Saturday saw my first visit to Franklin’s Gardens to watch Northampton Saints play Bath in the Aviva Rugby Union Premiership. I was treated to use of the Travis Perkins Box for the day and took some customers and colleagues along for a truly amazing day. The weather was perfect for the Sold Out match with a clear, bright, sunny day providing the pleasant backdrop for the near 13,000 crowd. Northampton Saints and Bath were 2nd and 3rd heading into this game, with the possibility of taking top spot depending on Saracens result.
Part of the day involved a tour around the stadium which was pretty exciting. We got to walk around the ground and have a look in the players tunnel as well as the Home Changing Rooms. We were not allowed into the visitors changing rooms because apparently there were private confidential game plans on show! Either way this didn’t spoil the opportunity to look at parts of the ground many people could only dream of doing. There is a plaque on the wall by the Home changing room which lists by caps, the most capped players at the club in Saints history. This dates back to 1895 which is where all the records that weren’t destroyed by a fire are available to. There are some pretty impressive capped players with over 400 caps. I was also really grateful to get a photo taken by Pisi’s shirt, he is one of my favorite Saints players!
As we looked around the bars and the trophy room we were also shown a wall which had all the photos of players past and present who have been capped by their respective country. This is when I discovered that Gregor Townsend who is my favourite Scottish player, used to play for Saints! A little bit of trivia as I like to educate my blogs followers, Franklin’s Gardens is the only English Rugby Ground to have a War Memorial Situation within it. I think this photo shows it off nicely.
The food in the box was spot on and the drinks were flowing. Everybody was in great spirits ahead of the promising match that awaited us. Now I’m not one with great knowledge of Rugby Union, but Saints found themselves 0-13 behind after 10 minutes and staring into the possibility of being left behind. Bath were reduced to 14 men and in that time, 2 tries for Saints saw them take a lead that they never relinquished. The game saw Saints score six tries in total and claim a 43-25 win which was full of entertainment.
There was one final twist as I discovered that I’d be presenting the Travis Perkins man of the match award to Christian Daly at the end of the game. There was also an opportunity to shake hands with North who played well and get right close to the team huddle at the end of the game. There will be a better photo to follow but this one shows me on the pitch. One funny moment is when I turned up to the box we were in during the game from the pitch, to see all the guys waving and chanting my name, awesome effort guys!