As East Midlands neighbours, Bedford and Northampton share strong rugby ties and hooker Charlie Clare is the latest player in a long line to strengthen the link between the two rugby towns.
The likes of Edgar Mobbs and Jamie Elliott both studied at Bedford School before forging fine careers at Franklins Gardens, while Paul Tupai, at the age of 42, is still turning out for the Blues some nine years since joining them from the Saints.
The two sides lock horns at Goldington Road on Friday for the first time since 2013/14 and hooker Clare is expecting a proper evening of derby rugby.
“I think it will be a really good atmosphere down there,” he said. “I’ve heard there’s a beer festival and I know a lot of people who’ve already got tickets – the crowd there is always a big one.
“Bedford as a side are always really attacking and like to play with a bit of flair and I’m pretty certain they’ll be going all out which should make for an exciting game.
“Their back three are always really strong, people like Dean Adamson and Pat Tapley have a lot of pace and Toops [Paul Tupai] will be making an impact in some way as well! Their captain Mike Le Bourgois will be back from suspension, so there will be plenty of starlets out there for them looking to make a name for themselves.”
For the Saints meanwhile, it’s all about revving the engines back up after a week off with a big run in to come and the top four is on the horizon.
“We’ve got an exciting few weeks coming up ahead of us,” Clare added. “If you’d told us we would be in this position a month ago we’d have definitely taken it. Friday is now a great chance to build some momentum heading into what is a huge game a week on Saturday.”
Kick off for Bedford versus Saints is at 7:45pm and tickets can be booked by calling 0871 871 1886.