SOUTHEND Saxons warmed up a freezing Warners Bridge by powering to a 10th win in succession.

The Regional Two Anglia leaders saw off Stowmarket 57-5 to maintain their push for promotion.

And Southend’s influential centre Callum Smith was delighted to triumph in testing conditions.

“Anyone who knows me knows I hate the cold,” laughed Smith.

“It was one of the coldest games I’ve played in but we managed the conditions well.

“We still managed to throw the ball about despite the conditions and it was good to see us trusting our skills despite the tricky conditions.”

With second placed Eton Manor having their game called off at Chelmsford, Southend now sit seven points clear at the top of the table.

But Smith felt Saxons were forced to work hard for their latest success.

“It was a good game with a steady Stowmarket side,” said Smith, “We knew that we’d be the favourites going into the game so it proved a different kind of challenge with regards to staying clinical in all aspects of the game.”

Stowmarket were on the front foot early on and took the lead with an unconverted try.

However, Southend withstood a further spell of pressure before getting on the front foot themselves to secure what ultimately proved to be a convincing victory.

“It can be tricky being big favourites in a game as the pressure is external as well as internal,” said Smith.

“I think it helps that the pressure we place on ourselves can never be outweighed by the external.

“We know our goal this year and it’s about executing it.

“We went behind so quick that it hadn’t really sunk in what had happened.

“I hadn’t even seen the ball really before they went ahead.

“It was almost like “that never happened, let’s start again” and that’s exactly what we did.”

Southend will be looking to build on the victory when they travel to seventh placed Holt this weekend.

But Smith is expecting another big test.

“I think Holt have changed their fortunes over the last few weeks,” said Smith, “A long bus journey means we’re going to have to be bang on it as soon as we turn up - no “we’ll wait 20 minutes before we start playing” as they’ll be trying to take our scalp.

“It comes with the territory of being top of the league, everyone wants to beat you and everyone will bring their A game.

“It’s just another cup final that we have to win to bring us closer to our end goal.”

Westcliff and Rochford Hundred both saw their matches called off due to frozen pitches in Regional One South East.

Rochford had been due to face Oundle while Westcliff had been expecting to take on Sudbury.