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London Irish secure a hard-earned win

22 Dec 2006
London Irish secure a hard-earned win

A dazzling display of kicking from Barry Everitt secured London Irish a hard-earned 16-14 victory over Worcester to ease their relegation concerns.

Before the game Worcester fly-half Shane Drahm had hoped to make the headlines by reaching 1,000 Premiership points.

And he had an opportunity to earn his side a draw with almost the last kick of the game but his conversion from Aisea Havili’s try hit the post.

Instead it was his opposite number who stole the show, slotting over 11 points and placing an inch-perfect kick to the corner to set-up his side’s only try of the game.

Irish opened the scoring inside just three minutes when Everitt kicked a 35 metre penalty from in front of the posts.

With influential skipper Mike Catt missing the game through injury, the visitors seemed to be lacking direction at times.

But that all changed after 10 minutes when a delightful kick to the right wing from Everitt saw Topsy Ojo outpace Worcester’s Mark Tucker to the ball and dive over in the corner.

A Drahm penalty reduced the deficit five minutes later, the kick coming after a rolling maul had edged to within a few metres of the Exiles line.

And the 29-year-old closed the gap further with a stunning 40-metre drop goal to lift a game that had threatened to become bogged down in midfield.

Two minutes before the break, Worcester were awarded another penalty just inside their own half and Drahm took another step towards his 1,000-point milestone with a perfect kick that dissected the posts.

But deep into first-half injury-time Everitt slotting another a 40-metre penalty to take the score to 13-9 to the visitors.

The second period began in a similar fashion to the first with Irish holding the upper hand and Everitt almost stretched the lead inside two minutes but his drop goal attempt was charged down.

The 30-year-old did add to his points tally after 50 minutes with another long-distance penalty conversion as the Exiles continued to turn the screw.

Irish nearly added a second try after 56 minutes when a penalty kicked to the corner resulted in a catch-and-drive towards the line.

Solid Worcester defending held them at bay but the ball was spun out to Ojo who barged his way through two tackles only to be halted short of the line before Warriors cleared the danger.

The dangerous Ojo again looked odds-on to dart over 10 minutes later but the powerful winger put a foot into touch.

That almost proved costly when, with four minutes to go, the home side grabbed their first try of the night.

Some ferocious pressure by the Warriors pack resulted in James Brown sending a grubber kick behind the Exiles lines, where winger Aisea Havili ran in to score.

Drahm’s conversion would have levelled the scores but his kick hit the upright.

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