Neil Tappin, Instruction editor

It?s Monday afternoon and I?m feeling both tired and depressed. I arrived back in the office this morning after a week away to find 300 emails, a scarily long to do list and a mouldy coffee mug. It’s official, I?ve been struck down with a serious case of the holiday blues.

Last week I was in Salcombe on the South Devon coast with a bunch of university friends. Broadly speaking our time was split between three main activities ? drinking, sleeping and playing sport. A perfect recipe for a truly great holiday, I think you?ll agree. There was however one problem ? no golf. Being the only player on the trip I knew there was no point bringing my sticks (when I talk golf my Philestine friends nod off – losers). On the bright side, a golf-free week would offer me the chance to expand my sporting horizons. Maybe I?d find a new hobby to throw my time and money at with equally scant reward. So I set off with an open mind and a hopeful heart. Having now returned from my voyage of discovery, here are my findings:

1 Fishing

Crab fishing to be precise. This comprises of sitting on the bank of a harbour and dangling a piece of string with a hook and some bait into the water. The key attribute that a good crabber requires is not hand-eye co-ordination. Nor is it stamina. It certainly isn?t strength. No, this is a game of patience.

Verdict: I hate waiting. Whether at the train station, on the phone or on the golf course ? I detest it. The reason for this is because I?m not naturally very good at it. I get restless. So I quickly discovered that because I was unable to prevent myself from continually pulling up the line to see if I?d snagged anything, I would never go down in the history books as one of the great crab catchers. I therefore have no interest in pursuing it further.

2 Sailing

When I say sailing I really mean power boating albeit in a tiny vessel with the weakest engine known to man dangling off the back. Our top speed was a painstaking 5 knots. Strictly speaking chugging around in a motorised boat isn?t sport so to spice things up we gatecrashed the Salcombe regatta, pitting our skills against some of the finest sailors in Devon. Succeeding in this situation required a strong skipper with excellent boat control and a cool head under pressure (sailing boats with angry yachtsmen were flying at us from all angles).

Verdict: Our inexperienced crew (myself included) lacked calmness and skill. This made our power boating trip a rather dangerous one. Golf by comparison is good, safe fun.

3 Cricket

Ah, now here?s a proper sport. In many respects cricket is similar to golf. A batsman has to graft hard to make a score, the bowler needs a sound tactical masterplan and the fielders must concentrate endlessly for hours. We however, were playing on the beach. In this uncompromising arena the fielders must avoid treading on tiny yet unbelievably sharp rocks lurking in the sand and the batsmen must contend with horrifically uneven bounce and sideways movement.

Verdict: With so many outside influences I found beach cricket rather unfair. By and large, golfers get what they deserve ? beach cricketers have to be strong of mind to contend with lashings of bad luck. Not one to take adversity on the chin, my head dropped (picture Gazza in the 1990 World Cup). Rubbish game.