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RUGBY UNION: Welsh off to a flier in bid to bounce straight back
London Welsh opened their campaign with a hard-fought 23-14 victory at Saracens’ Allianz Park on Saturday in a Greene King IPA Championship clash that saw both sides have players sent off.
The Exiles were far from fluent, but were ultimately too powerful for Bedford, who are also expected to challenge for a play-off spot.
Welsh lock Rob Andrew was shown a second yellow card after a first-half fracas, which also ended with abrasive Bedford flanker Darren Fox receiving a straight red.
The match was the second of a televised double-header designed to showcase the Greene King Championship.
It was only two minutes old when referee Matthew Carley sent Bedford prop Phil Boulton and Welsh's Andrew to the sin bin after a scuffle.
Welsh went in front with a slick try on ten minutes, when some quick hands released full back Will Robinson at pace to dive over in the corner.
Gordon Ross missed the conversion, but slotted a 13th-minute penalty to make it 8-0.
The game then erupted when Welsh won a penalty at a scrum and a melee ensued. When the dust settled, Andrew was sent off for a second yellow and Fox got a red.
Bedford prop Darren Fearn was sin-binned for good measure.
When play resumed, Welsh captain Tom May made a strong break, which needed a try-saving tac-kle from Prit-chard.
Bedford, however, couldn’t clear and were then unable to stop wing Joe Ajuwa powering over to make it 13-0 at the break.
Bedford began the second period well, while Welsh looked edgy, and two Prichard penalties made it 13-6.
But Welsh steaded the ship and a counter attack by wing Seb Stegmann ended with replacement hooker Nathan Morris burrowing over.
Ross’s conversion and penalty sealed victory, but there was time for Bedford wing Neville Edwards to squeeze over in the corner.
London Welsh: Robinson, Ajuwa (Mama 61), J Lewis, May (capt), Stegmann, Ross, R Lewis (Frost 77), Trevett (Tideswell 55), Titterrell (Morris 61), Edwards (Griffiths 47), Andrew, Corker (Lees 61), D Browne (P Browne 46), Kirwan, Stedman.
Bedford Blues: Pritchard (Le Bourgeois 57 (blood), Dodge, Hircock, Atkinson, Edwards, Sharp (Pritchard 65), Veenendaal (Baldwin 58), Fearn (Auterac 38), Clare (Spurling 41), Boulton (capt), Howard, Gulliver, Armes (Cooper 7-12 & 64), Fox, Vandermolen (Auterac 37-8, Barrell 75).
Referee: M Carley (Dover).
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