Wanderers edged out by Worcester at Sixways
Owen Franks and Ben Franks were unable to enjoy a winning return to action as the Wanderers were beaten 34-28 by Worcester Cavaliers in foggy conditions at Sixways on Monday night.
Owen, who had overcome a thumb injury, played 40 minutes and Ben, back from an elbow problem, got 52, but Worcester were able to grab victory thanks to two late penalties.
James Fish also made his return from injury, but fellow hooker Reece Marshall had to withdraw before kick-off ensuring he must wait to come back from the hamstring problem that has prevented him from playing so far this season.
Worcester took the lead inside the first minute as Scott van Breda fed scrum-half Jono Kitto for the score. Gareth Simpson converted.
The Wanderers responded with a try of their own thanks to strong work from Alex Coles, and James Grayson converted to level the scores.
Worcester were back in front when prop Kai Owen made it over the line, with Simpson adding the extras.
Again, the Wanderers issued a strong riposte as Devante Onojaife rumbled over.
Grayson's conversion made it 14-14, but Worcester then took control as Beck Cutting broke away to score.
Another try came eight minutes before the break as full-back Noah Heward spotted a gap and went over.
With Simpson maintaining his 100 per cent conversion record, the Cavaliers were able to go in 28-14 up at the break.
Seven minutes after the restart, Fish marked his return with a trademark try from the back of a maul, and he was taken off five minutes later.
The Wanderers levelled the scores 14 minutes from time as Connor Tupai delivered a lovely sniping score.
Grayson converted to make it 28-28, but Luke Scully landed two late penalties to win it for Worcester, who remain top of the Premiership Rugby Shield Northern Conference.
Worcester Cavaliers: Heward; El Caven (guest player), van Breda, Scully, David; Simpson, Kitto; Owen, Taufete'e, Rinakama; Clegg, Kitchener; Monks, Cox, Dodd (c).
Replacements: Miller, Holsey, Thorp (guest player), Scott, Cutting, Morris, Lawrence, Ez Caven (guest player).
Wanderers: Mallinder (Mathews 72); Gillespie, Dingwall, Strachan, Olowofela; Grayson (c), Tupai; B Franks (Trinder 52), Fish (van Vuuren 52), O Franks (Garside 40); Bean, Coles; Onojaife (Iyogun 75), Newman (Uru 58), Eadie.