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Southend Rugby Club end run of seven straight defeats by beating Launceston
SOUTHEND ended a run of seven straight defeats in National Two South on Saturday, beating in form Launceston 20-17 at Warners Bridge.
The victory brought the second from bottom Seasiders to within five points of safety.
But director of rugby Chris Green, who saw his side end the clash with just 12 men, does not want the win to be a one off.
“It was a great win but we need to build on it now and keep this going,” said Green.
“We’ve been working very hard in the last three weeks when we haven’t had a game and we’ve brought players in to improve the side.
“Saturday was the strongest starting line-up we’ve had all season and we beat the league’s in form side.
“They had won eight out of nine before playing us and beat Henley in that run who recently put 80 points on us.
“That shows how good this result was but it won’t mean anything unless we go on to get more good results now.”
Despite Southend’s victory, it was Launceston who opened the scoring with a penalty from Jake Murphy.
But the Seasiders hit back with top try scorer Mark Billings touching down for the 10th time this season to put the home-side 5-3 in front.
With the wind behind them Launceston fought back in the sticky conditions putting Southend on the back foot for the next 10 minutes but eventually they lost possession and Southend forced themselves upfield again.
Two neat kicks and a chip finally paid dividends as the ball popped up and was again moved swiftly across field for the returning Daniel Legge to dart over and make it 10-3.
Southend continued to press until eventually, just before half time, referee Rob Warburton lost patience giving another penalty under the posts and yellow carding carding Launceston second row Ben Hilton.
Andrew Frost popped the kick over to make it 13-3 at the break but the Seasiders were soon also reduced to 14 men when Andrew McClintock was sent to the sin bin.
A penalty try then followed which Murphy converted to cut Southend’s lead to 13-10.
However, the Seasiders dug deep and fierce counter rucking gained possession before they forced their way over the line through scrum-half Sam Arnott.
Frost converted and Southend to make it 20-10.
But Launceston replied and that pressure led to Green being yellow carded.
Harry Hudson soon followed him before Hilton took full advantage for the visitors, touching down to score.
Murphy added the extras before Alan Barker was sent to the sin bin.
However, the 12 men were able to keep the three point lead in tact to secure a vital victory.