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Danny Cleare’s brace is not enough for Southend Rugby Club at Clifton
SOUTHEND winger Danny Cleare continued his fine form with two more tries at Clifton on Saturday but it was not enough to stop the Seasiders suffering a 26-24 defeat.
Cleare touched down twice in Bristol to make it five tries in his last four games.
And, despite the defeat, he was encouraged by Southend’s display.
“Even though we lost I actually thought we produced an improved performance,” said Cleare, 25.
“We went through phases of play much better and it was just 15 minutes at the start of the second half which really hit us.
“We leaked a few points during that time and that’s what cost us.
“But we looked dangerous with ball in hand and I think we’re getting there now so hopefully we can get a five point win against Taunton this weekend.”
However, Southend will go in to the game on the back of a disappointing defeat as Clifton secured their first victory of the season after suffering four successive defeats.
Clifton ran in four tries and, despite going in to the break two points behind, they were able to come out on top.
Ben Roberts kicked 16 points for the home-side but it was centre Will Pomphrey who opened the scoring after just six minutes with an unconverted try.
But Southend replied five minutes later when Sam Cook collected a high kick, sprinted forward and passed to Jack Jones who touched down.
Jones added the conversion to make it 7-5.
Clifton hit back with centre Samuel Harrison scoring a try which Roberts converted but Southend were not behind for long as Cleare scored his first of the afternoon.
Jones added the extras to put the Seasiders 14-12 in front at half time but the start of the second period saw Clifton race ahead.
Roberts kicked two penalties, the second of which came after Cook had been sin-binned for Southend, and two tries also followed with Sam Finken and James Stephenson both scoring.
Roberts then added another two penalties to make it 36-14. The Seasiders did manage to get on top in the closing stages with Andrew McClintock and Cleare both scoring tries.
That secured a bonus point but the efforts came too late to get Southend back in to the game as they slipped down to 10th in the table.
Southend: Billings, Cleare, Vaughan, MacGeachy, Driver, Jones, Sansom, Bailey, Grier, Strachan, Cook, McClintock, Barker, L Guess, Hudson.
Replacements: Irvine, Fombo, Keenan, Ashton & Branch.