CENTRE Max Stelling suffered another injury set-back in Worcester Cavaliers’ 41-19 defeat to Northampton Wanderers in Premiership Rugby A League at Sixways.

The Birmingham-born back was making his comeback from an ankle problem which kept him out for a couple of months.

But he lasted just 19 minutes before limping off and there are fears it may be a reoccurrence of the same injury.

Academy backs development coach Gordon Ross said: “It does not look great when he goes off early doors, but we will assess him in the morning.

“Hopefully he will be OK and we can get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.

“I think it might be his ankle, but I don’t know exactly what it is at the moment.”

Stelling’s injury came in a one-sided opening period where Northampton’s pack dominated and opened up a 27-0 lead shortly after the break.

Cavaliers fought back bravely with Kai Owen and Ted Hill going over to cut the deficit to 27-14.

But Matt Beesley and Alex Mitchell crossed in the closing moments to secure a six-try victory before Tom Dodd touched down for a consolation score.

Ross added: “I am frustrated with the first half as we created three or four clear-cut opportunities and sadly the final pass didn’t go to hand.

“We were 20-0 down at half-time which was a pretty tough position to be in.

"But the boys showed endeavour and resilience to claw themselves back, so huge credit to the youngsters that came on.

“It was also great to see some of the experienced guys who have been out for a while get some game time.”

Despite the result and Stelling’s setback, director of rugby Gary Gold will be pleased to see fit-again duo full-back Chris Pennell and scrum-half Michael Dowsett come through unscathed in their first run-outs of the season.

Northampton fielded a side that featured experienced fly-half Stephen Myler and Samoa international Ken Pisi.

But it was their forward pack that did all the damage in the opening period.

After Myler knocked over an early penalty, the visitors smashed their way over for the opening try with lock Api Ratuniyarawa touching down. Myler failed to convert the 18th minute score.

Sam Olver was also unable to split the posts as his penalty attempt cannoned off the right upright.

In almost a carbon copy to their first try, Wanderers powered over again with hooker Charlie Clare getting the ball down from a driving lineout.

Myler’s uncharacteristic showing from the tee gave Worcester a glimmer of hope as he missed his second conversion.

But Cavaliers were buckling under pressure at scrum time as loosehead Johan Boyce saw yellow before referee Matt Turvey awarded Northampton a penalty try on the struck of half-time.

Trailing 20-0 at the break, matters got worse for Worcester as Nafi Tuitavake cut through and set up Tom Kessell for a simple try. Myler added the extras.

But with Tom Howe, Ben Howard and Pennell full of running, the hosts managed to claw their way back.

They got off the mark on 55 minutes when Owen burrowed over from close range and Olver landed the touchline conversion.

Ten minutes later Worcester got their second try with Hill dotting down moments after making a charge for the line.

Northampton bounced back, though, with Mitchell setting up Beesley before the provider turned scorer on 75 minutes. Grayson converted both to stretch the away side’s lead to 41-14.

But Cavaliers had the final word as Dodd crashed over at the death.