Premiership: Worcester Warriors 23-8 London Irish
|Worcester (17) 23|
|Tries: Adams 2 Cons: Pennell 2 Pens: Pennell 3|
|London Irish (8) 8|
|Try: Lewington Pen: Tonks|
Worcester Warriors eased their relegation fears as they beat London Irish to stretch their lead over the Premiership's bottom side to 10 points.
Two well taken first-half tries from Welsh wing Josh Adams were the cornerstone of Worcester's third league win in four games.
Chris Pennell kicked both conversions and added three penalties.
Irish scored their only try with an artful solo effort from left winger Alex Lewington in the right corner.
It took just five minutes for Warriors to break the deadlock when, from Ryan Mills' delicate kick over the top, former Wales Under-20 international Adams won the race to score in the left corner.
Pennell's conversion, followed by his first penalty, stretched the hosts clear before Irish eventually cashed in good field position from on an unforced Jono Lance handling error with a Greig Tonks penalty.
Irish then stunned Worcester with a try out of nothing, conjured by a superb, curving run from left to right almost across the pitch from the imaginative Lewington.
Looking for the opening, he finally tried a kick through and, as the hesitant Adams waited to deal with the awkwardly bouncing ball, the Exiles winger timed his arrival perfectly to beat the former Scarlets Academy product on the line as he dived over to score.
However, Tonks missed with the conversion and, what could have been 10-10 at the break instead became 17-8 when Adams almost immediately atoned for his lackadaisical moment on the line by jinking his way through to score a stunning try of his own, Pennell adding the extras.
In front of a responsive, season's best crowd at Sixways of 9,647, Pennell added two more penalties as Warriors managed a second-half shut out for the first time this season, marred only by replacement prop Joe Taufet'ee's late yellow card.
As a sideline to the main action, English referee Wayne Barnes broke the record for the most Premiership games officiated on, taking charge of his 191st contest, to break the previous record set by Chris White, between 1997 and 2011.
Warriors director of rugby Gary Gold told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"The end result was critically important. To use a golfing term, it's a two-shot swing for us, but the overall performance wasn't very good.
"Josh Adams took his two tries very well. And it was a relief to come away with four points and deny Irish from getting a point.
"But this fight is not over yet. Knowing Nick Kennedy and the London Irish boys as I do, they're never going to give up the fight so we need to learn some lessons from this. We need to improve as I think Irish will improve."
London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy told BBC Sport:
"Losing two of your starters on the morning of the game (captain Fergus Mulchrone and prop Ben Franks) is going to hurt anybody.
"But it was a massive game for us tonight and that was one of our poorest performances for a while, so I'm disappointed.
"I wouldn't have minded losing so much if we'd taken some shots. We paid the price for making too many errors and that's now opened up a big gap. But there's a still a lot of rugby to be played this season."
Worcester: Pennell; Heem, Willison, Mills, Adams; Lance, Hougaard; Waller, Singleton, Schonert, O'Callagahan, Spencer, Denton, Lewis, van Velze.
Replacements: Taufete'e, Bower, Milasinovich, Barry, Faosiliva, Dowsett, Olver, Humphreys.
London Irish: Tonks; Cokanasiga, Fowlie, McLean, Lewington; Marshall, Meehan; Reid, Fainga'a, Du Plessis, van der Merwe, Paulo, Coman, Cowan, Treviranus.
Replacements: Woolstencroft, Erlington, Chawatama, De Chaves, Northcote-Green, Steele, Bell, Tikoirotuma.