CALLUM Smith felt Southend Saxons again showed they can mix it with the best teams in London One North during Saturday’s defeat at Shelford.

Southend were beaten 27-21 by the league leaders.

But Smith took plenty of positives from the game.

“It was a hard fought game that went to the last minute,” said Smith.

“We played well and on a different day could have been a different story to the final result.

“We had to bring out A game to give us a half a chance and we did that.

“But at the end of the day, Shelford are top of the league for a reason.

“They’re a quality outfit who will do very well in the league above.

“They’re the benchmark for the rest of the teams in this league but the positives were that we know that we can mix it with the best teams in this league.

“We beat Sudbury away a couple of weeks away when they were sitting top and hadn’t been beaten there all year, and then to take the new table toppers all the way shows we deserve to be in and amongst it.

“I think we have a real belief for the remaining of the season and more importantly, going into next year.”

Andy Bevan and Rory Inwood both scored tries for Southend in the defeat which saw Saxons slip to fifth in the table.

But Southend are now not back in action until a week on Saturday and Smith is certain the break will be beneficial.

“I think the break will do us good,” said Smith.

“It’ll give us a chance to recharge and reset going into the final few games of the season.

"It’s important to finish well and carry that into pre season."