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MATCH REPORT – BAHRAIN 39 – 20 HARLEQUINS

Bahrain Rugby Football Club’s (RFC) first XV moved to the top of the West Asia Premiership standings last night, as they earned an impressive 39-20 victory over previous league leaders and old rivals Abu Dhabi Harlequins in front of a packed home crowd in Saar.

Bahrain enjoyed a superb opening to what turned into another pulsating encounter between the two sides but it took three late tries to settle this one as the wily Harlequins outfit somewhat inevitably clawed their way back into the game through the metronomic boot of fly-half and captain, Luke Stevenson.

That solid started for the home side was kick-started by a four-minute penalty from Leon Mauer and the diminutive South African crossed for a superb try just two minutes later to make it 8-0.

The home crowd were in dreamland shortly after when Jordan Viggers took a great line to cross for Bahrain’s second try and Mauer’s conversion made it 15-0.

With so many of this Bahrain having suffered at the hands of Quins in the past, there was certainly no sign of complacency in the home ranks and they needed all their composure to manage the final quarter, as Stevenson managed to kick his side back to within three points by the hour mark.

Three wins on the bounce against Quins – after eight years without a win – must have provided a boost of confidence as Bahrain entered the business end of proceedings and, as had been the case on a number of occasions this season, the bench was to prove influential, as first Mark Burnell and then the prolific Alastair Crombie crossed to earn the all-important bonus point.

With the result in the bag, Jack Phillips scored a fifth  – with Luke Radley his third conversion – for Bahrain before Brian Geraghty grabbed a consolation for the visitors.

 

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