SOUTHEND Saxons slipped to sixth in the London One North standings after a disappointing 50-17 defeat at Colchester.

Southend had been hoping to get back on track after a frustrating 41-17 loss to Eton Manor in their previous outing.

And Saxons scrum-half Harry Branch found the setback tough to take.

“It was a tough pill to swallow, we didn’t defend effectively and let in some real easy scores,” said Branch.

“It was obviously very frustrating to lose the game.

“We wanted to turn it around after last weekend’s performance against Eton Manor but unfortunately we couldn’t provide the performance we needed to.

“However, in parts of our attack we looked really good with the ball so that’s a positive for us to take out of the game.”

Southend are now seven points behind second placed Colchester.

But, despite the result, Branch was still proud to skipper the side in the absence of Ian Morrison.

“Firstly thoughts are with Ian Morrison who sustained a nasty shoulder injury which has prevented him from playing,” said Branch.

“Hopefully he will rehab it quickly and be back with us soon.

“But it’s always a privilege to captain this group.

“We are a very tight bunch so to be named captain is very special to me.”

However, there was little else to please anyone connected with the Saxons on Saturday as Colchester controlled the majority of the match.

The hosts went in front with a converted try before Southend replied with Fraser Banks touching down,

But Colchester hit back with two tries of their own to lead 21-5 at the break.

Two more tries at the start of the second half extended the home-side’s advantage before Southend bagged another try of their own.

However, Colchester were soon back on the front foot with their tries of their own before Southend scored the final try of the game with Chris Vaughan touching down.

But there was no hiding the disappointment of Saxons' director of rugby Josh Ward at the final whistle.

“I’ll apologise firstly to our supporters who made the trip, the performance was nowhere near an acceptable standard and I take responsibility for that,” said Ward.

“Days like Saturday are never nice. We were outworked and skilled by a Colchester pack who effectively beat us up, they were excellent.

“We struggled to gain any form of platform and as a result played large parts of the game with no ball.”

Southend Saxons: Banks, Bennett, Ashton, Vaughan, Day, Lloyd, Branch, Smith, Grier, Armitage, Newton, O’Kill, Read, Law, Wagstaff.

Replacements: Bass, Buckley & Richards