Bedford feel the force of Irish in Championship Cup
SMALL changes made a big difference for London Irish as they scored 26 unanswered second half points to triumph at Goldington Road.
Battling Bedford pushed them hard in the first half, but too many errors allowed the muchimproved Exiles to cut loose and run in six tries.
Head coach Les Kiss said: “I think we just had to hunker down as a team and get the basics right.
“We possibly lacked a bit of energy at times, and just that extra bit of focus in terms of getting the little things right that make a game bigger so we can score the tries. We had to be a good team today against Bedford.”
Bedford got off to the perfect start when Lewis Robling’s fourth-minute penalty sailed over for 3-0.
Things got even better moments later when Rich Lane’s scintillating break swallowed up half the field to earn Bedford field position. Huw Worthington was then able to break away from a maul to touch down, although the conversion was missed.
With two incredibly tight encounters between the sides already under their belts, this one was no different, with Bedford displaying tenacious defence against their former Premiership visitors.
A massive Irish catchand-drive move was held up before Ben Loader danced through for the Exiles on 15 minutes, only for the normally-reliable Stephen Myler to skew his conversion wide.
As Bedford pushed forward Irish dubiously won back possession on the blindside and, as the hosts scrambled back, Alex Rae was sin-binned for a high tackle.
More great defence from the hosts saw Irish held up again, only for the ball to be spread wide for Topsy Ojo to score a simple try in the corner on 32 minutes. Myler’s conversion thudded against the post.
Bedford ensured they had their noses just in front at the break when Robling’s second penalty sailed over for 11-10.
The Blues were archi-
tects of their own downfall in the second half as too many avoidable errors handed the ascendancy to Irish.
A dropped kick-off gave Irish field position and Saia Fainga’a was driven over, with Myler converting.
Irish were held up for a third time, before Dave Porecki raced on to a great pop pass on 52 minutes for another converted try.
A bulldozing run by Ofisa Treviranus opened Bedford up for Terrance Hepetema to score on the hour and Matt Rogerson forced his way over from close range seven minutes later as Irish threatened to run riot.
With the game gone, Bedford played with more freedom at the death but, despite Irish being reduced to 13 in the closing stages with Blair Cowan (high tackle) and Barney Maddison (technical) sin-binned, they couldn’t get through.
Despite matching them for long periods over three matches Bedford No.8 Worthington said: “Nearly isn’t good enough for what we want to achieve. We want to be turning these over on our home patch. It’s disappointing, but there’s a lot of positives to take out of it.”
Winging in: Ben Loader scores Irish’s first try
Breakout: Alex Penny attacks for Bedford