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Blues and Lightning: Bedford back on song with win in Gloucester

We round up all the action from Northampton Saints’ partner club, Bedford Blues, and our joint Saints / Loughborough Lightning side in the Championship and Premier 15s competitions…

Hartpury 19 Bedford Blues 42

Bedford Blues bounced back from their home defeat against Richmond in real style as they ran in six tries in their emphatic victory over Hartpury at The ALPAS Arena.

Seven Saints were in the Blues’ matchday squad, with Ethan Grayson, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Reece Marshall, Ed Prowse and Karl Wilkins all in their starting line-up, and Connor Tupai and Josh Gillespie amongst their replacements. 

After a scrappy opening 20 minutes, it was a former Saint that broke the deadlock in Gloucestershire, as Tui Uru was driven over, with fly-half Will Maisey kicking the first of six conversions.

The match was quickly turned on its head, however, as centre Robbie Smith went over from close range, converted by James Williams, before Will Crane was driven over by his pack to put the hosts 12-7 ahead.

The Blues turned the tables on Hartpury five minutes before half-time, as Marshall scored off the back of a driving maul to notch for the second game running.

This put Bedford 14-12 ahead at the break, but the home side retook the lead three minutes into the second half as Crane was bundled over the line again for a converted try.

From that point on, though, it was one-way traffic and Bedford hit back immediately as Grayson picked a superb line to also make it back-to-back matches in which he’s scored.

After 50 minutes, the Blues had their bonus point when Dean Adamson got on the end of Maisey’s grubber, with a kind bounce benefitting the winger.

Another player with a Northampton connection scored a fifth try for Mike Rayer’s side after 65 minutes, as lock Jordan Onojaife crashed over from just a few metres.

The result was now in the bag, but there was no let-up from Bedford, who struck again with three minutes remaining as Adamson, who was making his first appearance of the season following injury, bagged his second after collecting Tupai’s kick through.

It’s sure to be a tougher test for the Blues on Saturday, however, as they welcome league leaders Ealing Trailfinders to Goldington Road, with their visitors fresh from beating bottom side London Scottish 101-7.

Sale Sharks 43 Loughborough Lightning 15

While Sarah Hunter, Lark Davies and Helena Rowland featured in England’s 43-12 victory over New Zealand, Loughborough Lightning were also in action – heading to Heywood Road to take on Sale Sharks Women as the Allianz Cup got underway.

Lightning got off to solid start, sending a driving maul over in the game’s opening minutes and though Sale hit back through Lizzie Duffy, three points from Grace White’s boot pushed Loughborough back in front.

But from there it was all Sharks, with the home side scoring three more tries before the break to send the game into half-time 24-8 in Sale’s favour. And the home side were back on the scoresheet quickly, adding two more tries to their tally just ten minutes into the second half.

Sale winger Hollie Bawden would score her fourth and Sale’s seventh on the hour mark but Loughborough muscled back onto the scoresheet with 13 minutes left to play, as Detysha Harper broke through the Sharks’ defence to cross the whitewash.

And despite several more spirited attacks from their hosts, Loughborough’s defence held up as the clock wore down at Heywood Road – with the scoreboard remaining at 43-15 to Sale until the full-time whistle blew.

Women’s rugby returns to Franklin’s Gardens this Sunday as the Red Roses lock horns with New Zealand (kick-off: 2.45pm), with tickets available HERE for just £15 / £5.

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