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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Semi Final Action from The Stoop

This lunchtime fixture was a clash to see who would reach the final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Harlequins welcomed Bath Rugby to a rather damp Stoop in Twickenham.

Quins started proceedings but Bath earned themselves an early line-out, with possession being stolen back by the home side.

After the usual tactic of kicking for territory, Quins gained momentum with strong passing until the ball went into touch. There was good aggression from both sides.

Fans had to wait less than 10 minutes for the first points to appear on the scorecard. Quins secured the ball in a line-out and passed it quickly to the wing where no. 8 Guest was able to break through the Bath defence and cross for a try. Botica added the conversion.

They came close to a second try just a few minutes later but a fumble 5 metres from the line handed possession to Bath. The visitors looked like they were going to score next after a strong rolling maul saw the ball passed out for their no. 5 Attwood to power through the defence. A good tackle stopped him but Bath support was not far behind. They kept possession but lax passing allowed Quins' no. 14 Williams to intercept. He ran from his own 22 to score a try - Botica again converted.

Bath send the ball deep at the restart and Quins claim possession. However strong chasing by the visitors earned them the put in at the scrum. Here Quins were penalised and Bath, now 14 points down, opted for a line-out, sending the ball into touch at the corner. They kept possession, started a maul and were awarded advantage.

With no further movement they again kicked for the corner. In similar fashion they kept possession in the line-out and started a rolling maul. Bath captain Louw claimed the try. A good kick from Heathcote added the extra 2 points.

Quins were not shaken by the score. They pushed themselves to within 5 metres of the Bath try-line. Infringement from the visitors allows Quins to opt for a line-out. They keep possession and start their own rolling maul, sending the ball out to the wing allowing Dickson to cross for a try in the 35th minute, again converted by Botica.

Quins claimed the restart ball and kicked it back to Bath who chose to run with it, reaching Quins' 22. They earned themselves a penalty where another 3 points were added to the visitors' score - the last score of the first half.

Half time: Harlequins 21 - 10 Bath Rugby

Bath restarted proceedings and sent the ball deep, earning themselves a penalty. Within the first minute of the second half Bath add points to their tally.

Quins, however, were proving strong in their line-outs. Able to keep possession they pushed on up the field and No. 14 Williams crossed for his second try of the game. The boot of Botica adding another two points.

On the restart Bath push up to within touching distance of the Quins' try-line. Smith saw yellow for Quins and Bath had an attacking scrum 5 metres from the line. The home side held their nerve and stole the ball, kicking long. All this did, however, was hand possession back to the visitors who ran for the line. The referee chose to bring the TMO into play, unsure whether the ball was held up. Replay clearly showed downward pressure over the line, awarding a try to Abendanon, which was then converted.

The visitors then came within 5 points of the hosts after securing a penalty which was kicked on target.

The final points of the game, however, went to Harlequins. Following a line-out they ran the ball out of their half and into Bath's 22. It is the visitors' who see yellow; Catt sent to the sin-bin 15 minutes from time.

Botica added the 3 penalty points to Quins' score and came close to adding another three a few minutes later however he pulled it left of the posts.

It was a hard fought game with plenty of errors. This however, merely reflected the intensity of play rather than anything more sinister.

Quins earned themselves a place in the final.

Full time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 31-23 Bath.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 8:33 pm  

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