SOUTHEND Saxons suffered a 32-10 defeat to table-topping North Walsham - but director of rugby Josh Ward remained proud of his side’s efforts.

The home defeat saw Southend slip down to third in the London One standings.

However, Ward was happy with the effort shown by his team at Warners Bridge.

“We’re naturally gutted in the dressing room but I’m immensely proud of the boys’ efforts,” said Ward.

“We came up against the best team in this league and the last 10 minutes demonstrated why they have that status.

“We made some costly errors and lacked execution at times which we paid for.

“The second half we played some excellent rugby, we had tempo and desire which caused them some problems.

“But it’s a good measure for us, we’re on track and getting better.

“Three tries in the last 10 minutes stabs us on the scoreboard but we’ll look forward to getting back to it in training.”

North Walsham opened the scoring with a penalty and a try to make it 10-0 before Saxons hit back with a try from in-form number eight Matt Wagstaff.

The visitors replied with another penalty to lead 13-5 at half-time.

Connor Cooper touched down for Southend after the break but Walsham scored a trio of their own tries to secure victory.

Walsham now sit 10 points clear at the top of the table with Colchester moving up above Southend into second place.

Saxons will now be looking to get back on track when they head to 11th placed Chingford this weekend.

Southend Saxons: Ramsey, Richards, Law, Vaughan, Day, Lloyd, Branch, Reeman, Forster-Knight, Armitage, Cooper, O’Kill, Cooper, Morrison, Wagstaff

Replacements: Smith, Read & Banks