For this week’s Throwback Thursday we go back to Sunday May 25 2008 and Warriors’ landmark first appearance in the European Challenge Cup final.
The final, at Gloucester’s Kingsholm stadium, brought together the best two teams in the competition that season as both were unbeaten having won all six of their pool matches with Warriors top seed and Bath second for the quarter-finals.
Warriors defeated Montpellier then Newcastle Falcons at Sixways in the knockout stages while Bath overcame fellow Premiership clubs Leeds Carnegie and Sale Sharks – both at The Rec – to book their passage to an all-English final.
Warriors 16–24 Bath
Warriors were denied their first European trophy by Bath who ended their ten-year search for silverware in a physical final at Kingsholm.
Bath took control of a tight contest with first-half tries from flanker Jonny Faamatuainu and full-back Nick Abendanon but Warriors responded with two penalties from fly-half Shane Draham.
Further kicks from Olly Barkley, in his last match for Bath, and Butch James denied Warriors although full-back Thinus Delport went over for a late consolation try for Warriors.
Bath’s win came a week after they were beaten by Wasps in the Premiership semi-finals and followed successive finals in finals of three different competitions since they won the Heineken Cup in 1998.
Warriors’ defeat denied them the chance of playing Heineken Cup rugby for the first time the following season as Harlequins secured the last place available to a Premiership club.
The match might have had a different outcome had French referee Christophe Berdos reached for a yellow card on at least three occasions when Bath blatantly infringed early on.
Instead Bath remained at their full complement and, after Barkley and Drahm had traded early penalties, they took a grip on the game by s coring two in five first half minutes.
There was an element of good fortune about the first though, as Berdos missed Lee Mears’ forward pass to fly-half James during a flowing move that ended with Faamatuainu crossing.
Barkley’s penalty attempt shortly afterwards came back off the post and with Bath reacting first to the loose ball, Joe Maddock was sent clear on the wing and his deft inside pass was collected by Abendanon.
Drahm, who along with Delport and Drew Hickey, left Warriors for Japan at the end of the season, managed to reduce the deficit but Bath went 24-9 ahead with a penalty and drop-goal from Barkley and a penalty from James.
Delport gave the Worcester fans something to cheer about but his injury-time try was too little too late.
Warriors | 15 Thinus Delport, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Sam Tuitipou, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Shane Drahm, 9 Matt Powell, 1 Tony Windo, 2 Aleki Lutui, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 5 Craig Gillies, 6 Drew Hickey, 7 Pat Sanderson (C), 8 Kai Horstman
Replacements |16 Chris Horsman, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Will Bowley, 19 Netani Talei, 20 Ryan Powell, 21 Joey Carlisle, 22 Rico Gear.