Greens are outmuscled

Newly-promoted Trojans arrived at Bognor quietly confident after an excellent last season in which they reached the quarter-finals of the Senior Vase.

Everything pointed to a close game and so it turned out '“ but sadly it didn't go Bognor's way as they slipped to a 15-10 defeat.

Temperatures were soaring as Trojans kicked off in front of a good-sized crowd.

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Scott Barlow caught cleanly and his forwards drove him 20 metres.

But the ball was turned over by the big Trojans pack in what was to become a feature of the play.

Bognor were awarded a penalty after five minutes for interference at a lineout but Rob Parry, finding his feet again after a long lay-off with a broken leg, narrowly missed from 50m.

Trojans looked composed and it became apparent their strength lay in their front five, who contested fiercely at set-pieces.

Nathan Bond, starting at full-back, put in some good kicks and was tackled into touch after a promising move.

After 15 minutes, Bognor were penalised for not rolling away at a tackle and, from the lineout, their midfield backs strayed off-side in front of their own posts. Trojans accepted the three-point gift.

Bognor were guilty of another turnover, already a worrying trend, and, after 20 minutes neither side had imposed a pattern.

Five minutes later, home spirits were lifted when Karl Flinn made a clean break and found Lee Balchin in support. The flanker passed to 18-year-old winger Dan Trethewey, but the visitors' defence just held out.

Bognor grew in confidence and, from an attacking scrum, Flinn was again prominent, this time feeding scrum-half Billy Toone.

Toone accelerated away before providing Trethewey with a perfect pass, allowing the youngster to celebrate his home debut with a try. Parry converted from the touchline to give his team a 7-3 lead.

But Bognor seemed to lose concentration and Trojans responded by attacking from deep. They covered 70m but the final pass went astray.

Bognor worked their way back up the field and forced another penalty after a great 20m drive.

Two careless lineouts meant that possession was squandered. Trojans missed an opportunity to narrow the gap when their kicker fluffed a 35m kick.

The second half began with another great take by Barlow, this time from Bognor's kick-out, and the giant second-row was rewarded with a penalty.

Parry kicked for the lineout from which skipper George Castleton made a devastating break.

Jonny Lang, another veteran returning from long-term injury, was on hand to provide support and ensure the ball came back from the ruck. With few options, Parry opted for the dropped goal and three points.

With the lead now seven points, Bognor looked capable of pulling away.

But a lapse in concentration and an uncharacteristic mistake by Toone allowed the visitors to hack through and touch down near the right touchline.

Over the next 15 minutes the Hampshire side created three clear scoring opportunities, only to be thwarted by poor handling and fantastic last-ditch defence by man-of-the-match Tom Gelder.

Toone was forced to go off with an ankle injury, and Bognor lost the next two scrums against the head.

Trojans could smell victory and, with their forwards in control of set pieces, were attacking through the middle at every opportunity.

Their reward came ten minutes from the end when their centre broke through two weak tackles and scored under the posts, the conversion giving them a deserved five-point lead.

Bognor became ragged in their attempts to hit back. A last effort by Castleton was not enough and the visitors could celebrate.

Quite simply, Bognor were outmuscled in the front five, particularly in the second half, and their turn-over rate throughout the match was unacceptable.

They'll need to be more physical this Saturday (Sep 26) against Tottonians.

BOGNOR: Bond, Trethewey, Castleton, Pearce, Gelder, Parry, Toone, Morgan, Mitchell, O'Connor, Stickland, Barlow, Lang, Balchin,

Flinn. Reps: Corrigan, Page, Smith.