SOUTHEND Saxons suffered a narrow 28-25 defeat at high-flying Colchester - in a game they felt ended 12 minutes early.

The defeat saw Saxons slip down to eighth in the London One North standings.

But Southend’s director of rugby Josh Ward was keen to remain upbeat.

“‪I’m incredibly proud of the boys’ efforts,” said Ward.

“We pushed a top two side and who knows what the last 12 minutes may have held.

“Colchester are a good side and at times we lacked accuracy against them.

“They took their chances like you would expect a good side to do.”

Southend led 10-7 at half-time with Vinnie Cann scoring a try and Simon Hoult kicking the rest of the points.

Second-placed Colchester raced into a 21-10 lead after the break before Southend hit back with Nik Grier and Fraser Banks both touching down before the referee brought the game to an end far earlier than expected to leave Ward frustrated.

“I’m disappointed for our boys and things like timekeeping shouldn’t take headlines over a fiercely competitive game,” said Ward.

“But it’s a brilliant measure of where we were and where we are now as a group.

“Some of the rugby we played was outstanding.”

Southend: Ramsey, Banks, Cunnah, Vaughan, Day, Hoult, Branch, Armitage, Grier, Bailey, Newton, O’Kill, Morrison, Cann, Wagstaff

Replacements: Smith, Forster-Knight & O’Brien