RFU Championship: Esher 3 Worcester Warriors 48
Worcester Warriors maintained their 100 per cent record this season with a bonus-point victory at Esher.
The Sixways side remain top of the Championship after an excellent second-half performance saw them triumph 48-3 against the Surrey outfit.
Warriors started slowly but ran in six tries in total to make it four wins out of four in their league campaign.
Head coach Richard Hill handed New Zealand lock Greg Rawlinson his first start of the season after he impressed as a replacement in last week’s victory over Rotherham Titans.
Flanker Pat Sanderson was still unavailable with the rib problem he picked up during pre-season.
Warriors should have been in front after just five minutes following a break from full-back Tom Arscott. He fed James Collins, but the flanker’s pass eluded Miles Benjamin on the left wing.
But they were in front with just nine minutes on the clock as fly-half Andy Goode slotted a penalty from in front of the posts.
The scores were soon level when Neil Best found himself on the wrong side at a ruck and Samuel Uplh made no mistake with his kick.
The visitors could consider themselves unlucky not to be in front halfway through the first period when it appeared Marcel Garvey had grounded the ball on the line but referee Tim Wigglesworth signalled a knock-on.
In the 25th minute, Worcester found themselves a man down when centre Alex Crockett was sin-binned for tackling after the ball had been released.
Uplh’s kick hit the right-hand post and bounced to safety. Goode missed a long-range penalty attempt but made amends in stunning fashion shortly after.
His pass to Collins allowed the flanker to break the line and he turned back inside to send Goode over for his first try for the club.
The England man added the conversion and then kicked a penalty after Esher number eight Shawn Renwick was sin-binned for impeding illegally at the breakdown. That gave Warriors a ten-point lead at the break.
Garvey was again denied a try just after half time when he put a foot out of touch as he tried to finish off a promising move down the right.
But Goode crossed the whitewash for a second time five minutes after the interval when he darted home from close range.
Three minutes later Arscott scampered over for a brilliant individual try before he doubled his tally and wrapped up the bonus point as he strolled over in the right-hand corner.
The fifth try for Worcester came when replacement Joe Carlisle fed Garvey and the wing sprinted clear of Esher’s defence. Carlisle slotted the conversion to put Worcester into a commanding 41-3 lead.
The visitors nearly had a sixth when Jake Abbott played in Will Bowley but the referee signalled a knock-on.
The next try wasn’t long in coming though as Crockett showed great hands to play in Graham Kitchener for the second-row to skip home down the right.
Hill admitted he had instructed his team at half-time to stop kicking away possession and was pleased with the way they kept hold of the ball.
“That was much better,” he said. “The good thing from the team point of view and a spectator point of view is that we took a stride forward today.
“This is the first game where we kept the ball moving through the phases. It was a superb start to the second half.
“Esher are a good side. To score six tries against them is no mean feat. Bristol came here and lost.”
The Sixways boss is likely to make changes again for next week’s home match with Doncaster. Sanderson and lock Craig Gillies are unlikely to figure in that game but may have the opportunity to prove their fitness in an ‘A’ game against Sale Sharks a week tomorrow (September 27).