For the second time this season NEC Harlequins lost to their arch-rivals London Irish, conceding three tries in a 25-20 defeat in the Zurich Premiership at the Stoop. A try from Exiles number eight Roland Reid nine minutes from time proved to be the match winning score, with the home side unable to threaten the Irish line in the time that remained.
Irish fly half Barry Everitt opened the scoring with a penalty after 11 minutes, though Arwel Thomas responded in similar fashion five minutes later. It was the visitors who had the better of the first half and it was they who scored the first try of the match 13 minutes before half-time.
Quins turned over possession just inside their own half and a sweeping move led to winger Delon Armitage touching down in the right hand corner. Everitt's touchline conversion went over off the post to put Irish 10-3 in front. However, two further penalties from Thomas cut the deficit to just a single point at the halfway stage (9-10).
Two minutes after the restart and Thomas put Quins in front for the first and only time in the match, converting his fourth penalty of the afternoon from just inside his own half. Crucially, the Quins number ten then missed an easier chance soon after this before Irish retook the lead with their second try.
Winger Scott Staniforth made a break down the left flank and then gave second row Bob Casey the scoring pass and an unopposed run to the line. Everitt added the two points on offer from the conversion to put Irish 17-12 ahead, though Quins hit back five minutes later with their only try of the match.
Jim Evans drove forward deep in the Irish twenty-two and with quick ball materialising, Dafydd James gave the scoring pass to Ugo Monye, who just had the space he needed to touchdown in the left hand corner. Thomas missed the conversion from wide out meaning the two teams were tied at 17-apiece.
At the start of the final quarter, Quins suffered a double blow. Steve So'oialo failed to deal with a high ball from Michael Horak and the Quins scrum half was then shown the yellow card for holding back the Irish full back as he attempted to chase his kick ahead. Everitt converted the resulting penalty only for Thomas to cancel this out after Irish were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle.
Straight from the restart, Tony Diprose knocked the ball forward presenting Irish with a scrum deep in the Quins twenty-two. From the set-piece, Reid picked up and fended off a tackle before strolling over the line unopposed. Everitt missed the conversion, but the Irish defence had few problems dealing with what Quins threw at them in the final ten minutes.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.