Quins and Bath draw a blank
October 31, 2010
Bath flanker Simon Taylor takes on George Robson
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Harlequins and Bath played out a rain-soaked 6-6 draw in their Aviva Premiership showdown at the Stoop on Sunday.
Olly Barkley slotted two penalties for the visitors while Harlequins' All Black fly-half Nick Evans responded with a brace of his own during a compelling contest that lacked game-breaking skill but contained plenty of grit and determination.
Lewis Moody played 80 minutes for Bath following his release from the national squad and came through unscathed aside from a cut to the head, while Matt Banahan turned in a mixed performance at outside-centre as he auditioned for a spot on England's bench to face New Zealand next weekend.
Quins had been set to include their England hopeful Joe Marler at loose-head but the young prop was a late withdrawal after being hospitalised with an infection.
Evans failed to open the scoring with his first penalty attempt but he had the Stoop faithful on their feet in the build-up, first sparking a break with a brilliant chip and collect before running a dangerous arc to put Tom Williams into space along the wing.
Bath lost Moody to the blood-bin early on but Barkley was able to give them the lead with a sweetly-struck 54 metre penalty. Skipper Luke Watson was forced from the field soon after however, having taken an accidental knee to the head from Quins flanker Chris Robshaw.
Evans continued to pose a threat in open play but Bath were dominant at the set-piece, Duncan Bell and Nathan Catt putting the Quins front-row under massive pressure at scrum-time. One powerful surge drew another penalty for Barkley but the centre was off-target from kickable range.
Argentinian wing Gonzalo Camacho collected his own chip and chase to momentarily carve an opening for the home side but his effort was wasted with a kick ahead by tight-head John Andress, while a Sam Vesty dart required Quins fullback Mike Brown to spring into action and ensure that there was just three points in it at the break.
Bath began the second-half on the front-foot thanks to Barkley's deft collection of his own kick ahead and the former England midfielder extended the visitors' advantage with his second penalty following a high tackle on Banahan by Williams.
The hosts fired a shot of their own as Mike Brown stepped his way through the Bath tight five and the fullback's second burst of the half allowed Tom Guest to blaze a trail to the visitors' 22. The home side set up camp in Bath territory but a huge tackle from Tom Biggs forced Evans and Quins backwards.
Quins finally got on the board when more good work from Guest and Brown drew a midfield penalty and Evans levelled things up with 18 minutes left to play as a powerful maul led to Bath going in at the side. The territorial battle continued between Evans and the Bath halfbacks but try-scoring opportunities remained at a premium as Vesty sent a wonky drop-goal past the posts.
Both sides scrapped until the final moments but were forced to settle for a share of the spoils as a midfield pile-up convinced referee Sean Davey to call time on proceedings.
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