RUGBY: Rochford Hundred suffered a “nightmare” afternoon at Oundle, losing 41-17.

The defeat kept second-from-bottom Rochford eight points from safety in Regional One South East.

And it was a day to forget for Hundred’s head coach Danny Cleare.

“Saturday was a nightmare from before the game even started,” said Cleare.

“The weather was obviously bad and many games were being called off around us due to frozen pitches but we were constantly left in the dark as Oundle kept changing the venue and kick-off time.

“It wasn’t until we were at the service station on the way up that we had confirmation that the game was on and that the venue had changed once again.

“Preparation was far from ideal and even in the warm-up players were unsure whether it was safe to play due to large holes on the pitch that needed sorting.”

However, the match did go ahead and Cleare felt Rochford were playing well before being punished just before the break.

“We settled into the game well but conceded two tries before half time,” said Cleare.

“One was from a catch and drive and getting caught back down the blindside, and the other just from Jake Spivey slipping on the icy surface and Oundle just running through the gap it left.

“With a strong wind in the second half we felt the game was still in our grasp, but credit where it’s due Oundle played some excellent rugby.

“They kept the ball well and defended brilliantly.”

And that meant Rochford were unable to take anything from the game.

“We scored a couple of late tries ourselves and with four minutes on the clock the score was 29-17 so we were chasing that losing bonus point,” said Cleare.

“But as we were on the attack again we dropped the ball, Oundle went the distance and then scored another try from the kick off to finish 41-17.

“A disappointing result not to get anything from the game and further injuries to Jake Spivey, Fraser Murphy, Rob Gardner, Sonny Gay and Charlie Hopkins that all need assessing certainly doesn’t help.”

But Cleare insists Rochford will continue to give everything they have got in a bid to avoid a second successive relegation.

“With regards to the remainder of the season we certainly aren’t just going to throw the towel in,” said Cleare.

“We have seven games left and four of them are at home.

“We’ll be fighting for every point.”

Bottom-of-the-table Westcliff saw their match at Sudbury postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Table-topping Southend Saxons were without a fixture in Regional Two Anglia, but second-placed Eton Manor won 68-5 at Chelmsford and are now six points behind Southend.