Quins outsmart Bath at The Stoop

Date published: March 11 2016

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Harlequins hold on as they narrowly beat Bath 35-28 in the Premiership at The Stoop on Friday.

Both teams where looking to put recent form behind them as they thundered out of the blocks in a frenetic opening half. Tries from Harry Sloan and Charlie Walker bolstered by three Ben Botica penalties handed Quins an early. 

Bath looked threatening throughout the half but could only translate that threat into two Tom Homer kicks at goal as the visitors went into the break 21-6 behind. The momentum was with the home side in the opening minutes of the second half as Walker and James Horwill nabbed back-to-back tries that looked to put the tie to bed. But tries from Amanaki Mafi, Jeff Williams and Semesa Rokoduguni in the quarter of an hour made dreams of a Bath comeback palpable. 

The visitors earned a losing bonus point as Homer slotted a penalty with the last kick of the match. Quins beat Bath 38-28 at the Rec in Round Three and had not achieved a double over the visitors since 2012. Just two minutes in, Botica got the home side on the board with a kick at goal from distance. 

A misplaced Ollie Devoto pass bounced off Nick Easter in the middle of the park handing Quins a quick counter and the first try of the match through Sloan just three minutes in. However Botica spoilt the Londoners' perfect start as he shanked the conversion wide. 

Minutes later Bath where agonisingly held up after some heroic Quins defence, but the home team's discipline didn't hold as they were penalised for being offside in front of the posts and Homer made it 8-3. Both sides traded penalties as Botica and Homer respectively nudged the score up to 11-6. 

Chris Cook saw yellow for a deliberate knock on and Botica rubbed salt in the visitors' wounds with another three points. Botica found space in behind which Walker exploited for Quins' second try of the match. Botica dissected the posts with the conversion on the stroke of half-time to leave the score at 21-6 going into the break. Moments after kick off another intercept handed the ball to Walker who finished the counter brilliantly for Quins' third. Botica made it 28-6 with a simple kick in front of the posts. The home side smelt blood as they stampeded their way up the pitch for a bonus point try through Horwill and Botica once again added the finishing touches to make it 35-6. 

Sam Twomey was sent to the sin bin as the result of the accumulation of a number of Quins infractions. Mafi immediately made the home side pay with a try but Homer missed his conversion attempt. With ten minutes left Bath once again made use of the extra numbers as Williams went over for another try. Homer made it 35-18 with the conversion. Rokoduguni got Harlequins supporters sitting uncomfortably in their seats after a Matt Banahan offload slipped him through for Baths third try of the match.

Homer's conversion left the visitors with a sniff at a comeback at 35-25 with seven minutes left on the clock. Bath were awarded a penalty in the last minute, but instead of pushing for a try and the chance of two losing bonus points they opted for the posts and the consolation of only the one losing bonus point as the game finished up 35-28.

The scorers:

For Harlequins :
Tries: Sloan, Walker 2, Horwill
Cons: Botica 3
Pens: Botica 3
Yellow Cards: Twomey, Horwill

For Bath:
Tries: Mafi, Williams, Rokoduguni
Cons: Homer 2
Pens: Homer 3
Yellow Card: Cook

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Henry Cheeseman, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Mat Luamanu, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Joe Marchant, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 David Wilson, 19 Leroy Houston, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Max Clark, 23 Jeff Williams

Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Sean Davey

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