Quins RL started the new Super League season in fine form on Friday evening, with an against the odds win away at reigning champions St Helens.
Quins adjusted best to the snowy conditions which had put the game in doubt and it was new signing Danny Orr who opened the scoring, intercepting a loose pass from Great Britain hooker James Roby before racing forty metres to score a try, subsequently converted by Paul Sykes. St Helens took the score as their cue to begin a fight back and Leon Pryce set-up former Australian test centre Matt Gidley for a try, which Sean Long was unable to convert.
It was Lee Hopkins who was next up to score for Quins following some good work from fullback Chris Melling, another player making his top-flight debut for the side. St Helens pulled back a couple of points with a Sean Long penalty just before half-time, following Julien Rinaldi’s sin-binning for interference. The penalty was to close Saints scoring for the evening.
A tough second-half saw a major onslaught from St Helens, but Quins muscled-up in defence and made the better of the difficult conditions, with winger Jon Wells touching down in the corner on the hour mark to stretch the advantage to eight points. Quins then successfully shut out the champions for the remainder of the match to seal an impressive victory.
The result will come as a major boost to the Quins squad which been the subject of much speculation in recent months over the strength of the off-season recruitment. Critics can point to Saints having Gilmour, Sculthorpe, Wellens and Wilkin missing, but given the strength and depth of the champions squad they were still expected to win at home. Quins new halfback combination Scott Hill and Danny Orr showed encouraging signs of a developing understanding, whilst the much predicted forward weaknesses failed to materialise.
Quins will be looking to build on this result with the visit of Salford City Reds to Twickenham on Saturday 17th February. In recent seasons the club has been notoriously slow of the mark, so a strong start to Super League XII will reinforce the belief that the club is developing into a serious contender.
St Helens: (6) 6
Harlequins RL: (10) 14
Tries: Orr, Hopkins, Wells
Photos courtesy of PC: