Sunday, 4th March 2018 @ 17:45
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Tries from Tim Visser and Kyle Sinckler and an accomplished defensive performance saw Harlequins beat Bath Rugby at The Stoop.
Harlequins held a 10-5 lead at the break thanks to an intercept try from Tim Visser, before Kyle Sinckler crashed over in the second half for the Londoners.
John Kingston's side put in a tremendous effort in defence, holding their line well to shut out Bath for more than an hour following Matt Banahan's early score.
Earlier, Harlequins arrived at The Stoop off the back of four successive league defeats. The match had originally been scheduled for Friday night, but the adverse weather and the effect it had on most of the country forced the match to Sunday afternoon.
Both sides enjoyed early possession and James Lang did well under the high ball, starting in the unfamiliar position of fullback, Demetri Catrakilis also wasn’t shirking the early tackles.
Despite ending up on the wrong side of the scoreline, it was Bath that struck first on the 17th minute, but they could have scored even earlier. Todd Blackadder's side spent an age in possession going from coast to coast in Quins' 22 but a spill in possession handed the home side a chance to clear.
Bath hit back shortly after with a scrum of their own. The away side opted to go down the blindside from the scrum as Taulupe Faletau and Kahn Fotuali'i combined well before Matt Banahan raced over easily to dot down. James Wilson missed the conversion and Bath wouldn't score again for the remainder of the encounter.
Harlequins wouldn't be behind for long when Tim Visser once again pulled off his trademark intercept and score. The winger picked off the loose pass 70 metres out, dashed the difference and scored under the sticks. Catrakilis' conversion moved Harlequins in front.
The lead was extended just five minutes later as Catrakilis made Bath pay for not rolling away and Harlequins edged towards half-time with momentum firmly behind them. Alofa Alofa began to blossom towards the end of the half as he and James Chisholm did well to link up and break through but the winger's hard work was undone when Harlequins came in over the top at the breakdown.
Quins could have moved even further in front soon after but Catrakilis missed a penalty as Ross Batty was whistled for the visitors.
In the second half, Harlequins were forced to dig in and they did so, very effectively. Joe Marchant was first up to intercept as Bath had numbers wide, before Ben Glynn forced a turnover with Todd Blackadder's side right on Harlequins' line.
Harlequins hammered away from a number of line outs and had possession just shy of Bath's 22. From there, Max Lahiff was shown a yellow card for offside as Harlequins looked for their second try. Shortly after, and they had it.
After a colossal effort from the forwards inside Bath's 22, replacement Kyle Sinckler was found at first receiver and the tighthead prop buried over from close range.
From the hour mark, Bath came back but again Quins stood firm.
Bath - on a number of occasions - opted for the grubber kick, but Harlequins were on hand to deal with it and box away first through Dave Lewis, and then fullback Lang.
DHL Supporters' Player of the Month Luke Wallace soon after pulled off an athletic turnover much to the appreciation of The Stoop faithful with Bath just a number of metres out. Bath weren't to be deflated and the away side were held up a number of times metres out. James Chisholm won the battle of the back rowers with Zach Mercer and Quins again could clear their lines, even if there was a checking over of the TMO by JP Doyle.
With the clock ticking down, Bath were pinged again for being offside and replacement Marcus Smith sent over the penalty to push Harlequins out of sight. The young fly-half could have scored a try of his own, but he was hauled out of play by Mercer after racing almost the length of the field.
Following the win, Harlequins will enjoy a break for the Anglo-Welsh Cup knockout rounds before taking on Saracens on Saturday 24th March. Harlequins will be back at The Stoop on Saturday 7th April to face London Irish (kick-off 15:00). Tickets available here.
Rugby returns to The Stoop next weekend when Harlequins Ladies take on Richmond (Saturday 10th March, kick-off 15:00). Secure your seat for this record-breaking match by heading to tickets.quins.co.uk