WESTCLIFF set up a promotion play-off with a final day victory at Dorking.

Westcliff triumphed 33-26 to move into second place in the London & SE Premier Division standings.

And director of rugby Rick Compton was quick to heap praise on his side, despite not being completely satisfied with their defending.

“On another day we might take issue with ourselves over the late points we shipped but at the end of a long league campaign we are happier to dwell instead on a fantastic season,” said Compton.

“We scored more points than anyone else, conceded the least and also won more bonus points.

“To have finished second is a wonderful achievement for us and is one of which we are very proud.

“There is a temptation to dwell on what might have been given the last play six-point swing against Sutton in March but every team in every season will reflect on those sliding door moments and it won’t do anyone much good.

“Congratulations to Sutton, they are worthy champions who have won more games than anyone else and deserve their prize.

“But we will move on to the play-off against Barnstaple of whom we know nothing but we already look forward to welcoming them to the Gables on April 27.”

Westcliff headed into the final day of the league season in third place but were able to overtake rivals Wimbledon, who drew 12-12 at Tring, to take second spot.

Westcliff took control from the outset at the weekend and raced into a 21-0 lead inside the opening 15 minutes with three converted tries.

A series of patient short range drives saw Ewan Binneman touch down first and was followed by an incisive line break after good approach play by Greg Bannister.

Jim Smith added the third try and, at this stage, Dorking had barely seen the ball.

But when their opportunity arrived, they were able to apply some pressure of their own and did score an unconverted try.

However, as the half progressed Westcliff remained very much in the ascendancy carrying the greater threat and, despite being down temporarily to 14 with Billy Morrant in the bin, they scored again when breaking with pace from deep for Bannister to score his second try of the afternoon to put the hosts 26-5 in front at half-time.

After the break, a try from Jack Jones - who successfully chased and touched down a Maloney kick - put Westcliff 33-5 ahead.

But, just after the hour mark, Dorking scored two quickfire tries to reduce the arrears to 33-19.

Westcliff went back on the front foot but a final pass - which was a little forced - went to ground and was seized upon by Dorking who ran hard out of defence in behind the Westcliff cover to run the length of the field and touch down.

Suddenly the complexion of the game had changed but Westcliff held on to win and set up their promotion play-off.

Westcliff: S Brown, O Jones, Bannister, R Smith, Merrick, McKeith, Spivey, Dellas, Morrant, Binneman, Scogings, Dartnell, Maloney, Hatton, J Smith

Replacements: Lane, C Brown & H Morrant