Wasps maintain winning start
By Mark Townsend
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Wasps claimed their second win of the season in as many matches.
Wasps claimed their second win of the season in as many matches but were made to fight hard again by London Irish before running out 23-17 winners at Adams Park.
Both teams kicked off the Guinness Premiership season with narrow victories at Twickenham, Wasps 21-19 winners over Saracens while the Exiles edged out Harlequins by a point and the hosts had the boots of Alex King and Jeremy Staunton to thank for this scrappy triumph.
Both sides were forced into late changes with playmakers Dave Walder and Mike Catt both dropping out on the morning of the game and failed to put together much attacking rugby with just Josh Lewsey and Topsy Ojo grabbing the game's only tries.
King put the home side in the driving seat with three penalties in the first 14 minutes after Irish struggled in the scrums - the first of the game was reset four times - and had to cope without hooker Danie Coetzee for 10 minutes after he was sin-binned for diving over the top in a ruck.
But the visitors reduced the arrears with the first touchdown of the game after taking their opponents' line-out for the fourth time in 26 minutes.
Riki Flutey then found Ojo, who had almost crossed after a chip through by Delon Armitage, on the right wing with a precise cross-field kick and the number 14 grabbed his second try of the campaign.
And he was nearly in again but a poor pass from Armitage denied him as Irish continued to threaten.
Flutey made it 9-8 with a drop goal from distance but Lewsey sent the home side into the break with a six-point advantage after an impressive try.
The England international took a bouncing ball before chipping it past full-back Armitage and won the race to touch down in the corner.
The conversion was missed and King missed his third successive kick before knocking over a penalty on 50 minutes - Lewsey had looked like adding a second try before being upended well by Shane Geraghty but play was called back for an offside and King landed the three-pointer.
There was very little opportunistic play thereafter with Flutey and Staunton, taking over the kicking duties, trading penalties.
Flutey struck first with a couple of three-pointers to make it 17-14 but the six-point lead was restored when Staunton landed one from 40 metres and the centre added a drop goal seven minutes from time.
There was still time for Flutey to earn a bonus point for the Exiles, knocking over his third penalty two minutes from time.