BASINGSTOKE RFC finished 2018 with another league win making it 12 out of 12 win this campaign, which is quite the turn around from last season where Stoke lost all their league fixtures.

Bognor away presented Basingstoke biggest test of the season so far, with their big forward pack and traditionally strong at home, Stoke knew that a physical battle lay ahead.

The home side had a strong following on the back of their Christmas lunch and those that braved possible the worst conditions possible were in for a treat as both sides battled it out to the end.

Stoke started well with Simon Appleby and Brad Turner having an immediate impact with their strong runs putting pressure on Bognor’s defence.

It took 25 minutes before Appleby added another try to his season tally after some strong defence from the home side had managed to make life difficult from the league leaders getting an earlier score.

Stoke had the lion share of the ball and were playing well, but could only take 5-0 lead into half time. Bognor came out for the second half flying and saw their prop carry over to make the score 5-5 all with their kicker adding the extra two points to take the lead.

Basingstoke battled back with Dave Rees getting over the line to make the score 10-7 to the away side.

Eight minutes later captain Jon Bird went over off the back of driving maul, which has been a good weapon for Stoke for the season to make the score 15-7.

Bognor as expected did not give up and after some number of phases were able to break Basingstoke defence to score a converted try to make the score 15-14 and set the match up for a tense finish.

Bognor missed a penalty kick to win the match and some strong dogged defence from Basingstoke saw them end December with another win.

Player/coach Appleby was pleased with his boys’ performance and said: "It was the worse conditions I have ever played in, but we played well against a well drilled Bognor team.

"The weather had an impact on our line out and our last phase from recording a bigger victory, however they had a strong defence and credit to both sides as the game was played in good spirited and both sides battled literally to the final whistle. We are looking forward to a Christmas break when we will reset and get ready for the battles ahead in the New Year.

Stoke’s next game is at home to mid table New Milton on January 5.

Basingstoke seconds narrowly lost at home 21-17 to Aldershot and Fleet first XV.

Stoke were the better team, looking to run the ball, which caused the opposition problems out wide, and lead for long periods of the game, but came unstuck against a team that had a couple of strong runners who were able to keep pressuring Stoke’s defence right up until the end.

The pressure finally took it toll with Aldershot and Fleet scoring a try with only two minutes left on the clock.

It has been a tough season so far mainly driven by availability and consistency, but the club is confident going into the New Year that the guys will be able to start getting some more wins under their belts as they look to develop the strength and depth across the senior set up.

There are also plans to have some additional third team fixtures added to the calendar as they look to recruit more players to the club, anyone interested in getting involved please email