NEC Harlequins built up a thoroughly deserved 13-0 lead in the first half, only for London Wasps to score 23 answered points and finish the game victorious by 16-23 in their Guinness Premiership match at the Twickenham Stoop. The home side dominated the first half, but only converted one of their try scoring opportunities while the visitors had the better of the second 40 minutes and restricted Quins to a single penalty from Adrian Jarvis that gave the hosts a bonus point.
After Wasps full back Mark Van Gisbgeren missed a relatively simple penalty with just two minutes on the clock, Quins took the lead five minutes later when Adrian Jarvis converted his first penalty of the afternoon following good work from the forwards. Shortly before the end of the first quarter, a fantastic break from Mike Brown saw the full back take play up to the Wasps line, only for his pass to be intercepted and the chance to be lost.
However, Quins dominance was eventually rewarded after 24 minutes with a cracking try from Simon Keogh. Jarvis fed Stuart Abbott, whose inside ball to Keogh allowed the winger to cut through the Wasps defence and he just had enough space to touchdown in the left hand corner. Jarvis added the two extra points with an excellent conversion from the touchline to put the home side into a ten-point lead (10-0).
Quins continued to ask questions of the Wasps defence, with Paul Volley making inroads into their half following good work from Chris Hala'Ufia. The end of the move resulted in Quins being awarded another penalty, which Jarvis converted to give the hosts their 13-point advantage. The visitors then started their fightback right on the stroke of half-time, as Van Gisbergen kicked his first penalty that made the score 13-3 at the halfway stage.
Two Van Gisbergen penalties followed in the opening ten minutes after the restart that cut the deficit to just four points (13-9), as Wasps started to take control of proceedings. Despite having replacement Ayoola Erinle in the sin-bin for a punch on Volley, the visitors took the lead for the first time in the game after 54 minutes.
Van Gisbergen weaved his way into Quins twenty-two, where number eight James Haskell was in support to finish off the move. Van Gisbergen converted to put Wasps three points in front (13-16),while at the same time Quins were also reduced to 14 men as Abbott received a yellow card for foul play in the build-up to the try.
The decisive score in the match came five minutes into the final quarter. A powerful drive from the Wasps pack sucked in the Quins defence and with the overlap created out on the right, winger Chris Bishay was given an unopposed run-in for the visitors second try. Two further points from Van Gisbergen meant it was Wasps who now had a ten-point lead (13-23).
Five minutes from time and a deliberate knock-on from the Wasps defence allowed Jarvis to score Quins only points of the half from the resulting penalty and put the home side in bonus point territory. In the time that remained, Quins were forced to defend their own line and hold-on to the seven point deficit, with Wasps comfortably denying them the opportunity of claiming a draw.
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.