Burgess Hill Under 14s Vs Bognor Under 14s Away
Remembrance Sunday duties, illness and injury affected availability and as a result the All Blacks squad was severely tested and was reduced to a mixed team of just 15 to travel to Bognor.
Before the match, all players of all ages at Bognor plus the visiting All Blacks and their supporters held a very respectful 2 mins silence. After the excitement of the International Rugby the day before, it was fantastic how two clubs at grass roots level and players and supporters of all ages can come together.
The match then kicked off with Bognor fielding a strong team who play 2 leagues above the Burgess Hill A team and 5 leagues about the Development Team. Nevertheless, Hill were determined to face and learn from this challenge.
In set plays and close quarter rugby the All Blacks acquitted themselves well. However, 5 or 6 strong Bognor runners kept breaking through and with ample support and very good offloading they scored several tries before the half was done.
It must be noted that the Hill team never gave up and some strong running from Rogers, H Baker and A Baker along with strong tackling from Upton and Kyalo kept the Hill side in a positive frame of mind.
At the turn of the half, Hill had suffered 2 injuries that whilst not too serious meant that they dropped to 13. As Bognor had a squad available of over 30 boys (their A and B side plus subs) and as this was a friendly match, 2 players were lent to Burgess Hill so the sides could remain at 15 each.
However, now that the Bognor B side was on the pitch, the mixed A’s and B’s from Hill could instantly feel the match was more finely balanced.
Now Hill could keep some ball, they created more structure and began to use their possession well. Collingbourne worked well at fly half with kicks for territory and some well-placed passes helped to bring Hill into the game. Rogers playing his preferred full back started to find some holes and Hill were putting pressure on the Bognor line.
The match was still close and Bognor actually struck first in the second half with a well worked drive and powerful run.
Hill continued to use the ball and ironically it was one of the loan players from Bognor who was put into space and ran around for the score behind the posts. Rogers conversion gave Hill an even scoring second half.
The much improved play continued as A Baker and H Baker made strong runs into the Bognor half. It was from a strong run by H Baker (who was this week’s Forward of the Week) that Hill again gained ground deep into the Bognor half. The ball was passed wide and winger Lessacher finished a great play to score in the corner.
This week’s Back of the match, Rogers, hit the post from the wide out conversion but in the second half Hill were 2 trys to 1 up.
The balance of the half saw some strong tackling from both sides and with the Hill side disrupted due to the various changes, the fast-flowing rhythm from last week did not quite come off.
However, all who supported witnessed that there was some very good performances and strong character shown throughout.
There is training this Wednesday at the Club and Hill have a home A league match vs Brighton on Sunday.
The squad was L. Cowle, H. Clegg, J. MacAlister, L. Watts, C. Attwater, F. Kyalo, B. Upton, H. Baker, Z. Harrison, F. Collingbourne, J. Pearce, A. Baker, O. Bennett, D. Lessacher, L. Rogers.