Slow start forgotten as Bognor power to victory over New Milton
Bognor started slowly against the NewMilton in rugby's Hampshire premier division - but it didn't stop them surging on to a 37-22 win.
Two early tries from left Bognor 10-0 down with work to do to get back into it. Bognor’s dynamic back row were first to make a stamp on the game. Lee Balchin at No8 was everywhere and had his young companion Michael Szulc with him for the ride; the two making light work of the contact area.
Talisman Balchin was first to score for the home side, some hard running from Chris Webb creating space for him to support and go over.
The home side started to tick over, and powerful phases came from Josh Burgess and Darren Bidwell, both making a hefty number of yards.
Balchin scored again on the blindside following some slick hands from fly-half Jeremy Newton-Young and Paddy Burnett to make it 12-10.
Pressure was building on Bognor’s back three of Chris Hay, Freddie Burgess and Ben Luxton as New Milton kicked well into the hosts’ territory.
Freddie Burgess dealing with the flak well and cleared his lines to find touch with ease. The home side earned a penalty in front of the posts after some more destructive work in the midfield from Tom Parsons and Shaun Bailey. Newton Young kicked for 15-10.
Webb was next on the scoresheet, Shane Stevens at second row covering every blade of the Hampshire Avenue grass and conjuring up some lovely footwork before feeding the big man.
After half-time Harry Edwards was brought on for Tom James and Jack Ryder came on for the injured Josh Burgess.
The men in green came out raring to go and Jack Ryder scored in the bottom corner of the pitch after some hard phases carried in by Edwards and Ewan McGregor, who was brought on for Tom Parsons.
Bidwell and Balchin continued to make yards in the loose and Ben Luxton benefitted from some eyes-up rugby from the No8, who put him over for his maiden first team try.
If anyone deserved the next score it was Shaun Bailey, who was awesome all day, the hooker dominating his opposite man with a powerful fend and scooting under the posts to extend Bognor’s lead to 37-10.
Billy Toone gave the home crowd a blast from the past with a 60m weaving run only to be stopped by a good chop tackle.
The home side went a bit limp after thinking the job was done and let in two easy tries.
Man of the match was Balchin as Bognor finished 37-22 winners.
The seaside men travel to Alresford this week in hope of a much-eeded away win.
Bognor: Webb, Bailey, James, Bidwell, Stevens, Parsons, Szulc, Balchin, Toone, Newton-Young, F Burgess, J Burgess, Burnett, Luxton, Hay, Ryder, McGregor, Edwards.