Monday, 7 May 2007

Quins survive Catalans scare

Quins RL pulled off a tight victory against Catalans Dragons on Saturday largely thanks to the immaculate kicking of skipper Rob Purdham.

The Quins raced out to an early 12 – 0 lead with tries from wingers Andy Smith and Jon Wells, which led in to a passage of end to end action with both sides spurning opportunities for further scores. The Catalans recorded their first points on twenty-three minutes with fullback Clint Greenshields takes a cleverly work pass from the outstanding Stacey Jones and overcoming attention from opposite number Chris Melling to power over the try line. Thomas Bosc adds the conversion to make the scores 12 – 6. Two minutes later the scores are level, this time Jones goes it alone to touch down under the sticks leaving a simple conversion for Bosc.

On the half hour mark hooker Chad Randall took advantage of some tiring Catalans defence to go over for Quins third try with Purdham’s goal making it 18 -12. The final ten minutes of the half see frantic action from both sides, with neither able to secure further points.

The opening stages of the second half carry on where the first left off, but it’s the Dragons who are first to score with Jones again orchestrating the move, this time it’s winger Justin Murphy who collects a kick to touch down, Bosc’s goal again levels the scores. From this point on it’s the Dragons who begin to dominate the game, with Scott Hill playing at loose forward only just preventing another Murphy try minutes later, but the relief is short lived when Jones adds his second try and Bosc’s fourth goal sends the Catalans into an 18 – 24 lead. On the hour forward Andrew Bentley extends the lead with another try and although Bosc missing with the conversion Quins are looking well out of it at 18 – 28.

However, five minutes later centre Paul Sykes who’d up to that point had a quiet game managed to get on the end of an attacking move which had looked close to breaking down. Purdham converts Sykes’s try to bring the Quins back into the game at 24 – 28. The Dragon step up their efforts and almost secure another try but are thwarted by a well read interception from Mark McLinden.

It is into the final ten minutes before Quins final reclaim the lead, Randall linking up with Sykes to score his second of the match, Purdham’s almost inevitable conversion taking the score to 30 – 28. Catalans regain possession from the kick-off, but in the following scramble knock-on to take the pressure off Quins and with just two minutes to go Purdham fittingly adds a penalty to seal the scores at 32 – 28.

Although the victory will be much welcomed within the Quins camp following a poor performance against St Helens in the previous rounds, however the way Catalans were allowed to dominate the game in parts of the second half will be a worry. Quins fans will also be happy that referee Phil Bentham gave the team the rub of the green with some of his decisions, following some controversial decisions in previous games. This weekend’s upcoming game against Oldham in the Challenge Cup should provide a less taxing encounter, although they can ill afford to take the National League Two side lightly as Celtic Crusaders will testify to following their game on Friday night.

Catalans: (12) 28
Tries: Wilson, Greenshields, Jones 2, Bentley
Goals: Bosc 4

Harlequins RL: (18) 32
Tries: Smith, Sykes, Wells, Randall 2
Goals: Purdham 6

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