Grove 34, Wallingford 16

A HAT-TRICK of tries from wing Harry Carr helped Grove take top spot in Southern Counties North, despite having three players sin-binned.

The home side have now picked up a maximum 15 points this season, although they were far from satisfied with their display.

Wallingford, whose pack have been hit hard by injuries, showed plenty of spirit in thesecond half and it should only be a matter of time before they start winning too.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence for Mike Bellinger, the father of Grove No 8 Joe Bellinger, who died that morning.

Bellinger understandably didn’t play, with captain Ben Nicholl returning in his place.

And it was the skipper who gave his brother Guy the scoring pass for Grove’s opening try on eight minutes, which the wing finished confidently.

The first of many scuffles stemmed from a scrum and saw referee Mike Hudson sin-bin Grove flanker Matt Young for his part in it.

Wallingford fly half Oli Henderson slotted the resulting penalty, but his side could nottake full advantage.

The visitors had only two replacements and Richard Turner was soon on the field after wing Miguel Basson went off in groggy state following a late challenge from Carr that went unpunished.

Centre Roger Sevier put Grove 8-3 up with a penalty and then converted Carr’s first try, which saw him finish good work from Ben Nicholl and full back Chris Clare.

A second Henderson penalty kept Wallingford in it before Carr ran a great line to scorch in for his second on half-time, Roger Sevier converting.

When Clare eased in for Grove’s bonus-point try, which Roger Sevier converted, a rout looked on.

But Wallingford scrapped well, with flanker Rich Bower leading the way.

Clare was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away, stopping Wallingford taking a quick penalty on 50 minutes.

Five minutes later, prop Pat Wiltshire produced a nice show-and-go to power in for Wallingford.

Both Nicholl brothers slid into Wiltsthire unneccesarily, earning Ben a yellow card.

Wallingford suddenly had a two-man advantage and used this overlap to fashion a simple try for wing Glenn Dearlove on the right.

Any thoughts of an unlikely comeback were dispelled when Carr motored through for his hat-trick as the defence sensed the danger too late.

Grove: Clare, Carr, N Sevier, R Sevier (Burns 61), G Nicholl, D Maryon, Gustafson, Eckert, Dixey, Walsh (Needham 56), S Maryon, Miles, Alder, Young, B Nicholl (capt) (Sherwood 65).

Wallingford: Venners, Dearlove, Kelly (capt), Collett, Basson (Turner 21), Henderson, Viljoen, Payne, Emmett, P Wiltshire (Few 55), Gillies, Bailey, Hoare, Bower, Jeffreys (Few [blood] 17-20).

Referee: M Hudson (Bucks).