Harlequins were on the wrong end of a 22-27 scoreline in their pre-season friendly against Guinness Premiership rivals Bristol at the Twickenham Stoop. The visitors scored three first half tries all through their forwards that gave Bristol a 14-point lead (10-24) at the halfway stage. Second half tries from Ugo Monye and Danny Care were not enough for Quins to turn around the deficit, meaning the team suffered their second friendly defeat in a row.
Bristol made inroads into Quins territory early on and after the hosts were penalised for being offside five metres from their own line, a kick to touch from the resulting penalty led to the first try of the match. Quins were unable to halt the Bristol rolling maul at the set-piece and flanker Andrew Blowers was driven over for the five points before fly half David Hill added the two extra points from the conversion.
Further pressure from Bristol saw Phil Davies sin-binned for a high tackle, while Hill made the score 0-10 by converting the subsequent penalty. Right at the end of the opening quarter and the visitors extended their lead by scoring their second try in exactly the same fashion as the first, though this time it was hooker Scott Linklater who claimed the score. Another successful conversion from Hill gave Bristol a 17-point lead.
Quins reply and first points of the game followed just four minutes later. From a lineout five metres from the Bristol line, the Quins pack slowly but surely wheeled their way forward only for the move to be illegally pulled down that led to referee Roy Maybank awarding the home side a penalty try, which Seb Jewell made no mistake in converting and reduce the deficit to ten-points (7-17).
However, Bristol responded with their final try of the afternoon seven minutes before half-time, with Quins once again unable to defend their own line against a powerful drive from the visitors pack. Flanker Joe El Abd put his name on the scoresheet with the touchdown, which Hill converted to make the score 7-24.
Quins had one final attack just before the interval and with the visitors penalised for being offside, Jewell added the three points to the hosts tally while Bristol prop Darren Crompton was sent to the sin-bin for foul play.
Hill missed a relatively simple penalty three minutes after the restart that would have extended the visitors advantage, before Quins cut the deficit to just seven points after 51 minutes. Ugo Monye gathered the ball in midfield and after brushing off a couple of attempted challenges, he raced away to score by the left of the posts. Jewell added the two extra points from the conversion to put the home side right back in contention (17-24).
Hill completed Bristol's scoring in the match just before the start of the final quarter with his second penalty of the afternoon. The final 20 minutes was very much a stop, start affair due to various injuries, with Will Skinner having to be helped off the field just minutes after coming on.
With the game deep in injury time and play five metres from the Bristol line, Danny Care darted over in the corner for Quins third try of the match from a scrum. Mike Brown failed to convert from wide out, with his kick being immediately followed by the final whistle.
Final score, 22-27.
Harlequins: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Tom Williams, 13. Ugo Monye, 12. Tosh Masson, 11. Charlie Amesbury, 10. Seb Jewell, 9. Danny Care, 1. Ceri Jones, 2. Tani Fuga, 3. John Brooks, 4. Ollie Kohn, 5. Jim Evans, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. Paul Volley (Capt.) 8. Phil Davies
Replacements: 16. Aston Croall, 17. Ricky Nebbett, 18. Mike Ross, 19. James Percival, 20. Nicolas Spanghero, 21. George Robson, 22. Will Skinner, 23. Ryan Manyika, 24. Matt Rhodes, 25. Jordan Turner-Hall, 26. Seb Stegmann
Bristol Rugby: 15. Josh Taumalolo, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Neil Brew, 12. Sam Cox, 11. Luke Arscott, 10. David Hill, 9. Graeme Beveridge, 1. Alex Clarke, 2. Scott Linklater, 3. Darren Crompton, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Roy Winter, 6. Matt Salter (Capt.), 7. JoeEl Abd, 8. Andrew Blowers
Replacements: 16. Dave Hilton, 17. Paul Fincksen, 18. Jason Hobson, 19. Josh Brown, 20. Redford Pennycook, 21. James Phillips, 22. Haydn Thomas, 23. Jason Strange, 24. Craig Morgan, 25. Rob Higgitt
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.