Warriors produced another heroic and whole-hearted performance in a pulsating to welcome back supporters to Sixways.
It wasn’t quite enough to bring victory but there could be no faulting the commitment and endeavour of a side that was superbly led by captain Ted Hill.
Warriors knew that Leicester would pose a physical challenge but, with Hill rampaging around the field, they went some way to negating that threat.
Jamie Shillcock, who contributed 12 of Warriors points, also impressed at full-back both with his kicking off the tee and out of hand.
As expected, Leicester kicked long and often but Warriors had done their homework and had the patience to collect the kicks and return them.
In the end it was two close range tries in the second half from England loosehead prop Ellis Genge that decided the contest, the first coming after Warriors were down to 14 men after Niall Annett had been sin-binned for collapsing a maul.
Zack Henry’s conversion of Genge’s second try gave Leicester the lead for the first time but Warriors had an opportunity to regain the lead when Shillcock was off target with a penalty attempt for nesr halfway eight minutes from time.
Henry also missed a more straightforward effort five minutes later, one of three off-target kicks from Leicester’s full-back.
In front of a crowd of 3,000, the first time spectators had been allowed at Sixways since December, Warriors started superbly, absorbing Leicester’s early pressure, knocking them back in the tackle and then counter-rucking aggressively.
A kick to the corner put Leicester under pressure and from a five metre scrum, Warriors launched a wave of attacks which led to Perry Humphreys finding space on the right. He wriggled free and slipped the scoring pass inside to Shillcock who dotted down and added the conversion from the touchline.
Leicester responded with a penalty from Zack Henry and most of the next 20 minutes was spent in the expected tactical kicking game which finished roughly honours.
Henry missed the chance to reduce the lead when he pushed a 27th minute penalty attempt wide of the posts but made no mistake four minutes later when Warriors were penalised for taking down a scrum on their 22.
Warriors’ response was strong and impressive. Sensible tactical kicking pinned Leicester back and the pressure again told when Hill clattered through the Tigers’ midfield and kept his footing long enough to dot down close to the posts to leave Shillcock with a comfortable conversion.
Shillcock stretched the lead to 17-6 three minutes into the second half when he banged over a penalty from the halfway line but Leicester took their chance when Annett was yellow-carded.
Genge went over from a driving maul for his first try which went unconverted and repeated the dose ten minutes later.
With Harri Doel a constant menace on the left wing, Warriors always looked capable of scoring a third try and Hill came close when he powered up the left only to be bundled into touch just short of the line.
Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence (Heward 74), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Harri Doel (Miller 51-55), 10 Fin Smith (Weir 61), 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Marc Thomas (Black 41), 2 Niall Annett (Miller 63), 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Andrew Kitchener (Hatherell 65), 5 Justin Clegg Batley 58), 6 Ted Hill (C), 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Matt Kvesic.
Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Callum Black, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Kyle Hatherell, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Noah Heward.
5m | Shillcock try 5-0
6m | Shillcock con 7-0
11m | Henry pen 7-3
31m | Henry pen 7-6
37m | Hill try 12-6
38m | Shillcock con 14-6
43m | Shillcock pen 17-6
46m | Genge try 17-11
56m | Genge try 17-16
57m | Henry con 17-18
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