For the fourth time this season NEC Harlequins came away with the maximum five points in National Division One, following a 36-18 victory over Coventry at Butts Park Arena. Despite heavy rain making conditions very difficult for both sides, Quins dominated proceedings for long periods in the match and were comfortable winners at the end, to extend their unbeaten run in the league to six games.
However, it was the home side who opened the scoring after just two minutes. Mike Brown carried the ball into touch close to the Quins line and at the resulting lineout, prop forward Kisi Pulu was driven over into the right hand corner. Winger James Moore missed the conversion from the touchline, but his penalty after ten minutes cancelled out one from Andrew Mehrtens moments earlier to make the score 8-3 to Coventry.
Quins pack started to dominate up front and it was no surprise when they took the lead with 16 minutes on the clock. Ceri Jones eventually claimed the visitors opening try following good work from the forwards deep in the Coventry twenty-two. Mehrtens conversion put Quins in front, but a second penalty from Moore gave Coventry a one-point advantage going into the second quarter (11-10).
Three minutes before the interval and Quins went back in front. From a scrum five metres from the Coventry line, Nick Easter drove play forward allowing Steve So'oialo to dummy a pass before scampering over to score under the posts. Mehrtens made no mistake with the simple conversion that meant Quins went into the break leading 17-11.
The visitors added to their tally just four minutes after the restart. An up and under from Mehrtens wasn't dealt with by the Coventry defence, allowing Mike Brown to carry play deep into the hosts twenty-two. After the full back was tackled just short of the line, quick ball materialised and with Simon Keogh on the overlap, he was given a simple run-in out on the right wing. Mehrtens missed the conversion from wide out, but Quins now had a two-score lead (22-11).
The home sides challenge wasn't helped when lock forward Dave Campton was sent to the sin bin and minutes later Jim Evans scored Quins bonus point try. Gavin Duffy made a half break before Ian Vass released Evans on the Coventry twenty-two, who powered his way over for the five points. Mehrtens added the two extra points from the conversion to make the score 29-11.
Nine minutes from the end and Quins added to their tally with their fifth and final try of the afternoon. A clever inside ball from Tosh Masson allowed Keogh to breakthrough the Coventry defence and reach out to score despite being hauled down just short of the line. A fourth conversion from Mehrtens took Quins total up to 36 points.
Fly half Jon Higgins scored a consolation try for Coventry just before the end, which Moore converted, but it did little to affect the final outcome.
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.