Harlequins vs. Malone (15.03.14)
An aggressive and fast paced series of plays were quickly undone by a steal and a kick from Malone. The first five minutes built up the tempo with some crashing tackles, on both sides, only to be followed by shoddy ball handling. It seems that Quins are opting to kick rather than to play in their own half. However, Malone show confidence in their runners, who seem comfortable under the high ball. Impressive end to end passing brings rewards for the Quins as they get the first points on the board with a try five minutes in, but a missed conversion could come back to haunt them.
The Malone no.15, Peter Henderson, displays an impressive pace, quick on the counter. Play moves into the Quins half. Not soon after the Quins give away a careless penalty, which narrows the gap to 5 – 3. Both teams seem to be taking their time to get settled in this match, although weather conditions could not be better. Another penalty and a disastrous line out for Quins keeps play in their own half. An impressive interception from Malone, followed swiftly by a poor unnecessary pass leads to a turnover deep in Malone territory.
Scrums are being dominated by the Quins, mainly due to ill-discipline from Malone, and the fast thinking of Quins no.9 Josh Fullerton. Malone defence hold up under a barrage of Quins forwards only to give a penalty away right in front of the posts.
After kicking into Quins territory, Malone opt for a line out and supplement it with a powerful rolling maul which brings them to the try line. Quins defence could do nothing, converted try to Malone bring the score to 11- 10.
The final twenty minutes of the first half saw a lack of concentration lead to silly mistakes, and yet another penalty at the scrum. Now it’s the Quins making mistakes right in front of the posts.
Quins try to rally with a thundering kick into Malone territory in closing ten minutes. After an unsuccessful clear and an earth shattering double team tackle Malone have somehow got the ball, only to lose it soon after. A lot of tired bodies and hands on hips as the two teams trudge into the changing rooms for half time.
Impressive line outs from Malone to start with but penalties are just as riff in the second half as the first. The game has moments of brilliance but they are being undermined by handling errors. Malone miss another penalty at the break down again, however a strong Malone defence leads to a turnover by Malone no. 11, Jay Malcolm and a line out at the Quins 25 meter line. Another penalty in front of the posts and the solid kicking from Malone no. 10 James McKinney sends it over.
Quins scrambling a defence as Malone relentlessly push the line. A metre from the try line and Malone give away a penalty and Quins gain some much needed breathing space. A final missed penalty for Quins no.10 Mark Kettyle leaves the score board static. A cheap penalty gave Malone the 25 – 14 lead in the 73rd minute. The final 5 min consisted of each team trying to get the ball out of their own half, with no real try scoring drive. Neither team shone in this contest, with the winner being decided through cheap penalties. Final score: Malone 25 Harlequins 14