NEC Harlequins Chief Executive and Head Coach, Mark Evans had stated before the game just how vitally important a match this was for Quins. At the half way point in the season a win against Leeds would have consolidated their position in the top half of the table, and enhanced the prospects of making the end of season play offs.
In addition, following what had been a great week for English Rugby after the team's victory in the World Cup Final, it was a golden opportunity to gain new supporters.
World cup heroes Will Greenwood and Jason Leonard may not have brought their winning ways back with them to the Stoop on Saturday but they certainly brought Sydney's weather, as NEC Harlequins slumped to a 9 - 16 defeat against Leeds Tykes in a rain soaked affair.
It was the teams third meeting in just over a month and having both snatched victories, Quins were keen to win the decider.
The home side started confidently; keen to force their mark on the game. Keeping the ball with the forwards and battling towards the Leeds line.
Feeling the pressure, it wasn't long before Leeds conceded a penalty. Andy Dunne; borrowing the number 10 shirt from an injured Paul Burke, confidently slotting a close range penalty after Leeds were penalised for hands in the ruck.
Leeds fought back through Scottish International Gordon Ross, levelling the scores at 3 - 3 with a penalty after 16 minutes. But NEC Harlequins reply was swift; again Dunne found his mark with a 35 metre penalty.
In spite of this, it was Quins turn to defend as Leeds seized the initiative. A missed tackle saw Matt Holt dart through the Quins defence, the home side scrambling on their own line. Some frantic tackling by Ugo Monye and Chris Bell saw the attack repelled.
Again Quins battled, taking it through several phases but in what would turn out to be the story throughout the game - handling errors cost them dear. Masters of their own destruction Quins went into the break with just a penalty separating the teams 6 -3.
However, what really turned the game happened in three contentious moments after the break, when Gavin Duffy was adjudged to have knocked on after skilfully taking a high ball, the resulting scrum saw Ross sneak through the Quins backline. With a successful conversion and an earlier penalty the game was drifting from Quins 13 - 6.
It was time for a morale boost and the biggest cheer of the day as the 35 year old record International caps holder Jason Leonard made his return to club rugby. It worked; Quins began firing on all cylinders again but not for long. The handling errors which had dogged them in the first half had returned to haunt them again.
Another Dunne penalty brought them within range but things got worse. Ace Tiatia was unfairly penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck. The resulting penalty took the gap to 7 points.
Quins weren't finished yet, with the final whistle beckoning they once again took the game to Leeds, vying for a try. The Tykes resisting the pressure kept infringing time and again. Indeed, Quins were unlucky not to get a penalty try. Referee Sean Davey, had already warned the Leeds captain after they conceded 4 penalties on their own line, when Leeds collapsed a rolling maul, yet no action was taken. The final whistle bringing an end to a dismal affair of squandered chances and what might have been.
With just five points separating positions 2nd to 8th in the league, a return to winning ways is vitally important to Quins, who now face three tough away mid-table battles.
Having lost only once in their last four away games this season the boys seem to have dispelled their old bouts of travel sickness and with the imminent return of Will Greenwood, George Harder and from England Sevens duty Ugo Monye, hopefully brighter days are surely on the horizon.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.