by Steve Bott
Goals from top scorer Liam Robinson and John Borland helped the Vintage Clarets lift the Hamm Veterans Tophy for the first time on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon in Germany.
It was The VCs fourth attempt at winning the competition and they started as they meant to go on.
A 1-0 win in their first group game against TuS Germania was followed by a 1-1 draw against host club Hamm.
That was enough to take them into the semi-final where they produced their best performance of the tournament, roaring into a 4-0 half-time lead over Herringen.
That finished 4-1 as Herringen pulled a goal back from the penalty spot two minutes into the second half.
In the final against their first opponents TuS a controlled first 45 minutes saw the VCs lead 2-0 at the break. Borland curled in a great shot after two minutes and Robinson showed lightning reactions to head home the rebound after his 14th minute header came back to him off a post.
An equally good acrobatic header on 19 minutes from the Germans made for a tense last 11 minutes but the VCs held out, not least thanks to a superb goal-line clearnce from the ever-alert David Hamilton.
Robinson finished the tournament with three goals, John Borland hit two and others to find the net were George Oghani, Graham Lancashire and Brad Maylett.
Such was the level of commitment and skill shown by all members of the squad it was difficult to single out a Player of the Tornament but Oghani’s versatility in playing as a striker and then at centre back, the athleticism of goalkeeper Dickie Lee, Brad Maylett’s pace and the non-stop running of midfield dynamoes Alex Kevan and skipper John Deary – the VCs Big Scouse and Little Scouse – merit special mention.
Indvidual match reports to follow…