Worcester Warriors 29
London Wasps 23
The oil tanker, which has for so long looked to be drifting inexorably towards the Aviva Premiership rocks, finally turned tonight as Worcester snapped a five-game league losing streak. And not before time.
Just as disaster looked to be looming Richard Hill's side were rightfully rewarded for their recent endeavour and adventure and with London Welsh now facing an appointment on the RFU's naughty step for playing half their season with the unregistered Tyson Keats, it is fair to assume this year's top flight relegation battle will not feature the Warriors.
Two tries in each half, the mental fortitude to retrieve a carelessly sacrificed wining position and a bonus point victory have lifted the gloom at Sixways and just maybe, after so many false starts, the only way for Hill's Worcester is up.
"That was a vision of what we are trying to do," the head coach said. "We have got a lot of work to do in certain aspects of the game but I want supporters to come here and see tries scored because that's what it's about. And we are going to do our best to do that.
"At no stage was I going to veer from that because I believe the only way to get out of the situation is to play rugby and score tries.
"London Irish have shown that, you win games by scoring tries. James Percival showed our intention from the start, we weren't going to go for three points, we were going to go for four tries.
"We have scored three try bonus points this year now and I don't think Worcester has ever done that, probably never done more than one. That's the way to move forward, we have got five games to go and we are going to try and get another one."
Worcester's first half was everything Hill wanted, low on penalties, only five were conceded, and high on tempo and continuity.
That produced two scores and an interval lead of 15-6 that few could argue was not merited. Any hangover from the Kingsholm Calamity had clearly crystallsed into a steely resolve that they would not sleepwalk their way down the table.
Andy Goode was the catalyst. At times this season the ex-England fly half has looked a disinterested by-stander, more concerned with the spectacular and speculative than the prosaic and the percentage.
Yet for some utterly explicable reason, against the club with whom he will be playing his rugby next season, he was energised, conducting the waves of willing runners and picking out sixpences from 40m away. It was a shame he only lasted 47 minutes before his dead leg claimed him.
Prior to his withdrawal it took Goode just four to open the scoring as the ever-dangerous Josh Drauniniu skipped his way up to the 22 and Goode then, up at scrum half, cleverly passed the ball straight at the prone Ashley Johnson who was pinged for not rolling away.
Not that Goode's magic had gone as far as personality transplants for some of his team-mates, Warriors less-disciplined forwards continued with their nefarious ways and Nicky Robinson overturned the home lead with two penalties before the quarter hour mark.
But inspired Worcester weren't going to let that stand in their way and they produced two outstanding tries.
The first was a thing of beauty, having retained the ball well Warriors created an overlap out wide where Jon Clarke put the outstanding Chris Pennell in space.
The full back, who was brilliant in defence, had plenty of work to do and after stepping past Hugo Southwell he blasted his way through Charlie Hayter and Joe Simpson.
Goode missed the extras but more than made up for it with a brilliant chip which put David Lemi over in the 24th minute.
The hosts' pack was hammering away at the Wasps line when Goode impudently lifted the ball over the on-rushing defence for the winger to take in stride and touch down. It was the sort of clinical finish Hill's men have lacked for so long.
The conversion made it 15-6 at the break but even though that was a handy lead, few inside a nervy Sixways had forgotten the fact that Leicester were allowed to come back from a nine-point deficit a couple of months ago.
And for the first half of the second period the foot-shooting looked as though it would continue as Worcester shipped four penalties in the opening ten minutes.
That combined with a defensive howler from the otherwise superb Jonny Arr and Neil Best, allowed Wasps to score 13 unanswered points.
Just two minutes after the restart Best made a mess of Arr's bobbled pass and Johnson hacked into the home 22.
Worcester never recovered their defensive composure and Southwell's inside pass to the rampaging Rhys Thomas put the hooker over.
Ten minutes later Drauniniu was shown a ridiculously harsh yellow card for what referee Greg Garner adjudged to be a deliberate knock on as the Fijian went for an interception deep in his own territory.
The visitors went for the corner and Johnson, the blindside with the appearance of a giant teddy bear and the demeanour of a rabid dog, bundled his way over. Robinson improved for 18-15 and Worcester were rocking.
"What we saw in that first ten minutes[of the second half] was absolutely incredible," Hill admitted. "I thought we were going to shoot ourselves in the foot again.
"We were making silly errors and you could see, not panic, but you could sense a feeling of 'Oh, crikey, what's happening here, Wasps are getting some momentum'.
"But I think the way the players steeled themselves to come back from a tricky situation, because I was sat there thinking 'This is not going well'.
"They obviously had the self belief to pull themselves back together again. That was pretty good going in a big game like this one was when you could see it slipping away."
Indeed this time no refereeing nightmare was to deny them. To their massive credit they came surging back and from an attacking lineout and although the initial drive was repelled, Arr fed Blair Cowan who thundered over. Goode's replacement Gray kicked the conversion for 22-18.
And then, with Andrea Masi in the bin for an illegal tackle on John Andress, Worcester went for another lineout maul.
Once again they didn't quite get over but Arr had enough pace to get outside Johnson's malevolent embrace to claim a rare fourth try.
Gray converted once more and although Jack Wallace scampered over at the death to give the Londoners a loss bonus, Worcester fully deserved their win and their new course away from the danger zone.
"The players are pretty happy because I have given them a few days off now," Hill beamed. "We were due in this week and next week because I said we were going to train until we got this right.
"But I did say I would have a look at it if we had a very good win and in the huddle James Percival said 'I think that constitutes a very good win'. I had 23 players staring me down waiting for thumbs up or thumbs down.
"The players are very pleased and I am very relieved, I am delighted for all the players and supporters."
WORCESTER: Pennell; Drauniniu, Grove, Clarke, Lemi; Goode (Gray 47), Arr (Hodgson 78); Mullan, Shervington, Murray (Andress 65), Percival, Schofield (Gillies 69), Best, Kvesic, Cowan. Replacements: Lutui, Jones C, Betty, Matavesi
WASPS: Southwell (Wallace 73); Daly, Masi, Hayter, Varndell; Robinson, Simpson; Payne (Taulafo 53), Thomas (Lindsay 70), Swainston (Taylor 65), Cannon (Rae 72), Wentzel, Johnson, Poff, Sam Jones. Replacements: Everard, Commins, Stephen Jones
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)