Bognor have an off-day and are beaten on trip to New Milton
Bognor were on the losing side when they travelled to New Milton to face a mid-table Hampshire premier side that have caused a few upsets in their league campaign.
The home team began the first half the better side, putting together good phases and breaking down Bognor’s defence. It wasn’t long before a wide attack punished Bognor and, several phases later, an infringement resulted in a penalty in front of the posts. 3-0.
From the restart New Milton applied the pressure and errors from the away side resulted in another three-pointer.
Eventually the away side retaliated and worked their way up field before opting to go for the three points themselves once awarded a penalty of their own, Connor Herrington adding the goods, 6-3.
From the deep kick-off, a high-flying opportunistic New Milton chaser found himself on the receiving end of a fortunate bounce and cruising over the Bognor whitewash to score the first try, conversion good, 13-3.
This was a wake-up call for the travelling Bognor men which eventually motivated them to up the intensity. Strong carries by Tom Orchard and Shane Stevens offered better forward ball and momentum for Bognor, yet the home defence remained resilient.
A fierce battle ensued for some time and what had seemed to become a midfield stalemate eventually resulted in New Milton scoring from a kick downfield. Conversion good, 20-3.
At half-time, Tom Parsons, who’s work-rate at the breakdown had been second to none, was replaced by debutant George Orchard, while Ollie Larson was introduced to make his debut, replacing winger Ben Luxton, who had defended his channel reliably.
As in the first half, New Milton came out fired up and played some smart rugby, with tactical kicking and enthusiasm at the defensive breakdown.
Possession changed hands frequently and the battle for territory made for an exciting spectacle, both sides squandering try scoring opportunities.
Eventually another try was scored by the home side then several moments late, a penalty too. This bought the score to 28-3 and Josh Burgess’ men knew they must change their ways if they were to continue their streak of wins.
Bognor string phases together and attacked with urgency and dominance. Dan Robinson and centre partner Larson put their bodies on the line as they battered through the midfield, an injured Chris Webb gained good yards beyond the defence despite caution in his approach and the back row, captain
Josh Burgess, George Orchard and reintroduced Parsons began to provide dominance at the breakdown.
With moments to go Bognor attacked from the solid foundations of a scrum, Sam Newcombe providing Herrington with good ball and he sent his troops trundling upfield in the centre of the park.
Quick ball from the breakdown reached full-back Chris Hay out wide and he darted towards the corner and dotted down. The conversion out wide came off the post and unsuccessful, score 28-8.
Despite the momentum shifting in the favour of the away side, Hay’s try was to be no more than a consolation the home side building a margin too great to narrow down in the time remaining and wasted opportunities for Bognor became vital.
MoM was Tom Orchard.
Bognor: Benjamin, Voigt, Mason, Stevens, T Orchard, Knight, Parsons, J Burgess, Newcombe, Herrington, F Burgess, Robinson, Burnett,
Luxton, Hay, Webb, G Orchard, Larson.