Euchre team plays final hand after 50 years

ONE of the island’s longest-established euchre teams have dealt their last hand after 50 years and some 1,200 matches.

The last three founding members of The Beach Boys euchre team, left to right, Bernie Drillot and Mick Guilbert with Mike de Carteret holding the best possible hand in euchre. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 30060012)
The last three founding members of The Beach Boys euchre team, left to right, Bernie Drillot and Mick Guilbert with Mike de Carteret holding the best possible hand in euchre. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 30060012)

The Beach Boys did not take their name from the US chart topping band, but from the fact that all were involved with sand racing at Vazon at the time the team formed.

Their first season in the league was 1971-72 and three people – team captain Bernie Drillot, Mick Guilbert and Mick de Carteret – played throughout the 50 years.

Rodney ‘Doughnut’ Leivars and Ted Teed, who were also there at the start, stopped playing only in very recent years.

Initially, they played from the London House pub and after a spell at the Guernsey Kart & Motor Club’s social club in Le Truchot, they returned to the London House.

They then played from the Wayside Tavern and were based at the Wayside Cheer Hotel when they chose to retire at the end of last season.

Despite playing together for so long, they said they never used signals to indicate to their team mate what cards they held.

‘I don’t think we were intelligent enough to cheat,’ said Mr de Carteret, 78.

After a game they would go to the Chicken Platter for food or to Chung’s Chinese Restaurant in Fountain Street if they had won. They would also go to the Whitewoods Hotel, where Mr Drillot held the licence for three years in the 1970s.

‘It was the days when you could drink four or five pints and drive home,’ said Mr Guilbert, 76.

‘When we played at London House we’d throw our cards on the fire if we lost – and we went through a few packs, especially in the early years,’ he said.

Mr Guilbert estimates that they played at more than 40 places that no longer exist. They include pubs such as The Neptune, The Long Bar, The Cordeliers, The Farmer’s and The White Hart, and hotels such as The Hubits, Greenacres, The Chalet, Idlerocks, Vazon Bay, Wyndhams, The Savoy, Symphonies, Pembroke Bay and the Coq du Nord.

On one occasion at the latter, Mr Guilbert said, the opposing team began arguing among themselves over euchre and the next they knew, a fight had broken out.

‘We just let them get on with it, as it wasn’t anything to do with us,’ he said.

The Labour Club at the bottom of Le Truchot was another interesting venue. There would be a long interval in the middle of a match while the opponents left the bar.

‘They were all dockers so they’d go and load a tomato boat because they got double time. Then they’d come back and we’d finish the match,’ said Mr Guilbert.

The Beach Boys played in various leagues over the years. They won the Stacey Division about 25 years ago but their most successful season was in 2012. That year they won the Parker Division, Champion of Champions, and the team aggregate, and it was only a semi-final defeat in the Knock-Out Cup that deprived them of the clean sweep.

Two seasons after that they were relegated but bounced back to win the division again.

The Beach Boys are not sure if they were the longest running euchre team but Mr Drillot, 79, thinks he was the longest-running captain.

‘I can honestly say that we had a very reliable team and we never had to concede a match because we were short of players,’ he said.

‘We had some great laughs over the years and it wasn’t just about the cards. We took it seriously, but if somebody lost we never moaned at them.’

Several players have died over the years and Mr Drillot said it got harder to get teams together.

In more recent times The Beach Boys were supplemented with players from The Plough Inn. Some were keen for the team to use The Plough as their home.

‘For me, it was the lack of parking around there,’ said Mr Drillot.

When they were there for away games players found themselves having to park at the Odeon, Frossard House or even the Albert Pier.

‘It just seemed to me that with reaching 50 years it seemed

the right time to give up,’ he said.

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