When Harlequins were last at Headingley two weeks ago it was Hallowe'en, with Andre Vos's team providing all of the tricks and most of the treats. Last night, before a pathetically thin crowd of just 1,238 hardy souls, it was Leeds who prevailed to reach the Powergen Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their history. Those who stayed away missed nothing by way of entertainment in a desperately poor match, blighted from start to finish by a lack of creativity and sound judgement.
Quins were back on their heels as early as the fifth minute when they halted some persistent Leeds driving illegally to concede a penalty try. Leeds kept up the pressure but, with the exception of one knifing run by Liam Botham, they were unable to find a cutting edge sufficiently sharp to open up the Quins' defence.
When it became the visitors' turn to attack they camped in the Leeds 22 and were denied, firstly by James Ponton, who was yellow carded for his sins, while Ugo Monye was unlucky not to have a try allowed; the referee deeming that crossing had taken place in the build-up. In the process, Leeds lost their outside-half, Duncan Hodge, with a suspected dislocated elbow. His replacement, another Scot, Gordon Ross, immediately made his mark with a penalty to give Leeds a healthy 10-point advantage on the half-hour, which stayed like that until the interval.
If the first half had been uneventful - Quins did not have a single attempt at goal - the second period opened in similar vein. Dan Scarbrough ruined a promising attack by dropping a simple pass, and the game developed into a dour forward struggle with neither side able to assume anything by way of genuine authority.
But at least Leeds gave the impression of wanting to win, even if the means to that end were poorly executed. Quins had a chance of salvaging something, but Josh Taumalolo spilled a scoring pass soon after Ross and Paul Burke had exchanged penalties, and all that remained was a penalty by Andy Dunne to bring down the curtain on a dreadfully dreary contest.
Leeds: Try penalty; Conversion Hodge; Penalties Ross 2. Harlequins: Penalties Burke, Dunne.
Leeds: M Cardey; D Scarbrough (D Rees, 48), P Christophers, L Botham, D Albanese; D Hodge (G Ross, 22), C Stuart-Smith; M Shelley (capt), R Rawlinson, M Holt (G Powell, 71), S Morgan, S Hooper, A Persico (D Hyde, 63), J Ponton, M Salter.
Harlequins: J Taumalolo; S Keogh, C Bell, M Deane, U Monye; P Burke (A Dunne, 67), B Willis; M Worsley (C Jones, 58), T Fuga, J Dawson (L Gomez, 58), B Davison (K Rudzki, 58), J Evans, P Sanderson (R Winters, 30), A Vos (capt), T Diprose.
Referee: W Barnes (London).Reuse content