Harlequins Pass Huge Hammersmith Test
By Sean Gorman
Quins take full points from top of the table clash
Harlequins Amateurs took full points from their highly anticipated top of the table clash against Hammersmith and Fulham 5th XV after a 65-12 demolition job.
With the rain holding off and Quins able to select close to their strongest fifteen, the game couldn’t have started any better after Si Rowland gathered the kick off, scrum half George Jaques put in a huge box kick and Number 8 Mike Lovelock showed great speed to chase the kick, gather the ball and run in under the posts. With George adding the conversion, Quins had a 7-0 lead after less than a minute.
The strong start for the home side didn’t show any signs of slowing down when Alec Smail turned the after burners on to score on nine minutes, followed by a well worked try from Shamim Eceolaza on 15’ to bring the scores to 17-0. H&F are certainly not a weak side and they constantly threatened the Quins defensive line but were met by staunch tackling from Rocco Archidiacono, Luke Povey and Alec, who showed incredible pace to track back after a fine break from the H&F 13 and get under the ball to prevent a certain score. With the attack being stifled by such dominant defence, H&F were forced into trying things and Sham was again on hand to pluck a miss pass out of the air and sprint to the try line from 65 metres out. George with the extras. 31-0 after 35 minutes.
Quins continued to put in the big hits, but they found themselves guilty of a couple of seatbelt tackles and high hits that went penalised by the referee. One of which saw fly half Luke Povey spend ten minutes in the bin. H&F were able to exploit their man overlap and bagged themselves a five pointer on 38’. Quins response was immediate, however, when they gathered the restart, and with advantage being played, George slotted the cheekiest of drop goals to bag himself three points.
The second half started as brightly as the first for Harlequins when, despite still being a man down, full back Charlie Blower barged over from short range. Another successful kick brought the score to 41-5.
Back up to a full compliment, and with Paul Hibbert now running the show at ten, Quins showed no way through when Hammersmith were able to mount an attack. Tewy notably putting in huge hit after huge hit to cut any threat dead. But when it was Harlequin’s turn to attack, they did so with ruthless accuracy, and in the 47th minute Alec Smail was put into space and dotted down for his second of the day. 46-5.
With the home pack winning the battle in the forwards, front foot ball was provided for George to feed the backs. With H&F unable to cope with the pace and intensity on show from Quins, a cute grubber from George took play deep into H&F territory. From the resulting lineout, the scrum half was bundled into touch and Quins found themselves in a great attacking position. A well executed lineout move saw replacement hooker Mark Crow cross the line, only to be clothes lined on his way to scoring, which gave the referee no choice but to award a penalty try. 53-5.
The scoreline never quite did justice to the quality of the H&F side, and every time they attacked they looked dangerous. In the 60th minute their efforts were rewarded when they crossed for a seven pointer. 53-12.
Heading into the final ten minutes, Quins found enough time for two more tries. The first a converted effort from Alec which left three defenders chewing grass, to complete his hat trick. The final score being a deserved score for Graeme Tew who had put in a stellar shift in midfield and completing his first full game of the season after overcoming multiple injuries.
This was a fine performance from Harlequins in a season defining game, and not a single player left anything on the field. The win sees us take a seven point lead in the league standings into the final three games of the season.
This weeks’ TES sponsored Man of The Match goes to George Jaques who controlled play brilliantly and whos tactical kicking was able to constantly pin back the dangerous H&F side.
The DoD goes the Luke Povey for choosing the biggest game of the season to pick up his first ever yellow card.
Huge thanks to Wayne for taking great action shots which can be viewed here - https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9A6MKH
Next week sees Quins in another top of the table clash. This time facing third placed Belsize Park at Regents Park.