Rocks Reflections: Could we be on for a Bognor-Worthing promotion double - and a cup final clash too?

We’re just over halfway through the Rocks’ season and it’s time to reflect and look forward with some hope, excitement and happiness after the first half of the campaign.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 10:30 am
Bognor take on Worthing on New Year's Day - and Ian Guppy wonders whether they might meet again in the Sussex Senior Cup final / Picture: Tommy McMillan

We are about to face one of the league’s top sides on Saturday in Folkestone, having turned a corner after a disastrous start.

The five-game league losing streak in August and September plus the heavy FA Cup defeat at Dulwich could actually have been a blessing in disguise as it showed our vulnerability at the back and signalled some changes that have led to strength sand huge improvement with the chance of a play-off push.

We all could see the weaknesses and the 3-0 defeat at East Thurrock was almost the straw that broke the camel’s back. Robbie Blake and Jack Pearce, along with all those watching that day, could see a lot of huffing and puffing, but something just wasn’t clicking – changes were needed and just one month after that we went on an eight-game winning run, and it was no coincidence this followed the arrivals of Amadou Tangara and Joe Cook.

The confidence these two players gave was plain to see and led to an upturn in form of many players who had been, I’m sure by their own admission, not playing to their best ability.

We now sit tenth place just six points off the play-offs with two games in hand on those in the play-off positions and we’re still involved in two cup competitions – with a chance of a return to the Amex just 180 minutes away.

Imagine an Amex final against rivals Worthing – although I must add I don’t class them as rivals, more friends after the charitable work completed after the 2004 tsunami in the Far East. On that day friendships were made and it was great (despite the result) to catch up with some of those involved back then when we played them on New Year’s Day.

It pains me to say it but there are aspects of the Worthing squad and “the Worthing Way” that remind me of the squad we had during our FA Trophy run and near promotion.

They’re a club built on a young player base, with some added ‘older legs’, all pulling together with a huge dollop of team spirit and a fan base you have to commend. It would be good for Sussex football if they were to get promotion and it’d be even better if we could go up with them.

I can’t mention them without also highlighting our ‘new’ and younger fan base the Rocks Brigade. It’s no coincidence that results started to pick up once the noise at the “umbrella” end started again and its great to see. It’s an amazing place to be under the lights with the drum going and the noise heard – keep this up guys and gals and it’s heartening to have messages from you about away travel too.

We’ve taken a coach to EVERY away game this season and the work Dave, Ken and Graham have done to support the coaches has made them a huge success and ensured the prices remain low – £15 to every away game is a bargain.

Enjoy the second half of the season, it’s one that started slowly but the squad we have now are capable of beating anyone on their day and the league is one that follows that trend so another eight-game winning run would do nicely, starting Saturday.

* We are hosting a free race night right after Saturday’s Folkestone game and we guarantee to give out more than £1,000 in prizes on the night.

It’s free entry, £2,50 a pint all evening and nine races to bet on. Come and support the club and hopefully walk away with more money than you started with.