NEC Harlequins started the defence of their Zurich A League title with an emphatic 57-19 victory over Saracens at Old Albanians RFC last night (6th September). The visitors scored nine tries in total, with front row forwards Ceri Jones and James Hayter both going over twice.
Indeed it was Jones that gave Quins a dream start with just under two minutes on the clock. Playing with a strong wind behind them, the Quins pack catch and drove a lineout that resulted in the prop forward claiming his first try, which Adrian Jarvis converted.
However, Saracens hit back straight from the restart with Fijian international Nicky Little racing over following a good break from fly half Ben Russell, who then failed to add the two extra points on offer from the conversion.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Henry Barratt ripped through the heart of the Saracens defence and into their twenty-two, and from the quick ball that materialised tight head prop Mark Lambert was given the space to dive over in the left hand corner. Jarvis failed with the conversion attempt but had no such problems six minutes later when Tom Williams weaved his way round a number of defenders down the left flank, before touching down under the posts for a score that stretched Quins lead to 14 points (19-5).
As the game entered the second quarter, Saracens flanker Dave Seymour finished off a move he started to score the home sides second try that Little converted, but two further tries from the visitors before the break put Quins in a commanding position.
Jones finished off another powerful drive from the pack, with Jarvis adding the extras, before Barratt capitalised on an overlap created down the left for a try that put Quins 31-12 in front at half-time.
Excellent work in defence resulted in Quins opening score after the restart. With Saracens finding no way through, the ball was eventually turned over and good work from Tom Guest led to Hayter touching down by the posts. Jarvis was again on target with the conversion and then had the simple task of adding a further two points to the Quins tally from in front of the posts after Mike Brown made the most of an interception opportunity after 54 minutes.
Trailing by 33 points (19-45), Saracens only score of the second half came ten minutes from the end with replacement Aaron Lifchak going over in the corner for a try Little converted, but it was Quins who finished the stronger of the two sides.
A fantastic flowing move involving backs and forwards ended with replacement flanker Nick Easter, currently on trial with Quins, powering over for the score. Hayter then completed the scoring in the final play of the game after another patient build-up allowed the hooker to register his second try of the contest. Jarvis finished proceedings by adding the conversion from in front of the posts.
Final score, 19-57.
Saracens XV: 15. Ben Johnston, 14. Andy Edwards, 13. Craig Wilson, 12. Nicky Little, 11. Simon Gibbs, 10. Ben J Russell, 9. Mosese Rauluni, 1. Nick Lloyd, 2. Andy Kyriacou, 3. Ben Broster, 4. Kris Chesney, 5. Don Barrell, 6. Tom Lawy, 7. David Seymour, 8. Ben Russell
Replacements: 16. Stuart Philpott, 17. Aston Croall, 18. Aaron Lifchak, 19. Stephon Armitage, 20. Joe Bedford, 21. Adam Powell
Tries: Little, Seymour
Conversions: Little (2)
NEC Harlequins XV: 15. Tom Williams, 14. Charlie Amesbury, 13. Henry Barratt, 12. Andy Reay, 11. Mike Brown, 10. Adrian Jarvis, 9. Duncan James, 1. Ceri Jones, 2. James Hayter, 3. Mark Lambert, 4. Opeta Palepoi, 5. Roy Winters, 6. Maama Molitika, 7. Luke Sherriff (Capt.), 8. Tom Guest
Replacements: 16. Marlow Warrington-Mattei, 17. Tom Muggridge, 18. James Inglis, 19. Gavin Hart, 20. Chris Cracknell, 21. Steven Jay, 22. Tosh Masson, 23. Nick Easter, 24. Jeremy Staunton
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.