Apr 25, 2016
Report: Storm bow out at The Gardens
Saracens Storm were narrowly beaten 16-12 by the Northampton Wanderers in tonight’s A League semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens.
A committed Storm side performed admirably but were edged out by the hosts, who crossed for two tries with back rower Ben Nutley and scrumhalf Tom Kessell dotting down for the all-important scores.
Ben Spencer was in impressive form with the boot, with the Storm scrum half kicking four penalties on a drizzly and bitterly cold evening in the East Midlands.
Saracens Storm fell behind to an early JJ Hanrahan penalty, after Nils Mordt was penalised for straying offside in the defensive line.
Ben Spencer had the chance to level things up minutes later but pulled his effort wide, but the former England Saxons half-back atoned for his earlier miss to land a 16th minute penalty after Saints were penalised for offside after a James Wilson error in back field.
The remainder of the first half was an attritional affair. No inch given or taken, as either side couldn’t establish a period of play to really stamp their authority on the game, but it would be the Wanderers who would head into the half-time break with the lead. After a scrum penalty went against the Storm, the Wanderers went to touch, set-up the lineout and flanker Ben Nutley crashed over to score. Hanrahan couldn’t convert.
The Storm cut the Wanderers lead to two points after the break, when Ben Spencer landed a penalty three minutes into the second half, but their struggles with the home sides catch and drive gifted Hanrahan an immediate chance to send over a penalty.
Saracens Storm though were in no mood to fold, and some superb scrummaging from Titi Lamositele provided Spencer the chance to send over another penalty.
The game was tightening up, but the Wanderers struggles under the high ball continued to punish them as they knocked-on another Ben Spencer box-kick and conceded a penalty for offside. Spencer sent over the three points to give the Storm the lead for the first time in the game.
Kev Sorrell’s side’s lead wouldn’t last long, as half-back Tom Kessell darted in for a 67th minute try. Hanrahan failed to convert leaving the scores 16-12 to the home side.
The Storm had late chances with two lineouts deep in the Wanderers 22, but the set-piece faltered which meant there would be no grandstand finish that the Strom’s effort and endeavour deserved.
Final Score: Northampton Wanderers 16 Saracens Storm 12
15 Matt Gallagher; 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Nathan Earle; 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Jared Saunders, 3 Titi Lamositele; 4 Hayden Smith, 5 Kieran Low; 6 Jack Nay, 7 Anthony Maka, 8 Samu Vunisa.
Replacements: 16 Josh Taylor, 17 Ralph Adams-Hale, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Aaron Morris, 23 Rotimi Segun.
Penalties: Ben Spencer (4/5)