WESTCLIFF suffered a 39-12 defeat against table-topping Dorking, despite putting in a committed performance.
Westcliff were not outclassed by the league leaders.
And Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton was encouraged by the determined display.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, but it remains encouraging that our lads continue to compete with the top sides in the league,” said Compton.
“The margins are very fine and we are not quite there yet, but we have improved areas of our game that have let us down, and if that continues we may yet avoid relegation from what is a very competitive, but also very satisfying league.
“Most encouraging of all is the great spirit and attitude of the lads which is a credit to the club, but more so to themselves because they are an outstanding group of young men.”
Dorking were quickly into their stride at the weekend and dominated early territory and possession to stretch the home defence with swift attacks.
The home line was protected bravely but it was no surprise when outside centre Ryan Jeffrey exploited time and space provided by his forwards to make the game’s first score.
Seven points down after 10 minutes and having played on the back foot so far, Westcliff needed to respond, but this they did.
Launching their own attacks for the first time, they drove deep into Dorking territory and, from a line out, they executed a well-worked move that saw full back Hayden Whelan take a scoring pass to put him in under the posts.
With the game tied at 7-7, Westcliff were encouraged, but unfortunately an unnecessary penalty allowed Dorking to retake the lead and in the final 20 minutes of the half they established the lead that would secure them the game.
Three well-worked, but rather soft tries, by the visitors established a half-time lead of 27-7 and little hope of a way back for the hosts against the league’s most consistent side.
Westcliff continued to strive and compete throughout the second half, which was largely an even contest throughout.
The Dorking captain Armand Roux secured his second try of the day moments after the hosts were reduced to 14 men, with back row Tim Healy being banished to the sin bin.
A further try for full back Ben Tyler extended the lead to 39-7, but Westcliff managed to reduce the arrears when hooker George Weller drove over from short range after good phase play.
Westcliff: Whelan, Pakau, McKeith, Harvey, Dudman, B Jones, Parmenter, Scoggins, Healy, Smith, S Jones, Mckean, Binneman, Weller, Roberts.
Replacements: Redding, Bannister & Whiting.