WESTCLIFF failed to deliver the win that would seen them start the second half of the season outside of the relegation zone, losing 20-5 at Gravesend.

Neither team were in inspired form but Gravesend started the better with the advantage of a modest slope and a bright low lying sun at their backs.

They were quickly onto the scoreboard too when Meddings kicked a penalty and they went further in front in the 25th minute when winger Bishop finished off in the corner to make it 10-0.

The score stayed the same up until the half-time break but Westcliff performed much better in the second half and, for the first 30 minutes, they pressed hard for a way back into the game.

Although the forwards produced a good amount of ball the Westcliff backs failed to produce the breakthrough that by now they deserved through a combination of committed home defence and poor execution at key moments.

Despite that, the game was clearly in the balance until in the 70th minute when the home winger pounced on turnover ball and broke deep into Westcliff territory. Tackled just short of the line he was able to off load to supporting runners and the opposite winger was able to finish the best move of the day.

With the conversion kicked Gravesend now lead 17-0 with 10 minutes to go and there was a sense that the game was now decided.

Nevertheless Westcliff were able to respond a few minutes later when Seb Reynolds scored a good try which took plenty of finishing off in the corner.

But when Ben McKeith slipped in the act of taking the conversion which then dribbled short and wide it was clear as it had been for some time that this was not going to be Westcliffs day.

In the final minutes Gravesend converted a further penalty which gave them a slightly flattering 20-5 victory but one which they deserved, much to the disappointment of Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton.

“It was very frustrating we didn’t play as well as we can or recently have done and losing ground in the battle at the bottom was very disappointing,” said Compton.

“But, that said we are only half way through the season with plenty of games to go and opportunities to be seized.”