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Warriors and Bath battle out a Sixways stalemate

20 Nov 2009
Warriors and Bath battle out a Sixways stalemate

A late penalty from Willie Walker gave Worcester a deserved 12-12 draw in their Guinness Premiership match against Bath at Sixways.

It was a fair result in a hard but uninspiring game with Bath the more enterprising side, creating more tryscoring opportunities, though Worcester would have won but for vital errors at crucial times.

The visitors had the opportunity to put points on the board within the first minute when Miles Benjamin was penalised for not releasing – but Jack Cuthbert’s 45-metre penalty attempt was well wide.

Worcester had their first chance 10 minutes later when Bath were offside in midfield and Willie Walker made no mistake with the simple penalty from in front of the posts.

The opening quarter was evenly matched with Bath the more enterprising side as Walker’s preferred option was to kick for position for the home side.

After Bath failed to deal with an up-and-under from Chris Latham, Benjamin went close to scoring a try but was hauled down short. However Worcester were able to maintain the pressure and should have extended their lead but in quick succession Walker missed with both an angled 20-metre penalty and a drop-goal attempt from a similar distance.

Bath were able to relieve the pressure and when Greg Rawlinson was penalised at ruck 30 metres out Ryan Davis brought Bath level with a penalty after 26 minutes.

The visitors should have taken the lead minutes later when they nicked a Worcester line-out in the home 22. Pieter Dixon drove forward and when the ball was recycled from the ruck they looked certain scorers but Danny Grewcock was heavily tackled as he was crossing the line causing him to lose possession and the chance was lost.

Bath were able to maintain the pressure, which was rewarded when Davis kicked another penalty with seven minutes to go to half-time. This gave the visitors a 6-3 half-time lead as Walker was narrowly short with a penalty attempt from halfway with the last kick of the half.

Within minutes of the restart Worcester conceded possession in the opposition half allowing Nick Abendanon to make a slashing break. The full-back fed Matt Carraro, who was tackled five metres short. Worcester were penalised but Davis was unsuccessful with the kick.

Worcester then had their chance after Michael Claasens had his clearance kick charged down, allowing them a period of territory – but they appeared incapable of breaking down the visitors’ defence and resorted to a highly speculative and very poor drop-goal attempt from Pat Sanderson.

The hosts struck lucky when Julian Salvi needlessly late-tackled Latham, allowing Walker to tie the scores with the resulting penalty after 49 minutes.

The fine drizzle was making playing conditions difficult, causing Marcel Garvey to knock on when under no pressure. At the following scrum Worcester were penalised and Davis restored Bath’s lead. Minutes later the visitors were penalised for a scrum offence, Walker kicked the goal to level it up at 9-9 going into the final quarter.

A foolish late tackle by Sam Tuitupou on Abendanon gave Davis his fourth successful penalty and the centre soon made matters worse for his side when he was yellow carded for an illegal shoulder charge on replacement, Mike Stephenson.

Despite being a man short, Worcester continued to battle and were rewarded when Walker kicked a penalty with four minutes remaining. Tuitupou returned for the closing stages but there was to be no further score.

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