SOUTHEND Saxons’ director of rugby Josh Ward was left ‘gutted’ following his side’s 57-28 defeat to North Walsham.

Southend had been hoping to again test one of London One North’s top teams after running second-placed Colchester close in their previous outing.

But Ward was frustrated with how the game panned out at Warners Bridge.

“I’m gutted in all honesty,” said Ward, whose side remain eighth in the table.

“There was a lot of optimism and focus within the group leading into the game.

“Our challenge from within was to prove we could perform with some consistency after last week but it wasn’t to be.

“Our spacing was poor in the first 40 and we were second best in the collision area.

“We kept chipping away on the scoreboard but our unforced error count was far too high which was a key factor in us not being able to generate any momentum.”

Third-placed Walsham were able to take full advantage and Ward was full of praise for the way the visitors performed.

“They’re an excellent outfit,” said Ward.

“They have a prolific backline and a dangerous back row unit.

“But we will brush ourselves down, regroup and plan to respond positively against Luton.”

Southend started slowly on Saturday and North Walsham took full advantage by scoring two converted tries inside the opening nine minutes to lead 14-0.

Saxons replied with a penalty from Simon Hoult before the experienced fly-half added another three points.

But Walsham soon regained control and bagged another try to lead 21-6 before Southend replied with a try of their own from Jake O’Kill.

Walsham hit back with another two tries either side of a Hoult penalty before Adam Cunnah scored a try on the stroke of half-time for Saxons.

But Walsham raced clear in the second half with Southend’s only score a try from Ian Morrison.

Southend Saxons: Ramsey, O’Brien, Cunnah, Vaughan, Day, Hoult, Branch, Smith, Grier, Bailey, Newton, O’Kill, Morrison, Cann, Wagstaff

Replacements: Armitage, Forster-Knight & Inwood