Rugby: Saints stretch lead at top of table

Matt Ellwood (centre) in action for St Neots Saints in their 34-23 victory over Bedford Swifts.

Matt Ellwood (centre) in action for St Neots Saints in their 34-23 victory over Bedford Swifts. - Credit: Archant

Delighted coach Jon Blenkhar hailed the victory over title rivals Bedford Swifts as ‘another significant step in the evolution’ of his St Neots Saints squad.

The table-topping Saints triumphed 34-23 at The Common to extend their 100 per cent start to the Midlands Division Four (East) campaign to six matches.

They found themselves 10 points adrift early on but two tries from early replacement Scott Hardiman hauled them back onto level terms.

The turnaround was completed when centre Adam Peel, who had twice been provider for Hardiman, burst over before Ed Strand was left with a simple task to cross the line after a solo break from Dan Glover.

An 11-point interval cushion increased when Sam Peel powered in for a fifth Saints try before Bedford hit back with two penalties to keep themselves in contention, but the result was put beyond doubt when flanker Phil Fernie drove over from the base of a ruck.

Coach Blenkhar said: “It was very pleasing to see the execution of our gameplan in the first half and some real ambition in our attacking play.

“We were less fluid in the second half but the composure demonstrated to close out the game was excellent.”

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Saints are now seven points clear of the chasing pack ahead of a visit to Bourne this Saturday.

Prince Mangwende claimed a hat-trick of tries as St Neots Colts won 29-17 at Wellingborough in a friendly.

St Ives suffered a fourth successive Midlands Division Three (East).

Jack Blackley scored their only points from a penalty as a side forced into a stack of changes were beaten 14-3 by Leciester Vipers.

But coach Phil Brown was upbeat in defeat following a game in which both tries were conceded after their own attacks had broken down.

He said: “The structure and intent of the guys cannot be faulted.”