SOUTHEND Saxons resumed their push for the Regional Two Anglia title with a resounding 69-15 win against Saffron Walden.

In their first outing for three weeks, Saxons ran riot at Warners Bridge to secure a 13th win in succession.

And director of rugby Josh Ward was delighted to start the New Year in such dominant fashion.

“It was a great way to start the year for us,” said Ward.

“I thought the players were excellent on the day.

“Whenever you come back after a short break you’re never 100 per cent sure where you’re going to be.

“But as a starting point for the block and the New Year it was good to score 11 tries against a resilient side.

“Credit to them, they had a real go and they didn’t go away.

“They scored two late tries themselves and, although I’m sure they will be disappointed by the result, I’m sure they can take some positives as well.

“But some of the tries we scored were excellent and we got a real good foothold in the game.

“We got momentum and good continuity in our attack so I was very pleased to get the five points at home.”

The victory kept Southend nine points clear at the top of the table but title rivals Eton Manor do still have a game in hand.

And Ward is taking nothing for granted.

“It’s where you want to be when you’re chasing success and the pleasing thing for us is that everyone is on the same page,” said Ward.

“But we were top this time last year and, as a result of a number of different things, we didn’t hold firm on first spot.

“We all understand every game is as important as the next and it’s where we want to be so long may that continue.”

Next up for Southend is a trip to bottom of the table Norwich.

But Ward still expects them to be difficult to beat - despite their lowly league placing.

“There are no easy ones,” said Ward.

“You face different challenges all the time in this league.

“They’re mental, physical or both but we’ve gone there and performed pretty well in the past.

“We’ll be looking to go and do exactly the same this week and back up what we did against Saffron Walden.”

Elsewhere, it was a disappointing return to action for both Westcliff and Rochford Hundred in Regional One South East.

Bottom of the table Westcliff lost 36-14 at Bedford Athletic and are now 14 points behind their opponents who sit just above the relegation zone.

Westcliff still have a game in hand along with second from bottom Rochford who lost 30-7 at Hertford.

Rochford are now eight points behind Bedford.

In Counties Two Essex (South), third placed Billericay beat Canvey Island 27-8.