Saracens Storm and Harlequins ‘A’ served up a Monday night classic, as they shared the spoils in what was a pulsating contest at Allianz Park drawing 25-25.
Tim Streather, Hayden Stringer and Ben Ransom were the try scores on the night for Saracens, whilst Ben Spencer was in impressive form with the boot.
It was Harlequins who began the game in the ascendency- the men from the Twickenham Stoop punished the Storm with a try from a tap penalty from deep in their own 22, after winger Jordan Burns capitalised on some uncertain defending to race away to score – Botica duly converted.
Saracens hit back a few minutes after as Ben Spencer kicked two penalties to reduce ‘Quins lead to one points, but it wasn’t’ long until the Storm would take the lead.
A great break from Tim Streather gave Storm field position and after failing to collect his chip and chase, from the resulting scrum Quins coughed up possession and Streather powered over winger Paul Sackey in the left hand corner – Spencer added the extras from the left hand side.
Saracens continued to chance their arm in broken play, with Streather, Tompkins and the ever dangerous Ransom causing Harlequins problems and was to be the three aforementioned players who would play a starring role in the Storms second try of the evening. Ransom offloaded out of the tackle to feed Streather who after neat interplay with centre partner Tompkins found Nils Mordt whose looping pass fed Hayden Stringer who finished with aplomb in the right hand corner. Spencer again added the extras.
In the closing moments of a breathless first forty, Harlequins ended the half with a push over try to stay in touch with the home side, with Luke Wallace the beneficiary. Botica converted.
In the second half Botica added another penalty to reduce Storms lead to three points but the Storm responded with another free flowing try from full-back Ben Ransom. Michael Tagicakibau was the creator, as he sliced through the Quins defence to feed Ransom who finished. Spencer missed the conversion.
As the game went on Saracens looked like they had scored again, but the try was controversially ruled out for a forward pass. Both sides continued to probe and test each other and after four consecutive scrums on the Storms line in the dying seconds, Harlequins scored right of the posts to level the game. As the boisterous Monday night crowd at Allianz Park fell silent, Botica lined up the conversion to win the game, but the Harlequins bolter dragged his effort wide of the posts.
Saracens (20) 25
Tries – Streather, Stringer, Ransom
Pens – Spencer (2/2)
Convs – (2/3)
Harlequins (14) 25
Tries – Burns, Wallace, Ward
Convs – (2/3)
Pens – Botica (2/2)
Saracens Starting XV
1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jared Saunders, 3. Petrus Du Plessis, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ross Hamilton, 6. Justin Melck, 7. Matt Hankin, 8. Hayden Stringer; 9. Ben Spencer, 10. Nils Mordt (c); 11. Jack Wilson, 12. Nick Tompkins, 13. Tim Streather, 14. Michael Tagicakibau; 15. Ben Ransom
Subs (all used) – Scott Spurling, Nick Auterac, Max Crumpton , TBA, TBA, Luke Baldwin, Nathan Earle, Charlie Kingsman
Harlequins A Starting XV
15. Charlie Walker, 14. Paul Sackey, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Ben Botica, 11. Jordan Burns, 10. Louis, Grimoldby, 9. Karl Dickson, 1. Mark Lambert, 2. Dave Ward (C), 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Keiran Treadwell, 5. Paul Spivey, 6. Joe Trayfoot, 7. Luke Wallace, 8. Jack Clifford
Subs (all used) – 16. Harry Allen, 17. Darryl Marfo, 18. Nick Mayhew, 19. Connor McDonald, 20. James Chisholm, 21. Sam Arnold, 22. Pete Homan, 23 TBC