Bere Regis Cricket Club
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Bere reported for duty some 15 minutes earlier than schedule for the short away trip to Bovington Camp, home of division three strugglers Wool. The Officers’ Mess cricket ground and facilities were always the envy of many clubs. In the late eighties Bere even considered re-locating there for an early part of one season.
Swingeing defence cuts have not been restricted to just the military, as the ground and square has suffered from neglect since the end of the Cold War. Bere were hungry for success following the maximum points win from the previous week. The advantage edged its way towards Bere when Wool announced they only had 8 players prior to the start.
Having turned in a ragged previous away performance at Colehill 2nds, Bere were in no mood for a repeat, and approached the game with a resolve. After inspecting the track before the toss, Bere were uncertain as to how the pitch would play. One thing was certain and that it was bowlers’ pitch, with the track in poor disrepair not being cut by a combine harvester. Wool had no option but to bat after winning the toss.
Bere opening bowler Hristo Oram got some early lift and uneven bounce from the pitch and the Wool openers were having a degree of difficulty adjusting to the pitch. There was a lot of playing and missing, ducking and diving going on in the first 20 overs.
Early success was gained when Dean ‘The Large’ Rogerson snapped up an easy catch at point. The dangerous Dean Smy was at the wicket and he added a rapid 21 before Rogerson got one to spin for the first time this season, bowling him through the gate. Ladies’ favourite Nick ’Black Book’ Carruthers came in came in at 5 for Wool, and his flamboyant approach proved his undoing, as he mis-timed an off-drive picking out Graeme Price running round from deep extra to clasp a comfortable effort.
Former Bere football favourite Colin ‘Ticker’ Goodwin has starred with the bat for Wool in unexpected fashion this term. He was a thorn in Bere’s side, as he batted intelligently compiling a patient 39 and taking Wool to a respectable 121 from 42 overs. Bere’s bowling stars were Mark Bennett (3-26) and Peter Macklin (3-27) on a surface giving nothing to the batsmen, and forcing wicket keepers into wearing protective helmets when standing up and back.
Wool had a decimated bowling attack, with Bere only needing 2.5 runs per over the openers-Russell ‘Monstaah’ Hewitt and Andy Kent gave Bere an ideal start. Disaster struck in the seventh over, as Hewitt was sent packing lbw for 7 just 9 runs short of 7000 in a long winding, illustrious career.
Kent took up the baton batting in his best form of the campaign so far. He added 27 for the second wicket with skipper Pete Cheeseman promoting himself up the order. He soon fell and Bere were still in the driving seat at 45 for 2.
Bere never looked back with number four Dean Rogerson assuming control with Kent happy to stroke his way to 50. The pair completed the win and 20 points for Bere, hitting 76 from the final 9 overs, including an all ran 5 for Rogerson, with the ball nestling in the great plains of Bovington down at deep-square leg.
Kent was rapidly running out of time to complete his maiden Bere half-century as Rogerson seemed intent on reaching his. But the veteran keeper aptly notched his first fifty and clinched the win with a sweetly timed six over square leg. Bere retired to The Ship for post match festivity, where the Slickster shattered his personal best in the ‘chicken wing’ contest.
Match postponed after 45 overs.
A ghost had to be laid bare, for Bere to continue their progress towards a promotion and division two cricket next season. The visit of Hamworthy Recreation 2nds was feared by many, as Bere had failed to beat them at home on the two previous occasions. The vast majority of the upper tier of the Bere cricketing hierarchy were outfoxed by the earlier starting time.
Bere’s umpire and talisman Rick Davis mediating in his fifth game was one of the late arrivals. Mr Peek’s groundstaff pulled back the covers prior to the game, and a green tinge showed on track number 5. Heavy overnight rain gave for a lot of dampness in the track, and possibly more difficult for the side batting first.
This theory was borne out, as Bere’s opening bowlers tightened the screw claiming five wickets in the first 22 overs. A swift Graeme Price catching a relatively easy chance in the covers removed Hamworthy’s dangerous overseas import and number three. Bere on cloud nine, ten and eleven when spinner Dean Rogerson disposed of both openers, and with a suicidal run out, the visitors were in dire straits on 58 for 6.
Bere’s tendency to let sides off the hook resurfaced with a vengeance unknown. Stands of 56, 24 and 37 for the Hamworthy 7th, 8th and 9th wickets respectively almost broke Bere’s resolve in the dying embers the 2000 season. A flurry of sixes onto the A35 saw the visitors cruise past 170 for the loss of nine wickets.
Bere needed a robust reply in the early part of their innings. The Monstaah and The Stove delivered the goods was the wicket dried out, assisting Bere’s batters. Stalwart opener Russell ‘Monstaah’ Hewitt surpassed another milestone in a Bere career spanning 17 seasons. A single clipped through square leg seemed business as usual, but he notched 7000 runs leaving him still head and shoulders above all-comers in the Bere 1st XI batting records. He fell for 19 looking to up the chase for runs as Colonel Merritt dug in at the other end for a long campaign ahead.
Dean Rogerson has been batting imperiously of late and he picked up the baton soon farming the strike from his slightly larger partner at the crease who was content to play second fiddle for a while, although not at the tea table. However Inzamam did treat the bulging August crowd to glorious sixes over mid-wicket keeping Bere ahead of the chase.
At the 30 over checkpoint the home side were sitting pretty on 112 for 2, as Merritt raced to his fifty from 90 balls. He somehow lost the plot and forgot to continue scoring, and crumbled for 53 batting for a colossal two hours leaving the arena with a decidedly goosed appearance. He now has stag & wedding plans to concentrate on.
Rogerson’s bat was free flowing by now and he too surpassed his fifty. Bere needed 38 from 9 overs, and with six wickets in hand. Wily veteran and Cherries fanatic Mark Bennett allayed fears as seventeen runs were plundered from the 39th over which ended the contest. Bere cantered to a six wicket win with 14 balls to spare. Rogerson’s 66 being the match winning innings, as Bere headed for stormy waters ahead.
The Sunday team travelled to Chapel Gate and had early cause for celebration as the skipper won the toss and had no hesitation in batting on one of the best wickets in the league. Bere took full advantage with an opening stand of 51 setting them on their way. Reg Fripp departed for 44 having taken the score to 88 for 3.
Nick Cheeseman joined the skipper and proceeded to score his second 50 of the season against Bmth, sharing in a stand of 67 which was the backbone of a good all round batting effort. Nick was 57 n.o. as Bere finished on 197 for 7. In reply Bmth. lost early wickets with Reg, Pete Macklin and Martin Price all bowling well and preventing Bmth. from making a serious attempt to get back into the game.
With Nick White also dismissing the main Bmth threat with his first delivery and Bere's outfielding earning them 3 run outs maximum points were obtained as Bmth were dismissed for 161.
No report, as roving reporter absent.
The Bank Holiday weekend saw the Sunday team welcome league leaders Shaftesbury . On a pleasant afternoon, which was to see the skipper get older but certainly not wiser, he again lost the toss but was pleasantly surprised to be asked to bat.
The teams’ happiness was to be short lived as Shaftesbury took early wickets from which Bere never recovered. From 16 for 3 there was a sign of recovery until Dean Rogerson was well caught by the wicketkeeper down the leg side with the score at 33. Wickets then fell all too quickly with Martin Price, who later discovered on the club tour what being a run machine meant, top scoring with 18, helping Bere limp to a disappointing 62 all out.
In reply Shaftesbury were made to work for their runs as Reg and Alan conceded only 25 runs from the first 24 overs but with only one wicket falling during that time Shaftesbury were never under any pressure and cruised to an 8 wicket win which ensured that they would end the season as worthy winners of the division.
No report, as roving reporter absent.
For their final outing of the season, Bere’s Sunday heroes tripped the light fantastic down Bulbarrow Way to meet local farmers Ibberton. At 12.20pm everyone jumped aboard Alan Green’s Magical Mystery Caravan with the love blanket travelling on in front. Bere skipper Eldine Green in typical Sgt. Wilson fashion mustered his troops for one final push for mid-table mediocrity. The Bere Sunday executive targeted a total of 87 points from the final seven games. So with 69 gathered from six, a win was a must.
Ibberton’s pitch nestles deep in a valley of the Blackmore Vale, however their facilities fail to match the breathtaking scenery, as the public toilets of Lahore lend more to hygiene than the shed in the corner. Pictures of Bere’s gunslinger adorned the pavilion walls depicting the gathering of the harvest in 1975. A sterile encounter could have been expected as the home side appeared to have been relegated and destined for Div. 7 next term.
Reg Fripp prepared for his last innings this year by donning the battle scarred helmet one more time, after the captain lost the toss. The pitch looked lively, and appeared to have more gremlins in it than a Hollywood blockbuster. Bere expected a blockbusting innings from the leviathan Fripp, and he delivered in front of his adoring masses on the love blanket.
Green had the opportunity to experiment with survival already assured. He sent Poomy Price in to open with Reg, and he capped a fine stoic performance with 1 out of a 34-opening stand. With Fripp in top gear accelerating down the slope for a quick single, poor old Poomy slipped at a crucial time and was run out by the width of the Thames.
The Bere ship rocked after veteran Curtis was bowled for zero, then followed by the club Chairman, grass doctor and pitch guru after he seemed most comfortable, and was starting to dominate the bowling. He chopped wide one onto leg stump, and left the square in reflective mode and to ponder on his photography.
By now Bere were reduced to 58 for 3, and familiar alarm bells were ringing to the tune of tumbling wickets. Fashion doyen and big hitting Nick ‘Slick’ Cheeseman batted at 5, given the job of maintaining momentum yet steadying the ship. He started off in customary fashion with two boundaries of sheer power. However his tendency to leave the ‘Golden Gate’ open was his downfall.
He was bowled and Bere teetered on the edge. The Egdon Express steamed into bat joining the defiant Fripp who was ready for the onslaught. Reg’s season with the bat came to an end when he drove ‘on the up’ and holed out at wide mid-off for a jug avoiding 44, a fine effort in the context of Bere’s innings. The skipper was keen to do a spot of jug avoiding himself, but on the cricketing front he was keen to end his season on a relative high.
Meanwhile David Scott was fumbling around at the other end not resembling a batsman at all, however he was unaware that he stood at the threshold of greatness. Sargeant Wilson departed for four after a wild stroke, and Bere were 98 for 6 with 13 overs left for play. Steve Cheeseman joined Scott with a responsible job to do ensuring Bere batted out the 45 overs with a respectable total.
From that point onwards the game transformed as Bere’s fortunes took a lift. Dave Scott had decided enough was enough, and set about the Ibberton attack with venom. With Cheeseman more than happy to give him the strike, Scott gave the auditorium a dazzling display of strokes. If any bowler was to stray even slightly off line, they were dealt with. He stormed into the thirties with back to back sixes, one which made a bee-line for his car bouncing off the rear ‘go-faster’ spoiler.
He was happy to go to his fifty with a six over deep fine leg where the ball itself in the privet. Boundary after boundary followed as Scott homed in on a maiden century. The fight been knocked out of the home side, with their body language showing a dejected tone.
With their main objectives reached Cheeseman and Scott could afford to party a little with a few sneaky edges here and there. Cheeseman succumbed to a high catch at square leg and departed with 205 on the board after a club record 107 for the 7th wicket, and only from 10 overs. Soon afterwards Scott mistimed a drive and was caught at mid-off for a titanic 89. The Bere contingent rose to their feet in appreciation. Bere set a target of 219 to win.
The skipper was able to let the part time bowlers have a fling on the final day festivities. He invoked the usage of the ‘Butt Lane Butt Kickers’ for Bere’s opening attack, and it was from here that the farmers struggled. Both Reg and Paul churned out 24 overs between them that did the captain proud. Fripp Junior was first to register as the Slick popped up at mid-wicket arousing from a mid-evening slumber. He claimed an easy catch and Bere were on their way.
It was a busy day in the field for the Wool Stopping Service and veteran Doug Curtis, prompting chants of ‘Jonty, Jonty’ for the latter. After the game they both celebrated by swapping shirts in a bizarre ritual. Shane Hewitt replaced Paul Fripp at the Hedge End and bowled seven overs of tidy medium pace also claiming the wicket of the home captain.
Batting hero Scott left the fray after stumbling on the boundary inflicting a nasty ankle injury, so Tristan Gale stepped in as twelfers. Ibberton showed no ambition at all in achieving their goal and with wickets in hand they only stepped up their challenge in the 41st over. So Bere ran out easy winners and retired to The Crown at Ibberton luxuriating in the state of the art surroundings and gorging themselves on ‘sausage and chips’.
Bere had five games to get their promotion push back on track . The first of the famous five was the home return against old firm rivals Redlands. For once the weather lived up to its Summer billing and the baked BRACA gave for a high scoring day.
There was a green tinge to the wicket, which would undoubtedly offer help to the bowlers early doors, but all agreed the wicket, square and outfield were in optimum condition for the challenges ahead.
Bere were able to field a stronger side thanks to the return of Inzamam, replacing the Radish. Bere were glad to be batting first, given the searing early August heat. A sure sign that the temperature had risen was the sight of ‘Monstaah’ Hewitt’s Mexican bandanna receiving a soaking at the faucet.
Bere suffered a massive setback in the fifth over, when Inzy got an inside edge onto stumps when leaving an inviting gate wide open big enough for The Egdon Express to fit through. Andy Kent was soon back in the pavilion having scored a rapid and authoritative 14. The Monstaah was showing no signs of wilting in the heat, and continued to build towards another solid innings. He was bowled for 29 with Bere on 64 for 3 at the halfway point.
Hristo Oram was hoping for a return to form with the bat, but his miserable run was extended when he was caught at deep cover in the search for runs. There was talk of 200 being the target for Bere, but as the overs dwindled, Bere were hopeful that they would claim all 5 batting points at 170.
A magnificent undefeated knock of 76 from Dean’The Large’Rogerson pushed Bere past their goal. The blonde flash from Southbrook scored at nearly a run a ball, as the match situation had dictated as such.
All Summer Bere’s batting had been misfiring like a Lada on a November morning, however the final over ‘slogs’ have more than salvaged Bere on several occasions. Bere gifted the lowly visitors 4 bowling points in the end, which will help their deepening relegation crisis.
After a gigantic tea, Bere were grateful for the weather as it meant that the sheep did not appear after the players emerged from the tunnel. Nothing could be taken for granted in the Redlands reply. The squad knew that they could ill afford a repeat of the previous week’s debacle.
Redlands had raced to 39 for 2, and this was unsettling Bere. The ever reliable Dean Rogerson yet again produced the goods with his modified spin bowling. His knack of bamboozling batsmen, and inducing false shots has brought high returns this term. The removal of three of Redlands most dangerous batsmen snapped their resolve.
Dean ‘Inzy’ Merritt took a running catch coming from deep, but his exploits were overshadowed as the hapless batsman cried out in agony having seriously damaged his knee. He subsequently left the field in an ambulance. The club would like to extend their sympathy to the player, and hope for a speedy recovery.
After a 30 minute delay, the game resumed with Bere hoping to kill off the visitors’ chances. In the 33rd over a moment in Bere’s history was witnessed by all as Mark ’Bennie’ Bennett bowled the opposition no 8 (leg stump) to record his 300th career wicket. There were may happy scenes around the old arena. After the hand shaking and back patting had ebbed, Bennie had started the long road to 400 when Steve Cheeseman clasped a high catch at mid-off to wrap up affairs. Jubilant times were had by all in the club afterwards.
On a muggy afternoon Sherborne eventually found their way to our garden shed corner of the cricketing world's vegetable patch. They were pleasantly surprised to find that they were indebted to the EU, as our field had been set aside and now took on the appearance of a batting paradise.
This was certainly the case in the early stages as Sherborne elected to bat and despite losing a wicket in the third over, raced to 50 in the 11th without further loss. In the 13th over Sherborne's top scorer, having smashed a cover drive for 4, trying to repeat the shot, fell for the slower ball and was well caught by Nick White at mid on.
From this point the wheels came off the Sherborne innings. Youngsters Nick White and Shane Hewitt both returned figures of 1 for 3 and together with Pete Macklin's 2 for 7 plus a total of 6 catches being held, reduced Sherborne to 100 all out in 37 overs, with just 15 runs coming off the final 16 overs.
Not to be outdone Bere made a similar start to their innings and had reached 24 for 1 after 9 overs. It was testing time for umpires, as Sherborne's opening bowler was appealing for absolutely everything going.
A triple wicket maiden saw a flurry of batsmen come and go before the next 2 overs produced 15 runs and no further wickets. A wicket then fell in each of the next two overs to leave Bere on 40 for 6, but with 39 overs left in which to score 61 runs! Some of Bere's batsmen had let themselves down with some indifferent shots to Sherborne's top seamer.
Pete Macklin joined the skipper and they put on 22 before Pete misjudged a drive and was caught for a valuable 13. At 66 for 8 The Wool Stopping Service-Martin Price arrived at the wicket and proceeded to play the careful innings required as he and the skipper gradually edged the score towards the target.
A bizarre match ended in fitting style with 3 runs coming from a wide, with the skipper 30 and Martin 3 not out, and the ever expanding love blanket had plenty to cheer about as Bere grabbed the most unexpected of victories against a promotion chasing side.
This unlikely victory sparked celebrations that continued late into the night, including the eventual arrival of meals on wheels and the skipper with both hands laden with jugs. He took in the adulation of his adoring masses as his increasingly popular 'Apres-cricket' alcohol induced speeches were enjoyed by all.
The battle for mid-table mediocrity, and more importantly a secure league status hotted up with Bere’s home clash against Poole & Poole Old Grammarians 3rds at The BRACA. It was the visitors’ links with the ‘old school tie’ network that was to prove the difference between the sides on the day.
The two genial captains debated the merits of batting or bowling first on a wicket that had already yielded 318 runs the previous day. Bere skipper, Alan ‘Venkatesh, The Egdon Express ’Green elected to field first in this crucial encounter, with the winners grabbing fifth place, putting daylight between their opponents on the day.
With The Egdon Express well and truly backed into the sidings, Green turned to ‘The Wool Stopping Service’ in the shape of Martyn Price, who opened the bowling in tandem with the evergreen Reg Fripp. The pair tied the normally racy Poole openers down to around 2 runs an over, and Fripp struck in the eighth over.
A second wicket followed after veteran stopper Deadly Doug Curtis pounced like a youthful gazelle at mid-off to present Price with his first of three wickets. Bere homed in on the kill sensing victory was theirs with the score on 72 for 7, but the eternal foot came off the eternal pedal, which allowed the visitors to claw their way back.
An innings of 40 which would have enchanted the halls if Eton provided the essential backbone of the Grammarian innings. Bere were given the task of achieving 134 off the 45 over allocation to win.
Bere’s reply was about as effective as a British Rail timetable, with the top order amassing 8 runs, having no answer to one of Poole’s opening bowlers, whose five wickets haul ripped Bere to shreds. A middle order packed with youth , experience, age and expanding waistlines was dismissed without trace.
No one was prepared for what was to follow as David Scott exacted revenge on the scholars’ bowling attack. With assistance from the wides column as second top score and Pete Macklin, Scott blasted 9 fours and 2 sixes, one which hammered straight at the clubhouse. The masses of spectators were scattered as the ball arced towards the porch, and in via a windowpane barely held in by half dried putty from a previous incident.
Such an explosive knock gave Bere hopes of winning, but Scott perished on 59, a score of titanic proportions considering Bere had only managed 86, falling 47 runs adrift. The mercurial young stroke maker left the arena to rapturous applause, but Bere were left pondering after a third consecutive loss.
The visit of Shroton was undoubtedly Bere's biggest test of the 2000 sojourn thus far. Arguable Bere's oldest rivals since the reformation back in 1983, Shroton have built a formidable side over recent years, especially this term as they have gone undefeated throughout the first half of the season.
It is evident that the visitors from deep in the Blackmore Vale are destined for division two in 2001 , but Bere had a chance to put a dent in their title aspirations. Bere's record against the table toppers is reasonable, taking into account results from recent years.
A lot of cricket has been played since Bere were humiliated at Shroton back in 1990, then finding themselves knocking on the door of the local hostelry-The Cricketers, only to discover there was a Caribbean evening in full swing later on. Events that unfolded that night are well and truly etched into the memories of Bere's battle hardened Cricketers. There have been many '£5.86' evenings since, but none quite to match that unforgettable day when so may fell victim to the deadly 'Red Stripe'.
The previous week, Shroton had unwittingly done Bere a favour by beating closest rivals, Hamworthy Recreation 2nds. If Bere could restore some fight in their game and step up a gear, a victory would install them as second favourites behind the visitors. The weather was about as recognisable for July, as plantains on Bere's square, but the forecasters got it all wrong again with rain expected following the midweek monsoons. There was no hint of any rain during the game, but a crisp breeze blowing in from the groundsmen’s boudoir and sufficient cloud cover kept temperatures at a minimum.
So player's comfort read 2 jumpers or a sheep if you have one. The only high pressure likely to appear was out in the middle deep in the trenches, as the two old rivals slugged out a classic encounter.
Having only batted first once this year, Shroton were in no hurry to alter that pattern, and they fielded having won the toss. This decision was vindicated as the sun managed to peep through, helping to dry out the damp wicket. Once again Bere's evergreen skipper turned to openers Russ 'The Bear' Hewitt and Inzamam UI Sheep Merritt for a platform to build a total worth defending.
The Shroton captain could have ultimate confidence in his opening bowlers, and they bowled a tight line, frustrating the Bere openers. To say that the going was heavy for Bere’s innings was a massive understatement. The runs on the board did not surpass the overs until the 18th bowled. Bere had a meagre 29 from the first 20 overs, being testament to the accuracy of Shroton's bowling, and the slow wicket.
The Bear was picking out fielders with regularity in the search for boundaries, which were about as sparse as the deckchairs strewn around the BRACA. It became evident that batting was to become easier as the day wore on. The dire need for runs was starting to take its toll, as Inzamam was caught comfortably at gully leaving the score 34 for 1.
Andy Kent resumed his number three role, and had to kick-start the run quest immediately, not a role he was accustomed to being an accumulator of runs rather than a big hitter. He got off the mark by virtue of a glorious on-drive, and he added a further four boundaries out of his 35, and he departed with the score at 108 for 4. Earlier Dean 'Greg Lad, The Large' Rogerson maintained his healthy batting average with 25, sharing a 49 run partnership with Kent off 68 balls, catapulting Bere above the 2 runs per over mark. There were eight overs left of the Bere innings.
Chris Oram was the ideal player for the situation that faced Bere. His form with the bat has been exemplary, with his temperament and shot selection second to none, entering the fray very often when urgency was the key, and runs needed. The BatHandle Price failed to star this time, as he was skittled for a single, but it was Oram that stole the show with 37 from 30 balls including a six lifted over mid-wicket into the car-park. The acceleration was perfectly timed as at 73 for 2 from 35 overs, Bere were languishing in the doldrums. From the final ten overs, 90 runs were plundered from the Shroton attack, with Bere failing to score from no more than four deliveries. It was most uncharacteristic of the Shroton bowling and fielding machine to concede so many runs late in the day. It was a titanic final quarter of the innings for Bere, as they set a testing 164 to win.
There was no doubt which team enjoyed their tea more during the intermission. It was Bere that tucked into Mrs Price's legendary fruitcake, happy in the knowledge that they had been let off the hook, with Shroton licking their wounds after conceding so many runs at the death. The question that was being asked was whether Bere had enough in the tank, and could cope without their talisman-cardigan twin strike bowler. Shroton could boast the strongest batting line-up in the division, with an array of powerful strokemakers capable of reducing any bowling attack, which was reflected in their unbeaten run.
An unusual ploy by Bere's captain saw him start with a combination of swing and spin from Steve Cheeseman and Dean Rogerson. Shroton signalled their intentions from the outset picking off Bere's bowlers with consummate ease. Cheeseman claimed the first wicket, inducing Shroton's premier opener to 'play on' and later it was to prove the bowler's luck was in.
A second wicket was to follow, when a low leg-side half volley was glanced with the full face of the bat from Shroton's number 3, then wicket-keeper Andy Kent swooped like an eager kingfisher to grab a sharp, low effort round his bootlaces, sending the Bere fielders into a frenzy, with the score at 22 for 2.
Perhaps the biggest hitter in the league entered the arena at number 4 for Shroton, and Bere was aware that dismissing him early doors could have held the key to winning. A third scalp was claimed by Cheeseman, when the skipper juggled a lofted push to mid-off but gleefully grabbed the ball at the third attempt.
Suddenly the game started to disappear from Bere's grasp, as the Shroton middle order stamped their authority on proceedings with a flurry of sixes off all and sundry, though apart from wily veteran Mark Bennett plugging away with his low 'scudders'. With the string of powerful hitter coming in seemingly endless, Bere had all but resigned to a fourth defeat of the year. The visitors were cruising along at 136 for 4, needing only 27 from 9 overs, with their ‘Master Blaster' in prime form.
He chanced his arm through deep mid-wicket with a lofted drive in the search for a quick and abrupt end to the encounter. Steve Cheeseman trotted in from the Legion door appearing to judge the catch well, but made a complete hash contriving to guide the ball back to the bowler, nevertheless the batsmen completed two runs. The next from spin buffet guru Dean Rogerson was given the same treatment, and again headed for the Legion door like a missile. Cheeseman went from the ridiculous to the sublime, this time totally misjudging the flight, but reaching back clutching the ball about six feet above the ropes, and the Bere revival had begun.
Rogerson was persisted with after an Oram spin experiment went pear-shaped, and his guile at the wicket proved the undoing of Shroton. He extracted an on-drive, which seemed destined for a maximum, but Inzamam Merritt rose three inches off the floor and grasped a double-handed effort in front of a packed Restoration gallery.
This was followed by the easiest of stumpings for keeper Andy Kent, and Bere needed only one more magical wicket to seal the unlikeliest of victories, but ominously Shroton needed just ten runs from three overs, with the dangerous 'Spud' at the crease.
Wily veteran Bennett was to bowl the 44th and penultimate over, and skipper Cheeseman made the necessary last-minute off-side field adjustments. The first ball was pushed out into the covers and a run was called for, but the non-striker was rooted and Steve Cheeseman collected throwing to the keeper, and Kent was able to demolish the stumps triumphantly and Bere's fielders were ecstatic, the square transforming in unprecedented scenes reminiscent of recent GB & Europe wins in the Ryder Cup.
It was a game that saw Shroton self-destruct, ruing their chances to win a hugely tense and exciting encounter for the neutral. In these games Bere usually prevail, the masters of defending a target, when the game is all but gone.
Not one member of the Bere party making the unenviable trip to Gillingham were in party mood. Bere faced an artificial wicket that has been patched up more times than the QE2. Throw in facilities from the Dark Ages, and everything pointed towards a forgettable day out on what was Carnival Day for the rest of Bere Regis back at base camp.
Bere had a gang of four missing, so wholesale changes had to be made, one inclusion was the plucky Shane Hewitt for his second start of his career. It was a shame that the surroundings could have been better suited to his talents.
Sadly the game will go down in the annals of Bere history for a horrific injury sustained at the crease by Bere’s talisman Rick Davis. With the carpet playing at its unpredictable best, helmets were being handed out all round, and the Bere changing room resembled an ice hockey dug out.
Davis renowned for his ability to plunder late order runs at a crucial time, was setting himself for such an onslaught. After hitting the 4th ball of the 42nd over for four, he was ready to maintain the attack. What followed was a short-pitched delivery of a deliberate nature , which Rick’s cheekbone receiving serious damage and a necessity for corrective surgery. Stand in captain Russell Bear Hewitt had no option but to declare with the score on 153 for 7 and the atmosphere becoming tense by the minute, aided by chants from the home side such as “you know you can wear a helmet”. The Vice-Captain was justified in protecting his young lower order from intimidatory bowling.
The basic story of the Bere innings was that a slump was witnessed in the first 14 overs, when Bere were 17 for 4, with the bowling then being accurate and well pitched in the spirit of the game. Team heartthrob Graeme Price was back in the hutch after seeing stumps fly without playing a shot. Dean’The Large’Rogerson the eluded a hat trick ball , and in tandem with Hristo Oram they added a monster 112 for the fifth wicket.
They approached their fifties with some nine overs left, one achieved but Rogerson fell five runs short going for a maximum being caught on the boundary. This sparked a tumble of Bere wickets.
Martin Price played some good looking shots and can be pleased with his progress since returning from injury. Rick 'gunslinger' Davies joined him at the crease with the score at a healthier 129 for 7, and he too was playing his best innings of the season with several deliveries being dispatched via the middle of the bat.
Bowling and fielding became an even more difficult task for the Bere team with thoughts about the well being of a colleague clearly in the minds of all present. An uncomfortable start for the Gillingham openers was soon weathered without giving a clear chance and the Bere attack, already depleted of Steve Cheeseman and now Rick as well, toiled away without reward. 117 was on the board before the breakthrough came by which time even the hardest of 'never say die' fielders knew that the writing was on the wall.
The brightest spot about that breakthrough was that Shane Hewitt took the wicket, hitting the off stump of the batsman that had made 76 of the Gillingham total. So, all in all, a bad day at the office with Bere going down on their travels once again. Performances at the B.R.A.C.A. have been far more impressive than 'on the road' again this season, something that the squad must put right if they are to keep up the promotion bid.
The Bere dressing room had a youthful feel to it, with emerging talents abound. There was a Churchillian speech from the club Chairman-Herbie Swann. He stirred the passions with his blood curdling cries of ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘hit the ground running’. Then skipper Alan Green trotted out to the wicket in his inimitable Sgt. Wilson approach to the game. The toss was lost, and Suttoners batted.
The wicket was proven to be one for the batters, a strip giving uniform bounce coupled with a fast outfield. Steve Cheeseman, with a rare appearance in Sunday colours opened the bowling with Reg Fripp reforming the Lockheed Brothers.
Success came as early as the third over as Cheeseman half-stopped a crisp drive, which was then collected by a sprightly Doug Curtis in his gazelle-like fashion. His return to the bowler was near perfect leaving a vapour trail in its wake. The batsmen were committed to a run, the rest was academical and the score was 1 for 1. It was soon 1 for 2 when The Slickster easily snapped up a skier off Cheeseman.
Meanwhile Fripp was hitting the ‘cone zone’ with his off-breaks once again proving difficult to get away on the dry pitch. His constant nagging length was rewarded when keeper and entrepreneur Herbie Swann collected a sharp catch high and right after a thin outside edge was heard by the gallery. A second wicket followed reducing the home side to 54 for 4.
Suttoners rebuilt with some errant but effective strokeplay. A quick 2-wicket blast from Fripp Jnr. got Bere back in the hunt after The Egdon Express was blasted to all parts. Bere took five wickets in 8 overs setting themselves target of 176 to win on an improving track
Bere needed a solid but bold start to their innings. After 13 overs gone, the scoreboard read 24 for 6, with the top four removed for a total of ten runs. Messrs Fripp, Curtis, Green and Swann all perished, although the latter may have been concentrating on fulfilling his orders for his Albanian sweatshop in Green Close.
Dave Scott was bowled after plane spotting, which left the combined talents of Pete Macklin and Paul Fripp at the crease. They were aware that Bere were ‘up the creek’ without even a chance let alone a paddle, but they accepted the mission impossible and batted with supreme maturity. Their 7th wicket stand read 86, crammed with solid and flamboyant strokes. Both their innings fell short of richly deserved half-centuries, but they still gave the crowded ‘blanket of love’ on the boundary plenty to enthuse about.
With Bere ever-increasingly creeping back into the game the brave Macklin was bowled for 43, and was the last wicket to fall and Bere lost by 28 runs. The Bere skipper was in is element after the game fielding comments in the bar from the ‘Apres-Cricket’ set, which sadly outshone his exploits on the field after recording his second duck in a row.
Bere were eager to banish the memories of a cold, wet and windswept Delph earlier in the season, when they suffered a 10 run defeat in the gloom. This time Bere were the hosts, and after the debacle at Gillingham the week before it was time for the hosts to re-assert themselves at the top of the division.
Mr Peeks had prepared track number 9 for the game which promised a lot of runs on the day. Bere were put in, and Inzamam Ul Sheep Merritt resumed his number two role with Russell ’Monstaah’ Hewitt ever present at number one. The pair batted for 28 overs, adding 80 for the first wicket just five minutes short of two hours at the crease. Hewitt accelerated at the perfect time with a flurry of boundaries, but holed out by the roller (not Inzamam) after a sweet on-drive picked out the only fielder in the vicinity.
Earlier Inzy had succumbed to the same cut shot that has become his weakness this term. Andy Kent went in at 3 needing quick runs. He filled the role with aplomb, hitting a vibrant 30 before being run out chasing a quick single.
Arguably Bere’s most consistent batsman this season is Dean Rogerson, he steered Bere to maximum batting points comfortably with help from the very mobile Graeme Price who was happy to play second fiddle in a stand of 34 off 5 overs. Once again Bere showed their mettle, and the ability to bat throughout the side when the pressure is well and truly on.
Broadstone have their future in safe hands, with their batting order brimming with youthful talent. Both their openers got them off to a competent start until their number two retired hurt after a top edge into the face.
The capture of wickets was paramount, and captain Cheeseman turned to Rogerson who took another four wickets in what has become a most successful season so far. Broadstone were far from out of the contest at 92 for 3 with 14 overs left, but the Bere bowlers struck and Broadstone hopes nose-dived.
Veteran seamer Mark Bennett has claimed 10 victims this season, and only required two more wickets for 300 in his long and illustrious career. He trapped Broadstone’s no 8 leg before, and the crowd were ready to ignite the fireworks with the giant scoreboard standing by to flash the big ‘300’, but he failed to add and will fight on whilst on 299.
The Broadstone challenge eventually petered out whilst on 123, with a cameo bowling show from The Praying Mantis who sealed a fourth bowling point for Bere. The home side were now ready to concentrate on the after match annual barbecue, vice-presidents’ evening and calypso scenes which followed.
The management had recently targeted three games for division 6 survival this season. The first of which was at home to Moordown 2nds who were currently 9th in the division with an average 5 points fewer than Bere. With most of the squad still in party mood following the previous nights barbecue revelry, captain Alan ’Eldine’ Green decided on batting first in the hope of racking up a huge score, batting Moordown out of the game.
The plan worked perfectly as veteran openers Reg ‘Calypso King’ Fripp and Deadly Doug Curtis pushed the score along a two an over, posting 38 for the first wicket before Curtis was caught for 12. The Bat Handle, seldom seen in Sunday colours joined Fripp at no. 3 and they upped the tempo with Fripp the dominant partner. During a six over frenzy of quick singles, fours and wides, Bere reaped rewards from some buffet.
The second wicket fell in untimely fashion on 77, then the Slickster joined the fray. Fripp was still scoring freely, and blasted a six over deep square leg as the Bere run machine moved on towards full batting points. Fripp was caught for 60, compiled from 111 balls and 118 minutes and signalled a crucial return to form after an alarming dip.
Bere’s middle order was packed with pinch hitters, and only a couple of them had to come off. To the utmost dismay of all who were present, the final seven wickets fell for a paltry 36 runs, and only thanks to a healthy extras contribution Bere were able to set a reasonable but easily achievable total.
Bere had a dream start to their defence of 138, as The Wool Stopping Service-Martyn Poomy Price sent the Moordown no 2 packing in the third over after some nifty catching by the ebullient Pete Macklin. Price then followed up with a second wicket after the skipper swooped at cover for a rare catch. Bere were in the driving seat with Moordown at 26 for 2. The visitors valiantly fought back over the next 20 overs, and Bere could only peg them back by taking a further three wickets, courtesy of the captain who was keen to clean up the buffet batting that was available.
Pete Macklin bowled with guile and total accuracy and was the trump card in the Green’s pack. Moordown only needed 13 from the final three overs and 3 wickets still intact , but Macklin and The Egdon Express finished off Moordown with figures of 4-25. Their lower order crumbled falling six runs short, and gifting Bere with a much needed 18 points.
The competition for places at the top of Saturday division three has intensified in recent weeks. Two points separated Bere in second from Blandford 2nds who were facing relegation with a relatively healthy average of 10.27 in 9th. If Bere were to remain second, they had to show their teeth and dig in for the away trip to Colehill, one of Dorset cricket’s most scenic grounds yet also one of the smallest and difficult of pitches to adapt to a get a result.
A pre-match inspection of the wicket proved to be inconclusive as the squad were unsure which part of the barren square was to be used for the contest. One thing was sure and that high scores were expected. Skipper Pete Cheeseman had decided on batting first, mainly on the strength that the home side only had seven players, and frantic phone calls were being made. They cobbled together nine at the start as openers Russell ‘Monstaah’ Hewitt and Andy Kent made their way to the wicket.
The home side opening attack bowled with intelligence and aggression, and although Bere were moving along at 4 an over, their control on the game was tenuous to say the least. The short-pitched barrage with the new ball was met with naturally uneasy batting from Bere, as most of the visitors reached for their lids.
Wayward shots from in-form duo Dean Rogerson and Hristo Oram sent Bere on the retreat with a pair of ducks. Bere saved some face thanks to a middle order assault from Mark Bennett (24) and Nick ‘The Slick’ Cheeseburger who blasted 40 from 34 balls. Bere were then reduced to 140 for 8 with a mammoth 16 overs left in the bank. The tail-enders Radnedge and Cheeseman carried the score on to 167, before the Radish was yorked.
Most of Bere knew that a score in excess of 200 was the minimum requirement on a track of such ferocity, but they were more than capable of defending their total, but Bere would have to field with tenacity and delve into the season’s reserves. It was generally felt that if Bere could squeeze out a couple of early wickets, then they would have a fighting chance. But they suffered their first 10 wicket reverse for 3 years.
The Colehill openers knew exactly what to expect from the pitch and conditions, as the ball became older calmed helping the batters. Colehill batted with an air of confidence and rarely gave a sniff of a chance. The only bright spot for Bere was the continued impressive slow bowling of Pete Macklin.
Sunday team arrived at Iwerne after a circular tour of Durweston Bridge with Alan Green and his magical mystery minibus on tour to The Promised Land. They were duly rewarded by being invited to bat on lwerne's luxuriant facilities.
On a good wicket and vast outfield the home team raced to 50 in 12 overs before Martin Price ran out the opponents' Captain and star batsman. This resulted in the run rate being checked as the bowling and fielding, notably Paul Fripp alternating between extra cover and deep mid-wicket, keeping the boundary count down.
However, wickets were hard to come by and with 6 wickets in hand the home team were able to swing the bat to good effect during the final 10 overs, adding 68 more runs to finish on 226 for 8. The only consolation for the bowlers being the dismissal of 2 batsmen in the final over to earn Bere a total of 4 bowling points. However the extras column which totaled 33, was cause for concern for the skipper.
In reply The Cardigans (batting variety) got us off to a solid start, the first two wickets falling at 32 & 63. At 83 for 3 the arrival of the skipper produced a number of eventful moments. Rapturous applause greeted his first runs in 4 matches, from which giddy heights he proceeded to score 27 from 1 7 deliveries as he put on 44 in 7 overs with Reg Fripp, during which time, with successive boundaries Reg completed 5,000 runs for the club and reached his 50 and an appointment with the Palace. He went on to record his highest score of the season in gladiatorial fashion, playing through the pain barrier late in his innings.
Dave Scott and Paul Fripp in turn continued the run chase with Reg having faced just !three balls short of half the strike. They scored 16,27 and 86 respectively before the overs ran out with Bere agonisingly 19 runs short. Consolation took the form of 9 points from the match and a visit to see Pedro Bennett at The White Hart on the return ,journey, again via a circular tour of Durweston Bridge.
Bere travelled to the hill-toppers of Shaftesbury full of confidence after the previous week’s defeat of Bournemouth.
Skipper Green had the Cardigan Twins to call on and it was the veteran pairing who opened the bowling after the toss was lost. Davis took an early wicket but Bere could not make further inroads into the Shaftesbury strong batting line-up. The Calypso King finished wicket-less, but Davis returned to pick up 3 more wickets returning figures of 4 for 41.
Shaftesbury’s 30 over total of 107 for 2 looked threatening, and so it proved as the menacing Crocker set about clubbing the change bowlers. At 40 overs the score was 180 for 6, Bere thought the worst was over, but the Shaftesbury dangerman increased the tempo once more and Shaftesbury closed on the formidable total of 221 for 6.
After a hard first half of the game chasing leather on the high plateau, Bere set about the run chase themselves with a steely resolve. Doug Curtis departed early, but Herbie Swann and Reg Fripp built a solid platform. They had seen the score on to 61 before was well caught behind for 18. Fripp went on to make 61, ably assisted by Nick Cheeseburger (20) and the skipper Alan ‘Sgt. Wilson’ Green (18). Bere were in the hunt at the 30 over comparison stage at 112 for 3.
David ‘Bambi’ Scott struck some lustful blows out of his 33 not out and with Paul ’Studs’ Fripp (17), they manfully tried to maintain the 7 run per over requirement.
The home bowlers were bowling an artful line and length to thwart Bere’s effort reach the ominous 222 needed. Alas the Bere innings closed on 195 for 5, so near so far. A cracking game played in a true sporting atmosphere throughout.
Bere’s Saturday fortunes took a nosedive of Hindenburg proportions at home to rural Melplash. A change of tack from skipper-Pete Cheeseman saw Bere bat first. Melplash brought with them a bowling attack to be respected.
The first over began as a normal day at the office for legendary opener Russell ‘The Bear’ Hewitt. It was a firm drive that was edged for four that got the scoreboard moving. But after 10.3 overs, Bere’s innings had the look and feel of an England scorecard about it at 21 for 4. Messrs Hewitt, Cheeseman (P), Andy Kent and Mark Bennett all perished in the first quarter of the innings.
The Bear departed to a blinding catch low down at mid-on. Wicket-keeper batsman Kent succumbed to a low-pitched delivery to record his second duck of this term. Chris Oram joined Dean Rogerson, and both were tasked with turning things around for Bere.
Oram is presently in the form of his life with the bat, and is averaging around 20, which reflects well considering he has been batting at number 6, 7 or 8. The Large and Oram hauled their team back up the side of the chasm created by the top order crumble, with a stand of 29. But Bere were left clinging to the match by their fingernails when Rogerson paddled one back to the bowler after misjudging the bounce for 20.
The home side then slumped to a seasonal low, and were in grave danger of presenting Melplash with a small target and a vast amount of overs to the runs in. ‘Slick’ Nick Cheeseman failed to convert his previous Sunday best form for the Saturday side. He looked set for a reasonable score, but fell for 10 runs leaving Bere on 69 for 6.
Two more wickets tumbled and Bere were 73 for 8 when Rick Davis exited. Oram and Steve Cheeseman then had to gather their thoughts and steer Bere to respectability with 11 overs left. Cheeseman successfully negotiated a hat-trick ball from Melplash’s premier paceman. He then played himself in, allowing Oram to farm the bowling in the quest for batting points.
It was a late order recovery as they added 52 runs for the ninth wicket, which was eight short of their own record for the Saturday side. They chanced their arm in the final four overs in the knowledge that the rescue job was done, Oram smote a glorious six over extra cover into the groundsmen’s boudoir. He was bowled after occupying the crease for a mammoth 34 overs, and an agonising one run short of a most deserved half-century.
Peter Macklin was faced with having to hit five runs from the last five balls to secure third batting point. He clipped the last ball for four through mid-wicket and Bere has set 130 to win. It was another day when then Bere batting machine had failed to fire, giving cause for concern.
Early wickets were essential for Bere to come out on top in this encounter, they delivered after just twelve balls. Rick Davis provided the key to a well-executed Bere plan. After a change of ends which proved about as popular with the bowler as a haircut, he extracted and edge from Melplash’s number two batsman, and Bere were on their way or so they thought.
Melplash took the game by the scruff of the neck , and their second wicket harvested 65 runs and was the backbone for victory. Skipper Cheeseman used five bowlers in the hunt for a win, but they were off the pace and Melplash made easy work of their target. Only spinner Dean Rogerson provided any obstacle to the Melplash advance taking 3 for 32, but the visitors outplayed Bere, giving Bere a timely reminder that Division Three is one of the most competitive in Dorset cricket.
A second successive defeat was inflicted, and Bere continued their slide down the league table, but nevertheless ale flowed in the clubhouse.
Needing a win to stabilise their season, Bere’s Saturday side met Colehill 2nds at home. The visitors were the latest and final team in a long line of adversaries to renew their rivalries with Bere, as the halfway point of the season was reached.
Pre-match team news confirmed that Colehill could only field ten players, so the advantage pendulum swung Bere’s way at an early stage. The weather forecast was not good after grim tales from the Met Office. However the rains held back, giving for a humid and close afternoon. For Bere skipper-Pete Cheeseman, batting first was not an option, with a wicket damp from heavy overnight rain, and cloud cover to offer help to Bere’s old swingers.
The new ball pairing of Rick ‘Gunslinger’ Davis and Hristo Oram were tasked with removing the Colehill top order. Davis struck first, when The Slick Nick Cheeseman held on to a sharp chance at deep mid-on, after an astute piece of field placing adjustment from the captain. The shy, retiring bowler then broke down at the wicket, having sustained a calf injury, but in keeping with his own high standard, he continued to bowl through the pain barrier, hitting the wall but returning neat figures of 1 for 34 from his 12 overs. He left the game temporarily in a field ambulance, but in true spirit he returned to the fray after urgent attention from the club doctor.
Colehill’s numbers 3 and 4 then put Bere’s bowlers to the sword. Steve Cheeseman bowled a slightly wayward line, and paid the price with Colehill building bridges for a 200 plus score. A ten over onslaught from Colehill reaped 48 runs and Bere were looking for a way out of their current predicament. A third defeat in succession could not be contemplated if Bere were to continue their promotion push.
Bere’s most consistent bowler on the day and of late was Dean Rogerson, whose modified approach to his bowling has shown returns for his captain this campaign. He cleaned bowled the dangerous Colehill number three, claiming two more victims by means of catches from the ‘Cheeseman Connection’ (the Pete and Nick branch of the family), which left Colehill on 100 for 4.
It took a catch of supreme judgement, rolling back the years from lawman Herbie Swann to dispose of Colehill’s stubborn and correct opener, which presented Bere with their first foothold on a match that was ebbing Colehill’s way. Oram followed with a similar catch on Woodbury Ridge at mid-wicket, and he chipped in with three wickets capping a quality spell of bowling with more variety than a ‘Night at the Palladium’.
It was a good day for Bere’s stand-in wicket keeper Inzamam Ul-Sheep Merritt, who deputised for the absent Andy Kent. The aroma from his tank top appeared to drift across the square unsettling the incoming batsmen and attracting sheepdogs from near and far. He was to star after the tea interval as well as during, as the skipper had a batting order re-shuffle, and our resident curry champion found a place at the Ministry of ‘Opening batsman’.
Bere required 147 from 45 overs to win and realign themselves in the top three of the division. Both openers The Bear and Inzamam looked in peak physical condition as they strode to the crease. Bere needed 2 to 3 runs an over, and for the most part they remained in touch at 42 for 0 from the first 20 overs.
The tempo increased after a bowling change, but Bere’s first wicket fell at 70 when Inzamam was caught at cover point driving ‘on the up’. His Golden Fleece departed for 23 from a pedestrian 73 balls.
Heartthrob Graeme Price returned from the Bath wilderness to assume the all-crucial number three spot. He took some twenty balls to get off the mark, and then was cruising to a creditable score, when he holed out in a similar fashion to The Stove, this time a quality effort at point and The Bat Handle was on his way for 19 with Bere still sitting pretty on 109 for 2.
Bere only managed eight runs from the next five overs as the Colehill rearguard closed in and they sensed victory. The Bear completed an 89 ball half-century greeted with relief as well as welcome applause resonating from the galleries around the BRACA. He was bowled for a magnificent 55 after deciding on a policy of boundary hunting, a job well done.
The skipper padded up for number 7, and played a superb cameo innings of 14 that clinched the game for Bere. He added 21 with Hristo Oram from a pivotal 4 overs leaving two needed from the final over. Cheeseman (P) was bowled off the first ball of the over, which left Steve Cheeseman and Oram to contest the final five balls. Cheeseman (S) collected a single to gully, the Oram fended off three more unyielding deliveries, and Bere needed one run off one ball.
An exchange of hand signals between the two batsmen meant only one thing-a mad scramble would ensue. Oram was unable to work the ball away, and it fell three feet in front rebounding off his pads presenting the tail enders with the perfect opportunity to scamper the match winning leg bye. The result restored Bere’s third place status and good spirits and beer was enjoyed by all as the shadows lengthened. Inzamam’s jumper was last spotted contesting the Dorset Final of ‘One Man & his Dog’.
Like their Saturday counterparts, Bere’s Sunday heroes could ill afford any slip-ups, especially against old-time rivals and farmers from Ibberton who had failed to record a win this season. Skipper Alan “The Egdon Express, Venkatesh, Vasbert, Eldine and Jimmy” Green knew that it was important to bat first and put a healthy score on the board.
It was another ‘muggy’ day, but Mr Peeks had prepared wicket that batsmen could gorge themselves on, although in Bere’s case any ‘gorging’ to be done is usually at the tea table. Bere were able to blood two youngsters from The Gordon Tucker Cricket Academy in a match ideal for their introduction.
The opposing skipper put Bere in, so Green decided on sending in the in-form duo of Reg Fripp and Doug Curtis to build a solid base for Bere. They kept the scorebook ticking during the early overs, but calamity struck in the eighth over. Fripp was presented with another leg-side delivery, and attempted to clip the ball away through deep square leg, but only edged the ball onto his pads and to the majority’s amazement was given out lbw after a muted appeal.
Naturally Bere were severely rocked onto the back-foot, and the skipper went in at three to try and redress the balance. He fumbled for 5 overs with two singles to his name before he was dismissed by a wonderful catch on Woodbury Ridge at deep cover.
Bere’s first genetically modified cricketer The Slickster was given the opportunity to enhance his batting prowess once more at number four in the line-up. He contributed a crisp 16 to the total being bowled by a pearler that nipped back some way. Young debutant Nick White was given the chance at number 6, to show the crowd a glimpse or two of his undoubted strokeplay. He unfortunately succumbed to the final ball from Ibberton’s opening bowler, which lacked bounce cruelly bowled the youngster.
All eye’s turned to the resurgent Paul Fripp, back after surgery and in form with the bat. Bere were in deep trouble and needed an innings from the young all-rounder. He duly delivered despite offering a catch or two, thankfully not taken by the visitors. He took 12 runs from one over with a flurry of much needed boundaries, and was briefly assisted in a support role by Poomy Price, the was joined by Steve Cheeseman and the run chase began in earnest.
Fripp (P) and Cheeseman added 33 for the seventh wicket as Bere pulled themselves toward giving ‘something to bowl at’. Ibberton’s bowlers were finding some life in the pitch, and Bere’s late order had to graft for their runs. Paul Fripp went leg before after wandering across his stumps whilst searching for the gaps in the on-side, the Cheeseman took over with a powerful 39 not out, able assisted by Brian ’Benji’ Benjafield eventually posting a total of 142 for the loss of 8 wickets denying Ibberton a bowling point in the process.
The skies around the BRACA darkened, but any threat from rain receded giving Bere almost ideal swing bowling conditions. Seasoned campaigner Reg Fripp opened the attack and it was easy to see that he was bowling with an added venom, which Bere duly benefited from as he captured two quick wickets, suddenly Bere were in the ascendancy with Ibberton reeling on 20 for 4 with Poomy Price also snaring two wickets early doors.
Ibberton’s number 4 bat and captain has a reputation with the bat not to be ignored, with big scores under his belt this term. A 24 over fifth wicket stand of 76 proved to Ibberton’s base for victory and Bere’s nemesis.
Three golden chances to dismiss the opposing skipper were spurned by Bere, and it was Ibberton that had the upper hand in the last critical phase. The bowling accountant-Poomy Price returned, and sparked a mini Bere revival, and a tense finale seemed on the cards for the second time in a weekend. An innings of dogged determination from the Ibberton captain sealed the victory by two wickets, and gave the farmers their first win in nine starts to the season. Bere were left to reflect on what might have been. Tough challenges lie ahead, and Bere will know their Sunday destiny by the end of July.
Ten long years have elapsed since Bere’s historic victory on home soil against a traditionally strong Redlands outfit. That day Bere grabbed the most unlikely of triumphs by a meagre 4 runs, preventing the Weymouth side from being promoted to division one of the old league. One or two members of Bere’s veteran ranks were settled comfortably in the rows of deckchairs littering the boundary, whilst reminiscing about that very day, after being put in by Redlands on their home pitch.
Present day Redlands are a pale shadow of their forebears. The hostile bowling and aggressive batting have gone, and Bere skipper Pete Cheeseman sensed a probable win was on the cards.
The Bere convoy arrived early, skilfully avoiding the holiday traffic and inspected the wicket. The track at Redlands is renowned for being a bowlers’ nightmare, and in years gone by, Bere’s trips to the out of town Weymouth complex, have always ended in ignominious defeat.
Bere were missing the wholly influential Russell ‘Bear’ Hewitt, so passing a American tourist by the name of Inzamam Ul Merritt was drafted in for his opening prowess.
An early start was assured, as Bere’s premier tow strutted to the wicket at 14.50 local time. They found the early exchanges tough going on a damp strip devoid of true bounce. Inzamam failed to cash in, and fell guiding a decent length delivery comfortably into slip’s hands.
Solid performer, Andy Kent has carved out a niche for himself with the number three spot this term, no-one would have said that he deserved to be dismissed in such an unfortunate fashion with the ball taking a ricochet off his foot onto the stumps for an unwelcome duck.
As the Redlands bowling web closed in, Bere wickets tumbled like confetti. Dean Rogerson holed out neatly to gully after chasing a short one, and the skipper after surviving the crashing of wickets, was trapped lbw whilst sweeping after an innings of patience and deft adapting to the conditions. Alan Green became stuck in the nervous 19’s for the second week running being dismissed by a blinding catch at second slip, suddenly Bere were 96 for 8.
Chris Oram and pistol packing Rick Davis brought parity to Bere’s total. The former turned in a characteristic late order performance at number 7, flaying the home bowling to all parts compiling a top scoring 39, before being stumped in the hunt for big runs. The innings had put Bere in the driving seat, as it was generally felt that a score above three figures would pose a few problems.
The Redlands opening batsmen stated their intentions in the first two overs, as they were playing their shots, but this gave Bere’s bowlers heart, as a sharp chance was offered at such an early stage. Gunslinger Rick Davis struck, with a catch it or wear it grab off his own bowling, leaving the score at 2 for 1 at tea.
Bere gorged on a quality tea from the home side, and this did not hamper the post-tea bowling and fielding, with first change bowler Steve Cheeseman fortuitously claiming the second wicket in his third over. He was to bowl right through his 12 over allocation, claiming 4 for 27, all wicket being bowled, and a post match jug loomed ominously when the Redlands number 9 bat skied a drive to mid-off, and Rick Davis spilled what would have been a ‘fivefor’.
All rounder Hristo Oram returned late on to clean up, after a brief experiment with spin taking 3 for a measly 14, and walking off with the Purbeck Fossils Man of the Match Award.
After the previous weeks washout the Sunday team headed northwest in pursuit of points. Initially it was business as usual, as the Cardigan Twins bowled their customary tight line and length. The only portent of things to come was the opener airing the ball on a number of occasions, unfortunately into the vast expanse of the outfield.
A breakthrough seemed to have arrived when, with the score on 21, The Pasty Man, making a welcome return, took a smart catch at short mid off. This, however, proved to be the exception as during the rest of the innings a procession of dropped catches littered the outfield like confetti. The batsmen proceeded to take full advantage and the mickey, sadly, on a number of occasions.
It soon became apparent that the rarefied atmosphere of PCR premier league cricket mixed with the odour of ‘so called bumpkin’, had produced a cocktail of arrogance and disdain, whose atmosphere enveloped the remainder of the day, Sherborne finished their innings on 162-4.
At tea there seemed to be an air of inevitability about the outcome. This was soon confirmed with the fall of early wickets and the sight of a ‘fairly rapid’ opening bowler who conceded just 6 runs from 7 overs.
Sadly the customs of the higher echelons of the game, again seem to have filtered down, as incoming batsmen were greeted with silence, whereupon having arrived, the vocals began in earnest. With only three batsmen getting into double figures Bere could only manage 83 in reply, with the main highlight of the innings being the sight of a ‘mobile’ young batsman getting halfway to the wicket before realising he had left his bat in the pavilion.
Unfortunately for him, his team did not greet him in silence and will almost certainly talk him through the experience during many more innings.
Bere renewed their acquaintance with an old enemy, Wool. Their near neighbours have been absent from Division Three for one season, but retained their rightful place after topping the pile in Division Four in 1999.
Stand in skipper, Russell ‘The Bear’ Hewitt was primed and ready for a local derby royale at the B.R.A.C.A. Pre-match breaking news confirmed that the visitors only had 9 in their side, but they still possessed enough firepower in their ranks to upset Bere.
Bere’s captain achieved the impossible by winning the toss, and choosing to field. A strong Southerly breeze blew in from the Egdon End, and with the Egdon Express undergoing an undercarriage refit and talisman Rick Davis away, Bere opened the bowling with Steve Cheeseman and Hristo Oram.
Wool stated their intentions from the start, harvesting three an over and removing Oram from the attack. Cheeseman managed to dispose of Wool’s dangerous opener, courtesy of a sharp stumping from ‘keeper Andy Kent.
Veteran seamer, Mark Bennett returning from shamrock duty, was given the ball to the limit the Wool advance. He extracted for ‘shooter’ seen for many games on Bere’s square to capture the second wicket.
Wool batsmen then proceeded to self-destruct, as Bere continued their fine bowling and fielding form of late. Spin icon Dean Rogerson cleaned up the middle order, one by way of a typically well-judged catch by Inzamam Ul Merritt on the Tandoori boundary, following a skied on-drive.
Wool’s innings closed on 102 for 8 after a rare but sensible declaration leaving Bere a target of 103 from 58 overs. Tea was taken exceptionally early, and one way or another, and early night on the ale seemed certain.
Bere openers Bear and Inzamam were highly aware that Wool possessed a strike bowling pairing to be feared throughout the league. This was reflected in the early overs, as consolidation was the order of the day.
Inzamam fell whilst on 6, by virtue of an lbw decision when there appeared to be an awful lot of wood involved. Andy Kent helped steady the ship with 20 comprised from boundaries with The Bear looking solid at the other end. After Kent was bowled, up stepped Dean Rogerson who almost outscored the Bear as they steered Bere home, for an overdue win over their nearest rivals.
The local press confirmed that Bere were sat in second in their division with six games played. The chasing pack however were not too far away, with third placed Hamworthy Recreation 2nds next week.
Bere entertained genial farmers Motcombe, on a sunny yet fresh Sunday at The B.R.A.C.A. The visitors are an uncanny side, showing signs of inconsistency through their first third of the season so far.
Mr Peeks et al had prepared a very flat wicket strewn with fescue of all manner. Runs were there to be had, and skipper Alan ‘The Egdon Express’ Green was acutely aware of the team’s batsmen’s need to reassert themselves after the previous week’s reverse at Sherborne.
If consistency was not a Motcombe byword, then it surely must apply to Bere’s leading opening all-rounder-Reg Fripp. He has performed at the highest level with the bat for Bere, on the back of a near 500 run season in 1999. His bowling has been exemplary, guaranteeing the captain 12 overs of unerring line and length, chipping in with important wickets.
Bere bated first, and the skipper turned to Fripp and Doug Curtis. These two legends have been etched in Bere’s scorebooks more times than memory can recall. It was to be Fripp’s finest hour of the season to date.
Motcombe claimed a moral victory by winning the toss, and it was veteran stopper, groundsman and opener Curtis that was out in the sixth over with the score at 22 for 1. Then Bere’s innings progressed at a uniform rate of three an over. Alan Green was out for 19 for the third time this term. David Scott joined Fripp at the crease, and they added 26 for the fifth wicket, when Scott fell in typical fashion after playing another extravagant drive.
Bere’s lower had a distinctly youthful look to it, apart from Rick Davis who is enjoying a late career renaissance with the ball, but is yet to register with his mighty excalibur of a bat. He could only muster 6 this time out, amongst Bere’s youngsters who between them scampered a meagre 64 runs for the last seven wickets to fall.
In spite of wickets falling alarmingly, Bere managed to use their 45 overs, with Reg Fripp carrying his bat until the 34th over and scoring 48, mostly compiled from 10 boundaries. Dorset youth player-Pete Macklin recorded yet another not out, after the demise of Martyn Price off the last ball. Martyn was returning after a lengthy lay-off from a debilitating knee injury, and the club are most happy to welcome him back to the fold.
Bere had set a target of 148 to win, a total within easy reach of the visiting farmers. Bere warmed to the task of bowling Motcombe out with relative ease. The opening attack of Fripp ® and Davis was a pairing to reckon with. Davis struck in his third over, inducing Mot’s number two bat to chop the ball onto his stumps. Bere were on their way.
Fripp claimed his first victim of three with a fair length ball, which bowled the Mot’ number three. His match figures read 3 for 12 including a double wicket maiden. He walked off with The Old Spice Man of the Match Award later.
Unprecedented scenes ensued, after a lbw appeal off the bowling of Davis that could be heard the length and breadth of the Piddle Valley. To the bowler and Bere’s disbelief the shout was declined, and Davis having completed his over dealt a blow to the teaching community’s integrity with a show of petulance unseen. At the team fines’ meeting later, he was cited for drink, hat and outfield abuse.
Bere’s second string bowlers harvested three wickets between them, and Motcombe were reeling at 88 for 8. A stubborn innings at the head of the Motcombe advance was to be totally in vain, and this was ended by Pete Macklin and effectively the visitors hopes were dashed.
The Egdon Express sensing that the opponents’ lower order was there for the taking. he brought himself onto bowl, and bagged three buffet wickets from seven balls. After the game he was seen disappearing down a side alley in search of a brown envelope. The contest had frittered out with Motcombe finishing 57 runs adrift.
Bere had a change of venue for the trip to Hamworthy Recreation 2nds. This season, Bere eternal rivals have re-located to the Hamworthy Club at Canford Magna. Facilities there are state of the art, with luxuriously capacious changing rooms with bar and balcony to match. Bere Sports Club exile-Phil Donaldson introduced himself to the class of Bere 2000, a long while since he wielded the willow for Bere in the eighties.
It was the first scorching weekend of the year, and most players had one eye on Euro 2000, so a prompt start was essential. As events unfolded it was to be the groundsman’s day.
Captain Pete Cheeseman won the toss and fielded. Prior to the start, the Bere changing room was awash with sun tan lotion, as the sun was sure to take its toll for the first couple of hours. The square and wicket closely resembled Bere’s own, being strewn with the phantom grass that still prevails and perplexes Bere’s own dedicated groundstaff.
However a lot of runs were expected over the next 90 overs with a seemingly quick outfield. There was a brisk south-easterly breeze whipping in from the car park that assisted Bere’s beardsome opening bowler-Rick Davis. Bere’s other opener Steve Cheeseman faced an uphill task, but that end offered more variable bounce, which became increasingly variant as the day wore on.
Bere’s bowlers experienced a bad day at the office being hit to all parts. Hamworthy’s affable captain and opening batsman has permanently been a thorn in Bere’s side, and Bere were keen to dismiss him early doors.
Bere’s captain resorted to spin in the shape of Dean Bogerson, he extracted a false shot from Bere’s nemesis with Slick Nick Cheeseman snapping up a catch at square leg. The tight start from Bere’s bowlers enabled the captain to employ a mind game or two, with Club Chairman Swanners donning the lid and posing a threat at silly mid-off, with the gamble nearly paying dividends.
Suddenly Bere had the upper hand with the home side on 89 for 4. Nothing could have prepared them for the onslaught they were about to receive from the Hamworthy number four bat and groundsman. he proved to be the differing factor between the two sides, as Bere’s bowlers took a pounding in the unrelenting sun.
Leather was chased for the best part of three hours, Slick Nick spent so much time in the car park, he was given a ticket. Swanners was seen rooting around in the nettles for a lost ball, or an excuse to have a break from the sun.
The late tumble of three wickets, largely thanks to the continued accuracy of Mark Bennett, with his ½ extra yard of pace discovered in the off season. Bere now faced a seemingly insurmountable task, they were set 191 to win, on a deteriorating pitch.
In reply Bere lost their captain, after he was tempted into driving a full length delivery, but missed and his off-stump was knocked back. Once again Russell Hewitt and Andy Kent restored some order to the total, but Bere’s over-by-over ‘Manhattan’ resembled the Norfolk Broads, as runs were hard to come by..
Kent fell after holing out to mid-on, and the innings reached a critical phase. Six an over was the required rate, and Bere let that figure rise at an alarming rate. They could not get on top of the home side’s bowling mainly due its tidiness. However they were subjected to a short pitched barrage, prompting Dean Rogerson to call for a helmet, and the Hamworthy keeper to shout ‘let’s knock their helmets off’, a comment of a most unsavoury nature.
Top scorer Hewitt was bowled for 41, and Bere’s hopes faded in the dust. Rogerson and Hristo Oram steered Bere towards batting points, as their target was out of reach, and a damage limitation exercise was in place. Bere’s attempt ran 45 runs short, a second defeat this time at the hands of the nearest divisional rivals.
Bere had a point to prove when Bournemouth 3rds visited the BRACA. Their opponents were above them in the division after Bere had lost ground in the upper reaches of division six. Bournemouth brought with them a side crammed with experience and talented youth from right across the social divide.
Sunday skipper, Vasbert Green was heartily aware that Bournemouth were scoring freely, and the pitch was to help any side batting as Mr Peeks turned out a flat strip on the ‘number 9’ track, coupled with a lightning outfield.
Bournemouth decided to bat, and got off to a sluggish start in the opening twenty overs, courtesy of a business as usual miserly 12 overs from one half of the Cardigan Twins-Reg Fripp. With the other half missing, the skipper gave the new ball to the deputising Hristo Oram who assumed the mantle with aplomb.
Bere were unable to make an early impact on the Bournemouth top order, as they took advantage of a sumptuous buffet offered up by Bere’s bowlers. Skipper Vasbert even resorted to bowling ‘dolly drops’ in an attempt to purchase a wicket. He went for a damaging 15 from his first over, as Bournemouth were allowed to build a solid 73 for the first wicket.
There Bere fears that they would be chasing a 250 plus target. Part time right arm seamer Phil ‘Sandwich Pack’ Dolan was thrust into the attack, and made an immediate impression with a wicket maiden. He trapped Bournemouth’s captain leg before, with Rick ‘Gunslinger’ Davis providing the finger-work. Dolan proceeded to bowl a tidy line, and ended with figures of 1 for 22 off his 5 overs.
Returning all-rounder Martyn ‘Poomie’ Price did not fare quite so well, and was hit out of the attack, conceding 28 runs from 3 overs. It was Bere’s captain that broke through for a second time with the score on an ominous 140 for 1, he managed to remove Bournemouth’s fluent number 2, who hit a half century with consummate ease and confidence for a 12 year-old. He is surely destined for the higher echelons of cricket.
The sight of The Slickster-Nick Cheeseman steaming in to bowl is almost as rare as his tea-plate being discovered empty. His one over was littered with extras and boundaries, but he somehow managed to conjure a catch, which was snapped up by wily veteran Doug Curtis, who ghosted in from the long-on boundary to seal a second bowling point for Bere. Bournemouth registered 187 for 6, which was generally felt to be more than an adequate score on a good Bere pitch.
The turnstiles were spinning with Bere’s biggest crowd of the season, which was swelled by a number of pensioners from Southampton who were marooned after their coach broke down. Stalwart openers Reg Fripp and Doug Curtis soon gave the ladies something to smile about, as they provided some calypso cricket under the descending sun. A first wicket stand off 67 balls gave Bere a perfect launch pad for victory, but Fripp was bowled for a quickfire 26.
Inzamam UL Merritt batted at number four and lasted for 5 minutes before chopping a low one onto his stumps. He failed to cash in, and may well have been his day with the bat.
At 57 for 3, The Slickster joined Doug Curtis for the fourth wicket. The pressure was on, and The Slickster had an opportunity to continue on his learning curve with the bat. There can be no doubt that Nick can take any attack apart on his day, but over-eagerness has been his downfall. Under the supreme guidance of Curtis, the Slick set about plundering the Bournemouth bowling.
Batting with maturity, the Slick assumed the dominant role in the stand, with Curtis dropping anchor at the other end. Bournemouth’s young bowlers took a fearful pounding as the Slick batted himself into top form. Two massive mid-wicket sixes helped him into the forties. With one more flick of that Sandbanks Ferry Chain bracelet around his wrist, Slick clipped a glorious pull to deep square-leg, and after a grateful misfield, the Slickster had his half century which was hailed in Caribbean style all round the boundary.
Doug Curtis joined in the party with an on-driven six clearing the ropes by some distance. Together they compiled a massive 123 for the fourth wicket, a club record.
Weariness crept into the game, and Slick was bowled for 85 which was a personal high score from 71 balls, 93 minutes including 5 boundaries and 4 sixes. But David Scott concluded affairs with 26 balls to spare. Curtis remained at the wicket on 40 not out, carrying his bat and leaving the pitch in a decidedly ‘goosed’ condition but to rapturous applause non0etheless.
Yet again the weather threatened to interrupt the 2000 season. This time at home to Iwerne Minster. A miserable couple of days preceded the match. The clouds, however subsided and Bere were in for a game, or so they thought.
After 1-2 overs, the heavens opened bringing forth rain aplenty, and eventually hail leaving the square wit a delicate white tinge.
No nonsense Bere umpire Rick Davis consulted his Minster counterpart and it was agreed to hold off play until tea, pending the arrival of a helicopter to dry the outfield. But Bere had to settle for the groundstaff and a couple of bath sponges for water dispersion.
The end of tea brought a further thunder storm of biblical proportions, ending the already slim hopes of playing.
First it was April, and then May bowed out with the kind of weather that has become a trademark of recent seasons. Summer was suddenly assumed shy tendencies, treating everyone to a glimpse here and there. Heavy overnight rain placed a gigantic question mark over the Saturday side’s trip to Blandford. With temperatures in the low sixties, players read-three jumpers and a tub of deep-heat.
Bere batted first on an uneven pitch conducive to low scoring, however nothing could prepare Bere for the collapse of two wickets in the first seven balls. Openers Russell Hewitt and Pete Cheeseman were back in the shed without the scorers having to reach for their pencil sharpeners.
Now stability was the key from that moment on, and Bere limped to 28 for 4. with the wicket having more than its say..
Eleventh hour replacement Alan Green appeared 15 minutes late only to discover that more than half of Bere’s line-up were ‘padded up’. Green is experiencing an Indian Summer in his career at present, and Bere were more than grateful for his contribution with the bat.
He joined lawman Herbie Swann with the score at 28, and they brought about achieving respectability for Bere’s total. They compiled a patient 38 for the fifth wicket in the face of some quality bowling.
Both were bowled, and this initiated a Bere slump with the final six wickets tumbling for a paltry 20 runs, and more ducks than an Easter parade.
A youthful Blandford side would have to apply themselves well on the volatile pitch. Their team hold a lot of promise for the future, but coming off the back of a debilitating defeat the previous week, a target of 89 was to prove later, a mountain to climb.
Rick Davis was given the match-ball to start the Blandford innings, and he paid back yet another slice of last year’s transfer fee to farmers Ibberton, by returning a miserly spell in the gloom reading 12 overs, 8 maidens, 1 wicket for 6 runs. Praise indeed was heaped on his efforts by Bere’s ebullient skipper.
Hristo Oram, Bere’s strike bowler wreaked havoc in the home side’s ranks, claiming 4 for 22 and reducing Blandford to 19 for 5.
A recovery ensued, and the home side were almost home and dry, with plenty of overs to spare. They did not bargain for ‘The Egdon Express’-Vasbert Green who was called into the fray in a final attempt to win the contest. It was his late spell that captured the final five wickets to fall.
Bere certainly held their catches, with some quality efforts, mostly typified by the never-say-die, Dunkirk Spirit of Swann, who was asked to field in the trenches at short-leg, which harvested two catches.
Bere claimed a minimum points win, and face newly promoted Redlands and Wool over the next fortnight.
An early morning call from the Moordown administration was expected to be news of a cancelled match for Bere’s Sunday side and their second away trip of the campaign. The call was to say that the game was to be played out on an artificial mat wicket on the advice of the groundsman
Hardline skipper, Alan Green was keen to keep the momentum going, following the previous week’s annulment at home to Suttoners who were unable to field a side.
The Sunday team were pleased to get the show back on the road as they visited a windswept but dry Civil Service Ground at Kinson, Bournemouth, the home of Moordown 2nds.
After being asked to bat, Reg Fripp and Doug Curtis gave the innings a solid foundation, the first wicket not falling until the 23rd over. Lord Charles with a brisk 37 increased the tempo before being run out in somewhat bizarre fashion.
100 for 3 after 35 overs was the launchpad from which the skipper, at last able to hit the ball off the square and Nick Cheeseman took full advantage. A 42 run partnership in 6 overs, the highlight being Nick's pull shot for 6 through mid-wicket which was only stopped by a distant garden fence, saw Bere to a total of 163 for 5.
In reply Moordown were never able to get in contention as the Fripp connection bowled a tight line and length. Paul not conceding a run until his 6th over and Reg finishing with figures of 2 for 8 from his 12 over ration.
This enabled the skipper to give valuable experience to debut boy Colin Campbell and youngster Phil Dolan as Bere restricted Moordown to 111 for 7, winning by a comfortable 52 runs.
The Saturday squad had been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast ahead of the trip to old adversaries Broadstone 2nds. The team were hoping that the Met Office did not deliver and get it wrong yet again.
Rain was forecast for late afternoon, and Bere faced a tough away encounter against a side eager to prove a point after being narrowly relegated last term. Bere have had many bygone battles at ‘The Delph’ down the years since the revolution. This meeting was to be no exception.
The crucial toss was lost, and Bere were forced to field. The opening attack of Chris Oram and Steve Cheeseman failed to make an early impression on the home batting. The run rate however was stemmed to under three an over.
With wickets in hand, Broadstone were firmly in the driving seat, mainly as Bere’s gunslinging Talisman Rick Davis was misfiring with the ball making for a long afternoon in the field, with the skies as grey as a suit from C&A.
After 33 overs, the scoreboard read 102 for 3, and the onslaught was about to start. Bere’s hunt for wickets and ultimately points took on a distinctly grim look. With Davis pummelled out of the fray, skipper Cheeseman (P) turned to debutant Steve Radnedge for inspiration. After a nervy first over, the much travelled tweakster grabbed two wickets courtesy of two neat stumpings from Kent, and returned promising figures of 2-33, ensuring Bere remained in the hunt.
Oram returned at the death, when the willow was flying capturing two victims amidst aerial shots and streaky edges steering Broadstone to 189 for 7, which was more than a target that would ask questions of Bere’s batting line-up.
In the post-tea increasing gloom, Bere required a magical figure of 110 off 25 overs to bag a faster run-rate victory should the rains have intervened. With no rain for the first half of the innings, Bere raced to 50 for 1 off 10 overs, with ‘The Bear’ falling at 14 to the home side’s captain and most effective bowler.
Dean ‘Inzamam’ Merritt was back in the side to bolster the middle order (in more than one way). He proved his worth top scoring on 30 runs and 15 sandwiches. In tandem with Kent (21), then Dean Rogerson (16), he set about the chase. His innings ended after a close run out decision.
Graeme Price was given out leg before, sweeping to leg and two strides down the track.
An air of embarrassment ensued, and Bere’s reply faltered a creditable 10 runs short of victory.
After a two week break from the recent monsoons, Bere’s dedicated groundstaff and Mr Peeks were able to prepare a pudding of delight for the visit of Gillingham. With the grass on the Rec. growing faster than a queue for Pokemon cards, this left the outfield a little on the slow side giving for a low-scoring affair.
Bere were forced into three changes to the Shroton side, but were confident of making a winning start to the campaign. Bere captain Peter Cheeseman was aware that a drying wicket may suit the second innings, but lost the toss and was requested to bat. An early calamity struck Bere as the captain was run out as a result of a direct throw from the deep mid-wicket boundary. A studious Andy Kent strode to the middle and together with Russell Hewitt, compiled a second wicket stand of 52.
Hewitt affectionately nicknamed ‘The Bear’ amongst others is nudging his way towards 6000 career runs in Bere colours, and he added a further 31 before succumbing for the second wicket to fall. Kent soon followed after spooning a four-ball to cover whilst on 16.
There was a need to up the ante, and Alan Green and Mark Bennett took up the baton adding 41 for the fourth wicket and a total of 150 seemed realistic.
Gillingham’s bowling and fielding was top class, and moved in for the kill restricting Bere to 130 from their 45 overs giving themselves a more than a fair chance of victory.
The early oppressive humidity subsided, with Bere having more players’ comfort after tea, but it was a late start and bad light was likely to be a factor. The spotlight fell on opening bowler Rick Davis as he steamed in with Woodbury Hill as a backdrop, and the moon appearing in the distance gave an almost eerie feel to the game.
Davis bagged his first victim in the third over, after Pete Macklin claimed an extremely well-judged catch at mid-off. A period of stability followed for Gillingham, as their numbers two & three bats built a solid platform for a probable win.
Bere’s fielders spilled three catches, once with ‘keeper Andy Kent inspiring the judges with an acrobatic full length dive, unfortunately inflicting more flannel damage than making inroads into the Gills’ batting. A lesson in catching was handed out by flying stalwart Mark Bennett, snapping up a sharp chance to his right, this precipitated Gillingham’s demise.
Spin king Dean Rogerson chipped in with three wickets, and a miserly 12 over spell tying down the Gills’ middle order. Centre stage however was reserved for Bennett, whose unerring line and leg stump yorker length proved the undoing of the visitors.
The shadows lengthened, as Bere were in for yet another thriller, as Gillingham’s lower order upped the tempo, batting astutely, but Bennett struck with final match figures of 4 for 27. Fifteen runs were needed from the final over, but only four runs were mustered. A winning start was secured, but three tricky away matches lie ahead.
Bere’s first competitive outing of the season was away to old firm rivals Shroton. A late call was received just as the Bere convoy was about to depart, and the end result was that the game could not be played after localised flooding in the Blackmore Vale. So attention turned to the Sunday XI’s opener away to Poole & Poole OG 3rds on the revamped Whitecliff Rec.
The Sunday team got the clubs millennium cricket season off to a nail biting start at Whitecliff against Poole OG's. With umpire Swann, and his new hard-line zero tolerance ‘Judge Dredd’ style discipline, Bere were looking to assert themselves in the division.
The home team soon regretted their decision to bat as Rick Davis & Reg Fripp bowled a mean line & length. Fripp was his miserly self, taking 2-11 from his 12 over spell typifying his reluctance to allow batsmen to get off to a positive start. When the ball was not beating the bat, it found the edge and the safe hands of a diving Pete Macklin, with the resultant web site enquiry from a Mr Ferguson requesting tickets for the next match. He later trapped OG’s most dangerous batsman stumped by team womaniser, The Black Book for 44, just as he began to look menacing.
After 24 overs OG's were 28-4. However, the young ones were unable to follow the standards set by the Cardigan Twins. Varying degrees of line and length, albeit not helped by the skipper having a Des O’Connor day at long off fluffing two attempts at catches unlikely to go down in a coaching manual. This enabled OG's to recover. Nick Cheeseman also auditioning for a No.1 shirt claimed a jug inducing 3 catches as wickets fell in the chase for runs at the end of the innings, which ended on 125-8. Tea was a welcome relief in the humid conditions.
Bere's batting millennium, however began in stark contrast to its bowling. Nine deliveries in and the 'DCC' No Waiting sign was in operation. A long slow walk back to Egdon. Lord Charles arrived and with Reg proceeded to pepper the leg side boundary, before mistiming a pull to square leg for 16 after 2 towering sixes.
The skipper then proceeded to show his all rounder status by scoring fewer runs than he had dropped catches! This precipitated a middle order collapse, punctuated only by some imperious cover drives from Dave Scott, who then sadly tried to follow instructions to play sensibly and was bowled exhibiting a forward defensive push.
Apart from Reg Fripp, who continued in the fine form of last season, the collapse continued apace, with batsmen being tempted to hit out at cleverly flighted deliveries and catches being taken at every opportunity, Bere’s nadir was losing 8 wickets for 53 runs with a litany of poor strokes. At 94-9 in the 32nd over the only objective seemed to be to establish the whereabouts of the after match refreshment.
However, during those remaining overs Paul Fripp and Pete Macklin proceeded to confer hero status upon themselves with a display of sensible batting, running and nerves of steel. They nudged the score ever closer to the target, until 6 runs were required from the last 2 overs. At this stage cardigans had become frayed and rollups were being chewed at a prodigious rate as the tension mounted.
Paul hit the first ball of the penultimate over into the covers for 2, played a straight bat to the second and as the bowler gambled by tossing the next delivery high in the air, took 2 steps down the wicket and smashed the ball, through mid-wicket for the match winning boundary. They plundered 32 from 68 balls bringing Bere a welcome haul of 17 points. The only thing missing from the celebratory victory charge of happy players was David Pleat’s beige suit, although there are reports of a sighting in Egdon. A game to remember.