3:00pm Tuesday 19th February 2013
By Chris Phillips
WESTCLIFF produced a committed performance at CS Rugby 1863, but still suffered a 27-17 defeat.
The reverse was Westcliff’s 13th defeat in 14 games and left them second from bottom in the standings.
However, first team manager Rick Compton refused to be critical of the side and insisted they would continue to fight hard to maintain their National Three London & SE status.
“As always the lads battled hard and demonstrated for periods the ability to compete and succeed at this level,” said Compton.
“There were, though, a few errors at crucial times that cost us and luck seems to have turned its back on us.
“We have lost a little ground in the relegation fight now and are in danger of becoming detached from those around us, but we have to play both sides immediately above us yet and the fight goes on.”
The home side took the lead after taking advantage of poor ball retention at the contact area to drive up field.
And, after two penalties and one rather harsh yellow card, their number eight forced his way over from short range to open the scoring.
Westcliff defended resolutely for the following period and, when restored to full strength they began to exert pressure of their own, which was well but frequently desperately defended by CS Rugby.
But at the 25 minute mark luck deserted Westcliff, when the home side counter-attacked from broken play and moved the ball from one side of the pitch to the other.
Despite a foot in touch on one side of the pitch and a clear forward scoring pass on the other a try was awarded and the deficit stretched to 10-0.
As the half progressed further, Westcliff continued to press and, after 39 minutes, they were rewarded with a well-worked try by returning winger Conor O’Brien who went over in the corner.
That made it 10-5 but, after the break, the teams exchanged scores with each side’s wingers Houston and O’Brien again crossing for scores.
Going into the final 15 minutes the game was there to be won and lost by either side, but it went the way of CS Rugby.
Firstly the referee awarded a penalty try when a driving maul went to ground short of the line. And then the number eight again went over to create a game winning lead at 27-10.
Westcliff again responded positively and Elliott Harvey intercepted a pass out of defence to score under the posts which he duly converted himself but that proved to be just a consolation for his side.
Westcliff: Whelan, Pakau, McKeith, Harvey, O’Brien, B Jones, Whiting, Roberts, Weller, Binneman, S Jones, Mckean, Healy, Redding, Martyn.
Replacements: Smith, Cosgrove & Bard.
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