SOUTHEND Saxons rallied late on to secure an exciting 34-26 win against Old Haberdashers.

With the wind behind them in the first half, Southend surged into a 26-7 lead.

But Old Haberdashers hit back after the break to level the scores before a late penalty from Ben Lloyd and a try from Tom Richards saw Southend come out on top, much to the delight of the club’s director of rugby Josh Ward.

“It was definitely a game of two halves that we’ll learn a lot from,” said Ward.

“I thought we played some outstanding attacking rugby in the second quarter and secured the bonus point early as a result.

“Naturally we’re disappointed with our second half showing.

“I felt we were incredibly short changed at times and on the receiving end of some interesting decisions.

“But we’re delighted with how the boys found a way to get us over the line in the closing moments.

“The support was phenomenal and got us through some tricky moments.

“It was never going to be the complete performance but there’s plenty for us to be excited about going forward and plenty for us to address ahead of Brentwood this week.”

Despite playing against the wind, it was Old Haberdashers who opened the scoring at the weekend with a converted try.

But Southend soon hit back with scrum half Harry Branch darting through to score a try Ben Lloyd converted to level the scores.

Moments later, summer signing Connor Cooper also touched down before a try from Blue Newton put the hosts 19-7 in front.

Southend remained on top and soon extended their lead when another debutant, Simon Wasley, broke two tackles to touch down under the posts.

Lloyd’s conversion made it 26-7 at the break but Old Haberdashers piled the pressure on in the second half and Southend were soon hindered by a yellow card shown to skipper Ian Morrison.

The visitors made the most of their extra man with a converted try to cut Southend’s lead to 12 points and continued to push forward.

As a result, another try soon followed, as did another yellow card to Saxons’ number eight Matt Wagstaff.

Old Haberdashers again took full advantage with a try from their number eight following another scrum and the resulting conversion levelled the scores with just five minutes to go.

But, just at the visitors seemed set for victory, Southend rallied and regained the lead when Lloyd bravely took on a tricky penalty which he slotted through the posts despite kicking into a strong wind.

From the resulting kick-off, Southend appeared to knock the ball forward.

However, the game was bizarrely allowed to continue, enabling Richards to sprint through to score a try Lloyd converted in the game’s closing action.

Southend Saxons: Ramsey, Banks, Wasley, Vaughan, Day, Lloyd, Branch, Smith, Forster-Knight, Armitage, O’Kill, Newton, Cooper, Morrison, Wagstaff

Replacements: Reeman, Law & Richards