Gary Roberts gives his insight into the latest events at Fratton Park, written before Saturday’s game with Notts County
Golf fans know all about the Battle of Brookline.
But that had nothing on the War of Whiteley as we staged our own mini Ryder Cup this week.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything like the Miracle of Medinah to report as the coaching staff took a hollow victory over the players.
It was more like the Sham at Skylark when it went to a play-off, after it finished 8-8 in the singles matches at the golf and country club in Whiteley.
It was nail-biting stuff as Carl Baker, inset, was our pick to go up against Robbie Blake on the deciding hole.
The only problem was no-one could see a thing as the pair played it out over the final par three.
So it was a hollow victory as Blakey parred the hole in the dark to take the win.
In fact, I’ll rephrase that. I refuse to see that as victory in those conditions at all. What a joke. It was a draw.
The competition started after we’d earlier played the front nine and then picked names out of the hat.
There were match-ups like Enda Stevens v Leam Richardson, Blakey v Noel Hunt, Doyler v Ian Foster and Gaz Evans v Kev McCormack – with Gaz smashing big Kev to pieces.
I was paired up with the Gaffer.
Now, let’s make no bones about this, I am a better golfer than the Gaffer. I. Am. Better. Than. Him.
But, I had to admit it, he smashed me to pieces.
He battered me. There’s no getting away from it. There was psychological warfare going on and he had me on toast.
I’ve beaten him before when we’ve played. There’s no doubt who’s got the talent.
This time he had me, though. And he got into my head as well.
He kept trying to give me tips. He knew what he was up to, I lost my head after two holes and couldn’t get near him.
He beat me 8&7. We were finished by the 12th hole!
Despite it being a non-valid win for the coaching staff in our little matchplay event, we had to pay for the meals afterwards.
That ended up costing a fair few bob, too, as all the staff suddenly developed a liking for fillet steak!
Getting the bill was a choker, I must admit, but it was a good day and there was a serious purpose behind it.
The staff felt it was important to hold an event like that to have some bonding after how hard we’ve been training.
There have been some really tough sessions going on, culminating in two decent away performances against Leyton Orient and Plymouth recently.
So it was good to get away from the training ground environment with the lads after another session on Monday before we played.
Sometimes at clubs you realise you don’t even know some players.
You go to training, work and then go home again.
That’s why an occasion like this one is good for morale, especially for the new players who have signed.
It’s been all about hard work so to get out together, let our hair down, have a laugh, play a game of golf and a get bit of grub is important.
It was a good day – apart from the dodgy result.
Unlike the Ryder Cup, though, it won’t be two years before we get our revenge...