Twickenham was the stage for the Aviva Premiership Final between Northampton Saints and Saracens.
Saints were aiming to become champions of England for the first time, with Jim Mallinder’s men hoping to go one better than last year, when they lost at the final hurdle to east midlands rivals Leicester Tigers.
Leicester were of course beaten by Saints at the semi-final stage in an epic encounter two weeks ago, and the Saints supporters were hoping their team could produce a repeat performance at a sun-soaked home of rugby.
Our man Jeremy Casey was at the big game, and here is his blow-by-blow account of the action.
2.15pm: The players from both sides are out on the pitch going through their pre-match drills, including Saints skipper Dylan Hartley, who hasn’t played since March due to a shoulder injury. The fans are beginning to take their seats, and the atmosphere inside Twickenham is building nicely. Can Saints go one step further than last season? We’ll soon find out...
2.30pm: The stands are filling nicely, and the first shout-off between the supporters is pretty even, which us strange as everywhere you look are Saints fans! Perhaps the many neutrals here are going for Sarries!
2.51pm: The Saints players leave the field after their warm-up to a rapturous ovation from the supporters inside the ground. Is this going to be their time?
2.57pm: The players from both teams enter the field of play to a brilliant reception... Here we go!
3pm: Stephen Myler gets the match underway, and a charge down from Courtney Lawes puts Sarries on the back foot straight away.
3.07pm: Tight start to the matchm but the biggest cheer so far goes up when Chris Ashton is tackled! The Saints fans down’t like him do they? He was roundly booed when his name was announced earlier too!
3.14pm: First points of the game, and first blood to Saracens. Courtney Lawes is penalised, a penalty awarded to Saracens, and Owen Farrell bangs it through the posts from 30 metres. Saracens 3 Saints 0
3.17pm: Mike Hatwood breathes a sigh of relief...Ashton intercepted his pass on the Saints’ 22, but luckily for Haywood, the Sarries winger was quickly tackled!
3.19pm: Farrell makes no mistake with a penalty from the left of the posts, 30 metres out, and it’s Saracens 6 Saints 0. Saints are struggling to make any headway so far.
3.24pm: He is human then... Owen Farrell misses a penalty from 40 metres. Sam Dickinson will be a happy man as he was the offender.
3.31pm: Stunning break from inside his own 22 from Ken Pisi takes Saints into the Sarries 22... pressure from Saints at last. Saints win two quick penalties, and got for lineouts. The decision pays off big style, as from the second, the Saracens defence is sucked to the ball, which is then quickly switched to the left and Ben Foden goes over for a simple finish. Myler kicks the conversion and Saints lead 7-6. Clinical stuff from Saints from their first genuine spell of pressure in the game.
3.41pm: Big moment for Saints as they claim a turnover just yards from their own line. Sarries were threatening to score their first try
3.45pm: Saints win a penalty in their own 22, Myler books the ball out, and it is half-time (although after last year I bet Myler triple checked he was allowed to kick the ball out on the full!!) and it is half-time. Saints, despite being dominated for much of the match, lead 7-6. Ken Pisi’s brilliant break from deep inside the Saints half proved to be the key moment. Saracens will be in the dressing rooms wondering how on earth they are losing.
4.01pm: Owen Farrell gets the second half underway. Saints are 40 minutes from glory.
4.05pm: Mike Haywood penalised and Farrell kicks a penalty from 22 metres as Saracens regain the lead. 9-7.
4.07pm: Saints waste great chance to retake the lead. With the overlap on down the left wing, Myler’s pass to Luther Burrell is wayward and the ball goes out for a Saracens lineout, when it should have been a try for Saints
4.17pm: Great spell of Saints pressure comes to nothing as Courtney Lawes is penalised for holding on...
4.18pm: Huge ovation from the Saints support as Dylan Hartley comes on for Mike Haywood. Can the captain inspire his team to victory? He hasn’t played since March...
4.23pm: TRY for Saints... George Pisi touches down in the corner, but it goes to the TMO who checks if Pisi was onside. he was and the try is awarded... but there wasa a clear forward pass earlier in the move. Lucky break for Saints there. Myler converts brilliantly from the lft touchline and Saiunts lead 14-9 with an hour gone
4.28PM: CONTROVERSY! Saracens score a try through Farrell. Referee JP Doyle was happy with the try, but as Saints fans booed the replays on the big srceen due to a suspiciously forward looking pass from Alex Goode in the build up, the TMO asked Doyle if he wanted to review it. Doyle checked if he should review it, and the TMO said ‘yes’. On the review, the pass WAS deemed forward, and the try was disallowed. Saints still 14-9 in front. And Farrell also had to go off after injuring himself while scoring!
4.42pm: TRY for Saracens. And it’s a hammer blow for Saints as Marcelo Bosch goes over in the corner. It had been coming, and there is no let-off for Saints this time. Charlie Hodgson’s kick from the right touchline is a belter, but it hits the post and we are all level at 14-14!!
4.51pm: It’s all over. It’s a draw at 14-14, and we are going to have extra-time. To be honest, Saints willl take that after the pressure they were put under by Saracens in the final 20 minutes of normal time.
4.59pm: Myler gets extra-time underway
5.02pm: Stephen Myler kicks a penalty, and Saints lead 17-14
5.04pm: Saints’ lead doesn’t last very long as Hodgson pops one over from 25 metres to make it 17-17
5.06pm: Great break through the middle by Chris Ashton, Sarries pile on the pressure and think they have scored. But the ball is not grounded and play is brough back for an earlier obstruction by a Sarries player. Still 17-17.
5.14pm: Second half of extra-time is underway. Scores tied at 17-17.
5.16pm: Is that the killer blow for Saints? Charlie Hodgson knocks over a penalty from 32 metres, and Saracens lead 20-17. Eight minutes of extra-time remain
5.27pm: SAINTS TRY!!!! With the clock run down, Saints, who had piled on the pressure , think they have scored the winning try through Alex Waller. But did he get the ball down on the line? Sarries said no, Saints said yes, and it was down the TMO... He took an age, he looked at every angle, and he eventually, awarded Saints the try. Game over. Saints are the champions!!!
5.28pm: Myler pops over the easiest of conversions, and the final score is 24-20. Amazing stuff.