Worcester 12

Saracens 3

On an evening when Richard Hill sent out what he described as a 'talented attacking team' it was that side's more prosaic, though no less worthy, qualities which brought Warriors their third Premiership victory over sloppy Saracens.

Greasy conditions meant it was three Andy Goode penalties and a drop goal by the same boot-reliant player that were enough send the visitors back down the M1 empty handed. The tries didn't come but the league points did and that's the only stat that matters.

However, Mark McCall's former champions were not so much a shadow of the unit that has blitzed the top flight in the last two years as a poor counterfeit, not just in performance but in personnel.

With more than half-a-dozen of their front-liners away on international duty Saracens were shoddy in just about every department save defence. And they had Worcester's pragmatism to thank for that small blessing.

Yet while Hill's pre-match bravado and talk of expansive rugby was rendered a little risible, there was much to be pleased with in yet another resolute home display, one eerily reminiscent of John Brain's halcyon days when Friday night meant set-piece, set-piece and a little more set-piece.

And that was something Warriors did extremely well. With John Andress making a final, pre-Euan Murray statement about the rightful bearer on the No. 3 shirt, the hosts scrummed with relish once they had rectified their early engagement issues.

Even better, though, was their lineout which in recent times has been slightly less productive than a crooked slot machine, as Ed Shervington combined with his jumpers to near perfect effect.

That gave Warriors a never-ending supply of possession which, on all but a few occasions they chose to cash in for position.

In the first quarter two Goode penalties sandwiched one from Nils Mordt and if there was a facet of the game in which Saracens were most bereft it was in their goal-kicking.

Mordt missed three of his four attempts and Sam Stanley came on in the second half to add one more errant attempt. How they needed Owen Farrell or the injured Charlie Hodgson to help them.

In the run up to half time Goode added a drop goal and another penalty for 12-3 at the break.

With that cushion the scene was set for Warriors to open up - as promised. Instead they applied boot to ball whenever their one-out runners lost momentum. They had clearly settled for strangulation as their modus operandi.

Yet their efforts should not be entirely dismissed. Their work-rate was excellent and their defensive shape and commitment was also unfathomable to Sarries.

And they did have the odd try-scoring chances, poor Errie Claassens will see the first half try he butchered in his sleep after he chased down Goode's chip to the corner only to knock on.

The mountainous Semisi Taulava also created an opening on one of his countless surges through the defensive wall. The No. 8 couldn't locate Niki Walker to complete the job.

Nevertheless, Warriors move on to Harlequins next week with both feet firmly in mid-table and with opportunity knocking against a similarly depleted Quins side.

Worcester: Pennell; Walker, Matavesi, Carlisle (Grove 13), Claassens; Goode, Hodgson; Ceri Jones, Shervington (Lutui 66), Andress, Percival, Chris Jones, Best (Schofield 68), Kvesic, Taulava (Betty 76). Replacements: O'Donnell, Currie, Arr, Short A

Saracens: Ransom; Strettle, Tomkins, Ratuvou, Taylor (Short J 50); Mordt (Stanley 65), Wigglesworth; Stevens (Romano 65), George (Smit 45), Nieto (Auterac 45), Borthwick, Hargreaves (Sheriff 65), Wray (Fraser 31), Saull, Joubert. Replacements: Spencer

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)