London Welsh 12

(tries Tincknell, Vea; con Robinson)

London Irish 50

(tries Lewington 3, Geraghty 2, Fowlie, Parr, Fenby; cons Geraghty 4, Noakes)

London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership misery showed no signs of letting up in a heavy defeat to fellow strugglers London Irish at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

Winger Alex Lewington helped himself to a hat-trick of tries as Irish racked up eight tries to inflict a 16th consecutive league defeat upon basement boys Welsh – and a 26th successive loss in total this season.

The Exiles have now conceded 1,000 points in all competitions this campaign.

With only one place separating the sides, the game was arguably Welsh’s best chance of ending their winless run, but it turned into a one-sided affair.

Within six minutes, Welsh already had their backs against the wall as Lewington and Tom Fowlie went over to give Irish a 10-0 lead.

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The home side needed to reset and recovered well with James Tincknell profiting from Opeti Fonua’s break to go over under the posts. Fly half Will Robinson converted.

However, any hopes of a Welsh fightback were short-lived as they were pinned in their own 22 with Irish fly half Shane Geraghty running the show.

On 18 minutes Irish worked their way to the five-metre line and Geraghty eased over before adding the extras for a 17-7 lead.

Irish continued to dictate play and on the half-hour mark the bonus point was secured as Geraghty reacted first to an overthrown line-out and crossed the line unchallenged.

The visitors added a fifth score on 38 minutes with Matt Parr grounding after a driving maul.

And on the stroke of half-time the home side conceded again.

Elliot Kear’s clearance only found Lewington and the winger charged towards the try-line before freeing Andrew Fenby to score.

Geraghty added the extras to make it 38-7 at the break.

The second half did not start well for Welsh as Tom Guest offloaded to Lewington, who raced in for his second try on 47 minutes. Replacement fly half Chris Noakes converted.

Welsh did not let that score deter them and, with Fenby in the sin-bin, forced their way to the Irish five-metre line.

After several attempts to break the Irish resolve, replacement prop Taione Vea forced his way over.

The Exiles were much improved after Vea’s try, but they were continuously left frustrated.

Seb Stegmann was tackled after trying to go the long way round, while Lewington was forced to touch down after replacement Olly Barkley’s grubber.

As the match drew to a close it was the visitors who were on the front foot and Kear made a last-ditch tackle to deny Jebb Sinclair.

However, in the very last play Lewington danced his way past two Welsh players for his third score.

London Welsh: Kear, Stegmann, J Lewis, Tincknell, Scott (Barkley 34), Robinson (Reynolds 53), R Lewis (Davies 63), Aholelei (Morris 50), Elloway (Trevett 50), Gilding (Vea 50), Schofield (Down 33), Corker, Pienaar, Kirwan (Thorpe HT), Fonua.

London Irish: Fenby, Lewington, Fowlie, Sheridan (Griffin 69), Short, Geraghty (Noakes HT), Steele (Allinson HT), Parr (Stevens 66), Paice (Palframan 66), Halavatau (Sinclair 66), Skivington, Rouse, Treviranus (Narraway 50), Gilsenan, Guest (Hagan 53).

Referee: M Carley.

Attendance: 3,593.