Moose memories disguise the pain
Many have tried, but nobody has succeeded in taking his crown. The inimitable Cheeky Punt takes you through his weekly betting lows and highs with the original punting blog.
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Last Tuesday was October 1. The first day of the month. And since our relationship began 'er indoors has always deemed it lucky to say "white rabbits" three times before uttering her first word of the day.
Realising I could do with a bit of luck I reluctantly followed suit in the hope that I might catch a few breaks in October. Some hope. Within a few hours news reached me that my favourite ever tennis player, David Nalbandian, was retiring from the sport due to injury.
To the uninitiated, Nalbandian was the greatest player never to win a Grand Slam. A player beset by discipline problems who nevertheless could beat any player on the planet when he put it all together. His rise to the top coincided with my move from problem to pathological gambling and I actually take credit for his 2002 French Open win against Agustin Calleri. King David was down and out in that one on an outside court in Paris until I drunkenly started making moose noises in a bid to spook Calleri. It worked. Nalbandian won to complete an 11/4 four-timer for myself but there was almost an international incident afterwards as a raging Calleri, gesticulating wildly, waited for me outside the court.
Soon after the Nalbandian bombshell I then dropped £140 on an ATP event in Tokyo. Later still, having studied the midweek coupon, I was convinced the treble of the evening was Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Arsenal, who were all involved in Champions League action.
However, I was somehow talked out of backing Arsenal after a chance conversation in the bookies with a local roulette addict, who told me that Reading were "knocking bets" to beat Barnsley in the Championship. You can guess the rest. Arsenal beat Napoli 2-0 while Reading shipped a late equaliser at Oakwell. When the goal went in, I threw a cushion which somehow caught my laptop, sending it crashing to the floor and cracking the front screen.
White rabbits? If one had crossed my path at the precise moment that my laptop hit the deck on Tuesday night I would almost certainly have cut its throat and threw it in a pot with some carrots and chives.
Friday was an emotional day. A lot of people like to start the day with a coffee and some toast. Me? I was up at 5am watching ATP action from Beijing in just my pants.
Noticing Rafael Nadal wasn't moving too well I had £120 on Fabio Fognini in-play at 6/1 in their China Open quarter-final match. Fognini took the first set 6-2 and was one point away from a 5-1 lead in the second set. That would have been Goodnight Irene for Rafa but the Italian could not convert. Nadal then somehow managed to battle back and claim a 2-6 6-4 6-1 win.
I was absolutely devastated and considered some heroic chasing before work before remembering the old Chinese proverb that 'tears cannot put out a fire'. With this in mind, I merely exhaled deeply and consoled myself with a bowl of Sugar Puffs.
I've been close with three-figure long-shot bets before. However, last weekend will long live in the memory.
I had £8 on four draws in games involving Hull v Aston Villa, Charlton v Blackpool, Sheffield Wednesday v Ipswich and Wigan v Blackburn.
The bet was paying over £1,100 and so you can imagine my excitement when the first three of those bad boys shared the spoils on Saturday. The problem I had was that I was drunk as a lord by 5pm and instead of taking advantage of such a strong position I let pride get in my way. A mate of mine kept explaining that I could cash out for a £400-plus profit if I was prepared to let him lay the draw in Sunday's Wigan v Blackburn game on the exchanges.
If I was sober I almost certainly would have as well but I was revved up on gin and juice and having none of it, reminding him that "I sir, am Cheeky Punt. I am the song and the dance." I drank steadily through the night and finally called it a day at 7.15am on Sunday.
That meant I was flat out when the Wigan match kicked off and slept through the full 90 minutes. It was only after I arose on unsteady legs after 7pm that I remembered about the wager. Incredibly the match was all square after 89 minutes before an Emmerson Boyce goal in injury-time saw Wigan claim three points and finally kill off one of the greatest accumulators in the history of North East punting.
I tried to shrug off my misfortune by eating two large Dominos pizzas but the pain, coupled with my cartoon hangover, was too great and I went back to bed after 9pm sobbing my little heart out. Thank you Emmerson Boyce, and goodnight.
Cheeky's Punt of the Week: Brendan Dolan to beat Adrian Lewis at the World Grand Prix at 5/2 (BetVictor).