WORCESTER Cavaliers ended 2017 with a 39-12 defeat at Northampton Wanderers in the Premiership A League at Franklin’s Gardens today.

Cavaliers got the first try when Jamie Shillcock’s pinpoint kick fell into the hands of Ben Howard to score.

But first-half yellow cards for new signing Anton Bresler and Biyi Alo saw Worcester concede 14 points when down to 13 men as Tom Stephenson and Reece Marshall crossed the whitewash.

Ted Hill got the young Warriors back in the game just before half-time but the visitors did not take their chances in the second half.

They were duly punished as Northampton ran in three more tries courtesy of Nafi Tuitavake, Ben Nutley and Mitch Eadie to complete an unbeaten 2017 for the hosts.

Worcester looked to put the pressure on from the start after kicking a penalty to the corner but Wanderers stole it and burst upfield through Lewis Ludlam.

The hosts soon pressed for the whitewash as Juan Pablo Estelles was halted by Howard and Tom Howe before they switched it to the other side and Ludlam and his colleagues were forced into touch.

But the hosts soon got the first points on the board as James Grayson kicked a straightforward penalty.

Northampton pressed for the try line again but Dean Hammond intercepted in the 22 and galloped over halfway before Max Stelling, Matti Williams and Howe took Cavaliers to within five metres of the whitewash.

Shillcock then produced an inch-perfect cross-field kick for Howard to dot down in the corner as the visitors went ahead.

But Worcester were left in a spot of bother after Bresler was yellow-carded for a tackle off the ball which allowed Grayson to add a penalty.

Things got worse when Alo was sin-binned for not retreating 10 yards following a penalty which paved the way for two tries as Stephenson went over from close range and Marshall wheeled off a scrum under the posts.

While Worcester were down to 13 they shipped 14 points but thought they had reduced the deficit when Hill danced through the middle and beat the last man to score under the posts.

But the referee spotted a forward pass in the build-up so the try did not stand.

However, the 18-year-old got his try shortly after when he bashed through off the back of a five-metre scrum and Shillcock converted to leave Worcester within eight points at the break.

The hosts got the first points of the second half as Marshall’s break saw him make 60 metres and Grayson then produced a cross-field kick into the hands of Tuitavake who dotted the ball down.

Warriors' experienced flanker Matt Cox came off the bench to make his comeback following a lengthy bicep injury and was a real nuisance for the hosts at the breakdown.

But he could not stop Northampton getting their bonus-point try when Nutley dived over after heavy pressure in the 22.

Gordon Ross emptied the bench as Cavaliers searched for a way back into the game but it was a case of not converting pressure and field position into points.

They were made to pay when Eadie paced through a gap for the hosts’ fifth try.

The young Worcester side gave their all at the death to try to finish on a high but a knock-on short of the line just about summed up their day.

Their next fixture is on Monday, March 19, at Sale Jets.