Worcester Warriors launched 2012 in sensational fashion as a superb tactical and defensive show saw them edge out London Wasps 6-0 in an attritional Premiership encounter at Adams Park on Sunday.
The heavens opened an hour before kick-off and the game was duly impacted as both teams struggled to retain any possession with a slippery ball and difficult playing surface.
The clash was often an arm wrestle for forward dominance, but it was Warriors who got their tactics spot on as they kept Wasps pinned back for long periods and took the points courtesy of two penalties from Joe Carlisle.
Boss Richard Hill would have been delighted by the win - which equalled the Premiership record for lowest points scored - as they shut out Wasps and, in doing so, leapfrogged them in the league table ahead of the derby clash with Gloucester next weekend.
However, the result was marred by a serious knee injury to new signing Ezra Taylor after just two minutes of his debut, with the back row now set to be ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Hill had made five changes to his team after the defeat to Leicester Tigers over the Christmas period with Taylor, Matt Kvesic, Oliver Tomaszczyk, Aleki Lutui and Jonny Arr all called up.
Taylor immediately got his hands on the ball and smashed into contact but within seconds was left on the turf in clear discomfort after a line-out with a serious knee injury. The No.8 was carried off just two minutes into his debut and was replaced by Jake Abbott.
Wasps responded by carrying the ball strongly into contact through the forwards as they battled for hard yards while Dominic Waldouck and Elliot Daly looked for space out wide only to meet a wall of defiance from Worcester.
The rain slowly started to ease but the game was still very much forward orientated in the opening exchanges as both packs looked to inch forward.
Chris Jones and James Percival lead the tackle count before Nicky Robinson found Christian Wade with a delightful cross field kick right, but the young flier was well tackled by Miles Benjamin before Chris Pennell pounced on the ball and Jonny Arr hacked clear.
Spilled ball was kept in and kicked ahead by Alex Grove and Matt Kvesic was first on the scene to pick up. Possession, though, was quickly turned over and this time Robinson kicked in behind forcing Pennell to gather and slice up the touchline under pressure from the rapid Tom Varndell.
Daly, a late call-up for Wasps for the injured Richard Haughton, was excelling at fullback as he raced over to Carlisle's long booming kick and returned it with interest to halfway.
Both teams were struggling with the wet ball as Marcel Garvey spilled a high up and under from Daly while Riki Flutey coughed up a hospital pass in midfield and Grove scooped and looked to set a counter attack in motion.
Garvey brilliantly broke from deep as he fielded a high ball and rolled out of tackles to sprint 30 metres up field and feed Abbott on his shoulder. Kvesic and Benjamin rattled up to the line before control was lost and the ball spilled.
Carlisle tried a long range drop-goal that fell left and short from inside his own half after Wasps failed to find touch following a scrum penalty. The flyhalf then looked to inject some pace with a line break and won a penalty as Wasps failed to release but was again short on 23 minutes.
Hill changed his front row options with Tevita Taumoepeau replacing Tomaszczyk on 26 minutes while Wasps continued to look to kick for position with Robinson producing a nasty spitting kick along the skiddy turf in front of Jones.
Tinus du Plessis looked to make his mark on his home debut as he picked up and went straight down the middle only to be hauled down by the retreating Abbott. Wasps again swarmed around the man and looked wide but lost control before Christian Wade limped off.
Worcester went through the phases to intelligently work up field before Arr produced a peach of a kick to the corner that just stayed the right side of the flag as the game entered the final five minutes of the half.
Tempers threatened to flare after a huge tackle from Percival on Simpson while Wasps were happy to pick and go for space before they looked to unleash the backs only to encounter more big hits as Rasmussen and Grove closed in and forced a penalty.
A solid driving line-out from Warriors secured another shot a goal for Carlisle a minute before the interval that he duly slotted the difficult kick from out wide for a 3-0 lead to Worcester at half-time.
Two handling errors in the opening minute of the second half from Warriors immediately put the home side in the ascendancy. Replacement Shaun Perry was straight into tackling duty before Ryan Davis dropped into the pocket only to slice a drop-goal attempt wide right.
Carlisle was next to try his luck at the drop-goal lottery as he picked up a difficult pass off his toes but got under his kick which pulled up short and was slammed clear by Daly.
Worcester's bid was hit when Marcel Garvey was yellow carded for a trip on Varndell, that was spotted by the touch judge, but replacement flyhalf Ryan Davis saw the resulting penalty drop short of the uprights.
Carlisle was cleverly showcasing his range of kicking with Worcester a man down to drill Wasps onto the back foot as twice he found good touch with balls that spat off the turf when they landed.
Chris Mayor broke from deep as he skipped inside a tackle and Simpson put in a grubber kick that was picked up on the slide from Kvesic and Carlisle completed the clearance as home pressure built with the numerical advantage.
Home skipper Marco Wentzel looked for a way in after Simpson spun the play the opposite way after running down a blind alley. The lock, though, looked to offload in contact and the chance was gone before Garvey returned to the field.
A penalty for not rolling away against Percival gave Wasps the chance to level the scores less than 16 minutes from time. Full back Daly took over the kicking duties from 45-metres out but his kick went way left of target.
Worcester looked to mount an attack of their own with a driving line-out and were then handed a penalty when home scrum half Simpson got the wrong side of referee Wayne Barnes as he contested a kick out. Carlisle showed his nerve to nudge Worcester 6-0 ahead with ten left.
Nerves were now building inside Adams Park into the final minutes with both teams fully aware of the consequences of the result. Chris Jones sent away pulses racing as he picked up a knock on and raced down the middle before Daly countered with a slicing run from deep.
One last throw of the dice from the hosts saw them throw the ball around with real invention as twice they kept it alive in difficult positions before Benjamin and Ed Shervington combined to put Mayor into touch
The clock was then brilliantly run down by the Warriors as the pack kept the ball tight before Carlisle booted out to signal jubilant celebration from the away support.
For London Wasps:
Pens: Carlisle 2
Wasps: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Tinus Du Plessis, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Bob Baker, 18 Jeremy Castex, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Elliot Daly.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell (captain), 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Ezra Taylor, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Bruce Douglas, 17 Ed Shervington, 18 Tevita Taumoepeau, 19 Ben Gulliver, 20 Jake Abbott, 21 Shaun Perry, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
With thanks to Worcester Warriors
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