2018 : Emperor Eppo’s Epic Expedition

What could be better? A glorious day, 30 athletes and the smell of liniment and anticipation in the air. The best weather for years, with the Isles of Scilly even visible on the horizon. All flights took to the skies on time for another campaign against our Island friends.

Our home from home Tregarthen’s welcomed us all with a warm smile and a delicious bacon roll. At 11.15 precisely, the Mal de Mer flag was raised over the hotel and Centurion of the Day, Golfus Dramaticus Tedious played one of his best bugel hits to signal that the 2018 Trip had begun.

Diet is as important to sportsman as overall fitness, and with that in mind the lunch gong could be heard ringing at the Turk’s Head on St. Agnes. All aboard, as 30 Mals went ‘gluten free’. Pre-pasty words were imparted by the DG, and you could hear a sausage roll drop as the athletes hung on every word. Quite aptly, several drones were launched once we hit dry land. Swimmers swam, drinkers drank and lunchers lunched.
Glorious weather meant that the centre court at Rolan Garrison would be our first venue this year. Just the start we needed, as the Mals took a first leg lead against the Barbarian horde’s, 2-1.
Meanwhile, down at the school the previously undefeated Five Islands table tennis team proved no match for the Wilf Feely All Stars. The volleyball team, captained by the very able Tom Elsbury, also recorded a victory. 16.45 on the first afternoon and the Mals were undefeated, and terms for surrender were being drawn up! This proved somewhat premature, as the ‘Jim Ward Globetrotters’ were narrowly defeated 9-2 in the basketball, and before the urine samples had been taken a 9-5 defeat was also recorded at the new event of Vets 5-A-side football. No hard feelings, but bus passes and winter fuel allowance vouchers will be mandatory for this fixture in 2019! A special thank you to our Stonehenge Athletic winger, Paul Simmonds.
The successful ‘Beach Party’ was almost at an end, and with Pontius Epton waiting in the wings, Emperor Eppo’s Expedition officially began as departing President Jamie Pooley handed over the balls of office. New Boys, Tom Elsbury and Dave Truby were flushed in, and new recruits Charlie Applewhite, Will Cooke and Guy Simmons were introduced officially to the Mals. Much banter ensued and before we knew where we were, we were in ‘The Mermaid’ possibly the ‘best boozer’ in the world. Time for a quiet drink? No! The dart’s captain had organised a team trial. The standard of the throwing was top notch, and Dave Truby, obviously elated at becoming an official Mal de Mer insisted the team practiced whilst his hand was placed on the dart board.
Centurion of the Day Tom Elsbury in full attire plus Standard, welcomed us all to the Emperors buffet breakfast. Various words of threat/encouragement were uttered by the Emperor, and Barbarian of the Day was awarded to Dave Truby. This was something to do with blockages and U-bends… We can’t keep this new Mal out of the spotlight!
Time for a bracing walk – just a shame we had to take golf clubs. The golfers Perry Pot was won by Andy Smith, with Eddie Gladden as runner-up. The Morgan Mug for non-golfers and Banditos was won by ‘Pistol Pete Nelstrop’ with our recently flushed President in close second.
Off to the beach. Mals 3-8 Islanders in the beach football, and it wasn’t Simmo’s fault this time. Beach volleyball restored some pride with a 2-1 victory. Well played the New Boys. Soft Ball next, yes you read it right ‘soft ball’! I thought we only played hardball? Anyway, whatever sort it was, the Mals won 2-0. Hockey beckoned – a real blokey sport! A thrilling game resulted in a 7-4 victory to the Mals, with the goal–hanging Prez scoring a hat-trick!
Dinner on a Thursday night is always a brief affair, with nearly everyone focussing on the Scillonian Club battle to come. Well done Steve Pickard. The darts team trial the previous evening paid dividends with a rare 5-2 victory. Dave Truby certainly had a hand in it! Ben Jakes captained the pool team to a creditable draw. Meanwhile down at the vineyard, Ray Farr lost both his balance and the snooker.
Friday morning broke clear, unlike most of the Mals. Ray Farr was made Barbarian of the Day, not for his lacklustre snooker performance, but for playing a wrong ball at the golf the previous day. With golf in mind, our Golf Organisator explained the intricacies of an American Foursome. Golf is tricky enough for most Mals, but to have our own GO explain some additional trickery was all too much. Anyway, we were pretty sure that Keith Williams and Will Cooke won, with Andy Smith and Charlie Applewhite a close second. With no permanent catering staff at the golf club a big thank you to Russ Hutchins and team for stepping into the breach and providing us all with excellent fare.
Just before the golf match against the Islanders, all Mals went up onto the 3rd fairway where we said our final farewell to the much-respected Ben Guest. Ben’s nephew Alan scattered his ashes on the seaward side of the 3rd fairway at its highest point near the 150 yd marker. Lovely words and thoughts were shared, and then it was back to the clubhouse for the game.
Unfortunately the result didn’t reflect the endeavour and the Mals were defeated 6-1. Pride was restored somewhat with our most senior Mal, Roy Bound leading the bowls team to victory.
Another busy night lay ahead, shooting, archering and badmintoning, plus quiz team trialling… Anyone would think this was a sporting trip!
Shooting was won, well done Pistol Pete! Archery was cancelled, and the Mals finished second in the badminton.
Super Saturday? Well not for all. The Emperor came down hard on one of the New Boys, Charlie Applewhite, for not shouting ‘Fore‘. Nobody was quite sure whether this was in the bar or on the golf course.
The Bishop’s Beaker for golfer’s was won by the Golf Organisator, Alex with 18 points, with Andy Smith in second on 17 points. The Nosworthy Noggin, for goofer’s was won with 19 points by the Emperors brother, with Will Cooke in second with 17 points.
Cricket against St. Mary’s is always closely fought, and today was no exception. Ably captained by Jim Ward and Ben Jakes, the Mals scored 139-3 in their allotted overs, with both Jim and Ben Jakes scoring 50’s. Unfortunately St. Mary’s scored 140-6 with an over to spare. Well done St. Mary’s and hard luck Mal’s.
Clear the field, it’s time for Harry’s Galactico’s. Our Director of Football, Jimmy Gray, now a spritely 88 years, kicked the game off. The Woolpack Wanderers are a formidable unit with several Scilly internationals in their ranks, and it all proved a bit too much for our brave lad’s. 5-1 down in the first leg-time meant it was high time for another beer.
Supper, followed by the quiz, followed by the boat-race. Despite threats of a lifetime of bondage, the quiz team were narrowly defeated. Never mind, we can drink to drown our sorrows. Well, we used to be able to! Although I don’t agree with victimisation, it was agreed that Spotkickius Trashius let us down badly. Let’s sing some laments…
A lie in – it must be Sunday. Lovely day for a boat trip. The clay shooters shot down the runway, and the tennis team plus supporters set off for the nail biting second leg of the tennis. Again a great match, with our tennis captain blooding new players. A close afternoon resulted in the Islanders snatching a victory, leaving the overall match halved at 3-3. As the Mals were the holders of the trophy we retained it for another year. Arriving back on St. Mary’s it was more bad news. The clay shooting team captained by ‘Andy’s got no gun,’ had been exposed, and run out of town, losing by 30 points.
As usual ’bad news’ doesn’t last long, and the year’s demonstration sport of backgammon ended with Steve Pickard winning, not only the game, but Tregarthen’s Hotel itself, as his wager with the GM Nick had risen steadily throughout.
Up to the Garrison for the second half of the football. Mauricio Marslandio had laid the law down for this vital second leg. And talking of second legs, it wasn’t long before Harry came off with a hamstring injury, nothing that a bit of ‘Disco-Dancing’ wouldn’t put right later. A fantastic effort left us with a no reward and a 3-1 defeat. Hard luck boys, maybe next year eh?
Guest night dinner beckoned and as usual a raucous evening was had by all. Tim Garratt revealed the recipient of the Merit award, James Hathaway, and our guest speaker Bec ‘I’m outta Here’ Campion said some nice words about some of the Mals. Thank you Bec for all your hard work on behalf of the Mals. I bet you wonder why we bother to row against the Isles, but let me assure you it is a really special event. Many records were broken on this Trip. Andy Smith was seen buying two rounds of drinks on the first night, and a the Future Fund obviously on a “Rollover” paid out a record £106.38 to New Boy, Guy Simmons. Shortly after this Fund Manager Joss Davidge announced that he was fleeing the country for South Africa.
Now for another highlight, or was it a spotlight? The Thesps! Who could forget last year, when award winning Andy Smith played the ‘Crossroads‘ star Raife Arrgh in, Scilly There and Back again! This year The Rise and Fall of the Epton Empire was a play based around the Prezzie. It had a Roman theme, with most of the cast roamin’ off the script! (See what you did there DG – Ed). If I were to explain the plot in a nutshell, it would be bigger than a coconut! A washed out survivor undergoes a sex change op to improve his/her chances of survival on Scilly! Loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, Jamie Pooley (Transformers, X-Men, Love Island and Tresco Crickets too Farr) played Gladys Ator and stole the show until Jock Macdonald, portrayed by Steve (Jean Luc ) Pickard (Star Trek, Hangover 1, 2, 3, 4, 5……9 etc) outshone the whole cast with a stella performance, and deservedly won the prestigious John Roe award. Commenting afterwards Steve said “It’s been the hardest role ever. I had to study Jock for at least twenty minutes before I was happy with this portrayal.”
“Monday, Monday so good to me!” Well not so good for the Treasurer, who was awarded “Barbarian of the Day” for losing the Emperors denarii! Once more up to the golf course dear friends, once more…
The Texas Shamble was won with a score of 32.5 by Joss, Jimmy the Putter Gray, Ray and Jim. Unfortunately due to work commitments St. Martins could not raise a cricket team. What to do? Fortunately for us our DEFRA spokesperson Eddie ‘Grant’ Gladden suggested we went on plastic watch around the Isles. Maybe it wasn’t plastic but some sort of seal. Mainly Grey ones. The Mals thirst for sport had not been slaked, so the Gig race took on an even greater importance. One of these days we will give the Islanders a proper race, but for the time being an inter Mal competition seems to suffice. Three Mal’s gigs took to the water. The ’A’ team, the Old Gits and the New Boys. Needless to say the cream always rises to the surface and despite the ‘A’ team rowing a very good, but tactically naive race, they were comfortably rowed through with just a third of mile to go! The New Boys finished a brave third and showed much potential for the future. Thank you St. Mary’s for allowing us to row these fantastic boats and as usual, showing us the way home .
Back at the encampment, all the Mals played their part. The Emperor brought tears to our eyes with a very moving speech, thanking all those present plus our Island friends for their part in what was a very entertaining and closely fought Trip. Various trophies were awarded and the winner of the Endeavour Award was deservedly presented to Jim Ward.
Thank you Emperor for a great Trip. Thank you Mr. O, all the Mals and New Boys for a competitive and most enjoyable Trip. Thank you Tregarthen’s for your support, hospitality and our Island friends for making us most welcome.

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