England have the 'Auld Enemy' in Scotland and Old Abbotstonians (OA's) represent the 'Old Enemy' for Quins Amateurs after they were the only side to beat them last season, although they were still beaten into second place with the automatic promotion slot going to Quins. The two sides met for the first time this season last weekend (Saturday 10th December).
In bizarre circumstances, the game kicked off in bright sunlight but descended into a farce after 65 minutes when a deep mist descended and the visibility was well short of the far touchline. Such were the conditions that fly half Shaun Terrey kicked an up and under only for the ball to disappear into the swirling mist!
For the opening ten minutes, the Amateurs were camped in the OA's twenty-two following a series of driving mauls, presenting good ball for the backs only to see the final pass going to the deck. Quins dominance was eventually rewarded with a try for flanker Dan Camacho after 15 minutes.
On 30 minutes, more Quins possession was spilled deep in the OA's half and with the home side failing to get back in time to help support the defence, the visitors ran through for a try under the posts, which they converted to lead 7-5.
The restart saw the ball go over the dead ball line giving OA's the upper hand with a scrum on halfway. Quins had clearly lost concentration and it seemed likely that despite having the majority of the possession and territorial advantage, the Amateurs would come second again to their bogey side.
However, four minutes later Quins rallied to repel an OA attack with some solid defence and created a moment to savour, with the ball being passed down the line for a great score from full back Phil Ah-Sun, who came into the line and split the defence to score an unconverted try and nudge the Amateurs back in front (10-7).
Quins dominated from the restart and could, and should have scored at will, but too much ball was spilt. On 38 minutes, a great attack saw the ball again pass down the line only for the ever-hungry Matt Williams to drop the ball and a clear scoring chance to go begging. However, with half-time looming, Quins were awarded a penalty that Donald Baines converted to give the Amateurs a 13-7 lead at the break.
During the second half the mist suddenly descended and players on both sides were not really able to cope with the conditions. The referee, to his credit, kept going despite making a few errors and receiving a lot of abuse from the visitors on the sidelines. The more the ref blew, the more OA's frustration rose. After one OA player was sin-binned 10 minutes into the second half, their tight head prop was sent off 20 minutes from the end.
The match at this point could have boiled over but to Quins credit they kept their discipline, concentrated on the game and their efforts were rewarded with an unconverted try to seal the victory by 18-7.
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.