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Blues & Lightning: Loughborough draw sting out of Wasps

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 draw sting out of Wasps 

Loughborough Lightning made it four wins from their last five games in the Allianz Premier 15s as they bounced back from last week’s defeat against Saracens with a 41-22 victory at Wasps. 

It was a dominant performance from Loughborough in the opening half hour at Twyford Avenue, and they went ahead after 15 minutes when winger Bo Westcombe Evans went over in the corner to round off a slick attack. 

Helena Rowland converted and she soon created a second try for Lightning when a superb offload out the back sent Sara Svoboda on a clear run to the line. 

The lead was then extended to 19-0 after 21 minutes when some quick handling allowed Georgie Lingham to slide over out wide. 

The visitors were unstoppable at this point and the bonus point was in the bag before 30 minutes had been played when Lingham went in at the corner for a second time, after more slick offloading. 

Wasps finally got themselves on the board through Maud Muir’s unconverted try, but Lightning were soon in again when Rowland sold a dummy before going through herself and converting. 

The final say of the first half went to the hosts when Abby Dow grounded the ball after a neat chip over the top caught the visitors’ defence off-guard to bring the gap down to 31-10 at the break. 

However, Loughborough soon reasserted themselves as Canada flanker Svodoba finished like a winger to score her second and Lightning’s sixth try two minutes after the restart. 

Any hope Wasps may have had of mounting a comeback was effectively snuffed out in the 53rd minute when Courtney Holtkamp powered her way through to score. 

That turned out to be the last time Loughborough troubled the scorers, with Wasps able to bring a little more respectability to the scoreline with consolation tries from Heather Kerr and Emily Stone. 

Lightning are back on home turf on Saturday when they welcome bottom side DMP Durham Sharks to Epinal Way and will be odds-on to continue their impressive form. 

Blues beaten on the road at Richmond 

It wasn’t quite such a successful afternoon on the road for Bedford Blues in the Championship, however, as they succumbed to a 22-19 loss at Richmond. 

Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer admitted his side made too many errors as they fell to a second straight defeat at the Athletic Ground, following last week’s derby loss against Ampthill. 

There were five players from Northampton Saints in Bedford’s squad, with George Hendy – who was making his debut – Ethan Grayson, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Ollie Newman all in the starting line-up and Ed Prowse among the replacements. 

Newman had the best possible start to the game as he opened the scoring in the ninth minute after the ball had been recycled, following a good break by winger Pat Tapley, with Will Maisey adding the conversion. 

A succession of penalties for Richmond led to James Kane kicking a penalty to pull back three points for the hosts, who then led 8-7 after a trademark pushover try for veteran No.8 Mark Bright. 

However, Bedford turned around 14-8 to the good at half-time after some quick thinking at a tapped penalty by former Saint Jack Hughes allowed Oli Stedman to power through a gap to score. 

Richmond began the second half well, but it was after some loose play in their own half from the Blues that they went ahead again, with their former player Huw Worthington cantering over. 

Following a yellow card for the hosts’ Jimmy Litchfield, the pendulum swung Bedford’s way once more when Tapley was able to stretch over in the corner, with Maisey’s conversion striking an upright. 

The visitors could not hang on to their narrow advantage, with Richmond scoring what was the game’s decisive try with ten minutes left when hooker James Hadfield was driven over, following a line-out. 

The Blues did have one last big chance off the final play when Matt Worley spilt Louis Grimoldby’s pass just a few metres short of the line, rounding off another frustrating afternoon for them. 

They will be hoping for a better showing when they welcome Hartpury University to Goldington Road on Saturday. 

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