Saturday (9th April) saw NEC Harlequins Wanderers travel to Bedford to face their Second XV. Bedford Blues proved too strong for the Wanderers and despite a strong fight back towards the end, the visitors lost 35-21.
Bedford played to their strengths and played a tight game. Their extra physical power proved to be a handful for Quins who, with the exception of scrum half Duncan James and hooker Cameron Dott, were fielding an Under 19 team.
Bedford took control of the first half, scoring three tries with no return to give them a half-time lead of 21-0. The first half was marred by a mass brawl between the two sides, which was eventually stopped and the referee's decision was to show Quins winger Kiba Richards a yellow card and then award Quins a penalty.
The second half continued with Bedford adding two further tries and dominating the scrum. Quins lost Dott and prop Mark Abel to injury, which left their scrum further exposed.
Fly half Mike Brown scored an interception try from the halfway line and this seemed to give the Wanderers confidence in their ability and suddenly Quins took the game to Bedford. The greater fitness and pace started to show and for the final quarter, Quins were the stronger side.
With some great handling and the ball passing through numerous pairs of hands, there were gaps to be found in the Bedford defence. Full back Charlie Amesbury scored a well worked try and this was closely followed by a score from Richards. However, this style of play was produced too late in the game and Bedford were the deserving victors
Final score, 35-21.
NEC Harlequins Wanderers XV: M. Abel, C. Dott, J. Reid, A. Ayling, G. Robson, B. Woolf, D. Clayton, A. Hodgkins, D. James, M. Brown, D. Richards, T. Masson, B. Young, K. Richards, C. Amesbury
Replacements: C. Turner, M. Surman, D. Abraham, A. Fisher, J. Gibbs, L. Cousins, R. Parker, J. Wehbe
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.