With Saracens playing Newcastle it was time to make a journey to The Stoop to watch Harlequins. One of the joys of travelling to Twickenham are my lovely Quins friends Henry and Sue, a lunch at Patisserie Valerie was arranged! This was my second Saturday in a row – it seems very strange to be known in Twickenham when I live in Essex! Lovely company and a very tasty lunch including the requisite cake finished, we made our way to the ground.
I think I’d made a school girl error in my choice of seat – Row C which in effect was only 2 rows back meant my view wasn’t a very good one, well it was a disturbed one anyway. I was amazed by how many people were still walking around once the game had started, the coaching staff stand along the side of the pitch which blocked one end. Lesson learnt for next visit.
This waist effect the 3rd time I’d be seeing London Irish in 8 days, albeit it was the A team I saw on Monday evening. I’d seen a dogged defensive display at Twickenham against Wasps but little in the way of flair and attacking intent, although they did score 2 tries that day they never looked like truly worrying Wasps.
Quins had beaten Wasps, Bath and Sale in the Premiership, but lost narrowly to Exeter and Leicester. Irish had a tougher start behind them with not a win to their name in the Premiership. I couldn’t see that changing at the Stoop.
The weather was stupidly warm yet horribly windy, not a good day for the men charged with kicking the ball. However the Quins man charged, Nick Evans had an early shot at the posts after Irish were penalised for failing to release the player, from directly in front it was a no brainer to take the points.
Quins had to make 2 early substitutions early on, one was Ollie Lynday-Hague, still skipping I see! His replacement Ross Chisholm looked to have scored a thrilling try as he went at full speed down his wing, however he was denied by the TMO who spotted his foot just over the line before he touched down. That was a real shame, yet good defending.
Quins had a go at battering the Irish line after Dave Ward made a break worthy of one of the speedy backs, but they eschewed two glaring overlaps only to knock on. There’d been what looked like a very clumsy attempt at a tackle with no arms in the build up, but not seen by the officials.
However, new boy Tim Visser made no mistakes when he found himself in possession of the ball and the posts beckoning, a dive (non splash) and a try was scored at last! Evans was gifted with an easy conversion.
There wasn’t too much else of note in the first half – I thought it regrettable that Chris Robshaw seemed to be calling for a card for a deliberate knock on by Topsy Ojo (he may not have been) – that’s always such a hard call for me. The referee awarded the penalty but not the card.
We had the loads of people wandering around thing as the second half started, I’d never miss a moment for the sake of beer, but then I don’t drink, it’s all about the game for me!
There was a moment of ‘what next’early on in the half when Irish failed to find touch with a penalty – the Quins player (not sure who) tipped the ball out but seemed to be behind the line. After considerable conversation it was decided a Quins 22 restart was the way to go.
Danny Care playing as captain at the start of his new contract scored a great try after interacting with Visser, the touchdown was near the sideline, but that was no problem for Evans. The lead was stretching.
Another school boy error from Irish saw the restart go straight out, they weren’t helping themselves. For a few moments the referee wasn’t helping them either, Mike Brown made a strong tackle but really didn’t seem to release the man. Blair Cowan later made what I saw as a strong tackle, but was deemed to have taken the man above the horizontal – it felt like a harsh penalty.
However Quins were in determined mode and Tim Visser looking very strong on the ball scored his second try breaking through 5 men on his way to the line. The TMO game into play but the try was well scored. Evan added the extras.
It looked like Visser had scored his hat trick try, but this time the TMO spotted his foot in touch, superb defending by Irish again. Visser clearly had that in mind when he saw the line next time, he switched his run to take him inside and got that hat trick try, a great finish! I’d say watch out England in February, this Scotsman is thriving in London.
Irish were hit with a yellow card late on for a no arms tackle by the replacement hooker. Quins made the most of their advantage and Jack Clifford on as a replacement scored a text book try after Quins rolled over the line. Evans took Quins to 38 points with the conversion.
It was at the point with the clock ticking down that Irish showed some attacking spirit – scoring a consolation try through Halani Aulika, the conversion gave them 7 points to take home.
The final score was Quins 38 London Irish 7 – I’m not too sure that told the story of the game, but for the hime team that’s a grand scoreline to take into Europe.
One fact as this is a ground I go to a lot
- Cost of Ticket £40.00