2017 : Life’s a Beach

It’s always nice to meet up at Land’s End airport before we depart via Penzance to the Isles of Scilly. Inclement weather for the second year in a row, meant it was All aboard the ‘Hellship’ for an island cruise! Gusty winds and rain wasn’t going to keep the Mal’s from reaching their destination, nor did it stop them reaching for their breakfasts, in what was one of the worse crossings for a few years!

Planning is the essence of the Trip and with this in mind Dave Epton, Officer of the Day extraordinaire, second guessed the weather and not only organised the ‘sweep’, but had the sweep tickets laminated to survive the crossing!

Our illustrious President, Stewart Ward, an outsider at 41/1, lasted 37 minutes into the cruise before yielding his cheese and ham toastie! Many more Mal’s followed and two and a half hours later everyone was grateful to be on dry land at St. Mary’s quay.

Tregarthen’s welcomed us with their usual enthusiasm and a big thank you to the baggage masters especially Mark Rhode who were more than ‘sub-optimal!’

The weather continued to do it’s worst resulting in the first leg of the tennis being cancelled. Down at the school, table tennis was in full swing with all the new boys joining in. The Mals recorded their first victory 18.5–7.5 closely followed by 2–0 victory in the volleyball; just the start we needed. Basketball proved slightly more difficult and a close match unfortunately led to our first defeat, narrowly losing 8–10.

The buzz of the first night dinner is always the signal that you are on the ‘Trip’ once more! Outgoing President Ward passed his balls on to Jamie Pooley, who was duly flushed in. Jim Ward the only returning New Boy from 2016 was also flushed in. Sponsors introduced their New Boys. Jimmy Gray, President in 1989 introduced us to two of his grandsons and also his granddaughter’s partner; great effort Jimmy! Dave Dallaway, Dave Windeatt, Ray Farr and Joss Davidge also introduced us to their New Boys. Our new President then stated his aims, fined a few of the attendees and before you knew it, it was time for a warm beer in the bar! Several warm up songs were sung, several Sherries were sunk and then it was time for bed.

A blustery overcast day saw 39 Mals tee off for the Perry Pot and Morgan Mug. The President hit a ferocious drive… 246 paces! Les Dos Bandidos, Alex Polhill and Pistol Pete Nelstrop won the Perry Pot and Morgan Mug disreputably! Alex is getting quite a collection of trophies on the mainland! Will we ever see them again?

A beautiful afternoon beckoned us to Porthmellion beach. First up, beach football. Paul Calfe not only selected the correct kit, but a very strong squad. Superior fitness and skill resulted in the Mals retaining the trophy 7–1.

Time for a swim. Global warming, alcohol at lunch, and a calm sea led to a flock of large Mals taking to the briney and despite the attentions of a Great White Epton, most got their knees wet!

The mystery event was no longer a mystery, and several teams, bucket and spades in hand, revealed their artistic side. The Flotsam 5 (Calum Windeatt, Steve Dann, Shaun Galloway and Mark Rohde ably led by the Organisator won with a ‘Maligator’, loosely based on last years President.

Enough of this inter-Mal nonsense, let’s have some more combat against the Islanders! Beach volleyball, captained by Sam Lighting kept the Mals on track with a fine 2–0 victory. One more sport and it’s home for warm beer and medals. A 1–4 defeat in the hockey last year for the Mals was very painful! So a strong squad proved too much for the Islanders this year and a 13–3 victory proved to be very sweet. A lead of 5 matches to 1 nearing the end of day two, what more could the President ask? Well, he asked for 7 matches to 1, with the Scillonian evening beckoning us. Unfortunately it was not to be, but 6–2 was still a good excuse for a singsong back at the hotel. Well done the pool team (5–3) and hard luck the darts team (2–8).

Friday morning was again overcast, and a quick buffet breakfast led to the Golf Organisator explaining in great detail, the format of the morning’s golf. An American foursome for the George Twist Tankard(s). The Golf Organisator also explained why we were only playing for one of the Tankards! The President still on a roll from goal hanging at the hockey won with David Martin, closely followed by Andy Smith and David Epton.

Blue ribbon event time again! The ‘Golf Match!’ The captains had agreed on seven pairs per team, and the President had promised to re-instate caddies. Caddy captain Stewart Ward didn’t take long to revert to his usual compliant self by resigning! Some cock and bull story about somebody interfering with Eddie Gladden! If every captain resigned every time someone interfered with Eddie, the trip would fall apart! A very competitive match unfortunately saw the Mal’s lose 2.5–4.5. Thanks to all the caddies, it wasn’t that tough was it?

Admiral Snell’s bowls boys also had a tough match going down 1.5–2.5. Unlucky lads.

At dinner the President girded his loins along with several others, just to keep us in the ‘zone!’ Another busy evening, rifle shooting, archery, badminton and snooker. How do we fit any drinking in? Despite having the ‘Epton Gang’, ‘Buffalo Sam Lighting‘ and ‘Hoss Cartwright’ the result was no bonanza! Roy ‘Out of’ Bounds lived up to his name, and despite wearing his sniper glasses managed to win the ‘Barn Door Conservation award!’ Well-done Keith, a great score for a first-timer. Unfortunately, due to Roy insisting that everyone use his glasses, the archery was called off.

Would being ‘interfered with’, interfere with Eddies badminton team? Well only slightly! Shared honours, 2–2, all those early nights must be taking their toll!

Disappointingly the snookered team were exactly that and a 1–2 defeat led to much beating of cues! Would the President impose a curfew?

Almost halfway and the scores were tight, Mals 6.5–5.5 IoS. Maybe cooling the beer will spur us on!

Super Saturday, cricket, football, quiz and beer racing.! A modern sportsman’s dream. But first it was the Bishop’s ‘Beaker and the Nosworthy Noggin’ golf trophies.

The President continued his ‘Purple Patch’, winning the Bishop’s Beaker for golfers, and Jim Ward, not for the first time in his life, fended off his father, to win the goofers Nosworthy Noggin!

Cricket v St., Mary’s is always one of the Trip’s highlights and a strong squad were denied by the inclement weather once again.

Every cloud etc… this gave the footballers an extra hour to prepare for their match against the Woolpack Wanderers. Again a stronger squad than usual, took on the Island champions in their own backyard and a valiant display resulted in a 1–3 defeat. It’s a two-legged affair and the result flattered our opponents! The manager consoled the players and escorted them back to Tregarthen’s for a team beer or two.

The President announced his quiz team, a mixture of boffins and nerds, comprising of the President, Shaun Galloway, Tim Kneen and Dave ‘Sundance’ Windeatt!

Unfortunately Clive Mumford, still traumatised by a photo of Eddie with his trousers down, couldn’t make the fixture, a sad loss as Clive has captained the Isles to victory, since it’s inception. The Mals took an early lead and a more ‘streetwise’ performance led to a well-deserved victory 76–70.

Thirsty work this quizzing! Let’s have a boat race! An element of over-training played its part and a close race sadly ended in defeat for the Mals Time for a proper drink to reflect on the overall scores 7.5–7.5.

Sunday started misty and wet but cleared once we arrived at the quay. Clay shooting, cricket and the second leg of the tennis and football. You could cut the tension with an 8-iron! Tresco welcomed us with a brief respite in the weather. Our tennis team of Shaun Galloway, Mark Rohde, Dave Dallaway and Darrel Foulk looked very confident, and I believe Dave and Darrel played very well for their victory but for some obscure reason every Mal wanted to watch Shaun and Mark! Most of the Mals could now smell victory! Well, the smell of victory plus a member of the crowd going thru’ a bit of a beige patch, rather than a purple one! 3–0, just what the President ordered. Again our cricket squad were thwarted by the weather. It must be beer o’clock, let’s retire to the New Inn. Always a good place to spot the spotters, and this year it was Bill Oddie! Goody, goody boredrum!

Back at the Garrison a slow start unfortunately led to an early goal for the Garrison Gunners, and despite a great game of football, a 5–0 defeat tried to spoil the day. Well done St.Mary’s it is flattering that you field your best players in both games! We’re not down hearted; in fact spirits were lifted when Andy Smith reported on a Mal victory in the clay pigeon shooting. Mentions in despatches go to sharp shooters, Eddie Gladden, David and Rob Epton.

Guest night dinner, always a good evening spent in the company of our Island friends. Unfortunately the new head of school, Jo Yeates had a prior booking, but her very able substitute Tim Garratt introduced us to Sam Stefan, the 2017 recipient of the Mal de Mer Merit award, and then endeared himself to the mob by saying kind things about the Mals. President Pooley gave a toast to our Island friends, and Dave Stone responded on behalf of the Islanders. Roy Bound performed his last 100 Club draw and then it was time for the Thesps.

Adapted from the book, There and Back again by Jet boat it vaguely depicted the trials and tribulations of getting the President elect onto the Isles of Scilly, in time to have some balls put around his neck. “The music, songs and script were all delivered with great gusto!” Silly Then and Now. “Never seen batter” The Galley Fish Bar. Our own in-house award, kindly donated by the family of the late John Roe, was given to Andy Smith for his depiction of Uncle Sausage, aka Ray Farr.

Monday; one more game of golf. Sam Lighting, Rob Epton and Joss Davidge won the Texas Shambles. An assassination attempt was made on the President by the very ex caddy captain, but thankfully the boulder fell short of its target and landed harmlessly into casual water. Overall best gross on the trip, was awarded to new boy Adam Bryant. Hope this isn’t the only prize you win this year Adam and good luck.

Would the weather hold out for at least one game of cricket against St. Martins? More importantly a win here would make the 2017 Trip a winning trip! St. Martins won the toss and inserted the Mals. Dave Truby and Jim Ward opened the batting, putting on 130, before a dubious run out saw Jim back in the pavilion. Calum Windeatt kept the score moving and the Mals ended with 179–2. Dave Truby carried his bat for 66. St. Martins were short of fielders and a big thank you goes to our resident pro, Adam for stepping in so keenly in his loafers and running Jim out! Don’t worry Adam it’ll be forgotten in about ten years time! Kenny’s ball also made a brief debut before straining itself and coming off! The Mals used eight bowlers keeping St.Martin’s to 124–4. Champagne moment goes to New Boy, also playing with a strain, Jack Everton, taking an athletic catch behind the stumps off a rank long hop down leg side from Harry (that cakes for players!) Marsland. Thank you umpires, scorers and attendees, you all helped to get that vital point for a winning trip!

Back to St Mary’s for the last sporting match of the 2017 trip, Gig-racing. Thank you again to our Island friends and opponents for indulging us in this very special sport. The Mals entered three boats comprising of, the Presidents crew, the Old Gits, and the New Boys. A shock result saw the President’s crew, pip the Old Gits and New Boys into third and fourth with the Island boat taking the gold. Life’s a Beach and then you go home!

Thank you again to all the staff at Tregarthen’s for decorating our theme night dining room. Our resident ‘Beachmaster’ Prez led the party with style, presenting all the golf trophies and ‘luvvie’ awards and thanking one and all for a very successful trip. Time to pack.

A big thank you to our Prezzie, and an even bigger one to Mr.O for all his tremendous work on and off the Islands. To all the Mals and especially the great gang of New Boys, Keith, Jack, Oliver, Tim, Adam, Callum and Dave, thank you. Hope to see you all in 2018 and don’t forget to bring some more sportsmen!

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Wednesday 25th September, 2024
Monday 30th September, 2024