Bognor stroll to Sussex Shield success

Vinci Angelov on the charge for Bognor at Hellingly   Picture by Tommy McMillan
Vinci Angelov on the charge for Bognor at Hellingly Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor won 35-8 when they travelled to Hellingly for the rearranged Sussex Shield quarter-final.

A changed side included two debutants, Adam Knight and Archer junior, who took a chance to impress and pressure the regulars for a starting spot.

The pitch looked like it had been specially ploughed for the occasion, plus the size and weight of the opposition, who sit third in Sussex one, did not favour a good start by Bognor. But they started with a fast tempo which was rewarded with a try for flanker Dyer in the corner.

Full-back Regal, who had taken over from the out-of-form kicker Burgess, narrowly missed the extras from out wide.

It’s now a tradition for Bognor to score and give away a penalty, which the full-back from Hellingly did not miss.

This spurred on the Bognor forwards and four phases which should have resulted in a score saw the ball knocked on. From the resulting scrum the Bognor pack set up a quick break that saw centre Narch over the line. No extras were added.

Bognor were always on the front foot, running the Hellingly pack around the park, but against the run of play, Hellingly pounced on a loose ball, fly hacking the ball up the park to be rather dubiously touched down. With the touch judge and referee slightly late on the scene it was deemed a score, so it was 10-8 at the interval.

Coaches Outen and Broome used the break to remind the young side the game plan would work if they stuck at it. Changes were forced by injuries and new boy Archer jnr replaced ex-gymnast Stevens and veteran second row Langridge was introduced for injured Dyer.

With a complete reshuffle in the backline, Bognor scored almost immediately. With quicker ball from the breakdown and contact area the backs started to cut Hellingly’s defence to shreds.

Backed up by mobile forwards, Bognor were to spend 40 minutes on the front foot in the hosts’ half.

The tries started to come. First a opportunistic break by giant centre and captain of the day Burgess ended with him flopping his less-than-lightweight frame on a loose ball over the line.

This was followed by a catch and drive from the lineout which No8 Page finished off for his 20th try of the campaign. Then the best try of the day as giant among giants, ex-truck driver Vinci Angelov, belied his 21st frame to break and make 30m up field.

The jewel in the crown was the offload, one-handed out the back door straight into supporting full-back Josh Riggall’s hands.

Further tries were added from Hornibrook, Newcombe and Page as Hellingly tired.

Man of the match was debutant Knight.

Bognor return to Hants one action this week with a trip to face the Isle of Wight (2.15pm).