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Purple and Greens seek eight in a row

BOGNOR RFC made it seven wins from seven – but they were made to work for it to secure a 31-27 cup win over Cranleigh.

 

The Hampshire One side were pushed all the way by the Surrey visitors and it was only a late Patrick Gibbs try that secured safe passage into the third round of the regional cup. The Purple and Greens return to league action tomorrow, heading across the water to face the Isle of Wight (2.30pm).

 

Sitting in second in Hampshire One just two points behind league leaders United Services, Bognor know a strong performance across the Solent will put pressure on their title challengers.

 

Lee Balchin returned for the Cranleigh match. But it was the Surrey Two side that made the stronger start, crossing for a score after an interception. Bognor hit back though, thanks to a piece of magic from Darren Bidwell.

 

The second rower chipped over the rushing Cranleigh backs, gathered his own kick and offloaded out the back door to vice captain Shane Stevens who finished with ease in the corner after great footwork.

 

The home side followed that up with another try shortly after, with number 8 George Castleton picking up from a ruck to cross.

 

The power in the Purple and Greens pack started to pay off, Balchin taking advantage of a missed pass to make it 19-7 at the break.

 

Cranleigh hit back after the restart to make it a one score game. But Bognor hit back through Castleton, the scrum cap wearing number 8 weaving through the visitors’ defence to score his second and further increase their lead to 26-14. Cranleigh then struck again to make it a five point game.

 

Both teams were starting to tire but Bognor prop Chris Webb sparked the game’s winning move, breaking the line and somehow running three-quarters of the pitch with one boot on. He drew the last defender and gave the ball to the oncoming Gibbs to seal the win.

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