Rugby: Brilliant Bognor sink Sandown

Billy Toone scores on his return to Hampshire Avenue / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Billy Toone scores on his return to Hampshire Avenue / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 56-18 home win over Sandown & Shanklin in Hampshire League division one. In doing so they avenged their defeat to the IoW side of 2012, which ultimately resulted in relegation for Bognor.

There was a warm welcome for a duo of former Bognor players. Prop Joe Burns, returning from Worthing Raiders, and Billy Toone, from Chichester, provided the line-up with extra experience and nous.

Sandown kicked off on a windy afternoon at Hampshire Avenue. They forced a knock-on from Bognor but the front row of Joe Greenslade, Mark Ubsdell and Burns bludgeoned their opposite numbers into a penalty.

From the lineout, whopping centre Josh Burgess hit his obligatory crash ball into the S&S fly-half. Slick hands from the slick-haired veteran Tom Watson saw Daniel Passingham take the ball at full tilt.

Passingham haired past his opposite man and rounded the full-back to score beneath the posts - his second try in as many games. Riggall converted.

Bognor struck again almost immediately. Burgess broke the line yet again and found Toone with an offload in support. Toone sprinted through and gave a scoring pass to Josh Riggall, who outsprinted the cover defence. Conversion missed.

Lofty Jacob Masters celebrated his recent engagement by petrifying the S&S lineout with a host of steals against the throw. S&S elected to take three points after Bognor infringed in the midfield.

Bognor replied straight away. Masters soared gracefully to collect the kick-off and Bognor pounded their way towards the try line. Lee Balchin came close to scoring but was held up inches short of the line. When the ball was spun wide there was an audible gasp of surprise from the crowd as Toone gave a scoring pass to Ainsley Howard.

Sam Newcombe was next on the scoresheet after a classic move from the base of the scrum. Passingham slotted the conversion.

Coaches Ron Outen and Martin Broome seemed impressed with the first-half efforts of their side and asked for more of the same on the second half.

Jàmes Barlow and Balchin combined to cut down the catcher. A haphazard clearance from S&S was gathered by a surprised Masters who threw a neat pass to the supporting Toone. Toone danced around the broken defence and scooted over the line to score. Passingham converted.

S&S then burst into life. The referee repeatedly punished Bognor at the breakdown and eventually the S&S scrum half scored, barged over the line by his forwards. Conversion successful.

Coach Outen became visibly infuriated with his side’s penalty count but Bognor got straight back to it with another try. Riggall got on the end of his own fly-hack and Passingham chipped over the conversion.

Veteran winger Watson scored the next try after delicious handling from Balchin, Burgess and captain Jack Tompkins. Conversion missed.

S&S bagged another try of their own. Hooker Hogsdale was sin-binned for an innocuous and successful attempt at a turnover. A similar attempt from S&S earned them a penalty and Bognor were marched backwards for dissent. A few phases later the extra numbers told and S&S scored their second converted try.

Joe Burns got his hands on the ball after an enormous tackle around the ruck. Further heavy phases followed and the ball was shipped all the way along the pitch into the hands of Balchin. The former 1st XV skipper barged his way over four S&S defenders for an unconverted score.

Riggall completed his hat-trick with the final try. Solid defence from Burgess and debutant Welshman Gareth Jones forced a knock-on. Riggall toed the ball through and outsprinted the full-back and scored with an acrobatic front flip.

This week Bognor entertain Ellingham & Ringwood. All support is welcome for the 2.15 kick off – slightly earlier than previously advertised.

BOGNOR: Greenslade, Ubsdell, J Burns, J Barlow, Masters, Howard, Balchin, Tompkins, Newcombe, Riggall, Stevens, Burgess, Watson, Passingham, Toone. Broome, Angelov, Thomas.

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