|Worcester Warriors (10) 23|
|Tries: Humphreys, Venter Cons: Shillcock, Searle Pens: Searle 3|
|Bristol Bears (17) 24|
|Tries: Naulago 3, Uren Cons: Sheedy 2|
Leaders Bristol were rescued by hat-trick hero Siva Naulago’s late try as resurgent Worcester were cruelly denied a first Premiership win since November.
Winger Naulago’s first two unconverted tries gave Bristol a 10-0 lead – only for Worcester to level with a converted Perry Humphreys try and a penalty.
Scrum-half Andy Uren’s solo score on half-time won Bristol back the lead.
Francois Venter’s try and two Billy Searle penalties then put Warriors ahead, before Naulago’s winning try.
Even then, after the Fijian rugby league convert had gone over in the right corner seven minutes from time, it still needed a superb touchline conversion by Wales stand-off Callum Sheedy.
After his Triple Crown-winning haul of five kicks against England last Saturday, and having earlier missed both his touchline conversion attempts at Naulago’s first two tries, Sheedy again held his nerve when it mattered.
Bristol’s bonus-point win keeps them six points clear of second-placed Exeter, while Worcester had already sunk to the bottom prior to kick-off, thanks to Gloucester’s equally narrow, late win at Wasps.
Warriors have now lost 11 games on the bounce in all competitions – and have only kept in touch with Gloucester thanks to the eight points they picked up from two Covid-19-enforced postponements against Harlequins and Newcastle.
But this was possibly their best performance of the season by Jonathan Thomas’ young rebuilt side, also containing their try of the season, a lightning break down the right finished off by centre Venter.
And, although they were knocked back by the early loss of injured former England winger Chris Ashton, on his first home start, it earned them their fourth losing bonus point in seven matches.
Worcester Warriors: David; Ashton, Morris, Venter, Humphreys; Shillcock, Hougaard; Waller, Cutting, Schonert, A Kitchener, Clegg, Hill (capt), Kvesic, van Velze.
Replacements: Miller, Thomas, Palframan, Batley, du Preez, Heaney, Searle, Beck.
Bristol Bears: Purdy; Adeolokun, O’Conor, Leiua, Naulago; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore, Capon, Lahiff, Attwood, Joyce, Vui, Harding, Luatua (capt).
Replacements: Kloska, Thomas, Afoa, Holmes, Heenan, Kessell, Eden, Fricker.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.