Westcliff moved to the top of the London One North table with a 29-20 win at Colchester.

The home-side were the architects of their own misfortune but Westcliff showed why they are tipped to perform well this season, defending well and attacking throughout to contribute to a rugby spectacle.

Westcliff took an early lead when their pack caught the home forwards cold to recycle ball through a series of rucks and mauls to put Colchester onto the back foot.

Spotting a gap in the home defence lock Simon Jones picked up from a ruck and sprinted for a try near the posts, which was converted by fly-half Ben McKeith after three minutes.

Colchester responded through skipper James Mitchell who burst though midfield, then number eight Nick Cooper-Hicks charged near the Westcliff line before the visitors were penalised for killing the ball.

Colchester fly-half Chris Withers slotted home the kick for three points.

Westcliff then responded in kind, McKeith punishing a Colchester offside.

Skipper Mitchell set up another Colchester attack, offloading to right wing Lawrence Tapper who used his speed and sidestep to break from halfway to near the Westcliff line, the ball was quickly recycled for wing Damien Brambley to cross for a try.

Westcliff attacked and McKeith slid through a gap to cross behind the posts to aid his conversion which saw the visitors lead 17-8 at half-time.

Colchester restarted disastrously, running the kick-off back only to drop the ball near their line.

Westcliff pounced to keep the ball live and centre Elliot Harvey crossed for a try, with McKeith converting for a 24-8 lead on 42 minutes.

Colchester responded by running a penalty, Brambley broke and linked with flanker Dan Whiteman.

Whiteman used his speed to set up a ruck deep in the Westcliff half, the ball was quickly spun wide for centre Daryl Walters to break a couple of tackles to score, Withers then added the conversion.

But Westcliff extended their lead thanks to another Colchester error as a clearance failed to find touch and replacement lock Reece Whiting dived over for an unconverted try.

Colchester then pinned Westcliff in defence and the visitors lost a player to the sin-bin for preventing Colchester taking a quick tap penalty.

But a series of dropped balls frustrated Colchester’s scoring hopes. Having used all their substitutes, Westcliff lost scrum-half Dale Farnham to injury and another sin-bin reduced them to 13 players for the last eight minutes.

Colchester at last held onto the ball for flanker Ollie Pickett to cross for a try but Westcliff used their experience to play out the game and held on for a deserved win.

Thurrock were not so fortunate though, losing 18-13 at home to Woodford and are now sixth in the standings.