Harlequin Amateurs played host to Hackney RFC 3rd XV on Saturday for their MMT3 league fixture. It seems there is no middle ground at the moment regarding the weather, either it is unseasonably warm or horrendously wet and windy. On Saturday it was the latter. With both Twickenham and The Stoop playing host to Premiership games, we kicked off slightly late as we waited on the ref to fight through the traffic.
Quins opted to get the game underway and the opening stages were all about both teams finding their feet in the wet conditions. While Quins were not faultless with their handling, the resulting scrums seemed to favour us as the front row of Rocco Archidiacono, Luke Nugent and Gareth Chapman put constant pressure on opposition ball, turning the scrum over a number of times. With plenty of front foot ball, Quins spent much of the opening 10 minuted probing the Hackney defence for weaknesses to no avail. However, in the twelfth minute, with Quins camped in the Hackney "22", Hackney cleared the danger with a decent kick up to half way only to find Jacob Ingold who kept the attack going with a quick throw to fullback Charlie Blower who stepped his way through multiple would-be tacklers to score in the corner for a fantastic individual effort. Kick missed. 5-0.
It was ten minutes before Quins registered their next score. A couple of penalty infringements saw fly half James Summersett kick to touch and set up a great attacking platform in the Hackney "22". A pinpoint throw into the lineout saw a well worked forwards move which resulted in Luke Nugent going over in the left corner for his first "proper" try for the club. The score was taken to 12-0 with the conversion. Quins appeared to grow in confidence throughout the remainder of the half, and two further scores were to come before the break. The first an unconverted effort from Jacob who danced down the touchline to score in the corner, and the second a great rumble from Chris Addis who powered over the whitewash with half of Hackney hanging on to him. Half time and the score was 24-0.
Quins have become slightly accustomed to running away with games this season, but this certainly wasn't the case today. The second half did start strongly for Quins, who had scored a converted effort within ten minutes after Adam Wallace cut a great line from a Paul Hibbert pass and ran under the sticks to score. The home team seemed to switch off slightly after this, as a mix of complacency and disruption caused by injury seemed to settle in. This period of disruption saw Alec Smail, who was having a typically strong game on the wing, go off injured. As well as Will O'Donnell, Wally and Mike Lovelock going off injured. During this period, Hackney were able to score themselves a well deserved try to bring the score to 31-7, with 20 minutes to go.
This score was used as a wake up call, and Quins regathered a bit of dominance in the game by keeping possession well and turning over ball at almost every scrum. Quins final try of the afternoon came through Luke Povey who stepped inside his defender to score under the posts. His conversion made, the score was left at 38-7 until the final whistle.
Quins showed great character in dealing with the injuries that had left them with only 13 men on the pitch for the final 10 minutes after Povey went off with, what turned out to be, a broken hand. Credit must go to all the lads that dug in to prevent further scores from Hackney under the circumstances. And we wish all of the injured lads a speedy recovery as we prepare for our foray into the cup next week against Ickenham, a team sitting in mid-table in the league above us.
MoM went to Alec Smail, who did absolutely everything on the day except get over the line (next week mate).
DoD went to James Welsh, who was having a great impact off the bench until being sat down royally by someone the size of his left leg.
Onwards to next week where we see the 2s have their first outing of the season against Old Emanuel 3s - 1pm KO at Broom Rd. Then we have the 1s playing Ickenham in the cup at Broom Rd in a 3pm KO. A great day of rugby for the club, so get down to cheer the lads on.