Clifton beaten by relegation strugglers Park
WESTCOMBE Park had targeted this game for maximum points in their battle to avoid relegation.
They achieved their objective of securing the five points, but other results did not go their way.
By the end of the season, they may well regret the five-point deduction they suffered for fielding an ineligible player in their league opener with Southend last September.
Clifton quickly established superiority at the scrum, an advantage they held throughout the game, and their backs made holes in the home side's defence.
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After four minutes, scrum-half Matt Britton took a quick penalty 40 metres out and went past several defenders before feeding full-back Will Pomphrey, who raced in under the posts. Fly-half Ben Roberts landed the extras.
Pomphrey, pictured, was unfortunate not to score again when he was dragged down just short of the try-line.
After 12 minutes, Clifton prop Tom Harrison was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle.
The home side came to life and had superiority at the line-outs.
Clifton defended well until scrum-half Chas Edwards went over from close range. Fly-half Joe Simpson's conversion went over, off the post.
Shortly afterwards, Britton followed Harrison to the sin-bin following a deliberate knock-on.
With 13 men, Clifton prevented Westcombe Park from scoring. But, after Harrison returned, Clifton went behind when Simpson kicked to the corner and winger Kevin Leeper beat Pomphrey to the touchdown.
Good defence from Clifton prevented any further scores in the first half. However, soon after the break, Westcombe Park winger Nikki Davies raced past several defenders before putting centre Graham Purdy in for a try.
Worst was to follow for Clifton when Leeper won the race to his own kick-ahead to score. Simpson added the extras.
Clifton came back into the game when, from a line-out close to the line, they took a clean catch and a drive from the pack ended with Phil Schmid, who answered a late call to play his first senior game for four seasons, crossing the line.
The home side went further ahead when flanker James Lindfield drove over from close range.
In the closing stages, swift passing following a line-out put replacement Clifton winger Sam Harrison over in the corner.
Then, a blindside break by Britton and a swift inside pass sent winger Sam Smith in for a try under the posts, which secured a losing bonus point for the visitors.