Quins hold off Worcester
Harlequins ran in four tries to claim a 30-23 victory at Worcester on Thursday evening.
Last Updated: 03/10/08 9:10am
Harlequins scored four first-half tries on the way to a 30-23 victory at Worcester in Thursday evening's Guinness Premiership fixture.
The visitors seized control at Sixways with three tries in five minutes early in the first half, although they ran out of steam after the break and were forced to hang on at the end.
Ugo Monye (2), Gonzalo Tiesi and Mike Brown all touched down, while Chris Malone added 10 points with the boot.
Quins' commitment to spinning the ball wide occasionally left them badly exposed in defence and Worcester - for whom fly-half Matthew Jones scored 18 points - remained in contention throughout a wildly fluctuating contest, eventually having to settle for a losing bonus point.
Jones opened the scoring for Worcester with a sixth-minute drop goal, provoking an immediate responce from Quins.
Monye pounced on Malone's grubber in the left corner in the eighth minute and was soon followed across the whitewash by Tiesi and Brown.
Scrum-half Danny Care's delayed pass put centre Tiesi in under the posts and, two minutes later, full-back Brown powered over from close range after some fine interplay between forwards and backs.
That opened a 17-3 lead for the visitors as Malone only managed to convert Tiesi's effort. Jones was soon able to reduce Worcester's deficit to 11 points with a 17th-minute penalty.
And Quins' advantage was trimmed to just four points in the 27th minute when Jones scored and converted his first Guinness Premiership try.
The Welsh stand-off went in on an angled run, although his path to the line did appear to have been aided by some obstruction from outside centre Dale Rasmussen that went unspotted by referee Wayne Barnes.
Quins were soon back on the offensive, opening a 27-13 lead by half-time courtesy of a Malone penalty and Monye's second try.
The winger won a foot race with Worcester full-back Chris Latham to ground Brown's kick ahead, a score that secured Quins a bonus point. Malone added the additional two points from the touchline.
Quins' good work during the first half was somewhat marred by a foot injury to David Strettle that prevented the England international winger emerging after the interval.
Worcester badly needed an early score at the start of the second half and got just that when Miles Benjamin touched down two minutes after the restart.
The try was created by Australian full-back Latham, who came into the line and straightened the angle of attack before giving Benjamin a simple finish in the left corner. Jones' conversion brought the his side back within a score at 27-20.
Malone re-opened a 10-point cushion with his second penalty in the 48th minute and, surprisingly given what had gone before, Quins retained that advantage until the 74th minute, when Tom Guest was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on as Worcester attacked.
Jones slotted the resulting penalty to draw the hosts within a solitary try at 30-23 and set up a thrilling finale.
Malone missed the chance to make the game safe by slicing a 77th-minute penalty attempt wide, but his side held on for the victory.
The result moves Quins up to fourth in the Guinness Premiership, while Worcester - who have now lost four on the bounce - are 11th, just four points above bottom side Bristol.