OLD GROVIANS got the new year off to a winning start with a 32-18 try bonus point win over bottom-placed Barnsley in Yorkshire Two.

Barnsley missed a drop goal attempt after a few minutes. However, Grovians struck first when flanker James Johnstone scored his first try of the season after a series of drives to the Barnsley line. In the absence of skipper Ben Brown, Alex Masterson took up the kicking duties and added the conversion.

Barnsley struck back on 15 minutes when Grovians lost a line-out on their own throw inside their 22 and Barnsley moved the ball right to score in the corner.

Grovians were having very much the upper hand in the set scrums and were awarded a series of penalties mid-way through the half deep inside the Barnsley 22. In the end they settled for a penalty kick by Masterson who put them 10-5 up. From this penalty Barnsley lost a second row to a yellow card.

Grovians took full advantage and from the restart broke down field with good handling. A series of drives resulted in Cam Dennis scoring on the left wing. Masterson added the conversion.

Again Grovians went back down field and prop Joe Garforth scored his first try for two years.

Right on half-time Barnsley struck from a line-out. A short line was passed to their very mobile prop who surged over - a reminder to Grovians that the game was not over.

Garforth scored his second try (what do they say about buses!) in the second half after a dozen drives to the line were held up by the Barnsley defence. Debutant Jack Popely made a great break up the middle of the field, showing his potential, as did another debutant Josh Firth in the centre, who produced strong runs.

In the final minutes Barnsley talisman prop burst through three tackles to score. The last attempt by George Butler saw him bounced nearly into the river.

Grovians coach Andy Hinchliffe said: “All 18 players were outstanding. There was good decision making and game management throughout and the ability to react and adapt quickly when momentum swung against them. Ball security was impressive as were players' willingness and flexibility to play in unfamiliar positions and still give maximum effort and commitment."

He added: "Ryan Lister at scrum half was excellent and grew in confidence as the game progressed to earn himself man of the match.

"Credit must be given to Barnsley who are far better than their league position reflects; they will surprise a few teams over the coming months."

Hinchcliffe also congratulated team captain Ben Brown and Lisa on the birth of their daughter on Friday.