OLD Grovians travelled to table topping Roundhegians with a depleted squad and unsurprising fell to a heavy 44-7 defeat in Yorkshire Two.

Injuries, unavailability and a school game meant that ‘veterans’ John Hinchliffe and Matt Gaffney cleaned their boots and turned out on what was a difficult afternoon for the visitors.

Roundhegians, using the strong wind to their advantage, opened up a 6-0 lead with two penalties in the first quarter hour, before 20 minutes in, Grovians lost flanker John Neal to a yellow card for an alleged trip in the tackle.

Two tries in the space of 11 minutes by the Roundhegians left winger gave the hosts an 18-0 lead but just on half time, Grovians ventured into the home side's 22 for the first time.

A kick through by Joe Harrison was taken into touch by Roundhegians and from the resulting lineout, Grovians forced their way to the line through a series of drives.

Joe Garforth was the one who eventually scored the try and Alex Masterson converted to give the visitors hope at the break.

The second half saw Grovians defend bravely and they had moments in attack.

However, Roundhegians are not top of the league for nothing and they added four tries, including two in the final five minutes, to win 44-7.

Credit must go to the supposedly retired John Hinchliffe, who played the whole 80 minutes on the left wing, and to Matt Gaffney, who in his 15 minutes on the pitch, certainly got stuck in to the opposition.

Coach Andy Hinchliffe said afterwards: “It was an extremely difficult week trying to get a squad together. We have 80 registered players but by Saturday afternoon, there was still only 13 fully fit players available to play.

“However with some very late additions and a couple of more mature additions, we fielded a full squad for the difficult task of playing the top of the league away.

“All those players were outstanding, the effort was second to none and it was a pleasure to watch. As is often the case, the final score did not reflect the match, but Roundhegians would fully deserve to finish this season as league champions.

“Special mention must go to Matt Frost, who certainly upheld the Grove motto of being “the very best of himself”. He gave everything and looked like a boxer after 12 rounds at the end.”