Monday, 21st December 2015 @ 21:35
On the shortest day of the year both sides were in the match for the full 80 minutes as Harlequins ’A’ edged Bath United 20-16 to remain unbeaten in this season’s A League.
Harlequins ‘A’ looked to build on a successful start to the A League after back-to-back victories to start their campaign. They took on Bath United at The Stoop, the first of three ‘A’ League matches in 14 days for the Londoners.
Bath took the lead early through the boot of Adam Hastings who banged over a penalty in the 2nd minute. In a cagey opening 15 minutes Quins struggled to get out of their own half but they were persistent in attacking from deep.
Their only real threat came from a swerving Charlie Walker run from his own his own half, reminiscent of his weekend’s performance against Calvisano.
Harlequins were on the wrong end of the penalty count early and Hastings soon doubled the lead in the 17th minute with a long range penalty to make the lead 0-6.
Harlequins though were soon rewarded for their endeavor as Charlie Walker struck back with a brilliant solo effort immediately after the kick off. First beating his man for pace on the left wing before chipping over the top and splitting the defence to recover and score. Luke White adding the extras to give the home side a 7-6 lead after the opening quarter.
Robbie Nairn, fresh from International 7s duty for Scotland, came on as a replacement for Henry Cheeseman and made an immediate impact, a number of powerful runs testing the Bath defence.
The rolling maul also began to make its mark consistently either making territory or winning penalties, but while they knocked on the door the pack couldn’t force themselves over for a second try.
Halftime and Harlequins lead by the slenderest of margins, 7-6.
Bath almost struck first in the second spell as Beno Obano snagged a loose lineout ball close to the Quins line but he grounded just short. Luke White would instead build the Quins lead with a 40 metre three pointer.
The momentum would begin to edge the way of the visitors as Harlequins were forced to survive multiple attacks on their line, at one stage grounding the ball in their own in goal and then holding Obano up from the back of the resulting scrum. Finally winning a penalty to clear and hold on.
Backing up from his European cameo on Saturday, Kieran Treadwell was soon sent to the sin bin after some scrambling defence forced him kill the ball.
On the hour mark Bath finally got what they were after as Liam Forsyth dived over in the corner thanks to their man advantage. A successful conversion giving them a 10-13 with 20 minutes to play.
Once again under pressure Harlequins were forced to concede a penalty and Hastings soon added to his tally and lengthened the lead to 10-16.
Tim Swiel came on as a replacement and the flyhalf’s grubber forced Darren Atkins to knocks on – a pivotal moment in the match.
Harlequins won the scrum in the Bath 22 and a few phases later Owen Evans, also on as replacement, dived over the white wash to score. Swiel converted and Harlequins had their lead back 17-16 with less than ten minutes to play.
As they piled on the pressure Bath were soon caught entering the ruck from the side and Swiel made it 20-16. As the clock wound down Quins held the opposition at bay and they now remain unbeaten in the A League after the opening three rounds.