Grosvenor opened up their 2022-23 Championship campaign with a loss to close neighbours, Cooke RFC. In perfect conditions, both sides endeavoured to move the ball and entertain the healthy touchline support. Grosvenor opened the scoring with a 30 metre penalty from Timmy McMullan. As in the previous week at Ballymoney, Grosvenor gave away too many penalties with offside and side entry offences prevalent. To the surprise of the home support, Cooke opted to take a scrum straight in front of the Grosvenor posts from one such penalty. However their surprise was not long lasting as Cooke scored a push over try, which was converted to give the home side a 7-3 lead. Disappointingly, Grosvenor lost the breakdown battle and the Cooke backrow flourished in this area. The one bright area of the game was the Grosvenor lineout which saw Ross Copeland and Henry Ferris dominate. Cooke lost four lineouts but from one such turnover, our clearance kick was charged down and Cooke scored their second try. Their blindside not only forced the chargedown but managed to pick up the difficult ball and shrug off two tacklers to score in the corner. The missed conversion left the score at 12-3 to Cooke. That score led to significant pressure on the gnor defence and despite showing admirable resolve in this area, the Cooke centre ran an excellent line to improve their lead to 17-3 and the conversion increased the lead to 19-3. This was the half time score. The fact that Grosvenor won the second half will be of little consolation to coaches or players.
An overthrow at our lineout offered Cooke another chance and they accepted to go 26-3 ahead. Grosvenor were looking at a heavy defeat at this time but a good lineout taken by Ross Copeland and a well coordinated drive saw skipper Michael Smyth claw back a try which Tim McMullan converted. 26-10. Cooke came back and after scrum pena;lties, Neil Adams was yellow carded and Cooke dived over in the corner for an unconverted try 31-10. The final score came when an intelligent grubber kick from Tim Emerson was gathered by Jack Breen who showed great skill and pace to score in the corner for a try which was brilliantly converted by Tim McMullan to bring the final score to 31-17.
A yellow card for a late tackle by a Cooke player was too late to give Grosvenor a chance to further their points tally and the game ended with Cooke the victors by 31-17.
So, plenty to work on for Grosvenor.