WESTCLIFF slipped to a 24-7 defeat at Tunbridge Wells in the London & SE Premier Division.

Westcliff had been hoping to secure a third successive victory for the first time this season.

But Tunbridge Wells had other ideas, much to the frustration of Westcliff’s director of rugby Rick Compton.

“It was a difficult afternoon for the lads, we never got our game going and rarely looked like hurting or imposing ourselves on the opposition,” said Compton.

“Of course a lot of credit for that goes to them and they looked like a decent side on top of their game.

“Unfortunately, we were not and in this very competitive league if levels are not maintained either through injuries and unavailable players or just a bad day at the coal face you will get exposed and so it was for us on Saturday.

“The good thing is that we know we are better than we showed and that we are capable of beating any and every team in this league on our day.

“We will get an opportunity to demonstrate that on Saturday, when we host the league leaders Hertford.”

Despite the defeat, Westcliff remain fifth in the table.

But, from the outset on Saturday, Tunbridge Wells were on their game and applied pressure in attack on the heavy pitch and were uncompromising in defence.

Westcliff were clearly not playing as well as in recent weeks and struggled for most of the afternoon to assert themselves on the opposition.

The first try arrived after quarter of an hour and was somewhat unsatisfactory and unpalatable from the Westcliff point of view - mainly because of a couple of poor tackles and missed tackles.

Their frustration was compounded by the fact the try scorer also appeared to have been bundled into touch prior to touching down.

But the officials still opted to award the try, which was converted, and Tunbridge soon added a second to lead 14-0 at half-time.

After the break, Tunbridge added two more tries before Westcliff replied with a try of their own from Joe Vandermolen, which was converted by Jack Jones.

However, it came too late to spark a Westcliff comeback.

Westcliff: Spivey, Cross, O. Jones, J. Jones, Merrick, Whiting, Branch, Morrant, Macintyre, Brown, Webster, Scogings, Maloney, Marsh, Vandermolen Replacements: Weston, Smith & Reynolds