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.
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.