Gronow delivers vintage display for Portsmouth

Matt Gronow crossed for a hat-trick
Matt Gronow crossed for a hat-trick
England's Vickil Cornborough is tackled by Scotland's Karen Dunbar during the Women's Six Nations match at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld. PPP-171108-170224001

Cornborough helps England notch first victory

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Matt Gronow scorched in for a hat-trick of tries as Portsmouth secured a vital 26-10 London two south-west win over Weybridge Vandals at Rugby Camp.

Gronow, 40, was drafted in from the club’s Vets side and produced a devastating display of finishing.

‘He is still a class player,’ said Portsmouth manager Nigel Morgan.

‘The way he outpaced their wingers for his tries was fantastic and I don’t think anyone else in our team could have done it.

‘We could play him every week but really all he wants to do is turn out with his mates in the Vets side.

‘He knows that we are in a relegation battle, though, and is keen to do his bit to help out.

‘We leave it up to him to decide what he wants to do.’

Despite the win, the city club remain in the bottom three but importantly have games in hand on the teams immediately above them.

Playing against a strong wind, Portsmouth soon found themselves 7-0 down but refused to panic.

Lee Chandler kicked two penalties and Gronow raced in from 40 yards to give the Rugby Camp club an 11-10 lead at the break.

At the start of the second half, teenage-winger Curtis Barnes showed his potential with a superb kick-and-chase try.

But Gronow couldn’t be kept out of the limelight for long.

He added two more tries in the space of three minutes.

‘Gronow may take all the headlines but our forwards put in a hard shift to create the chances,’ said Morgan.

‘Apart from their early try from a driving maul we defended well and stopped that tactic.

‘In the final 15 minutes we were well on top and could have won by a lot more in the end.

‘We know we still have a lot to do if we are to stay in this league.

‘It is pretty much league action every weekend between now and the end of the season.

‘Consistency is vital and I am convinced if we can avoid major injury problems we can do it.

‘We showed a lot of spirit and fight in this win.

‘And if we continue to do that we will give ourselves a good chance.’