BRACKNELL RFC dropped into the South West Premier drop zone after falling to a 17-10 home defeat against fellow strugglers Cleve on Saturday.

It was the away side who dominated the opening half-hour, and they eventually took a deserved lead when a strong counter-ruck allowed No. 8 Anton Welling to pick the ball up and cross the whitewash. Nathan Huntley added the extras to put his side 7-0 in front.

The power of the Cleve forwards was again in evidence shortly afterwards, with Welling again the beneficiary as he dotted down at the back of a strong rolling maul.

Huntley again converted, but Bracknell responded before the break, Cam MacDonald with a neat side step and reach to put his side on the scoreboard.

Vic Hardwicke slotted the conversion and the hosts trailed 14-7 at the interval.

A Hardwicke penalty early in the second period reduced the deficit to four points, and the hosts began to take control of play.

However, their execution, mixed with some stubborn Cleve defence, meant their authority was not matched with points, even after visiting wing Diago Baker was shown a yellow card following a series of infringements from his teammates.

And despite the man advantage, Bracknell still could not find a way through, with a Huntley penalty setting the seal on Cleve's victory and helping his side leapfrog their opponents out of the bottom three.

Bracknell are now two points behind Cleve and face a crucial trip to another side in the thick of the relegation battle – fifth-bottom Drybrook – on Saturday, March 2.

BRACKNELL Ladies' superb run to the quarter-finals of the RFU Junior Cup was ended with a 45-5 defeat to Cannock on Sunday.