Homer the hero as Exiles end run
London Irish ended a seven-match losing streak in the Premiership after beating an out-of-sorts Worcester 25-16 on Saturday.
Exiles full-back Tom Homer was the hero with 15 points.
There was to be no fairytale farewell at Sixways for departing favourites Marcel Garvey, Miles Benjamin, Kai Horstmann and Dale Rasmussen as Worcester produced one of their worst performances of the season, as if they were already content with having secured their Premiership status for next season.
It was not until the final quarter that they showed any real fight, with late tries from Garvey and Benjamin giving some solace to their supporters. For most of the match Irish were comfortably the better, with impressive performances from Bryn Evans and Ofisa Treviranus.
Irish started strongly and took a fourth-minute lead when Homer kicked a 30-metre penalty after Worcester were offside in midfield. The full-back added another, this time from 40m, but Andy Goode responded with a simple penalty for the Warriors.
Irish continued to have much the better of the opening quarter and when Goode carelessly knocked on an up-and-under from Delon Armitage, it gave the visitors the platform from which they scored their first try. The visitors battered the tryline and eventually a clever pass from Steve Shingler sent Joe Ansbro over for the score which Homer converted to give his side a 10-point lead.
Worcester were dealt a further blow when young flanker Jake Abbott was forced to leave the field with a leg injury, but the Warriors were boosted when Goode was successful with his second penalty.
After 35 minutes Irish deservedly scored their second try, when a clever kick through from Jonathan Joseph gave Homer sufficient time to pick up and score the try. He was unable to convert it, but it still left Irish with a healthy 18-6 half-time advantage.
Worcester's performance in the first half was lethargic, prompting coach Richard Hill to make three substitutions at half-time with Goode and Jonny Arr being replaced at half-back by Danny Gray and Shaun Perry. Bruce Douglas was introduced at prop.
These changes had no immediate effect as Irish continued to be the dominant side and it took an excellent cover tackle from Perry to foil Sailosi Tagicakibau as the wing raced for the corner.
Homer had a chance to extend the visitors' lead when a 50m penalty rebounded back off the post and with Irish remaining in charge Hill threw on three more substitutes for the final quarter.
It got worse for the Warriors when Rasmussen was injured following a thunderous collision with Ansbro. The centre received oxygen before being helped from the field and with Worcester having used all their back substitutes, replacement flanker Matt Kvesic was forced to play on the wing.
Despite these misfortunes, Worcester clawed their way into the game when Benjamin forced his way over for a try but Gray failed to convert.
However, that revival was short-lived as back came Irish, with Armitage receiving an inside pass and racing away to score the decisive try which Homer converted before Garvey said farewell to Sixways with a consolation score.