Yorkshire Division Two: Yarnbury 26 Old Grovians 22

JAMIE Peacock’s debut for Old Grovians had a dramatic start and an even more dramatic finish at Brownberrie Lane.

The 41-year-old former Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos legend only completed half of the warm-up before disappearing to the changing rooms.

Spectators wondered whether the Great Britain and England rugby league captain would emerge for the kick-off, but he did with his right thigh strapped.

However, that was nothing compared to the drama with the last play of the match after 16 minutes of additional time when referee Tom Lynskey awarded relegation-threatened Yarnbury a match-winning penalty try for cumulative offences by the visitors in their 22.

Peacock, explaining his debut for the Apperley Bridge club, said: “A guy I do some work for said ‘Come down and take them for a training session’ and I said ‘I might like to have a game’, and might means definite!

“I waited until March when the weather has got a bit warmer, but I pulled my hamstring in the warm-up. However, I think I will be all right for the London Marathon when I am running to raise funds for Wheatfields Hospice.”

Peacock, who played in the centres, added: “It was good playing a different sport, but it took me a while to get to grips with the laws.

“I just played it my own way, offloading the ball, but it was an enjoyable experience playing with some guys who gave it their all.

“At the start of the game, everyone was trying to knock my head off but I learnt as the game went on and got into it as everyone got a bit more tired. I might have another runaround next season but that will do me for this season.”

Old Grovians prop Joe Garforth, who had to limp back onto the field of play after lock Tom Thorpe went off with a shoulder injury in the dying embers of the match, said: “It was not a good way to end the game.

“If it was for repeated scrum infringements I could have understood it, but we were keeping them out and they weren’t making many yards.

“We were about ten metres out from our line when the penalty try was given and you can’t give a penalty try from there. We would have taken a penalty and a yellow card.

“We were all a bit tired at the end on a 4G pitch. It was a quick game and we got into it when it came down to our pace.”

Yarnbury coach Bob Hood admitted: “We were very fortunate as Grovians resisted minutes of pressure on their own try-line but I honestly thought that the penalty try should have come after the second scrum near the end as it was obvious that we had nudged them forward on the first scrum and they were down to 14 men and he gave a penalty.

“I have seen penalty tries given for what happened at the end and I have seen them not given, but I think we just about deserved it.

“There were a few yellow cards but our winger (Joe Pinnock) should never have been given one for going for an interception outside of our 22, but it was a brave decision by the referee to give that penalty try, and at last this season we have had a bit of luck go our way."

Yarnbury, playing away from the clubhouse, had first use of the elements and went ahead in the second minute with a try by lock James Falgate after Peacock was dispossessed, with fly half Will Marshall adding the conversion.

His opposite number Ben Brown stroked over a penalty before Marshall was sin-binned for failing to roll away in the tackle, but Yarnbury made light of the man disadvantage when centre James Endlesby scored by reacting quickest to a loose ball in the 24th minute to break through some weak Grovians tackling.

Replacement kicker Danny Pound landed a fine conversion and then full back Nathan Benson’s fine break was finished off by left winger Graham Maycock in the 37th minute.

Brown’s second penalty in first-half stoppage time made the interval score 19-6 but Grovians lost prop Will Robinson to illness during half-time and hooker Ben Pearson to a neck injury early in the second half.

However, full back Max Kennedy put the visitors back in the match with a try in the 51st minute as Peacock got his offloading game going.

A third Brown penalty five minutes later narrowed the deficit to five points and, after Pound went off with a bloody nose, Pinnock was yellow carded in the 73rd minute for that knock on, with Brown kicking a fourth penalty to make it 19-17.

Players from both sides were feeling the pace by now, and it looked like Kennedy had won it for Grovians with a try in the 75th minute after good work by Alex Masterson and Joe Harrison.

Joe Sowden was running the ball out of defence strongly for the visitors but they lost flanker Sam Dodd to the sin-bin for dissent and could not stem the blue, white and black tide in what must have seemed an eternity for Grovians in a half that lasted over 54 minutes.