Reigning champions Saracens battled all the way but Harlequins got their Premiership Rugby U18 Academy Competition campaign off to a flyer as full-back Jake Hennessy kept his cool with a last-gasp kick in a 25-24 victory.
Despite heavy Saracens pressure early on, a lurking Gabriel Ibitoye intercepted a loose pass and ran in a length-of-the-field effort to put Quins seven points to the good.
Cadan Murley followed him over before half-time as Harlequins built a 12-7 lead, and soon after the break Ibitoye notched his second.
The hosts then had to brace themselves for a Saracens onslaught as they picked up 17 points to lead 24-22 with two minutes to go, but Hennessy put Harlequins back on top when it mattered with a last-minute penalty.
And while the focus is on the performances rather than the results at this stage of his players’ careers, academy coach Tony Diprose was left beaming by the win.
“We’re just pleased that the work we’ve done over the season so far is being put into practice,” he said, “Although winning is a nice habit to pick up.
“I thought the standard of the game from both teams’ perspective was high and I’d say the quality of the fixtures has gone up year on year in general.
“In the long run it’s all about individual development and whether they can go on to become Harlequins senior players, and it was great to see them pull on the shirt.”
Jack Evans quickly made a name for himself at Gloucester Rugby after the new recruit bagged a 19-point haul, leading his side to a gritty 24-17 win over Sale Sharks.
Evans – who starred for Gloucester at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s this summer – kicked two penalties as the Cherry & Whites entered half-time with a slender 6-3 lead.
The centre fired another two penalties to start off the second half and he then popped up with a try on the left wing.
Gloucester were then made to hold on with 14 men after a double yellow card to Aaron Hinkley, with replacement George Chatterton and Sam Dugdale drawing the scores level.
But the home side had the last word when Russell Upton charged over off the base of a scrum.
Elsewhere, George Wootten and Ted Hill crossed the line before half-time to help set up an impressive 24-0 win for Worcester Warriors over Yorkshire Carnegie.
Ollie Allsopp, who had scored a first-half penalty, then went over himself before Stan Mayne added the gloss.
No.8 Tom Willis capped off an all-action performance for Wasps with the last score of the game as his side ran away 28-12 winners from Bath Rugby
And another back-rower in Sam Easton was the star of the show for Northampton Saints – his hat-trick coming in a 45-15 triumph over Newcastle Falcons.
London Irish also posted a fine performance on the road, toppling Exeter Chiefs 33-15, though home side fly-half Harvey Skinner stood out in scoring all of his side's points.
Chiefs academy coach Rob Gibson said: "It was a tough day for the boys, but there was much to be positive about and a lot to look forward to in the coming months.”
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