Friday, 10th April 2020 @ 00:00
Harlequins paid for a poor first half display as they suffered a heavy 29-14 defeat to Worcester Warriors.
Chris Ashton scored his first for the club and Elia Elia his fifth of the season as the visitors mounted a late comeback but the 26-0 half-time deficit proved insurmountable.
Harlequins’ difficult evening began in the fifth minute when, despite some resolute defence to keep out a number of pick and goes, they were unable to prevent Cornell du Preez lunging over. Duncan Weir atoned for his earlier penalty miss by adding the extras.
The visitors fell further behind on 12 minutes when another Worcester drive was bolstered by their backs including Ollie Lawrence who dived over.
Harlequins displayed a rare moment of spark when the hard-working Will Evans collected an overthrown line-out and linked up cleverly with Tom Lawday and Ben Tapuai. Aaron Morris showed excellent hands on the run but his grubber kick for the onrushing Ashton bounced into touch.
There was more line-out misery for Harlequins on 28 minutes when hooker Niall Annett burrowed over following another successful link-up with the towering Graham Kitchener.
Harlequins’ task looked impossible when the Arnett-Kitchener partnership linked up again to set up the lively Francois Hougaard who evaded Luke Northmore and Brett Herron to touch down.
Paul Gustard sent on Elia Elia and James Chisholm after the break but it was Worcester who registered the first points of the second half when Weir knocked over a straight-forward penalty to extend the lead to 29-0.
Harlequins gave themselves a lifeline on 61 minutes when Morris collected Northmore’s kick through to set up Ashton. James Lang added the conversion.
The score ignited the visitors, spurred on by the returning Danny Care, and they might have scored a second had Paul Lasike uncharacteristically lost possession on another rampaging run towards the line.
Elia gave the scoreline some respectability when he barged over with seven minutes remaining but Worcester held firm for a bonus point win.
Harlequins are back in action on Sunday against Northampton Saints at The Stoop.