FLY-HALF Freddie Burns landed 16 points as Bath got off to a flyer in the Anglo-Welsh Cup with a 26-22 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Burns kicked four penalties and converted tries by centre Ben Tapuai and wing Levi Davis against the battling hosts.

Yet, despite scoring four tries, two from flanker Max Northcote-Green and one each from skipper and hooker David Paice and wing Alex Lewington, they came up short.

The match opened with a bang as Australian Tapuai showed flair to dance through the hosts' defence and round Irish full-back James Marshall for a try under the posts in the fourth minute.

Burns converted but the hosts responded when Northcote-Green received a lovely pass from Paice on the burst to grab the first of his touchdowns.

Burns kicked a 42-metre penalty to put Bath five points ahead but Northcote-Green stretched his long arm to put the ball over the visitors' line on the wide left to level matters.

Burns booted a second penalty to give the West Country side a 13-10 half-time lead but Paice was at the bottom of a driving maul to touch down, with scrum-half Brendan McKibbin converting three minutes into the second period to give the hosts a 17-13 lead.

Suddenly, the tempo rose and Bath regained the lead as they attacked Irish in the home 22 for Burns to send an inch-perfect cross-kick to the left corner. There, Davis leapt high to grab the ball and come down with it ahead of Marshall.

The topsy-turvy game swung again to the Exiles when Lewington just touched down despite the attention of Darren Atkins for the home team's bonus point try.

However, Burns' boot and a forward effort led by flanker and skipper Matt Garvey saw Bath home in the final quarter. Burns kicked two further penalties to put his side four points ahead, while the forwards pinned Irish in their own half.

The home side came within metres of the try they needed to win in the last move of the match but a loose ball and an Atkins turnover was enough for the visitors.