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Arr strikes crucial blow

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 22:42
Blair-cowan-worcester-warri Bath-v-gloucester Worcester-warriors-v-london
We look at Friday's drama
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Jonny Arr's try 12 minutes from time sealed a vital bonus-point 29-23 win for Worcester Warriors dealing London Wasps' Premiership play-off hopes a blow in the process.

* In the other Friday match Bath continued their relentless pursuit of an Premiership play-off place against local rivals Gloucester after a near faultless kicking display from flyhalf Tom Heathcote gave Gary Gold's men a priceless 31-25 victory.

We look at all the Friday action!

Worcester Warriors 29-23 London Wasps

Jonny Arr's try 12 minutes from time sealed a vital bonus-point 29-23 win for Worcester Warriors dealing London Wasps' Premiership play-off hopes a blow in the process.

In a topsy-turvy encounter, the Warriors made much the quicker start, racing into a 15-6 half-time lead, only for Wasps to roar back and take the lead early in the second half.

However from there, Richard Hill's men took control, culminating in scrumhalf Arr's score off the back of a lineout to guarantee a first Premiership win since December.

The Warriors had lost five straight to slip back into the relegation battle, but will feel much more secure after this success.

It took Worcester just five minutes to take the lead, Andy Goode on target with an early penalty, but it was soon cancelled out by Wasps flyhalf Nicky Robinson.

Wasps were in the ascendancy, and took the lead with a second Robinson penalty, after Worcester had been forced to infringe while desperately defending.

But the lead lasted just two minutes before Chris Pennell went over for Worcester's first try.

The move was started by James Percival before Jon Clark released the Warriors' full-back to score, however Goode missed the conversion.

The Warriors flyhalf made amends soon after though, producing a delightful chip to set up Worcester's second try.

After some great work by the home pack, the ball was spread one way and then the other before Goode chipped over for David Lemi to dive over, the flyhalf this time on target with his conversion to make it 15-6.

That was how it stayed until the break, with Robinson missing a chance to bring his side back to within a score.

However they were back in it right at the start of the second half as Worcester committed a catalogue of errors. Initially a mix-up between Arr and Neil Best allowed Ashley Johnson to hack forward.

After the home side had been penalised for killing the ball, T Rhys Thomas took a quick tap penalty to go over.

Josh Drauniniu was then sin-binned for an intentional knock-on, and Wasps took full advantage to take the lead.

Johnson, who had been influential in the first Wasps try, claimed the ball from a driving lineout and barged over, Robinson's conversion making to make it 18-15.

Worcester responded almost immediately, with a try four minutes later from Blair Cowan, going over in similar fashion to Johnson from a driving lineout.

That appeared to be the spark that Worcester needed, and when Arr crossed ten minutes later, following Andrea Masi's sin-binning, the game appeared safe.

There was still time for Jack Wallace to grab a losing bonus point for Wasps with a late score but it was too little too late.

The scorers:

For Worcester Warriors:
Tries:
Pennell, Lemi, Cowan, Arr
Cons: Goode, Gray 2
Pen: Goode

For London Wasps:
Tries:
Thomas, Johnson, Wallace
Con: Robinson
Pens: Robinson 2

Yellow cards: Josh Drauniniu (Worcester Warriors, 51), Andrea Masi (London Wasps, 67)

Teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Percival (captain), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 John Andress, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Josh Matavesi.

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Elliot Daly, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Zak Taulafo , 18 Will Taylor, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Stephen Jones, 23 Charlie Hayter.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Paul Dix

Bath 31-25 Gloucester

Bath continued their relentless pursuit of an Premiership play-off place against local rivals Gloucester after a near faultless kicking display from flyhalf Tom Heathcote gave Gary Gold's men a priceless 31-25 victory.

The Scotland international kicked 16 points to add to a penalty try and scores from Kyle Eastmond and Tom Biggs as 14-man Gloucester were put to the sword.

Gloucester played the final 30 minutes with 14 men after a red card for Darren Dawidiuk and despite their man disadvantage could still have got something from the game but for a difficult kicking performance from England international Freddie Burns.

Bath started like an express train against their West Country rivals with Heathcote getting the home side on the board with a penalty after only two minutes.

And just minutes later it got worse for Gloucester as they conceded a penalty try; wing Charlie Sharples was yellow-carded for deliberately holding back Bath wing Biggs as he looked set to dive on the ball for a try after a great kick and chase - Heathcote slotted the conversion.

The irony was not lost on Gloucester boss Nigel Davies, who just seven days earlier had seen his side win against Worcester with a last-gasp penalty try.

With Owen Farrell likely to miss England's next Six Nations fixture against Italy through injury, Gloucester No.10 Burns was desperate to catch the eye of international boss Stuart Lancaster but he missed with his first shot at goal on seven minutes.

Nick Abendanon joined the Bath record books as he became the club's record appearance holder at full-back with 110 starts but after 11 minutes the No.15 had a moment to forget as his clearance was charged down and Henry Trinder ran through to touchdown - again Burns missed with his kick at goal.

The England dress rehearsal seemed to be getting to Burns and again he missed a shot at goal on 20 minutes to reduce the arrears for Gloucester.

But the Cherry and Whites didn't have to wait long to draw level as Jonny May went over in the corner for Gloucester, with this time Burns successfully converting his kick to give the visitors a surprise 12-10 lead.

Bath may be without New Zealander Stephen Donald but his absence was not noticed as again Heathcote stepped up after 26 minutes to slot his penalty and edge Bath back in front.

The momentum was now back with Bath and Eastmond - an outside bet to tour with the Lions this summer - showed Mike Tindall and Sharples a clean pair of heels in midfield to touchdown under the posts, with Heathcote converting to stretch the home side's lead to 20-12.

With five minutes of the half remaining Gloucester were again handed the opportunity to reduce the deficit but again Burns missed his shot at goal - his performance with the boot will have been a major worry for Lancaster and England.

With three minutes of the half remaining, Gloucester finally got back to within five points of Bath as Burns handed the kicking duties to Rob Cook, who slotted his effort.

In the opening four minutes of the second half, Heathcote and Cook exchanged penalties as both sides struggled to assert their dominance on the game.

Gloucester's hopes of salvaging anything from the derby were further hindered on 50 minutes as hooker Dawidiuk was adjudged to have performed a spear tackle on Bath lock Dave Attwood and was red carded.

Burns' sorry evening with boot and ball in hand was brought to a premature end 60 seconds later as he was replaced by Ryan Mills.

Heathcote extended Bath's lead on 57 minutes with another successful penalty as the home side started to turn the screw.

The game started at a million miles an hour and it also finished in the same way as first Biggs scurried over for a Bath try - Heathcote missing his first shot at goal with the conversion.

While just minutes later May went over for his second score of the game, with Cook adding the extras to drag Gloucester back to within six points of the home side.

With nine minutes remaining Heathcote had the opportunity to put Bath more than a converted try in front but he missed with his shot at goal.

And the miss proved costly as Bath were penalised at the breakdown and just two minutes later and Mills was handed an opportunity to further reduce the arrears with a penalty but his kick dropped short.

Bath hung on at the death and moved to within four points of Gloucester and fourth spot in the league after their crucial win.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries:
Penalty try, Eastmond, Biggs
Cons: Heathcote 2
Pens: Heathcote 4

For Gloucester:
Tries:
Trinder, May 2
Cons: Burns, Cook
Pens: Cook 2

Yellow cards: Charlie Sharples (Gloucester, 4), Carl Fearns (Bath, 58)
Red card: Darren Dawidiuk (Gloucester, 49)

Teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Will James, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referee: Stuart Terheege, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Geoff Warren

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