The Abu Dhabi Harlequins began their Arabian Cup defence with a hard-fought 22-10 victory over the Dubai Exiles.
Quins off to a flying start
ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Harlequins began their Arabian Cup defence with a hard-fought 22-10 victory over the Dubai Exiles at the Al Ghazal Golf Club last night. They opened a 15-0 lead at half time and held off a spirited second half challenge from the visitors to get their new season off to a flying start. The fullback Ade Lombo opened the scoring from a penalty after firing the first one wide from the left. Winger Mike Hartley then wrote himself into the record books as the first man to touch down for a try in a Quins shirt after cleverly evading a couple of Exiles' tackles. The second row forward Jamie Clarke got the Quins' second try of the night, grounding after a period of sustained pressure from the forwards. Lombo added the extra points to set a strong platform for Abu Dhabi. Jo Czerpak cut through the Exiles defence to score under the posts after the visitors had cut the lead through a Luke Sinclair penalty at the restart. Johnnie Ombler scored a pushover try and Sinclair added the extra points to give the scoreline some respectability for the Dubai club. Abu Dhabi applied the pressure from the onset and where courage was concerned they were right on top. This caused endless problems for the Exiles, particularly in the first half, where the match was won. They enjoyed a major share of possession and territorial advantage and looked the sharper of the two sides ? Abu Dhabi's long and intensive pre-season regime paying handsome dividends. The Exiles picked up their game after the break but found it hard to punch holes in a solid Abu Dhabi defence. They were eventually rewarded with a try but the result was never in doubt after Abu Dhabi's early dominance. The two play again next week in what will be the clubs opening league fixtures of the season.