It was a valiant attempt but in the end injuries and errors gave Leicester Tigers the chance to extend their season, and perhaps their love affair with the Heineken Cup, as NEC Harlequins went down 28-13 at Welford Road, to lose the Zurich Wild Card semi-final by 51-39 on aggregate.
Ugo Monye raised hopes of a famous win on the road for Quins, when the 20 year-old winger raced in for a try after a looping 65-metre run. With Paul Burke adding the conversion to add to his early penalty, Quins found themselves seemingly in control at 10-3 ahead.
However, a series of lineout losses just before half-time eventually resulted in a try for Glenn Gelderbloom. Tim Stimpson added the conversion and a penalty that meant the home side were able to turn around 13-10 in front, with the tie level on aggregate.
An early penalty from Stimpson after the restart gave the Tigers the lead overall in the tie for only the second time, but Quins were not out of it by any means and there were high hopes of a grandstand finish.
A second try for the Tigers from back row forward Neil Back, as the visitors were reduced to 14 fit men with substitute Karl Rudzki down injured, didn't cast Quins too far adrift, with plenty of time remaining on the clock for the visitors to hit back.
Rudzki was replaced by James Hayter and despite the disruption to their pack, Quins narrowed the lead thanks to a 52-metre penalty from Burke, to cut the deficit to 21-13.
Burke then saw a penalty attempt cannon off the post with ten minutes remaining, which would have seen the visitors within three points from going through on aggregate.
Alas the disruption in the pack proved too much. Quins were turned at a scrum inside their own half and from the resultant home set-piece, the ball was played out to Freddie Tuilagi who was able to release Will Skinner for a clear run to the posts and his first Tigers try of his career.
Stimpson easily added the extras with the conversion, and the home side were able to close the score out at 28-13 to book their place in the Wild Card Final.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.