Pats end season in 3rd
Over a century of points scored
Quins arrived at Everest Road determined to quash any possibility of relegation, but it was the Pats pride and determination that saw them round off a fine season with a bonus point win, in an epic nine try spectacle under the bright Leckhampton sunshine. There was never more than seven points in this tense encounter and the lead was to change five times as two sides traded blow by blow taking the game right down to the wire.
Sizing each other up, Quins Guy Fairburn’s intelligent kicking kept sharp a looking Pats at bay but when the experienced Matt Dean saw space, his deep punt turned the defence and with the home side having no trouble breaking the gain line elusive James Aherne skipped through three tacklers for a unconverted try.
Quins took the lead with the first of four identical tries after Fairburn punished Pats penalty infringement with a touch kick to with five metres and their burly tighthead Pete Boulton rumbled over after a text book line out and driving maul and Fairburn thumped over the extras from wide out.
Pats pacey back line constantly threatened with snipping runs from Takuya Osaki and powerful centre Rory Sharratt opening up midfield with ease and when the ball finally reached superb finisher Jimmy Gahan there was nothing on but he shimmied and wrong footed Quins and raced home from 40 meters for a brilliant individual try to regain the lead.
Sharratt barged and wriggled his way close and forced a penalty and Osaki took the tree points and Pats were in the ascendancy. Camped in the Quins 22 a score looked certain but outstanding defensive work continually spoiled possession. Quins full back Archie van Dijk intercepted five metres out it was only Aherne who could catch him but his try saving tackle was adjudged to be high and the fly half trudged to the bin as Fairburn nudged over the three points and the half time whistle beckoned.
With the second half barely underway the visitors regained the lead as Boulton helped himself to his brace after another well executed line out and driving maul. Pats enjoyed possession but lacked accuracy and opportunities were missed with individuals taking too much on and the ball all too frequently lost in the tackle. Fairburn’s kicking nouse pushed the Everest road men back into their 22 and again the Pats had no answer to Quins line out and rolling maul as the visitors rumbled over and pressure mounted on the home side.
Pats hit back as menacing number eight Scott Alldritt again chose to pick and drive from the base, this time finding Gahan in midfield and the winger made light work of three defenders for his second try.
Pats piled on the pressure with Alldritt held up twice and when young Jacob Hughes was clothes line tackled with the try line beckoning, there were audible gasps of amazement from the touchline at the lack of a penalty try. Captain George Angell called for calmness and combining with his muscular number eight, the Frenchman was again denied from close range but forced a penalty try for continued infringement and Pats took the lead for the third time and when Osaki took the extras, Quins knew that only a converted try could secure the win.
Pats defence held firm as the Oxfordshire men ran from deep and when pressure saw the visitor fling the ball into touch, Pats won good line out ball and it was wise headed Matt Dean who looped around the defence before putting in an intelligent kick ahead but the wind saw the ball run too deep. Fairburn knew that time was running out and when his deep 22 drop out was well followed up, Pats were forced into touch and yet again Quin’s immaculately controlled line out and maul saw them score with ease, but when the Fly Half’s conversion attempt missed it was honours even with five minutes to play.
It was a fitting reward for the Pats enterprising three quarters when Duncan Spurrier received a beautifully timed pass from replacement Ollie Booth, the powerful winger showed confidence as he backed his pace a scorched home for the decisive try, converted by Osaki to complete a remarkable victory. In a never-say-die performance of determination and passion, Pats can take pride in their achievement having ended an excellent season on a high with 21 wins from 26 outings and 101 points amassed.