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Cavaliers suffer heavy home defeat to Northampton
11:07am Tuesday 18th September 2012 in Sport
BATTLING Worcester Cavaliers lost out 67-10 to a powerful Northampton Wanderers outfit in the Aviva ‘A’ League at Sixways last night.
Stefan Shillingford scored a first-half try, but it was the visitors, who included a number of players with a vast amount of Aviva Premiership experience, who opened up a commanding 34-5 lead at the break.
Full-back Ben Howard capped a fine team move to score in the second-half as a youthful home side showed plenty of character.
But it was Wanderers who wrapped up the points to remain unbeaten in the competition this season. Cavaliers are next in action on Monday when they travel north to face Sale Jets.
The visitors showed early muscle up front as loose-head prop Alex Waller was driven over from a line-out after four minutes.
Blair Cowan, back in the team after a broken hand, showed good strength to move into space, after the initial break from Howard and James Freeman, before off-loading to Nile Dacres on his shoulder.
Worcester were keeping a strong Northampton back-line quiet in the early stages until some neat footwork and raw pace from Noah Cato saw him draw the final man out and feed wing Tom Collins into space to score and open up a 12-0 lead.
The Worcester back division showed neat hands to release Josh Watkins and Shillingford into useful channels. Skipper George Porter, Ed Shervington - busy on his comeback from a hamstring injury - and Cowan carried the fight to Northampton.
The visitors went further ahead as a delayed pass sent Tom May into space and he looked to step Howard before feeding Scott Armstrong on his shoulder as he crashed to the turf.
More neat handling from the visitors saw Danny Harriott bulldoze his way over before Worcester started to fight back as Tom Baker pinned Northampton back with a drilled grubber kick, while Howard brilliantly took a high ball under pressure from two men.
A quick tap-penalty caught Wanderers napping and saw Warriors rattle up close to the line before quick handling from Frost and his support runners gave Shillingford the space to dot down.
Northampton responded on the stroke of half-time as Lamb threw a clever dummy pass and released May, who had the power and pace to make the corner.
Armstrong grabbed his second of the night after neat footwork down the flank, although credit to Howard who raced out to block the conversion attempt. Quick-fire tries from Collins and Cato saw Northampton break past the half century and further ahead.
Worcester responded by scoring a sublime try as the ever-alert Ollie Frost took a quick tap penalty and released Dacres to gallop down the middle. He off-loaded in the tackle to Watkins who in turn fed Hayes and Howard who finished off the flowing attacking move.
Replacement fly half Will Hooley dived in the corner for Northampton as the game entered the final 10 minutes and McMillan crashed over from close range.