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There ain’t no justice, just us

Saints 21 - 27 Saracens Report and pictures

This kind of defeat leaves a taste in your mouth that is only washed clean with silverware and trophies.

By the end of it Saints had done everything: had good luck and bad, done sublime things but also saw a game slip through their fingers that should have been theirs.

And that’s the real stinger. For whatever reason, perhaps the chaotic chill wind whipping round Franklin’s Gardens was enough, chances went begging to win despite losing two players to yellow cards.

One of which, incidentally, was the result of a play that never should have happened.

Naiyaravoro saw yellow from referee Matthew Carley following a line-out given in error when Saracens found touch on the wrong side of the try line.

I was sitting in South Stand and clearly saw the kick fly out of play at least two feet beyond the corner flag. Granted, I’m writing this as a paying Saints fan (and Casuals RUFC parent, which was the local club of the day) but I saw what I saw.

Northampton Saints club match report

No line-out. No yellow card. In fact if there had been a less pedantic application of the high tackle laws then Lewis Bean might not have left the field less than two minutes earlier.

In the following ten minutes Saracens, like an only partially beaten supervillain, managed to claw back 14 points.

I’ll admit, I won’t be completely satisfied after a Saints Saracens game until we have done to them what they were doing to us in our year of hell.

Saracens gave us some of our worst thumpings in recent years and now we must absorb the knowledge that they gloried in those victories while playing to their own version of the payment cap rules.

We beat them at the start of the season and I remember thinking, so soon after the World Cup, that it might be different second time around.

I thought that early season win was us boxing clever, taking a score off the big boys when they were depleted but this defeat was not a playing out of natural justice.

Saints had a hatful of scoring opportunities but they also had every kind of bad luck ranging from a knee injury for Dan Biggar to bad calls from linesmen. Saracens nicked this off us like underdogs.

There was even an intercept try from Ben Earl whose triumphant scoring celebration was saluted by the Casuals mums in a singularly digital manner.

This fixture has an edge that is exhilarating but it usually comes from a sense that we might be stealing their treasure. The frustration of this result is that they stole ours, taking opportunities that we didn’t.

Not much would have needed to have gone right to produce a better result but Saints will have to settle for the brittle biscuit of a losing bonus point.

The bigger picture is that it is worth more to Saints than the winning points are to already-relegated Saracens. They are on a strange odyssey into the underworld of the championship and no-one quite knows what will come back.

Slideshow of Dave Ikin pictures:

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