A large crowd, all there in support for Help For Heroes, saw a young Quins side run through to the final on Wednesday night, where they faced the Help for Heroes VII, which was made up of members of the England 7's team.
12 teams, including Quins, competed in the tournament that has been running since 1975, with local and university sides such as St Mary's, Cambridge, Esher, London Scottish and the hosts Rosslyn Park, taking on the likes of teams from London Wasps, Saracens, The Army and the Help for Heroes VII.
Quins kicked off their campaign against Cambridge University. Good early pressure saw breaks from Sam Smith and Gareth Williams, before Jono Ross showed good strength to power over the line to break the deadlock just before half-time. Seb Jewell, later awarded the Player of the Tournament by the tournament's organisers, scored the conversion, and added to his tally moments later when he broke away from the Cambridge defence to cross the line. Quins led 12-0 at half-time.
Whilst Cambridge had put up a valiant defence for the majority of the first half, it seemed their fight had deserted them, as from the kick-off a series of good hands saw the ball pass out to George Lowe, who sprinted 60m of the pitch to score in the corner. Sam Smith was next to add points, scoring his first of six tries, after capitalising on a mistake by Cambridge. Jewell nailed the conversion, and Quins had a 24-0 lead.
18 year-old Chris Rose, part of the Harlequins Academy AASE programme at Richmond College, was quick to make a good impression, with his quick feet and strong defence seeing him break away from the Cambridge defence, throw a delightful dummy to turn his defender and charge through to score. Jewell was again successful with the conversion.
The fly-half and wing combined again moments later, when a chip and chase from Jewell landed neatly for Rose, who powered through two defenders to cross. Jewell scored the conversion on the final whistle, and with it Quins 38-0 win.
Next up came local club Esher, and a game that saw Jewell and Lowe lining up against their loan-club teammates. Some strong defence from Esher saw many chances fail for Quins, who had to do some good tackling of their own to keep Esher from scoring. Quins eventually took a seven point lead through a try from Gareth Williams and conversion from Jewell. Esher hit back just after half-time with a try and conversion of their own.
Quins were quick to respond, with Tosh Masson stealing the ball, who sent it out to Chris York, who in turn threw a long pass back to Smith, who broke away to score. Jewell converted.
Quins were now firmly in control of the game, and it was Masson's turn to score, after Ross powered through two defenders to send the ball out to the centre to touch-down in the corner.
Quins proved to be as strong in defence as they were in attack, as York and Rose combined to put in a teriffic tackle on the Esher winger, and secured the turnover. Captain, Neil McMillan surged through the defence before offloading to Tom Sargeant who ran in the try. Final score 24-7, and Quins were throught to the semi-final to face old rivals London Wasps.
With the two Premiership sides lining up against each other, a battle would surely ensue. Wasps were first to score, only for Smith to combine with Lowe to race through and return the favour. 7-7.
A superb tackle from York produced the turnover ball, which was recycled through the hands and eventually found Smith open on the wing, who went over to score his second of the game. York found himself on the score sheet moments later, taking the Quins lead to 17-7. A penalty on the stroke of half-time was converted by Jewell, taking the half time score to 20-7.
Wasps were quick to hit back in the second half, scoring a quick try as their number 10 powered through to score. With the conversion successful, the game was on again.
Quins were quick to fight back, and some great vision from Jewell saw him chip the ball to Masson to chase, only for a Wasps player to collect the ball offside. The resulting scrum saw Quins come out with the ball, which was passed out wide to Smith, who crashed over the line, despite three defenders trying to bring him down, to score his hat-trick try. Jewell missed the conversion, but the game was won, 25-14, and Quins were through to the final.
Quins had won the trophy on two previous occasions, in 1979 and 2007, and were eager to add a third title to their collection. However, it was clear that the final opposition were no push-over. The Help For Heroes VII squad included England 7's stars Ollie Phillips, Greg Barden, Josh Drauiniui, Dan Norton, Tom Powell and Uche Odouza, who have all been representing on the 7's circuit this season.
A tough, physical game was soon underway, with Quins being punished for an early mistake by Phillips, who scored both the try and conversion. The young London side were not letting their heads drop however, and a break from McMillan saw Smith find the try line once more, despite heavy pressure from Phillips, to bring Quins within two points.
However, with rapid runners across the park, Help For Heroes were quick to respond, with Norton out-pacing even Quins' speedster Lowe. Another try for the Help For Heroes side soon followed, as Barden broke through the field and streaked away. Half-time and Quins were trailing 5-19.
Not to be defeated, Quins came out fighting in the second half, and after conceding territory, the ball was spread wide across the back, with subsequent breaks from Lowe, Smith and Williams. Some strong attack followed, with Jewell sending the ball out to Lowe, who showed his own pace to break away from the field and touch down for a superb try.
Two more tries from Help for Heroes' Norton and Ernshaw and a conversion from Phillips proved too much to come back from, and the England stars ran out 10-31 winners despite a spirited display from the young Quins side.
Quins 7's Squad
1. Chris York
2. Neil McMillan (Captain)
3. Jono Ross
4. Tom Sargeant
5. Gareth Williams
6. Seb Jewell
7. George Lowe
8. Tosh Masson
9. Sam Smith
10. Chris Rose
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.