STRUGGLING Old Grovians got 2022 off to a winning start with a fine 20-15 victory over Northallerton in Yorkshire Two.

The home game was switched to West Park Leeds as the Cross Green pitch was not fit for two games, and the heavy morning rain thankfully abated before kick-off.

Grovians suffered an early loss when flanker Will Broadbent was injured after just five minutes and was taken to hospital, where it was confirmed he had broken his fibula.

Northallerton, playing down the slight slope, scored after 15 minutes, going over for a push over try that was converted.

On 20 minutes Grovians struck back with their first attack into Northallerton territory, as Max Kennedy made a break on halfway.

The ball was then recycled left, with number eight Ed King breaking through a high tackle to send in left winger Willem Johnson for a try on his Grovians debut.

Ed Brown added the conversion.

On 29 minutes, a Northallerton player received a yellow card for a high tackle and a minute later Johnson added a second try.

Good line out ball was won and a lovely move right along the backline saw Johnson in on the left corner.

Four minutes later, Johnson completed a debut hat-trick with a carbon copy of the previous try, as Grovians led 17-7.

On the stroke of half-time, prop Paul Williams received a red card for a stiff arm tackle and Grovians were reduced to 14 for the rest of the game.

Northallerton scored from the resulting penalty kick, so at half-time Grovians led 17-10.

Although down to 14 men, Grovians had the lion’s share of possession and territory but couldn’t score the fourth try for a bonus point, adding only a further three-pointer.

With a few minutes left, Northallerton scored a try on the right to make it 20-15, with the conversion being missed.

Grovians coach Ali MacDonald summed up the game afterwards by saying: "The win a combination of taking our chances in attack and game-winning defence.

"Playing up the slope in the first half, every time we got in their half we scored a try.

"Willem Johnson was on the end of fantastic multi-phase play to finish well each time.

"There were a couple of turning points in the game which halted our attacking momentum, the injury to Will Broadbent and the red card to Paul Williams.

"With Northallerton attacking and keeping us pinned in the boggy end of the pitch, I felt a massive defensive set sapped energy out of them going into the second half.

"But playing the remainder of the game with 14 men proved difficult in regards to launching attacking play."

Elsewhere in Yorkshire Two, Baildon were well beaten, 33-14 by visiting high-flyers Hullensians.

In North One East, rock-bottom Bradford & Bingley had their game at Scarborough postponed, while Cleckheaton impressed with a 31-17 victory away to Morpeth.

Lowly Bradford Salem were comfortably beaten by high-flying Old Crossleyans 37-11 in Yorkshire One, while Wibsey moved up to third-bottom in Yorkshire Three with a superb 18-13 win at title contenders Bramley Phoenix.