Last Saturday (16th November 2002) NEC Harlequins Under 21's recorded a 26-24 win away at London Wasps. This was Quins first win against their arch rivals for a number of years, writes Sam Walton.
Wasps came firing out of the blocks; attacking Quins and scoring from the kick-off, though they failed to add the two extra points on offer from the conversion. Quins were in shock and then proceeded to give away a large number of penalties, giving Wasps both territory and possession. The home side kept taking quick penalties and were camped on the Quins line, but the defence was sound with outstanding tackles from Andy Reay and Kai Horstmann. However, it was not enough to stop their opponents scoring for a second time.
After 10 minutes, Quins woke-up and started to play some rugby. With a solid scrum and good driving ball deep in the Wasps half, points started to come. From a good driven lineout, Reay crashed through the middle to score, with Adrian Jarvis adding the conversion.
Wasps came again but tough defence and some great turnovers from prop Sam Walton and lock forward Tom Parker gave the backs some ball. Jarvis converted a penalty to level the score at 10-apiece.
Quins continued to concede penalties and with Ben Thompson giving some backchat to the referee, it gave Wasps further opportunities. Thompson was then penalised again and was sent to the sin-bin, which also resulted in a penalty try being awarded and converted that gave Wasps a 17-10 lead at half-time.
Quins got the ball early in the second half and managed to maintain possession. Once in the Wasps twenty-two, the home side were on the back foot. From out of nowhere, Tom McCormick cut a line off Reay and scored a try on his return from injury. The conversion was awarded but many thought it went wide, and the score was level again at 17-17.
Quins defence was once again outstanding, forcing Wasps to kick. This nearly paid of for the home side as full back Tom Williams was up in the line, but great awareness from Walton, who chased back and managed to ship the ball wide, gave Quins another chance to attack. Wasps then gave away a penalty 40 metres out for diving in at the ruck and a great kick from Jarvis gave Quins the lead by 20-17.
The home side then managed to get the ball back shortly after the restart and the flanker was allowed to score after a missed tackle from Williams. The conversion was added and Quins now trailed by 24-20.
Wasps were then penalised after coming in at the side of the ruck, and the penalty was added from Jarvis. Quins could sense victory and attacked again, but a pass ten-metres out from the Wasps line was intercepted and it looked like the home side were going to score. However, an 80-merte sprint back from Williams resulted in a try saving tackle and made up for the earlier one he had missed.
Quins regrouped and attacked once again, though Wasps kept killing the ball and
Jarvis slotted a penalty to take Quins into the lead by 26-24, which was the score when the final whistle blew.
Quins Under 21's next home game is against Northampton this Saturday (23rd November 2002) at 12.00pm, before England's international against South Africa at Twickenham - please come and support the game, as it would be great to see you there.
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.