SOUTHEND Saxons were seen off 57-7 at high-flying North Walsham.

The defeat saw Southend slip down to ninth in the London One North standings and frustrated their director of rugby Josh Ward.

“We were nowhere near good enough on Saturday, simple,” said Ward.

“Within 17 minutes our bench was emptied with match-ending injuries but we had a lot of off-colour performances.

“Pleasingly, we had some fresh young blood experiencing first team rugby away from home against a well oiled side and this will be a great step forward in their long-term development.

“I thought Ian (Morrison), J Lo (Jake O’Kill) and Collen (Smith) were excellent upfront, while Banksy (Fraser Banks) and Tom Day put in tremendous shifts in the back line.”

But Ward still remains convinced Southend are moving in the right direction.

“We’re developing a group that are honest, both individually and collectively, meaning there’s not much that needs to be said immediately after,” said Ward.

“The boys nailed it afterwards, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and we’re still on track with our project.

“But again there’s a busy week for our physio team before we look to bounce back next week at home with a ruthless performance against Luton.”

Southend started Saturday’s clash on the front foot and deservedly took the lead when the powerful Will Cooper scored his first try for the Saxons in the left corner following an intense period of pressure.

Tom Ramsay added the conversion to put Southend 7-0 ahead before the hosts hit back with two tries in quick succession to lead 14-7.

Ramsey and Owen Gemmell then both went off injured before the hosts scored three more tries to lead 33-7 at half-time.

After the break, North Walsham - who are third in the standings - remained in control and scored four more tries to complete a convincing victory.

Southend Saxons: Ramsey, Day, Sexton, Banks, O’Brien, Stalley, Branch, Smith, Sheils, Cooper, McClintock, O’Kill, Wood, Morrison, Gemmell

Replacements: Rosewell, Tottman & Hoult