London Irish secured a 24-9 victory over London Welsh at Madejski Stadium on Friday in a game that saw both teams have a player red carded.
In the battle between the bottom two, it was Alex Lewington who scored the first try of the afternoon as he got on the end of a Shane Geraghty ball.
That try was followed by a red card for both sides, Daniel Leo and Tom May departing following a skirmish.
Irish continued to dominate, and Geoff Cross got the second score, as he continued his impressive scoring run of three in four games. And the final try came courtesy of Tom Court, as he and his side drove over the line to clinch a straight forward win.
Tom Homer had two opportunities in a quiet opening ten minutes, but squandered both penalties from distance, before the visiting Will Robinson showed him how to do it with his sides first effort of the afternoon.
Irish were unsurprisingly on top for large spells of the opening period, and drove towards the try-line on several occasions only to be met by a sturdy Welsh backline.
Homer finally got his side’s first points of the afternoon with a penalty, before the first try did come. It was Lewington who went over for the hosts, as he got on the end of Geraghty’s chip forward, before Homer added the extra points to put Irish into a deserved lead.
But the game took a sour turn five minutes before half-time, as both sides were reduced to 14. Leo was issued the red card along with May after a brawl, though questions will be asked as to whether the decision was harsh.
Robinson emerged from that lengthy delay for his second successful penalty of the afternoon, before Irish thought they had their second try.
Following a drive forward, Geraghty sent another wonderful chip over the visiting backline, and Topsy Ojo collected it to go over the line under no pressure. However, the TMO adjudged Ojo to be offside, as he began his run a second too early, as Irish went in four points up.
It took just ten second-half minutes for the hosts to add to their lead however, as Cross got his third try in four games.
London Welsh spent the opening quarter of the second-half camped in their own 22, and the hosts finally made them pay, with Cross taking the ball from a drive and going under a series of Welsh legs to ground the ball. Homer’s conversion deservedly stretched the lead.
Robinson continued his 100 percent kicking record for the afternoon with a third penalty after an hour, but his kicks in truth were just momentary breaks from the Irish pressure, and their third try came with 15 minutes to play.
Another drive forward saw Court in possession of the ball as they cast aside the Welsh defence to go over. Homer’s conversion was his third of the afternoon, and the Irish sauntered to victory to move away from the bottom placed side.
For London Irish:
Tries: Lewington, Cross, Court
Con: Homer 3
Red card: Leo (34 mins)
For London Welsh:
Pen: Robinson 3
Red card: May (34 mins)
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Leo Halavatau, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Daniel Leo, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Tomas O’Leary, 22 Eamonn Sheridan, 23 Andrew Fenby
London Welsh: 15 Will Robinson, 14 Elliot Kear, 13 Tom May (c), 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Piri Weepu, 9 Rob Lewis, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Carl Kirwan (c), 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Down, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Nathan Trevett
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Ricky Reeves, 18 Ben Cooper, 19 Peter Browne, 20 Ben Pienaar, 21 Paul Rowley, 22 James Tincknell, 23 Seb Stegmann.
Referee: Greg Garner (72nd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick and Roy Maybank
TMO: David Sainsbury