Harlequin Amateurs entertained Raynes Park on Saturday, 1st September, in their first home game of the season. With perfect weather for open running rugby, Quins were looking to build on last weekends loss with a win against a strong Raynes Park side. As with last week, the game was played over four quarters in order for the coaching team to have a look at players in various positions.
The first twenty minutes started slowly for Quins with too many unforced errors meaning chances to open the scoring were squandered. In fact, it was the visiting team that took the lead. With the final play of the first quarter, Raynes Park scored a well worked try in the corner. The missed conversion left the score at 0-5.
This score seemed to be the wake up call Quins needed as they finally got out of second gear. George Jaques continued his blistering pre season form to score a try under the posts, which he duly converted to give Quins the lead. 7-5. Fly half Luke Povey was next to score after a great line break that left the opposition scrambling enabled him to dot down for his first score of the afternoon. George Jaques converted, 14-5.
Quins continued to dominate in most areas, and when Raynes Park did have possession the defence held firm, forcing errors with a strong defensive line press and big hits keeping the sizeable Raynes Park back line quiet. After sustained pressure, George again broke away from scrambling would-be-tacklers to score his second of the afternoon. With the conversion made, Quins had a 21-5 cushion.
The Raynes Park never-say-die attitude meant that Quins were immediately put on the back foot, and after a number of hard lines from the big RP ten and twelve, their speedy winger finished off a fine run in the corner. RP converted and were now back in the game at 21-12.
With the sun beating down, Quins' fitness (thanks to our dear friend Malcolm) began to show and the home side moved through the gears. Luke Povey ran in his second of the afternoon, converted by George. 28-12. Povey again broke through the defensive line a few minutes later and galloped his way over the whitewash to complete his hat trick. 35-12 with the extras from George.
As the game drew to a close, a fine turn over from Man Of The Match Chris Addis deep in the Quins "22" allowed George to break away. He was tackled on the half way line but offloaded brilliantly to the returning Mike Lovelock, who still had a few defenders to beat before getting the ball down under the sticks. George maintained his 100% kicking form to bring the scores to 42-12.
There was, however, just enough time for Raynes Park to get the last score. A number of soft penalties allowed RP to pin Quins back with a number of quick taps and strong runs from their big boys resulting in a try in the corner. The missed conversion meant the final whistle blew with Quins winning by 42 points to 17.
Another week, and more debuts for the club with Kay starting on the wing and Jack coming off the bench in the back row. And a welcome return to Mike Lovelock who didn't look out of place at 13 instead of his more familiar Number 8 role.
This was a much improved performance from Harlequins, who proved that when we play to our strengths we are a hard team to cope with. The coaching staff have identified our work ons for next week, none more evident than our penalty count, and we look forward to welcoming Egham Hollowegians to Broom Rd for our third and final friendly before the season starts against Hanwell on 15th.