Rugby Union: Four-star Forster

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The Independent Online
THERE was nothing lucky about Bedford's 13th win in 13 attempts in Division Two of the Allied Dunbar Premiership as they powered 10 points clear of their nearest rivals with a 50-14 home win over the bottom club Fylde yesterday. Once again, the flanker Jason Forster proved the decisive player with four of Bedford's eight tries - one better than the hat-trick he claimed against the same opponents three weeks ago. With just nine games to go, Bedford's owner Frank Warren, who last week revealed the club was losing pounds 1.8m a year, may soon be celebrating promotion to the top flight.

West Hartlepool went third in the table with a 35-30 victory at Orrell, visitors Moseley ended Rotherham's recent run of form, and Exeter and Wakefield eased their relegation fears with home wins over Coventry and Waterloo respectively. London Welsh held on to their one-point lead in Jewson League One by winning 50-12 at Liverpool St Helens. But they cannot afford to relax as Worcester, cup heroes against Bristol last week, kept up the pressure by thrashing Morley 55-0 with Tim Smith supplying 23 points.

Neath continued their revival by beating Cordoba, of Argentina, 37-7 in Pool B of the Welsh Challenge Trophy. Adam Palfrey went over for two of the All-Blacks' five tries while Chris John weighed in with two penalties and three conversions. Victory over Rugby Canada on Tuesday should confirm Neath's place in the last four. Three tries in the last nine minutes - by Martyn Llewellyn, Paul Cooke and Jan Machacek - gained Newport a 30- 12 win over Rosario, another Argentine side, in the same pool.

Caerphilly stay seven points clear in the Welsh First Division - their 20-5 win at Newbridge including a try by the former Wales centre Roger Bidgood.

Melrose, the reigning Tennents Premiership champions in Scotland, bounced back from successive defeats by Hawick and Currie - their first for more than two years - with a six-try, 49-7 hammering of West of Scotland. Craig Chalmers, who is due to play at centre for Scotland against Italy in Treviso on Saturday rather than in his favoured position of fly-half, kicked four penalties and two conversions for the home side. The bonus point which Melrose earned enabled them to draw level on points with the league leaders, Watsonians, who beat visitors Hawick 20-9 with the former Scotland centre Scott Hastings running in one of their three tries.

Ballymena still head Ireland's First Division despite being upset 9-6 at Old Crescent. Shannon, bidding for a fourth consecutive title, trail on points difference with a fixture in hand after maintaining their 100 per cent record with a 32-11 defeat of St Mary's College.