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Sam Nash brace helps Southend beat Dings Crusaders
A BRACE of tries from debutant Sam Nash helped a new look Southend open their National Two South season with an impressive 32-26 win at Dings Crusaders.
The 24-year-old centre, who joined the Seasiders during the summer, was on target during the first half to help his new side record an impressive opening day victory.
And the Kiwi is confident Southend will now be able to build on the win.
“It was a very good way to start the season and I think we can do well this year,” said Nash, who was playing in Ireland last term.
“With the squad we have here and the players still to come back I think we could be up there and this was a great first result for us.
“Dings were strong in the forwards, especially early on, but I think our backs had the better of theirs and that helped us come out on top.
“We’re all pleased and want to keep this going now.”
Southend opened the scoring after just three minutes when Alex Harrison, a recent recruit from the Wasps academy, kicked a penalty.
That lead was soon extended when fly-half Chris Vaughan bagged his side’s first try of the season which Harrison converted to make it 10-0.
Dings soon hit back with Mark Woodrow kicking two penalties before James Oakley scored an impressive try.
Woodrow converted to put the home-side 13-10 in front.
Southend suffered a further blow when Tom Gannon was yellow-carded for offside and Dings took full advantage of their extra man with scrum half Ross Hickery touching down.
Woodrow’s conversion made it 20-10.
But the Seasiders soon hit back, Nash scoring his first try of the day and Harrison kicking a conversion and a penalty to make it 20-20 at the break.
Dings went back in front at the start of the second half with another Woodrow penalty but Gannon then made amends for his earlier yellow card by scoring a well-taken try to put Southend 25-23 in front.
Nash soon scored his second try of the game which Harrison converted to make it 32-23.
Woodrow closed that gap with a penalty and, when Southend replacement Darryl Ox was yellow-carded, the Crusaders must have fancied their chances of coming out on top.
But the Seasiders dug deep.
And they came out on top and lift the mood of their director of rugby Chris Green who is unlikely to play again after suffering a broken leg in a pre-season friendly against Rosslyn Park.
“This result is a real credit to the players and also the coaches,” said Green.
“Daniel Legge, Michael Guess, Mark Williams and Kevin Harman have all done a fantastic job with the team. And all the credit should go to them and the players for this great win.”
Southend now return to Warners Bridge this weekend to take on Shelford.