On a windy Saturday afternoon (19th April 2003) the NEC Harlequins Under 19 side ran out 14-10 winners in a pulsating clash against top of the table Leicester Tigers.
Fielding a much changed team from the one that defeated Sevenoaks last week, including debuts at hooker, centre and on the wing, Quins faced the slope and the wind in the first half. By firing out of the blocks, Quins shocked Leicester into a number of uncharacteristic errors.
However, it was Leicester who drew first blood, through a suspicious looking try. Creating space on the outside, the Leicester wing was put through from a forward pass and despite being tackled into touch and dropping the ball over the line, the referee awarded the score to make it 5-0 to the home side.
Spurred on, Quins hit back in style, moving the ball wide for wing debutant Ende Monye to fend off his opposite number to score. With the conversion missed, the scores were tied at 5-apiece.
Following some great defence from both sides, Quins finally broke the deadlock, with Tim McEwen converting a penalty just before half-time to make the score 8-5 to the visitors.
After some rousing words at the interval, Quins came storming out again following the restart, this time with the wind and the slope in their favour. Moving Leicester from side to side, they finally earned a penalty 35 metres out. McEwen stepped up and coolly slotted the ball between the uprights to make it 11-5.
Leicester responded and on a number of occasions broke the Quins line, only to be denied by some last ditch tackling. Six minutes from time and Quins were awarded another penalty in a similar position to the previous one. With a lot of pressure on his shoulders, McEwen sent the ball straight through the posts once again to make the score 14-5, with only minutes remaining.
Undeterred, Leicester came straight back and following sustained pressure on the Quins line, the visitors defence finally cracked and the home side scored their second try of the match close to the posts for the final points of the game. Determined to avert the two extra points on offer from the conversion, all 15 of the Quins players lined up for the charge down, sufficiently distracting the kicker for him to push the ball wide.
With great defensive work from the backs and a solid playing platform set up by the forwards, with Duncan James and Tom Muggeridge leading by example, this was an outstanding victory for the young Quins side.
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.