OLD Grovians came out second best in a closely fought 26-19 defeat at home to Ripon.

Two controversial tries (one given, the other not) by the visiting Scottish referee turned out to be decisive in the Yorkshire Two clash.

Grovians took an early lead through a 40-metre Ben Brown penalty but Ripon’s speedy back line soon gave the Grovian defence problems out wide.

Their right winger went over after six minutes and a fine touch line conversion gave Ripon a 7-3 lead. Brown reduced the arrears with a 30-metre penalty after 14 minutes.

A fine break by Alex Masterson, supported well by Jack Hartley, resulted in a penalty to Grovians. Rather than kick at goal, Brown kicked to the corner and from the resulting lineout Sam Dodd caught the ball and the resulting maul drove Adam Crookes over for the unconverted try.

Ripon came straight back when their full back broke through three tackles to score under the posts and this was followed up by a second try for Ripon's right winger, which was again converted from the touchline.

Just before the break, Grovians' coach made three changes with John Neal replacing the injured Jack Johnstone and Pad Burns coming onto the right wing and Pat Elcock into the second row.

After Ripon led 21-11 at the break, Grovians began to get on top in the set scrum in the second half. Brown pulled three points back from a penalty before Gaz Phillips went over for a try but controversially the referee deemed the ball to have been held up.

The momentum was shifting to Grovians, despite prop Will Robinson having to come off, and after 69 minutes Max Kennedy ran two sides of a square to outpace the Ripon defence to score in the right-hand corner.

Brown's conversion attempt missed and with five minutes to play, Grovians trailed just 21-19.

However, Ripon were awarded a bonus point try which Grovians felt involved a double movement to ground the ball.

Old Grovians: Kennedy, Hope-Robertson, Hartley, Phillips, Butler, Masterson, Brown, Hardy, Secker, Johnstone, Dodd, Ryan, Crookes, Worrall, Robinson. Replacements: Neal, Burns, Elcock.