Royal Wootton Bassett were narrowly denied a trip to Twickenham as they were defeated 32-22 away against Southend in the cup semi-final.

Southend kicked off with the sun on their backs on a beautiful spring day on the Essex coast. The semi-final Papa Johns Community Cup game offered the winners an unforgettable day out at Twickenham for the Final.

Bassett got out of the blocks early and Mike Clifton was tackled just near the line in the second minute after a superb run. Southend then had a good period and were able to go ahead with a penalty from Ben Lloyd.

This was followed shortly by a good score from Tom Ramsay converted by Lloyd and Southend led 10-0.

It was now Bassett’s turn to take back the momentum as Rhys Floyd added a penalty following a high tackle.

After 20 minutes Bassett were right back in the game when another Clifton charge saw him go over for a try and reduce the deficit to 10-8.

This see-saw of a game swung back with Southend adding an unconverted try through Tom Sly, but almost immediately Bassett hit back when Southend failed to defend a close-range lineout. The ball was eventually fed to Thomas “Tucker” Blinkhorn who went through the defence to score and level the game at 15-15.

Just before the interval, Sly went over for his second with Lloyd converting for the home side to lead 22-15 at the break.

Southend carried the initiative into the second half with Lloyd adding a penalty extending the Essex team’s lead.

Halfway through the period, Bassett looked to be in trouble when Southend’s No.8 Tom Wagstaff went over with Lloyd converting for a 32-15 lead.

Bassett were not to be deterred and took the game to the home side. A quick tap penalty from Floyd had the home side in trouble. The ball eventually came to Baker who was able to feed the ball to Phil Bardwell who drove over near the posts.

The visitors continued to push but the Southend defence held on to claim the spoils.

Bassett will have been hugely disappointed not to win but they can look back on a successful league season losing only one game in a quick return to Level 5 Premier action. The cup run is the club’s best ever so the players, coaching and support staff can take a well-earned break.