WESTCLIFF sunk to a 29-12 defeat against promotion pushing Westcombe Park at the Gables.
The hosts produced a spirited and committed display.
But an 11th defeat in 12 game leaves them precariously positioned in the relegation dogfight towards the foot of the table.
Westcombe Park came in to the match in good form and were immediately on the front foot.
They opened the scoring after just four minutes when scrum half Edwards exploited a short but unprotected blindside to burst clear and score under the posts.
By this early stage Westcliff had already lost second row Barnett to injury and were attempting to respond to the visitors’ fast start when Edwards was again able to snipe from the base of a ruck on the Westcliff line and score his second try in the opening 12 minutes.
Park’s dominance had been aided by the favour of a bitter breeze but Westcliff had not started well and at 12 -0 down they needed to respond.
This they did and they upped their own tempo taking the game to their opponents with gusto and determination.
But the Park defence remained solid and repelled the home attacks, to keep the score the same at half-time.
Turning round 12-0 down Westcliff started the second half seeking a score to get back into the game and provide a platform from which they could go on and win it. The score came after 52 minutes when open side Gus Martyn was rewarded for an enterprising afternoon when taking a scoring pass under the posts to score a try which Ben McKeith duly converted.
At 12-7 down Westcliff were now enjoying their best spell and Park appeared rattled although their discipline and defence remained sound.
For the next 15 minutes the home team pushed and probed for a further opening but none arrived and when Westcombe released the pressure and made ground deep into Westcliff territory they were able to force their way over the line when big tight head Bellinger drove over from short range.
The score was welcomed with some relief by the visitors while Westcliff could not help but be a little deflated.
Just a few minutes later, Park took full advantage and went further ahead when winger Natrass finished a move from deep and the score was suddenly out to 24-7.
Once more the home side responded and this time reward followed when Healy collected the ball to crash over at the tail of a line-out but the final say was to fall to the visitors when Child scored in the dying moments to seal an efficient win for the visitors.
And that frustrated Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton.
“The result was disappointing as was our start but we were playing against a quality team and there were aspects of our performance which were pleasing,” said Compton.
“I believe we played better in defeat this week than we did last week in victory and we will continue to work to improve and develop our game.”
Westcliff: Whelan, Bannister, McKeith, Harvey, Dudman, Jones B, Parmenter, Scoggins, Martyn, Mckean, Barnett, Jones S, Binneman, Redding, Roberts, Replacements: Miller, Healy & Whiting