OLD GROVIANS got off to a winning start in Yorkshire Two, beating Yarnbury for the first time ever in a thrilling 32-31 home victory.

With cricket, holidays and injuries, Grovians put out a depleted squad with forwards in the back division and John Neal making his first ever start at hooker.

An early penalty from Ben Brown gave Grovians an early lead but within the first 10 minutes Yarnbury had scored two tries to go 12-3 up.

The Apperley Bridge side struck back with a try of their own. A line-out was won on half way and stand-off Alex Masterson made a lovely break to send Anthony Griffin away, Brown converting.

Grovians took the lead on 21 minutes when Brown added his second penalty. But Yarnbury were soon back in front, winning their scrum on the right of the Grovians 22 before their right winger scored in the corner.

Five minutes before the break, the hosts won their own scrum ten metres out on the right and centre Gaz Phillips crashed over, Brown again converting to give Grovians a slender 20-17 lead at the break.

Three minutes into the second period, Grovians broke from their own half and good interchanging passes by Matt Ryan, Phillips and Danny Secker put Masterson in for a try that again Brown converted.

After 64 minutes Grovians extended their lead to 32-17. Brown cleared from the edge of the 22 and a great chase by John Neal resulted in Griffin winning the ball and feeding Ryan, who in turn put Brown in for the try which he then converted.

Yarnbury did not go down without a fight and scored two tries within the space of a few minutes.

Both tries were converted and Grovians led by a single point as the writing looked on the wall for the hosts - especially when Neal was taken off with a possible break to his arm with a few minutes remaining (a visit to hospital thankfully confirmed this was not the case).

And great defence and counter-attacking saw Grovians hang on for victory.

Old Grovians: Mitchell, Honey, Griffin, Phillips, Stearn, Masterson, Brown, J.Garforth, Neal, Crookes, Dodd, Thorpe, Secker, Johnstone, Hardy. Replacements: Ryan and L Harrison.