Wakefield made a promising start to the new season with a hard-fought victory away at Harlequins.
Three converted tries proved enough to see off Brian McDermott’s side, for whom Ben Jones-Bishop flourished, but both side’s finished with 12 men after Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Richard Moore went sent off as the game boiled over late on.
The Wildcats fielded several new faces, including barnstorming prop Shane Tronc and fellow Aussie import Daryl Millard, who crossed for the game’s first try, when he climbed highest to claim a Danny Brough kick.
Jones-Bishop, on loan from Leeds, then made his mark, showing blistering pace to break the Wildcats line and score a try on his debut for Quins.
Both teams were guilty of a handful of errors, in typical opening day fashion, but it was the visitors who grabbed the next score, when full-back Aaron Murphy ran from deep and found a gap in the line. He then passed to Ben Jeffries, making his second club debut after re-joining from Bradford, who had the legs to race away to the line. Brough added the extras, and Wakefield went in with a 12-4 half time advantage.
The home fans knew that the first score was crucial in the second half, and Quins brought themselves back within two points when Jones-Bishop surged through the line and placed the ball down under the posts to make the kick a formality and reduce arrears to 12-10.
But Wakefield looked the stronger side, causing damage up front with fearsome props Tronc and Michael Korkidas, and they scored the next try. A nice passing move ended with Jason Demetriou sending Murphy over with a lovely inside ball, and a difficult conversion from Brough extended Wakefield’s advantage to two scores.
It proved too much of a deficit for Quins to recover from, and they let their frustration show in the closing minutes, as a brawl erupted involving a clutch of players from both sides, which resulted in referee Ian Smith dismissing McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Moore.