Bognor and Midhurst’s rugby second XVs had differing fortunes in their latest matches.
Bognor 2nd XV 45 Worthing 0
Bognor seconds began their league campaign in style with a comprehensive win over rivals Worthing.
Under the dual leadership of the brothers Mitchell, Paul and Nigel, a blend of youth and experience started well, forwards and backs linking before great hands from Mark Gordon and Tom Watson put burly full-back Andy Shipp in at the corner.
A setback followed as centre Mitch Brock was forced to leave the field. He was replaced by the versatile Ben Burns.
Jacob Masters and Chris Barlow began to dominate the lineout giving feisty scrum-half Jack Hornibrook quality ball to release the backs.
A long pass from Tom Spurle found Burns on halfway. With a subtle shimmy, the centre was through the first line of defence. An agricultural sidestep followed leaving the full back on the floor and amazingly Burns was in under the posts. Shipp converted.
Five minutes later, Burns had his hat-trick. Great hands again from Gordon and Shipp put him in for his second before a lung-busting run from the bustling Lang set up position for his third.
Bognor went in at half-time 33-0 up after Shipp had converted Ainsley Howard’s barn-storming effort.
Against the wind, Bognor struggled to get going in the second half. The front row of Mitchell, Ryan Langridge and Steven Worthington were dominating their opponents but the new rules were causing confusion.
Spurle broke the deadlock as Hornibrook and Matt Smith supported his break and he was able to touch down. The muscular fly-half scored again moments later as a subtle pass from Mitchell created a gap in the visiting defence. Shipp again converted.
There were no more tries but skipper Mitchell was pleased to keep a clean sheet. O’Connor and Periwinkle both defended stoutly in the closing minutes with Tony Johnston noisily organising the defensive line.
BOGNOR II: Shipp, Periwinkle, Gordon, Brock (Burns), Watson, Spurle, Hornibrook, Howard (O’Connor), Mitchell N, Lang, Barlow (Smith), Masters, Worthington, Mitchell P, Langridge (Johnston).
Midhurst 2nd 10 Horley 2nd 32
Midhurst kicked off their season against Horley without regular captain Marcus Wells, out with a groin injury. Up stepped Chris West to lead the line.
The depleted team, with only 14 players, conceded a converted try almost immediately. That was a wake-up call and they started some good attacking rugby. Unfortunately they were hit on the counter two more times.
Midhurst’s pack stepped up and took the game to Horley, getting to grips with the new scrum laws and pushing them back. This dominance paid off and a fantastic scrum marched Horley back 20 metres and Will Bradley smashed over the try line to put Midhurst back into contention.
It was a forwards game and Midhurst more than matched Horley in the lineout with Tom Sprinks held aloft and winning the ball.
Some fine on-the-line defending from Midhurst kept the score the same at half-time.
Midhurst started brightly with a show of speed from prop Paul Hayward penetrating the Horley line.
Horley hit Midhurst on the counter attack again but Midhurst responded with fine running from a penalty from Andrew Down and Danno May making the yards before the ball was shipped out to Seb Linke to touch down.
Midhurst’s revival ended there, with Horley scoring again.
Midhurst were reduced to 13 men when tempers frayed slightly at the end. Midhurst can take a lot of positives from this game into their next few battles.