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Boss Chris Green praises gritty Southend Rugby Club's spirit as they see off Shelford
SOUTHEND’S director of rugby Chris Green heaped praise on his side for beating a strong Shelford side 17-13 in difficult circumstances at Warners Bridge on Saturday.
The Seasiders went into the game missing a number of key players and also had some playing out of position.
But they were still able to come out on top to make it back-to-back league wins.
“We found a way to win the game and that’s what mattered most,” said Green, whose side have won both their National Three South matches this season.
“We were without a recognised kicker and had to play a back row at centre, so we were up against it.
“But the spirit of this group is fantastic and that’s what saw us through.
“We’ll still be looking to bring in a bit more quality but what we already have here bodes well for the rest of the season.
“However, we certainly won’t be getting carried away on the back of two good results because there’s still an awful long way to go.”
Despite the final scoreline at the weekend it was Shelford who took the lead in the 20th minute when Seasiders winger Danny Cleare was yellow-carded and Rory Hutchinson kicked the resulting penalty.
Southend replied with a kick of their own from Harry Branch and the scored stayed 3-3 until the half-time break.
After the interval, the returning Michael Guess was also sin-binned for Southend and Shelford took full advantage with a try from Hutchinson which he also converted to make it 10-3.
But the Seasiders continued to attack and experienced replacement Lee Sandberg charged forward after a quick tap and shook off a couple of tackles to score.
A conversion from Mark Billings levelled the scores before Hutchinson worked his way on to the scoresheet once again with another penalty to put Shelford back in front.
However, Southend were not to be denied and, with 10 minutes remaining, Billings charged forward before swapping passes with Cleare to touch down.
Billings then also added the conversion to secure the Seasiders victory against a Shelford side who finished fifth in National Two South last season.