NEC Harlequins head coach Mark Evans felt that his sides poor finishing denied them starting the new Zurich Premiership season with a victory against London Irish at Twickenham yesterday (Saturday 4th September) in the London Double Header. Instead, Quins were on the wrong end of an 18-12 scoreline; the clubs first league defeat to the Exiles for three years.
"We dominated the second quarter and had a number of good chances," said Evans after the game. "Ugo (Monye) should have held onto the interception opportunity. We then had a two-on-one and Will (Greenwood) kicked it when it should have gone through the hands. Our finishing was poor when we were dominating the game, territory and playing the rugby."
"In the first quarter, the penalty count was something like six to nil and it's hard to play when it goes like that against you. That meant we didn't get any momentum in the first quarter."
"We decided to go for the corner a couple of times, which was fine, then didn't come away with any points," continued the Quins coach, who felt the Exiles first try from centre Geoff Appleford after 52 minutes, scored whilst they were reduced to 14 men with Barry Everitt in the sin-bin, was a key turning point in deciding the outcome.
"They came up when they were down to 14 men and scored a try, and that was probably the pivotal moment of the game. Having said that, I thought we still might come back and nick it but our ball retention was poor. In fact, our ball retention wasn't great throughout the game."
"The quality of ball we produced from our lineout wasn't great, so we didn't get an awful lot of flow into our game. It wasn't a particularly good performance all round really; we just didn't really function today."
The result and performance aside, Evans was delighted with what he witnessed at Twickenham.
"What a great day and what a wonderful way to kick-off the new club season. It gives those people who don't always get the opportunity the chance to come to Twickenham. I think it's a great advert for the game the way all four sets of fans are mingling and having a great time. I think it's terrific."
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.