NEC Harlequins Wanderers made the long journey up the M1 on Saturday (29th January) to take on the Leeds Tykes Development XV.
The Leeds outfit fielded a strong side, including several players with Zurich Premiership experience, and opened the scoring with a penalty from Gareth Wright. Trailing 3-0, Quins defended bravely to prevent the home side from going further in front.
With Cameron Dott sidelined after 20 minutes due to an injury, the physicality of the Leeds team was showing. However, it was Quins who were next to score with a well struck penalty from Luke Cousins. The Tykes retook the lead by scoring the opening try of the match from a catch and drive at a lineout. The successful conversion gave the hosts a 10-3 lead at the interval.
Quins came out after half time with renewed vigour and were rewarded with a Charlie Amesbury touch down. Cousins added the conversion from wide out to level the score at 10-all.
At this stage both teams were defending with bone crunching commitment. Flanker Jamie Sutton was outstanding in this area and worked tirelessly in the loose. Quins pressure eventually told as Cousins struck a long range penalty to edge the visitors ahead (13 -10).
Leeds soon equalised with a straightforward penalty kick of their own, to make the score 13-13. The final stages were tense as both teams threw the kitchen sink at each other, only to be denied by tenacious defending.
At full time, the draw is often a disappointing way to finish a game. However, on reflection the result gives credit to both teams, who played their part in a hugely physical and enjoyable contest.
NEC Harlequins Wanderers XV: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Kiba Richards, 13. Tosh Masson, 12. Ben Young, 11. Charlie Amesbury, 10. Luke Cousins, 9. Duncan James, 1. Tom Muggridge (Capt.). 2. Cameron Dott, 3. Alex Rogers, 4. James Inglis, 5. Alex Ayling, 6. Jamie Sutton, 7. Darren Clayton, 8. Andy Hodgkins
Replacements: Chucko, Steve Jay, Joe Reid, Matt Surman, Jamie Redmayne
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.