NEC Harlequins excellent form in the Zurich A League continued with a comprehensive 38-8 victory over Gloucester at the Stoop last night (Monday 13th September). The home side scored six tries, with summer signing Joe Mbu claiming a second half hat-trick in his first match for the club.
Quins were on the scoreboard after just four minutes. Good work from the pack gave the backs quick ball to work with, allowing Jeremy Staunton to send Andy Reay through the hole in the midfield. The England Under 21 centre was stopped short of the line, but Henry Barratt was on his shoulder to take the scoring pass and touchdown by the posts, giving Staunton a simple conversion.
A penalty from Gloucester fly half Ryan Lamb made the score 7-3 after 14 minutes, but it was Quins who looked the more threatening in attack and their second try duly followed 16 minutes before the break. From a lineout five metres from the Gloucester line, a catch and drive from the forwards resulted in Tom Guest claiming the five points. Staunton missed the conversion and then Lamb failed with a second penalty attempt, which meant Quins had a nine point advantage at the halfway stage (12-3).
Quins started the second half by scoring the try of the match. In a move that started inside their own twenty-two, Tom Williams, Henry Barratt and Opeta Palepoi all made vital contributions to take play deep into Gloucester territory. A lovely long pass from Duncan James gave replacement Adrian Jarvis the space he needed to beat his man on the outside and touchdown unopposed for a try that he converted.
As the game entered the final quarter, Mbu registered his first try of the night. The winger gathered a perfectly weighted cross-field kick from Jarvis before diving over in the right hand corner. Jarvis added the two extra points from close to the touchline to make the score 26-3.
Good work from Kai Horstmann and Jarvis led to Mbu's second try ten minutes later, with the winger comfortably fending off an attempted challenge from Gloucester full back Olly Morgan before running round to score under the posts. Another two points for Jarvis from the conversion put Quins 30 points in front (33-3).
Replacement Rory Teague scored a consolation try for the visitors eight minutes from the end, but it was Mbu who had the last word. A chip through from Horstmann wasn't dealt with by the Gloucester defence, giving Mbu the simple task of collecting the loose ball and strolling over for his hat-trick try. Jarvis pushed his conversion attempt wide of the target and the final whistle soon followed.
Final score, 38-3.
NEC Harlequins XV: 15. Tom Williams, 14. Joe Mbu, 13. Tosh Masson, 12. Andy Reay, 11. Henry Barratt, 10. Jeremy Staunton, 9. Duncan James, 1. Tom Muggridge, 2. Cameron Dott, 3. Mark Lambert, 4. Opeta Palepoi, 5. Roy Winters, 6. Nick Easter, 7. Tom Guest, 8. Kai Horstmann
Replacements: Maurice Fitz Gerald, Mark Abel, George Robson, Gavin Hart, Simon Keogh, Adrian Jarvis, Mike Brown
Gloucester XV: 15. Olly Morgan, 14. Mark Foster, 13. Nathan Mauger, 12. Brad Davies, 11. James Bailey, 10. Ryan Lamb, 9. Simon Amor, 1. Nick Wood, 2. James Parkes, 3. Simon Emms, 4. Jimmy Roberts, 5. Paul Keily, 6. John Bourne, 7. Will Matthews, 8. Luke Narraway
Replacements: Rob Elloway, Paul Price, James Tideswell, Rory Teague, Leon Liggett, Nick Runcimen, Rob Shea
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.