NEC Harlequins were made to work hard for a 22-7 victory over the Earth Titans at Clifton Lane, but it was a result that extended Quins unbeaten run in National Division One to eight matches. Despite dominating for long periods, the visitors were unable to come away with the maximum five points, with Mike Brown being denied from claiming Quins fourth try right at the end due to a forward pass.
Inside the opening ten minutes and Quins had built-up a two score lead. A late tackle on Simon Keogh allowed Andrew Mehrtens to open the scoring from the resulting penalty, with the fly half expertly judging his kick against a strong cross-field wind.
Four minutes later and the visitors scored their first try of the afternoon. A quickly taken penalty from Steve So'oialo put the Titans on the back foot, before both Luke Sherriff and Tani Fuga made inroads into the home sides defence. With quick ball materialising Mehrtens gave Tosh Masson the scoring pass, allowing the centre to bundle his way over from close range.
Mehrtens failed to add the two extra points on offer from the conversion, meaning Quins led 8-0. Remarkably, neither side would trouble the scoreboard again during the first half. An excellent break from Mel Deane almost resulted in a try for Ceri Jones after 15 minutes of play, while the Quins defence had few problems dealing with the Titans rare excursions into the visitors half.
Ten minutes after the restart and Quins extended their advantage. Mehrtens fielded a clearance kick just inside his own half and shipped play onto Gavin Duffy, who in turn released Keogh. The winger carved his way through the Titans midfield and up to the try line, where Nick Easter was in support to accept the scoring pass. A successful conversion from Mehrtens put Quins ahead by 15 points.
The hosts then enjoyed their best period of the game and put themselves back in contention just before the start of the final quarter. From a lineout on the Quins twenty-two, some crisp passing from the backs allowed centre Greg Mitchell to burst through and score under the posts unopposed. Fly half WP Strauss made no mistake with the simple conversion, but missed a penalty almost straight from the restart meaning an eight-point deficit separated the two sides (7-15).
Eight minutes from time and Quins put the result beyond doubt. The forwards drove play up to the Titans line having won a lineout five metres out, before Easter powered his way over in the left hand corner for his second try. Mehrtens converted from the touchline to restore Quins 15-point lead (22-7).
In the time that remained, Quins pressed hard for their fourth try of the match and with it a bonus point. Keogh was held-up jut short of the line while the final play of the game saw Brown race over in the corner for a touchdown, only for the referee to rule out the score due to a forward pass.
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.