WESTCLIFF’S first team manager Rick Compton was left ruing a disappointing first half display following a 45-10 defeat at Leicester Lions.

The setback kept Westcliff 13th in the National Two South standings.

And Compton offered an honest assessment of Westcliff’s first outing of 2020.

“It was a disappointing performance and there is no getting away from it or any desire to do so,” said Compton.

“While we are happy to credit the lads for the second half improvement, the first half was not good enough, not by a long way.

“That is something we will review and address between now and next week when we commence a pivotal block of games against the teams around us in the league table.”

Westcliff’s first visit to the Lions was made on a chilly, grey afternoon with a breeze blowing across the pitch which was dry but soft underfoot.

The opening 10 minutes were keenly and evenly contested with Westcliff drawing first blood through Greg Bannister, who converted a penalty awarded after a high midfield tackle.

However, after 11 minutes, Lions winger Devon Constant collected a kick and chipped the ball back before recovering it in space to allow him to score a try which was converted.

Moments later, Leicester returned with another converted try from the restart and for the rest of the half Westcliff wilted under sustained pressure that yielded a further four tries and a commanding 40-3 lead at the break.

The second half was a much more competitive affair and there were no further scores in the third quarter.

The Lions did break through again after 62 minutes to extend the lead to 45-3.

But Westcliff continued to apply themselves and, with 10 minutes left, scored through Jake Campey bagging a try which Bannister converted.

The rest of the game saw Westcliff consistently on the front foot for the first time and they forced a couple of opportunities for further scores which were frustrated by last ditch defending, before crossing again in the game’s final play.

Henry Morrant was on hand to touch down after the ball was lost at the base of a defensive scrum.

But, after consultation with the touch judge and with more than a hint of uncertainty, the referee ruled a knock on and brought the game to a close at 45-10.

Westcliff - who welcomed scrum-half Jake Spivey back into their starting line-up - sit one place and two points above the relegation zone.

And they face a crunch clash at home to second-from-bottom Sutton & Epsom this weekend.

Westcliff: B Jones, Bean, Campey, B Reynolds, Radzevicius, Bannister, Spivey, Dellas, Lynch, Binneman, Scogings, Dartnell, Webber, Reynolds, Smith

Replacements: H Morrant, Weston, Marsh, Hopkins & Hughes

>Thurrock resumed their London One South campaign with a shock 32-26 defeat at home to struggling Dartfordians.

The T’s are ninth in the standings.