REFRESHED and recharged after their two-week break, Petersfield Rugby Club’s first team returned to Penns Place.
Field contained Bognor in their own half for the first few minutes, winning the early territory battle but sharing possession. After an exchange of free kicks, Field inside centre Gregory Jansen got his hands on the ball and attacked the defence with a powerful run, off-loading to flanker Matt Momber who in turn fed Nick Blumlein, who scored to the left of the posts. Blumlein slotted the easy extras.
As the first half continued, Bognor settled and started to take the game to Petersfield but, unlike their hosts, could not take advantage of their time in the 22. Field’s laser-sharp, high-powered defence drove the attackers back from the try line to the 22-metre line and beyond, forcing the turnovers which allowed them to regain possession and dissipate the pressure.
Field, meanwhile, continued to press the attack button every opportunity they had, trusting their power and pace out wide to overwhelm the defence. While the tactic didn’t work every time, when it did the results were sublime.
The next example came from a rampage down the Field right wing with Jordan Allan burning up the metres before leaving a huge gap for the supporting Tom Land to race through for Field’s second try. The extras went begging.
Minutes later Blumlein crossed for his second try following another defence-busting passage of play by the Field backs. This time it was Jordan Hunter who began the move, returning a wayward Bognor clearance kick with a charge down the left, avoiding tackles with ease. Another exchange of passes with his three-quarter colleagues ended with the try. The kick from wide on the left fell just short.
To their credit, Bognor continued to graft throughout the match and had more opportunities in the Field 22 only to be beaten back by the ruthless defence. In the end, their try came courtesy of a rare moment of Field indecision.
Caught between kicking to touch and passing along the line, Field dithered too long and had the eventual attempted clearance charged down before giving away a penalty as they scrambled back to secure the ball.
Bognor immediately exploited the stretched defence with a quick tap and go, but they could not land the extras.
Normal service was resumed for Field within three minutes of the restart. This time it was Land’s turn to be provider for Allan at the end of another run down the right wing. Once again, the conversion went begging.
Field led 22-5 at the break. They had left nine points on the pitch, but had picked up the four-try bonus point.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with breathless attacking play and obdurate defence from Field. The hosts scored first, with a penalty from Blumlein, and while they may not have scored the same number of tries, they managed to prevent Bognor from scoring again.
It was the pack who provided the tries in the second half. The first came from Tom Whitehouse, who went over four defenders as he powered over the line from five metres out. The second try came from a quickly taken penalty, which was finished by Momber. Blumlein was tested again by Momber’s score in the corner, but added the extras to Whitehouse’s try with ease.
The match ended a few minutes early because of an injury to a Bognor player. Both sides agreed to call a halt rather than transfer to another pitch.