CHRIS Pennell could not save Warriors with his last-ditch punt for the posts in a 22-21 defeat to Bath.

But while it could have gone either way at Sixways, it would have been hard to deny the visitors deserved to win based on a second half in which they went up a gear that Worcester could not match.

REACTION: Warriors "did enough to win the game"

REACTION: Bath "made it more of a contest than it needed to be"

AS IT HAPPENED: Warriors 21 Bath 22

Warriors led 13-10 at the break and probably warranted a bigger cushion, one they might have had but for conceding inside two minutes as Zach Mercer went over after the hard work had been done by the powerful Beno Obano.

Back came Warriors, Duncan Weir missing a kick in the wind before landing a straighter effort to close the gap.

Rhys Priestland, with a conversion under his belt, responded but the score was 10-10 inside a frenetic opening 13 minutes when a high tackle allowed Weir to kick for position.

Once in the 22, Francois Hougaard released Cornell du Preez to score with Weir’s extras levelling matters.

Weir and Ethan Waller threatened to break through with Warriors harassing Bath every time they took the ball and the lead changed hands in the 23rd minute, Weir kicking with precision from left of centre despite fighting with the elements.

The battle ebbed and flowed before Worcester survived a sustained spell of pressure in front of the line and a TMO call when Bath thought they had scored.

Marco Mama was influential in relieving the pressure in the aftermath with Warriors ending the half on the front foot but fortune was not on their side minutes after the restart with Graham Kitchener sin binned for steaming into Will Chudley from a tap penalty that prevented an obvious try-scoring opportunity.

The 14 men simply could not clear from the scrum that followed with Francois Louw scoring after Josh Matavesi and Semesa Rokoduguni had threatened to.

The pressure kept coming and not for the first time, Ted Hill produced a vital tackle with Warriors creaking.

On this occasion there was no one to back him up and Josh McNally got over, extending to nine Bath’s lead.

Worcester made little headway going forward but hope was drawn from a long punt from Weir which closed the gap.

Replacement Sam Lewis span out a pinpoint pass to the jet-heeled Nick David to force his way in for a try on his Premiership debut, leaving his side within a successful kick of regaining the lead.

In fairness to Weir, it was a tough ask in the conditions and it dropped short.

Bath blew a big chance to bag a bonus-point try, home fans breathing a sigh of relief while trying to cheer the knock on.

Warriors enjoyed a mini flurry but got forced back all too easily by a series of scrums and territorial kicks that seemed to get given away more frequently as the clock ticked down.

There was one last chance – if you could call it that – when Pennell took aim but it dropped wide and Worcester players sank to the ground.

Yes it was tight, yes it could have gone either way but Bath had two excellent chances to bag a fourth try and they hung tough in the first half more effectively than Worcester managed in the second, an Achilles heel that is proving frustrating for the fans.


Hougaard was the heartbeat of the side on his return to action.

Cool passes, all-round composure and no shortage of defensive work, this was a stellar comeback from injury in support of Duncan Weir.

Provided that vital link to edge out Ollie Lawrence for the accolade on a day when visiting press again mentioned the youngster's contribution.

Warriors: Pennell 7, van Breda 5, Lawrence 8, Venter 7, David 7, Weir 6, Hougaard 8*, Waller 7 (Bower 68, 6), Moulds 7 (Taufete’e 68, 6), Schonert 7 (Palframan 68, 6), Bresler 7, G Kitchener 5 (A Kitchener 54, 6), Hill 7, Mama 7, du Preez 7 (Lewis 68, 7).

Unused replacements: Heaney, Lance, Mills.


TRY 2 - Mercer 0-5

CON 3 - Priestland 0-7

PEN 8 - Weir 3-7

PEN 10 - Preistland 3-10

TRY 13 - du Preez 8-10

CON 14 - Weir 10-10

PEN 22 - Weir 13-10

TRY 46 - Louw 13-15

CON 47 - Priestland 13-17

TRY 57 - McNally 13-22

PEN 63 - Weir 16-22

TRY 69 - David 21-22