WESTCLIFF let slip a 16 point lead before suffering a painful 34-29 defeat to Worthing.

Westcliff seemed set for an important victory at the Gables before the visitors fought back late on.

And Westcliff’s manager Rick Compton was left feeling frustrated at the final whistle.

“Truly this was a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” said Compton.

“Conceding 17 points in four minutes takes quite some doing but regrettably we managed it.

“Publicly we will acknowledge the efforts and execution of Worthing but privately we will have to face and address the glaring lapses in discipline, concentration, and game management that cost us the win.

“The two bonus points we took from the game extended the gap to the bottom three, but that gap is not insurmountable if for no other reason than those clubs all have to play each other.

“With eight games to go there is still much to do.”

Westcliff took the National Two South clash to the visitors from the outset and the game was only three minutes old when success came through the quick feet of Charlie Reed who jinked his way past defenders to open the scoring.

Joe Ford added the conversion before Worthing replied with a try of their own.

However, the hosts immediately hit back with Bean touching down but a penalty from Worthing reduced Westcliff’s lead to 12-10.

That soon became 19-10 when Sam Reynolds drove over just before the break and Westcliff surged further clear at the start of the second half with Bean scoring his second try of the afternoon.

As the final quarter commenced, Westcliff appeared to be in control and on course to record the double over the visitors. But, a lapse in concentration and discipline invited pressure and soon a technical yellow card for Sam Reynolds was brandished.

Immediately, Westcliff were compelled to defend but a poor kick gave possession straight back to the opposition who carried back to score close to the posts.

Westcliff replied with a penalty to make it 29-17 but Worthing scored two tries and a penalty in a disastrous final few minutes for the home-side to claim an unlikely looking win.

Westcliff: Spivey, Hogarth, Bannister, Reed, Bean, J Ford, Bolton, Dellas, Lynch, Binneman, Scogings, Dartnell, Reynolds, Webber, Smith. Replacements: T Ford, Ansell, Weston, Marsh & Hopkins