On Saturday Harlequin Amateurs made the short journey to Marble Hill Park to play Thamesians 2nd XV in their MMT3 local derby. With the weather having been so wet over the previous days it was evident the conditions wouldn’t be suited to an open, expansive game and this proved to be exactly the case early on as the opening exchanges saw Quins dominate possession, with the majority of play taking place in T’s territory and just a loose final pass preventing any opening score. Wings Kay Frazer and Alec Smail both went close with strong carries up the flanks, but the score eluded the visitors.
With the scrum and lineouts firing, the forwards made sure that Thamesians were camped in their own half and on 27 minutes the pressure finally told as lock Chris Addis ran a great line off George Jaques and slid over to score. With the conversion made, Quins were off the mark. 0-7.
This was the signal for things to start to click for Quins and within five minutes Joe Watkins had scored Quins’ second of the afternoon with a great outstretched finish after being tackled just shy of the tryline. The score remained at 0-12 with the extras missed.
With the half drawing to an end, there was just enough time for Harlequins to extend their lead when inside centre Paul Hibbert bounced off one would-be tackler and ran in from the “22”.
The second half exploded into life immediately when half time substitute Alex Horsfall caught the restart and brushed off a couple of chasers before feeding Alec Smail who burst up the left touchline before offloading to full back Shamim Eceolaza who was just bundled into touch short of the try line. This was to be the template for the second half as a continuous barrage of attacks kept play deep in Thamesian territory.
After a penalty infringement by a T’s player, George found great yards with the resulting kick to touch. Jake Matthews, proving he can successfully transition from a scrum half to a hooker, expertly found Sean Gorman at the back of the lineout and the forwards set about driving the maul toward the try line. Not wanting to be left out of the action, George Jaques joined the back of the maul and darted off under the posts to score. Kick made, 0-26 and the bonus point wrapped up.
It wasn’t long before the Amateurs found themselves back where they wanted to be, courtesy of powerful carries from the like of Aaron Addis, Si Rowland and Seamus Walsh. With Quins now dominating the set piece, Number 8 Danny O’Connor picked from the base of a scrum and drove himself over the line to score his first league try for Quins. George again successful with the kick. 0-33.
With 20 minutes to go, Quins rang the changes and on came the big boys of Vets rugby to close the game out - Gavin Miller and Dave Peters proving there is no substitute for experience with some big hits and strong carries. Credit must go to Thamesians, though, who started to find their feet a bit and enjoyed some possession in the Quins half, with their fly half and openside flanker particularly strong in attack. As Quins started to press for further scores the game became a bit stop-start due to a number of injuries and the score remained at 0-33 until the referee blew the full time whistle.
The win takes Quins’ league record this season to P9 - W9 - L0 at the halfway point.
This weeks’ TES sponsored Man of the Match went to Simon Rowland who was a constant thorn in the Thamesians side at the breakdown and, as always, carried and tackled with ferocity in the loose.
DoD could (and arguably should) have gone to Si Hubbard who, despite having a great game at scrum half, chose to stop and stroke a dog when collecting the ball with 29 players watching and waiting to crack on. However, the “Award” went to Shamim Eceolaza who managed to avoid his MoM pint last week by leaving early. Unacceptable behaviour.
Next week both 1st XV and Vets are in league action at Home. The 1s play Hayes RFC at Broom Road, while the Vets take on Sutton and Epsom at Waldegrave Road. Both 2pm KOs.