WESTCLIFF let slip a 15-0 lead to draw 20-20 with Bournemouth in an entertaining encounter at the Gables.

Westcliff seemed well set for a third successive victory before the visitors fought back to take the lead in the second half.

The hosts piled on the pressure at the death and were somehow denied a penalty try before Jake Spivey touched down to level the scores.

However, Joe Ford’s resulting conversion went wide of the left post in the final action of the match.

And Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton was keen to look towards the positives.

“We have to take a balanced view about the result,” said Compton.

“If we had been offered 12 points from these last three key games a month ago, we would have taken them happily. We have created a little space between ourselves and those three teams but the gap is not unbridgeable, and we let two points slip out of our grasp on Saturday.

“We can look to the referee and his reluctance to award a penalty try at the end but we failed to win the game because we were wasteful with opportunities in the first half, missed all our shots at goal, and sleep walked our way through poor decision making into conceding 20 unanswered points in a 10 minute spell . It should be said as well that Bournemouth were competitive throughout and really seized their opportunity, but we should have closed this game out and not doing so is frustrating.”

Westcliff opened the scoring with a try from Greg Bannister in the 29th minute before the hosts doubled their lead when turnover ball led to debutant Ford charging unopposed down the right flank to score.

Ford - who is the brother of Westcliff’s head coach Jacob and England international George - signed on the eve of the game and saw the hosts extend their lead in the second half with Myles Bean touching down.

However, Bournemouth hit back with two converted tries and two penalties to lead 20-15.

A shocked Westcliff replied and with a dominant scrum looked to drive the visitors over their own line. But persistent infringements led to a succession of penalties and two yellow cards but crucially no penalty try.

Spivey eventually touched down out wide but Ford’s missed conversion meant the game ended all square.

Westcliff: Spivey, Bannister, Campey, Jones, Bean, Ford, Bolton, Dellas, Morrant, Binneman, Scogings, Vandermolen, S Reynolds, Marsh, Smith. ReplacementsL Weston, Hogarth, B Reynolds, Johnson & Lynch