On Saturday 22nd September Harlequin Amateurs made the journey to Hayes RFC to play their second league fixture of the season. Last weekend saw both teams record victories, and with Hayes another step into the unknown for Quins, we didn’t know what to expect. Frankly, the coaches could have sat down for a lifetime to predict what awaited us, and still wouldn’t have guessed that it would be Baby Shark blaring through the sound system and bright purple walls more akin to Changing Rooms with Carol Smilie, than rugby club changing rooms.
Over the previous few weeks Quins had been spoilt with fine weather that complimented their expansive game plan. Saturday, however, was the opposite as our travelling supporters gathered under trees to shelter from the rain and the warm up disrupted by players acclimatising to the soapy balls and slippery surface.
As the game kicked off it wasn’t long until Quins were straight back into the swing of things and following on from the kind of form they showed against Hanwell the previous week. The opening 20 minutes were largely an even affair, with Hayes using their big ball carriers to batter holes in the Quins defence. But with Paul and Aaron showing text book tackling, the Hayes threat was stopped at source time and time again. Quins, on the other hand, were able to get over the whitewash twice in that opening quarter. The first, an unconverted effort from Mike Lovelock on 8 minutes and the second a solo effort from Luke Povey, back after missing last weekends victory. Povey’s try converted by George Jaques. Fifteen minutes in and Quins were 0-12 to the good.
The Quins defence remained firm throughout the rest of the half, and the set piece continued to be a weapon with Will O’Donnell putting constant pressure on the Hayes lineout and Dave Love and Jake Walker, making his front row debut, doing a great job of nullifying the Hayes scrum threat. Two further tries in the first half, one by James Summersett finished in the corner (unconverted) and the second from George Jaques after peeling from a driving maul, brought the half to a close with the score at 0-24.
Quins came out in the second half firing on all cylinders and it took less than ten minutes for Lovelock to power over for his second and Aaron Addis to drag a couple of Hayes players over the line to bring the score to 0-36. It didn’t all go Quins’ way though and, immediately from the restart and with Hayes players closing in, a loose pass was gathered by their flanker who dotted down to the left of the posts. The conversion missed. 5-36.
This was enough of a wake up call for Quins, who found another level to really start to dominate around the park. Lineouts and scrums were being disrupted, turnovers at the breakdown and tackle after tackle forced Hayes into spilling the ball in contact. On 58 minutes George found his way over the line for his second try of the afternoon. And 5 minutes later, Charlie Blower crossed for a well deserved try on debut. As the game came to a close, there was just enough time for Lovelock to complete his second hat trick in two weeks. The conversion was missed and the scoreline ended at 5-55 to Harlequins.
Another impressive performance from Quins means we end the weekend at the top of MMT3 after two games. But more exciting is the room for improvement. This weeks’ MoM went to Alex Horsfall for another all action display at blindside before injury prematurely ended his involvement. DoD was a tough one as there were a severe lack of contenders, but the “award” eventually went to Sham after his exciting brand of “run it from deep” rugby slightly backfired.
Back to St Mary’s for training on Wednesday at 7.30, before we welcome Old Streetonians to Broom Road on Saturday 29th September.