NEC Harlequins kept their hopes alive of retaining the Zurich A League title thanks to a 32-29 victory over London Wasps at Imber Court last night (Monday 28th February). However, a converted try from the last play of the game secured Wasps a second bonus point from their night's work, which could prove crucial in deciding the final standings in the South Zone league table.
Quins almost opened the scoring from their first attack as an excellent break from Adrian Jarvis took play just short of the Wasps line, where the ball was lost. Minutes later and a fine break from Mike Brown down the left flank resulted in a try for Henry Barratt, which Arwel Thomas converted to put Quins seven points in front.
Barratt extended the lead soon after this, capitalising on a turnover of possession on the Wasps twenty-two to dive over in the left hand corner. Thomas missed the conversion from wide out before the home side opened their account with a try from winger Thom Evans as the game approached the second quarter.
A second Wasps try followed from prop Alistair McKenzie, but with neither score converted Quins led 12-10. As the game approached half-time, a perfectly weighted chip over the defence from Thomas was gathered by Kai Horstmann to score Quins third try of the night.
Thomas added the two extra points on offer from the conversion before missing two penalty attempts either side of the interval. At the third time of asking, Thomas added three further points to the Quins tally to put the visitors 12-points ahead, though a second try from Evans cut the deficit once again (15-22).
Quins looked to have put the result beyond doubt 15 minutes from the end as an excellent break from Barratt through the midfield and deep into the Wasps twenty-two resulted in a try for Luke Sherriff, which Thomas converted. However, the home side refused to throw in the towel and a score from lock forward George Skivington, converted by centre Dominic Waldouck, put Wasps back to within one score once again (22-29).
Thomas landed a second penalty to stretch Quins advantage to ten-points but the fly half then missed a crucial tackle on Wasps number eight James Haskell, who powered his way over from close range. Waldouck added the conversion, which was immediately followed by the final whistle.
Final score, 29-32.
London Wasps XV: 15. Rob Laird, 14. Thom Evans, 13. Matt Priscott, 12. Dominic Waldouck, 11. Joe Mbu, 10. Harvey Biljon, 9. James Honeyben, 1. Alistair McKenzie, 2. Ben Gotting, 3. Henry Nwume, 4. Matt Corker, 5. George Skivington, 6. Mark Lock, 7. Gareth Chamberlain, 8. James Haskell
Replacements: 16. Tom French, 17. Rob Cain, 18. John Filler, 19. Ed Hoadley, 20. Nick Defty, 21. Michael Whitehead, 22. James Wellwood
NEC Harlequins XV: 15. Adrian Jarvis, 14. Charlie Amesbury, 13. Henry Barratt, 12. Andy Reay, 11. Mike Brown, 10. Arwel Thomas, 9. Dave von Hoesslin, 1. Tom Muggridge, 2. Ace Tiatia, 3. Mark Lambert, 4. George Robson, 5. Roy Winters, 6. Tom Guest, 7. Luke Sherriff, 8. Kai Horstmann
Replacements: 16. Cameron Dott, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Simon Miall, 19. Chris Cracknell, 20. Duncan James, 21. Kiba Richards
Tries: Barratt (2), Horstmann, Sherriff
Conversions: Thomas (3)
Penalties: Thomas (2)
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.