JONNY Fitzpatrick shone as Rochford Hundred saw off Southend Saxons 31-24 in the semi-final of the Essex Cup.

Fitzpatrick caught the eye coming into the side at scrum half.

And the 22-year-old, who has been with the club for 16 years, was happy to play a key part in the victory at Magnolia Road.

“It was a tough game to play in but a great game to be a part of,” said Fitzpatrick, who was among Rochford’s try scorers.

“It was really satisfying to get the win, especially with it being a local derby.

“It was good that some of us got an opportunity to be involved in a game like that and playing scrum half felt really good, considering I don’t play there regularly.

“It would be great to get another chance and we’re still in two Essex Cup competitions so hopefully I can be a part of them both and we can go on to win them both too.”

With the cup clash coming during a break in the league season both sides opted to make changes to their starting line-up.

And Southend’s director of rugby Josh Ward was pleased with how his side performed, despite the result.

“It’s never nice to lose but we came here to compete, to test ourselves against a very good side and we stepped up,” said Ward.

“Our boys showed incredible heart and character and we’re immensely proud of the group.

“There were a lot of young guys out there who really stepped up and delivered.

“Greg Warner was outstanding with Waggy (Matt Wagstaff) and TA (Tom Ashton) leading superbly.”

But Ward felt it took time for the match to really get going.

“The first half was cagey,” said Ward.

“It was a battle for field position and a few unforced errors resulted in points but the boys dug in and put their bodies on the line throughout the game.

“We visited their 22 and failed to leave with points on a few occasions which we need to improve upon but on the whole it’s a huge step forwards for us.”

Southend will now resume their London One North campaign at home to Amersham & Chiltern on Saturday while London & SE Premier Division leaders Rochford head to London Irish Wild Geese.