NEC Harlequins are still looking for their first victory in 2005, after losing out to Leicester Tigers by 32-17 in the Zurich Premiership at Welford Road. Fly half Andy Goode kicked 22 points for the hosts, as Quins failed to add to their first half tally during the second 40 minutes.
It was the visitors who made a dream start by taking the lead inside the opening two minutes. Tony Diprose found touch close to the Leicester line and from the resulting lineout, Nick Easter stole possession and after he was held-up it was Jon Dawson who burrowed over from close range to score the try. Jeremy Staunton converted but a penalty from Goode minutes later made the score 7-3 in Quins favour.
Goode then outscored Staunton two penalties to one to cut the deficit to a point (9-10), but it was Quins who then extended their advantage as the game entered the second quarter. Tony Diprose won a lineout that led to Ugo Monye being unleashed from an inside pass, from which the winger burst through the defence and touched down under the posts. Staunton made no mistake with the simple conversion, but it would prove to be Quins last points of the afternoon.
Goode converted his fourth penalty of the half and the Tigers number ten was then instrumental in setting up Leicester's opening try of the match shortly before half-time. Goode's cross-field kick was taken by second row Ben Kay on the right flank and winger Austin Healey was in support to gratefully accept the scoring pass. Goode added the two extra points on offer to put Leicester in front for the first time in the match (19-17).
The home side dominated the opening exchanges after the restart and when Quins were penalised close to their own line, Easter was shown a yellow card and the visitors were down to 14 men. Goode converted the resulting penalty to put Leicester into a five-point lead (22-17).
Any thoughts Quins had of getting something out of the contest suffered a further setback when Goode landed his sixth penalty of the match that put the home side into a two score lead (25-17) with 15 minutes left to play.
With the game deep in second half injury time, Leicester secured their victory by scoring the only try of the half. Replacement number eight Henry Tuilagi forced his way over for the five points in the right hand corner and Goode finished with a 100% success rate with the boot by adding the conversion from the touchline.
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.