IN-FORM Northampton dealt Gloucester’s play-off hopes another blow with a 41-34 victory in a compelling affair at the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

The hosts secured a third consecutive Gallagher Premiership victory as they gained revenge for a defeat at Kingsholm in December.

Saints scored six tries through Alex Waller, Callum Braley, Alex Moon, Sam Graham, Tommy Freeman and Fraser Dingwall, while braces from Seb Blake and Jamal Ford-Robinson, as well as a Matias Alemanno five-pointer, secured two hard-earned bonus points for Gloucester.

After a James Grayson penalty opened the scoring for the hosts, the visitors were first over the whitewash with a trademark driving maul that saw Blake touch down.

Saints responded well as Waller crashed over from short range for Saints’ first try of the day.

Gloucester piled on the pressure in the Saints’ 22 as half-time approached, which featured Alemanno being magnificently held up by Graham, and the barrelling Albert Tuisue’s touch down ruled to have been dropped by the TMO.

George Skivington’s men eventually grabbed another try in classic driving maul fashion as Blake added another score to his total for the day to level things up at 10-10 at the interval.

Saints were fast out of the blocks in the second half as a marauding break from James Ramm got the home side in the Gloucester 22, before Braley caught the visitors’ guards napping around the breakdown with a successful reach for the line.

The Cherry and Whites responded strongly through Ollie Thorley, who received the ball in the wide channel from Chris Harris to score with ease following some counter-attacking brilliance from Santiago Carreras.

Shortly afterwards, Moon found himself one-on-one with Lloyd Evans as the ball was thrown into the wide channel metres from the line, and predictably steamed over the smaller man to stretch out Saints’ lead.

A spectacular Ramm 50/22 was the perfect foundation for Phil Dowson’s side to secure their bonus point as a ball into the pocket from Braley allowed Graham to drive over from short range.

Saints continued their march as Freeman capitalised on an Evans fumble by sweeping up the ball and sprinting over from the halfway line uncontested.

The hosts’ sixth was superb as they showcased some beautiful handling in an attack littered with thrilling offloads that saw Dingwall touch down.

Gloucester’s late flurry ensured the visitors did not leave empty-handed, as Ford-Robinson carried over from short range following a lineout.

Alemanno secured the away side’s bonus point with a clean run-in facilitated by a Lewis Ludlow offload.

Ford-Robinson added another in the closing play with a pick-and-drive metres from the line, before Billy Twelvetrees’ conversion earned a second bonus point.