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Author Topic: Match Report: Harlequins v Newcastle, Premiership Rugby Cup, 04 Nov 18  (Read 288 times)

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by BedfordshireBoy   

No fireworks at The Stoop as Quins fightback fizzles out.

Just over 8000 turned out on this dry but cloudy Sunday afternoon in the hope of seeing Quins build on their away win in this competition at Bath last weekend. A bit of excitement during the warm up with the match day officials gathering around the touchline in the north eastern part of the pitch. With a lot of toing and froing with the officials being joined by Quins staff, the problem turned out to be that that part of the touchline was twice as wide as it should have been; enter the groundsman.

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The gardener painting the grass green!

A good mix of youth and experience in the Quins line up with starts for Cadan Murley (14), Alex Dombrandt (8), Niall Saunders (9) as well as the more experienced Ross Chisholm, Francis Saili, Demetri Catrakilis, James Lang and Tim Visser. Also good to see Jack Clifford at The Stoop again, this time wearing the captains armband. In the Falcons squad were ex-Quins Sam Stuart at scrum half with Tim Swiel on the bench.

Following a one minute silence tribute to the armed services Catrakilis got the game underway with Quins having the better of the play in the first few minutes until a spilled ball by Merrick led to the first scrum of the day. Falcons were penalised but the ball was turned over from the quick tap by Saunders allowing Falcons to set up a period of attack but most of the play is restricted to the midfield. The first score of the afternoon goes to Quins as Falcons are penalised for straying off side giving Catrakilis a straightforward kick to goal from about 15 metres out, Quins 3 points to the good after 10 minutes. Quins only held the
lead for a couple of minutes as Falcons flyhalf Connon levelled the scores after Quins were penalised for holding on.

On 18 minutes Quins win their fourth consecutive line out of the afternoon, recycle the ball which eventually sees Lewis Boyce touch down to score close to the posts. The celebrations are short lived however as the officials want to check for a knock on in the lead up to the try resulting in a scrum to the visitors. Falcons win the scrum and kick to touch 30 metres from their line which then sees Quins win their fifth consecutive line out – Dave Ward throwing in, what`s going on here? Catrakilis converts his second penalty with 29 minutes gone but once again, within a few minutes, Connon levels the score with a well taken penalty from 30 metres. Quins momentarily went into sleep mode as Falcons pressed with lock Davidson breaking through the Quins defensive line, passing to flanker Collett who is brought down a couple of metres short of the Quins line. Falcons quickly recycle the ball allowing centre Bettencourt to cross line for an easy score. Another successful kick by Connon moves the score onto Quins 6 Falcons 13 after 33 minutes, so within 4 minutes Quins went from a 3 point lead to trailing by seven.

At least this woke Quins up again and a good break by Saili set James Lang free but there is no back up and the ball is turned over. Quins continue to press as a Lang kick pins Falcons back into the corner but Falcons clear the danger from the line out resulting in another Quins line out which they once again win. Some more loose play sees Falcons hack the ball down field to within a couple of metres of the Quins line but young Cadan Murley managed to get back and secure the ball. With a minute to half time James Lang requires treatment and has to hobble off to be replaced by Paul Lasike but there is just time for one more “highlight” as Quins secure yet another line out ball. Half time Quins 6 Falcons 13, not really sure what to make of that.

A pretty flat atmosphere as Falcons start the second half but there is a little cheer as this time Quins steal a Falcons line out. Lasike makes a great break but the attack breaks down when Dave Ward drops the ball allowing Falcons to clear to touch. Quins again win their line out, a sign of things to come, is the new norm? Can`t make head nor tail of my notes here except that Catrakilis landed another successful penalty just two minutes into the half bringing the score to Quins 9 Falcons 13. From the restart Quins run the ball out of defence ending with Ross Chisholm chasing his own kick deep into the Falcons half and tackling the Falcons defender 10 metres from the Falcons goal line. Quins seem to be getting the better of things until on fifty two minutes, a pass to nobody by Catrakilis is taken by the Falcons replacement Stevenson who runs forty metres to touch the ball down under the posts. An easy kick by Connon sees Quins trailing by eleven points as Dave Lewis replaces Niall Saunders as well as one other Quins replacement (must learn shorthand or just write legibly), Quins 9 Falcons 20.

Undaunted Quins continue to look for a score and following a couple of scrums and a period camped on the Falcons line, Lewis Boyce manages to get over the line to touch down for the second time in the match. This time the score is allowed, and although the conversion is missed, Quins are again creeping closer to the Falcons total, Quins 14 Falcons 20 after 56 minutes. Falcons now starting to look a bit ragged as Morris replaces Visser a couple of minutes later and then another good break by Saili fizzles out 30 metres from the Falcons line. Quins continue to press and are rewarded by a penalty which Catrakilis kicks to the corner, another good line out with Elia having replaced Dave Ward, allows Quins to set up a maul. The ball is released to Lasike who is stopped a metre from the line but the recycled ball is then passed to Alex Dombrandt who touched down for his second try in two weeks. A straightforward conversion by Catrakilis and the score moves on to Quins 21 Falcons 20 with 19 minutes left to play.

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Quins celebrate their second try

Connon is replaced by Tim Swiel and Quins replace their two props followed a few minutes later with Archie White leaving the field, Lasike taking his position as flanker and Henry Cheeseman moving into the centre. Falcons scrum now beginning to dominate and they are rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts 35 metres out which Swiel kicks just wide of the posts. Instead of shutting the game down we are now treated to a bit of typical Quins play when a needless kick in midfield is charged down by Falcons who chase the ball and win another penalty as Quins are penalised for holding on. No mistake with the kick this time by Swiel allowing Falcons to move in front on the scoreboard once again with nearly eight minutes of the game left, Quins 21 Falcons 23. Quins attack seems to be stuck in the midfield with Falcons defending well but a good break by Murley cheers the home support. With time running out Quins are given a lifeline when Falcons are penalised just inside their half close to the halfway line, Catrakilis elects to kick for goal but seems to get under the ball as the kick had plenty of height but hit the post just below the crossbar.

With two minutes left on the clock, Glynn replaces Merrick, and although there is a lot of frantic play from Quins, Falcons do enough to hold on to their first win in the competition.
Pretty frustrating day, another game that was there for the taking with a little more composure. After giving away silly points early on and then fighting back to take the lead, silly penalties once again gave the opposition a way out.

A few performances worth mentioning; I thought Niall Saunders had a good game and generally got the ball away quickly from the scrum/ruck, Cadan Murley made some good breaks and for a small guy defended well, Alex Donbrandt continues to really impress (is he the new Nick Easter?), Lewis Boyce had a good game, Dave Ward has finally learnt how to throw into the line out (probably not, but here's hoping) and Francis Saili survived another game in one piece and made some fine breaks. Tim Visser seems to have lost his mojo at the moment but hopefully should find it given game time and I thought Jack Clifford was fairly anonymous.

In terms of the cup competition, next week at Sandy Park will be quite a challenge but anything is possible. Overall verdict, work in progress.

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Many thanks to BedfordshireBoy for producing this, and apologies for the time taken to put the report up.


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Thank you for taking the time to do this much appreciated



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