SEVENTEEN-year-old Fin Doyle bagged a hat-trick of tries for Westcliff against Guersney, but it was not enough to prevent a narrow 27-26 defeat at the Gables.

Doyle touched down three times during a keenly contested National Two South encounter.

But Westcliff were unable to get their noses in front, much to the frustration of first team manager Rick Compton.

“It was another nearly moment for us,” said Compton.

“Competitive, brave and bold throughout we came close to forcing what would have been an excellent result.

“Unfortunately, we never managed to get our noses in front and conceded points at bad times.

“Some of those were well crafted but some others were given up too cheaply.

“Two bonus points are welcome but there is a sense of frustration that we could have snatched the win but failed to.

“Still a step forward though and a good response to the mauling at Esher.

“It was also a wonderful hat trick for 17-year-old Fin Doyle who took his opportunities very well.”

The game remained scoreless until the 19th minute when a goal line drop out held up in the wind hit the deck and bounced fortuitously for the Guernsey winger who seized upon it and strode home powerfully.

The hosts though were quick to respond and levelled the score three minutes later through the pace of teenager Doyle who after being released by a long pass, danced down the touch line evading two defenders in the process.

Both tries were unconverted and as half time approached the scores were tied at 5-5.

Guernsey asserted themselves and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes of the half, the second after an attempted interception was knocked on by skipper Greg Bannister who was invited to take a ten-minute rest for his trouble.

Nevertheless, in the final play of the half Doyle once more evaded a defence that afforded him too much space and time to score under the posts. Westcliff remained a man down for the opening minutes of the second half and Guernsey were able to exploit their numerical advantage with another try to make it 22-12.

Once back to 15 men, Westcliff created an opportunity for Mason Nichols who finished clinically and Bannister converted to cut the lead to 22-19.

The visitors responded with a try of their own to make before Westcliff hit back with another excellent try from Doyle.

Bannister’s conversion brought the scores to within a single point but Guernsey held firm and took the win.