Mike Blair scored his first Aviva Premiership try for Newcastle Falcons since his summer move from Brive as his side took their second victory of the season and ensured Worcester Warriors’ winless streak continues.
The Falcons, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 16-22 loss to London Wasps, burst out of the traps, racing into a 13-0 lead inside 22 minutes thanks to Blair’s converted try either side of two Rory Clegg penalties.
Warriors fought their way back into game with two Ignacio Mieres penalties and David Lemi’s second-half try reducing the difference to two points but Phil Godman’s late penalty made sure of the win.
Newcastle’s first score came as early as the third minute as Clegg slotted over a penalty from 22 metres out after Worcester were penalised for not releasing.
And they extended their lead five minutes later as Noah Cato charged towards the Worcester line, and although held up one metre out, Carlo Del Fava picked up the loose ball to feed Blair to cross, with Clegg adding the extras.
Clegg was proving to be a real handful for Warriors, with his distribution as well as his kicking looking in good touch, as his side continued their high tempo start.
The home side’s afternoon was made worse on 19 minutes when Ravai Fatiaki picked up an injury, and was replaced by Alex Grove – the Scottish international coming on for his first appearance of the season following a groin injury.
Falcons had another chance to keep the scoreboard ticking over, when referee Martin Fox handed them a penalty after Warriors collapsed the scrum, with Clegg duly converting to take it to 13-0.
Warriors’ best move came shortly afterwards, as Josh Drauniniu made up 20 metres with a foraging run into the Falcons’ half helping them to gain a penalty but Mieres dragged his effort wide.
But it appeared to have given the home side the boost they needed as another passage of good possession saw Newcastle penalised for offside, with Mieres pushing the kick into the far corner but it came to nothing.
They continued to apply the pressure, and came close to a try as Chris Pennell kicked before running on, but the TMO ruled that Grove had reached the ball in the corner first before the chasing Pennell.
However with referee Fox having played advantage, play was taken back for an earlier penalty and Mieres made no mistake, slotting through a simple kick in front of the posts to take his side to 13-3 on 33 minutes.
In contrast to the start of the match, Worcester were finishing the half strongly and found themselves a man up as Oliver Thomaszczyk, making his return to Sixways, was sent to the sin bin for persistent infringement as Newcastle’s penalty count continued to rise.
Although the stronger, Warriors were unable to make the man advantage count before the break though as the teams headed into half-time with Falcons leading 13-3.
Warriors again came out the stronger, camping inside’s Newcastle’s 22 for several phases and were rewarded when Meires was awarded a simple penalty in front of the posts to reduce the gap to seven points.
Worcester rang the changes after the break with all five replacements coming on, including back row Cameron Goodhue for his Warriors debut following his switch from Auckland Blues.
And with 12 minutes remaining, Warriors set things up for a lively finish as a period of considerable pressure from the forwards saw winger David Lemi push over the line, replacement fly-half Paul Warwick missing the conversion to leave the score at 11-13.
Newcastle looked to respond with replacement Chris York stretching for the line following a break away.
The back row came up short but he was adjudged to have been fouled, leaving another replacement, Phil Godman, to tap over a simple penalty in front of the posts and extend their lead to five points.
Warriors applied the pressure late on in search of the try but Falcons held firm, leaving the home side to fall to their tenth Aviva Premiership defeat in a row.