A fixture change for Saracens saw me contemplating no sport until the Sunday, that didn’t feel like a plan so I checked out the Premiership Rugby fixture list.
The penultimate weekend of the season proper had a list of mouthwatering fixtures, it felt rude not to watch a game a day over the weekend!
And so a ticket was bought for Harlequins v Bath Rugby and Wasps v Leicester Tigers. Adding Saracens v Exeter Chiefs meant I’d be watching 5 of the 6 teams in with a chance of a top 4 finish
I’d been trying to get along and learn about the work of the Dallaglio Foundation in Tooting for a while. In my mind that seemed to be on the way to Twickenham so I arranged to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
A great few hours with Will and Matt of the Foundation and off I went to Twickenham.
I was right about how close to Twickenham I was, but wow it took a long time to travel 8 miles! I had a conversation with my lovely Quins friends Sue and Henry on the way, we arranged to meet at Patisserie Valerie.
A very civilised late lunch/early dinner was consumed, including the requisite cake! And we set off for the ground. The wonder that is rugby saw a couple in PV – one in a Bath shirt, one in a Tigers shirt!
A very touching and impressive minutes silence was held to mark both VE Day and to pay respects to Danny Jones – the Keighley Cougars player who passed away during a game at London Skolars last week.
Bath have had an immense season in 2014/15 – and were looking to cement 2nd place and a home semi-final. From the 20 games played they’d won 14 of them, and scored 4 or more tries in 8 of those!
Quins have had to say the least a mixed season – with an even split of 10 wins and 10 losses – it has to be said it’s been a season of not knowing which Quins are going to turn up.
With 2nd place for Bath at stake and nothing to play for but pride for Quins I felt we’d see the capable Quins. Pride can be a huge motivator and Quins had some fine players on their team sheet.
In addition this last home game saw an opportunity for the Quins fans to say their goodbye’s to several favourites – George Robson, Ugo Monye and Tom Williams (not playing on the night)
The game was one of the best I’ve seen this season, and I have seen a fair few. What could have been a whooping was a very competitive game which could have gone either way.
The lead changed hands 7 times in the 80 minutes. Quins were first on the scoreboard when, as if scripted, Ugo Monye scored! A ‘wingers’ try, he was to repeat the effort in the 2nd half, making it a dream final home game for him.
I should mention that Jack Clifford spent 10 minutes on the naughty step during the 1st half – he really is a hugely impressive player when on the pitch!
Bath were playing with, oh my goodness the much written about, Sam Burgess in their back row, he was in the No 6 shirt, but it was another of his back row colleagues who really caught the eye.
Leroy Houston is in the Thomas Waldrom mode – and I apologise to both men here – their stature belies the skill and speed they both possess! A superb run by Houston and a well timed pass saw Francois Louw touch down for the visitors.
George Ford had already put Bath on the scoreboard with a penalty. Nick Evans added his own penalty before Quins were awarded a penalty try, the conversion put them ahead again and the scores on Quins 15 Bath 10 at half time.
I must mention my neighbours here – I sat next to Paul Price – a Quins stalwart – when he arrived he introduced himself then all the people around us. A fine example of just how a rugby crowd should be, friendly and inclusive.
Naturally Bath regained the lead after the break when Horacio Aguila ran in fairly unimpeded to score, Ford added the extras – the pendulum swung – Quins 15 Bath 17.
A penalty for Evans – back went the lead – Quins 18 Bath 17. You know that Bath scored next as Try maker Houston became try scorer – Ford, having a great day with the boot added the conversion – Quins 21 Bath 24!
Monye’s 2nd try came next as he put the ball down in a way that only a winger can, tight to the line, it meant a difficult conversion for Evans who missed. Quins 26 Bath 24.
Mike Ford – who I’ve noticed always spends the 2nd half on the sideline rather than from a distance, looked more than a little nervous, before an 80th minute penalty was awarded to Bath. Young Mr Ford stepped up and calmly kicked the ball over the posts.
A vital win for Bath, and a performance to give Quins fans some hope. The game finished on Quins 26 Bath 27.
I now have a confession to make – I really am trying to be cool when it comes to having a photo taken with players – but, yes, I virtually ran when I saw Sam Burgess emerge from the tunnel. As a huge rugby league fan I was thrilled to get my man – so to speak!
- Best moment of the game – has to be the Leroy Houston break to put Louw in to score
- Nicest moment – being so warmly welcomed by the people sitting around me
- Ladies loos – plenty of them, a bit aged, but clean.
- Safety – totally safe – I’d parked in the road and Sue and Henry walked back with me
A short walk back to my car followed by a decent drive to what turned out to be a well placed hotel between Beaconsfield and High Wycombe saw bedtime – a restless night as I decided not to risk ‘the bear’ – a pillow really isn’t the same!