Bognor give Heathens the heave-ho

Bognor again beat the Fareham Heathans - the side they had defeated two years ago to gain promotion into London three south west.

Chris Webb was a key man for Bognor at Fareham / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Chris Webb was a key man for Bognor at Fareham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

This time it finished 34-10 to the men from Hampshire Avenue in a Hampshire League division one clash, making for a happy journey home along the coast.

Both teams looked ready for the battle on a very muddy pitch.

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Skipper Lee Balchin looked extremely focused and set the tone with a crunching hit early on from the first Fareham carry.

Unfortunately the ex-county back row’s game was brought to a halt a few minutes later after a vicious knee to the kidney at the bottom of a ruck. The game was about to get a lot tougher without him.

Bognor scored early with Sean Power slotting over with ease from a short distance.

After some great carrying in the midfield from George Castleton and Chris Webb, Bognor were awarded another penalty and Power nudged the egg over again for a 6-0 lead.

Both teams brought immense physicality into the game and James Barlow showed this alongside second row partner Darren Bidwell, the locks linking up fantastically in the central channels.

Adam Knight continued to prove his worth after coming on for Balchin and made light work of things, but Bognor were pegged back by a penalty after Josh Burgess couldn’t wiggle his large frame out of a ruck. .

Fareham bounced back after early pressure from the away side, the full-back going over in the corner and converting his own try.

But Bognor’s centres looked tasty, and Joshua Riggall and Sam Newcombe showed excellent hands at the start of the second half with the 12 finishing over the whitewash in style to give the Hampshire Avenue team a 13-10 lead.

Jonny Lang and Paddy Burnett showed lovely skill out wide with a lovely crash and offload.

Burgess carried with intent, creating monumental go-forward ball which provided Billy Toone and Power the perfect platform.

Pat Gains was introduced for Pat Gibbs and the centre immediately made an impact with a rocket-like line through the centre of the field. The forwards built on this aggressive phase play with a driving maul that couldn’t be stopped, Knight dotting the ball down to make it 20-10.

Bognor continued to pile on carry after carry and it began to work in their favour. Newcombe looked deadly in the outside channels, as did Greenslade. The youngster was tackled high in front of the posts, the penalty try making it 27-10.

Riley Chute was brought into the game and the new father showed great strength in the scrum and a hunger for the ball.

Bognor kept the heat on the home side and the next score came for rookie paceman Danny Greenslade, the lightning-fast winger scoring after some brutal running and determination.

This was a great away win for the Bognor boys and a lovely journey home.

Bognor: Webb, Lang, James, J Barlow, Bidwell, Balchin, Castleton, Burgess, Toone, Power, Burnett, Riggall, Newcombe, D Greenslade, Gibbs, Gains, Chute, Knight.