Gloucester confirmed their championship credentials by scoring four tries in a 29-11 victory over NEC Harlequins, though the visitors gave them a helping hand with an error strewn performance that was in stark contrast to their performances in recent matches.
Henry Paul grabbed the opening try midway through the first half, after brushing off a challenge from Paul Burke, and with Ludovic Mercier adding the two points on offer from the conversion Quins found themselves seven points behind.
A good restart almost presented Quins with an immediate chance to reply, but the usually reliable Tony Diprose dropped the ball with men wide of him in acres of space.
The home side went further in front after full back Thinus Delport went close down the right hand side, by slipping through attempted tackles from Nathan Williams and Viliame Satala. The ball was played quickly across to the opposite flank, where Junior Paramore paved the way for Jake Boer to grab a second score that Mercier once again converted.
Quins replied minutes later with a Paul Burke penalty to reduce the deficit, and very quickly added a second soon after this. However, it should have been a seven pointer after Satala's grubber kick found the Fijian test centre bearing in for a try only to be pulled back when a Gloucester player tugged his shirt.
Quins had every reason to have expected a penalty try and a probable sin-binning, but referee Steve Lander did neither, and the visitors had to settle for three points instead from the resulting penalty.
The visitors came close to further points before the break when a trademark lineout catch and drive in the Gloucester half was illegally halted when it reached the twenty-two. Burke had his sights on picking up another three points, but saw his kick cannon off the near post with no-one able to follow up and take advantage of the situation.
Two tries in four minutes early in the second half when Quins looked dangerous, ended any thoughts that the visitors might have had of making a comeback.
James Simpson-Daniel took advantage of a loose Will Greenwood pass to sprint home by the posts for a try that Mercier converted. Shortly after this, Mercier carved out a chance for himself, following a clever grubber kick and chase to the line that he won with ease.
Four tries had secured Gloucester their bonus point and although Quins had scores from Ben Gollings and Roy Winters disallowed, they had to settle for a well-worked try from Tani Fuga, which was nothing more than a consolation.
A late Henry Paul penalty made the final score 29-11 to Gloucester.
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.