Bognor won an important league fixture 30-17 away to Ellingham & Ringwood, who desperately needed points to stave off relegation from division one of the Hampshire League.
E&R have a very impressive defence record at home, and not many teams have achieved a five-pointer at their place.
Bognor camped for long periods in the hosts’ half, but unforced errors and penalties let the home team off.
The breakthrough came with a penalty by full-back Jack Hornibrook. After unrelenting pressure, a sweet flowing move through the half-backs resulted in flanker Nathan Archer stepping forcefully around the cover defence and through the full-back, and Hornibrook converted.
E&R had a wise old head on young scrum half shoulders as a quick penalty taken while half of the Bognor team were questioning the ref saw the home side scored a try under the posts which was converted.
At half-time coaches Rob Outen and Martin Broome asked the team to up the energy and cut out the errors to get their rewards.
It wasn’t pretty but the win is everything; this keeps our season alive and promotion a real prospect.Rob Outen
A physical game got harder in the second period as big collisions all over the park made for a scrappy start.
Bognor put their dominance in the scrum to good use by driving E&R over the try line from almost 15m out and No8 Lee Balchin finished it off, the try converted by Hornibrook.
E&R had a breakthrough after flanker Masters was sinbinned for contesting a ball in the air. The penalty was again taken quickly and lack of concentration from the defence resulted in another home try.
E&R had a player binned for a dangerous tackle and Bognor’s response was immediate – their pressure ended in Archer’s second and a Pat Gibbs penalty almost wrapped up the win.
E&R sneaked a try against the run of play making a tense last 15 minutes, with Bognor chasing the bonus point and the hosts chasing a losing bonus point.
Bognor threw on subs in hope of fresh legs would create a break and after a trademark run from the replacement No8 from the back of the scrum , Scotsman David Tonso made 25m before being hauled down.
A clever box kick from scrum-half Newcombe set Shane Stevens off down the wing. He offloaded to veteran Watson who slipped the cover tackle to make towards the corner. Stopped forcefully by the full-back, everyone thought he’d been bounced into touch, but he managed the offload to full-back Hornibrook who crashed over for a very well-deserved bonus point.
The game ended with a few handbags but as far as Bognor were concerned it was job done.
Outen said: “Sometimes you have to win and this puts more pressure on you to perform. It wasn’t pretty but the win is everything; this keeps our season alive and promotion a real prospect, the boys played and delivered.”
Bognor visit Locks Heath Pumas this week for another must-win affair.
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