By Doug Millen
27 September
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Andy Archer, Jon Archer, Wilf Archer, John Baker, Nick Baker, Lee Balchin, John Baldwinson, Andy Batty, Liam Bennett, George Blampied, Martin Broome, Jackie Brown, Paul Brown, Chris Buckland, Phil Burns, Syd Carter, Cas Castleton, George Castleton, Jenna Cattermole, John Cattermole, Mark Challis, Peter Clamp, Sean Connor, Matt Cox, Andy Coxon-Smith, Andrew Cozens, Madelaine Cozens, Pat Cullen, Adrian Dew, Dean Dewey, Ray Dobbs, John Donoghue, Tim Dowle, Martin Eley, Roger Elsmere, Steve Emmett, Roy Evans, Geoff Fall, Justin Fitzpatrick, Tony Fitzpatrick, Dave Fleetwood, Karl Flinn, Jason Foote, Andy Foulkes, Dave French, Charlie Geldhart, Chris Geoghegan, Dave Gibson, Peter Greenwood, Dave Harnett, Simon Harris, John Haste, Richie Hay, Mike Hetherington, Dave Hill, Don Hoare, Sharon Hodgetts, Johnny Hudspith, John Jennings, Tony Johnson, Stan Jonas, Gareth L. Jones, Gareth T. Jones, Richard Kitt, Don Lambert, Jonny Lang, Mike Lewin, Bill Matthews, Bob May, Kingsley McCartney, Colin Mead, Wendy Mead, Doug Millen, Nigel Mitchell, Paul Mitchell, Lisa Molyneaux, Anne Myhill, Nigel Neville, Tom O’Brien, Marie O’Connor, Mike O’Connor, Dave Parsons, Stuart Pearce, Alan Phillips, Gordon Phillips, Al Reed, Ali Riley, Shaun Rimmer, Bob Rudd, Roy Sargeant, Jack Sheldon, Andy Shipp, Tom Spurle, Dave Sweeney, Andy Sweeney, Bob Thomas, Dave Thomas, Madelaine Thomas, Mike Thomas, Morgan Thomas,Guy Tomkins, Jack Tomkins, Mick Trenchard, Tom Trenchard, Peter Tuck, Dee Upton, Trevor Upton, Trevor Wadey, Simon Ward, Mike Weller, Danny West, Darren Wheelhouse, Chris Whitmarsh, Elma Whitmarsh, Chris Woodhead, Jock Wynd.

I am proud to say that, as I write, the above is a list of people who have been invited, and accepted, to become a Vice-President of Bognor RFC. Each one of them has made, or continues to make, a significant contribution to the club in terms of coaching, volunteering or supporting and I am personally delighted that we now boast such a well-established group.

Of course, I am also very pleased to say that, through their donations, our Vice Presidents raised over £10,000 last season. As we all face ever-escalating costs we wait to see the extent of the increases to the club’s gas and electricity bills- at the moment we are unclear as to what support, if any, we will receive. Suffice to say, we need your support more than ever to run the club on a day-to-day basis and, on a positive note, we have sufficient funds to start the extension to the clubhouse that we were forced to postpone last year. (See Clubhouse Development below.)

Many thanks to those of you who have already paid in full for this season or who are continuing to pay by standing order. Most VPs are either donating £100 for the year or £10 per month. As a reminder the details you need are
Payee: Bognor Rugby Club
Sort Code: 20-20-62
Account number: 90135259
Reference: (Your surname) VP

Obviously, if you’ve been donating more than that, feel free to continue! Also, if you prefer to use cheques or cash, then that’s fine. I hope that this season’s donations/standing orders will all be in place by 31st October so that we can budget carefully for the rest of the season.

I’m sure you all recognise one of our more handsome VPs, Roy Sargeant (below). The scar on his left eyebrow is not as a result of playing rugby, but of walking straight into a parking post, much to the amusement of two witnesses: Lee Balchin and his son Jacob, both of whom fell about laughing as the blood dripped down Roy’s face!

Special mention and thanks should go to four people who continue to stay in touch and support the club even though they moved to different countries many years ago: Honorary Life Members Paul Curtis (Penclawdd) and Justin Fitzpatrick (Houston- also a VP), and Vice-Presidents Mike Thomas (Spain) and Bob Rudd (France).


The Annual Club Supper was very well-attended and, as always, a great time was had by all. Congratulations to the following award winners:

1st Team
Player of the Year: Josh Burgess
Most Consistent Player: Jamie Foote
Most Improved Player: Charlie Weller
Top Try-scorer: Tyrone Makasi

2nd Team
Player of the Year: Owen Henton
Most Consistent Player: Nathan Chitty
Top Try-scorer: Jake Merrett

Team of the Year: The Colts
Colt of the Year: Oliver Mitchell
The Richard Myhill Trophy for Supporters’ Player of the Year: Tyrone Makasi
Dick of the Year: Paul Mitchell
Clubman of the Year: Karl Flinn

There could have been no worthier winner of the Clubman of the Year than Karl Flinn who coached the Colts as they won their league, even though they were all a year under age, as well as the 1st Team who finished a creditable 3rd in Hampshire 1. What an asset Karl has been to Bognor RFC since he joined as a 21-year-old in 1996. He captained the 1st Team for three years and then, during his time as player/coach, under George Castleton’s captaincy, he won the league and cup double, gaining promotion to London 2 en route. His enthusiasm shows no sign of diminishing as he again performs the amazing double act this season of coaching the Colts and seniors. His wife, Faye, is a stalwart of the club in her own right whilst son Noah showed clear signs of rugby league tackling in his recent debut for the 1st Team at the tender age of seventeen. What a family!


Shane Stevens has taken over as captain after the colossal Josh Burgess stepped down at the end of last season. Shane, now at the ripe old age of 31, joined the club as a sixteen-year old, and played for most of his career on the wing before making the successful, if unorthodox, transition to second row where he enjoys dominating the lineout more often than not. He has worked as a thatcher for eleven years and is married to Lauren, with one-year-old Albs to keep his feet on the ground. It’s not easy having a club legend (Stuart Pearce) as a father-in-law but Shane has taken his new challenge in his stride and he will do everything in his power to fulfil his ambition to lead his team to promotion from the new Counties 2 Hampshire League.

Mitch Brock has stepped in to captain the 2s and we all wish him well because we know what a challenge it can be at times, just trying to put a side out. If he gets the support he deserves, it will be a successful season.

Meanwhile, enrolment for the minis, youth and the girls U-16s has been really encouraging and augurs well for the new season. I am also delighted to announce that, after five decades of separate accounts, the juniors’ and seniors’ finances are at last being amalgamated so that we can truly function as one club. This doesn’t mean that individual teams can no longer benefit from finding their own kit sponsors etc: we would encourage this to continue. What it means is that all membership subscriptions and profits from bar and catering will go into one main account, for the benefit of all members. As in the past, the costs of any coaches/parents wishing to attend courses will automatically be covered by the club. It is definitely a win-win situation.


You will remember that I reported in the April Newsletter that the building project to extend the current changing rooms had to be postponed due to hugely escalating costs. Since that time a working group has been meeting regularly to explore all options in terms of the nature of the extension and the costs involved.

The group confirmed that the continuing success of the minis, youth and girls sections means that there is a greater than ever need for modern, integral changing and showering facilities that conform to RFU safeguarding requirements. The group also concluded that, in order to utilise the positive momentum that is evident right through the club, and to satisfy the requirements of the grants already received, we should push ahead with the project with immediate effect.

We have approximately £130,000 of funds ring-fenced for the project, sufficient for us to go ahead with Phase 1 of a timber-framed construction that meets all our objectives in terms of changing and showering. Plans will be displayed in the clubhouse and the work put out to tender shortly.

Following the completion of Phase 1 we will have a clearer picture of the total cost required to complete the project in terms of internal fittings and fixtures. It is at this stage that we might turn to members for some voluntary work and financial contributions but it is worth mentioning that several loyal members have already offered substantial loans in order to complete the whole project. The only reason we have not accepted these kind offers is that, despite the fact that our finances are in a very healthy state, the last three years have been so extraordinary, and the next two years likely to be so unpredictable, that an accurate prediction of income/expenditure is almost impossible. We would never accept loans from anyone unless we could guarantee 100% that we could meet all repayments on time and we are not prepared to put the club in debt to members or anyone else.

On the other hand, we shall be exploring all avenues of fundraising so, if there any individual members or businesses who would like to make a donation or discuss a sponsorship deal specifically linked to the building development programme, we would be delighted to hear from you. Feel free to contact me if you would like to offer any advice or discuss any of the above.


This will become a regular feature of future Newsletters so I suppose it’s a bit strange that for the first one, I’ve chosen a person who hasn’t played for over a year and who won’t be playing for several months yet!
Sam joined the club when he was 9 years old and has played for Bognor ever since. Now aged 31, Sam has been an integral member of the 1st team for well over a decade and has proved himself to be so multi-skilled that he has been first choice at every position in the backs. Add to that the fact that he tackles like a flanker and you will understand why the whole squad is looking forward to his return.
The reason that he’s been getting so frustrated on the touchline is that, in September 2021, he suffered such a serious knee injury that he required a complete reconstruction: they even used part of his hamstring to strengthen the stability of the knee. Sam has astounded his medical advisers by his dedication and sheer hard work which means that he is ahead of schedule in his aim to return to playing rugby- at the moment we hope to see him on the field again by January/February 2023.

Outside rugby Sam is a qualified electrician and hopes to have four children but his major passion is definitely rugby, his stated ambition being to return to the 1st Team and, one day, to be Captain. Even more importantly Sam is one of the nicest people you could meet and I, for one, am proud to have him as a member of our club and a role model for our younger players.


I am sad to report that, since the last Newsletter, we have lost four friends of the club:
Mark Davis, who played for us in the 1980s, died in Thailand in August and, incredibly, was followed by his mother, Sally, just a few days later.
Dave Summerville, another ex-player and club sponsor, died in August after a tragic accident.

Finally, after a very long illness, we were all devastated to hear of the passing, after a long illness, of Lynnette Mitchell, beloved wife of ex-1st team captain Nigel and mother to Leo, Skye and Brooke. The funeral is at 1.30 on Monday, 3rd October in St Thomas à Becket Church, Pagham and afterwards at The Waverley.

Our love and thoughts go to all the families.


(Contact John Donoghue to reserve a place.)
8th October
5th November
17th December
28th January
4th March

(Contact me for further details.)
1st November at the Pink Pub

Postponed from 28th August to Sunday April 2nd (Date to be confirmed).



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