IT WAS desperate rugby and a nervy, tense clash at Kingsholm, but Gloucester clinched the vital home victory they desired.
Four Billy Twelvetrees penalties divided the two sides, as Worcester sank to their tenth league defeat.
Kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes after the pre-match ‘big ball challenge’ knocked the crossbar down, much to the amusement of the 15,629 strong crowd and BT Sport.
Worcester scrum half Jeremy Su’a spilled Twelvetree’s kick from the start and Gloucester had a put-in in a scrum deep in the Worcester 22.
Worcester were penalised for being offside and within two minutes, Gloucester were 3-0 up, as Twelvetrees’ punt sailed cleanly between the posts.
But just minutes later, Worcester win a penalty at the breakdown, and Ignacio Mieres matches Twelvetrees’ effort to make it 3-3.
After a penalty for Matt Cox for double movement, Worcester’s Mieres hoofed the ball up to Gloucester’s 22.
After a series of promising phases, number eight and skipper Jonathan Thomas knocked on and the chance was squandered.
Gloucester cleared their lines before ill-discipline reared its ugly head for the Cherry and Whites.
Nick Wood was penalised for holding on, and the ambitious Mier
es took a shot at the posts from over 50m away.
His kick was short and Gloucester began to drive forwards once again.
A promising flash of attacking potency from Gloucester was stopped short when James Hudson failed to collect number eight Ben Morgan’s offload and knocked on, as the heavens opened.
Worcester were then penalised for playing Jimmy Cowan off the ball at the scrum, and Twelvetrees opted for the posts from a slight angle, but his boot sailed wide.
A Worcester grubber kick found touch deep in the Gloucester 22, but the ball was fumbled metres from the line, as handling errors blighted the Warriors’ first-half performance.
Full-back Rob Cook’s kick to the corner was superbly taken, and Gloucester put Worcester under real pressure in the lineout to win a five metre scrum.
Again Warriors failed to stand up to the Gloucester pack, and Goucester won another penalty.
Twelvetrees kick was clean, and Gloucester went into half-time with a slender 6-3 lead.
Warriors were penalised at the line-out, but Twelvetrees missed his second kick of the day from four chances.
May’s ambitious mid-air tackle on fly-half Mieres gifted Warriors a penalty, and they kicked for territory to Gloucester’s half.
An uncharacteristic knock-on from Cook after he lost his footing collecting a bouncing kick from Alex Grove gave Worcester a put-in deep in the Cherry and White 22, and Gloucester were under pressure as the Warriors smelt blood.
Wood was penalised in the scrum, after it was reset several times, and Mieres had another punt at the posts in the 53rd minute.
It dipped over and the Argentinian roared to his teammates as Worcester drew level.
Gloucester drive forward in the Worcester 22 but spill the ball forwards and from the scrum Worcester clear their lines.
Worcester conceded a penalty at the breakdown and Twelvetrees had a chance to kick Gloucester ahead.
His strike sailed over and the Shed roared – Gloucester led the war of attrition 9-6 going into the final quarter.
After a bulldozing run forwards from number eight Morgan, Twelvetrees’ kick found touch deep in the 22, just as hooker Chris Brooker took a knock and was taken off for a concussion check.
Replacement hooker Seymour then fumbled lineout, gifting Dan Robson possession, but his scything burst to the line was stopped dead by Richard de Carpentier’s high tackle, and the flanker was binned.
Twelvetrees had another penalty to double Gloucester’s lead and split the posts cleanly to make the score 12-6.
Worcester had moments of brilliance, Josh Drauniniu had a streaking run down the wing, and it took three Gloucester players to bully him to touch before Robson cleared from the line-out.
And as Gloucester conceded their tenth penalty of the evening, Warwick mads a superb step-and-go burst to the line but the effort was held up.
The TMO ruled another May mid-air tackle on full-back Chris Pennell foul-play, and he was binned with just four minutes remaining.
Hooker Darren Dawiduik brought the crowd to its feet as he seized the ball and made a surging run, before a perfectly timed offload found Rob Cook.
But Cook was brought down by a tackle and knocked on as time ran out.
GLOUCESTER: R Cook, C Sharples, H Trinder, M Tindall, J May, B Twelvetrees, J Cowan (D Robson, 60), N Wood (Y Thomas, 72), D Dawiduik, S Puafisi (S Knight, 610, E Stooke, J Hudson, M Cox, M Kvesic (A Qera, 54), B Morgan
REPLACEMENTS: H Edmonds, T Hicks , F Burns, M Thomas
WORCESTER: C Pennell, J Stephenson, A Grove, R Fatiaki (A Symons, 57), J Drauniniu, Ignacio Mieres (P Warwick, 68), J Su'a (P Hodgson, 68), Of a Fainga'anuka, C Booker (N Seymour, 65), R O'Donnell (J Andress, 44), J Percival, M Galarza, R de Carpentier, S Betty, J Thomas (c) (L Senatore, 40)
REPLACEMENTS: J Becasseau, C Jones
REFEREE: JP Doyle
MAN OF THE MATCH: Darren Dawiduik