Borrowdale’s late masterclass

112783-02_MY_portsmouth_rugby'Rugby Camp'Portsmouth v Chichester.'Matt Gronow darts for the line for the first try.'Pic Mick Young'10/09/11
112783-02_MY_portsmouth_rugby'Rugby Camp'Portsmouth v Chichester.'Matt Gronow darts for the line for the first try.'Pic Mick Young'10/09/11
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Portsmouth veterans lifted the John Sneezum Trophy after a nailbiting 27-23 win over Andover Vets – and celebrated in style.

With just 90 seconds remaining, Portsmouth trailed by three points.

Up stepped Mark Borrowdale, known as Teflon because nothing usually sticks, and he caught Nobby Style’s sliced kick at pace to scorch over for a try.

Styles added the conversion to see his side regain the title.

It was a fitting end to the three-year reign of Dave Harris and Dave Jones as joint captains.

‘We traditionally appoint two captains because, at our age, one of us is usually injured or infirm and can’t play,’ said Harris.

‘It is nice to go out on a winning note.

‘We are delighted to win the title again because it is the focus of the vets rugby season.

‘The vets are an important part of the club with many of our squad still playing in the other sides when we don’t have a vets game.

‘Matt Gronow has played and scored important tries for the first team this season.

‘A lot of our side have come through the ranks at the club and I have played for 33 years with Portsmouth Rugby Club.

‘The oldest player in our team is Steve Cameron, who is 50, and he captained the first team for many years.’

Harris’ side made a good start at Andover with an early Styles penalty, with the experienced full-back soon adding a converted try to give them a 10-point lead.

Andover hit back in what was to become a brutal contest.

And with Portsmouth losing Gronow to injury, the pendulum swung in favour of the home side who established a 23-20 lead with the game entering the closing stages.

Just when it looked as though Portsmouth would miss out, Teflon struck with the match-winning try.

‘We travelled up by coach so were able to celebrate in true vets style,’ said Harris.

‘The cup was emptied a couple of times and it is fair to say we were not at our best next day.

‘There are enough younger members of the team now to take on the captaincy role for the next three years.’