The potty secret behind Portsmouth’s promotion charge

Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup is going snooker loopy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup is going snooker loopy. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Things could scarcely being going better on the pitch for Pompey this season.

But it’s the green baize the Blues may well have to thank as they aim to make the big break-through to the Championship.

Because Kenny Jackett’s young guns are going loopy for snooker this term - and it’s helping keep team spirit strong in their bid to make it to English football’s second tier.

A host of Jackett’s players have taken up the sport as they aim to build a cushion between themselves and their promotion rivals.

That means Pompey’s players can be spotted in some of the city’s less celebrated sporting hot spots such as Copnor and Craneswater snookers clubs.

Defender Brandon Haunstrup has lifted the lid on Pompey’s cue club and who is the club’s unlikely Ronnie O’Sullivan.

‘It’s me, Adam May, Matt Clarke, Tom Naylor and Ben Thompson who’ve been mostly doing it,’ Haunstrup said.

‘The one who’s the best player, though, is Louis Dennis which I would never have guessed.

‘I fancy myself and considered myself the best.

‘But he turned up and turned me over!

‘I was going in confident thinking I’m going to teach him a lesson!

‘So I’d have to say Louis Dennis is top dog at snooker.

‘When he gets firing he’s hard to stop.

‘It’s a good, little hobby to have outside of football.

‘When you get a lot of time in the afternoon and evenings it’s good to get into something else.

‘And it’s good to spend time with the lads outside of training.’

Haunstrup explained how a rivalry with his pal Matt Clarke which started on the golf course has spilled over into the city’s snooker halls.

He added: ‘We play at Copnor. Matt Clarke likes it because he seems to get the better of me there.

‘It’s pretty dark there which I blame, but we go to the Craneswater club in Southsea as well.

‘It’s nice there, a proper snooker hall.

‘I go up Waterlooville as well with my mate when I'm back up that way.

‘Matt doesn’t beat me all the time, but seems to do better on his home turf.

‘He’s competitive. He pretends it doesn’t annoy him if he loses - but deep down it does!

‘When we do that or play golf there’s good competition.

‘Really, though, it’s a good thing for us to do.'

Pompey’s snooker squad continues some unlikely hobbies taken up by Jackett’s men this season, after it was revealed the players also bake for each other.

It’s a far cry to the club’s social circle of past seasons.

Haunstrup said: ‘A lot of the older boys used to go to the Garage Lounge in Southsea for coffee.

‘But you look at some of the younger ones now like me and Clarkey - we’d much rather do something productive!

‘We don’t want to sit around and act like we’re ageing.

‘We’d rather go and pot some balls!'