Highlights & Report | Worcester Warriors 39-5 Newcastle Falcons

If this really was a wake, what a glorious one it was. Five tries in a bonus point romp, a raucous and emotional crowd and not a dry eye in the house at the final whistle.

The atmosphere was subdued before kick-off as supporters considered the uncertain future of the club but a performance that was brimming with pride, passion and resilience soon lifted spirits.

Quite what will happen on Monday when the club’s public liability insurance expires and the absentee owners have to satisfy some stringent criteria laid down by the RFU if Warriors are not to be suspended from competitive rugby.

Of course, all that will be irrelevant if the DCMS pull the trigger on administration having sent in a SWAT team of financial advisors to scrutinise the club’s accounts on Friday.

But what is clear is that a lot of people who live in the city, county and region care deeply about the survival of Warriors and value its continuance as a community rugby club rather than merely a plot of real estate that is ripe for development.

Warriors players showed how much that support means to them by voting overwhelmingly to play this fixture despite the concerns about injury and their future employment.

Their commitment shone through in a ruthless and dominant team performance that swept Newcastle side after they had taken the lead through a sixth minute try from George McGuigan.

Jay Tyack’s superb scrummaging gave the pack the upper hand against one of the best forward units in the Premiership and from that platform Billy Searle pulled the strings at fly-half.

Searle kicked 14 points with two penalties either side of half-time proving crucial in nudging Warriors out of Newcastle’s reach.

Alex Hearle’s 17th minute try, with the wing cutting a clever angle to score after sustained pressure, and Searle’s conversion gave Warriors a lead that they were never to lose.

Duhan van der Merwe, back from a quadriceps injury, marked his first appearance of the season with a try, crossing on the overlap after Warriors tightened the thumbscrews on Newcastle and won a series of penalties.

Searle’s penalties rewarded Warriors for further pressure and they then turned on the style with three tries in the final quarter.

Gareth Simpson scored after supporting a break from Francois Venter, who carried hard all afternoon, and van der Merwe thought he had scored his second when he dotted down after Jamie Shillcock had sliced open Newcastle’s defence.

That score was wiped out for a foot in touch but there was no doubt when Matt Kvesic powered over the bonus point try two minutes later.

Kvesic then turned provider for Joe Batley after Kai Owen had punched a hole in the defence and Searle added the conversion to put the seal on a day that Warriors supporters will hope was not their last at Sixways.

The consequences of failing to renew the public liability insurance will include caretaker Lee Morrow – one of Warriors’ loyal and unsung heroes – being evicted from his flat above the West Stand.

Morrow is among the many staff – on and off the pitch – who have continued to dedicate themselves to the the club they love on a daily basis despite not being paid their August salaries in full and with no guarantee of receiving anything for September.

At least Warriors supporters again acknowledged that sacrifice by standing to applaud in the 65th minute having applauded the wives, girlfriends, partners and families of the players who formed a guard of honour for the team before kick-off.

Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Alex Hearle (Heward 69), 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter (C) (Morris 71), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Gareth Simpson (Chudley 71), 1 Murray McCallum (Owen 74), 2 Curtis Langdon (Faiva 65), 3 Jay Tyack (Owlett 74), 4 Joe Batley, 5 Andrew Kitchener (G Kitchener 65), 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 7 Cameron Neild (Kvesic 62), 8 Tom Dodd.

Replacements | 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Oli Morris, 23 Noah Heward.

6m | McGuigan try 0-5
17m | Hearle try 5-5
18m | Searle con 7-5
25m | van der Merwe try 12-5
36m | Searle pen 15-5
62m | Searle pen 18-5
64m | Simpson try 23-5
65m | Searle con 25-5
70m | Kvesic try 30-5
71m | Searle con 32-5
78m | Batley try 37-5
79m | Searle con 39-5

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