There was no dream return to London Irish for England's Peter Richards as Harlequins, his former club, recorded their second win over the Exiles this season with a narrow 10-8 EDF Energy Cup victory on Sunday.
Richards was back in the familiar number nine shirt after his sojourn into England's back row last weekend, but his new team-mates were left to rue two disallowed tries on a wet afternoon at the Madejski Stadium.
Irish came out looking to build on their victory over Guinness Premiership leaders Gloucester last weekend and started well.
Jeremy Staunton missed a chance to open the scoring with a penalty that sailed right of the posts after Quins lock James Percival was yellow-carded for pulling down a maul.
The hosts thought they had scored shortly after when number eight Phil Murphy went over in the corner but referee Roy Maybank had spotted an obstruction in the build-up.
Murphy was not denied three minutes later, taking advantage of an overlap on the Irish left to slide over in an almost identical position.
Staunton missed the extras and Irish continued to press but failed to capitalise on their dominance of possession.
They were punished on the half hour when a break by Quins open side Will Skinner took them to the Exiles' five metre line.
From the resulting scrum number eight Chris Hala'ufia crashed over and Adrian Jarvis added the conversion to take them into an unlikely lead.
Delon Armitage took over kicking duties for Irish and replied with a 40-metre penalty but Jarvis was equally accurate from similar distance on the stroke of half-time to give Quins a 10-8 lead.
Jarvis missed with a second effort from even further out at the start of the second half and the referee's whistle came to Quins' rescue again moments later when Maybank penalised an Irish scrum for an early shove after Richards had scampered over.
Armitage was unsuccessful with his second shot at goal just before the hour and the game became disjointed for the following 10 minutes amid a flood of replacements from both sides.
Chris Malone, on for Jarvis, was next to try his luck at goal only for his effort to bounce off the right-hand upright which turned out to be the last attempt at a score from either side.
For London Irish:
Yellow card: Percival (13, Harlequins)
London Irish: 15 Tim Curran, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Delon Armitage, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Peter Richards, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (c), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Tonga Lea'aetoa, 2 David Paice, 1 Dan Murphy,
Replacements: 16 Tom Warren, 17 Stuart Mackie, 18.Gary Johnson, 19 Declan Danaher, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Jeremy Staunton.
Harlequins: 15 David Strettle, 14 Simon Keogh, 13 De Wet Barry, 12 Tosh Masson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Danny Care, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Will Skinner, 6 Paul Volley, 5 Nicolas Spanghero, 4 James Percival, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 John Brooks,
Replacements: 16 Tani Fuga, 17 Ricky Nebbett, 18 Ollie Kohn, 19 Phil Davies, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Chris Malone, 22 Jordan Turner-Hall.
Referee: Roy Maybank (England)
Touch judges: Andrew Pearce (England), Andrew Watson (England)
Television match official: Bob Ockenden (England)