Newcastle Falcons were left frustrated at Sixways on Sunday as they were forced to make do with an Aviva Premiership losing bonus point.
Newcastle trailed 8-3 at half-time despite having played most of the game in Worcester territory, the visitors winning free kicks at the first three scrums.
Showing their attacking outlook via Sinoti Sinoti and Simon Hammersley’s 80-metre combination down the left, long periods of possession around the Warriors’ 22 frustratingly came to nothing as handling errors and dogged defence kept them at bay.
Ally Hogg’s break from the scrum base looked to have opened up the home side on 12 minutes, the No 8 one of many willing runners on the day as Sonatane Takulua and Juan Pablo Socino also showed their desire to carry the ball in the opposition red zone.
But for all their early pressure the first try went against the Falcons, a self-inflicted wound as a long midfield speculator was intercepted by Tom Heathcote, who worked it wide to Springbok centre Wynand Olivier for an unconverted touchdown in the right corner.
Newcastle fly-half Mike Delany fired wide with a long-range penalty on 22 minutes but made amends quickly after from closer in as his side narrowed the gap to two – a buffer which stood until the final play of the half.
That was when Heathcote’s break through the centre and Josh Adams’ supporting run down the left forced the visitors to infringe, Heathcote slotting over the resulting penalty from in front.
His side had by no means had it all their own way, the Falcons’ defensive line-out giving Worcester a torrid time on their own ball while skipper Will Welch offered his usual menace at the breakdown.
Emerging for the second half determined to close the gap, Newcastle won a turnover on their own 22 through Mark Wilson’s dynamism at the breakdown, and were handed a reprieve when Heathcote fired wide with a penalty from the right.
David Wilson entered the fray for his second ‘debut’ after rejoining the Falcons, his former Bath team-mate Michael Young also coming on and making an immediate contribution as his well-weighted kick to the corner forced a hurried clearance from the Warriors.
Worcester regained their composure and built an eight-point margin when Ryan Lamb slotted a penalty from 15 metres within a minute of coming on, Newcastle probing through Hogg and Olmstead but failing to find a way through.
Lamb fell fractionally short with a penalty from 45 metres as the home side began to exert a greater degree of dominance, Newcastle chipping three back via Delany’s right boot as the Kiwi dispatched a penalty from just outside the 22.
His side had a sniff of a try on 68 minutes when Young’s break through the middle of a ruck created a 30-metre line-break, the ball spun right to skipper Welch who almost found a try in the wide channel.
But the crucial score just would not come as the clock ticked down, Worcester holding out for their first victory of the season.
Hodgson narrowed the gap to two on 76 minutes with a well-struck penalty, but the crucial score just would not come as the minutes ticked down, Worcester holding out for their first victory of the season.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait (Belisario Agulla, 63), 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany (Joel Hodgson, 67), 9 Sonatane Takulua (Michael Young, 46); 1 Rob Vickers (Alex Rogers, 60), 2 Scott Lawson (Ben Sowrey, 60), 3 Jon Welsh (David Wilson, 46), 4 Calum Green, 5 Evan Olmstead (Will Witty, 60), 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Ally Hogg (Daniel Temm, 76).
Falcons scorers – Penalties: Mike Delany 2, Joel Hodgson.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna (Josh Adams, 35), 10 Tom Heathcote (Ryan Lamb (53), 9 Jonny Arr; 1 Val Rapava Ruskin (Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 62), 2 Niall Annett (Jaba Bregvadze, 69), 3 Nick Schonert (James Johnston, 69), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 5 Darren Barry, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Carl Kirwan (Matt Cox, 76), 8 Phil Dowson (captain).
Worcester scorers – Tries: Wynand Olivier. Penalties: Tom Heathcote, Ryan Lamb.
Referee: Tom Foley. Attendance: 6,375.