NEC Harlequins Second XV suffered a 25-19 defeat against Oxford University at Iffley Road last night (Monday 1st November). Despite Quins outscoring the home side three tries to one, 20 points from the boot of fly half Jon Fennell and a try from winger John Bradshaw helped to give Oxford University a victory to celebrate.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring after 12 minutes, with Chris Cracknell finishing off a rolling maul from the pack after winning a lineout five metres from the line. Dunne converted to put Quins seven points ahead, but a lack of discipline from the visitors resulted in Fennell landing three first half penalties that made the score 9-7 to the hosts.
The third of these penalties led to Cracknell being sin-binned but despite being down to 14 men, Quins hit back and scored their second try before half-time. After winning a lineout inside the Oxford University twenty-two, Dunne's inside pass to Mel Deane allowed the centre to touchdown under the posts. Dunne made no mistake with the simple conversion to give Quins a five-point lead at the break (14-9).
A fourth penalty from Fennell after the restart cut the deficit to two before Maama Molitika sprinted clear to score Quins final try of the contest after 52 minutes. Dunne missed the conversion and the University controlled proceedings from then on.
Fennell converted penalty number five before Bradshaw scored the home sides only try in the right hand corner with just ten minutes remaining. Fennell added the two extra points on offer to put Oxford University into a three point lead (22-19).
The hosts fly half completed the scoring in injury time with his sixth successful penalty of the night, which left Quins on the wrong end of a 25-19 scoreline when the final whistle blew.
NEC Harlequins XV: 15. Henry Barratt, 14. Neil McGovern, 13. Mel Deane, 12. Andy Reay, 11. Joe Mbu, 10. Andy Dunne, 9. Duncan James, 1. Tom Muggridge, 2. Marlow Warrington-Mattei, 3. Mark Lambert, 4. Karl Rudzki, 5. Opeta Palepoi, 6. Mamma Molitika, 7. Chris Cracknell, 8. Kai Horstmann
Replacements: 16. Reg DeJager, 17. Ben Thomson, 18. Gavin Hart, 19. Tom Guest, 20. Steven Jay, 21. Tosh Masson
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.