Six first half penalties from Andrew Mehrtens helped NEC Harlequins maintain their 100% winning record in National Division One as they defeated Nottingham by 32-10 at Ireland Avenue. Converted tries from Ugo Monye and Simon Keogh in the final ten minutes added to Quins tally after the break, and ended any hopes the hosts had of claiming a victory.
It was the home side who had the chance to open the scoring after two minutes, but fly half Ali Warnock saw his penalty attempt hit the post and go wide of the target. Mehrtens converted his first kick at goal just two minutes later and four further penalties followed to give Quins a 15-point lead with just 22 minutes on the clock.
Warnock cut the deficit by three points when Gavin Duffy was guilty of holding onto the ball after being tackled, though Mehrtens cancelled this score out almost straight from restart when Nottingham hooker Joe Duffey was sin-binned for punching Ian Vass.
Despite being a man down the home side had their chances to add to their tally, but Warnock missed his second penalty of the half and then missed a drop goal attempt from in front of the posts a minute before the interval. Nottingham also had the better of the opening exchanges after the break, but another penalty miss from Warnock didn't help their cause.
However, eight minutes into the second half and the hosts claimed the first try of the match. Centre Tim Molenaar took play deep into Quins twenty-two and after the ball was spread wide to the left flank, second row Paul Arnold was driven over in the corner. Warnock added the two extra points from wide out and the difference between the sides on the scoreboard was down to eight points (10-18).
Six minutes into the final quarter and Adrian Jarvis replaced the injured Mehrtens and was called into action straight away, with his penalty attempt hitting the post and failing to add to Quins tally. Then with ten minutes left to play, Monye put the result beyond doubt by scoring Quins opening try of the afternoon.
Nick Easter and Jarvis both made ground deep into Nottingham territory where the ball found its way to Monye, who fended off a challenge from his opposite number before running round to touchdown under the posts unchallenged. Jarvis made no mistake with the simple conversion to extend Quins advantage to 15 points (25-10).
With the game deep in injury time and Quins camped in the Nottingham twenty-two, Keogh pounced on a loose ball and raced over for the visitors second try. Jarvis was again on target with the conversion, which was immediately followed by the final whistle.
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.