Tunbridge Wells: 24
After a well-earned break Tunbridge Wells travelled to Westcliff, who were just two points ahead of them in fifth place in the London and South-East Premier Division.
This was a contest of the best sides outside the top four, who are a considerable distance ahead while these two teams are well clear of the rest.
Westcliff were two points above Wells in fifth and had their tails up after a good win over Sutton and Epsom in their last fixture.
Wells found it hard going against a very solid Westcliff pack and it took them a while to get into the game. The home backs probed their defensive line without success, but they always looked dangerous.
Westcliff got on the scoreboard with two penalties and there was a yellow card apiece. With a few minutes left in the first half Wells were applying sustained pressure to the Westcliff line, the ball was spun out to the backs and Mike Doherty went over.
Frank Reynolds’ conversion meant the visitors edged ahead to go in at half-time 7-6 ahead. Both teams were restored to full strength after the interval but Wells started again as they had left off.
Piling on the pressure again they moved the ball efficiently out to the new captain, Ryan Taylor-Dennehy, for an unconverted score.
Westcliff finally found their first try soon after to bring the scores back to 11-12. Nerves were jangling a little but seven minutes later Taylor-Dennehy bagged his second, though again the extras were lacking so the game was still in the balance.
With less than 10 minutes to go, prop Ben Williams broke through the defensive line and cleverly fed the ball across the pitch to Shadyn Osgood, who embarked on a 50-metre run for the bonus point try.
Reynolds slotted over the conversion to give the visitors breathing space, though Westcliff scored again before the final whistle.
It was another solid defensive performance against a side who they leapfrogged into fifth place, making it a double over the Essex side.
There are now only two games to go and Tunbridge Wells welcome Guildford to St Mark’s for the last home fixture of the season on Saturday (April 14, kick-off 3pm).