A lack of discipline once again proved to be NEC Harlequins Under 21's downfall on Saturday (26th April 2003), when they were defeated by their Gloucester counterparts 32-23 at the Stoop.
The home side got off to a good start with Adrian Jarvis converting an early penalty to give Quins a 3-0 lead. Although Gloucester had by far the bigger and heavier pack, Tom MacCormick competed well and managed to steal some of the visitors ball at the lineout.
Tom Parker was then penalised at a ruck, allowing Gloucester to kick for the corner. They caught the resulting lineout and drove the Quins pack over their own line for the first try of the afternoon. This set the tone for the match, with Quins trying to play attractive rugby but struggling to come to terms with the size and power of the oppositions pack.
Gloucester had soon added their second try, which again went unconverted. Quins started to get some quality possession and had Gloucester under pressure on their own line, from which Rob Outen managed to burrow his way over for a try.
Quins came straight back at the visitors with Ugo Monye putting in a chip ahead for Chris Bell to chase, thought he narrowly lost the race for the touchdown. Gloucester managed to score a third try before half-time and went into the break 15-8 in front.
The second half started with more penalties being conceded by Quins, allowing Gloucester to once again kick for touch close to the line. The Quins pack held firm and after some good defence, Gloucester decided to move the ball away from the pack allowing their fly half to drop a goal. Quins quickly worked their way into an attacking position and Jarvis responded in similar fashion.
However, Gloucester were soon in the corner once again for another lineout, and another catch and drive, which Quins could not prevent them from scoring from. A fifth try of the match soon followed for the away side.
Monye started the Quins comeback with a try, following a good break by Max Wilcox. Then with five minutes remaining, Tom Guest powered through the midfield to score the final try of the day that Jarvis converted.
This was a disappointing result for Quins who looked capable of outplaying the limited Gloucester team, but the lack of discipline played into the formidable Gloucester packs hands and the visitors played their 10 men game extremely well.
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.