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News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win

By Aidan Preece aka Ben_D
October 25 2015

Northampton Saints 42 – 16 Newcastle Falcons Aviva Premiership Round 2   24th October 2015 Ben_D gives his take on the 2nd game of the season

As I sat and watched the rain begin to remove nature’s gilded haute couture from its summer mannequins.  I couldn’t help but think that so many of the familiar moods I am used to experiencing at this time of year have been bumped sideways like a small child trying to absorb the impact of an overweight mayor.

Everything was wrong about the run in to the start of the new season, the wrong time and the wrong venue, the wrong results.  Would lady Rugby ever reveal her laced stocking tops to this ardent admirer ever again?  Because at the moment she was sporting the least sexist onesie imaginable.

I got the impression my Milton Keynes bound compatriots were of a similar disposition and despite the best efforts of our local hosts, this wasn’t home.  This didn’t even feel like the Premiership and with the Dons stadium nestling under a snug grey blanket and the unique padded acoustics of a late October afternoon I could have been stood on the side lines of a park friendly with half a dozen dads, dogs and wellies.  It was like remembering a lost love; this is how it used to be before salary caps, marquee players, TMO’s, flag waving mascots and thumping heart beats.  Just a match on a damp autumnal afternoon.

Reality however, would not let me linger long on my departed lover, my team could do with a win, and with one well below par performance last week a micro crisis loomed for last season’s table toppers if they could not at least flash an ankle in the direction of the casual observer.  The good news for Saints fans is that rumours that it’s the onesie and onesie only for this season are unfounded, there is a lovely sparkly designer dress somewhere in the closet but there are still a few seams to be stitched and sequins to be attached.

Whilst I am sure the players appreciated the longer closed season imposed by the World Cup it was the game that didn’t, and it took Northampton fifty minutes of this encounter and all of last week to find the needle and thread required to get things together.

To be fair Saints steepled in to Newcastle from the get go but couldn’t maintain the early control that saw a string of penalties for Steven Myler and a short range drive over the line from Christian Day that put them in to an early 13-0 lead.  In a strange way the contest remained uninspiring perhaps the fans have had too long off?

Newcastle were trickier and wiser opponents than to allow themselves to be suckered any further, slowly they secured more possession after the early Saintly assault.  Powell opened up some worrying gaps in the Saints defence and only wayward passes prevented Newcastle dramatically reducing the lead.  Instead it was repeated mistakes at the breakdown and at the scrum that allowed Mike Delany to slowly drag Newcastle back in to the match with three unanswered penalties.

That just about summed up the first half with Northampton struggling to find the continuity that has so far eluded them and Newcastle looking combative and sharp behind the pack.

The second half started in almost identical fashion to the first, Saints were intent on using the maul and their forward power to drain their opponents of energy and the crowd of its interest.  Somehow we wanted more than just the lust of the forward battle, we wanted to be wined and dined, we wanted the graceful Rugby love that had so far been absent from the Northampton game.  Our pre-season flirt with a paint by numbers national side has left us sensitive to the aimless kick and the fumbling, bludgeoning forward.  Our heads have been turned by the Antipodean and even South American beauties that are staying in the neighbourhood.  They dress far more attractively than the domestic game.

Thankfully sensing our disappointment Saint’s decided to pop upstairs and slip into something more comfortable.  Once Christian Day secured his and Northampton’s second mauled try following a string of infringements and a yellow card for Clever they remembered they still had the figure for a slinky little after dinner number.

Suddenly the teasing beauty we knew was back, not flawlessly (it’s only the second match in) but Foden began to return the ball at pace, Myler began to command the backs and with Hanrahan (an early replacement for a concussed George Pisi) looking confident and commanding, Saints startled a knapping Newcastle, suddenly they had become fashion conscious again.

Burrell who had been resolute and threatening all day scored a perfect forwards try from the back of try line breakdown. Northampton were now awake.  Foden not wanting to be the try-less gooseberry or out-Daisied added the first of his two seven minutes later.  Saints suddenly looked to have found their accessories draw, forwards took contact but moved the ball, Hanrahan glided in and out the line terrorising the Newcastle backs and even finding time to do a “Carter” his understanding with Myler already looks very easy on the eye.  Paul Hill for his twenty two minutes almost single-handedly wrestled the man of the match award from the outstanding Gibson.  Pagelesque even?

The England returnees didn’t appear too mentally scared either, Wood and Lawes who looked a tad lost with the national side seemed far more comfortable back in the domestic scene.  Foden’s safe hands under the high ball and his pace must put him back on the England radar and Hartley also looks to have benefited by staying away from the pre-season fray.

Newcastle for their part were slightly disappointing in the second half despite a near perfect set piece try off the top of a lineout.  They no doubt will look to their home form for their premiership survival.  On this turn out they have the potential to secure a good mid-table slot but they are more River Island than Versace at the moment.

Saints weren’t perfect by any means, there will be plenty of people still offering fashion advice, the early defence was porous and not all passes went to hand. Looking after the ball is still an issue and Sale and Saracens in the coming weeks will offer a greater challenge up front.  Players still occasionally found themselves isolated and offering turnovers but the last thirty minutes was even enough to encourage a round of song from the slumbering faithful.  Heaven forbid the dress sense and the romance might be returning.

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News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win (IP Logged)
25/10/2015 17:12
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Rubadubdub; remember Seb Tubb?
Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
25/10/2015 17:26
Nice read!

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
OldPete (IP Logged)
25/10/2015 19:37
very good - loved the way you keep the fashionista link going throughout.

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
Connorman (IP Logged)
25/10/2015 19:56
What a great review! Captured the mood perfectly.

Laced stocking tops! Surely a first for a match report!!

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
LaurieK (IP Logged)
26/10/2015 00:20
Great read, thanks. That was the worst atmosphere we've had a Stadium MK and I don't quite know why. The crowd being sparse and spread did not help. What was the real size of the gate?

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
Dave Jackson (IP Logged)
26/10/2015 08:12
Good report. Thanks for this.

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
HRsaints fan (IP Logged)
26/10/2015 10:40
Really good report Aidan (Ben D). I think we were all rather bemused by the atmosphere but it was always going to be the result that mattered and, in the end, the lads delivered.

I am very pleased to see JJ get on the pitch. I think this lad is a real find. Watching him play it is noticeable how much he looks for space rather than battering through. Of course that is largely due to his physique, but nevertheless it is still a joy to watch and it gives others real options. I can't wait to see him play in the same game as George, who I thought was starting to find his best form towards the end of the World Cup as he got through three really physically demanding games without incident.

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
Bernie (IP Logged)
26/10/2015 13:43
Good read. With all the talk of laced stocking tops I was expecting an excerpt from 50 Shades of Grey. Nevertheless it did keep me smiling.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
Saint Tim (IP Logged)
26/10/2015 19:39
thumbs down

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Benjamin Franklin

Tetleys Block F E143

Re: News: Saints Fashion “Home” Win
oldtoastersaint (IP Logged)
28/10/2015 10:28
Nice onesie!

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