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Saturday, 4 November, 2000, 17:46 GMT
Bedford give Sarries a scare
Tony Diprose
Tony Diprose (centre) grabbed Sararacens first try
Bedford 24-54 Saracens

Saracens booked their place in the fifth round of the Tetley's Bitter Cup but only after a struggle against National League One side Bedford.

A major upset had looked on the cards early on after Bedford, relegated from Premiership One last season, scored two tries in 12 minutes.

It took winger James Hinkins just 21 seconds to touch on the left, catching the visitors napping after full-back Ben Hinshelwood's feed and charging 50 metres up field.

Centre James Shanahan missed the conversion but Bedford were soon back on the scoreboard with a try by prop John Brooks.

Shanahan once again failed with the conversion to make the score 10-0.

Tim Horan, making his debut for the Saracens after being sidelined with an ankle injury since April, set up his side's reply.

Searing break

The double World Cup winner made a searing break upfield before being brought down just short of Bedford's goalline. Saracens were awarded a line-out and forward Tony Diprose duly scored.

Duncan McRae
McRae had a busy afternoon for Sarries
But fly-half Duncan McRae missed the conversion and with Chris Bajak touching down for Bedford's third try, Saracens were still playing catch-up.

But the 1998 Cup winners clearly had no intentions of an early exit from the competition, with Tony Roques leading the way with a try after 26 minutes.

McRae this time converted before Bedford old boy Darragh O'Mahony levelled matters at 17-17 with a try a minute later.

Australian McRae again converted before scoring Saracens fourth try of the afternoon. His conversion then gave Saracens a 26-17 lead at the break.

Horan continued Saracens' sustained attack with his first try for the club. That opened the floodgates, as David Flatman, Brett Sparg and O'Mahony all went over, McRae converting every effort.

A last-gasp converted try by Bedford's Mark Sharp was just a consolation as Saracens clinched victory by 30 points.


Bedford: Hinshelwood, Bajak, Whetstone, Shanahan, Hinkins, Wallwork, Crane, Brooks, Davies, Skillecorn, Clarke, R. Ward, Summers, Browne, White.
Replacements: Jackson, Rudd, Sharp, Hennessey, Otte, Fox, Whitford.

Saracens: Sparg, O'Mahony, Horan, Sorrell, Arasa, McRae, Walshe, Flatman, Cairns, White, Davison, Grewcock, Chesney, Roques, Diprose.
Replacements: Russell, Wallace, Hooper, Roche, Hampson, Johnston, Haughton.

Referee: John Barnard (RFU)

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See also:

02 Nov 00 |  Rugby Union
Horan finally set for Sarries debut
04 Nov 00 |  Rugby Union
Bath sunk by Gloucester
04 Nov 00 |  Rugby Union
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