The purchase of ‘early morning super-saver’ tickets meant that the first Mals flight left at 7.40 a.m. An order for bacon butties was wired ahead and the 2010 trip was on its way.
At 12 noon 38 finely tuned athletes assembled on the patio at Tregarthens for the trip briefing. New boys were welcomed and some old Mals welcomed back. The usual do’s and dont’s were mentioned and the emphasis on a winning trip was brought to everyone’s attention. Following a brief rendition of ‘in the mood’ on Brian Pooley’s bugle the flag was raised, Captains picked their teams and Andy Smith went down the Mermaid!
We started poorly last year it must have been a ‘one-off’! Unfortunately that was not the case, losing at tennis, basketball, volleyball and squash. The table-tennis ended 2 – 2 which apparently was a ‘sort of win’? Not a good omen.
The hotel staff were introduced to the Mals and due to the absence of last year’s president, the stand-in president, Alan Guest, forgot to stand in, leaving the treasurer to pass the balls over to President Calfe. Sponsors introduced their ‘new boys’. Andy Smith, resplendent in his best denim jeans, introduced Steve Beahan. Matt Hughes sold us Kieran Counihan, and Richard Flower told us his son Richard Flower was a ‘chip of the old block’, not really a recommendation!
Nathan Summers and Dave Williamson were flushed into the ranks of the Mals.
As usual, banter at dinner staggered between the humorous and the incoherent. Special attention was given to the brochure change for Thursday afternoon. The Organizator admirably fielded all questions and told everyone to ‘wait and see’.
Dawn came too soon along with the rain. Never mind, we’re Mal de Mers. The Morgan Mug and Perry Pot were competed for in abysmal conditions, and due to a doping scandal the results were delayed.
The rain finally stopped and it was down to the beach for beach football, tug of war and the sailing regatta. A good crowd turned out to watch an entertaining game of beach football. Despite a miraculous goal from Keith Williams the Mals went down 8 – 6. Whilst the unabled-seamen queued to disembark the beach, a new sport was about to take place. Endorsed by Andy Smith as a complete ‘waste of time’, the Mals, after a hesitant start, tugged themselves to the first victory of the trip winning 3 – 1. Meanwhile back at sea the Mals fleet went down 19 – 14! Or was it 14 – 19!
Inspired by some voracious tugging, the hockey team assembled at the garrison and, despite dreadful weather managed to retain the trophy, winning 1 – 0. Victory number two.
Dinner started more soberly with the president declaring his overwhelming joy at winning the 2010 election and re-iterating his ‘winning ways’ mission statement. Guest night is usually saved for Sunday night but due to prior carnal commitments, Robbie Savage look-a-like, Fabien Snatch made an appearance. His insight into various Mals’ wives and girlfriends was most stimulating and various injunctions were issued.
To the Scillonian! All the games were keenly contested with victory number three coming in the pool and narrow defeats in the darts and snooker.
Back to Tregarthens for beer and medals.
Another wet start and despite the unfavourable conditions Geoff Snell and Andy Smith won the 9 hole greensome foursomes. The rain continued into the afternoon and despite a closely fought golf match the Islanders ran out winners 5.5 – 3.5.
Luckily there was no shortage of candidates down at Juliette’s garden where Messrs Epton and Nelstrop managed to carry Stewart Ward’s bottle of Chablis
for a full nine glasses! I remember when they were keen …
In amongst all the shenanigans a new sport was taking place, bowls. Again a closely fought match resulted in a 2 – 2 draw. These new sports are going well!
After drying out it was time for our evening sustenance. Andy Clay proposed a toast to the new boys and Kieran Counihan ably responded. Steve Dann was confirmed as President-elect, with Andy Clay as Deputy-President. The drugs had obviously worn off and the Perry Pot and Morgan Mug winners were announced as Glenn Dann and Pete Nelstrop respectively.
The first badminton pair departed and were soon followed by the second pair and the crowd. A 2 – 1 victory to the Mals meant victory number four!
The Chablis experience took its toll on ‘junior jackal’ David Epton and the ‘Polhill-gang’ went down 767 – 761 in the shooting. Archery was similarly well contested but ended in a narrow defeat for the Mals. Another long day over and it was back to Tregarthens for a ‘one song only’ visit from the ‘Pogues.’ I’m sure I’ve seen them before somewhere!
Saturday dawned and the weather improved at last. Jamie Pooley won the Bishop’s Beaker and Geoff Snell (Again!) won the Nosworthy Noggin.
Unbeknown to the Mals, whilst they were sleeping, the St. Mary’s cricket captain had been up to the garrison and watered the run-ups! Why? We will probably never know, but an undefeated season may have had something to do with it! Anyway with cricket cancelled it was time to focus on the football. A very competitive game was narrowly lost 4 – 2. Great to see Fabien Sykes back on the trip!
Only one more sport today – the boat race. Bribery was obviously involved in the team selection! A fantastic start was completely spoiled when one Mal team member stopped drinking half way through his pint and opened a packet of peanuts! All was lost. Anyway let’s have a four hour sing- song and then go to bed!
Another sunny morning, a later breakfast and a boat trip what more could you ask.
Roy Dale fed up with giving his ‘all’ to the playing and supporting went off fishing! Must have a different version of the brochure to the rest of us!
The shooters shot off down to the heliport and were narrowly defeated 169 – 155.
Cricket. The Tresco pitch passed inspection and the Mals batted first. ‘Little Dick’ Flower carried his bat for 62. Dave Showell and Jamie Pooley added 24 and 28 respectively adding to a total of 138 – 2. In reply Tresco only managed 103 all out. Keith Williams took 4 wickets and Monty took two wickets for zero runs. Victory number five!
The second leg of the football was now upon us. Again another closely fought game ended in a 4 – 2 defeat. The score belies the effort and style with which the Mals played. Unlucky boys!
Guest night dinner beckoned, and as usual the Tregarthens team put on a sublime spread. Mals and Island friends exchanged stories and our President ‘Calfey’ proposed the toast. Selena responded on behalf of the Islanders.
Headmaster Bryce Wilby gave us an update on the building of the new school and informed us that Jess Robson would be the recipient of Mal de Mer Merit Award for 2010.
The Mal players gave us their take on ‘My Fair President’ and then it was time for bed.
Monday started dry and the Texas Scramble was won by Alex, Simmo, Alistair and Graham Willington. All the clubs were stowed in the shed and the Mals filed down to the quay for our final boat trip to St. Martins.
The Mals won the toss and elected to bat. ‘Little Dick’ Flower excelled again and despite umpire Ray Farr, made an unbeaten 76 with Dave Showell again adding a healthy 52. A partnership of 118 must be a Mal record!
Controversy follows Ray from his private life onto the cricket field! His decision to give ‘Little Dick’ run out at the non- strikers end when none of the opposition had touched the ball was astonishing! (The Times)
St. Martins were 37 all out with ‘Little Dick’ taking 5 wickets and another ‘Chablis’ moment going to David Epton when he skittled out a dangerous looking 12 year old. Victory number six.
A quick dip for some, and then it’s back to St. Mary’s. The weather started to get worserer and the gig-race was restricted to just going beyond the harbour wall. The island juniors showed us all how it was done and another Island victory was chalked up.
The last supper of 2010! The D.G. proposed a toast to President Calfey.
Another notable trip with some superb performances. Just bed now followed by countless goodbyes!
Thank you Mr President, thank you Mr Organizator. Can’t wait for 2011 and another Tug of War!
Wednesday 27th September, 2023
Monday 2nd October, 2023