April 12 2011
Harlequins A ran in six tries in defeating Bath United at The Recreation Ground by 26 – 45. Despite Bath waking up and scoring four tries in reply, the result was never in doubt as two tries in the first ten minutes opened a fourteen point lead leaving the home team playing catch up throughout the game.
Quins went on the attack from the start and a kick through for the fast men to chase ran out of space before the chasers could reach. The referee was, however, playing advantage for offside and brought the teams back for the penalty. Quins opted for a scrum and drove forward from the set piece until Lambert went over for the try. Clegg converted.
Despite an attempted response by Bath, Quins were again attacking and a good break by Chisholm took play deep into Bath territory. From the breakdown Browne emerged and evaded two tacklers to cross for the second score. Clegg again added the extras.
Despite unforced errors on both sides, the game was fast and both teams were trying to play good rugby and put width on the ball. The Quins’ forwards were dominant in the scrum and the rolling maul, on occasion, made many metres. It was one such maul that led to the third try, starting as a catch and drive from a lineout and then fast movement of the ball to the wing for Stegmann to cross for the third try with Clegg successfully adding the conversion. Quins led 0 – 21 after twenty-two minutes.
Bath now seemed to wake up and a penalty took play deep into Quins’ twenty-two where Bath began to exert great pressure on the Quins’ line. Despite strong defending Bath were ultimately able to create a two man overlap on their left and move the ball away to the wing from the breakdown for their No. 8 James Tyas, to score. Paul Roberts added the extras from the touchline.
But straight from the restart Quins were running as Chisholm made the break with Stegmann in support and the final inside pass back to Chisholm put the full back under the posts for a try. Clegg had a simple kick for the conversion.
But now Bath responded and from a short rolled kick off they retained the ball and took play into the Quins twenty-two where they were awarded a penalty. Taken quickly the ball was moved quickly wide on the left where Woodburn crossed for the try which Roberts converted.
Three tries scored in five minutes had left both teams breathless and the good crowd excited at the Bath fight back. At half time Quins led 14 – 28, the try bonus secured.
The excitement at the end of the first half was not maintained and it took over twenty minutes for the next score as a series of drives took Bath close to the Quins line and an offence at the breakdown brought Casson a yellow card. With a man short, despite solid defending, the pressure told and Bath prop, Palma-Newport, got across to touch down and Roberts duly converted.
When play stopped for a penalty and repairs to Mark Lambert, Clegg opted to kick for the posts and successfully added three points to open the lead to 21 – 31 with fifteen minutes remaining. Then Harlequins made a total mess of receiving the restart and allowed Bath to claim the ball and set up forward pressure on the Quins’ line. Once again, with still only fourteen men, Quins were unable to prevent an overlap in the left corner for Tyas to score his second try which remained unconverted.
Back to full strength Quins chased the restart into the Bath twenty-two and when the ball came loose from a ruck Charlie Walker broke clear on a fine curving run that left the solitary defender no chance as he crossed between the posts. Clegg had a simple conversion. Then only five minutes later an interception by Urdapilleta produced another try and conversion to make the score much more in Quins’ favour than might have been the case.
Clegg was immaculate with the boot, kicking six conversions and a penalty for a fifteen point haul. Sam Stuart, at scrum half, was sharp and kept Quins moving and both backs and forwards provided momentum and determination. So to the A League semi final!