would create a break and after a trademark run from the replacement No8 from the back of the scrum , Scotsman David Tonso made 25m before being hauled down.
A clever box kick from scrum-half Newcombe set Shane Stevens off down the wing. He offloaded to veteran Watson who slipped the cover tackle to make towards the corner. Stopped forcefully by the full-back, everyone thought he’d been bounced into touch, but he managed the offload to full-back Hornibrook who crashed over for a very well-deserved bonus point.
The game ended with a few handbags but as far as Bognor were concerned it was job done.
Outen said: “Sometimes you have to win and this puts more pressure on you to perform. It wasn’t pretty but the win is everything; this keeps our season alive and promotion a real prospect, the boys played and delivered.”
Bognor visit Locks Heath Pumas this week for another must-win affair.
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