A brisk Saturday afternoon saw Harlequin Amateurs 2nd XV arrive at Twickenham 3’s with a flat 15 only for Twicks to inform stand in coaches Luke Povey and George Jaques they could only muster 11 players with potential for a couple extras to arrive later in the game. Being pleased to have our 4th 2nd XV fixture before Christmas Quins agreed to loan them the Italian stallion, Nico, and Jason Mamoa’s lookalike, Graeme, for the first half and agreed to a 13 v 13 to ensure there were no wasted journeys.
With a bitterly cold wind blowing across the pitch, Quins started well receiving the kick off and followed with strong carries from Louis Hill and Jimmy Lynch. A dominant pack at rucks, scrummaging and pin point accurate darts from Cameron Gray, it looked like the afternoon would see Quins come out on top. This changed 10 minutes in and would show this was not to be the case as Twickenham ran in 3 quicks tries following a few mistakes. Leading from the front Jake Walker carried well and earned the team a penalty for a player not rolling away. The ball punted deep into the corner by Jake Matthews saw Cameron’s reliable lineout throwing hit Gareth Chapman, who was acting as the front lifter, attempt to bulldoze his way over the line from 7 meters out, being held up. Move forward 6 phases and a wild miss-4 pass by Quins was picked out of the sky by the Twickenham centre to ran in from his own 5-meter line. The turncoats of Graeme and Nico put in stellar performances for Twickenham which included at 60 meter dash from our resident pasta loving Italian only to be stopped on the Quins 22 by Jacob Ingold. 28 nil down at halftime.
Bernado Gollo and Mike would swap over to Twickenham and looking to bring eye-catching performances for the opposition Nico and Graeme would put on the quarters for the second half. Having picked up an injury in the first half Jacob would hobble up and down the touch line and was replaced by Phil Losty. Phil was initially watching from the side-lines having ruptured his bicep in training a few weeks earlier but couldn’t contain his excitement when running out for his debut. Not knowing the exact order that tries were scored by Twickenham we will jump straight to it and let you all know that they ended up with 41 points. The never say die attitude that was being shown by each and every player on the pitch was a delight to see and despite being down everyone was enjoying playing rugby. Then out of nowhere Phil was given the ball on the opponents 22, stepping their centre, sending the 10 flying with a bosh, handing off the full back he touched down for a debut try to remember. Jake Matthews added the extras. Quins seemed revitalised in the second half and saw a bulk of possession. Further barn storming runs from Nico and powerful crashed by Captain Fantastic James Welsh Quins were once again in the opponents 22. This time simple draws and passes saw another debutant Jamie Jenkerson run and dive for the corner despite pressure from 2 players Jamie was awarded a debut try. Jake pulled the conversion attempt. With only minutes of the game left Quins had been camped on the 5 meter line for 11 phases. Good vision from Ben and quick hands down the left saw our third and final try scored by yet another debutant in Michael Lucas, who dove over from 3 meters out. Jake would hit the post with his conversion attempt and see the game end at 41-17.
With the fixture only being arranged mid-week, players playing out of position, 3 debuts and 2 first ever matches, Harlequins Amateurs a loss on the score sheet is very much a win in the grander scheme. It was difficult to pick a DoD when the game was played in such high spirits and Quins showed great resilience. But nonetheless it is customary and a slice off his left boot and kicked straight into touch whilst on the oppo’s 10 meter line sees ”Mr Blind Rugby/ Mr International/ Mr I’ve kicked international points” Jake Walker rightfully collect an award. Talks up the sideline made the MoM decision a lot easier and a standout performance for both Twickenham and Quins saw Nico earn the accolade for the first time but with performances like this, it will certainly not be the last. Honourable mentions to Michael Lucas, strong runs and defence in his first ever macth, Jimmy playing out of position, phil playing through the pain and Jamie who could not finish the game with a suspected hamstring injury (only to admit in the changing rooms it was cramp).
Quins 2nd XV are looking for future fixtures and can not wait to get out on the field again.