With no game this weekend, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look back on the season so far and to review our progress in National Division One.
In terms of results, everything looks rosy in the garden of NEC Harlequins. In the league, we have played 12 and won 12, and have an eight point lead at the top of the table with London Welsh being the only team we have not faced so far; something that will be corrected on Boxing Day when the Welsh visit the Twickenham Stoop, kick-off 3.00pm.
In addition to this, we are in the quarterfinals of the Powergen National Trophy, the final of which will be played at Twickenham on Sunday 9th April. Furthermore, we also defeated the Manu Samoa mid-week team last month.
With regards to the goals that the players have set themselves, one of these was to remain undefeated until Christmas and that has been achieved. However, in the second round of matches we fell one short of our target of four bonus points.
We are conceding an average of 1.33 tries per game against a target of just 1 try per game, and our tackle completion rate for matches since Exeter has averaged 90.24% against a target of 90% successfully completed tackles. So although the results on the pitch have been satisfactory, the players and coaching staff know that we have much to work on if we are to achieve the standards that we are setting ourselves.
In terms of life in National Division One, well no-one is pretending that we want to be playing in this league, but we will continue to enjoy ourselves and hopefully promote the name of NEC Harlequins around the country.
On the whole, we have been made to feel extremely welcome at all the National Division One clubs that we have visited to date. Clearly on the pitch there have been some fierce encounters, but off the pitch we have thoroughly enjoyed the experience; even if six away games in the last seven weeks has been hard work.
There have been one or two experiences we might not have expected, such as having to clean out our changing room before the team arrives on the day of the game, as well as some surprising quotes coming out of clubs about what they thought of our squad and what they were going to do to Quins.
However, this is all just part of the game and in truth only helps to ensure we are more determined than ever to beat those particular sides on their own patch, as well as giving them a very warm welcome in the return leg at the Twickenham Stoop.
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.