FIRST team manager Rick Compton felt Westcliff produced an improved performance against Taunton Titans, despite suffering a 54-27 defeat.

The setback was Westcliff’s seventh in succession at the start of the National Two South season.

But Compton was keen to point out there was still plenty to be positive about.

“Despite the margin of defeat, it was an improved performance on the lacklustre showing at Bournemouth and one from which positives can be taken and improvements made,” said Compton.

“A lot of honest effort and endeavour and, at times, incisive and attractive rugby were pleasing.

“There was also a very accomplished cameo from young Ewan Richmond possibly debuting at an even more tender age than father Stuart.

“There were shortcomings too though, and those will be the focus as the squad prepare midweek for the trip to Worthing.”

Taunton opened the scoring with a converted try at the Gables before Westcliff levelled the scores with a converted try from Sean Triana.

The hosts then went in front with a penalty from Greg Bannister before Ewan Binneman touched down to extend Westcliff’s lead to 17-7.

Taunton - who are second in the table - hit back with a try of their own before Bannister kicked another penalty.

However, another Taunton try put them 21-20 in front at half-time before an effort at the start of the second half put them eight points ahead.

The next 15 minutes ebbed and flowed before Taunton pounced on a dropped ball spilt in unsatisfactory circumstances to score once more under the posts.

Westcliff replied as youngster Jack Hogarth scythed down the wing for a converted try to bring them back to within eight points.

But the hosts were unable to force another opportunity and, legs tired, Taunton ran in three tries to seal their win.

Westcliff: Bannister, Triana, Hughes, Whiting, Hogarth, Croft, H Morrant, Meakin, Lynch, Binneman, Scogings, Dartnell, Vandermolen, Webber, Reynolds

Replacements: Richmond, Marsh, Kwaasi, B Morrant & Dellas