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Blues & Lightning: Five Saints help Bedford bounce back in style

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… 

Five Saints help Bedford bounce back in style 

Bedford Blues picked up their first win in three games in the Championship with an emphatic 40-9 victory against Nottingham at Goldington Road. 

There were five players from Northampton Saints in Bedford’s squad, with Tom Litchfield starting at inside centre and Ethan Grayson, Connor Tupai, Tom Lockett (making his Championship debut) and Ed Prowse among the replacements. 

Litchfield was one of four in the Blues’ backline playing for their hometown club, alongside captain Rich Lane, former Saintsman Jamie Elliott and winger Dean Adamson, who ran in a hat-trick. 

It was Adamson who opened the scoring, in blustery conditions, after nine minutes when he was set up by Lane, but Nottingham hauled themselves into contention through two penalties by Elliot Bale. 

A moment of real quality extended the Blues’ lead, however, as a quick line-out from Will Maisey led to Lane’s kick ahead being collected by Adamson, who spread the ball out wide for Elliott – one of Saints’ Premiership champions from 2013/14 – to score. 

Bale then kicked his third penalty for the Archers, who were not able to make the most of the hosts’ first-half indiscipline in the form of tries, as Bedford went into half-time 14-9 ahead. 

That lead was extended two minutes into the second half when Adamson rounded off a typical flowing move to score his second. 

The bonus point was in the bag for the Blues just before the hour mark when Maisey rewarded a sustained spell of pressure, before Adamson completed his treble with four minutes left as Lane made his third assist of the afternoon.

Having seen the man on the other wing bag most of the glory, Pat Tapley got in on the act off the final play of the game to make it six tries in all for the impressive hosts. 

Bedford have their own Midlands derby to look forward to on Saturday, as they head to the Butts Park Arena to face Coventry and look to improve on fifth place in the table. 

Lightning edged out on their return to league action

In what was their first Allianz Premier 15s fixture for eight weeks, Loughborough Lightning were edged out 14-7 by Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park. 

Loughborough had three of their England internationals back in action in Devon, with Lark Davies, Sadia Kabeya and Helena Rowland all starting. 

It was Exeter who opened the scoring after 18 minutes, as winger Laura Sheehan crossed from Kate Zackary’s off-load, but the match was all-square at 7-7 going into half-time. 

That was down to Georgina Tusker scoring a try off a set-piece, which was converted by Helen Nelson, as Lightning ended the first half strongly having absorbed a lot of pressure in the game’s opening stages. 

But the Chiefs regained their lead nine minutes after the restart when a missed tackle allowed Ebony Jeffries to score under the posts, giving Patricia Garcia an easy conversion. 

Loughborough fought hard to hit back again, only to be met with some strong defence by the hosts and despite a yellow card with eight minutes left for Exeter’s Maisy Allen, they couldn’t prevent a narrow loss. 

Lightning are on the road again this Saturday, when they head to the West Country to face Gloucester-Hartpury. 

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