Bognor bounced to another hard-earned win as they got the better of Fareham Heathens 33-21 at Hampshire Avenue.
The Hampshire League division one match started well for the home side, Dave Sweeney and Pat Gains showing why they have become fan favourites with some impressive running play in the wide channels. That created a lovely opportunity for the flying full-back to go over for a try which was converted.
The home side began to show why they carry one of the most feared packs in Hampshire one, Billy Toone providing excellent ball for Joshua Burgess, Chris Webb and Riley Chute, all making considerable yards in the loose.
Darren Bidwell and James Barlow dominated the set-piece and proved why they maintain their starting places.
Bognor found freight carrier Burgess on a lovely outside arc, the big man breaking the line and making 30 metres before Joshua Riggall scored comfortably – it was 14-0 after a conversion.
Tom James and Ben Burns continued to dominate in defence but let their ill discipline create a couple of cheap penalties for the away side and Fareham scored a try following the ensuing line-out.
Bidwell gathered from the kick-off and Casim Ali cleared the ruck brutally. Burgess continued to carry more ball at his new role at No8 and showed great handling skills to put Shane Stevens over in the corner for a 21-7 lead.
It was a case of deja vu for Bognor, though, as silly defensive errors in midfield led to Fareham breaking the line after two missed tackles and they were in for a soft try under the posts – 21-14 the half-time score.
Fareham looked fired up and began the better of the two sides after the interval, their No 8 carrying effectively in the loose and giving good ball to the speedy winger who scored in the corner. The conversion made it 21-21.
Venci Angelov entered the fray and made an instant impact.
Now it was the turn of the Bognor backs to turn on the flair, Jack Hornibrook returning to the first team and proving his worth with a magical piece of finishing in the corner, showing great agility to evade his opposite number. That made it 26-21, Sweeney missing an easy conversion.
Try scorer Riggall was replaced by Will Cullen, who instantly linked up with his equally fast centre partner Patrick Gibbs, who began to make serious yards on the outside shoulder of Fareham’s centre.
Gains and James fed Hornibrook, who dotted down for his second try and the match-clincher. Sweeney converted to make it 33-21.
Toone said: “There is a lot to work on and we need to improve if we’re going to be successful this season.”
Bognor: Webb, Chute, Ali, James, J Barlow, Bidwell, Burns, Burgess, Toone, Sweeney, Hornibrook, Gibbs, Riggall, Stevens, Gains, Cullen, Angelov.