A tremendous second-half fightback saw Old Grovians beat hosts Wensleydale 19-17 in the first ever encounter between the clubs.

Grovians trailed 17-3 at the interval but a late penalty by captain Ben Brown saw the visitors come away with the victory in Yorkshire Two.

On a sloping pitch, the Apperley Bridge side began well but 10 minutes of pressure in the Wensleydale left-hand corner didn’t result in a try and they had to be content with a penalty by Brown to take the lead.

With both teams taking in on up front, Wensleydale scored the first try of the match when their flying left wing cut inside down the slope to score under the posts. Two minutes later poor tackling allowed the hosts to increase their lead through another converted try.

Just on half-time Wensleydale kicked a penalty to give them a 17-3 advantage at the break.

Grovians made two changes just into the second half and scrum pressure on the right hand side resulted in the ball travelling along the back line for left wing Martyn Mitchell to dive over.

After 65 minutes Brown reduced the deficit to 17-11 and with Grovians gaining in confidence and beginning to win the set-piece battle, Pad Burns dived over in the left corner after a line-out drive had been held up on the Wensleydale line. Brown missed the conversion so Wensleydale led by a single point with ten minutes left.

Grovians again attacked and were awarded a penalty for a no-arms tackle wide on the left on the Wensleydale 22. Captain Brown elected to kick at goal and slotted over the kick to put Grovians into the lead. The referee gave the signal that still 11 minutes remained on his watch.

Wensleydale were awarded a penalty just inside the Grovians half but the kick just fell short. There was still time for Grovians to come again and they were awarded another penalty. Brown pulled the kick to the left but the referee blew for time.

This was a great away win at a difficult place, with particular credit going to the front three who played the whole game and gave Grovians the ascendancy in the last quarter.

Coach Andy Hinchliffe said: “Very happy with the result and the way the lads came back from 14 points down at half-time.

"However it’s frustrating when simple missed tackles and lack of concentration gift points away.

"Having said that I thought Wensleydale were excellent for the first 40 minutes, particularly at the breakdown. It is testament to the players that they were able to adapt and dominate most aspects of the game in the second half.

"Special mention must go to Will Robinson and Joe Garforth, who were both outstanding throughout, both getting better and stronger as the game progressed, and our early work had the desired effect of tiring the Wensleydale pack."

Old Grovians: Kennedy, Butler, J.Harrison, Griffin, Mitchell, Burns, Brown, Hardy, Secker, Johnstone, Dodd, Elcock, Garforth, Worrall, Robinson – Replacements:- Neal, L.Harrison, Ryan