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By Geoff Berkeley Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 09:28
WORCESTER Wanderers' 14-match unbeaten run came to an end as Old Halesonians extended their lead at the top of Midlands One West with a 25-18 victory at Weston Fields.
With only a point separating the two sides going into the much-anticipated clash, Wanderers had the chance to usurp their promotion rivals and take a big step towards clinching the title.
And the hosts got off to a good start as Tom Biggs landed an early penalty to edge his side in front.
But a yellow card for hooker Simon James handed Old Hales a numerical advantage which they duly exploited to go over in the corner.
The match was already living up to its billing as Chris Griffiths split the visitors defence only for the final pass to go to ground.
But the pressure eventually told when quick hands saw Kieran Morris score under the posts, which Biggs converted.
Wanderers continued to press, but, against the run of play, Old Hales snatched a 12-10 lead at the break when they benefited from an interception to go over.
A penalty from Biggs got Wanderers off to the mark in the second period. But it was the league leaders who were bossing proceedings early on as they responded with a penalty of their own.
Worcester then enjoyed their best attacking spell of the game as they forced Old Hales into some frantic defending before Griffiths found space to score his second to move 18-15 in front.
But the away side dug deep and turned the game on its head with ten unanswered points courtesy of a penalty and a converted try to create a seven point cushion with ten minutes remaining.
A superb run from Tom Richmond saw Wanderers go on to close in on the try-line, but Old Hales held firm to see out time.
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