Last week I said that our victory over the Pertemps Bees was a "job done, not very well done, but job done nevertheless." Well last Saturday (10th September) at Otley we did not deserve to win based on our performance, but we came away with the four points thanks to Mel Deane's try in injury time.
Anyone who has read the comments made by either the players or Management team following the game will know that we played poorly and that as a group of people we were far from happy with the performance. However, we will take the points; we will certainly not apologise for winning and will move forward to our next National Division One game this Saturday (17th September) at home to Newbury Blues, kick-off 3.00pm.
Otley deserve huge credit for their display last Saturday, they defended with great tenacity and forced us into making a huge number of handling errors which stopped us getting any momentum in our game. I have read that their pack out played us, which is complete nonsense; but we will struggle to beat any side, in any division, if we do not look after the ball better than we did last Saturday afternoon at Cross Green.
Having played four away games on the run, including two pre-season matches, I think it is fair to say that everyone is looking forward to playing once again at the Twickenham Stoop, particularly with the opening of the new Lexus Stand. Having walked around the facilities on Tuesday morning with Tony Copsey, you can only be impressed with the new stand and the facilities within it. Of course there will be a few glitches for the first game, but we are all looking forward to using the new facilities on Saturday afternoon for the first time.
On the injury front, Mike Worsley will miss out this weekend having come off at half-time at Otley. However, his back is much better and he should be in contention to play again very soon. Tom Williams is likely to be involved in our A League game against Bristol on Monday evening (19th September), kick-off 7.30pm at the Twickenham Stoop. Both Ceri Jones and James Hayter are progressing well, with Ceri expected to be fit by the end of October at the latest. Mike Brown should also be back in full training in the next ten days, having been out of action due to a broken hand.
So back to Saturday and our first game of the season at the Twickenham Stoop. In addition to the opening of the new stand, there will also be the unveiling of the Nick Duncombe memorial in the north-west corner of the stadium.
It will be a tremendous day for everyone at NEC Harlequins. It is step three in our first season in National Division One, and it goes without saying (so I will) that all the players, staff and Management are really looking forward to seeing and hearing you all at the new look 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.