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Worcester claim first win in scrappy affair

Published 02/10/2016

Wynand Olivier, South Africa
Wynand Olivier, South Africa

Worcester secured their first win of the Aviva Premiership season as Newcastle were beaten 11-9 in an error-strewn game.

The match was played in perfect conditions, and on the plastic pitch at Sixways, yet still both sides conspired to produce a very poor advert for the competition.

Worcester's Wynand Olivier scored the only try of the game with Ryan Lamb and Tom Heathcote kicking penalties.

Newcastle at least claimed a bonus point thanks to two Mike Delany penalties, and another late on from Joel Hodgson, to finish a game that neither side deserved to win.

Worcester's scrum looked on top in the opening stages but careless passing cost Warriors the chance to take advantage. Both Jackson Willison and Perry Humphreys failed to take regulation passes to surrender valuable possession.

Newcastle were therefore able to have the better of the opening quarter by penning the opposition in their own half, but it was Worcester who took the lead after 20 minutes.

On halfway, Sinoti Sinoti threw out a hospital pass to Dominic Waldouck. The ball and Willison arrived at the same time and although the New Zealander appeared to knock on in a hefty collision, Heathcote picked up the loose ball to send Olivier in for the try.

Heathcote was off-target with the conversion as was Delany with a penalty attempt but the outside-half soon had another chance and put Newcastle on the scoreboard after 24 minutes.

Worcester continued to concede frequent penalties and make careless errors, which stopped them building any momentum to their play, and just before half-time the Warrior suffered a setback.

Wing Cooper Vuna limped off to be replaced by Josh Adams but they immediately overcame the loss to extend their advantage.

Heathcote made the best break of the half to put the Falcons' defence on the back foot and when Newcastle were penalised, he kicked a penalty to give his side an undeserved 8-3 interval lead.

The hosts began the second half strongly and when Newcastle conceded another scrum penalty, Heathcote had a chance to put his side further ahead but he spurned the opportunity by firing wide.

The Warriors continued to have the better of the third quarter but could not capitalise as their line-outs continued to malfunction and they lost at least four of their own throws.

After 50 minutes the home side introduced Lamb in place of Heathcote and almost his first task was to stroke over an easy penalty.

Minutes later, Lamb failed with another attempt, this time from long range, so Worcester stayed 11-3 ahead going into the final quarter.

Delany kicked a second penalty as Worcester came under increasing pressure to keep their line intact with replacement scrum-half, Micky Young, peppering the home defence with a succession of up and unders.

With four minutes remaining, replacement Hodgson brought Newcastle within two points but the home side just held on.

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