Stephen Myler’s six successful penalties and a stubborn defensive effort saw Northampton Saints inflict a narrow defeat on Worcester Warriors, their first home loss of the season.
Dean Hammond’s early score had helped the Warriors to a 10-3 lead, but frequent penalties allowed the metronomic boot of Myler to chip away at the deficit.
And it eventually saw the Saints into the lead, but there was late drama as Bryce Heem touched down and after nailing the conversion Jamie Shillcock had a 50m penalty to win the game, but his effort drifted wide of the posts.
FT – Worcs 17 Saints 18.
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) November 18, 2016
Fly-half Shillcock had put the hosts in front from the tee on just three minutes, after Calum Clark was penalised at an early ruck.
Myler levelled the scores five minutes later, though, after the Warriors brought down a Saints maul which was marching toward the try line.
Hammond re-established the Warriors lead with his second try of the season, after Wynand Olivier broke through the Saints defensive line and gave the winger an easy run in.
Shillcock added the extras to put Worcester 10-3 to the good with 12 minutes played in the first half.
Lee Dickson’s quick penalty nearly brought Saints level almost immediately, but he knocked on as he attempted to offload.
It wasn’t until the 33rd minute that Myler would get another shot at goal, where he made the score 10-6 after Warriors were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle.
And Myler’s third penalty reduced the deficit to just a single point prior to the half-time whistle.
Five minutes into the second half Myler put the Saints into the lead with his fourth penalty after Ryan Mills was shown a yellow card for hands in the ruck.
And the fly-half benefited from further Warriors ill-discipline, with his fifth penalty of the night coming with just less than half an hour to go.
Worcester thought they had fought their way back into the match on the half hour mark, but were held up over the line by the resilient Saints defence.
Ben Foden, on his 200th appearance for the Saints, was then needed to make a try-saving tackle as Hammond burst through, but the visiting defence once again held firm.
And after a period of intense pressure Saints eventually cleared, and after earning a penalty from a scrum in the Warriors half Myler added his sixth successful kick to give the visitors an 18-10 lead.
Heem secured a late losing bonus point with a 78th-minute score, which Shillcock converted, before Clark was sent to the sin bin for an aggressive reaction towards the Warriors after the try.
The resulting penalty gave Shillcock a 50m kick at goal to earn a dramatic late victory, but his effort drifted just wide despite appearing to have the distance.
What an incredible finish. Sadly Shilly’s kick didn’t quite split posts but a sterling effort. Warriors forced to settle for a bonus point.
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) November 18, 2016