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Saturday, November 13, 1999 Published at 19:39 GMT

Sport: Rugby Union

Quins scrape late win

The Harlequins roadshow rolls on

Quins 11-10 Beford

Harlequins' third consecutive win, and their second in as many weeks, was decided controversially in injury time against Bedford on Saturday.

From the kick off, it looked as though the home side were going to have put the game beyond Bedford by half-time, as they dominated in all areas.

Gareth Rees nearly entered the record books for the quickest try in domestic rugby, with a drop goal attempt in the opening seconds.

But within eight minutes, Quins did have the inevitable try with Pat Sanderson being driven over the line, from a line-out.

Rob Liley added a penalty 11 minutes later to extend the lead but then a typical Harlequins lapse in concentration on the half-hour saw Bedford bounce right back into the match.

Will Carling's pass missed Peter Mensah and Ryan O'Neal hacked the ball down field. Paul Sackey chased, collected and passed back to O'Neal, who dived over the line.

With three minutes left it suddenly looked as though Bedford were going to steal the show when Stewart slotted over a penalty.

But within seconds of the restart, the visitors conceded a penalty 40 metres out which Rees converted to put Quins back in the lead.

The game ended in controversy when referee Graham Hughes awarded a penalty to Bedford, only to reverse the decision on advice from his touch judge, for an earlier offence by the Blues.

Leicester 28-9 Wasps

Leicester gave Wasps even more to think about at Welford Road, in a game punctuated by the whistle.

Leicester opened the scoring with a Tim Stimpson penalty and by half-time he had added a further three to Wasps Kenny Logan's two.

[ image: Joe Worsley of Wasps is halted by Derek Jelley]
Joe Worsley of Wasps is halted by Derek Jelley
The second half continued in the same fashion. The Tigers crossed the Wasps line but referee Derek Bevan disallowed the try.

The war of attrition continued with the Tigers leading the way with three penalties to Wasps' one.

The visitors had the opportunity to cross the Tigers line but knocked on at the vital moment.

Towards the end of a dull game Wasps took a quick throw in but were foiled by Leicester whose forwards robbed them of the ball and drove towards the line.

Neil Back, playing his 200th game for the club, peeled off the maul and scored under the posts to seal the victory.

Northampton 24-19 London Irish

Northampton hit back from a 16-point deficit to shatter London Irish with four tries in 15 minutes at Franklin's Gardens.

The Irish, given a flying start with a third-minute try from lock Nick Harvey, cruised into a 16-0 lead with winger Jarrod Cunningham's third penalty three minutes after the restart.

But then the Northampton pack, with their front row of Garry Pagel, Steve Walter and Martin Scelzo in awesome form, took control.

Hooker Walter, England's Under-21 hooker last season, cashed in on the forward domination with a 54th-minute try from a line-out.

Four minutes later, after lock Ryan Strudwick had been sin-binned for a professional foul, Walter scored a second.

Cunningham kept Irish ahead at 19-12 with his fourth penalty of the afternoon, but it was only a temporary halt as Saints surged forward and further tries from Grayson and Tim Rodber put them 24-19 ahead.

Sale 15-40 Bristol

Bristol's ex-Springbok Henry Honiball made an immediate mark on his new career in the Allied Dunbar Premiership, scoring two tries and setting up two for centre Jamie Mayer to help his club to a first win in five matches.

Honiball, who looked a class apart after a slow start, twice worked Mayer over for first-half tries with deft, reverse passes that bamboozled the Sale defence and then he touched down twice in the second half as Bristol cantered to victory.

The veteran's accomplished beginning was in stark contrast to a stuttering, error-strewn debut from Sale's World Cup fly-half Nicky Little, who was recruited from New Zealand's North Harbour club following Jannie De Beer's failure to honour his Heywood Road contract.

After going 14-0 down inside 32 minutes, Sale pulled a try back just before the break when South African scrum-half Craig Turvey jinked his way to give his side hope.

Davidson added the conversion, via an upright, and kicked a penalty early in the second half to close the score to 14-10 - but that was as good as it got for the Manchester club.

Livewire scrum-half Agustin Pichot took advantage of Turvey's failure to gather his probing kick by sending number eight Jim Brownrigg over before Honiball dummied his way through for his first try in English club rugby.

A 58th-minute try from Sale flanker Andy Morris briefly stemmed the tide. But Bristol finished in total command, with Honiball going over for his second try after a break by Eduardo Simone, and then Pichot dashed 40 minutes for his side's sixth touchdown.

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