NEC Harlequins completed their Guinness Premiership season with a crushing 49-0 defeat of Sale Sharks at the Twickenham Stoop. In his final game for the Club, Andrew Mehrtens recorded a personal tally of 24 points, including scoring one of the home sides six tries in the match. Ceri Jones and Mike Brown both scored twice, in what proved to be a fitting finale for Andre Vos in his last game for Quins before retirement.
Mehrtens opened the scoring after four minutes by converting a long range penalty after the visitors were penalised at a scrum. Eight minutes later and after turning over possession in their own half, Quins scored their opening try from a Sale attack down the right flank. Brown intercepted a pass midway inside his own half and raced away downfield to touchdown unopposed for a score that Mehrtens converted.
A second Mehrtens penalty followed by a well taken drop goal stretched the home sides advantage to 16-points three minutes into the second quarter before Sale finally mounted a sustained period of pressure in the Quins half, but they were unable to trouble the scoreboard. To make matters worse for the visitors, a minute prior to the break and Brown extended Quins lead.
Andy Gomarsall fed Tani Fuga on the Sale twenty-two and the hooker powered into the visitors defence. With quick ball materialising from the ruck, Gomarsall made a break down the right flank before presenting Brown with an unopposed run-in thanks to a perfectly timed pass to draw the last line of defence. Another successful conversion from Mehrtens put Quins into a 23-point lead at the halfway stage.
There was no let-up from the home side straight after the re-start and they added to their tally four minutes into the half. From a scrum inside the Sale twenty-two, a perfectly timed pass from Mehrtens to Mel Deane allowed the centre to burst through the Sale midfield and over for a try in his last appearance for Quins. Mehrtens once again added the extras and it wasn't long before the home supporters were celebrating the bonus point score.
It almost came on 47 minutes after a thrilling piece of play involving Tom Williams, Deane and Simon Keogh, only for a potential scoring pass to go to ground. However, just two minutes later and Mehrtens finished off a move from close range to the right of the posts for a try that he also converted, which stretched Quins lead to 37 points.
12 minutes from time and Jones helped himself to his first try. A disorganised Sale defence presented the prop forward with an unopposed run-in from close range to touchdown by the posts. Mehrtens made no mistake with the simple conversion to make the score 44-0.
Five minutes later and the home side completed the rout with Jones again finishing off the move that started with Ugo Monye making a great break from his own half. For the first time in the game, Mehrtens missed the target with his conversion attempt that prevented Quins from topping the 50-point mark.
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.