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Northampton doing Northampton things

What a time it is to be a Saint’s supporter! I was unable to do witterings for the Festive games owing to doing the equivalent of running a B and B with family coming and going.

But goodness me those boys have done the business. Just to remind you we went into the Christmas season in third place after a magnificent and nail-biting display (there is theme here) at Castle Grim. A Gloucester side desperate for a win fought back to take the lead after Saints had carved out the try bonus point at half time. Tries from Curtis Langdon (2) and the Alexes Mitchell and Coles one apiece got us there. Gloucester was clinging on with 29-24 lead with 15 minutes to go. The Northampton did Northampton things and Tom Litchfield crossed the line, extra points added by Fin Smith and Saints stayed ahead. Thankfully Adam Hastings missed a last gasp penalty.


Two-tries to his name - Curtis Langdon on the charge!

Then we had to face Sale at home on New Year’s Eve eve. With the forecast of storm force winds and rain we ran out to face the gnarly northern side sitting one place above us. The first half was one of the dullest I have seen at the Gardens for some seasons. We seemed to get sucked into the Sale stale way of playing and they scored a couple of tries to go 14-0 ahead. Captain Furbs clawed back 5 points with a first half try, converted by Fin Smith. A drop goal from Ford for Sale put them out to 17-7 but that’s not enough of a lead against this Saints’ set-up. Patience and confidence in their processes saw Alex Mitchell snipe over for a try, Smith added the conversion and it was game on. A quickly taken penalty resulted in some illegal shenanigans from Sale and Saints had a penalty try, Sale had a yellow card!

The boost in energy levels from the two C’s – Curtis and Courtney – was noticeable as the crowd too seemed to come to life. Saints resisted all incursions from Sale with awesome defence and a stolen lineout. Mitch finally exoceted (not even sure if that is a verb) the ball into the stands and we were top at the end of the year. Tigers win over Bath at Pooh Corner made sure we stayed there!

And so to Exeter, 1st v 2nd and hastily arranged on the red button by TNT. Exeter were undefeated at home for 63 weeks and 20plus games. If anybody could do it we could.....

Or could we? Saints lulled Exeter in a sense of security by letting them get the bonus point within 25 minutes and 26 unanswered points. This is where in the past the wheels have come off and we have hurtled down the hill of despair into the pit of loss. But patience and confidence in their processes (yes I am repeating myself) saw Saints start to come back. Callum Braley who hadn’t played all season slowly worked himself into the game and sniped over for the opening try. Ollie Sleightholme who finished a move from Tom Litchfield, started by a brilliant cross field kick from Furbs! With two conversions from Fin Smith -  Game on, we thought!

And after half time it all went a bit bonkers, quite frankly. Two sides who have a never say die attitude and want to score tries not penalties- what is there not to love? The half opened with a controversial incident when Henry Slade (that nice Henry Slade, who would have thought?) made such severe head contact with Burger Odendaal, off the ball might I add, that he had to leave the field for an HIA –which he consequentially failed. After discussions with the ref and TMO Slade was shown a yellow and lucky not to be a red.

Saints were not going to waste the one man advantage and Mitchell, on for Braley, saw space where Slade should have been and put flying Furbs through for a glorious try, his fourth in four games!

Mitch again found the space wrong footing former team mate Ehran Painter and then drawing his man before a lovely weighted pass to put Sleights over in the corner. Is there a more rounded scrum-half on the planet at the moment?

The returning Slade slotted a penalty to put Chiefs back into the lead by one point. Then with 16 minutes left Northampton did Northampton things and a move from Freeman to Furbs put Ollie Sleightholme over for his third hat-trick in Saints colours. Saints lead 29-35, could we start to breathe again?

No, we couldn’t. Exeter came back with a sublime try of their own – the handling by both sides was a joy to behold. Just eight minutes to go and Chiefs had the lead 36-35. Once upon a time Saints would have shut up shop and settled for two BPs but not this lot. Wave after wave of Saints attack saw them pressing the line. Henry Slade’s head got in the way of a Rory Hutchinson offload and Saints had an attacking line out on the 5 metre line, with about 40 seconds of time left. Curtis Langdon and Tom Pearson made the line out safe and Curtis came within a gnat’s whisker of scoring. Mitch recycled and Hutch used all of his pace, power and height to get the ball over the line. With the clock well and truly into the red Fin made good the conversion and we marched into the New Year at the Top!

An amazing performance again, but seriously boys, think of the old people and those of a nervous disposition!

Friday night lights beckon with a visit from Bayonne in the European (and South African) Cup – who knows what’ll happen but I doubt it will be dull!

Pictures as ever from Red Hat Photo. And for more ramblings take a look at Ladies Wot Pod.


Premiership debut start for this talented young man. Tarek Haffar Saint#2086


Mitch the Maestro - see space, run into space and scoring happens


Coming through - Speedy Sleights scoring again!


Dingers and Hutch - back in the groove - sounding like 70's detective duo and acting like a dynamic centre duo!


Captain Remarkable - Flying Furbs about to get airborne for his try


Don't think Skinner really wants to have to try and stop Our Sam - a solid platform for our backs to do their stuff

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