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Northampton Vs London Irish Review


Saint N Sinner

Northampton Saints Vs London Irish

Franklins Gardens

Guinness Premiership

KO 3:00

Match officials : Chris white, Bob Mullis, Paul Dix.

Well, the Irish curse is finally over. After 3 years of hard work, the Saints have finally edged out a victory in front of the Franklin’s faithful.

What can I say? For most of the game, we took charge but we tried too hard, if you know what I mean.

This means, unforced errors, and most tragically, two breakaway tries for the visitors - apart from that Irish didn’t look promising at all. Were they intimidated by the crowd at the start because the support from the home fans today was amazing. The atmosphere was immense, especially when Bruce converted the winner in the eighth minute of injury time to throw a punch back at the criticism he has received for the last 4 or 5 weeks over his kicking abilities.

Carlos didn’t really make his presence known apart from when he popped an inside pass which was crudely intercepted by an Irish winger, and oh boy, did he have to leg it. He did in fact outrun Ben, but too be fair, Ben did have a long way to run back.

It certainly wasn’t as fancy and dominant as it was against the Welsh travellers last week, but it lifted the Irish curse off our back and got us back up to 8th place. (although we’ll be back down to ninth after Saracens and Bristol play on Sunday).

Ben Cohen didn’t really show his past form this week, until he went over the line for the winner, in the 7th or 8th minute of injury time.

Tom Smith and Damien Browne really made their presence known in the pack, and really provided a pace to the game, but the backs where unable to use it. But after a bunch of confusing substitutions, we made it - 25-23 the final score. I must say, even though Brucey was on the receiving end of a pass so forward, I’m surprised Chris white didn’t give him a card, he still managed to dive over for the first try of the afternoon with just a few minutes on the clock.

I bet you know what where thinking by now don’t you, oh yeah, this is going to be OUR day. But coming nearer the end of the first half it looked rather different, and starting to think year 4 is in the bag for the visitors. Half time score being 20 points to 18, to the opposition off course. Two runaway tries and two penalties created a two point lead for the visitors. Even though Brucey had two tries under his belt, it didn’t look as if it would be enough.

The second half was too tense for my liking, with a string of penalties, controversial decisions, injuries, and what have you, Irish only got three more points on the board. As for us, we just seemed to try too hard, making hard word out of the simplest of moves. The pressure was building and building for both sides, and the home fans were just as tense.

With Selborne Boome, going down before a lineout. Still confusion goes on into what actually happened but, from my point of view, he tripped, and twisted his ankle but he went down pretty easily. Hopefully, he is OK, we will have to wait and see.

The lineout seemed to deteriorate in the second half. Steve “Wally†Thompson replacing Dan Richmond, who had been solid all game and Mark Soden came on for the unfortunate Boome. With Gerard coming off for Lordy after an hour, the pack seemed slightly disjointed somehow, but we managed to scrape through.

Given the final score, I’m certain that the folk who did the charity BHF Saints With Heart Walk (me included!) thought it was worth the pain to walk 17 miles for a game. My legs weren’t aching anymore after Ben’s try!

Everyone had a great time, and a big pat on the back for all those involved, including bucket shakers, BHF helpers, walkers of course and all those who have sponsored, and/or donated for this cause. Let’s hope we raised a mountain of money!

All in all, it was a great start and a fabulous ending to the game. The result made the lack of feeling in my feet afterwards just about bearable.

Come on you Walkers and Come On You Saints!

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