Worcester have started life in the Premier Division just like they left the First; in charge and on top. A hattrick from the irrespressible Adam Healy and a disastrous own goal were enough to sink a makeshift Catz side who looked lost at sea.
That Worcester would run away with the match was not immediately apparent. The first half was dour and attrititional, with Worcester seeing more of the ball, but St Catz looking sharper on the break, with Jake Grandison and Thomas Monteath torturing the Worcester full-backs, although Worcester could have taken the lead when Liam Stewart-George, a man carrying a formidable reputation after last season, almost set Healy free through the centre. It would be Healy who would break the deadlock and ensure that Worcester went into the break with the lead, heading home at the nearpost at the half-hour mark.
The goal alone was not enough to settle Worcester, who still looked out of sorts for the remainder of the first half. But it was a rejuvenated Worcester who fired out of the traps, and looked certain to add to their tally. Although it was St Catz who would be given the first clear opportunity to score when, ten minutes into the second half, Matt Sinnet was judged to have brought down Monteath in the Worcester box. While his protestations were not enough to convince the referee, they may have rattled Monteath, who fired a tame, low effort that all but dribbled into the relieved keeper’s hands. Less than a minute after St Catz had spurned the chance of an equaliser, Worcester made them pay, Tom Phelan finding Healy with a well-measured ball, who doubled his tally and gave Worcester a two-goal lead with a cool finish.
Suddenly in command, the real Worcester decided to show up, and the newest addition to the league were back to their best; out-muscling and out-passing their opponents as if they were back in the First. They were aided by yet another miserable capitulation from St Catz. Just as they took Alex Biggs’ opener in the Cuppers Final last year as a signal to retreat, they once again showed a startling inabilty to react to adversity. Phelan was bossing the midfield and there was a sickening inevitability to Worcester’s third goal, Healy’s wide shot from distance hitting the top corner to end the game as a contest. While Healy may have intended to cross for the substitute, Niko de Walden, there can be no question that it was a deserved hattrick. The Worcester support cried out for more, and the Catz defence duly obliged, when a clumsy backpass rolled past the unhappy form of the Catz ‘keeper, who by now was looking a little worse for wear.
For Catz, a humilating and bruising defeat at the hands of a newly-promoted side must feel like a blow to their hopes of bettering their second-place finishes in cup and league. They end the opening day in the same place as the rest of the division; looking up at a formidable Worcester. It is hard to see that changing as the season wears on.