Worcester’s bid for glory in the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series ended in the pool stages despite a brave effort from the Warriors at Edgeley Park.
The Sixways side some of the best Sevens rugby on show during the competition and claimed the scalp of Leicester Tigers in the opening game of the night.
Warriors, coached by Andrew Stanley and Gary Meechan, also pushed overall pool winners Newcastle Falcons all the way before losing out to hosts Sale Sharks in a winner takes all final clash.
However, the competition was still a big success for the Warriors as many players, including several from the Academy, got to showcase their skills in front of a crowd of over 6,000 and those back at home watching on ESPN.
Game 1: Warriors 19 Tigers 12
New signing Danny Gray marked his first game in Worcester colours with a late winning try as Warriors secured a 19-12 victory over Leicester Tigers in the opening game of the evening.
Fly half Gray, a recruit from Montauban this summer, showed plenty of neat touches and dived over from close range as Warriors battled back in the second half to get the competition off to the perfect start.
Ed Rolston grabbed a second minute try for Leicester before a stunning break from scrum half Joel Dudley saw him race 30-metres down the middle before he fed captain Mike Penn who held off tacklers to release England Under-20 ace Andy Short out wide for the try.
Tigers thought they were back ahead before the break when big wing Lee Robinson broke from deep. But after Dudley just failed to haul him down it was Nile Dacres who sprinted back to produce a stunning try saving tackle as he pushed him into touch just yards from the line.
Rolston started the second half as he had the first by rolling out of two tackles to give Leicester the lead again just minutes into the second period.
But Worcester were not to be denied a winning start and Kvesic powerfully blasted past two men to make 40 metres and release James Freeman down the left to brush off the last men and scamper over.
And it was Gray who had the final word as he popped up five metres out in the final minute to latch onto James Rodley’s flicked pass and slide in under the posts for the win.
Game 2: Warriors 10 Falcons 19
Blistering quick wing Sam Miller grabbed a brilliant try double as Worcester Warriors bravely fought back before losing 19-10 to Newcastle Falcons in the second fixture of the night.
Worcester played some expansive and entertaining rugby in the opening minutes and James Freeman and Mike Penn both threatened breaks away. However, it was a clinical Newcastle side, though, that opened the scoring as Joel Hodgson found space to dive in after neat handling from the Falcons backs.
Warriors continued to battle for possession but, as numbers were sucked in to defend, quick ball saw a well worked overlap give Luke Fielden all the room he needed to touch down in the corner for a 12-0 half-time lead.
Dudley charged down a chip ahead as Newcastle broke in midfield before Mark Wilson out-sprinted the cover defence to score down the right wing.
Worcester were then forced to play with only six men as Sean McCarthy was yellow carded by referee Wayne Barnes for foul play. But the numerical advantage failed to stop jet-heeled wing Miller who blitzed past men to score in the corner with a well worked effort.
Dudley nearly left Falcons red-faced with sublime step and go that left three men chasing shadows before he was hauled up just short of what would have been a superb effort.
Miller showed all his finishing skills to then dance past the final man as Worcester fought back bravely in the closing stages.
Game 3: Sharks 47 Warriors 12
Worcester produced a battling display before losing out 47-12 to Sale Sharks in the final game of the night.
Electric pace from deep fashioned an early converted home score from Tom Brady before Danny Bibby also scorched down the right wing just moments after Nile Dacres had threatened a response from Worcester.
The home side were producing some slick handling and Bibby grabbed his second of the game after an overlap before Alex Brown also cruised in.
Sam Atkin neatly offloaded in the tackle to send Dacres over with the final move of the first half as Sale took a 26-5 lead.
Worcester refused to let their heads drop and the impressive Miller again showed his finishing skills to cut back past two men before Sale’s Ed Tellwright showed his pace to score from deep.
Warriors continued to show invention but it was Tommy Bell who found space to score again for the hosts before Bibby completed his hat-trick in the dying seconds.