RUGBY: Westcliff’s winless start to the National Two South season continued with a 36-7 defeat against Henley at the Gables.

Westcliff remain at the foot of the table after suffering a fifth setback in succession.

But Westcliff’s first team manager Rick Compton felt Henley were made to work hard for the win.

“The final score of 36-7 was fair but hard earned by the visitors,” said Compton.

“It was a performance, if not a result, that we could take plenty of positives from.

“The lead up to the game was difficult as injuries continued to bite, stretch, and undermine the squad, and the best efforts of all.

“We had to bring a lot of lads into the team, some of whom had never played for the first team before, others who hadn’t done so for several years, and most of whom hadn’t previously played the level.

“The application and commitment from everyone was a credit to themselves and each other, and for the club was both encouraging and immensely satisfying.”

Henley pressed from the outset but were consistently repelled by a dogged home defence who made occasional forays into Henley territory but without any reward.

It took 27 minutes for the visitors to break the deadlock, a score that was not undeserved but one for which they had had to work harder than they would have liked or might have anticipated.

The try was converted, and the game resumed the same pattern, Henley applying pressure and dominating territory whilst the hosts defended with commitment and vigour seeking to test and probe the visitors in defence whenever possible.

No further score arrived until the 39th minute when Henley scored a second try and headed in at the break to towel down and dry off with a 12-0 lead.

The game was competitive, and Westcliff were in it, but the third quarter saw the game go away from them quickly.

Two tries in the first 10 minutes of the half saw Henley establish a 24-0 lead and secure a try scoring bonus point.

Two further tries in the final quarter sandwiched the home sides best moment when 18-year-old debutant George Willsher chased down a kick and was on hand to collect and dot down the ball under the posts following a defensive fumble.

Westcliff: Hogarth, O’Brien, Cummins, Whiting, Ford, Bannister, Comber, Weston, Lynch, Lane, Anderson-Brown, Barnett, Dane, Hussey, Webber Replacements: Ajeige, Morrant, Redding, Miller & Willsher