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Blues & Lightning: Bedford beaten as Loughborough land at the Gardens

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…

Lightning make Gardens debut at Worcester match

Lightning might not have had an Allianz Premier 15s clash this weekend, but the side used their time off well as they visited cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for the first time since the new partnership between Saints and Loughborough was announced.

The squad trained on Northampton’s first-team pitch in the afternoon, before staying at the stadium to watch Saints’ 66-10 Gallagher Premiership victory over Worcester Warriors later that evening.

Loughborough also completed a lap of honour around the pitch at half-time and enjoyed meeting many of the Club’s supporters in the Village before the game.

Bedford Blues 32 Richmond 37

It was a frustrating afternoon for Bedford Blues, as their first game for two weeks ended in a narrow defeat against Richmond at Goldington Road, after letting a winning position slip in the second half.

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

They got off to a slow start, however, with a sin-binning for Nansen in the early stages due to team indiscipline proving to be very costly.

A pass from Bedford fly-half Louis Grimoldby was intercepted by Will Homer to open the scoring for the visitors, although he did then get the hosts off the mark with a penalty.

However, Richmond soon had their second try when Owain James was put through by Cameron Mitchell and James Kane, who converted both scores, then added a penalty to put the visitors 17-3 in front before Nansen returned to the field.

Bedford finally hit back after 28 minutes when Marshall scored off the back of a driving maul, but Kane was accurate off the boot again with his second penalty just after the half-hour.

The Blues’ response was swifter this time, as a typically flowing move, started by Tupai, ended with the scrum-half – and son of former Saintsman Paul – being teed up by Rich Lane for a superb try.

A penalty by Will Maisey then levelled the match at 20-20 at half-time and the Blues completed the turnaround six minutes into the second half through Pat Tapley’s unconverted score.

Mistakes and indiscipline started to creep back into Bedford’s game, though, with Tupai being sent to the sin bin, and Kane pulled back their lead with another penalty before Freddie Hosking went in under the posts to put Richmond back in front.

Leading 30-25 going into the final 10 minutes, the visitors effectively sealed victory when Dave Massey powered over soon after the Blues had lost a line-out in their own 22.

Grayson gave Bedford some late hope when he was put through by replacement Luke Frost, but they were unable to find a score that would have made it three wins in a row, following victories over Doncaster Knights and Ampthill.

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