Rugby: Bognor hunt down Pumas to keep up perfect start

Jacob Masters claims a lineout for Bognor / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Jacob Masters claims a lineout for Bognor / Picture by Tommy McMillan

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Bognor produced a strong performance and gained another five points, beating recently-promoted Locks Heath Pumas 38-0 at a sodden Hampshire Avenue.

And some favourable results, including a loss for promotion rivals Fordingbridge, saw Bognor go top of Snows Group Hampshire division one.

Ghastly weather conditions meant Bognor had to play a tight and controlled game.

For the first half, they played into the wind and managed to grab a solitary score courtesy of Lee Balchin, captain for the day. Jack Hornibrook converted to put Bognor 7-0 up at half-time.

From the onset it was clear Bognor had the upper hand at the set-piece. The experienced front row of Joe Greenslade, Paul Mitchell and Graham Broome allowed Bognor to move forward in the scrum.

The lofty Jacob Masters and athletic Jàmes Barlow soared beautifully to gain clean lineout ball.

Favourable results, including a loss for promotion rivals Fordingbridge, saw Bognor go top of Snows Group Hampshire division one.

The second half began with scrum-half Sam Newcombe establishing good territory in the Locks Heath half. Strong carries followed from Balchin and Broome but it was the young behemoth Tom James, introduced at half-time for Barlow, who eventually crossed the whitewash.

A dainty side-step and a 20-yard slide for the line secured Bognor maximum points. Hornibrook missed the conversion.

With the wind at their backs Bognor began to build a head of steam against a tiring Heath. Masters secured another lineout and No8 Mike Page scored from the driving maul.

Bognor scored in an almost-identical move moments later, this time with Balchin grabbing his second.

The backs had little to do worked tirelessly to follow up clearance kicks from Newcombe and fly-half Josh Riggall. Former spin-bowler Shane Stevens made an excellent tackle on his opposite number earning Bognor a lineout. Some short pick-and-drives followed with Page eventually flopping over to secure his double.

Further strong carries came from Jumbo James and Josh Burgess; Locks Heath were visibly frustrated and a fracas broke out after one player lost his cool. From the scrum Locks Heath tried to run from their own line; a suicidal decision given the weather conditions. Veteran winger Tom Watson hassled his opposite number into a mistake and then darted on to the loose ball to pick up his fifth try of the year. Hornibrook converted.

Bognor head to Fordingbridge on Saturday for a showdown with their promotion rivals. In previous visits Bognor have failed to leave the Hampshire side with a single point and they will be hoping for a change of fortune to maintain their perfect start to the season.

All travelling support is welcome for the 2.30pm kick-off.

BOGNOR: Evergreenslade, P Mitchell, Broome, J Barlow, Masters, Balchin, Dyer, Page, Newcombe, Riggall, Passingham, Burgess, Gibbs, Watson, Hornibrook. Ubsdell, James, Stevens.

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