FIVE Southend Saxons players are finishing their season by swapping club for county action.

Stuart Whatling, Jack MacVeigh, Tom Day, Harry Branch and Matt Wagstaff all lined up for Essex against Somerset.

And, despite suffering a 69-15 defeat, Southend skipper Wagstaff enjoyed the experience.

“It was great to represent the county at a senior level,” said Wagstaff.

“Personally it is a good test to play against players of a higher level and see how I manage that physically and on a skill level too.”

Wagstaff initially found that tough early on but felt Essex improved the longer the match went on.

“The game started a lot quicker than I am used to but we found our feet as a team and settled into the game,” said Wagstaff.

“We matched them at set piece however they had a lot of experience in the back line and many players from the same club that meant the cohesion made things click for them.

“Ultimately, a bit of class in key areas meant they ended up running away with the game but fair play to the guys we stuck with it and managed to score a couple of late tries.”

Those scores narrowed the margin of Essex’s defeat.

But Wagstaff was pleased to see Southend have so many players involved.

“It was great to have some friendly faces and to have five Southend boys in the 22 is great for the club,” said Wagstaff.

“It shows we have some excellent players and it makes game day even more enjoyable knowing they are in the group.”

Essex are now preparing for at least two more fixtures and Wagstaff is keen to make the most of both outings.

“I am treating it as an experience to test my skills and enjoy playing with guys I usually come up against during the league season,” said Wagstaff.

“It is a complete new scenario for me.

“I am taking on board advice and feedback from the coaches and doing my best to get selected and then help the squad win.

“Also, it is a nice way to finish the season before some time to rest and enjoy the off-season.”