NEC Harlequins scored seven tries in a 47-23 victory over London Welsh at the Stoop, with Tom Williams going over twice. It's a result that means Quins have reached the halfway stage of their National Division One campaign unbeaten, though the visitors staged a second half comeback. Trailing 33-3 at half-time, Welsh scored four tries after the interval to claim a bonus point from their afternoons work.
Quins early pressure was rewarded after ten minutes. A patient build-up, with play being recycled through a number of phases, eventually led to Williams breaking through the Welsh defensive line and sprinting clear to touchdown under the posts. Andrew Mehrtens made no mistake with the simple conversion to put the home side seven points ahead.
Fly half Lee Cholewa converted a penalty for the visitors six minutes later, but it would be Welsh's only points of the half and two minutes before the end of the first quarter, Quins doubled their tally. A turnover of possession just inside the Welsh half led to Gavin Duffy breaking away down the right touchline. George Harder was in support and he had the strength to hold off three defenders to touchdown for the five points, with Mehrtens adding the two from the conversion.
Quins continued to dominate and scored three tries in quick succession before half-time. Four minutes from the interval and Nick Easter powered his way over from close range following a quickly taken penalty, before straight from the restart an excellent move involving Harder and Tani Fuga resulted in Simon Keogh sprinting down the left flank to run-in Quins fourth try of the half, and with it claim the bonus point. Two further conversions from Mehrtens put Quins 28-3 in front.
In first half injury time and in the final play before the break, Luke Sherriff eased his way through the Welsh defence to score in the right hand corner. Mehrtens missed his first and only conversion of the afternoon, but Quins had a commanding 30-point lead at the halfway stage (33-3).
The Welsh fight back began four minutes after the restart, with scrum half Allen Chiltern capitalising on a loose ball after Quins failed to clear the danger from a scrum five metres from their own line.
Minutes later and a rolling maul from the Welsh forwards put Quins defence on the back foot, resulting in the overlap being created out on the right and a try for winger John Swords. With both conversions being missed by replacement Mark Meenan, it made the score 33-13 in Quins favour.
The home side had to wait until the 55th minute before adding to their tally. Harder made ground into the heart of the Welsh half and with quick ball materialising, Tosh Masson presented Williams with the scoring pass. Mehrtens added the two extra points to extend the deficit between the two sides to 27 points (40-13).
The home side then looked like extending their lead further as a sweeping move from the backs took play up to the Welsh twenty-two. However, full back Gareth Swales intercepted possession for the visitors and had the pace to defeat Steve So'oialo in the race to the line. 11 minutes from time and Welsh scored their fourth try of the half through prop Colm Hannon, to give them their bonus point and make the score 40-23.
However, it was Quins who had the last word with Duffy going over for try number seven right at the death. Adrian Jarvis made no mistake with the conversion, which was to be the last kick of the match.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.