Rugby Union: Desperate Orrell find extra gear

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The Independent Online
When it comes to giant-killing, much depends on definition. These days, the measure of a club seems to have little do with status and everything to do with the size of the bank balance. So affluent Second Division Bedford going out of the Pilkington Cup in the fifth round at Orrell, beaten 34- 31 after a last-minute penalty by Rob Hitchmough had earned the First Division side a second chance in extra time, could almost be called an upset.

Orrell, destined for relegation, were reduced to 14 men early in the second half when their New Zealand back-row forward Richard Higgs was sent off after a scrap with Ian Skingsley. He, in turn, was taken off to allow Bedford's Western Samoan back-row forward Junior Paramore to come off the bench after extravagant plans to fly him in from New Zealand went awry. His itinerary included an unplanned glimpse of life in three slow lanes of traffic on the M6.

Bedford's cause was further damaged by the early loss of the stand-off Paul Turner, who was dazed by a late tackle that earned the Orrell hooker Alex Moffat a yellow card. But they gave as good as they got. They took a 12-0 lead through four penalties by Mike Rayer, but were lucky not to lose centre Mike Pechey for flattening Orrell's stand-off Matthew McCarthy, who had chipped a drop goal in to the home fightback.

Martin Offiah's only contribution for Bedford was a try early in extra time and the centre Ben Whetstone added their third try, but Paul Hamer and Nigel Heslop went over late to swing the game Orrell's way.

Leicester were almost made to pay for resting most of their first team against Newbury, when the Fourth Division South side fought back from a 20-point deficit with tries from Julian Brammer and Brian Johnson and a penalty from Nick Grecian. But having come within sight of the Tigers, a penalty by Greg Austin meant a late try by Tom Holloway merely reduced Newbury's losing margin to 26-21.

While all this drama unfolded elsewhere, wasps simply made talent tell in their 84-8 demolition of Second Division Rugby, centre Nick Greenstock and wing Shane Roiser scoring three tries each.