The Warriors’ points all came from the boot of Shane Drahm as he kicked five first-half penalties while Will Skinner scored the only try of the match.
Worcester, roared on by a 9,726 capacity crowd, made the more impressive start but it was the visitors who drew first blood. Welford Road fly-half Ross Broadfoot put the Tigers in front with an early penalty but it was the Warriors’ full-back Nicolas Le Roux who was catching the eye with some pacy breaks.
And it was from such a thrust that Worcester got themselves back level after five minutes following an infringement from Leicester. Drahm slotted the three-pointer and, soon after, the Australian put his side ahead with another sweet penalty.
The Tigers, though, always looked a threat out wide and up front and, once
Alesana Tuilagi broke free, a stretched Worcester were forced onto the back foot and flanker Skinner was driven over to put Leicester back in front.
In a topsy-turvy game, the home side hit back with a Drahm penalty midway through the half but the turning point of the period came when Ben Kay was shown the yellow card for an off-the-ball challenge on fellow lock Craig Gillies. Worcester made the extra man count and Drahm’s two penalties gave the Sixways men a 15-8 half-time lead.
The Tigers were finding the Worcester pack – minus internationals Chris
Horsman and Pat Sanderson – too hot to handle and following another impressive catch and drive, Leicester’s James Hamilton was sin-binned for pulling down.
And although Worcester could not add to their half-time advantage, their pack’s dominance and Drahm’s accuracy, meant that all the rugby was being played in the Leicester half. The Aussie pegged the Tigers back time after time with a sumptuous display of kicking while Le Roux always offered the unexpected from full-back.
With the clock running down, however, Leicester – boosted by the return of England cast-off Andy Goode and the enigmatic Austin Healey – ventured into the Worcester half to great effect. Goode slotted a penalty, following some fine work from Healey, with 10 minutes left and it gave the Sixways supporters a nail-biting climax.
However, led magnificently by Tony Windo, last season’s Premiership survivors hung on for their first top-level win over their midland rivals.