39 Mals boarded the Hellship in Penzance for the crossing to St. Mary’s on this our 75th Anniversary. The Steamship Company made us very welcome. Andrew May, the chairman of the company was on board to greet us and provided us with the appropriate receptacle should we succumb to the Mal de Mer.
Weather was bright and breezy and the Atlantic rollers did not let us down. First to succumb to the motion of the ship was Matt Hughes, a great start to his inaugural trip!
The bar on board didn’t do a great deal of business on the way over; very unusual for the Mals, and the AGM which was held on board went very smoothly.
We were greeted at the quayside by some of our island friends and after checking in and the usual island briefing, a large number made for the Gallery Restaurant and the delights of St. Mary’s fish and shellfish. To mark our 75th Anniversary the Isles of Scilly’s Council held a reception for us attended by their council representatives and all Mals. It was greatly appreciated and after an exchange of tributes and gifts we were very well entertained. A particular thank you to Mrs. Christine Saville the Chairman of the Council and our warmest thanks to other Council members who attended. Then off to the school to play:-
Table Tennis – Won
Volley Ball – Lost
Basketball – Lost
Our Tennis players had meanwhile made their way to the Garrison Ground and won their match.
At dinner we were joined by Dave Dallaway who travelled by helicopter later in the day due to business commitments. A lively meal with humorous discussions and then various forays to the Island watering holes before returning to Tregarthens for an hour or two. And so to bed.
Thursday saw a continuation of the warm, sunny and breezy weather. Golf competitions were played with the Perry Pot being won by Ray Farr and the Morgan Mug by Pete Nelstrop. A quick drink and off to the quay to meet up again with Gerald Thompson and the ‘Surprise’ for the trip to St. Agnes.
A most convivial couple of hours was spent in The Turk’s Head despite the lack of pasties and then ‘The Chippendales’ section of the Mals went off for a swim. There was some evidence of nude bathing but apparently nothing worth talking about was seen.
Back for the Hockey match and a very good result for the Mals, who beat a mixed Island team. Tregarthens provided some refreshments after the game then it was in to dinner and then off to the Scillonian Club for our annual battles of Darts, Snooker and Pool. Results were:-
Darts – Lost
Snooker – Won
Pool – Won
A very amicable evening with refreshments provided by the club and a chance to meet old friends no longer playing contact sport.
Tacked our way back to Tregarthens and ‘one for the swing of the door’ before blessed sleep.
On Friday we awoke to brilliant sunshine with a very full day ahead of us. It was the day when the tides would be at both their highest and lowest for the whole year and nowhere was this more evident than looking out to Tresco and beyond from the third fairway on the golf course, a wonderful sight. Golf was played for the George Twist Tankards, won by Chris Gould and Alan Boyle, and then those Mals not required for caddy duties took part in a Sailing Regatta.
I’m not sure what the formula was but I’m told we lost.
Meantime Captain Simmonds Ryder Cup squad remained at the Golf Club for a ‘bonding session’ – Andy Smith was very keen on this – but to no avail, we lost 5½ – 2½. Complimentary speeches from both Captains and a recounting of past matches were enjoyable and the attention to our needs from the club were first class – a pleasure to be there.
Back for dinner, a quick change for our Badminton team who were off to the Town Hall and a more leisurely exodus for our Firing Squad up to the Garrison Ground for Rifle and Archery contests.
Later reports told that we had won at Badminton, Shooting and Archery – well done.
Saturday dawned bright and clear. Wonderful weather so far, can it last?
Off to golf, Bishop’s Beaker – won by Ray Farr and Nosworthy Noggin – won by David Nottingham. Then those not playing cricket took place in another ‘first’ sporting occasion – Mals vs. St. Mary’s Ladies. There was, I understand, no formal competition just an opportunity to play together – a great idea!
Cricket was played in ideal conditions but sadly we lost by 8 runs, it’s been a while since we beat St. Mary’s.
Our Footballers were well and truly beaten 5-1 and as our team manager said ‘lessons will be learned’.
A walk down the hill for a bath or shower then a relaxing dinner. Those with energy still unspent went to the disco and the evening continued back at the hotel in a lively fashion. Jeremy and our President gave us Simon and Garfunkel and a number called ‘Old Roy Bound’ which hinted at a dark relationship between the Golf Organizator and the D.G. Solicitors have been instructed.
Sunday – raining, it was too good to last! Clay Pigeon shooting is to be held on St. Mary’s for all others it was a 10.00 boat trip to Tresco. Sadly the Cricket was cancelled, it being considered that the astro-turf wicket was too wet to be played on in safety, so it was a leisurely stroll round the Island a ‘happy hour’ drink or two at the Island Hotel, lunch at the New Inn and an early boat back to St. Mary’s and time to prepare for Football.
Our side were in better shape for this game but we still lost 2-1. Martin Gibbs’ contract looks in question!
The Firing Squad returned in ‘happy mood’ despite having lost the Clay Pigeon match – ah well!
So to the Annual Dinner and meet our guests. It was a chance for us to say thank you for 75 years of friendship and sport and we welcomed among others, Mrs. Christine Saville – Chair of the Isles of Scilly Council, Andrew May – Chairman of the Steamship Company, Andrew Penman – Headmaster of the Islands School, Norah Pender from the Golf Club, Sandi Ball widow of dear friend Alan Ball, John and Tony Goddard from St. Martin’s – who between them represent sport going back to the 1950s against the Mals.
A splendid dinner was enjoyed by all and in the events which followed the Headmaster asked that the Mal de Mer Trophy should be awarded to Lizzie Phillips. She was a girl of great presence with all round qualities which included Chair of the Student council, DJ of every concert and had ‘a good crop of GCSEs’. The nomination was accepted.
After dinner, our Thespians gave us – in recognition of the year – Shaun Bond 007. It involved a super hero, an evil villain, Jet Martin’s descendants and a plot to take over the Isles of Scilly, which was defeated by a half naked man running around. It produced great laughter and was well enjoyed. Time for last drinks and words with our guests before they took their leave of us. An evening to remember.
Monday saw a return to better weather, we made our way to the golf club for our final competition, a Texas Scramble won by Chris Gould, Roy Bound, David Windeatt and Stewart Ward.
Golf clubs safely stowed, we made our way to the quay, collecting lunch en route, for St. Martin’s and Cricket. A smooth crossing gave us a chance to see close up the effect of the low tides with areas of sand visible that normally remain unseen.
A most enjoyable afternoon including tea was had, and ended with a win for the Mals.
Our last boat trip going back for our final contest, the Gig Race!
Despite the large crowd gathered on the quay cheering them on, we could do no better than second but it was a fine effort.
Drinks in the bar then up to our rooms to change for dinner and the presentation of awards before the start of suitcase packing. Rounds of favourite hostelries made and a final evening of stories and events of the trip before bed.
Tuesday and the chance to enjoy the full breakfast before the flight home. Goodbyes to those on later flights and to all the hotel staff. It was a splendid trip firmly controlled by our President and I hope he enjoyed it as much as we all did.
Our thanks as always to Ben Jakes and the staff who looked after us so well, and off to the Heliport.
I wonder if the luggage will arrive in Penzance before we do?