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Blues & Lightning: 10-try Loughborough run riot against Sharks

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…

Perfect 10 as Lightning run riot

Loughborough Lightning ran in 10 tries as they made it five wins from their last six Allianz Premier 15s matches by hammering bottom side DMP Durham Sharks 58-5 at Epinal Way. 

The Lightning came into the match high on confidence following their victory at Wasps the previous week and it did not take them long to open the scoring against opponents who are without a win all season. 

Helena Rowland cut through for their first try after four minutes, which she converted herself, and Georgie Bingham then finished a fine move by scoring in the corner two minutes later. 

A strong shove from the Loughborough pack at scrum time led to the hosts scoring for a third time with Bo Westcombe-Evans making most of the space out wide to go over. 

The bonus point was in the bag after just 22 minutes when Westcombe-Evans snuck in at the corner again and there was still time for one more score in the first half as Lingham bagged her own brace after getting on the end of Courtney Holtkamp’s slick off-load. 

Turing around 27-0 to the good, it took Loughborough eight minutes to strike again after the restart, as Lark Davies grounded the ball off the back of a driving maul, with Rowland adding the extras. 

Lightning continued to pick holes almost at will as Emma Hardy got herself in on the act before great hands by Rowland and Carys Williams led to replacement Amanda Swartz crossing the whitewash out wide. 

Another of the players to step off the hosts’ bench brought up the half-century with 11 minutes remaining as a strong set-piece led to Maja Mueller going through without a Durham player laying a hand on her. 

Sharks finally troubled the scorers when Rosalie Inman ran in, but Loughborough had the final say as Bulou Mataitoga charged through to score with a minute left on the clock. 

This latest victory moved the Lightning up to sixth in the table and they’ll be confident of keeping their good run going on Saturday when they travel to Heywood Road to face second-from-bottom Sale Sharks.

Blues defeated at home by inspired Hartpury 

Bedford Blues’ difficult start to life in the Championship in 2022 continued as they were beaten 34-10 by an on-song Hartpury University at Goldington Road to fall to their third straight defeat. 

There were five players from Northampton Saints in Bedford’s squad, with Tom Litchfield, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Karl Garside all in the starting line-up, while Ethan Grayson and Connor Tupai were among the replacements. 

Hartpury dominated proceedings in the opening stages, with Bedford’s defence having to work extremely hard to hold them at bay. 

Against the run of play, Blues opened the scoring after nine minutes through a penalty by fly-half Louis Grimoldby, but these were the only points the hosts were to register in the first half. 

The visitors had the try their play deserved in the 24th minute when Toby Venner broke through the line before sending centre Robbie Smith into space and he had the pace to finish, with James Williams converting. 

Hartpury retained a 7-3 lead into half-time, but Bedford rocked the visitors seven minutes after the restart when winger Dean Adamson ran in a magnificent solo try from 90 metres out that was converted by Grimoldby. 

This didn’t deter Hartpury, however, and they were level three minutes later through a Williams penalty before going back in front when Venner cut through to score under the posts. 

But Blues then had a mountain to climb when Cameron Jordan went over to round off another period of pressure in the 63rd minute. 

Things didn’t get any better for Bedford, as Williams kicked another penalty before Jack Tovey secured the try bonus point for Hartpury in the closing stages. 

Bedford director of rugby Mike Rayer accepted his team were “poor in every aspect” and they face a tough task in trying to get back on track on Saturday when they travel to second-placed Doncaster Knights.

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