A League Match Report: Wasps get bonus point win at Worcester

Wasps A gave themselves an outside chance of making the A League playoffs, with an entertaining bonus point 45-0 win against Worcester Cavaliers. 

(Photo credit: Joe Meredith) 

Wasps were in control from the start, with their first try coming after five minutes. 14-0 up at the break, they pulled away in the second half, with five more tries - two from Tom Howe, who will be joining the Sixways club next season. A win in next week’s final game, at Newcastle, could secure a playoff place, if other results go their way.

The powerful Wasps pack laid down a marker in the second minute, when an impressive scrum turned over Worcester ball on halfway. The ball was moved out to the left, where Frank Halai beat a tackler, to make 15 metres down the left before Worcester were penalised. The kick found touch inside the Worcester 22 and the driving lineout almost made it to the line, before Tom Cruse burst out to power his way over for a try. Connor Eastgate added the conversion.

Two minutes later a barnstorming run by Guy Thompson made 30 metres, to take play up to the 22. After possession was recycled, the number 8 was again involved in a move which ended in a penalty for the home side.

In the seventeenth minute a neat move around the front of a lineout created an opening on the left, but Thompson’s pass failed to find the mark.

Wasps extended their lead with a second try for Tom Cruse, from another lineout inside the Worcester 22. The drive again took play up to the line, before the hooker broke off on the blind side to dive over near the left touchline. Connor Eastgate landed the conversion to put Wasps 14-0 ahead after 20 minutes.

Five minutes later Worcester put in their first serious attack with a driving lineout which was stopped just short, when Wasps won a turnover and audaciously ran the ball from behind their own line. Moments later the home side came close when they created an overlap on the left, but the final pass flew into touch.

Wasps relieved the pressure when Guy Thompson picked up from the back of a scrum and Guy Armitage’s strong run took him clear of the 22. On 34 minutes Wasps were denied a third try following a lineout on the right. After the forwards made a few metres,  Tom Howe came off his wing and took a short pass to go over near the posts, but the scoring pass was adjudged to have gone forward.

In injury time before the break Wasps again came close to a third try, when Sam Harry gathered a kick just inside the Wasps half. He slipped a tackle to break away down the left. He passed inside to Frank Halai who had the unmarked Guy Thompson on his inside, but the assistant referee belatedly decided that Harry had put a foot in touch. In the final play of the half Worcester threatened through a storming run by Conor Braid, but he was stopped in his tracks by a juddering tackle from Frank Halai and the half ended with no further score.

In the first minute of the second half, a quick tapped 22 by Guy Thompson started an attack from deep. Brendan Macken found Tom Howe with a deft offload, but was unable to hold on to the return pass as he entered the Worcester half. Piers O’Conor then did well to gather a high kick and evade a tackle to launch an attack from just inside his own half, but it ended with a knock-on inside the Worcester 22. After two powerful Wasps scrums put the home eight under enormous pressure, Frank Halai was stopped at the corner.

The third try finally came after 55 minutes, following a storming run by Sam Harry, which took play deep into the Worcester 22. After play came back infield skipper Craig Hampson managed to roll over between the posts, to give Connor Eastgate an easy conversion. The bonus point came four minutes later, after Guy Armitage won a turnover in midfield. Slick passing out to the right found Tom Howe, who evaded a tackle and did well to stay infield before racing in from 40 metres. Connor Eastgate missed the difficult conversion.

Howe added his second three minutes later, finishing off a counterattack which featured a superb long pass by Tom West inside the Wasps 22. He found Brendan Macken and the centre fed Howe just inside the Worcester half. He chipped over the defence and gathered his own kick to go over near the right corner. Eastgate had another difficult conversion, which went wide of the left-hand post.

Wasps’ sixth try five minutes from time, was the result of a counterattack from their own line. Worcester seemed certain to score, but the ball was spilt in the tackle and Nick De Luca gathered to race almost the length of the field. He was stopped just short, but Tom Howe was in support and his long pass sent Guy Armitage in for a thrilling score. Connor Eastgate was back on target with the conversion, to stretch the lead to 38-0. The final score of the night came in the closing seconds, when the dominant Wasps scrum won a penalty try. Connor Eastgate’s conversion was the final act of the night, to leave the score at 45-0. 

Wasps Scorers:
Tries: Cruse (2), Hampson, Howe (2), Armitage, Penalty
Conversions: Eastgate (5)  

Wasps A
15. Piers O'Conor
14. Tom Howe
13. Brendan Macken
12. Guy Armitage
11. Frank Halai 
10. Connor Eastgate 
9. Craig Hampson
1. Tom West
2. Tom Cruse
3. Phil Swainston
4. Marcus Garratt
5. Will Rowlands
6. Jack Willis 
7. Sam Harry (Coventry RFC) 
8. Guy Thompson 

Replacements 
16. Carlo Festuccia 
17. Harry Morley (Nottingham RFC)  
18. Tom Heard (Nottingham RFC) 
19. Ehize Ehizode
20. James Seabrook
21. Will Porter
22. Owain James
23. Nick De Luca 

Worcester Cavaliers
15 Ben Howard
14 Alex Hearle (Warriors Under 18s)
13 Will Butler
12 Connor Braid
11 Afeafe Haisila Lokotui
10 Tiff Eden
9 Michael Dowsett
1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga
2 Matti Williams
3 Mike Daniels
4 Justin Clegg
5 Andrew Kitchener
6 Huw Taylor
7 Matt Cox
8 Tom Dodd

Replacements
16 George Newman (Nottingham Trent University)
17 Jake Thompson (University of Worcester)
18 Kai Owen (Warriors Under 18s)
19 Charlie Hewitt
20 Ben Fowles
21 Josh Nott (Nottingham Trent University) 
22 Ollie Lawrence (Warriors Under 18s) 
23 Alex Bartley (Warriors Under 18s)