Rugby Union: Cunningham keeps Europe in sight
Bedford 21 London Irish 36
Sunday 09 May 1999
But it was not a great match. Indeed at times it was desperate, especially in the early stages. Bedford looked resigned to the play-offs from the kick-off. If they approach them in the same way then relegation will be a certainty. Poor Rory Underwood, coming on for the injured Darragh O'Mahony after quarter of an hour, and in his final couple of games before retiring, found he had entered a nightmare where everything that could go wrong, did.
No one could have had a worse start to their day at the office and the way things went wrong for him it was a relief he was not airborne yesterday. Nothing bounced for him, if there was a knock-on to be committed, Underwood was the patsy, if a pass was going to go astray, Underwood would be behind it.
He handed London Irish their first try when he succeeded only in palming a Brendan Venter cross chip obligingly into the path of Jarrod Cunningham who had a clear run to the line.
He could not be blamed for Irish's second try though; that came courtesy of a Cunningham break before Niall Woods sped away to touch down under the posts. Bedford did not help their cause at all and were guilty of too many infringements within kicking distance. Cunningham kicked two successful first-half penalties to establish a comfortable lead.
Bedford still had plenty of enthusiastic support and the Goldington Road ground was crammed, mainly with standing people since the big temporary stand has gone, the bottom half to the cricket World Cup, the top half to the Badminton Horse Trials. The hospitality boxes come down tomorrow to go to Silverstone.
The rain rendered the pitch something of a skid pan and the skids were certainly under Bedford. The loss of O'Mahony was compounded when Joe Ewens failed to take the field after the interval. The tackling was not that great before his departure there were a lot more missed after he had gone.
Underwood was able to atone somewhat for the injustices of fate when he was put clear by Sam Howard, but Irish were still in the driving seat as a further try from Conor O'Shea underlined their superiority three minutes later. Steve Bachop's charge down of a Howard chip saw the former All Black run over unopposed.
And amid all this Cunningham kept kicking goals until he had amassed 21 points. Charlie Harrison's interception and 50-yard sprint for a second Bedford try and Tony Yapp sneaking in for a third was poor consolation. But at least they were showing some spirit by the end. Irish were left kicking themselves for allowing their points differential to be eroded by the late fightback.
Bedford: S Stewart; B Whetstone, A Murdoch, J Ewens (S Howard, h-t), D O'Mahony (R Underwood, 14); A Yapp, R Elliott (C Harrison, 50); C Boyd (A Ozdemir 6-12 & 64), J Richards (A Davis, 67), V Hartland, D Zaltzman, S Murray (A Duke), J Cockle, R Winters, J Forster (P Elphick, 72).
London Irish: C O'Shea (capt); J Cunningham, N Burrows, B Venter (J Bishop, 59), N Woods; S Bachop, P Richards; N Hatley, R Kirke, R Hardwick (K Fullman, 62), R Strudwick, N Harvey, J Boer (M Bird, 36-38), I Feaunati, K Dawson.
Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Police want right of veto over 'high risk' Friday night fixtures in wake of new Premier League TV deal
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£29500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company in Yorkshire and t...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing experience-led technology co...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...