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Tom Lindsay on the charge
Elliot Daly on the way to scoring a try
With seven of the Wasps starting XV making their senior debuts, it was a spirited display, which finished 20-19, which where the visitors came agonisingly close to snatching the points, with a last-ditch attack giving replacement fly half Will Robinson the chance of a winning drop goal, in the final minute.
Kick-off was delayed for 45 minutes, after a member of the Worcester staff was taken ill on the TV gantry. The game began in glorious sunny conditions, and the home side dominated territory in the opening exchanges, without posing any serious threats. For Wasps, Joe Burton made a series of powerful charges, including one straight from the kick-off.
After ten minutes, Worcester sent a penalty to the corner, rather than go for the posts. They won the lineout, and set up a maul, which drove for the line. The defence kept them out, the ball was moved out to the backs, but a forward pass ended the move.
Wasps won the scrum, the first of the game, and Eliot Daly sent a kick downfield. It failed to find touch, Worcester ran the ball back at them, and Wasps conceded a penalty at the breakdown, 30 metres out. Joe Carlisle landed the kick, from in front of the posts, to put his side in front.
Worcester stretched their lead, after 17 minutes, when Carlisle launched a move which saw quick passing send fullback Tom Arscott over in the left corner. Carlisle made it 10-0 with a superb touchline conversion.
Wasps finally put together a series of phases, with Tom Lindsay running strongly and taking play into the home half, but the ground they made was lost when Ryan Davis kicked to touch on the full, from near his ten-metre line. Worcester then had a great chance to stretch their lead, when Arscott came into the line, to send Andy Short clear, down the right. It took an excellent piece of covering by Eliot Daly to stop the score, as he pressured the winger into a hurried inside pass which went too far in front of Arscott, who knocked on, a few metres out.
Wasps finally opened their account, 11 minutes before halftime, when Davis landed a penalty, from 40 metres. Three minutes later, the gap was down to four points, when Eliot Daly thumped a penalty over, from just inside the Worcester half. Six minutes before the break, a fracas among the forwards resulted in a yellow card for Jeremy Castex, but Carlisle’s penalty, from wide out on the right, was off target.
Castex’s sin-binning forced Wasps to send Guillermo Roan on, in place of Matt Everard. The first scrum with the revised line-up produced a Worcester penalty, which they kicked for position. The final play of the half produced some nail-biting moments for the Men in Black and Gold, but they managed to hold out until halftime, after winning a turnover on their line.
The score was unchanged, when Castex and Everard returned to the field, four minutes into the second half, but an immediate Worcester penalty enabled them to set up an attacking lineout. They won possession, the forwards drove for the line, but they conceded a penalty, and Wasps cleared to near halfway. After winning the lineout, Tom Lindsay combined with Jonah Holmes, who fed Ryan Davis near halfway. He made ground before sending Eliot Daly clear, to run in from 35 metres, for a fine try, which Davis was unable to convert.
The lead lasted only two minutes. Holmes kicked downfield from his own 22, but a poor chase enabled Arscott to race through the defence to touch down between the posts. Carlisle’s conversion made it 17-11 to the home side, with 12 minutes of the second half played, but Wasps immediately pulled back three points, through a simple Davis penalty.
Charlie Davies and Ben Russell then took the places of Holmes and Joe Burton, and further Wasps replacements brought Nathan Morris and Karl Rudzki on for Tom Lindsay and Ross Filipo, with fifteen minutes left. Wasps were then caught offside, in midfield and Carlisle slotted a 35-metre penalty, to stretch the lead to 20-14, 12 minutes from time.
Will Robinson came on for Ryan Davis, to make his senior debut, and he immediately played a key part in a try for Alex Cheesman, after excellent work by Daly, whose pass found Cheesman in space out wide. He still had work to do, and did well to step inside the final defender and go over near the corner. Robinson’s conversion went wide, leaving Wasps a single point behind. The Men in Black and Gold were then dealt another blow, when Jack Wallace left the action, with an obviously painful injury to his right arm.
With time ticking away, Wasps threw everything into a desperate bid for the winning score. A penalty inside their own half gave them the chance to mount them a final assault. A patient build-up by the forwards put Robinson in position for a drop at goal, but the defence pressured him into rushing his kick, which went just wide, and the final whistle went.
Wasps continue their LV= Cup campaign next Saturday, when they take on Newport Gwent Dragons at Adams Park, kick-off at 7.45
1. Jeremy Castex 2. Tom Lindsay 3. Simon McIntyre 4. Ross Filipo 5. Mike Powell 6. James Harris 7. Matt Everard 8. Joe Burton 9. Jonah Holmes 10. Ryan Davis 11. Charlie Ingall 12. Chris Mayor (c) 13. Elliot Daly 14. Alex Cheesman 15. Jack Wallace
16. Nathan Morris 17. Lewis Thiede 18. Guillermo Roan 19. Karl Rudzki 20. Ben Russell 21. Charlie Davies 22. Will Robinson 23. Joe Ajuwa
15 Tom Arscott 14 Andy Short 13 Chris Pennell (c) 12 Alex Crockett 11 Josh Drauniniu 10 Joe Carlisle 9 Ollie Frost 1 George Porter 2 Chris Fortey 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk 4 Chris Jones 5 Craig Gillies 6 Sam Betty 7 Matt Kvesic 8 Adam Balding
16 Ollie Hayes 17 Bruce Douglas 18 James Currie 19 Ben Gulliver 20 Richard Muagututia 21 Danny Gray 22 Andy Goode 23 Mike Penn