WESTCLIFF finished a successful 2019 with a 36-15 defeat against Bury St Edmunds.

Westcliff were promoted from the London & SE Premier Division last season and are now playing at the highest level in their history.

The club have also switched to an impressive new ground in recent weeks but were unable to end the calendar year on a high.

And Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton felt Bury’s quality shone through.

“Bury had that little bit of quality at key moments that decided the outcome but it was disappointing to get nothing from the game,” said Compton.

“The lads deserved more for their efforts but as we already know deserving and getting are not the same thing.

“It got away from us in those final couple of minutes but there is no point dwelling on it.

“January is a big month for us and the week off after 16 National Two league games on the bounce is more than welcome.

“When the lads get together again after Christmas it is hoped they will have benefited from the rest and we can head into the new year with confidence and renewed vigour.”

Bury raced into a 10-0 lead before Westcliff replied with a try of their own as Ewan Binneman charged through to score.

The contest, particularly up front, soon gathered pace and intensity but Bury scored next to put them 17-5 in front.

But again Westcliff responded, forcing their way deep into Bury territory before second row James Scogings touched down and Greg Bannister added the conversion to cut Bury’s lead to 17-12 at half-time.

The next score would clearly be important but for 25 minutes none arrived.

During that time Westcliff missed a penalty attempt and turned down another opportunity, six potential points that would have nosed them ahead.

But changes from the bench for the visitors introduced a new energy and threat and after 65 minutes a long miss pass fed a back row forward who collected the ball at full pace and burst his way to the line.

Westcliff replied with a penalty from Bannister to bring the hosts back to within one score but the visitors scored two more tries in the final two minutes to seal their win.

The defeat leaves Westcliff 14th in the National Two South standings.

Westcliff: Bannister, Croft, Campey, B Reynolds, Parmenter, B Jones, Bolton, Dellas, Lynch, Binneman, Scogings, Vandermolen, Johnson, S Reynolds, Webber

Replacements: Weston, Hopkins, Marsh, Barrett & Morrant