top of page

On top of the World!

What a feeling!

I think it’s Tuesday and my heart beat and blood pressure has finally got into the acceptable levels – my ear-to-ear grin, however, is still there.

For one last time this precious bunch of boys put us through the wringer before coming out triumphant the other side.

Twickenham rocked to the sounds of the Shoe Army song and "Oh When the Saints" as around 30,000 Saints fans helped the Premiership final to be a sold out event. The pre-match atmosphere was friendly and had the feel of "old-school Twickers" before the corporates took over.

The rugby as a whole was hardly vintage. Bath went down to 14 men after 20 minutes with a red card  to prop Beno Obano – a card that you felt was only a matter of time coming given the ferocity that Bath were going into the tackle. The scores were tied at that point with both varieties of Fin(n) having missed one penalty the Russell F had successfully slotted over his second attempt whilst our own Fin dropped a goal second after missing his first penalty.

Saints then threatened to cut loose with tries from Freemo and Sleights to notch up a 15-3 lead. But Bath were not going to go down without a fight and in the way Saints had been galvanized by the red card in Munster so Bath found some extra “dog” and a converted try just before half time saw them close the gap to five.

In the second half they successfully deprived Saints of possession for lengthy periods and after a penalty apiece they finally scored a try. Finn R was off the target with his boot and as Alex (Sue) Waller left the field for the last time the scores were tied at 18-18.

Another penalty to Bath put them into the lead on the 67th minute and there followed one of the most nerve-wracking 15 minutes for Saints fans. Both sides were going at it hammer and tongs and both defensive lines held good, until young George Hendy spotted a gap where possibly none existed.

The 21 year old replacement went on his out of control galloping horse move from the half way line. Bath defenders had no more luck that their Munster counterparts in trying to grab hold of the flailing Hendy limbs. When he was finally brought down he was able to get the ball away to Mitch who still had work to do but managed to weave his magic and ground the ball close to the posts.

The ever-dapper George Furbank stepped up for the injured Saintly Fin and the Shoe Army dared to believe again.

But Bath were done yet and the Saint’s defensive processes were tested to the full in the remaining five or so minutes – seemed like a lifetime – until Hendy, with the clock well into the red stripped the ball and Tom James sent it somewhere safely into the stratosphere.

There was the briefest of pauses whilst Christophe Ridley checked something with the TMO but I think he’d had enough and blew the whistle. The din in the stands was so great I wasn’t convinced it was all over until I saw Mr Ridley shaking hands with his fellow officials and the players.

Then the celebrations and the tears began. Ten long years we have waited and to witness this band of brothers, this team packed with home-grown talent lift the trophy was wonderful.

Watching the French bound duo of Courts and Ludds lift the cup fair made your correspondent blart – not even going to claim hayfever!

Then it was back to The Gardens for more celebrations, so much singing, so much drinking, so many hugs. What a time to be alive!

Sunday saw the open top bus parade – more singing, more drinking and more hugging. And ski-goggles – everywhere!

For some now it’s holidays before pre-season comes round. For a couple of brothers it’s holidays with no threat of pre-season – happy retirement to the best front row double act Alex and Ethan – looking forward to seeing you as one of us next season! Three others are working out how to get all their belongings across the Channel to France and what awaits there – enjoy the wine and the sunshine Moonie, Luds and Courts – come back and see us whenever you can.

And seven of them are already back in rugby camp with England – heading for a tour of Japan and New Zealand. Enjoy the experience and stay uninjured, please.

Wishing Burger Odendaal and Curtis Langdon swift recovery from their injuries picked up on Saturday. Hope they will be fully fit and raring to go when the pre-season starts.

Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read and comment on my musings – I will be back in September as will Claire Jones who provides the photographs –see more at Red Hat Photography.

To see and hear our thoughts on things Saintly drop into the Ladies Wot Pod on Youtube or Spotify or search on other podcast platforms. It’s probably worth watching the opening minute or so of this one.

And for thoughts, questions and discussions hop over to Saints Sinners on Facebook.


Marching in - old hands Courtney Lawes and Alex Waller lead the boys for one last time


Trucking it up - Juarno Augustus with his trademark combination of speed and strength


Moonie bound for France but not until he had given his all for Saints


Freemo goes to ground with Tom Pearson and the GOAT backing up....


On the charge - premiership top try scorer, new Dad and now England new boy Ollie Sleightholme


King of the defence on the attack - Fraser Dingwall


The ginger Ninja strikes again -bamboozling the Bath defence


Magician Mitch across the line to seal the win for Saints


Your Gallagher Premiership Champions 2024 - Northampton Saints!


Simply the best.....


Let's get this party started......


The massed ranks of the Shoe Army.

bottom of page