Monye's birthday wish is another Premiership crown for Harlequins

Harlequins 23 Bath 9

Ugo Monye was in reflective mood after scoring Harlequins' second try in Saturday's ultimately clear-cut 23-9 win over a humdrum Bath, but it was not all to do with the England wing turning 30 the same day. Monye called to mind Quins' victories away to Munster, Stade Français, Biarritz and Toulouse in recent seasons as his way of saying, if the club need to play away in the Premiership play-offs to defend their title, they can cope.

Monye was used as a second-half substitute – and he had racked his brains or someone's statistics bank to deduce that was only the 16th time in more than 200 appearances he had been on the bench – and when he came on, many supporters in The Stoop's West Stand serenaded him spontaneously with "Happy Birthday". Normally they favour the simpler chant of "Ooooooooo-go" for one of the club's most popular and long-serving figures.

It was a tender moment that was appreciated by Monye's mum, Florence, sitting with the supporters, and the payback came when Nick Evans' high ball was fumbled by Bath's Olly Woodburn and Jack Cuthbert and Monye shoed it over the line for the try that put Quins 14 points clear with 15 minutes left.

Saracens or Leicester away seems the likeliest play-off fixture for Quins, who only just edged out Northampton at home in the equivalent fixture last year when they became champions for the first time.

"It excites me," said Monye. "It doesn't matter where we play because I know when we get our game right we will challenge anyone. The last few weeks we have not got that right for various reasons. This match was tough. Whether it be Saracens or Leicester we go to they are the games we all look forward to. Over the last few years we have been written off going away to Thomond Park, Stade Français, Biarritz or Toulouse – the list goes on. I don't know what it is with this group of players but we always find a way."

Monye also said form was essential and his team have the chance to gear up when they meet Worcester away and, coincidentally, Northampton at home in the final two fixtures.

Bath's remaining matches with Leicester and Saracens make their chances of finishing in the top six to qualify for the Heineken Cup look shaky. They will hope Saracens win the Heineken to earn England a seventh spot but even that may not be enough. One European Challenge Cup trophy in 15 years is slim pickings for a club of Bath's history and Saturday's showing, without half a dozen injured players, demonstrated the importance of strength in depth – or lack of it in their case.

The excellent Ben Botica was another to do well from the bench for Harlequins and if there has been a sense of the pace catching up with them of late, Monye dismissed it. "I want to win the Premiership, it is all we have got at the moment," he said. "We are current champions, we want to defend it honourably and I feel as if we have got the squad of players to do that. First things first, we have to qualify for the play-offs and give it a real good crack.

"I will be disappointed if we lose it by not firing all our bullets. In the next few weeks, or however long our season turns out to be, we will unload everything we have got and give it the best crack."

Harlequins: Tries Care, Monye; Conversions Botica 2; Penalties Botica 3. Bath: Penalties Donald 2, Devoto. Harlequins M Brown; T Williams, G Lowe, M Hopper (B Botica, 25), S Smith (U Monye, 50); N Evans, D Care (K Dickson, 60); J Marler (M Lambert, 52), J Gray (R Buchanan, 58), J Johnston (W Collier, 63), O Kohn, G Robson (C Matthews, 17), T Guest (L Wallace, 63), C Robshaw (capt), N Easter.

Bath O Devoto (J Cuthbert, 58); O Woodburn, S Rokoduguni, K Eastmond (T Heathcote, 60), H Agulla; S Donald, M Claassens (P Stringer, 55); P James (N Catt 49), R Batty (E Guinazu, 55), D Wilson (A Perenise, 55), S Hooper (capt, W Spencer, 64), D Attwood, F Louw, M Gilbert (Taylor, 70-74), S Taylor (G Mercer, 63).

Referee W Barnes ( London).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence