Harlequins down Bath & move closer to playoffs

Harlequins took a big step towards the Aviva Premiership play offs when they beat Bath 23-9 at the Twickenham Stoop.

Harlequins went into the match on the back of three successive defeats in the
Aviva Premiership, adding to their Heineken Cup exit at the hands of Munster
last weekend.

A pre-scheduled break in Spain was designed to recharge some weary minds and
batteries but initially Harlequins appeared to have been unable to shed their
troubles of recent weeks, Bath impressing in the first half and leading at the
break.

Greater patience and accuracy after the interval ultimately told – England
scrum-half Danny Care notching up the momentum-swinging score at the beginning
of the second half to put Harlequins in the lead, from where they never looked
back.

Bath opened the scoring thanks to a penalty from Donald after six minutes,
but neither side were able to add further points in the opening quarter due
to persistent problems at the scrum.

19-year old full-back Ollie Devoto notched up his first Premiership points
with a long-range penalty for Bath, reward for good work from Paul James at
the scrum.

Ben Botica added Harlequins first points with a penalty after coming on as
a replacement for Matt Hopper in the centre shortly after as the game spluttered
it’s way through the opening period.

In a first half sorely lacking a spark, Nick Evans attempted to turn the tide
with a fine break from within his own 22 – the result another penalty for Botica
to level the scores at 6-6.

Bath however had the final say of the half – a high tackle on Kyle Eastmond
from Tom Guest leading to a simple penalty for Donald to put the visitors ahead
going into the break.

The hosts then sealed the game’s first try, Care in trademark fashion drifting
and then sniping from the base of the ruck to put Harlequins in front.

A further penalty for Botica had Harlequins 16-9 in front heading into the
final quarter, before the crowd were brought to life.

Birthday boy Ugo Monye was greeted with a rousing reception after coming off
the bench and the former Lions winger was then handed a gift of a celebratory
score, Evans high kick causing confusion between the Bath defence for Monye
to simply chase and touch down to put Harlequins comfortably in front.

As conditions worsened making Bath’s white jerseys look anything but white,
Harlequins ground out the victory to get back to winning ways and keep their
hopes of a home semi-final alive.

Final Score Harlequins 23 (6) Bath 9 (9)

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries – Care, Monye
Pen – Botiga (3)
Con – Botiga (2)
Drop –

Bath
Tries –
Pen – Donald (2), Devoto
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
Wayne Barnes (120th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Ashley Rowden
TMO: Geoffrey Warren.

Teams

Harlequins

15. Mike Brown , 14. Tom Williams , 13. George Lowe , 12. Matt Hopper , 11. Sam Smith , 10. Nick Evans , 9. Danny Care, 8. Nick Easter, 7. Chris Robshaw (C) , 6. Tom Guest , 5. George Robson , 4. Olly Kohn , 3. James Johnston , 2. Joe Gray ,1. Joe Marler

Replacements :16. Rob Buchanan , 17. Mark Lambert , 18. Will Collier , 19. Charlie Matthews , 20. Luke Wallace , 21. Karl Dickson , 22. Ben Botica , 23. Ugo Monye

Bath

15. Ollie Devoto , 14. Horacio Agulla , 13. Semesa Rokoduguni , 12. Kyle Eastmond , 11. Olly Wodburn , 10. Stephen Donald , 9. Michael Claassens , 1. Paul James , 2. Ross Batty , 3. David Wilson , 4. Stuart Hooper ( c ) , 5. Dave Attwood , 6. Francois Louw , 7. Mat Gilbert , 8. Si

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