OFISA Treviranus scored two tries as London Irish made it 17 straight wins in all competitions with a battling 36-21 victory over lowly Bedford Blues at Madejski Stadium.

It was a 13th consecutive victory for the Championship table-toppers, but they were made to work hard in an entertaining affair which featured eight tries.

The early breakthrough went to the visitors, however, shortly after their fly half Jake Sharp had missed a straightforward penalty to the left of the uprights.

Slick hands from the impressive Bedford backs allowed full back Matt Gallagher to go over in the right-hand corner, and this time Sharp landed a far tougher conversion attempt to put his side 7-0 to the good.

Irish hit back superbly though, and only some fine Bedford defence denied man-of-the-match Tom Court and Blair Cowan from going over, only for a powerful Irish scrum to push the visitors backwards on their own five-metre line, allowing Treviranus to smash his way over from close range. Bell added the extras to level matters.

The remainder of the first half proved something of a scrappy affair, but Irish made a decisive move with the final play of the opening 40 minutes.

Their driving maul has been powerful all campaign, and so it proved as hooker Dave Porecki went over at the back of a rolling surge from a line-out. Bell’s conversion made it 14-7 at the break.

The hosts used the same tactic to move further ahead early in the second period, a dominant shove illegally brought down to produce a penalty try and give Irish some daylight.

However, Bedford were not daunted and showed tremendous heart and no little skill to cut the gap midway through the half.

After Exiles fly half James Marshall was sin-binned for knocking down a ball to stop a Bedford try, more superb handlin saw Blues scythe down the left before an inside ball was collected by replacement scrum half Tom Whiteley who went over under the posts. Fellow substitute – and former Exile – Myles Dorrian converted to make it 21-14.

With Irish under pressure a Bell penalty calmed the nerves somewhat, and they recorded their bonus point late in the day when the phenomenal Treviranus blasted his way over.

Bedford again showed their guts with a third try of their own as the clock ticked down, Michael Le Bourgeoisburrowing his way over following another incisive play, but Irish had the final word with the last play of the game when substitute Jerry Sexton used his power to cross the whitewash. Bell’s fifth successful kick from six attempts saw him end with another 11 points as Irish ran out 36-21 victors.

London Irish have a week off before returning to British and Irish Cup action at Connacht Eagles on Saturday, January 14.