Both sides threw everything at one another to gain ascendancy in the first half, and there were small margins at times, but the DHL Stormers managed to gain the edge, scoring three tries to one by the Harlequins – with Springbok flank Deon Fourie earning a brace – for an encouraging 17-7 lead.
The second half was tightly fought with the Capetonians scoring an early try before surviving a brave fightback by the visitors who scored three quick tries at the end that saw them close the gap on the scoreboard from 32-7 to only four points..
Fourie opened up the scoring in the first minute after dashing his way to the tryline following a great break out wide and his national team-mate, flyhalf Manie Libbok, added the conversion to hand the team a 7-0 lead.
The English club fought back with intent two minutes later to add to their first try of the match compliments of England No 8 Alex Dombrandt, who forced his way over the chalk from a powerful rolling maul, and they leveled the scores with the extra two.
Both teams created opportunities as the half progressed, but the DHL Stormers made the most of their chances with prop Steven Kitshoff and Fourie both crashing over from rolling mauls within 20 minutes of one another to hand them a 17-7 lead.
Harlequins fought hard until the end of the half to narrow their deficit before the break, but the tenacious DHL Stormers shut them out, allowing them to enter the break with a 17-7 lead.
The Capetonians picked up where they left off seven minutes after play resumed with Springbok fullback Damian Willemse showing his magic to hold off a defender and touch down after a stunning inside pass by wing Seabelo Senatla, and Libbok slotted a penalty goal in the 56th to stretch their lead to 25-7.
Both teams ran hard at one another without success until the 74th minute when replacement loose forward Willie Engelbrecht went over for the DHL Stormers' fifth try, and Libbok added the conversion to nudge their lead to 32-7.
Harlequins fought until the end with three tries in the last eight minutes as Dombrandt clocked his second five-pointer, followed soon after by Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen and wing Joe Marchant, and the conversions saw them go down 32-28.
DHL Stormers 32 (17) – Tries: Deon Fourie (2), Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse, Willie Engelbrecht. Conversions: Manie Libbok (2). Penalty goal: Libbok.
Harlequins 28 (7) - Tries: Alex Dombrandt (2), Andre Esterhuizen, Joe Marchant. Conversions: Marcus Smith (4).