Bognor travelled to Alresford for another vital Hampshire League division one game – and won it 52-18 with their mixture of youthful exuberance and vintage talent.
They opened the scoring with Sam Newcombe running an awesome line outside his new centre partner Pat Gains. The try was converted by Sean Power to make it 7-0.
Alresford replied almost instantly with a score of their own, the home tight five carrying extremely hard in Bognor’s final third and finishing it off with ease.
Lee Balchin and George Castleton were making light work of the ruck area and continued to show why they have been mainstays in the Bognor team for years. Joshua Burgess was cut early by a rogue boot but soldiered on – playing at No8 he dominated his one-on-ones.
Power and his back line were beginning to turn the screw out wide and Paddy Burnett looked deadly with ball in hand. Powerful close carries from Adam Knight and Christopher Webb ate up some impressive yards and quick Pat Gibbs finished well in the corner after a pass from Joshua Riggall.
Alresford flipped the game on its head. A few missed tackles from the away side did not help the cause and the home side capitalised. A penalty was given away by Tom James and the home side rolled over the driving maul and trailed only 14-12.
Bognor made inroads almost immediately in the Alresford defence, Venci Angelov and Chris Webb dominating at scrum time with Darren Bidwell causing havoc in the loose. Burgess was next to score, going over from ten metres.
Pat Gains was loving life at No12 and was in Power’s ear throughout the first half. Newcombe outside the two was deadly. Balchin and Castleton kept the train rolling and James finished with a simple pick and go to make it 26-12.
Chris Webb looked to go blind in space and bowled two over to score.
Gains had a ten-minute rest after a dubious high-tackle call from the referee. Bognor had to step up as the ex Havant RFC full-back was the communication centre in the midfield. Alresford took the points to make it 33-15.
Billy Toone was replaced by the returning Jack Hornibrook, who made an immediate impact.
Alresford copped the first points of the second half with an easy penalty in front of the posts.
Newcombe broke in the outside channels once again, the electric outside centre using his quick feet and power tomake it 38-18.
Riley Chute was brought on for powerhouse Venci Angelov and the Fijian made the most of the open game with a few marching carries.
James Barlow was introduced for Adam Knight and Barlow showed why he deserves his first-team place with his work in the ruck area.
James was replaced by Angelov at the 60-minute mark.
Gains was back to his old tricks and put Riggall through a lovely gap. He juggled the egg for a moment before feeding Hornibrook, who scored with ease.
It was to no-one’s surprise that Newcombe finished the game with the matchball after another blockbuster carry outside his opposite number, the centre blasting his way through the tackle.
Bognor: Webb, Angelov, James, Bidwell, Knight, Balchin, Castleton, Burgess, Toone, Power, Burnett, Gains, Newcombe, Gibbs, Riggall, Chute, Hornibrook, Barlow.