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Westcliff Rugby Club edged out by Barnes
WESTCLIFF’S first team manager Rick Compton was proud of his players after they ran third placed Barnes close in National Three London & SE.
Second from bottom Westcliff matched their high-flying hosts for large sections of the game.
But, despite eventually suffering a 26-17 defeat, Compton felt the performance showed the improvements the team have made during the season.
“It was a tough game against a tough side in a tough league and the lads came up just short as has too often been the case,” said Compton, whose side are seven points from safety with four games to go.
“Nevertheless as I have been able to say time after time in recent weeks and months the group we have here have all improved over the course of the season and have always given 100 per cent.
“The club is very pleased with what is essentially a home grown bunch of lads competing at the highest level the club has ever played at and however the last few weeks of the season pan out that will remain the case. “ Heavy overnight rain had produced a difficult playing surface in south west London and the home team found their feet on the sodden surface quicker than Westcliff who, having gone into the game with enforced front five personnel changes, struggled early on in the set piece.
Barnes were quick to realise this and press home their advantage which they were able to do to telling effect.
Establishing territorial advantage they were able to assert pressure which resulted in two first half yellow cards for the visitors.
Enjoying momentum and numerical advantage during this time Barnes were able to score three converted tries from set piece play establishing a healthy 21-9 half time lead.
Westcliff’s points all came from the boot of McKeith but Barnes attacked at the start of the second half and soon crashed over for another try.
However, the rest of the half saw Westcliff produce their best rugby of the day.
McKeith kicked another penalty and then Seb Reynolds went over for a well worked try.
The conversion struck the post and McKeith then failed with a penalty which would have earned the team a losing bonus point.