NEC Harlequins scored five tries to come away with maximum points against Doncaster at the Stoop, in a victory by 27-7. It was a result that extends the clubs winning run in National Division One to five matches, although they were made to work hard for the win despite dominating possession and territory for long periods of the game.
Quins opened the scoring with only two minutes of the clock. From a lineout inside the Doncaster twenty-two, the forwards drove in field. Steve So'oialo opted to take play down the blind side where Will Greenwood released Simon Keogh, who had a simple run-in from close range. Adrian Jarvis missed the conversion from wide out, meaning Quins led by five points.
Gavin Duffy and So'oialo combined to release Keogh down the right flank on 14 minutes, and Duffy would have scored Quins second try had Keogh's inside pass to him not been forward. However, the full back did then double the home sides advantage two minutes later.
Duffy gathered a clearance kick just inside the Quins half and close to the touchline. After stepping inside Doncaster winger Luke Nabaro, the Irish international then left defenders in his tracks and won the race to the corner. Jarvis again saw his conversion drift wide of the target, but Quins had a ten-point advantage with 16 minutes on the clock.
11 minutes before the interval and the visitors put themselves back into contention with their only points of the afternoon. A turnover of possession on the Doncaster twenty-two resulted in winger Donavan Van Vuuren taking play deep into the Quins half. Centre Brad Hunt was in support to accept the scoring pass and touchdown to the left of the posts, while fly half John Benson added the two extra points from the conversion to make the score 10-7 in Quins favour at the break.
Benson then missed a penalty shortly after the restart that would have tied the scores, before Quins restored their ten-point lead 12 minutes into the half. Lorne Ward made a break from a ruck in the Doncaster twenty-two and despite being held-up close to the line, fellow prop forward Alex Rogers was in support to dive over for the try. Jarvis made no mistake with the simple conversion to make the score 17-7.
Four minutes into the final quarter and with play deep in the Doncaster twenty-two, full back John Boden was sent to the sin-bin for deliberate offside. Five minutes later and Quins scored their fourth try of the afternoon and with it claimed the bonus point.
Keogh broke through the Doncaster defensive line and Tosh Masson was on the overlap, and had the simple task of touching down unopposed. A third missed conversion from Jarvis meant Quins lead was now up to 15 (22-7).
A minute from the end and the hosts completed the scoring in the match. The forwards created the opportunity with another good piece of driving play and with the ball going through the backs, it was Mike Brown who went through a gap to score in the corner. Jarvis's disappointing afternoon with the boot continued, but the missed conversion did little to affect the outcome.
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.