NEC Harlequins made it eight wins from their last 11 Guinness Premiership matches thanks to a 15-8 victory over Bristol at the Twickenham Stoop, with Adrian Jarvis scoring all of the home sides points by converting five penalties. Of little consolation to Bristol was that they scored the only try of the game and picked up a bonus point, though they failed to trouble the scoreboard throughout the second half.
Jarvis opened his account with just two minutes on the clock, after the visitors pack were penalised at a scrum on their own ten-metre line. However, Bristol hit back just four minutes later with flay half Jason Strange leveling the score in similar fashion, after the Quins defence were penalised for being offside.
A perfectly weighted cross-field kick from Jarvis to Ugo Monye put the home side back on the attack where they won another penalty, only for Jarvis to see his kick at goal miss the target to the left. A fine break from Simon Keogh resulted in Mike Brown being held-up short of the line, before Bristol took the lead six minutes into the second quarter.
This time it was Brown who made inroads into the visitors half only for his pass to be intercepted by winger David Lemi, who raced away from his own twenty-two to score in the left hand corner. Strange failed to add the two extra points on offer meaning the score stood at 3-8.
Jarvis cut the deficit to just two points with his second penalty five minutes before the break, but then missed with another attempt right on the stroke of half-time making the score 6-8 at the interval. The start of the second half offered very few clear cut scoring opportunities but after Bristol were guilty of being offside, the Quins fly half put the hosts back in front with his third penalty of the match 11 minutes into the half.
Just six minutes later and Bristol flanker Joe El Abd deliberately prevented Quins from getting quick ball at a ruck inside the visitors twenty-two. El Abd was sent to the sin-bin, while Jarvis added a further three points to Quins tally by converting the resulting penalty.
Despite their extra man advantage Quins were unable to stretch their lead. Andre Vos charged down an attempted drop goal from Strange right at the start of the final quarter, before another good break from Brown put Quins into a promising position only for Will Skinner to knock the ball on following a pass from Jarvis.
11 minutes from the end and a dart from Steve So'oialo put the Bristol defence on the back foot, where they conceded a further penalty in front of their own posts. Jarvis made no mistake in adding the three points on offer, which would turn out to be the last score of the match.
With time running out, Bristol staged a late rally to try and get something more out of the game than a losing bonus points. However, the Quins defence refused to be breached and they held-on for the victory, much to the delight of the players and supporters come 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.