All the work had been done. Those hours of training and dedication saw 40 finely tuned athletes turn up at Penzance for the trip to Scilly. Old Faces, new faces and some almost forgotten faces waited in line to receive their boarding passes. Unfortunately, due to fog only the first flight took-off on time.
Adaptability has never been a problem on the trip and despite the delay, the sense of occasion and visible enthusiasm didn’t dampen the opening ceremony. The usual words on rules, expectations and sense of togetherness were re-emphasised and the captains picked their teams. ‘Momentum’ was the watchword after last year’s strong finish.
Captain Galloway didn’t disappoint and the tennis team returned triumphant, with a stellar performance from the organizator and the treasurer!
Down to the school for basketball, volleyball and table tennis. Where’s that momentum? Well unfortunately it must have been delayed, with the Mals going down in the basketball and the table tennis, but prevailing in the volleyball. Good to see all the ‘new boys’ getting involved early.
The squash promised much, with a new captain Pete Nelstrop, and some keen new faces, but again the Islanders were far too strong and the Mals went down 4-1.
Back to Tregarthens for analysis. Not the start we wanted but better than last year!
First night dinner was the usual lively affair! The staff were introduced and President Calfe went ‘Ex’ at the first opportunity, handing his balls to the in-flushed President, Steve Dann. Various Mal traditions were discussed which didn’t take long as most of the assembled throng couldn’t remember what day of the week it was! Sponsors introduced their ‘new boys’, good to see some young blood amongst the old stagers!
We are all used to some ‘Bull’ on the first night but for one to actually turn up in the flesh must have been a first! Luckily we had a bullfighter in our midst who quickly and humanely despatched the ‘Mad Cow’.
Off to the bar for some serious banter with friends old and new. Olé!
Apart from some early fog, Thursday started well weatherwise! Golf-clubwise, it wasn’t quite so hot! Adaptability again came to the fore! Within a flash the Golf Organizator and his sidekick cancelled the regular golf competition and declared the days competition, The Texas Shambles, (scramble surely-Ed) with shared clubs! The winners were Ray Farr, Alex Polhill, Wilf Feely and Jeremy Chadwick.
Off to the beach for some competitive sport. The beach football was again tightly contested and very entertaining with the Mals losing 6-1. Tug-of-War proved to be just that with the Mals coolly crushing their opponents 2-0. We are undefeated in this sport’s very long history!
The sea was beckoning, old competition, brand new trophy! Yes it was ‘Regatta Time.’ I know it gives the hierarchy (past and present) a great deal of pleasure to see a relatively new sport initially suggested by idle caddies, develop into the popular event it is today, and the real bonus this year was that the trophy, named after our past Organizator, the ‘Sailor Pooley Trophy,’ was the prize!
Several Mals now claim to be sailors with their own boats (one in Monte Carlo!), so the game was on! Mark Newton-Jones looking more nautical than most, promised to take the President for a sail. MN-J approached the beach clearly out of control, flashed by the President and hooked Smithy and went for a brief sail before swimming home! We should make it into a bi-athlon next year, sail out, swim home. Unfortunately with Richard Mills keeping the score, a victory seems to be beyond our grasp. Anyway, well swum everyone!
Hockey now beckoned, and with a determined stride the hockey squad plus supporters headed for the garrison. Under the Stewartship of the ‘rock’ and obvious superior tactics a well deserved 4-1 victory was recorded.
The day was still far from over and after a quick supper it’s down the Scillonian for another clash!
Much had been made of certain squad selections but all was lost as the snooker, darts and pool teams went down. The master plan needed revising (or reviving), anyway we won the late evening entertainment with Ricky, Glenn and even the President playing their greatest hits!
Friday emerged bright with just a touch of mist. Have the golf cubs arrived? Will we know how to use them? The answer was an emphatic YES and NO! Roy Bound and ‘Chemical Ali’ Hick who obviously swapped clubs, won the 9-hole greensome foursome. Most people agreed that playing with other peoples golf clubs the previous day had improved their golf beyond recognition.
Now to one of the oldest sporting clashes, Mals v Islanders golf. Island politics had threatened to affect this fixture but apart from a go-slow from one group, everything worked out, and the Islanders despite an early lead were pegged back by the Mals to a 5-5 half. No trophy but a good fight back. Meanwhile, partly because we were victorious, a more important sport was taking place behind the 9th green. Yes, lead by our own Drake (Charlie), the bowls team retained their trophy 2-0. Well done lads! Time to retire back to HQ, and catch-up with our late arrival, Matt Hughes.
Dinner was the usual bun fight only brought back to normality when Alistair Hick proposed a toast to our fine bunch of ‘new boys’, Aaron Barker, Rob Farnham, Paul Broadbent, Steve Pickard, Rob Howse, and Sam Lighting. The latter responded saying nice words about the Mals; even Simmo nodded his head, or was he asleep!
Enough of this; there is more sport to be won. The shooters shot up the range and the badminton team gathered at the Town Hall. Unfortunately Eddie our new badminton captain had a baptism by fire, and lost the Ray Rimet trophy 2-1. Better news from the range, we won the rifle shooting and just lost the archery. Must be beer time again!
Saturday morning, was all well? Certain Mals’ minds started to play tricks with them and thinking it was a Rugby Trip decided to miss the golf! The new format (brought about by time constraints) of 9 holes for golfers and goofers was going down well, and the Bishop’s Beaker and Nosworthy Noggin were won by Mark Newton-Jones and Paul Broadbent respectively.
After last year’s cancellation, the cricket against St. Mary’s was eagerly anticipated! New boy Aaron Barker, and Matt Hughes got us off to a flying start and with useful contributions from the skipper Jamie Pooley and new boy Sam Lighting, we reached a comfortable 150 for 4. The bowling attack soon had St. Mary’s on the back foot. After 4 overs they were 12 for 4 but a rally, late in the innings saw St. Mary’s get close, just falling short by 16 runs. Many highlights, but Stewart Ward’s catch behind the stumps to dismiss Ben Jakes will pass into Mals’ folklore!
A quick turn around saw a football squad of 18 take on the Woolpack Wanderers. Ably captained by David Nottingham, the Mals won 5-3. A couple of late goals by the Wanderers left them with a sniff of a chance for the second leg. Well done boys, momentum gathering.
Dinner saw the President deal with the golf course absconders, swiftly but fairly. It would be unfair to mention names, had it not been for the fact that several records were broken. Kenny Boyle’s lie-in was not only a Mals’ record, but a PB for 2011!
Andy Clay was confirmed as President-elect, with Alex Polhill as deputy. The obvious euphoria of higher office was all too much for Andy as his boat-race team went down by 3/4 pint. Unable to pronounce momentum everyone went for a beer and a sing-song.
A delayed breakfast enabled the officer of the day to confirm a full turn out or was it a full English. The clay shooting team plus illegal fishermen stayed on St. Marys whilst the cricket team plus the Barmy Army travelled to Tresco.
Momentum with a capital Mmmmm hit the Tresco cricket team. Solid batting by Matt, Aaron, Jamie and leading seaman Mark Newton-Jones saw the Mals rack up 153-5. A devastating opening spell by Rob Howse saw him take 3 quick wickets reducing Tresco to 15-3. Good bowling by ‘Chemical Ali’ finished off the opposition, giving the Mals a well deserved victory. A really good all-round performance with no dropped catches. Both teams plus supporters strode back to the New Inn for a few pints and with the sun shining, a very pleasant afternoon was had by all.
Meanwhile back on St. Mary’s the clay shooting team went down by 201-194 points.
Still high after the cricket, the Mals convened at the Garrison for the second leg of the football against the Garrison Gunners. The occasion proved too much for new manager Andy Smith who spent the whole game sat in the dug-out dribbling (not the ball!) and looking into the distance! Playing at altitude is always a problem at the end of a long trip, but despite this, David Nottingham pushed his team-mates all the way. The Mals lost 2-1, but won 6-5 on aggregate, a fantastic result. It wouldn’t be fair to single anyone out for special mention, well done everyone.
Winning sport always gives you a better appetite, and as usual the Tregarthens chefs put on a real banquet. Guest night dinner is always a treasured event, a relaxed, yet formal occasion, when we can exchange stories with the Islands sporting representatives. Our President, Steve Dann welcomed and toasted our Island friends. Richard Mills ably responded. The President then presented a Mal de Mer tie to headmaster Bryce Wilby, who informed us that Bethan Jane was the recipient of the Merit Trophy. Gerald Thompson our boatman and friend for over 20 years had announced that he was going to retire from the sea, the President proposed a toast to his future happiness, and thanked him for his amazing dedication to the club. The Prezzie then presented him with an engraved tankard. Cheers Gerald and many thanks again. The decks were then cleared for the thespians version of ‘Danny get your Gun!’
Monday started misty but warm. Due to the change of competition on Thursday, the golfers played for the Perry Pot, and the goofers for the Morgan Mug. The weather closed in, and due to very thick fog many N/R’s were recorded. The winners were Joss Davidge and David Epton respectively.
One more boat trip with Gerald on the ‘Surprise’. The weather on St. Martin’s cleared slightly for the cricket and Jamie Pooley won the toss and decided to bat. Aaron Barker set a new Mals’ record by scoring a century in a 20 over game. He was ably assisted by ex-prezzies, Notty, and Calfey. The Mals declared on 168-3. Some average bowling allowed St. Martin’s to make a game of it, but again ‘Chemical Ali’ came to the rescue to tidy up the tail, and the Mals won by 20 runs. A clean sweep by the cricket team who are now unbeaten for five games means that the momentum carries through to next year. Well done Mals and a special thank you to Rob Farnham who turned out for St. Martin’s.
Back to St. Mary’s for the gigs. Our resident meteorologist Joss Davidge declared the weather good to choppy! Three Mal de Mer boats to take on the Islanders! The A team, the Old Gits, and the New Boys. To beat the Islanders at their island sport would be a tall order, but the real prize would be the first Mal boat home! Testosterone filled the air! The race was somewhat delayed as we waited for the New Boys to turn up! The consensus was that we wouldn’t go out too far, to which the New boys coxswain said, “He didn’t think they could!” The Islanders just pipped the Old Gits (Andy Smith, Steve Marlow, Martin Gibbs, Ricky Philips, David Epton and Alex Polhill), the A team were just that – Average, and the New Boys just made dinner!
In honour of the President’s homeland a Balti-themed evening awaited us. Fancy dress and Indian food made the evening go with a swing. Nice to see the auditor getting involved!! The D.G. proposed a toast to our President, Steve Dann.
Everyone agreed that it had been another great trip and probably one of the most competitive in living memory. The Islanders now know we mean business! Thank you very much Mr. President, and Mr. Organizator; just time for a few bevvies and then bed.
That normally is that! But no, this extraordinary trip had more to offer! Patchy fog greeted us all in the morning. The 7.55 a.m. flight took off on time taking six Mals to the mainland, the return flight took off only to return to Penzance due to fog on St. Mary’s. The fog was very patchy and nobody knew when the helicopter would arrive. After about a half hour delay, a real ‘Spirit of the Mals’ moment occurred! The camaraderie of the last six days vaporised as one senior Mal, mixing with the real captains of industry decided to hire the Jet Boat!! Secret meetings took place and a breakaway faction made a phone-call and the deal was done! There was no “Who else wants to come?” Not even a goodbye as they slipped away!
As the fog cleared we could hear the Jet Boat set off from the Quay! At the same time a message in the heliport announced that the helicopter had just left Penzance. We received comforting messages, “You should see the dolphins!” etc. Anyway to cut a medium story short the Jet Boat looked very good as we flew over and the sight of Ray Farr stoking the engine with £20 notes will live with me forever! Momentous!!