LV=Cup: Harlequins beat Northampton with last-minute Ben Botica try
Last Updated: 10/11/12 4:04pm
Ben Botica celebrates the match-winning try
A Ben Botica try from the last play of the game won a thrilling LV=Cup clash as Harlequins beat Northampton 31-30.
It was Northampton's fourth defeat in a row, but they looked to be heading for victory before on his Saints debut prop Ethan Waller was yellow-carded for killing the ball in his 22 and Quins tapped it for Botica to barge over under the posts. The Kiwi knocked over the simple conversion to secure the win.
Ryan Lamb started the scoring after three minutes with a penalty, but a wild pass from the fly-half set up the visitors for the opening try. Quins moved the ball to wing Sam Smith who stepped inside the Saints defence to scoot under the posts from halfway. Botica converted.
Lamb quickly reduced the arrears to one point but Quins profited when Mike Haywood's lineout throw 10 metres from his try-line over-shot and centre Harry Sloan scored under the posts. Botica made it 14-6.
Quins were gifted a third try from another poor pass from the Saints fly-half, which was intercepted by Smith on halfway to race under the posts.
The home scrum again got Northampton going after the break, powering out a penalty for Lamb to add another three points, and from the re-start Saints finally broke their try-drought through Luther Burrell.
Jamie Elliott picked up the bouncing ball and his pass to Tom May saw the veteran full-back sprint clear of a tap tackle and pass to Burrell 20 metres out. The former Leeds centre held off two and slid over in the left corner.
Lamb missed the conversion and Botica immediately made it 24-17 with a penalty, but more good work by Burrell saw him send over May in the same corner and from the same touchline Lamb converted to draw Northampton level.
The Northampton pack won another scrum penalty and Lamb obliged seven metres in from the touchline to put Jim Mallinder's team in front for the first time with 15 minutes left.
Northampton scrum-half Martin Roberts was held up over the line and Lamb landed a drop goal with three minutes to go, but there was still time for Botica to have the final say.