Old Guildfordians Rugby Club vs Harlequin Amateurs
After a long sunshine filled offseason, Harlequins Amateurs were back out on the turf this weekend for their 1st pre-season friendly of the season. Due to the nature of the match, the game was split into 4 quarters of 25 minutes each and please don’t re-read it was indeed 100 mins long (David Love will argue this is nothing following his world record rugby match the weekend before).
Old Guildfordians turned out 2 squads with each playing 2 quarters a piece each. Quins Ams on the other hand had an enormous squad of just 21 men (2 of which were the coaches, thank you Stevie Warr & Dave Peters). Alternating their teams the first quarter consisted of the Guildfordians 1st XV. Both teams evenly matched with turn overs happening at both scrums and lineouts for each team, Guildfordians took the initial advantage with 2 scores out wide. A 10 – 0 lead for the home side blistering winds throughout the match made hard work for both kickers with Guildfordinas first 2 attempts wide of the mark. Despite being a physically smaller side Harlequin Amateurs kept making yards and powering through the defence. A big carry from Chris Addis had Quins Ams on the Guildfordian 5-meter line before George Jaques picked from the base, evaded the would be guard and dive over in the corner for Harlequins first score of the game. Deciding not to make it easy for himself the kick was held in the wind and pushed wide. 10 – 5. Harry stark would pick up his first facial injury of the game when an unpunished high shot caused a gash in his mouth requiring treatment (don’t worry he makes an epic return later on). With a scrum awarded on the far left hand side of the pitch Dave Peters picked from the base of the scrum only to be tackled by the opposing 7. Quick hands down the line and a barn storming run from Kay on the wing had Quins 10 meters out. Quick hands from the base got the ball to Luke Povey on the right wing who stepped his first tackler before being tackled over the try line to score his first try of the season (Alec Smail already falling behind in the try scoring charts). Once again a failed kick from the touch line had the scores locked at 10 – 10 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter despite being the dominant side throughout Harlequins were unable to cross the white wash in this quarter but held firm and prevented the Guildfordians teams from scoring either. The end of the quarter saw blistering sunshine and high winds turn into wind and torrential rain. The third quarter would be surely be fun?
Having had 25 minutes to rest up and work through a new game plan Guildfordians came out of the gates for the third quarter at full speed. Their full back would receive 2 high ball clearances on the half way line and dance his way through the defence. The highlight of the 3rd quarter did come in the form of a try scoring winger scoring under the posts, only to usher the Guildfordian kicker away and miss the resulting kick…. Poor form. At the end of the 3rd quarter Quins were trailing a 41-10 lead.
The fourth quarter saw the return of Harry Stark and Luke Povey from their respective breaks (part-timers) to mount a remarkable comeback…. Only joking this isn’t a Blockbuster film… Perseverance from the forwards with continued scrummaging and ruck work saw gaps beginning to open in the Guildfordian defence which Luke Povey exploited to put Paul Hibbert through a gap to dot down on the right touchline. Kick this time made for 41-17. Some significantly big tackles in the middle of the park form George Jaques, Simon Rowland and Shamim Eceolaza saw Quins regain possession of the ball with 10 minutes of the final quarter to go. Quick balls form the rucks, some rugby 7’s offloads and a few line breaks to say the least got Quins from their own 22 to 10 meters out under the sticks of Guildfordians. With the entire backline out to the right a deafening screech came from the left flank, out wide with a split lip and missing a tooth from an earlier tackle (please wear a gum shield) Quins Ams very own Sloth was beginning for the ball. A draw and pass bringing the 2 defenders in saw Sloth, sorry Harry, gallop across the 5 meter line to dive and slide over for his first score of the season. The score finished at 41-22.
The TES man of the match was awarded to Harry Stark for his continued dedication to the cause putting his beautiful face on the line and substantially losing the fight at every occasion in the match. The Dick of the day could only go to one man…… With the team putting in a remarkable shift and no obvious mistakes to punish, James Summersets remarkable rant at the referee, something you would expect from Roy Keane in a football match, found himself on the receiving end of a free pint (pretty sure this student is reaping the benefits of free drinks).
Not the result Harlequin Amateurs wanted from their first fixture but the heart and determination shown by those who played is the spirit and fight that epitomized an undefeated league season last year. With work on’s for Wednesday’s training session and another pre-season game on 7th September before the season kicks off the following week, Quins are ever optimistic going into the new season.