NEC Harlequins recorded back-to-back victories over Sedgley Park in successive weekends, scoring five tries in a 29-22 win at Park Lane in National Division One. The visitors left with the maximum five points and maintained their unbeaten start to the season, but a converted try right at the end meant the home side had the consolation of coming away with a bonus point.
Quins scored two tries in the opening ten minutes to race into a 12-point advantage. With four minutes on the clock and from a scrum five metres from the Sedgley Park tryline, Nick Easter broke free from the set-piece and offloaded to Steve So'oialo, who just had enough space to touchdown in the right hand corner. Andrew Mehrtens conversion attempt from the touchline drifted just wide of the left hand upright.
Sedgley Park lock forward Chris Rowe was then sent to the sin-bin for fighting and with an extra man advantage, Quins extended their lead. An excellent move involving backs and forwards eventually led to Jim Evans bursting through a would-be defender and sprinting away to touchdown under the posts unopposed. Mehrtens made no mistake with the simple conversion from in front of the posts to make the score 12-0.
The home side then dominated proceedings and deservedly scored their opening try of the match 14 minutes before half-time. From a lineout just inside the Quins twenty-two, the ball went into the midfield and centre Shaun Woof slipped past an attempted tackle from Tosh Masson and had the pace to touchdown to the right of the posts. Fly half Phil Jones added the two extra points to cut the deficit to five points (7-12).
The two sides then traded scores just before the interval. A quickly taken penalty from So'oialo put the Sedgley Park defence on the back foot and after Easter took play forward, Simon Miall was in support to power over and touchdown by the posts. Mehrtens second successful conversion restored Quins two score lead.
Right on the stroke of half-time and the home side put themselves back in contention. Good work from number eight Sam Anania took play deep into Quins territory and a chip through from Jones was gathered by winger Jon Feeley in the left hand corner just before the ball went out of play. Jones missed the conversion from the touchline, making the score 12-19 to Quins at the halfway stage.
Quins dominated the early stages after the restart and scored their bonus point try nine minutes into the half. Simon Keogh was held-up just short of the line following a break from Masson, but a cross-field kick from Will Greenwood found Ugo Monye unmarked out on the right flank who had the simple task of touching down for Quins fourth try. Mehrtens conversion attempt fell short of the target but the visitors restored their 12-point advantage (24-12).
A penalty from Jones kept Sedgley Park in touch, but Quins fifth and final try ten minutes from the end seemed to put the result beyond doubt. Evans stole possession at a Sedgley Park lineout and Mehrtens broke downfield, before releasing Monye on the right wing. Gavin Duffy was in support to gratefully accept the scoring pass and touchdown unopposed, though Mehrtens again missed the target with the conversion from close to the touchline.
Two minutes into injury time and Sedgley Park had the last word by scoring their third try of the afternoon. Centre Ian Voortman burst through to score to the left of the posts and with replacement Arno de Jager adding the two points from the conversion, the home side secured a bonus point from their afternoons work.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.