Captain Catt inspires Exiles
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 05/09/05 8:32am
Guinness Premiership, Twickenham, Saturday September 3
Tries from Rodd Penney, Delon Armitage, Justin Bishop and Kieron Dawson gave London Irish a winning start in the Guinness Premiership with a 27-11 victory against Leeds Tykes at Twickenham.
Three of the scores were inspired by Exiles skipper and World Cup winner Mike Catt, the 33-year-old showing that, despite being discarded at international level, he still has plenty to offer his club.
Catt's performance overshadowed the debut of Tykes' new recruit Justin Marshall, the former All Black scrum-half trying unsuccessfully in his efforts to inspire the Powergen Cup holders to build on an early lead.
That first blow was struck on five minutes when Tykes' left-wing Tom Biggs finished off a cross field move by taking the final pass from Iain Balshaw to score in the left-hand corner.
Exiles' fly-half Barry Everitt and Tykes' Gordon Ross then exchanged penalties before a perfectly timed short pass from Catt released Penney on an explosive run for the posts.
Everitt then converted to put Irish 10-8 up before another Ross penalty gave Tykes a one-point advantage.
But Ross unintentionally handed Irish their second score when Catt's low kick struck the Scottish international, the deflection bouncing into the arms of Armitage, who proceeded to cross the line in flamboyant fashion.
Everitt converted, before Ross compounded his misery by missing an easy penalty in first-half injury time.
Leeds were quickly running out of ideas and it was hardly surprising when Bishop scored the Exiles third try on 55 minutes, a long pass from Catt enabling Armitage to put Bishop in.
By now Irish had the game closed down, their final try coming courtesy of flanker Dawson in the second minute of injury time.
London Irish (17) 27.
Tries: Penney, Armitage, Bishop, Dawson.
Cons: Everitt 2.