The Hacker: I swear I'm not telling porkies: the dream team bottled it
Sunday 12 June 2011
There are two bottles of champagne awaiting me at the club and people keep shaking my hand or slapping my back. I've never known anything like it in more than 30 years of playing poor golf on a distressingly regular basis.
They say every dog has his day; mine came last Monday. I should say "ours" since the glory was shared with my partner John Dodd. Actually, his was the bigger part but we won't go into that just yet.
Ours was a giant-killing act that has the club rocking since it involved the formidable pairing of Peter "Porky" Edmunds, playing off five, and Matt Davey, off eight, known as the "dream team".
The Stoddart Cup is a foursomes knockout that has been going for 100 years and is keenly contested. Hackers have tended not to enter because it had an 18-handicap limit but this year the restriction was lifted and John, 20, and myself, 28, felt emboldened to enter.
It was a decision we regretted when we saw the draw. This year they are running a book, with the proceeds going to charity, and Porky and Matt were installed as joint favourites at 8-1. They put £50 on themselves.
John and I were included in the "100-1 others" list and didn't even consider having a bet, even though we were encouraged by the fact we would be receiving 18 shots.
Because of their bet, our match attracted a lot of banter and Slug, who is Porky's brother, offered to buy us a bottle of champagne if we beat them. Porky is not so-called because he is fat, which he isn't, but for his passion for pork pies. I do not dare to ask where Slug's nickname came from.
His champagne offer was matched by Richie, who is running the book. "If you win, it'll save us £400. So you can have a bottle from me, too," he said.
To say our opponents weren't happy at having to give us a shot a hole is putting it mildly. Good players don't like giving that many shots but the new ruling says full allowance must be given.
But Porky did have a point when, after halving the first, we won the second with a three on a par-three and he said: "To beat you we would have needed a hole in one."
They easily won the third but on the par-five fourth a good drive from me and an even better second from John put us 30 yards straight in front of the green. I have a tendency when under pressure to putt from anything up to 30 yards from the green rather than risk a chip. But I confidently reached for my wedge and shanked it into the greenside bunker.
John splashed and then sank the 10-footer I left him to halve the hole. He rescued us again with a putt from off the green on the fifth. We won the sixth after they lost a ball and went three up at the short seventh. They won the next two to leave us one up at the turn but we won three of the next five holes to be three up with four to play.
On the 15th Matt hit a mighty drive which found the base of a leylandii. Porky had to play the next shot from his knees to the adjoining fairway and took another three to get to the green, whereupon they conceded the match.
It's tough to have to give that many shots, particularly if the hackers have a good day, and it is significant that we won the five par-threes we played. That proved the killer. But they took it in a sportsmanlike and gentlemanly fashion despite fearing the amount of piss that was going to be taken out of them.
It started as soon as we reached the clubhouse, where a small crowd gathered including Slug and Richie, and there was much cruel chortling. The champagne will be presented to us this weekend. Fame at last.
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