OLD Grovians skipper Ben Brown admits poor decision-making cost his side dearly in their 24-11 Yorkshire Division Three defeat at home to Wensleydale.

With fly half Alex Masterson, through the middle, full back Max Kennedy, in a wider channel, and debutant Henry Boggie, off the bench, posing seemingly constant threats, the hosts blew numerous chances to score tries.

Brown said: "We had multiple chances to close the game out and probably spurned six clear-cut opportunities.

"On another day we would have won by 30 points, but a few poor decisions in key moments by big players let us down.

"Max has made three 40-metre breaks and unfortunately we didn't capitalise, maybe didn't offer him support, but he has had a great game and on another day could have had four tries. That is the way it goes."

On a breezy afternoon at Elm Tree Farm, Old Grovians had first use of the wind that blew from the river end.

Kennedy soon gave away a penalty for a high tackle but Wensleydale did not take advantage, giving the home side a counter-attacking opportunity to score, which Kennedy took from a long Masterson pass.

Brown missed the third-minute conversion, and Wensleydale centre Jack Reynard's penalty two minutes later did not have the legs into the wind, dying underneath the posts.

The visitors, third in the table after adapting to life well in the higher tier having won Yorkshire Division Three last season, then mounted severe pressure on the Grovians line but eased it by knocking on the clearing kick.

Kennedy then ran past three black and yellow shirted opponents but then hoofed the ball downfield instead of backing himself to reach the line.

Wensleydale, in the 16th minute, went over in the left-hand corner by the equipment shed via winger Mathew Read, Kennedy perhaps getting away with a high tackle in trying to stop him, and the visitors took the lead when Reynard converted superbly from the touchline.

However, Brown penalties in the 20th and 31st minutes put Grovians 11-7 ahead, although in between Masterson had blown an opportunity of a try after cutting through the middle before kicking the ball dead instead of keeping it in hand.

By now the home side had lost 42-year-old centre Matt Gaffney to fatigue - he did roll back the years with one jinking run - and hooker Adam Crooks to a left knee injury.

With Boggie coming on, however, Grovians looked even more potent in attack, and No 8 Matt Worrall slipped seamlessly into the hooking role, with Matt Frost coming into the pack.

Reynard then landed a penalty in stoppage time to make the half-time score 11-10.

Grovians soon set out their stall in the second half, keeping possession - they had kicked too much away in the first half - as Wensleydale's harrying dropped off a fraction.

Masterson made another half break and found centre Joe Harrison in support but the move died when a Grovians' body position was wrong, allowing Wensleydale to snuff out the danger.

The home side then went into champagne-rugby mode as Boggie and Harrison attacked, only for Kennedy to fluff the opportunity.

Boggie broke again only for Kennedy to slice the ball directly into touch in kicking ahead down the right wing, and Kennedy broke again down the right just past the hour only to pass infield to an opponent.

Grovians were made to rue those missed chances when Wensleydale full back James Ashford ran a nice diagonal angle to score in the 66th minute, leaving Reynard with an easy conversion.

Trailing 17-11, quick thinking by Brown at a tap penalty, grubbing the ball ahead under severe pressure, presented another decent opportunity for the talented Kennedy, but he could not gather the rolling ball on an afternoon when the harder he tried the less seemed to come off.

Referee Ben Pharoah (East Yorkshire Society) then felt the need to call together captains Brown and Tom Lawson to calm matters down as too much advice was being directed at the whistler, and another chance for the hosts went begging when they had a scrum in the Wensleydale 22 but lost the initial shove and went backwards rather quickly.

The tin lid was put on things for Grovians coach Andy Hinchliffe with seven minutes remaining when Masterson and Kennedy were exchanging passes in backfield as they tried to engineer space.

Reynard moved up and intercepted with a raised left boot, catching the ball and running in an easy try which he converted, prompting a distraught Hinchliffe to say: "That just about sums it up."

Nevertheless, Grovians, who dropped a place to eighth on the back of the loss, look to have found a player in Boggie.

Brown said: "Henry came on and surprised me. I thought that he was more of a forward but he looked at home in the centres and had some great runs.

"Hopefully we will keep him down and keep him interested, and Max and Mazza (Alex Masterson) had great games as well."

As for the switch in form in the second half after a tepid opening stanza, Brown said: "That is often the way it goes.

"You play with the wind and don't have a great half and then play better against it.

"We played a lot smarter rugby in the second half and held onto the ball for a longer period of time and played in the right areas of the pitch, but we just weren't clinical."

As for the forward battle, he said: "I thought that we were on top. The line-out worked well, the scrum was dominant and when we ran at gaps we looked threatening.

"We kept hold of the ball well in the second half but just didn't find the cutting edge.

"Wensleydale are not the most skilful team in the league but they dug in and found a way to win so fair play to them and it is not easy travelling the distances that they do for away matches."