SOUTHEND Saxons made it 12 wins on the trot with a 29-3 victory against Thurrock - but director of rugby Josh Ward still feels his side have yet to hit top form.

Saxons will head into the Christmas break nine points clear of second placed Woodford.

But Ward is certain there is still more to come from Southend.

“We’re delighted with where we are but can we get better? Absolutely,” said Ward.

“We’re playing to about 80 per cent of our squad’s capabilities and I still believe there’s a fair bit to come collectively which for us is exciting.

“As staff the challenge is to get that out from the players and it’s down to them to drive it.

“We’re excited but not resting on our laurels whatsoever.

“Hopefully we can push on and see where it takes us in 2024.”

Southend have still not been beaten since losing narrowly at Woodford on the opening day of the season.

And Ward was happy to end 2023 on a high with another home win.

“We’re very pleased with the win,” said Ward.

“We didn’t necessarily play as fluently or as well as we can but pleasingly we played well against tough opposition who came into the game having won their last five and we knew it was going to be a real tussle.

“They’re a side we’ve struggled to put away in the past as well but the boys showed real maturity and game management ultimately.

“When we had opportunities to strike we did and to score five tries and to only concede a singular penalty is very pleasing for us.”

The victory continued Southend’s fine run of results.

And Ward is thrilled with how the season is shaping up.

“That’s the 12th win on the bounce which brings confidence and expectation,” said Ward.

“We’re really pleased where we’re at and if we were offered this at the start of the season we’d definitely have taken it.

“But there’s some quality sides chasing us now and there’s a lot of rugby still to be played.

“We’re just over half way now and our intent is to get better every week.

“That’s our challenge as a group of players and staff and we want to push and challenge each other to get better.”

Southend are now not back in action until facing second from bottom Saffron Walden at the start of January.

And Ward will be using the break to recharge.

“We’ll refresh ourselves over the next fortnight,” said Ward.

“We’ve changed our training so the boys have got this week off ahead of Christmas and then we’ll be back in and preparing for the next block in January.”