Gloucester sneak past Quins

20th Sep 2008, 18:13

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Red Hot: Olly Barkley made a winning start to his Gloucester career

Red Hot: Olly Barkley made a winning start to his Gloucester career

Gloucester came from behind to record a tense 24-20 victory over the Harlequins at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Gloucester came from behind to record a tense 24-20 victory over the Harlequins at Kingsholm on Saturday, bouncing back after leaking two tries in the opening quarter of the game.

Quins had been the early pace-setters of the Premiership, but an off-day for Chris Malone cost them dear in the West Country.

The fly-half missed out on 10 first-half points with some wayward kicking, failing to land two penalties and two conversions.

Meanwhile, Olly Barkley made his debut for the Cherry and Whites since his move from Bath.

The playmaker had missed the opening two games as he recovered from a fractured bone in his left wrist sustained during England's summer tour to New Zealand.

He started at inside centre with skipper Mike Tindall switching to outside centre and Matthew Watkins moving to wing while in the pack Alasdair Strokosch came in at blindside flanker.

Quins' only change from the side that beat Bristol 31-13 saw Malone return from injury for his first start of the season to replace Waisea Luveniyali. The Fijian half-back started from the bench where he joined Mark Lambert who was back from a long term injury.

Wing David Strettle's weaving run set up Quins' opening score which full-back Mike Brown completed against a slack Gloucester defence to touchdown after 12 minutes.

Malone, who had already missed two penalty attempts from close to the left touchline, was off target with the conversion.

The fly-half missed a second conversion attempt a couple of minutes later after his half-back partner Danny Care had hacked on then collected 15 metres from the line to race away for the visitors' second try.

With 15 minutes of the half remaining Gloucester took a quick tap penalty with the ball being fed through fly-half Willie Walker and Tindall for full-back Olly Morgan to score in the corner.

Walker missed the touchline conversion but Quins countered almost immediately with Malone finally finding the target with his third penalty attempt to give the visitors a 13-5 interval lead.

Gloucester reduced the arrears to a couple of points early in the second half though with Walker kicking a penalty and slotting between the uprights a 35-metre drop goal.

Midway through the half Quins skipper Will Skinner was sent to the sin-bin by referee Rob Debney and Walker kicked the resultant penalty to put Gloucester in front for the first time in the game.

The home side took advantage of the extra man when replacement scrum half Rory Lawson took a quick tap penalty. He fed loose forward Luke Narraway who set blindside flanker Alasdair Strokosch on a 40 metre dash for the line.

Walker added the extras but Quins came back quickly as Malone cut back inside to touchdown before adding the conversion to leave the visitors trailing by a point with 15 minutes remaining.

Barkley, who had taken over the kicking duties with Walker having been replaced, missed a 40-metre penalty from in front of the posts but was on target minutes later from out on the left to seal the game.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: Morgan, Strokosch
Cons: Walker 2, Barkley
Pen: Walker
Drop: Walker

For Harlequins:
Tries: Brown, Care, Malone
Con: Malone
Pen: Malone

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Matthew Watkins, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Will James, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Ryan Lamb, 22 Mark Foster.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 David Strettle, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Robson, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Jim Evans, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Andy Gomarsall, 21 Tom Williams, 22 Waisea Luveniyali.

Referee: Rob Debney
Touch judges: Don Helme, Martin Buck