A very wet and windy day at Westcombe Park greeted Southend for this final game of the season.
Rather like the same fixture last season Coombe were fighting for survival whilst Southend had nothing other than pride to play for and like last last year their performance reflected it.
The first half was dominated by Coombe apart from a two minute period early in the game when Southend visited their half of the field and were rewarded with a typical Sam Arnott try. Having forced a couple of penalties he elected to tap and go on both occasion finally wriggling through and touching down. 5-0 to Southend.
That was it for the rest of the half though, Coombe's pack were bossing their Southend counterparts who just could not provide any kind of platform for their backs to work with. With a number of new players and others playing out of position the constant pressure finally told and Coombe were rewarded with four try's the first from full back Chris O'Neill, another from outside centre Kieran Leeper, a penalty try and in the final seconds of the first half one from flanker James Lindfield. Only one was converted but it was enough to send them into the break 22-7 up.
Coombe came out for the second half in bright red shirts and Southend made some changes and steadied the ship. They started to see more of the ball and put some pressure on themselves and were finally rewarded with an unconverted try from lock Andrew McClintock, 22-12.
However ten minutes later the Coombe pack set up a rolling maul that gained thirty yards before being bought down illegally. The penalty kick was booted into the corner and the ensuing catch and drive ended with James Lindfield touching down for his second of the day. The conversion attempt failed but the score moved on to 27-12.
Southend continued to press and looked like making a real game of it as they shipped the ball across the field, unfortunately with try line beckoning the final pass went forward and they lost their chance.
Southend rang some more changes and continued to take the game to Coombe. A good flowing move resulted in centre Chris Vaughan charging over for another try. Jack Jones converted and Southend had pulled some more points back 27-19 but it was too little too late.
Despite their win Westcombe lost the fight for survival. Their fate was sealed as Lydney beat Barnes in the Forest of Dean so the division loses one of it's best liked traditional rugby clubs. Expect them to bounce back next season.
Glad to report we will still be visiting Kent as Canterbury did just that and we look forward to seeing all our old friends again.
Finally thanks for another roller coaster of a season Southend and providing the opportunity for another tilt at the title in August.