Worcester fell short of an impressive fightback against Exeter Chiefs, losing 33-38 to hinder their relegation struggle.
The Warriors might have harboured some hope of pulling off their own sporting version of The Great Escape after mustering their very first win of the season away at relegation rivals Newcastle in the last round but the Chiefs made any such hope look very faint indeed as they racked up a bonus point by half-time.
The Devon-based side may have been reinvigorated by the final confirmation this week that seventh place could lead to a spot in Europe's top tier competition and scrum-half Dave Lewis got them off to the perfect start as he was on hand to score the game's first try inside ten minutes after a good break from his half-back partner Gareth Steenson.
Ryan Lamb did get the home side on the scoreboard with a penalty but it was all Exeter in the opening half-hour and centre Sam Hill crossed the whitewash after a great burst from Fetu'u Vainikolo moments earlier before Steenson added a third try.
24-year-old hooker Jack Yeandle grabbed the bonus point try right on the stroke of half-time after good work from the Exeter pack but not before Worcester had just given themselves half a chance with a pair of tries in the space of a couple of minutes. Chris Pennell took advantage of an overlap to score the first and David Lemi beat Matt Jess for pace to touch down after hacking the ball ahead for himself. All of which meant that an action-packed, six-try first half ended 28-15 in favour of the visitors.
Lamb slotted over his second penalty of the afternoon shortly after the restart but the game really did look well and truly up for the Warriors when Yeandle scored his second and Exeter's fifth try several minutes later.
Despite their perilous league position though, this Worcester outfit never seems to give up and they managed to set up a tense finish when Agustin Creevy went over after some concerted pressure and Lemi showed superb pace on the left wing to score the 10,000th try in Premiership history and pick up a try bonus point.
A Steenson penalty in the middle of all the action proved crucial as it meant that the Chiefs were still eight points ahead and, although a Lamb penalty two minutes from time gave the Warriors a losing bonus point and a glimmer of hope that they might get more, Exeter held on to boost their European qualification hopes and leave Worcester on the brink.
Tries: Pennell, Lemi 2, Creevy
Cons: Lamb 2
Pens: Lamb 3
Tries: Lewis, Hill, Steenson, Yeandle 2
Cons: Steenson 5
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Andy Symons
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Dean Mumm, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Don Armand, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 James Phillips, 20 James Scaysbrook, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff and Ashley Rowden
TMO: Graham Hughes