Ah-ha me hearties and welcome to the good ship endeavour. Here I will tell a tale to delight ye spirits so join arms, raise a mug of special-tea all the way from Thailand, and drink it all in (no spilling!).

This be the story of a hearty crew, a motley crew of young an’ old the whiskered and the weary, the virginial and those of many a birthday (there be 2 at least on this very day). After many battles in rain and storms the crew found themselves in a scrap against a band of brothers from where many warnings are heard and thin-willed sailors are cast onto the rocks, aye it beee “Siren-cester”. The seas were hard an fast, the war was waged at a high rate of knots. The motley Buccaneers of the Endeavour, some unshaven 2 weeks, some far-travelled, others rusty with age and haggard of tooth. Down we were to the bare bones missing many lost friends to the D’s (oh the Ds, to be struck down with the Ds), our cursed luck seem to take the baricose Admiral Pellow who slipped away in silence on the last tender to help those struck down as the dawn of battle rose! But the crew gave a well-steeled roar and crashed into battle! 

Great strength, organisation, strong will, teamwork, passion ensued with a tight first 10 minutes, trading blow-to-blow, one Siren fell down in a clash of late recruit Jools Browning who was showing fresh impetus and a gutsy drive. Chances came to advance but the Sirens held firm and then a moment of misadventure, a Siren left-free to adventure down the right, a ball into a Buccs channel, a chance, a save Buccs Danson in desperation gives a penalty oh our old-foe friendly fire. A scrappy exchange at the top of the D and a strike in out the near-post, JET drawn away by a sirens charms, tempted to drift from his post and the clatter of a goal, like a dagger through the heart.

The sirens had downed the student-ship UWE the week before and pressed high and hard; they sensed blood. But not to be down-hearted the Buccs did not wilt, they stood strong and kept their shape. As if by the wind they could hear the voice of Admiral Pellow to keep their shape, so true to the cause honourable Buccs, keep the faith in the young frontmen. Believe in the power of Petty Officer Fursdon, all flashes of hair and waving of stick. One penalty corner, no success, but on the second a dummy, a shimmy a shift of feet and in the corner slotted the ball. A great response. Buccs smelt this success and they wanted to drink it, they wanted it on their sleeves and in their beards; it was warming their bellies.

Strong and resolute, fast in the tackle, brave and composed in defence, they created a wall that the Sirens became desperate to overcome. But they found stern resistance with two Richards down the right, they wanted to celebrate, they wanted to impress, they had the skills and the years under their belts, they could hear the pregnant calls from the sides, clamours for penetration, impregnation… MORE MORE they cried. Drive and throughball through to Aerial the Sirens could not break through. Then a rapid counter from the Buccs and a 3 on 3. Silky young John to Lukas (man of the) Moment GOAL, a beautifully crafted goal slotted into the corner (long gone are the lofty rash shots of the past). How they roared on the Starboard side! The pressure was telling and Silky John caused more rash moments from the Sirens defence, a green mist (and card) ensued for an unfortunate soul.

The sea and rage becalmed for a brief moment and crew engaged together for replenishment, back-slapping and tactical chimes, Keeper Newman kept up the spirits, Rich Warwick took up the fight, grit between teeth; oh did he want to win!

The winds changed and the battle swung but from front to back the Buccs stood up as men. Jimmy slipped on the decking but was saved by the hooked arm and broken face of Newman in Goal. Newman threw himself to the ground and got anything in the way to save his fellow men. Not one sinew went unstretched. Twice, three times….four! The roars went on and the Sirens were clearly tiring and were overstretched. Right, left, right, left: the Buccs spread the play, back to front through the reliable Fursdon and Warwick, supported by many an able man, a man of Sherry, a scary-eyed Captain of Cooke! The nobbly knees of Hill rattled in the night and with Browning on the left Buccs took on a ghost-like state the Sirens could not shake off. Warn down in defence beaten time again by Young John Lowrie, twisting and turning, tormenting (they will not sleep for fear of seeing him behind clo-sed eye!), the movement of Moment, like a serpent, writhing in the sea. They were grabbing at thin air. Again Lowrie got free, unshackled and slotted home coolly in a flash of a blade. The chances came thick and fast and with such guts and skill from the likes of Peden, Turner and Danson at the back the sorry Sirens began to wilt knowing their attempts were coming to nowt. In a last moment of desperation their warn and weary defence upended Lowrie as he was 1-on-1 in the D! An argument ensued, strong words were heard, some rage raised up in the Captain and roared across the pitch! Event the crows and the gulls fell silent; what is this noise, the purpose of this upheaval? Passion, unfettered passion, protection must prevail of ones crew! No threat can be left un-answered. And rightly so the final dagger was driven into the heart of the Sirens through this penalty corner, a slip to the left, shot, saved, Cooke swept to Peden – GOAL, GOAL, GOAL and VICTORY dear fellows, quite pertinent on the celebration of his very birthday which must go un-numbered, but not uncelebrated.

And celebrate we did, lashings of laughter, lager, laughter, rum, gin, merriness, foods from foreign soils. Much back-slapping and merriment in the Peden quarters and across the seas. We enlisted some rather zealous Pirates at night but saw them away. Now may those rusty heads rest and limbs lay heavy still shaking and giddy with adrenaline, anger and the pursuits of glorious endeavour dear boys. May the dreams be glad for one week at least, till the next foray – Swindon Away!

What a crew to be a part of. Young John Lowrie was crowned as crewman of the day and would have been held high aloft but he is as yet still young and shy in this regard, his time will come but he can be proud as all we crewmen together: the old, the new, the whiskered and the weary, travellers all.

A toast to you all, alas adieu.

Yours in battle Captain Cooke!

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