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Blues & Lightning: Bedford record thumping victory at Nottingham as Loughborough draw

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…

Treble for Adamson in thumping Blues victory

Winger Dean Adamson ran in a hat-trick against Nottingham for the second time this season as Bedford Blues recorded a thumping 47-22 victory in the Championship.

It was an impressive display from the Blues, who had let a 12-0 lead slip in their defeat at home to Cornish Pirates the previous week, as they scored seven tries in total at Lady Bay.

There were three players from Northampton Saints in Bedford’s squad, with Ed Prowse in the starting line-up and Connor Tupai and Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi among their replacements.

It wasn’t the best of starts for Bedford, however, as Nottingham opened the scoring in the fourth minute when some slack defence allowed Charlie Thacker to run in under the posts.

Blues responded immediately, going through the phases before loosehead prop Joey Conway smashed his way through the unfamiliar position of the left wing to score.

Louis Grimoldby’s conversion struck both posts but came out and the visitors were soon rocked on their heels again when fly-half Morgan Bunting got on the end of a kick through to touch down before converting himself.

Bedford were left 14-5 down after nine minutes, but they upped their game from this point and they closed the deficit when Adamson showed some neat footwork to score down the left, with Grimoldby converting this time.

Having scored his first try in professional rugby, Conway continued what was a special day for the front rower, who went on a rampaging run to go in under the posts to put the Blues ahead for the first time.

Grimoldby converted again, but Bedford’s lead was reduced to 19-17 at half-time as Bunting slotted a simple penalty.

The Blues secured the try bonus point 10 minutes into the second half as they spread the ball out wide, with captain Richard Lane passing to put Adamson in at the corner.

Nottingham threatened a fightback when Archie Vanes grounded the ball off the back of a driving maul, but the visitors pulled clear again when Tupai – with his father Paul watching on – glided through a gap to score.

The replacement scrum-half was part of a strong finish by Bedford, with Reuben Bird-Tulloch blazing a trail from halfway to round off a lethal counter attack.

Adamson then completed his hat-trick (and repeated his feat from the reverse fixture) with just over a minute left when he was put in the clear by Will Maisey after former Saint Jordan Onojaife had seized possession.

The victory moved Bedford up to fifth in the Championship, but they will have to wait until Friday 11 March to back it up when they welcome Midlands rivals Coventry to Goldington Road.

Lightning a whisker away from another win

Following their thrilling victory over Exeter Chiefs at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, Loughborough Lightning were held to a 19-19 draw by Gloucester-Hartpury on their return to Epinal Way.

Lightning were able to call upon Emily Scarratt for the first time this season, following her recovery from a broken leg, although she would have to wait for her chance from the bench.

Loughborough had won their previous four matches in the Allianz Premier 15s and they were soon back into the swing of things against the Cherry and Whites.

In the 10th minute, Sara Svoboda put them in front by finishing off a flowing move down the right involving Helena Rowland and Carys Williams, with Rowland’s conversion striking an upright.

But a couple of significant blows followed for the hosts, as both Rowland and Sadia Kabeya departed for HIAs after clashing heads before Svoboda was sent to the sin bin in the 26th minute.

Loughborough survived the yellow-card period, and Rowland was able to return to the field, but Gloucester-Hartpury went ahead through Sisilia Tuipolotu’s converted try just before half-time.

Their 7-5 lead at the break was then extended four minutes after the restart when Ellie Underwood pounced on the loose ball when Loughborough fumbled in their own in-goal area.

Emma Sing added the conversion but the introduction of Scarratt after 65 minutes sparked the Loughborough fightback.

In fact, the game was turned on its head, as quickfire tries by Bolou Mataitoga and Sarah Hunter, both converted by Rowland, put the hosts 19-14 in front and in sight of yet another victory.

The Cherry and Whites were not finished, however, and they levelled the match with three minutes left when Hannah Jones broke through to score out wide.

There was still a chance for Loughborough to snatch victory at the death when they were awarded a penalty, but Rowland’s kick agonisingly came back off the post.

Lightning will have another tough test on their own patch on Saturday when third-placed Bristol Bears are visitors to Epinal Way.

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