WORCESTER Warriors continued their preparations for the 2014-15 Greene King IPA Championship with an encouraging performance but eventually went down 22-16 against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
A first-half penalty try followed by scores from Tom Arscott and Will Cliff were enough to give the hosts victory, despite a late try from Warriors full-back Ben Howard and 11 points from the boot of academy fly-half Tiff Eden.
The hosts named a near full-strength side for their final pre-season encounter, while Warriors again fielded a mixed team.
Sale got off the mark after 10 minutes when Danny Cipriani converted a routine penalty.
Warriors hit back with Eden dispatching a penalty to bring the scores level following a five-metre scrum.
The visitors began to dominate against the Premiership side and took the lead for the first time when Eden added his second penalty.
Worcester’s pack were looking strong but they were forced to re-evaluate when Val Rapava-Ruskin was sent to the sin-bin midway through the first-half.
Sam Smith was forced to clear the ball into touch after a clever grubber kick from former England wing Mark Cueto but Sale went ahead after the referee awarded a penalty try.
They stretched their lead further before the break after Tom Brady fed former Sixways full-back Arscott and he raced through to touch down.
Eden kept the scoreboard ticking over with his third penalty 15 minutes from time.
But Cliff then broke through to touch down in the corner with Joe Ford converting.
The visitors had the last word with Howard catching the home defence napping to race over after a quickly taken penalty. Eden converted.
Warriors: Howard; Drauniniu (Grove 46), Stelling (Watkins 54), Fatiaki, Smith; Eden, Bruzulier (Arr 54); Rapava-Ruskin (56 Cosgrove), George (Annett 70), Daniels (Rees 65), Percival, Scotland-Williamson (Sanderson 72), Williams (De Carpentier 65), Betty [(Cosgrove 27), 34 (Cox 49)], Van Velze.