It may have been a little too close for comfort but Warriors were rewarded for another performance of guts and determination with a third bonus point Gallagher Premiership win of the season.
The win ended a run of 14 straight Premiership defeats by Wasps, a sequence that extended back to 2013 and came after a nerve-jangling finale.
Warriors were 32-14 up and seemingly coasting towards a comfortable win when Will Chudley scored the bonus point try four minutes into the second half.
But Warriors spent most of the rest of the half camped in their own half and Wasps gnawed away at the lead by scoring three tries.
Crucially, Jimmy Gopperth managed to convert only one of those scores with an attempt to convert Tom Willis’ 77th minute drifting wide, to cheers from the East Stand.
Warriors still had work to do to nail down but they played the final two-and-a-half minutes at the right end of the pitch and denied Wasps the opportunity to steal the win.
A strong downfield wind shaped the game and Warriors made good use of it, opening up a 25-14 lead in the first half and then extending it with what proved to be a rare venture into Wasps’ 22 in the second period.
Duhan van der Merwe, back from Scotland duty and injury, was a constant nuisance in attack and Fin Smith continued his excellent kicking form by landing three conversions and two penalties.
Warriors twice went down to 14 men with Melani Nanai departing after two minutes for a clash of heads with josh Bassett and Graham
Kitchener being yellow carded in the second half for persistent team offending that tested the patience of referee Tom Foley.
Nanai’s sin binning did not prove costly as Warriors took the lead with the opening try two minutes later. Van der Merwe used his pace and strength to break two tackles before he delivered a perfect inside pass to Gareth Simpson who galloped away to dot down under the posts.
Wasps levelled shortly after Warriors were back to 15 men as lock Vaea Fifita went over while Matt Garvey was down injured.
Warriors hit back with a well-struck penalty from Smith midway through the first half and increased their lead a minute later when Wasps lost possession in attack and van der Merwe scooped up the loose ball and raced away for the try which Smith converted from far long range.
Back came Wasps with a try from hooker Dan Frost, which Jimmy Gopperth converted to reduce the deficit to three points.
Smith slotted another penalty on the half-hour and Warriors continued to pose problems for Wasps in the scrum and for their defence whenever van der Merwe or Nanai ran at them.
It was Nana’si jinking run that set up the third try with Kyle Hatherell clattering through tackles up the left and unloading before he was nudged into touch. Ted Hill followed up by picking up to dot down from close range.
Chudley’s try, which he started and finished after big carries from Joe Batley and Sione Vailanu, was also converted by Smith, a kick that gained significance as the match went on.
Wasps’ fightback began after Frost crossed for his second try of the afternoon and gathered momentum when Sam Wolstenholme went over for a try that Gopperth improved to pull them to within a converted try.
That gap narrowed further when Warriors were heavily penalised and Willis squeezed over in the corner but the normally-reliable Gopperth was unable to add the extras from far out on the left.
Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Francois Venter (CC), 12 Ashley Beck (Lawrence 41), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson (Chudley 41), 1 Rory Sutherland (Waller 71), 2 Niall Annett, 3 Christian Judge (Tyack 57), 4 Matt Garvey (Batley 18), 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 7 Ted Hill (CC), 8 Sione Vailanu (Lewis 57).
Replacements | 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ollie Lawrence.
5m | Simpson try 5-0
6m | Smith con 7-0
17m | Fifita try 7-5
18m | Gopperth con 7-7
21m | Smith pen 10-7
23m |van der Merwe try 15-7
24m | Smith con 17-7
26m | Frost try 17-12
27m | Gopperth con 17-14
31m | Smith pen 20-14
39m | Hill try 25-14
44m | Chudley try 30-14
45m | Smith con 32-14
52m | Frost try 32-19
65m | Wolstenholme try 32-24
66m | Gopperth con 32-26
77m | Willis try 32-31
- A big thank you to BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital, the club’s Official Health Care Provider and Training Kit Sponsor for being today’s Match Sponsor.BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital offers private treatments and services for those who live in Droitwich Spa, Worcester and Bromsgrove
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