Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip

Hockey team prank leaves Australian Jack Banister with a 16-and-a-half-hour journey

An Exeter fresher is currently on a sudden trip to Scotland this morning, after losing his hockey team's infamous "Edinburgh Fives" tournament last night.

Exeter's first team hockey goalkeeper, Jack Banister, was forced to board a train at 6:20am this morning, having lost the competition at the club's Christmas Dinner. Amidst scenes of celebration from relieved teammates and jubilant returners, the 19-year-old managed to joke: “I've got to ring my mum, she told me not to lose.”

“I knew I was in trouble, I'm just so bad at fives,” he added, chuckling at the various tweets coming in from hockey clubs around the country.

Banister, who hails from South Australia, did not sleep last night and will be travelling until around 10:45 this evening, when he is due to return to Exeter.

The club tradition has been going for over four years and involves one first year from the National League side making the 16-and-a-half-hour round trip each season, at the club's expense.

All six of Exeter's hockey teams' freshers play an opening round, before the loser of each progresses to a final match, which decides the club member who will be making the 900 mile journey just hours later.

The annual competition hit the news last year after fresher Ben Sully was surprised to be met by players from Edinburgh University's Hockey Club, who brought gifts to the station after hearing about the event on Twitter. The Scotland side – known, like Exeter, as "EUMHC" – are expected to replicate that hospitality today.

Exeter's club captain Sam Plater said: “Edinburgh make our intrepid explorer feel very welcome and we have now created a return link, when our Scottish counterparts send one of their own down to us in February.”

"The hype and excitement that builds up from as early as September creates a fantastic buzz amongst the second and third years and quite a level of anticipation amongst our first years. The unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) fresher who makes the voyage north leaves a loser but returns a mighty hero and legend of the club."

"Edinburgh Fresh" are expected to take mobile devices so that the club can tweet live updates of their progress, particularly their interaction with the Edinburgh players, which attracted a great deal of attention last year.

“Every year it seems to grow a bit – the extra twist this year really added to the event,” explained EUMHC Social Secretary Ali Williams, referring to a subtle change in the rules which meant select second and third years had the potential to be the ones making today's trip. The club have been open to refining the game each year, with the idea of "Madrid Fives" even being touted last term.

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