Bognor back on track in style at Petersfield

Lee Balchin stood in as captain / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Lee Balchin stood in as captain / Picture by Tommy McMillan

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Bognor got back to winning ways with an emphatic 41-0 win over Petersfield in division one of the Hampshire League.

This was just what was needed after back-to-back losses in their final game of 2015 and first game of 2016.

Bognor were buoyed by several players returning to the side: Lee Balchin filled in as captain for the injured Jack Tompkins, Ben Burns donned the Bognor colours for the first time in a long time, Lee Mason made his debut at prop and Tom James returned from holiday.

Bognor began the better side and it was not long before they were on the scoresheet.

Welshman Gareth Thomas, the sixth of his name to play for the club, picked from the base of the ruck and powered over from 15 metres out.

The former Neath-Swansea clubman would go on to terrorise the Petersfield pack all afternoon with some quite ridiculous carries. Patrick Gibbs converted the opening score.

This was just what was needed after back-to-back losses in their final game of 2015 and first game of 2016.

Tom James was next on the scoresheet with Thomas again instrumental in the build-up. Rookie Sam Newcombe sniped down the blindside and when the ball was recycled, Thomas offloaded to Jumbo James in support who crashed his enormous frame over the line. Gibbs converted.

Petersfield mounted their first and only real attack of the game. A mix-up in the midfield saw Petersfield exploit an overlap. A big defensive effort from BRFC kept them at bay with Burns, Harry Dyer and Jacob Masters tackling superbly.

It was all too easy for Bognor thereafter and they should have gone on to score more than they did. Were it not for some basic handling errors and poor passing, the Hampshire Avenue side could have put in excess of 60 points on the board.

Balchin was next on the scoresheet, barging his way over after a driving maul and Bognor had their bonus point.

At half-time, coaches Rob Outen and Martin Broome urged Bognor on to score more tries and put pressure on league leaders Millbrook.

Bulky centre Dan Brock was also returning to the first XV after a lengthy injury lay-off. He rekindled his centre partnership with Josh Burgess and managed to score after a well-worked move involving a chip kick from Gibbs.

Danny Passingham and Shane Stevens scored two further tries before Thomas and Balchin both rammed their way over to pick up two tries each.

This week Bognor are in search of a friendly because of a rearranged cup match with Hastings. They face Farnborough at home on February 13 (2.15pm). All support is welcome, as ever.

BOGNOR: Mason, B Burns, Broome, Masters, James, Balchin, Dyer, Thomas, Newcombe, Gibbs, Stevens, Burgess, D Brock, Passingham, Riggall. Watson, Archer, Angelov.

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