Alex Lewington starred at the Kassam Stadium with his second Aviva Premiership Rugby hat-trick of the season, as London Irish helped themselves to a flurry of tries to beat London Welsh 50-12.
The hosts endured a difficult first half, Irish securing a bonus point with just 30 minutes played and running in six tries in total.
Shane Geraghty’s second score was the 100th try conceded by the ragged Welsh defence so far this season, but tries from James Tincknell and Taione Vea did see the hosts onto the scoresheet.
With Glenn Delaney's men only a place above them in the table, and having recorded a 15-9 Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Irish back in 2012, Welsh fans had cause to be optimistic ahead of the game.
But the home side were under pressure right from the off in a hectic opening quarter, Geraghty’s delightful chip over the top forcing Nick Scott to touch down and concede a five-metre scrum with two minutes gone.
And while Welsh managed to clear on that occasion, Lewington went over a couple of minutes later after some great work by centre Tom Fowlie in the build-up.
Things went from bad to worse for Welsh when Irish hacked on twice and Fowlie won the footrace to score again and compound a disastrous start for the home side – 10-0 down with just six minutes on the clock.
But Justin Burnell’s men came up with a response five minutes later, Tincknell racing through on the shoulder of Opeti Fonua, who made the initial break, to touch down before Will Robinson added the extras.
London Irish kept up their pressure however, and despite good work at the breakdown in their own 22 from the home side, Geraghty was again in the thick of the action on 18 minutes darting through a gap to score under the posts, this time adding the extras with a simple conversion.
And the same man wrapped up the bonus point within the half-hour, Geraghty touching down for his second try of the afternoon after a kind bounce from an overthrown Irish five-metre lineout.
Ill-discipline in the centre of the park was proving costly for Welsh, with Irish again getting the opportunity to kick a 35th minute penalty into the corner after another infringement at the breakdown.
Irish went for the catch and drive, and Matt Parr crashed over the whitewash for his first try of the season.
Andrew Fenby then completed a miserable first-half for the Kassam Stadium faithful, Lewington providing the assist for the full-back to go over as the clock ticked into the red, and Geraghty’s conversion made it 38-7 at the interval.
Lewington added his second try after 47 minutes, Tom Guest offloading nicely to provide the assist, but after Fenby saw yellow some huge pressure from the resilient home side allowed Vea to rumble over seven minutes later.
Welsh looked like they may score again on 60 minutes after kicking a penalty into the corner, but Seb Stegmann was tackled after trying to go the long way around before Irish stole a line-out to relieve the pressure.
The hosts mounted a strong finish to the game, building the phases and piling pressure on the Irish line with Lewington forced to touch down Olly Barkley’s 71st minute grubber-kick.
Elliot Kear was then forced into a last-ditch tackle to deny replacement Jebb Sinclair, but there was still time for Lewington to complete his hat-trick, side-stepping his way through a weary Welsh defence in the dying seconds.
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