Ward’s Saxons are in their happy place

Brian Jeeves

Southend Saxons v Harpenden – London One North – Warners Bridge – Saturday 3pm – Preview

It’s up for grabs in London One North where Southend Saxons will be doing their utmost to secure a top-four finish to what has already proved to be a notable season.

Josh Ward’s men host third-placed Harpenden at Warners Bridge on Saturday, before heading to Colchester, in fourth, for their final league outing.

Saxons also have the small matter of a cup final appearance. Nevertheless, in the meantime, the Seasiders took care of league business, recording a sizable victory over Norwich last weekend: “Obviously, it was a good win for us,” the Saxons Head of Rugby told Yellow Sport.

“The week before we were off it but still won. We wanted to get back on the horse regarding our performance levels. It was going to be very tough going up there despite their league position. They had picked up. A good run of performances and their results had certainly taken a shift since the turn of the year.

“So to perform as well as we did – to execute the way that we did – was a really pleasing outcome. Obviously, the five points were exactly what we needed to leave with too.”

Looking ahead to Harpenden, a huge game, Ward added: “Yes, look, we know exactly what we have to do. Perform incredibly well. We have to win both games and hope a few favours go our way.

“Yes, it’s nice for me. I’ve sat back and reflected and acknowledged where we were at the start of this project. And these are the kind of moments that we wanted to be amongst and a part of. In contention for promotion, cup final rugby next week. These are the things that we’ve strived to achieve over recent years. To see it come to fruition is incredibly pleasing and is a result of all the hard work that has gone in from the players and staff alike.

“Of course, we’d have liked to have had matters more in our own hands and there’s a handful of games that we’ll look back on in frustration – ifs, buts, maybes. But this is the situation we are in and we are playing some great rugby at the moment. Hopefully, we can put it together in front of our crowd who do so much for us every week.

“We are going to need the crowd. Harpenden are a very good side. They are third in the league for a reason, but we know exactly what we need to do.”

Ward agreed that regardless of the next few weeks, this has been a season of advancement for the club: “One hundred per cent. We’re moving, as I’ve touched upon. The progress we’ve made. Dodging covid – before and after, where we are now is a great place.

“The squad has committed their long-term futures to the club. So we’ve got consistency on that front. The staff is the same and everyone is enjoying being a part of this journey. Hopefully, we can finish off with three wins, a bit of silverware and can tick this season off as a step forward.”

Southend Saxons: Liam Bass, Tommy Justice, Tom Reeman, Jake O’Kill, Stuart Whatling, Steven Walker, Andy Bevan, Matt Wagstaff (Capt), Rory Inwood, Ben Lloyd, Tom Day (Capt), Chris Vaughan, Callum Smith, Tom Ramsey, Jack MacVeigh

Southend Saxons Reserves: Matt Bevan, Ian Morrison, Tom Aston

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk