NEC Harlequins recorded their third Zurich Premiership victory in a row with a 31-17 win over Leeds Tykes at the Stoop. Leading 11-10 at the break and playing with the wind in the second half, tries from Steve So'oialo and Nick Easter ensured Quins came away with the four points.
After both Jeremy Staunton and Tim Stimpson missed a penalty, Quins camped themselves inside the Leeds twenty-two as they pressed for the opening score of the match. Tony Diprose knocked the ball on as he attempted to dive over the line after 13 minutes, but the try eventually materialised just five minutes later.
George Harder returned a poor clearance kick from Stimpson with interest by rounding the Leeds full back and then feeding Tani Fuga the scoring pass, with the hooker touching down in the corner. Staunton missed the conversion from wide out but he and Stimpson then traded penalties to move the score onto 8-3 in Quins favour 12 minutes before the interval.
Straight from the restart after Staunton's penalty, winger David Rees went over in the left hand corner for Leeds opening try after being put clear by Stimpson, whose successful conversion put the visitors in front for the first and only time in the match (10-8). However, Quins went back on the offensive and with Leeds penalised for being offside, Staunton landed his second penalty with the final kick of the half to give the home side a one-point lead at the halfway stage (11-10).
Staunton then gave Quins a four-point advantage eight minutes after the restart with penalty number three from in front of the posts before man-of-the-match So'oialo scored a crucial try as the game entered the final quarter. The scrum half quickly took a penalty five metres from the Leeds line and burrowed his way over for the five points. Staunton converted to put Quins two scores in front and then kicked another penalty to make the score 24-10 with just six minutes of normal time left to play.
With three minutes remaining, Easter finished off an amazing drive from the pack that started some 40 metres out from the Leeds line, with the flanker touching down by the posts for a score which Andy Dunne converted having just come on to replace Staunton.
The home side then went in search of a bonus point try, but it was ex-Quin Chris Bell who scored a consolation try for the visitors following a fine break from Phil Christophers and Stimpson made no mistake with the simple conversion from in front of the posts.
With the game deep in injury time, Luke Sherriff picked up a loose ball inside the Leeds twenty-two and powered his way forward, only to be held-up short of the line as the Tykes defence held out to deny Quins coming away with the maximum five points.
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.