Worcester Cavaliers 32-6 Wasps 'A'
After a competitive first half performance, which saw them narrowly trailing at the break, Wasps were overpowered by a commanding second half display from Worcester Cavaliers. The hosts scored four tries after the break, to end up comfortable winners
The game got off to a lively start, with both sides showing a willingness to move the ball out wide at every opportunity. The first sustained pressure came from the home side, who took the ball through numerous phases, before losing possession just short of the line. Wasps gathered the loose ball and cleared downfield, but Worcester ran it back and ended up winning a penalty on the 22. Sam Olver went for the posts, and his successful kick opened the scoring, in the tenth minute.
Four minutes later, a Connor Eastgate break launched a threatening Wasps attack, which took play close to the Worcester line. The move ended when Wasps knocked on a few metres out. The referee had been playing advantage, and Wasps sent the penalty to the left corner, but the lineout drive was stopped. Wasps were awarded the put-in to the scrum. A powerful effort by the Wasps won a further penalty, which was again sent to the corner. This time, Worcester stole possession from the throw to the tail.
Owain James showed a touch of class, when he skilfully gathered an awkwardly bouncing ball from his toes, ten metres inside the Wasps half. A burst of pace made 30 metres, and the ball was moved out wide to the right, where Gabriel Oghre did well to stay infield. When play moved back to the middle of the field, Worcester were penalised, 35 metres out, in front of the posts. Connor Eastgate landed the kick to level the scores, in the 22nd minute.
Four minutes later, Wasps were penalised at a scrum on their 10-metre line, in the centre of the field. Sam Olver’s high kick had the distance, but dropped to the left of the posts. Within a minute, the home side took the lead, after Bryce Heem made ground down the left. Play was moved back infield and Biyi Alo’s bulldozing run pierced the defence, allowing Alex Hearle to squeeze in at the right corner. Olver’s conversion was again wide of the target.
Wasps came close to an immediate response, when Jacob Umaga gathered a loose ball on the Worcester 10-metre line, to break away down the left. A try seemed on the cards, but his offload was ruled to have gone forwards a few metres from the line. A blistering burst by hooker Matti Williams then took Worcester up into the Wasps 22 and they won a penalty in front of the posts. It was the simplest of kicks for Sam Olver, but he pushed it wide.
With three minutes of the half left, Connor Eastgate landed a 40-metre penalty to narrow the gap to 8-6, which was how it stayed until the break.
Worcester suffered an injury blow two minutes into the second half, when Carl Kirwan went off, clutching his left arm. Two minutes later, following Alex Hearle’s burst down the right, Sam Olver sent a diagonal kick to the inviting space in the left corner. Sam Sterling attempted to catch the ball above his head, but could only deflect it towards Dean Hammond, who gratefully gathered, to go over for a try. Olver added the extra points, from near the left touchline.
15-6 soon became 22-6, after Ollie Lawrence went through a gap to send Michael Dowsett over near the posts, leaving Olver with a straightforward conversion.
With the game slipping away from them, Wasps needed to chance their arm, and Owain James showed another glimpse of his attacking threat when he came into the line at pace, to take play up to the Worcester 22, before he lost the ball in a tackle, with Sam Sterling outside him.
Fifteen minutes from time, Worcester secured their try bonus, when a driving lineout forced its way over the line, with Huw Taylor applying the finishing touch. Sam Olver missed the conversion. With ten minutes left, Connor Eastgate was helped from the field, after suffering a leg injury. With all their replacements having been used, Wasps were left with only 14 men to play out the rest of the game.
The closing minutes were spent deep inside the Wasps 22 and the defence did well to resist some intense pressure. Two minutes from time, they lost another player to injury, when David Langley left the field. Worcester’s numerical advantage eventually told, when Dean Hammond went over for his second try, in the last move of the game. Sam Olver’s conversion went wid, leaving the final score at 32-6.