Apologies for the length, I got a bit carried away.
My first trip to the Isle of Man was certainly an eventful one, both athletically and alcoholically. Despite the weekend kicking off with a seven hour delay, a rough crossing and Josh drop kicking a baby across the ferry terminal, the stories, which I had doubted, about the annual Isle of Man trip lived up to expectations. The following events are accounted to the best of my ability; apologies if you are left out, I blame the beer.
An impressive weekend of running by Doss A.C. started earlier than expected with a win by Phil Sesseman at Port Erin. After arriving 10 minutes before the start of the race, following an impromptu flight from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, he proceeded to beat Alehouse with a very quick time of 31:32. More last minute flyers included Linton Taylor, who finished 9th, Men’s Captain Josh Woodcock-Shaw, finishing 11th and Women’s Captain Harriet Buswell finishing 10th. Along with the last minute flyers, Beth Garland and Rachel Friend allowed a women’s team to count in the results, they finished 7th and 8th, respectively, placing the Doss A.C. women’s team in 2nd overall. The rest of us endured a less than smooth crossing, arriving at the hotel at 2200hrs.
Upon everyones eventual arrival at the hotel, beer-racing trials began in earnest. Amongst a plethora of memorable performances, including Pat beating Dan, Tati surprised all with her maiden attempt beating Amicia, it must have something to do with her Scottish roots. She will no longer be known as Tati, but having stripped Amicia of her title, she will now be formally known as Tati ‘and-the-lads’. Following that performance, she is definitely more of a lad than Prowl. Her victory turned out not to be beginners luck either as she proceeded to make the Women’s A team and the campaign to defend last years title. In a pair up that was definitely not a fix, Lockyer beat his girlfriend Rachel Friend, not for the first time in that relationship. Prowl’ and Jack were paired together. Both had bleached their hair Doss Yellow, however Jack undoubtedly looked better (if any change at all) whilst Prowl reminded me of a reject from Made in Chelsea. I have nothing to compare Linton to, so in an attempt to keep my place in the house next year, I won’t try anything. My own trial was doomed from the start, picked to face Dan first (who I like to think was intimidated by my beer racing prowess…) and then a disappointing second defeat to Callum, although I blame this on an unusual gag reflex and not the fact he can drink a beer quicker than I can, he will undoubtedly write to the BBC with stories of libel on my behalf.
I have only ever met a few of the Dossers before, the likes of Catherine Garbutt and Dan Whittle, and so didn’t really know what to expect when it came to the ones out of students life for a little longer. Shane quickly remedied this as he called everyones attention to announce a record time of 7.2 seconds to down a can of Guinness through a straw, a world record that Joe Kilgour and I are still convinced popped into his head, despite beating all with a time of 16 seconds. I didn’t compete in this competition, because I was busy trying to find a replacement yellow shirt, as the one I was originally wearing was now hanging in tatters around my neck, courtesy of Willow (you still owe me a £3 yellow shirt by the way). Captain Chris and Dan were not quite as fortunate in escaping the now infamous ‘Guinness Through a Straw’ as Dan saw his second defeat of the night, throwing up into a bucket, however still beating Chris who failed to even think of a bucket and proceeded to decorate the table. There is more to come from Shane, who Prowl and I want to be when we grow up, if ever.
The race at Peel Hill was one of the hardest races I have ever run and I imagine the hardest for many of the other participants. The first hill, and I use the word hill loosely, saw runners ascend a slope that in any less favourable conditions would require crampons. It left legs burning and lungs crying. Much credit should be given to the Doss girls for incredible support throughout the race; I think I must have heard my name shouted at least seven different times after the first ascent. Beth gave me and John what I think was a lame attempt at flashing us, god knows how much quicker (or slower) we would have ran if she’d got her vest up all the way, lets just say I’m glad it was cold so high up on the hill! Dame Amicia Lee made up for her defeat by Tati ‘and-the-lads’ by hiking up Peel Hill on crutches, quicker than most of Alehouse as well. After a horrible race on my behalf, mainly due to being caught behind an Alehouse runner in an orange mankini, I was greeted with news that Linton had won the race, despite having convinced me before starting that he wouldn’t. Prowl adopted an unusual but effective form of doping which came in the form of a jaegerbomb, finishing in 8th position. Josh “his name’s too long to fit into a song” and the better Vis put in good runs to beat Alehouses self proclaimed “Dossdestroyer”. Jack recovered well from his 10 pints on the ferry. Jakers put in a good performance, as Zoe will attest to. Dave and Baby face had a close race but a slap on the arse by Dave was enough encouragement to see baby face speed off. Dave was instead left with a battle royale against Alehouse’s mankini wearing Captain Dan Pettitt, Dave taking victory on the line. President Bendy Hoover made it round and even beat a few freshers. Former Dosser Alex Bellew got round the race in a full blown wedding dress and even beat Pukey Pete for good measure. Pukey was still recovering from the antics of his big gay road trip with Dave, which we’ve still not heard many details from…. Meanwhile at the back of the race Dan’s four-pint challenge went well, the more he drank the better he looked. Finn having done his own similar challenge last year opted to keep him company.
After recovering from nearly needing an iron lung, the boys ascended the ‘hill’ a second time at a much slower pace to cheer the girls on. We opted for a lower altitude of encouragement and made base camp on the quickest part of the descent. All Dossers stripped to the waist and went nuts for the women, with the usual sledging for any Alehouse unfortunates. Our flashing certainly outdid Beth’s. I think the race was most enjoyed by Rosie who has complained about the lack of hills to me all this year. Was it the hills or Finn that caused you to stay in bed all the next day? I heard both can be a cause of wobbly legs. First lady home was Beth in 11th, she was almost as desperate as Josh for a top 10 finish but it wasn’t to be. Zoe put in a good performance, at least that’s what Jakers told me anyway. The ladies came flying in with Rachel, Sophie Lee and Rosanna next, which coincidentally is a list of people Prowl fancies, with some already on the scoresheet. Tonner would have been faster but her pint rematch the night before against Willow took its toll. The determination in that rematch was almost as great as Amicia’s when trying to beat Tati ‘and-the-lads’. Talking of that delight, she was next up in 50th. Sophie Davies ran quickly, although her exit from the gym on the Sunday night was much quicker.
Beer called for tired legs as all communed at the chippy. A deceptively calm first couple of pubs saw the beginning of the 13-mile pub-crawl back to the hotel. I can only remember the first half of events and so this part of the report will remain sparse. I am told by numerous independent sources that I had a good time though. Myself, Prowl, Callum and Rob Sesseman (I hope you have recovered from your injury) got off to a flying start, hitchhiking the first stretch from a woman who declined the crippled Amicia and co., who undoubtedly looked a lot better than we did. She must have heard about Amicia’s poor race against Tati ‘and-the-lads’ on Saturday night and therefore declined her the ride so as to avoid shame. We sat in the pub and awaited the arrival of everyone else, the best sight of the evening being Joe Kilgour, who walked in looking as if he had just been in the steam room having refused to hitchhike and honourably run as expected. He paid the price for this stupidity the next day when his legs stopped working completely. Repeat offences from Prowl and myself proved to piss off certain Haries and when confronted by an angry Scot about illegal hitchhiking, I denied any participation in such foolery, putting the blame on the innocent John. I’m not sure how much abuse he received, if any, so apologies John, although I find it very funny. Jack and some of the fresher girls got their kit off for the naked Maypole, John got his kit off for Susan Partridge, but due to a no show on her part, he made do with running the Maypole instead. My memory starts to become patchy here, as will the recounting of the remaining crawl. What I do remember is Shane’s ‘Curry-on-the-Roof’. For those who missed it or who are unaware (I don’t how you could avoid the tales), it involved Shane standing on the roof a shed and downing a pint of chicken curry in true Doss style. There is nothing else to be said. It was the single most inspiring moment of my life. After this I can remember nothing, apart from an angry MacDonald’s staff member who didn’t like my use of the table as a pillow, despite me telling him I’m not a dribbler. At least I didn’t throw up, Finn did. After the first pub. Shame.
The bits of the pub-crawl not remembered by Matt from Dave:
Shortly after curry on the roof former Dosser Alex Bellew made his way to the impromptu stage, anyone that had met him before knew what was about to happen, the freshers however were rather shocked and weren’t bargaining on seeing more sausage post breakfast. Prowl got soundly beaten by Simon O’Traitor in what can only be described as O’Traitors speciality “the three egg challenge” he remains the undefeated champion. Alehouse soon turned nasty and Fenton was made to stand on a bin to the chants of, “your Mum went to Alehouse”, which although being true I would like to point out she was faster than most of their current members (including the boys). This was also the last place that Dave’s duck roamed wild and free before being taken hostage. The Crosby saw the Doss Alehouse 12 man beer race, ladies started off with Tati ‘and-the-lads’ Spens smashing Amicia’s time, again. It appears getting married has no detrimental effect on your pint downing; you’re a lucky man to have such a delight Calum Murray. Shane then poured his pint anywhere but his mouth, Alehouse claimed victory although I’m fairly certain their twelfth man threw their pint away mid race, counting was never an Alehouse strong point. Other highlights from the final pub also included duck pong, Dave and Dowan round two and Dave’s shoe reappearing tied to Razz’s bag.
My memory returns here.
Sunday morning saw the last chapter of the three series festival take place on the promenade in Douglas. Runners were faced with a 2.5km run out along the Irish Sea, a tight hairpin turn and 2.5km run back. Whilst the women ran a straight out race, the men competed as part of a four-man relay. To my relief the women ran first, giving me an extra half an hour in bed. First in was Sophie Lee with a time of 19:15. Missing out on a top 10 spot by one place, she was the third positioned Junior Women, finishing her weekend of running with an impressive kick at the end to challenge that of John Tayleur’s. In close second for Doss A.C. came Beth Garland running a time of 19:37. Women’s captain Harriet Buswell followed twenty seconds later, making three women from Doss A.C. in the top twenty, narrowly missing out on a fourth with Rachel Friend who finished in 21st. Zoe and Tati ‘and-the-lads’ Spens fought a tightly close race with Zoe piping her opponent by only one second at the finish. Further along, despite two nights of heavy drinking Willow set a PB. At the back end Ellie got beaten by a preggie as pregnant president Mrs Bendy Hoover finished ahead.
The men’s race saw a campaign for a Doss A.C. whitewash of victories take place. The Men’s A team consisted of Linton Taylor, Josh Woodcock-Shaw, Pat Vis and Phil Sesseman, running in that order. They blew all other opposition out of the park with a comfortable lead of 02:13 over second placed rivals Cambridge. Pat Vis set a new PB of 15:30, beating his old time by an astonishing 11 seconds. Final leg runner leg runner Phil Sesseman was the only person to run a sub-15 minute 5km, with a time of 14:54, closely followed by second fastest runner Linton Taylor who ran at 15:11. The men’s B and C teams also made the top 10; making it a very yellow Sunday on the Isle of Man.
Sunday afternoon saw the most competitive football match of the calendar take place, the much-anticipated Doss vs. Alehouse Isle of Man football match. My expectations of this were something related to a lunchtime doss around (forgive the pun) after cramming sandwiches down your throat to get out as quick as possible and using coats and bags as goalposts. What I wasn’t expecting was team selection, substitutions, Josh shouting at Finn from the side line to get off (I thought he was going to kick him like he did the baby) and real goalposts, I can honestly say that I have never played with real goalposts before, only bags.
Doss Starting XI.
- Williams. R. Powell. R. Johnson.
- Greenwood. J. Woodcock-Shaw (c)
- Smith. J. Reed. H. Buttress. R. Anderson.
- Woodcock-Shaw ∨ J.Kilgour. ∧
- Anderson ∨ M. Cullen. ∧
- Brodie ∨ J. Akers. ∧
Alehouse Starting XI.
OH YEAH, NO ONE CARES…
After a closely matched first half in which both teams returned to the dugout with no goals, frantic discussion ensued, and me having never played competitive football before, just about followed what was going on. This must be what Robbie Savage feels like when doing Match of the Day. Dazed and confused. Alehouse got off to a good start second half start and probably to some Dossers as well, seeing as they had no women present; applying pressure on the back four who stoically persisted in helping our ever-dynamic goalkeeper, Pat Vis. I successfully avoided having any major impact with the ball for the whole half, as long as I didn’t touch it I was happy, because if I had, I fear Josh would sub me and drop kick me like he had done the baby. The orange clad enemy put two past us, however heads weren’t bowed and Doss fought back to equalise 2-2 with two stunning goals from Prowl and Callum. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be our year as an angry Alehouse, whom I had pissed off numerous times with dirty tackles, put one past Vis, making the score 3-2 to finish. Whilst our defeat will ring loud in the ears of Doss for many years, it will never ring as loud as the shame Amicia feels following her defeat by Tati ‘and-the-ladss’. Man of the Match goes to Pat Vis for a stellar performance; he is definitely the better brother, the f****** ginger didn’t even make it onto the pitch, can’t handle the Doss. Prowl put in a number of big tackles, big tackles being something he very much enjoys,
however unlike Jack and Bellew, I politely declined when Prowl asked to see mine.
In what resembled an illegal cockfight somewhere in China with angry drunk students abusing Alehouse, emerged the most regimented, organised and high-intensity sport in the world. I recently went to Nottingham to watch a flat water paddling regatta, I have little memory of this too, so all I will say is that they could learn a lot from the organisers of the Isle of Man Beer Racing Championships 2015. I have learned that while beer racing is all about necking a pint, the foundations of the sport are built upon a strong mental game, and much like Johnson telling the Irish to piss off in Dublin 2003, Doss A.C. stands its ground. Shane started the night by demonstrating these values and giving his best Martin Johnson impression as he told some Alehouse to f*** off and sit somewhere else as opposed to their usual spot. Friend was pitted against friend and foe alike as teams descended upon the arena to accept their challenge. No one entered the competition with as much drive as Amicia, who whilst set on reclaiming the Women’s title for the fifteenth time in sixteen years, had her main focus on beating Tati ‘and-the-lads’, the young usurper of the her throne, done with such style and elegance. After hours of competitive drinking a winner was finally crowned. The Women’s A team put out an amazing performance, continuing their incredible 93.75% win rate over the past sixteen years. Professional lads included Tati ‘and-the-lads’, Beth Garland, Rachel Friend and Amicia Lee. I’m sorry Amicia, not sure if you have managed to beat Tati ‘and-the-lads’ yet, there’s always next year. There are many great rivalries in sport; Coe and Ovett, Ali and Frazier, Lewis and Johnson to name but a few, and now Amicia Lee and Tati ‘and-the-lads’, however it seems very one sided at the minute. The bad losers that are Alehouse tried to get us disqualified on a technicality, unlike the 2009 university challenge final, this one did not go in Manchester’s favour. Here at Doss we prefer to win outright and don’t rely on lawyers to win. On another note, we do not talk about who won the Men’s beer racing, I heard they come from a weird place though, ask Callum, he’ll tell you all about it.
Apart from the beer racing there were many memorable performances from Sunday night. Big spender ‘Pukey’ Pete managed £70 worth of jaegerbombs, an incredible 28 shot effort. He boasted his achievement the next day claiming to have held it all down, despite my scepticism. I was later proved right. Not only was he sick, but he also covered Richard “I don’t know how mirrors work” Johnson with his own brand of Pale Ale. I heard Richard wasn’t a fan; maybe you’ll have to rebrand Pete. While Pete’s effort was good, he might have been outdone by ‘Randy’ Williams, who christened the prom in his own unique way, a game that Bellew took and played in reverse with Jack…I heard there’s a video somewhere…I hope to god I never see it.
Amongst smaller events, Jakers got to know Zoe a little better but passed out before he could convert his try; Phil and I were offered a threesome by some Haries girl, much to my relief it didn’t happen, although later Prowl expressed to participate in such an act with me and I politely declined his request for a demonstration of a big tackle, something Jack and Bellew were still preoccupied with. I don’t know the full details of what happened, but I do know that Jack ended up in A&E after hurling. Your gag reflex might be a little sensitive mate, practice makes perfect. As expected, Alehouses hymnbook remains as thin as ever, unfortunately some of their ‘runners’ cannot boast the same feat, and Doss A.C. emphatically chanted them out of the Isle of Man and all the way back to that weird place of theirs, again ask Callum. Doss, or more specifically Dave, took home a large haul of silverware on Sunday night. Linton ran off with the winner’s plate, “champion” Dave Norman gave chase but with Linton being the fastest man on the Isle it was him who got to enjoy a silver service breakfast the following morning.
An unexpected cock up saw us spend an extra day on the Isle. There isn’t much to say here, apart from we sat in the sun and chilled out. Oh wait, and Steam Packet are a national disgrace. There’s definitely a song in there somewhere Pete.
The eventual ferry trip home went a lot smoother than expected until the final 300 metres or so, luckily for us on the 0845hrs to Heysham, the two hour delay happened during the day, unlike Willow the night before, who had to wait until 0130hrs before docking, arriving home at 0600hrs. Boredom set on the ferry and across the lounge sat a bunch of Alehouse stragglers. Naturally a beer racing challenge was thrown down by Joe Kilgour (who then declined to race) and two teams were assembled and congregated on the upper deck. Whilst Pat comfortably made the Doss team, the Dossdestroyer was dropped from the Alehouse squad last minute failing in his final bid to destroy any of Doss that weekend; Pat is definitely the better Vis, pulling out a sub 4-second effort when needed most. Unfortunately Tati ‘and-the-lads’ was not there to compete and thankfully neither was Amicia, who probably would have bottled it, understandable after all the mental strain she is under having lost to Tati ‘and-the-lads’ Spens. Doss A.C. were defeated, however controversy quickly surrounded the finish as Alehouse were accused of spillage and so disqualified. I don’t think anyone actually told them though.
In conclusion, Isle of Man 2015 was an all round success for Doss A.C. Along with a trophy filled campaign for both men and women in all disciplines, Alehouse were sorely beaten repeatedly, I learnt that stories are definitely better than standards, you can never have too much yellow (mine got covered in blood, not because of a fight, ignore what Shane tells you) and most importantly, that Tati ‘and-the-lads’ can down a pint quicker than Amicia.