Portsmouth vs Bognor, Saturday 18th November 2023

Portsmouth vs Bognor, Saturday 18th November 2023

Portsmouth 12 Bognor 36

By Simon Newsham

The change of venue to a home fixture because Bognor is currently under water should have given us a bit of an advantage, however, Bognor came flying out of the blocks and took the lead after just three minutes.

Their forwards are big and quick they tore through the Pompey defence scoring under the posts.

The game settled into a midfield scrap, Bognor using the wind and kicking deep while Portsmouth tried to run it out of their own half. There was a hopeful attack in the ninth minute but a knock on gave the ball away and Bognor launched another attack, the ball was turned over by Lee Chandler but was adjudged to knocked it on. The resulting scrum ten metres from the Pompey line saw the scrum half dummy and slip past Tom Sanderson, offloading to the right where a Bognor centre flopped over the try line for their second converted score.

The visitors were well and truly on top with twenty minutes gone a Portsmouth line out missed it’s target and was intercepted by the Bognor 9 who kicked ahead towards the posts where Pompey full back Kallen Wilke picked it up and dotted the ball down but carrying it over in the referees opinion.  The Bognor scrum was sound and they scored wide on the right, once again converted by the fly half for a twenty one point lead.

The line out was proving a major problem for the hosts, again over the top missing everybody except the Bognor scrum-half who put in a lovely kick earning his side a line out eight meters from the home line. Ironically Portsmouth took this line out and set off upfield with a barrelling run from prop Phill Gilliland.

The game was stopped for a serious injury sustained by the Bognor full back, while chasing his chip ahead he landed awkwardly twisting his knee and was in some discomfort.  After the restart Portsmouth fly half Gareth Davies was kicking for territory and gaining some ground but each promising move seemed to end in a handling error.  On the half hour Pompey got themselves into the visitors twenty-two after four phases of attack and forced a scrum in front of the posts, quickly moved right the ball was shipped out to wing Connor Chalton who was tackled just short of the line, No8 Elliott Worrall was on hand to finish it off, getting the hosts on the scoreboard.  Portsmouth weathered the storm until half-time where Bognor kept coming at them but hung on without conceding anymore. HT 5-21

With the wind in the second half the game was still winnable for Pompey but Bognor came out the quicker  with just two minutes after the restart Bognor crashed over wide on the right to stretch the lead once again. Although Pompey saw more of the ball in the second half they still couldn’t put any phases together, the visitors were up very quickly in the tackle and snuffed out any attacks.

A rare penalty for Portsmouth when a Bognor player pulled down a maul resulted in a five metre line out, a nice catch and drive but the hosts couldn’t get the ball down and earned a scrum five after being held up.

Worrall picked up at the base and tackled but knocked the ball on.

Pompey had a good spell of possession but couldn’t profit from it, errors such as kicking the ball dead from a penalty and getting turned over in a driving maul from a line out cost them dearly.  The wind was a huge asset in the second half and Pompey played a lot in the visitors half, a five metre lineout was the result of a penalty where the Bognor loosehead repeatedly found himself offside. The catch and drive worked perfectly and Lee Chandler peeled off to score a much needed try converted by the boot of Gareth Davies.

Bognor hit back five minutes later with a slick move out of defence, the left winger glided through to score wide on the left. The game finished in murky twilight with Bognor pressing forward but held up by solid Pompey defence, however their resulting scrum walked the Pompey pack backwards for their sixth try of the afternoon, final score at Rugby Camp Portsmouth 12 Bognor 36