Happy memories boost Saints ahead of Bath trip

Mike Haywood scored for Saints at Bath back in February (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Mike Haywood scored for Saints at Bath back in February (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

With the final month of the year having just arrived, there is often time spent reflecting on games gone by.

People will enjoy looking at what their team has done since 2015 replaced 2014, focusing on the good times the club they love have conjured up.

For Saints, a couple of matches stand out.

The one at Glasgow Warriors last month was the apex, with Jim Mallinder’s men allying slick backs play with bone-crunching forward dominance.

But another of this year’s performances that also springs to mind is the one at Bath back in February.

On that day, a Saints side affected by international call-ups headed to The Rec knowing they would face one of their toughest tests of the season.

But it was one they passed with flying colours, with tries from James Wilson and Mike Haywood helping them overcome an early 10-0 deficit to record a 21-13 success.

“It’s a good memory,” said assistant coach Alan Dickens.

“We’ve had some really tough games against Bath in the past few years and they’ve been a team who expect to be challenging for trophies at the back end of the season.

“Last season they were runners-up, the season before we played them in the Amlin Challenge Cup final, so they are a team who compete for honours.

“We’re aware it’s a tough game, but one that we will look forward to.

“Last season’s performance there was really good during Six Nations time and hopefully there will be more of that this weekend.”

February’s spirited success helped Saints cement their place at the top of the table, but this time they head to Bath sitting a little lower down the Premiership pecking order.

Mallinder’s men are currently sixth after five games, with Bath, who were eventual grand final runners-up to Saracens last season, languishing in eighth.

So this weekend’s showdown is vital for two teams with top-two aspirations.

“We’ve taken the positives from the win against Gloucester last Friday, but we know there are areas we need to improve on,” Dickens said.

“We’re constantly striving to get better as the season goes on and hopefully we’ve prepared well enough so we can go to Bath and get a result.”

The trip to Bath is followed by a mouthwatering Champions Cup double-header against Racing 92.

It all makes for a difficult December for the men from Franklin’s Gardens, who finish the year with a Boxing Day game at London Irish.

But Dickens refuses to be daunted.

He said: “Every month this season is a big month, it’s just part and parcel of the fixtures being next to each other (with no LV= Cup).

“The next game is always the biggest game, and that’s no different this week.”