We travelled to the seaside town of Bognor Regis for the first match of the 2019 -20 season. This has always been a tough, hard-fought encounter and this match was no exception.
It was the home side who opened up the scoring with a penalty to take a three point lead but a fine three quarter move from us saw Dan Brown touch down under the posts. Tom Madgwick converted, and we were, for a short time, in the lead.
The match was evenly contested with our scrum and lineout holding it's own or even on top, but struggling against Bognor’s superior loose play. They scored three tries before the half time whistle with two of them converted. Despite long periods of pressure on the Bognor defence, the only points we were able to manage were two penalties from the boot of Tom Madgwick.
At the half time break Bognor were up by 22 – 13 and the game was still anybody’s to win.
The second half was still a closely fought encounter with both sides scoring an unconverted try apiece. Ours was a second from Dan Brown who has set his stall out to regain his title of highest try scorer this season. These were the only points of the half and the match ended with Bognor winning by 27 points to 18.
Dan Brown was awarded man of the match. Mark Hammond, Fordingbridge’s captain, commented during the post-match celebrations on how tough and enjoyable the game had been. As well as all of the new talent we have in the side it was good to see the welcome return of a couple of 'old timers' with Dee Stone and Tim Donell both playing.
With the new Hampshire Premier league now underway it is clear that it is going to be a tougher year than last year with many hard games to come.
Next week we are away again against local rivals New Milton.