- Northampton youngsters shine at the Gardens
- Army complete preparations for Inter Services Championship
Northampton 47 British Army 29
Northampton Saints and the British Army served up an 11-try feast in an entertaining Mobbs Memorial Match at Franklin’s Gardens this evening.
The match proved a fitting tribute to the memory of Edgar Mobbs, the former Northampton and England wing, who died leading an attack on a machine gun post in the Battle of Passchendale in July 1917.
With the centenary of the start of the First World War this year, the centenary of Mobbs’ death in 2017 and the centenary of the inauguration of this fixture in 2021, the famous old match, once one of the most important fixtures in England, has gained new-found relevance.
Northampton used the match to give valuable senior exposure to a number of their talented youngsters, whose pace and enterprise decided the match in the first ten minutes.
Northampton scored three tries in that time, two from scrum half Alex Day and the other from their England Under 18 centre Harry Mallinder, the son of the club’s director of rugby, Jim.
The Army recovered well and reduced the deficit to six points at one stage through tries from centres Peceli Nacamavuto and Gerhard Wessels.
But Northampton had pulled clear again by half-time after experienced full back Paul Diggin and Samoa international wing Fa’atoina Autagavaia crossed for further tries in quick succession.
Both sides lost their shape for a time in the second half but there were four tries in the last ten minutes with centre Rory Hutchinson and Autagavaia stretching Northampton’s lead to 40-15.
The Army, who will now go on a training camp to Portugal ahead of their opening match in this season’s Inter Services Championship against the RAF next month, finished strongly with wing Tams Tamatawale stumbling over for a try that wrong-footed Autagavaia and replacement flanker Maku Koroiyadi ploughing over close to the posts.
In the curtain-raiser a last-minute penalty helped Army A beat East Midlands 25-22.
Tries from lock Tom Poole (Coventry) and Cambridge full back DeLaRey Veenendaal (Cambridge) nudged East Midlands into a 10-0 lead before Army A hit back to lead 15-10 at the break.
East Midlands regained the lead with further tries from replacement number eight Mike Weston (Luton) and loosehead prop Tom Williams (Leicester Lions) and conversion from Scott Browne of Towcestrians.
But Army A equalised with a converted try and sealed the win with the final kick of the match.