NEC Harlequins extended their unbeaten run in this seasons Zurich A League to six matches thanks to a comfortable 36-0 victory over London Irish at the Stoop last night (Monday 29th November). The home side scored five tries, with back row forwards Maama Molitika and Damu both going over twice.
Quins dominated the opening ten minutes and looked certain to take an early lead. However, the pack were held-up over the line following a rolling maul on nine minutes, while some good defence from the Exiles meant the match remained scoreless after the opening quarter.
17 minutes before the break and Quins finally opened the scoring. A quickly taken penalty from Andy Dunne put the visitors defence on the back foot and after play was recycled through a number of phases, a cross-field kick from Adrian Jarvis bounced kindly for Molitika, who gathered and ran-in unopposed for his first try. Dunne pushed his conversion attempt wide of the target that meant Quins led 5-0.
Seven minutes later and a superb break from Tosh Masson resulted in Quins second score. The centre looked to have the pace to go all the way but unselfishly gave Damu the opportunity to dive over under the posts from close range. Dunne added the two extra points to give Quins a 12-point advantage at half-time.
Jarvis took over the kicking duties and converted a penalty four minutes after the restart, before Molitika powered his way over for his second and Quins third try of the night. Some excellent driving work from the forwards, particularly Jon Dawson and Karl Rudzki, took play up to the Exiles line allowing the number eight to force his way over for the five points. A successful conversion from Jarvis put Quins into a 22-point lead.
As the game entered the final quarter, Henry Barratt carved his way through the Exiles defence and into their twenty-two. With quick ball materialising, play went left to Joe Mbu in the midfield who held off a number of defenders in a thunderous run to the line to score Quins fourth try. Jarvis again added the two extra points from the conversion to make the score 29-0.
The final try of the night followed just minutes later and Barratt was again in the thick of the action. The winger was put free down the right flank by Gavin Duffy and despite being tackled short of the line, Damu was in support to gratefully accept the scoring pass. A third conversion from Jarvis completed the scoring in the match, with the home side unable to add to their tally in the final ten minutes despite dominating territory and possession.
Final score, 36-0.
NEC Harlequins XV: 15. Gavin Duffy, 14. Henry Barratt, 13. Tosh Masson, 12. Andy Reay, 11. Joe Mbu, 10. Adrian Jarvis, 9. Andy Dunne, 1. Maurice Fitz Gerald, 2. James Hayter, 3. Jon Dawson, 4. Karl Rudzki, 5. Simon Maling, 6. Damu, 7. Luke Sherriff, 8. Mamma Molitika
Replacements: Cameron Dott, Tom Muggridge, George Robson, Tom Guest, Duncan James, Kiba Richards, Mike Brown
Tries: Molitika (2), Damu (2), Mbu
Conversions: Dunne, Jarvis (3)
London Irish XV: 15. Ross Laidlaw, 14. Paul Sackey, 13. Rodd Penney, 12. Neil Whitworth, 11. Topsy Ojo, 10. Shane Geraghty, 9. Kevin Barrett, 1. Adam Halsey, 2. James Greenwood, 3. Pierre Durant, 4. Gary Johnson, 5. Ed Mallett, 6. Richard Thorpe, 7. Mike Haslett, 8. Kieran Roche
Replacements: Steve Lamb, Flint Davidson, James Grimes, Kieran Geraghty, Paddy Gill
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.