Leicester Tigers scored seven tries to record a 45-14 victory over Northampton Saints at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in the first meeting of the Derby Day Double between the East Midlands rivals.
The 31-point win made it three from three for the home club for the weekend after wins in the Women’s Championship semi-final and Gallagher Premiership.
It took just two minutes for Leicester to get across for the first of the night when skipper Francois van Wyk crashed over from close range.
The home side found themselves in prime position on the back of a fast, physical start and the loosehead prop was the beneficiary several phases into the attack.
Atkinson converted to make it 7-0, which it would only remain for just five minutes before the visitors scored their first through Karl Wilkins.
James Grayson converted to level the scores.
Tigers took back the lead in the 18th minute when Atkinson did it on his own.
After finding touch deep inside the Saints end from a penalty, just a handful of phases from the line out, the fly-half stepped and dummied his way through the line before reaching out score.
He converted his own try to make it 14-7 after a quarter of the game.
Tigers had a third soon after thanks to some quick thinking from Atkinson.
The Leicester fly-half spotted space out wide, behind the Northampton defensive line and landed a cross field kick perfectly to bounce up into the hands of a chasing Harry Simmons.
Simmons was dragged down just short of the line and, almost immediately, Kini Murimurivalu deputised at scrum half with a brilliant ball for Sean Jansen, who dived to over in the south west corner.
Atkinson’s conversion attempt went wide, which meant it was 19-7.
Saints clawed back the deficit to five points soon after with a try to Craig Wright, from the back of a well executed driving maul, and Grayson conversion seeing the score line at 19-14.
However, the home side took the lead back out to twelve points when Murimurivalu got a try of his own.
The full-back, sneakily hunting around the ruck, followed scrum-half Sam Edwards through the Northampton line and ran onto a well weighted flick pass from the No.9 before dotting down.
A third conversion for Atkinson made it 26-14, where it would remain until the break.
Soon after half-time and Leicester’s lead was out to 19 points when Phil Cokanasiga chased down a grubber from his midfield partner Joe Woodward.
Atkinson converted to make 33-14.
After an hour of action at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, Tigers had a sixth and seventh in quick succession from both wingers.
Hosea Saumaki crossed after barging through the Northampton defence on the back of a strong set piece deep in the visitor’s end, before Joe Browning intercepted a pass on halfway and ran it in the rest of the way.
Atkinson converted Browning’s try to extending the lead to 31 points, 45-14, where it stayed to hand Leicester the victory in the first of the Derby Day Double.