We round up all the action from Northampton Saints’ partner clubs – Bedford Blues and Loughborough Lightning – in the Championship and Premier 15s competitions…
BEDFORD BLUES 47-33 SARACENS STORM
With Bedford Blues on a bye weekend as the Championship season got underway elsewhere, the side instead rounded off their preseason campaign in style with a seven-try thriller against Saracens Storm.
Six Saints lined up for the hosts, with Manny Iyogun, Oisin Heffernan, and Ethan Grayson starting the clash, while Ed Prowse, Jake Garside and Dani Long-Martinez came off the bench.
Dominating large parts of the high-scoring game, Blues flew out of the blocks to quickly find themselves with a 28-point lead inside the half-hour mark – Luke Frost and Matt Worley both crossed twice as Will Maisey added all four conversions.
Saracens did pull one back before the half-time whistle blew to send things into the break 28-7 in Blues’ favour, but the home side sent Pat Tapley over just after the restart as a perfectly-weighted crossfield kick from Maisey set the winger free.
The away side sandwiched a short-range effort from Jack Hughes with a brace of their own and would add a fourth score to their tally with five minutes left on the clock.
But Bedford crossed once more as Louis Grimoldby sprinted for the line with less than a minute to go; and though Saracens would add a fifth and final score on the stroke of full-time, Bedford had already done enough to seal the win.
🗣 | “The wins are a bonus but what’s really exciting is we got a lot of lads minutes in the shirt heading into the @Champrugby campaign.”— Bedford Blues (@BedfordBluesRFC) September 19, 2021
🔵 Assistant Coach @jake_sharp talks concluding pre-season in victory over @Saracens Storm. #BluesFamily #BedfordisBlue pic.twitter.com/7ZWqD7duXo
SARACENS 38-7 LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING
Taking to the field for the first time since their partnership with Northampton Saints was announced, Loughborough Lightning lost out 38-7 to Saracens.
In a repeat of last season’s Premier 15s semi-finals, the joint Saints / Lightning side were looking for their first victory of the new season, but a slow start ultimately cost them at the StoneX Stadium.
Saracens, last season’s runners-up, started strongly notching up a quick quad of tries to secure the bonus point before the half-hour mark.
But Loughborough hit back and after a strong showing from the forwards, and a yellow card for Saracens’ Poppy Cleal, were awarded a penalty try just before the half-time whistle to see the scoreline 28-7 at the break.
Lightning took that momentum into the second half, pushing Saracens deep into their own half, but not quite getting enough of a foothold to cross the whitewash again.
And Saracens would add the killer blow as the game drew to a close, crossing twice more before the final whistle to round off their third win of the campaign.