Long-serving striker Pearce swaps Rocks for Worthing

Ollie Pearce has left the Rocks - and moved to their arch rivals Worthing.

Ollie Pearce became a familiar face at Bognor / Picture by Tim Hale
Ollie Pearce became a familiar face at Bognor / Picture by Tim Hale

The striker had been tipped for a couple of weeks to leave Nyewood Lane, having indicated to club manager Jack Pearce he felt it was time for a new challenge.

Pearce had been at Bognor since he was a teenager and had become a firm favourite with the fans, scoring 82 goals in just over 200 starts and 60 appearances off the bench.

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Last season was a tough one for the Rocks and for Pearce - the team were relegated from National League South a year after promotion from the Ryman premier and Pearce missed the middle of the campaign with a groin injury that took a while to clear up.

The 2016-17 promotion was one in which his goals and assists played a major role

Pearce said on Twitter: "Thank you to the club and the fans for the past five years, from the FA Trophy run to promotion last year will always be highlights in my career. It’s now time for me to move on ... good luck for the season."

The striker, for whom Worthing will have to pay Bognor a fee as he is under 24, joins another Rocks regular, full-back James Crane, at Woodside Road - with the double swoop by Adam Hinshelwood adding extra spice to the Bostik premier clashes between the sides in the season to come.

Last time Worthing visited the Lane for a derby with the Rocks it finished 5-0 to the Rocks despite their rivals having started the season shouting about what they were going to do that year.

The Rocks are on the lookout for new players and the hunt for a new striker will intensify now Pearce has moved on. Jimmy Muitt indicated last week he was staying at Bognor.

Manager Jack Pearce said: "Ollie wanted to leave last season and take on what he described as a new challenge. But I convinced him to stay and he did so. This time around he has made his mind up to leave after seven years with us, and we can only respect his wishes.

“Ollie made his debut for us at 17, and played something like 270 appearances, scoring more than 80 goals. We wish Ollie all the best as he pursues his new challenge.

"Our challenge, of course, is to sign players who do want to play for Bognor Regis Town, and there is a confident mood in our camp that we can do that.

"Negotiations with incoming players are ongoing, but can be very delicate. It's a process that sometimes takes longer than we'd like, but that is the nature of negotiating."