A tale of two freshers

The heroic students who suffered the ultimate drinking game forfeit.

drinking game edinburgh fives exeter fives fives forfeit

It started with a game of fives.

Way back, before Christmas, Exeter hockey club fresher Ben Sully was the loser in a club-wide version of the noble game.

40 freshers started the hockey club’s ‘Edinburgh Fives’. Slowly, the youngsters were whittled down to a final shootout between Sully and second team player Tom Abell.

The game was tense, the calls were loud, and when Sully failed to react as Abell correctly guessed “five”, he knew he was in trouble.

The forfeit? A trip to Edinburgh and back, on the train in one day.

Would Sully shirk his responsibilities? Would he refuse to take the trip, complaining about missed lectures and essay deadlines? Of course not, for Sully is an honourable man.

Sully, left, raring to go ahead of his trip. Picture: ExeterUMHC

Sully departed Exeter St David’s on the 08:23 on Thursday December 13. He arrived in Edinburgh at 16:05. The journey seemed pointless and Sully got bored.

But touchingly, when he arrived here, there to greet him was a welcome party from our very own hockey club. They read about Sully’s plight on Twitter and were at the station bearing gifts of wine, flowers and an Edinburgh club tie.

It’s always nice to be made to feel special. Picture: ExeterUMHC

There was no time for hanging around though. After a swift pint, Sully was on the train south, leaving Edinburgh at 16:52 to arrive in Exeter at 00:55.

Sully was the real winner in this game of fives. Picture: ExeterUMHC

Sully told The Tab: “While I enjoyed my time in Edinburgh, I might look to plan ahead next time. Next year’s game will be far more enjoyable knowing I’ll be safe from going the distance.”

However, this was not the end of it. Inspired by Sully’s journey, Edinburgh’s hockey boys pledged to send a fresher of their own to Exeter and back in one day.

On Wednesday, Edinburgh hosted their game of ‘Exeter Fives’. Fresher Max Abott lost in a well-organised final (their referee had a bow tie!) and yesterday he made the journey to Devon.

The Tab’s first update came as Max reached Birmingham New Street station. Frankly, he was looking less than impressed and some feared this was a joke that had gone to far.

At the halfway point. Picture: EdinburghUMHC

Any fears were allayed when Max arrived in Exeter on the 14:42. There to welcome him were Exeter hockey’s finest and Ben Sully, the man who started it all. Max looked delighted.

Max gives Exeter the thumbs up. Picture: Harrison Hodges

Sully, right, was there to meet Max, left. Picture: Harrison Hodges

There wasn’t much time for hand-shaking, so it was off to the pub for refreshments. Before Max had to head home, the boys couldn’t resist a game of fives where it all began.

Sully and Abbot. Two men on a journey of self-discovery. Picture: ExeterUMHC

There were no losers here though. In the spirit of fairness, the two sides called it a draw. Neither Sully nor Max much fancied another trip up or down.

Following protocol, Max hopped back on the train to return home. He arrived back in Edinburgh as Thursday turned to Friday.

Max, centre, safe and sound at home. Picture: EdinburghUMHC

And so it came to pass that two freshers journeyed the length of the country after losing a simple game of fives. Laughs were had, ties were exchanged, stories were told, but the real winners were sportsmanship and team spirit. It’s a touching tale to warm the hearts of students nationwide.

The Tab salutes you, Ben Sully and Max Abbot.