Aviva Premiership round-up: Shingler's boot helps Exiles break duck
It wasn't pretty but no one at London Irish will worry too much about that. They finally secured their first Aviva Premiership victory of the season, beating Bath 29-22 at the Madejski Stadium.
Beating the side who started the day lying fourth in the early season table represented quite a change in Exiles' form and fortune. In each of their opening three defeats they had shipped more than 40 points.
This time they started positively with inventive play threatening to open a way through the Bath ranks, but had to be content early on to rely on Steve Shingler winning the battle of the boot with Olly Barkley.
Barkley, who was playing in the centre in the absence of the injured Ben Williams, opened the scoring but Shingler edged the Exiles ahead at 9-6 before Bath scored their only try. Full-back Nick Abendenon was tackled 15 metres out but managed to flip the ball to Kyle Eastmond, who went over. Barkley converted.
Bath looked set to take their lead into the interval but from a lineout the Exiles drove prop Halani Aulika over the line to mark his first Irish start with a try. Shingler converted to make it 19-13 at the break
Barkley hit back after the restart, but from another lineout Marland Yarde made ground before sending Jonathan Joseph racing away for the Exiles' second try.
Shingler's conversion put Irish apparently in control but they had to withstand an onslaught from Bath, which they survived despite losing Jamie Gibson to the sinbin for an offence in the ruck. Barkley took his penalty count to five as Bath closed the gap, but as Irish began to fear the worst, Bath indiscipline presented Shingler with the chance to land his own fifth penalty and they were home.
It was a very different story at Franklin's Gardens, where Northampton were cantering to a fourth win in four matches when leading 37‑3, but they allowed Worcester to grab a losing bonus with a remarkable four-try fightback in a little over a quarter of an hour.
From 6-3, Luther Burrell scored two tries before Vasily Artemyev, Courtney Lawes and Mike Haywood all went over. Game over. Worcester, though, were beaten but not bowed. They took full advantage of laxness taht crept into Saints' game and Jonny Arr, Josh Matavesi, Josh Drauniniu and Ollie Hayes all scored tries. A fourth conversion from Andy Goode meant that the Warriors did not go home empty-handed.
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