"Jolly hockey sticks!"
St Mary's took sport seriously, very seriously, which is why that had hired Mr Devlin as the hockey coach. He'd once had a trial for the England team, and came with impeccable Catholic credentials. He was also pious and good at the job. His 'no nonsense' approach soon started producing results. St Mary's had won five straight matches in a row.
All had been going well against arch-rivals Bexhill, the scores level at one all as they entered the last ten minutes of the second half. Then, a Bexhill girl had intercepted a pass to Marcia and set off quickly and unopposed towards the St Mary's goal. Marcia rushed after her. Then it happened.
Instead of tackling the Bexhill girl properly, Marcia reached out with her stick and hooked the Bexhill girl's ankle. She fell heavily, and the whistle blew shrilly. It was a blatant foul and Marcia was immediately sent off. Luckily, the Bexhill girl, after a quick ankle rub from their Matron, was able to resume play.
While honours between the two sides had been even up to that point, as was the spirit in which the game was being played, the foul changed everything. The Bexhill girls were incensed and found a new and steely determination. The St Mary's girls, one short, could not hold their opponents. Bexhill scored twice more before the final whistle.
Mr Devlin told Marcia to wait behind in the changing room after the others had left. She got a mixture of 'It's all your fault. I hope you get what you deserve' scowls, with just one or two 'Poor you, we know what's coming' half-smiles from her closest friends.
Eventually, the other girls made their way back to the school, leaving Marcia nervously chewing her fingernails and waiting.
Mr Devlin wasn't long and he didn't beat about the bush.
"That was a stupid, stupid thing you did, and an evil one. It cost us the match, and spoiled our reputation for sportsmanship."
"Sorry, sir," Marcia muttered from under down-cast eyes.
"Much too late for that, " said Mr Devlin, sitting down on a stool. "Come on, over my knee."
"No, sir, please sir."
"If you're going to argue, you can take your shorts down too. And if you don't get across my lap right now, you can fetch me one of those gym shoes."
Marcia lowered herself quickly over his knees, dropping her shorts and feeling the rough material of his flannel trousers against her belly.
He started to spank her: hard, stinging smacks.
After the third or fourth, she could keep silent no longer. She was just about to yell "Jesus!" when she caught her herself in time.
"J...jolly hockey sticks!" she cried.
Mr Devlin couldn't help but smile, but it wasn't going to reduce her punishment.