NEC Harlequins are still looking for their first away win in the Zurich Premiership this season after suffering a 43-27 defeat at Bristol Shoguns. With the game in the balance at 17-15 after 43 minutes, the home side scored four tries and 26 unanswered points to register a comfortable victory. The only consolation for Quins was that they came away with a bonus point by scoring four tries in the match, but the result means they remain bottom of the Premiership table.
After Tony Diprose and Keith Wood went close for Quins, it was Bristol who opened the scoring after eight minutes. Scrum half Agustin Pichot took a quick-tap free-kick before off-loading to Andrew Sheridan. The back row forward powered his way downfield and fed winger Phil Christophers, who had the pace to beat the covering defence in the race to the line. Felipe Contepomi converted to give Bristol a 7-0 lead. Paul Burke kicked a penalty to put Quins first points on the board four minutes later, with the home side penalised for holding on in the tackle, though Contepomi responded in similar fashion to restore Bristol's seven-point advantage.
With 30 minutes on the clock, the home side scored their second try of the afternoon. After David Rees was held-up short of the line, Contepomi danced his way through the Quins defence from the five-metre scrum and scored under the posts. The fly half added the two extra points on offer which gave Bristol a 17-3 lead. With the game in first half injury time, Nick Greenstock dived in for Quins near the left hand corner to score the first of his two tries in the game. Burke failed to add the conversion, which meant Quins trailed by 17-8 at the halfway stage.
The visitors made the perfect start following the restart and after only three minutes of the second half, Greenstock scored his second try. The former England centre burrowed his way over from a five-metre scrum and with Burke adding the two extra points the deficit was down to just two, 17-15. The turning point in the match came on 52 minutes when Steve White-Cooper was sent to the sin-bin after taking out Bristol's Garath Archer at a lineout. With an extra-man advantage Bristol scored two tries.
Persistent pressure finally resulted in Sheridan forcing his way over for his sides third try of the game. Contepomi pushed his conversion attempt to the left of the target though Bristol now led 22-15 with just over 20 minutes left to play. On 67 minutes, centre Andrew Higgins broke through some poor tackling from Quins to score by the posts. Contepomi's conversion took the home side 14 points and two scores clear, 29-15.
The home side made sure of the victory with two tries in quick succession. Replacement Lee Best sprinted clear of Will Greenwood and beat the challenge of Ben Gollings to run-in unopposed after 72 minutes and Christophers followed him in with a similar score just three minutes later. Contempomi converted both tries and took Bristol up to 43 points.
Quins secured their bonus point with a try from Wood and a penalty try but they were well beaten by the time the finally whistle blew.
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.