WESTCLIFF moved 13 points clear of the drop zone with a hard-fought 16-10 win at Old Albanians.

The victory boosted Westcliff’s National Two South survival hopes.

And it also left first team manager Rick Compton a happy man at the full-time whistle.

“It was really pleasing to get the win, not least because of its importance in our aim to secure our National Two status, but also because the defeat at home in November had been rather galling,” said Compton.

“We had to make a few changes but we backed up the performance from last week and got the win we deserved.

“It’s a huge four points that we have banked as we take the opportunity to recharge batteries and, hopefully, recover from various knocks during the break week.

“When we return to action the week after we travel to Cornwall to meet in form Redruth who no doubt still smart from the defeat, we inflicted on them on the memorable day we left the old Gables back in late November.”

Westcliff defended well early on at the weekend before starting to ask questions of their own, gaining the ascendancy for the second quarter, controlling possession advancing upfield and forcing two penalties converted by Joe Ford.

A third opportunity was declined by an increasingly confident Westcliff who went instead to the corner seeking greater reward. Strong try line defence kept them at bay for some minutes, and when they felt they got themselves over the line the referee was on the wrong side to be certain.

Westcliff were then disappointed again when their hard-earned lead evaporated in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

An early penalty from the hosts was quickly followed by a try for number eight Oliver Stonham which was converted to put them in the lead for the first and only time.

Westcliff did not despair and struck back within five minutes when an adventurous cross field kick was collected, carried upfield at pace, and moved to Greg Bannister who scored in the corner.

Westcliffs endeavour and ambition were rewarded again after 60 minutes when, after a prolonged period of pressure, Chris Bolton sniped down the short side to score in the corner and the visitors hung on despite a yellow card to Bannister.

Westcliff: Reed, Bannister, Campey, Jones, T Ford, J Ford, Bolton, Weston, Morrant, Binneman, Scogings, Vandermolen, Barrett, Webber, Reynolds. Replacements: Spivey, Hogarth, Lane, Lynch & Johnson