x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Bahrain have stage fright as Quins capture Danway Gulf Cup

The Abu Dhabi Harlequins capture some silverware as the first televised domestic rugby match ends 6-5 to the away side.

SAAR, BAHRAIN // The man tasked with calling the first live television transmission of a domestic rugby match uttered few truer words than those with which he signed off the 2010 Danway Gulf Cup last night. "We knew it would be close, but we never thought it would be that close." The majority of the 600 supporters who had opted to watch the game in the flesh were ultimately left disappointed, as Bahrain went down 6-5 to Abu Dhabi Harlequins in a thrilling climax to the Gulf campaign. The match had been aired live on Bahrain Sports, and a large portion of the non-travelling Quins fans had the chance to share in their side's joy together, as they assembled at the side's base in Heroes at the Crowne Plaza. After the game, Bahrain were able to lift the league trophy that they recently wrestled from Abu Dhabi, but it will have felt like a small consolation after they were deprived a double in agonising fashion. Dan Bell, the playmaker who was one of the stand-out performers in his side's march to the league title, picked a bad day to suffer the yips. The traveling Quins weathered a powerful opening half from the new league champions, and somehow held a 6-0 lead at the break despite rarely breaching the Bahrain 22-metre line. Bell, the fly-half, missed with two gettable opportunities from the kicking tee, and the hosts were also deprived a try when a forceful driving maul was held up over the line. Abu Dhabi's heroic second-half defence ultimately looked destined to count for nought when their line was finally broken by Mark Burnell. Yet the cup was their's when Bell's conversion faded away to the right of the posts.

pradley@thenational.ae