Harlequins boss Mark Evans acknowledged the race to avoid relegation from the Zurich Premiership is balanced on a knife edge and spelled out the consequences finishing bottom would have at The Stoop.

Quins' hopes of avoiding the drop receded after their

25-20 defeat by London Irish and with just two league matches left, they are running out of time to guarantee their top-flight status.

Evans said: "No-one has finished 12th with 37 points but I think it might happen this year - - the bottomplaced side may get a higher total. What's happened is sides at the bottom have started winning, like we have.

"Relegation is nonsense - that's self-evident. It's like musical chairs. There are five clubs going around in circles

and one of them is going to be left without a chair in week 22.

22. "If we went down, it would be a huge blow which would affect a lot of people. We have nearly 100 employees, but you can bet they would not all join us in National One. We'd have to completely reconfigure the business and club."

Delon Armitage, Bob Casey and Roland Reid touched down as Irish ended their try drought and the boot of Barry Everitt did the rest. Quins' former Wales fly-half Arwel Thomas kept his side in touch

by slotting five penalties while Ugo Monye scored their only try.

Leeds boss Phil Davies hailed "a dream result" after his side temporarily climbed off the bottom of the Premiership with a four-try display in beating Gloucester 33-15 at Kingsholm.

The visitors never looked like losing the game with prop Mike Shelley, centre Chris Bell and flanker Richard Parks touching down in the first half.

Davies said: "We knew we needed to put in a good

performance when we came here and to get four tries as well is a dream result for us."

In the second half, Gloucester scored through No 8 James Forrester and replacement prop Nick Wood while Tykes prop Gavin Kerr crossed for a bonus-point try.

Bath strolled to a comfortable 30-12 win over Northampton with tries from Joe Maddock, Andrew Higgins and Duncan Bell helping them replace Sale in third place. Shane Drahm, who heads to Worcester in the summer, booted all of Saints' points.

Bath have a strong chance of making next month's Premiership play-off semi-final against Wasps or Leicester - victories in their remaining two games against Irish and Leeds will guarantee them a top-three finish.

"Gloucester and Newcastle have probably dropped out of the race and it is probably between ourselves, Sale and Saracens for third," said head coach John Connolly.

Fly-half Andy Goode finished with 20 points as Leicester cruised to a 45-15 victory at Welford Road, a

result which stretches the Sharks' losing streak to four. Lewis Moody (2), Martin Johnson, Alesana Tuilagi, Tom Varndell all scored for the hosts, while Mark Cueto grabbed both Sale tries.

Sale boss Philippe Saint-Andre claimed he would be happy for the Sharks to finish in fourth place and qualify for Europe, but admitted his concern at the mental attitude of his players. "Everybody respects Leicester but it's important not to respect them for the 80 minutes of the game," he said.