By Bedfordshire Boy
November 3 2016
My first home match report of the season and anticipating being able to report on a win after reporting three previous away losses. With our home form versus the away form of Worcester, Quins should get the win with hopefully our first try bonus point of the season. Bit surprised to see Jamie Roberts being given a week off but good to see Danny Care and Tim Visser as well as a first start of the season for Charlie Matthews. Could be a tasty set piece forward battle as the Warriors forwards are quite a heavyweight unit.
Ryan Lamb kicked off and in the first few minutes Warriors held the territorial advantage but another intercept pass by Visser, this time with a juggle for effect, saw him break down the left hand wing before passing inside for Danny Care to score under the posts. A routine conversion from Nick Evans and Quins were seven points to the good after four minutes. Warriors won the restart being awarded a penalty when Luke Wallace played the ball from an offside position and kicked to the corner. From a second penalty awarded against Quins for pulling down the maul, fullback Shillcock kicked the ball wide but not quite as wide as an earlier drop goal attempt from Lamb.
Warriors continue to pressure the Quins defence and still dominate territory which is rewarded five minutes later when Te`o breaks the defensive line and passes to his centre partner Willison to score. The match score moves on to 7 points apiece on 10 minutes as the conversion is made good by fullback Shillcock. At last Quins manage to spend some time in the Warriors half and an attack breaks down leading to the first scrum of the match after 12 minutes from which Warriors are awarded a penalty from a reset (a plea to the officials, please please police the crooked feed, it is so easy to do).
Warriors kick to within the Quins 22 as Quins find themselves on the defensive yet again but there is some relief when Ryan Lamb kicks the ball directly to touch. A floating pass from Stanley to Tim Visser allows him to set off down the wing as he chips the ball forward for Luke Wallace to collect and take the ball to within 20 metres of the Warriors line. Yet again the Quins attack breaks down as the second scrum of the match is awarded to Warriors as Horwill fails to hold onto the ball. Brilliant scrum by Quins as they hold the Warriors pack and the ball is turned over for Care to chip the ball to the corner which Warriors defend well. A short period of pressure from Quins but still suffering from not being able to hang on to the ball but on 27 minutes they are defending a line out 5 metres from their line following a penalty.
Quins are warned after pulling down the maul from the line out and Joe Marler is shown a yellow card when the maul is again stopped illegally with eleven minutes to go to the break. Warriors stick with the same tactic but are penalised themselves for crossing in the line out allowing Quins to clear the ball to touch. Although the line out is scrappy Quins do come away with the ball and following a break by Joe Marchant to ball eventually gets to Danny Care via Winstone Stanley who chips the ball forward into the Warriors 22. Warriors get the ball into touch for a Quins line out which although the ball was won Quins were immediately under pressure again when Lamb intercepted a pass and kicked into the Quins 22. Marchent gathers the ball on his own 5 metre line and runs the ball back at Warriors and is eventually brought down on the 22 but Quins still manage to hang on to the ball and kicks back into the Warriors half.
Things were pretty hectic from both sides as half time approaches the highlights being a couple of superb breaks by Joe Marchant. Joe Marler returned to the field on 39 minutes as Ryan Lamb was receiving treatment following a tackle on Charlie Matthews so Quins had negotiated the 10 minute period with 14 men without conceding any points. The clock ran down to the 40 minute mark and the half ended with Lamb kicking the ball to touch. Another very mixed first half performance from Quins, lots of good play punctuated by defensive lapses and sloppy ball handling. I was beginning to wonder if this was in fact going to be a home defeat and my predicted score of 33 – 16 seemed well off of the mark unless there was to be a turnaround similar to the game at Glasgow.
It seemed that the right words were said at the break as it was one way traffic from the kick off and Quins added to their score within 3 minutes as James Horwill scored from a whole 2 metres out from the line. Nick Evans added the two extra points and all of a sudden it looked like a completely different game. Quins claimed the restart and went straight back on the attack which eventually broke down when Rob Buchanan failed to hold on to the ball. Quins gained a penalty from the resulting scrum and Evans kicked to within the Warriors 22 line. The line out was won and play went left and when the ball was recycled to the right hand side Mike Brown scythed through the Warriors defensive line to score (his first for about a year apparently). Once again Evans added the extra points and Quins were now looking very comfortable.
Baldwin comes onto the pitch for scrum half Arr. Warriors continue to look for another score but the Quins defence are in no mood to give anything away. Tim Swiel and Alofa Alofa replace Nick Evans and Joe Marchant on 69 minutes. With 6 minutes left Luamanu is penalised for tackling the man without the ball and Warriors kick the penalty into touch. This break in play allows Adam Jones and Mark Lambert on to the field to replace Collier and Marler which gives the Quins fans time to recognise the achievement of Lambert playing his 200thgame in a Quins shirt with a well deserved standing ovation. As if there had not been enough excitement during the afternoon, Adam Jones collapses the Warriors line out and Darren Barry is seen to make contact with Jones several times with his boot and the referee is asked to review it by TMO Rose. It looked pretty bad but Jones seemed nonplussed although the crowd got pretty vociferous with some unnecessary chants of Off Off. The players shook hands and the original penalty against Jones was reversed and no further action taken
Quins are still looking for points and a break from Mike Brown in mid field takes him into the Warriors half where he is able to put a long pass to Tim Visser who gets over the line in the corner with 2 minutes left on the clock. The cheering is short lived as the try the lead up to the try is reviewed and Danny Care is adjudged to have blocked the Warriors defence, a bit harsh in my view as he doesn`t have to move away. Warriors have difficulty in getting the ball out of their 22 and only manage it by kicking to touch on half way. Mike Brown eventually takes the throw before the line out is formed and Quins mount one final attack despite the clock passing 80 minutes and Alofa Alofa manages to slip the ball to Tim Visser who crosses the line in the same place that he had moments before. Tim Swiel makes the conversion from out wide to bring the final score to Quins 36, Worcester Warriors 14.
A crowd of nearly 13500 turned out to watch this game and yet again it was a game of two halves, 7 points apiece in the first half and Quins ran up 29 points to Warriors 7 in the second period. Quins are certainly very much improved in all areas but still prone to lapses which might well prove more costly against other teams. Good to see Charlie Matthews stepping up following injuries to Merrick and Twomey and the general improvement in line out and scrummaging is there for all to see which is testament to the coaches.
All in all a good day for this improving Quins side who move up to sixth place in the table and sitting 2 points away from the top four. Let us hope that not too much momentum is lost with disruption of the autumn international period.