Harlequins survive Bath fightback to secure victory
March 11, 2016
Charlie Walker is mobbed by his Harlequins teammates after scoring his second try.
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After six defeats in their last seven matches, Harlequins returned to form with a morale boosting 35-28 win over Bath at the Stoop.
In an entertaining game, the impressive Charlie Walker scored two tries for Quins with James Horwill and Harry Sloan one apiece. Ben Botica converted three and added three penalties.
A struggling Bath side were in contention for the first 35 minutes but the sin-binning of scrum-half Chris Cook turned the game as the visitors tamely crumbled to concede three tries in six minutes.
However, when Sam Twomey was yellow carded, they staged a remarkable rally scoring late tries from Amanaki Mafi, Semesa Rokoduguni and Jeff Williams, two converted by Tom Homer to add to his three penalties to secure a bonus point.
Quins made a great start, going eight points up within the first five minutes. First Botica put them ahead with a third minute penalty before Nick Easter intercepted Ollie Devoto's pass to send Sloan away for the first try.
Within minutes Bath almost had their first try when Matt Banahan made an excellent break but Horacio Agulla was hauled down a couple of metres short. However, the visitors maintained the pressure for Homer to put his side on the scoreboard with a simple penalty.
Botica kicked another penalty but this was nullified by one from Homer so Bath trailed 11-6 at the end of a frenetic opening quarter.
Both teams moved the ball at almost every opportunity with Bath particularly impressive in attack. Kyle Eastmond, Banahan and Mafi all looked sharp as they regularly threatened the home defence but the concession of frequent penalties prevented them from capitalising.
Quins, in turn, showed their attacking qualities with strong runs from Kyle Sinckler and Mat Luamanu threatening to create the next score but some scrambled defence from the visitors kept their line intact and amazingly the second quarter remained scoreless until four minutes from the interval.
A superb touchline run from Walker gained Quins a platform in the visitors 22 and when Cook deliberately knocked on, he was yellow carded and Botica kicked the resulting penalty.
With the last play of the half, Quins scored their second try. A powerful burst from Mark Lambert put Bath on the back foot before Walker brushed aside a poor tackle from Banahan to score. Botica's conversion gave the hosts a healthy 21-6 interval lead.
Within five minutes of the restart, the game was over for Bath as first Walker seized on a fumble by Mafi to race 75 metres to score and then before Cook could return, the home side secured their bonus point when Horwill crashed over. The two conversions from Botica put Quins out of sight.
Cook returned to stem the tide and when replacement,Twomey, was yellow carded for dragging down a line-out with 15 minutes remaining, Bath took full advantage scoring 19 points in his absence with three tries from Mafi, Williams and Rokoduguni and two conversions from Homer.
Twomey returned but with two minutes to go, Horwill replaced him in the bin and when Quins were penalised, Homer kicked his third penalty to gain Bath a point.
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