NEC Harlequins secured their place in the quarterfinals of this seasons Parker Pen Challenge Cup with a 36-17 victory over Montauban in the second round, second leg at the Stoop; a result that gave them a 79-25 win on aggregate.
Paul Burke and Benoit Albert exchanged penalties to make it 3-3 with 11 minutes on the clock, before the home side scored the first try of the match 15 minutes before the interval. James Hayter dived over in the left hand corner after good work from Matt Moore, Burke and Tony Diprose. Burke converted from wide out to put Quins 10-3 ahead.
Montauban hit back almost straight away, as hooker David Roumieu burrowed his way over from close range. Albert added the two extra points and the scores were tied once again (10-10).
Right on the stroke of half-time, Moore raced over for the first of his two tries in the match. Man-of-the-match Gavin Duffy took a high ball and off loaded to Chris Bell, who made good ground into the Montauban half. Moore was in support and then showed good pace to beat the defenders to the line. Burke made no mistake with the conversion from in front of the posts, which put Quins 17-10 in front at the break.
No sooner had the game restarted then Roy Winters was finishing off a cracking move, which started just inside the Quins half and involved Duffy, Burke, Mel Deane, Moore, Diprose and Mike Worsley. Burke converted to stretch Quins lead to 14 points (24-10).
Ten minutes later and Moore went over for his second try of the afternoon. From a scrum five-metres from the Montauban line, Diprose fed Scott Bemand and his inside pass to the winger gave him a simple run in. Burke was again on target with the conversion to put Quins in complete control.
With just eight minutes left on the clock, replacement Ben Willis raced over from close range following an excellent catch and drive from the Quins pack that took play deep into the Montauban twenty-two. However, it was the visitors who had the last word as centre Jerom Sieurac sprinted clear for a consolation try that replacement Henry-Pierre Vermis converted.
Final score 36-17 (79-25).
Quins will now play either Brive or Castres in the quarterfinals. The two French sides play their second leg in Castres tomorrow afternoon (18th January 2004), with Brive leading 30-17 following last weeks first leg.
The first leg of the quarterfinal will take place at the Stoop next Saturday (24th January 2004), kick-off 3.00pm.
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.