In what was arguably the best performance of the Under 21 season to date, a young NEC Harlequins Under 21 side (nine of the starting 15 were actually Under 19) eventually overwhelmed Bedford 2nd XV 61-14.
The game didn't start according to plan, however, as the Bedford side made the most of sloppy Quins' set-piece work to turn over and attack through several phases to score within the first few minutes. As the Bedford side looked to make gains around the fringes and in the midfield, the Quins defence began to exert some authority and snuff out any danger with aggressive hits and well-marshalled organisation.
In attack, the use of the wide runners stretched the Bedford tacklers and holes began to appear for the speedy Quins backs. As the pace of the game proved too much for some of the older Bedford players, frustration began to set in and it was perhaps fortunate for Bedford that their hooker was allowed to continue after tackling a Quins player off the ball.
It is difficult to single out any one of the Quins squad for special praise, as the team effort was superb. There were tries for Duncan James (four), ND Monye (two), Tosh Masson, Shaun Crowley and Tom Howells, and the result of hard work from the whole team.
There is an old saying that talks about forwards pushing the piano and backs playing it - in this game, the piano was pushed to every corner of the field and played in a virtuoso performance!
NEC Harlequins Under 21's: Muggridge, Dott, Rise (Payne 40), Ayling, Parker, Cread (Gaylor 60), Lewis (Wood 50), Hart, James, Cousins, Monye, Masson, Brown, Koloko (Howells 50), Crowley
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.