NEC Harlequins made a disappointing return to Premiership action, going down 21-16 to arch rivals London Irish at the Madejski Stadium, Reading. Irish fly-half Barry Everitt was the hero for the home side by kicking all their points with seven penalties. Yet again this was a game that Quins could of won as they camped themselves on the Irish try line right at the death, but they could not find the winning score.
Everitt opened his account after 14 minutes but Niall Woods, who signed from Irish over the summer, levelled the scores nine minutes later. But the Woods penalty was all Quins could manage in the opening half, while two further penalties from Everitt gave Irish the lead at the break by 9-3.
Two minutes after the re-start and the visitors made an instant impression on the scoreboard. Debutant fly-half Alex Lawson fed Nick Greenstock, whose powerful run saw him sprint through the Irish defence from 40 meters out and touchdown for a magnificent try. It was the only try of the game, which Woods converted that gave Quins a one point lead but it was soon to be lost and never regained.
Everitt restored the Irish lead on 49 minutes and then added his fifth and sixth penalty after 52 and 58 minutes respectively, which gave the home side a crucial eight-point lead. Woods led the Quins fight back with two penalties which cut the deficit to just two points with just over ten minutes remaining.
With the game in the balance, Everitt landed his final penalty attempt with just three minutes remaining. This was a crucial blow as it meant Quins had to score a try if they were going to claim a victory or at least a draw. Despite introducing Will Greenwood into the game and as hard as they tried, Quins could not make the necessary breakthrough. Irish held out in a tense finale to maintain their 100% home record and the victory also means that they have now won the last three meetings between the sides.
For the sixth time this season, Quins had suffered defeat by a single score and for the second occasion lost a Premiership game despite not conceding a try.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.