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RUGBY: London Irish 23 Bath 44
Updated 9:04pm Saturday 22nd March 2014 in Sport
MATT Garvey came back to haunt his former side as he touched down at the death to hand Bath a bonus-point 44-23 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.
Kyle Eastmond, former London Irish flyer Anthony Watson, David Wilson and Garvey all crossed the whitewash for the visitors while George Ford chipped in with 24 points from the tee.
London Irish, cheered on by the majority of the 22,000 fans in attendance, fought all the way and Topsy Ojo and Chris Hala'ufia scored tries, with James O'Connor adding 10 points with the boot and Shane Geraghty knocking over a penalty.
But it was not enough for the win as they slipped to their third-straight Aviva Premiership defeat while Bath consolidated third place.
Before the game London Irish provided a guard of honour to flanker Declan Danaher, the club's longest serving player in the professional era having joined in 1999, and who announced his retirement on Thursday.
The home side started well and a penalty gave them the chance to open the scoring on eight minutes but O'Connor missed the target.
London Irish continued to press, despite Matt Parr's sin-binning for pulling back Semesa Rokoduguni as the winger looked to chase a loose ball, and Ojo was denied a try on 16 minutes due to a forward pass in the build-up.
Bath could not take advantage of their extra man with Ford's 20th-minute penalty their only points from the period which were cancelled out by O'Connor.
Ford added another before Ojo burrowed over on 32 minutes for the first try of the game, and his first since the final game of last season, after Geraghty was held up just short of the line.
But Bath replied immediately with a try of their own with Eastmond outsprinting the London Irish defence to finish in the corner after a Nick Abendanon's pass.
O'Connor and Ford again exchanged penalties as Bath held a 14-13 advantage at half-time.
Ford extended the lead to seven points with two penalties early in the second half and he almost played in Watson with a delicate cross-field kick but the winger was snaffled by O'Connor.
Geraghty added a penalty for the home side on 56 minutes but there was controversy seconds later when Watson scored a second try for the visitors.
Abendanon ran from deep inside his own half but appeared to cross with Ollie Devoto in midfield before off-loading Watson over.
Referee Greg Garner consulted with his TMO who ruled there had been no infringement, giving the 20-year-old his fourth try of the season. Ford converted before adding another penalty.
Wilson wrapped up the victory 11 minutes from time when he went over under the posts for his first try of the season.
Replacement Chris Hala'ufia grabbed a late consolation for the hosts before Garvey secured the bonus point in the final minute.
REACTION TO BATH'S VICTORY AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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