Saracens completed the league double over NEC Harlequins this season thanks to a 33-19 victory in their Guinness Premiership match at Vicarage Road. Tries from Mel Deane and Tom Williams meant the visitors trailed by just two points at the break (14-12), only to concede 19 unanswered points after the restart that put the result beyond doubt by the time Mike Brown scored in the last play of the game. Fly half Glen Jackson scored 18 points for the home side, including one of their four tries that meant Saracens claimed the maximum five points.
Saracens started brightly and were unlucky not to score in the opening minutes after winger Rodd Penney recieved a Thomas Castaignede pass and broke through the Quins defence. Penney offloaded to prop Cencus Johnston in the tackle, who pushed the home side into the Quins twenty-two. The visitors were penalised for being offside and Jackson took the opportunity to open his account with his first penalty of the afternoon that put Saracens in front 3-0.
Almost immediately from the re-start Quins were presented with an oppurtunity to level the score, but Andrew Mehrtens was unable to convert a difficult penalty kick. The visitors were made to pay as Saracens flanker Richard Hill stole possession at a lineout and powered himself towards the Quins try line. He was held-up but the Quins defence were unable to halt Kris Chesney, who forced himself over the line from close range to score the first try of the match. Jackson missed the conversion but was back on target 5 minutes later with a penalty that put Saracens into an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Quins first score of the match came nine minutes before the break, following a period of sustained pressure in Saracens twenty-two. A clean catch and drive from a Quins lineout made ground before a scrum further increased the pressure. With the Saracens defence holding firm, it took a powerful run from Deane to crash over the line for a try that Andrew Mehrtens duly converted to put the visitors back in contention (11-7).
Jackson hit back with his third penalty of the afternoon to open up a seven point lead (14-7), although it was Quins who had the last word of the half. Merthens sent a chip into the Saracens half and the home sides defence were caught off guard as Williams, on for the injured David Strettle, won the race to the loose ball to score Quins second try that kept the game in the balance going into the second 40 minutes (14-12).
However, it was Saracens who came out stronger after the restart and extended their advantage seven minutes into the half. A break from scrum half Neil De Kock pushed Quins deep into their own half before Castaignede ran a good angle to take a scoring pass and dive over under the posts unopposed. Jackson added the extras from the simple conversion to restore Saracens two-score lead (21-12).
De Kock was then instrumental in setting up the hosts third try of the afternoon, as he darted through a gap and fed centre Andy Farrell. The England international then released winger Dan Scarbrough, who raced away to score in the corner with ten minutes remaining. Jackson's conversion moved the score onto 28-12, before Saracens then secured their try scoring bonus point thanks to a score from their number ten.
From a ruck just inside the Quins twenty-two, replacement Moses Rauluni picked up a loose ball and was able to sprint free and had Jackson in support to finish the move off in the corner for a try he was unable to convert. With the game over as a contest, Brown registered a consolation try for Quins shortly before the final whistle, with Mehrtens succesful conversion being immediately followed by the final whistle.
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.