Bognor so close to victory - but Havant deny them to stretch lead

Having dispatched old rivals Millbrook in their last Hampshire premier match, Bognor went to Havant confident they could overturn the narrow defeat suffered in October.

Bognor claim a lineout at Havant
Bognor claim a lineout at Havant

However, it was deja vu for the strong Bognor squad and their sizeable band of supporters as the leaders twice fought back from behind and then clung on in the dying minutes to frustrate the visitors and go six points clear at the top with a 19-17 win.

As has been the case in recent games Bognor made a superb start and they pinned Havant deep inside their own half for virtually the whole of the first 30 minutes. Their big ball-carriers Jamie Foote and Chris Webb, ably supported by Shaun Bailey and Mark Ubsdell, hammered away at the home line but Havant held firm.

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Fly-half Jack Lysaght revelled on the artificial pitch and, assisted by a superb service from returning scrum-half Jack Hornibrook, displayed a masterclass of passing, kicking and decision-making. Centre Connor Herrington showed pace and skill to cause problems for the home midfield while his defence was solid.

After half an hour, Havant’s defence was breached when Foote crashed over in the corner for a well-deserved try. Lysaght stroked over the conversion from the touchline.

From the restart Bognor allowed Havant to penetrate deep into the visitors’ 22. The experienced home pack didn’t need a second invitation and capitalised on their first opportunity of the match to even the scores.

Lysaght upset the excellent referee who showed the youngster a yellow card. Despite being a man down Bognor managed to work the ball to Freddie Hayes on the left touchline. The flying winger chipped ahead perfectly and gathered his own kick without breaking stride to score a great try.

Havant’s heavy forwards began to get success from their driving play and, assisted by a couple of lapses in the visitors’ defence, they scored two tries in quick succession for a seven-point lead.

Bognor hit back with a stunning second try from Hayes, a virtual carbon-copy of his first. This time, Lysaght could not repeat his first half feat from the touchline, leaving the visitors two points adrift.

Skipper and MoM Josh Burgess rallied his troops and led from the front for a furious onslaught on Havant’s line. The home defence deserved credit for keeping Bognor at bay.

On Saturday Bognor travel to Gosport &Fareham.