Harlequin Amateurs continued their fine start to 2019 on Saturday, with a five try to one win over Chiswick RFC.
Quins got the game underway and it was immediately evident that this would be a huge test for the home side, facing opposition that wouldn’t be out of place in the upper teams of the club at Chiswick. The first scrum indicated that Harlequins may have an advantage up front, but parity was soon restored up and both sides played out a hugely physical opening few minutes with big hits coming in for both teams. It was Quins who took first blood with a try on the right hand side for Joe Watkins, who cut a great line off inside centre Paul Hibbert to score. George Jaques just wide with the conversion, and the score remained at 5-0 after ten minutes.
That score seemed to be a catalyst for Chiswick, who really ramped up the pressure and had the lion’s share of possession for almost the entirety of the remainder of the half. Only staunch defending, along with a couple of last ditch tackles, prevented Chiswick from crossing the line. The visitors were rewarded for their efforts with a couple of kickable penalties, one of which was just wide on 15’, the other slotted by the fly half, to bring the scores to 5-3 after 37 minutes.
The home crowd didn’t have to wait long for a response from Quins. A good kick chase from the Quins pack resulted in a turn over for the home team. After a number of phases, and good ball retention, Quins got the ball out to the backs and Hibbert released Jimmy Lynch with a delightful pass that sent the winger over to extend the lead on the stroke of half time. George’s missed kick brought the half to a close. 10-3.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, and within two minutes of the restart Quins were again over the try line, Joe Watkins scoring his second of the afternoon. Again, the extras missed. 15-3.
With the game still in the balance, both teams enjoyed good waves of possession and only well organised and strong defending from both teams prevented any further scores. That was until the 55th minute when, just after being introduced from the bench, Simon Hubbard cleared up some scrappy ball from a lineout just outside the “22”, before darting, stepping and slipping his way over the whitewash to add to Quins’ tally. The added conversion brought the score to 22-3.
Again, Chiswick responded with hard carries from their big forwards and their speedy backs causing trouble for the home defenders. Eventually this pressure took its’ toll and Chiswick got themselves over the tryline on 69’, while Quins were down to 14 men, to reduce the deficit to 22-10.
For the final ten minutes both teams went all out attack. Quins in search of the Bonus Point win, and Chiswick for an unlikely comeback, or a Losing Bonus Point. Both teams enjoyed strong spells of possession, but as the clock ran down a home win became inevitable. On 80 minutes, with the clock in the red and the referee having called last play, Chiswick mounted one final attack from their “22”. Paul Hibbert rushed out for the intercept, leaving a three on one overlap. As the Chiswick backs went through the hands and a score looked unstoppable, George Jaques produced a stunning intercept to run in under the posts and secure the Bonus Point. With the conversion made, the game came to an end with the final score at 29-10 to Harlequins.
An incredible win for Quins, given the standard of opposition, and an important win that ensures we maintain pressure on the teams just below us in the league. Many positives to take from this game, including such a well drilled and physical defence and the return to fitness of Vice Captain Luke Povey who was solid all game at ten.
Three players picked up the TES sponsored Man Of the Match... Jimmy Lynch for another solid display on the wing, Simon Hubbard for such a naughty try, and George Jaques for being such a consistently high performer for Quins.
DoD went to Harry Stark for having the audacity to celebrate a birthday.
Next Saturday Harlequins travel to Quintin RFC for their Bowl Semi Final game. This promises to be a great game, with Quins just edging their earlier encounter 21-14 at Broom Road.