Source: Harlequins

Quins v Gloucester-Hartpury – Big Match

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Just a pity that on the biggest day for the PWR (attendance-wise) the Quins side was a distance below its standards of previous seasons.

Gloucester-Hartpury can now stand alongside Saracens for all-round squad strength. On parade today: eleven Red Roses, the Welsh captain and four others, two Irish internationals, two Spanish internationals (full teams below).

G-H took the initiative at once. On three minutes a promising rolling maul came to a halt; Sisilia Tuipulotu barged people out of the way, but couldn’t quite make the line, and it needed quick ball out to Hannah Jones in the centre to ensure the score. Emma Sing converted. 0-7

Sam Monaghan repeated the dose, again Sing was on target. 0-14

It looked like one-way traffic as Mia Venner completed a lovely move. She was helped by well- timed links and a dog-leg defence; Heard exploited a 2v1 to send her over in the right corner.

G-H achieved the bonus point inside the first half-hour. This time it was Tuipulotu, Sing back on target. 0-26

At last Quins managed to reverse the trend. It needed Hannah Sims to bundle over, following an important break by Ellie Kildunne; Lagi Tuima converted. 7-26

Half-time: 7-26

It was vital for the game and the spectators that Emily Scott got a second try for the hosts straight after the break. She rolled back the years with a quite outstanding solo run to get outside the last defender.
With 28 minutes to go Sean Lynn removed his all-international front row and replaced them with another. Saving them for a rainy day? Two minutes later Amy Turner followed suit. It’s catching.
When Babalwa Latsha powered over, Quins crept ever closer to G-H’s total, and only one try short of a bonus. But with more than a quarter of the game to go, they failed to unlock G-H’s defences again.
It must be frustrating for the management to see the team come back so forcefully, but, as the philosopher said, it’s an 80-minute game.

As is the way with successful teams, G-H created a final score with the clock in the red. Rachel Lund beat her last opponent to cross out wide.

Quins did far better in the second half, but they had allowed too big a margin to open up by the break. That means still only one win in five for them. These are worrying times.

Result: 19-31

Player of the Match: Sam Monaghan, one of five players on show once seen in Wasps’ colours

Teams

Quins

1. Hannah Sims, 2. Connie Powell, 3. Bryony Cleall, 4. Danelle Lochner, 5. Kaitlan Leaney, 6. Sarah Bonar, 7. Abbie Fleming, 8. Shaunagh Brown, 9. Flo Robinson, 10. Emily Scott, 11. Beth Wilcock, 12. Rachael Burford (captain), 13. Lagi Tuima, 14. Izzy Mayhew,15. Ellie Kildunne

Bench

16. Carys Phillips, 17. Silvia Turani, 18. Babalwa Latsha, 19. Nicole Wythe, 20. Ciara Cooney, 21. Lucy Packer, 22. Ella Cromack, 23. Freya Aucken

Gloucester-Hartpury

15. Emma Sing, 14. Mia Venner, 13. Hannah Jones, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Rachel Lund, 10. Lleucu George, 9. Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt, 1. Mackenzie Carson, 2. Neve Jones, 3. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 4. Sarah Beckett, 5. Sam Monaghan, 6. Carmen Castellucci, 7. Bethan Lewis, 8. Alex Matthews

Bench

16.Kelsey Jones, 17. El Perry, 18. Laura Delgado, 19. Steph Else, 20. Georgia Brock, 21. Bianca Blackburn, 22. Lizzie Goulden, 23. Kelly Taylor

Officials

Referee: George Selwood
ARs: Neil Chivers and Peter Brunt TMO: Dan Jones

Attendance

The good news for Quins was the gate, a whopping 16,237. This beat their earlier record of 15,420. Well done!

There are two caveats: the game was the first half of a double-header. Purists (who, me?) only count single-headers for true records. Second, we have to wonder whether the club has got the balance right at the moment. We’ve known about Big Match for months now; it’s been heavily publicised. But the performance on the field has lagged a distance behind.

I recall another fine Big Match attendance at the Stoop a few years ago. But the following week Surrey Sports Park could boast only a fraction of that crowd. I wondered: ‘Where did they all go? Amy Turner thanked all the supporters at HQ today and hoped to see them all back at the Stoop next time. That’s where the real test comes of attracting crowds.

At least they had technical assistance in counting heads during their PWR game. I doubt if the RFU did a few years ago when claiming a record attendance at an international (against Scotland) which was also a double-header.

Afterthoughts

Glos-Pury have named themselves The Circus, but a circus goes round and round. G-H don’t; they tend to go forwards only.

Hard to pick out the Famous Quarters in today’s Quins’ shirts.

Winter break? There isn’t one! Thanks to the introduction of WXV and to the new global calendar,

Round seven follows next week. Unfortunately it looks like a series of bankers, as G-H welcome Lightning, Quins visit Tigers who haven’t won yet (I don’t want to put the mockers on Quins!); Sarries go north to Sale and Exeter meet Trailfinders in London the next day. Who’s going to provide an upset?

The league isn’t yet a repeat of the old format, haves versus have-nots. Bears are still searching
for their best form and we have just witnessed Quins’ difficulties. Lightning too may rediscover
their former standards, but at present only three clubs look like odds-on winners every week, and
they sit 1, 2 and 3 in the table below.

Table ​​​

                                    P​     W​      L​      B    Pts

Saracens                  5       5       ​0        5    25
Exeter​​​                       5      4        1        6     22
Glos-Pury         ​​      4        4      0        2      20
Bears       ​​                 6       3      3         3     15
Trailfinders      ​​​      5         2     3          3     11
Lightning                5        2     3          2     10
Sale         ​​                 4       1       3          2       6
Harlequins  ​​           5       1       4          2       6  ​
Tigers​​​                      5       0       5          1       1

 

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