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Bere needed a Russell Hewitt in top form, considering the way they batted against Yetminster in the early stages of the encounter on 15 May at the BRACA. It was his 64 that proved the mainstay of their 190 off the 45 over allocation. With batsmen in the middle ranks throwing away their wickets as though they has no use for them, Bere needed a combination of stability and big hitting to get them out of trouble.

After slumping to 96 for 6, then 120 for 7, Steve Cheeseman and Iain Macklin added 49 for the ninth wicket from 7 overs helping Bere to a profitable 190 denying the Yetees their full bowling points.

With the tea rations being unusually high due to the absence of Inzamam Ul Merritt, Bere’s bowlers could tuck in to a little more fare than they had hoped for. This proved a factor as Bere’s seamers toiled in the harvest of wickets needed to end affairs. A vote of thanks was recorded to Yetminster who made no notable effort to reach their target, but were content on damage limitation in the face of Bere’s unerring tidy bowling, with Rick Davis starting to repay his transfer fee from farmers Ibberton.

He proceeded to reimburse a further huge slice of this fee away to Poole OG’s & Poole 2nds on Poole Park and its vast square and outfield. Bere expected their toughest match of the season thus far, and it appeared as though any doubts were soon dispelled when the home team self-destructed whilst batting first. With Bere’s bowling and fielding being on a high, unparalleled in recent years, they squeezed out 7 wickets keeping the home side to fewer than 100. Dean Rogerson with his buffet spin, took 4-31, being unlucky not to trap Poole’s top scorer early on. Bere’s captain was most happy with the standard of bowling and fielding, especially the catching as Bere restricted Poole to 118 all out with 2 extra overs in the bank.

With the local water supply being condemned, one by one, Bere’s fielders admitted they had sampled the local brand of Spanish Fly for on field refreshment, only to discover the water could contain one or more bacteria. This was heartening news, as Bere waited for the worse. It seemed to induce a type of batting disease unknown, as Bere’s top order crumbled around the 46 mark, leaving their total on a hapless 46 for 7 in the face of some very accurate bowling.

It was Rick Davis who now took centre stage by setting about the home attack. He showed no side effects after drinking some 2 litres of the local H20, hitting an awesome 44 of 16 deliveries. With overs not being in the equation, all that was needed was a single scampered by a tail ender and Rick was in the mood to finish the game in one over. This was not to be after falling 16 runs short, and Bere’s first defeat of the season.

The second of two potentially difficult matches away from home soil matched Bere against Hamworthy Recreation 2nds at Broadstone Rec. Bere have never beaten them on the pitch renowned for its variable bounce and undulating outfield. Having changed their name from Wessex Wanderers they still proved to be a jinx for Bere, and it was Bere who were looking for revenge for last season’s humiliating defeat in the last game.

Storm clouds were closing in all around the ground, and the odd rumble of distant thunder threatened proceedings. Bere batted first and made a rapid start with Russell Hewitt once again wielding the willow to good effect. His third fifty of this term gave a Bere a firm plateau to build a target of 200 plus, which was essential, as rain looked as though it may well have a say in matters.

A 25 minute downpour was all that materialised, and the players went, this time Charlie Way edging his way to his first hundred with some luck but most of all supreme shot selection. He fell whilst on 89 having hit his first six. Dean Rogerson took up the baton racing to 33, with the home bowling becoming friendlier by the over. Bere compiled a massive 258 for 4.

Hamworthy Rec were in no mood to roll over, and their openers came out fighting picking off Bere’s bowlers from the first 20 overs, they were right up with the required rate and more, then spin king Dean Rogerson took a vital first wicket, and the pendulum started to swing Bere’s way. A run out of ‘Rhodes’ proportion s from Inzamam took care of the dangerous vicar in Ham’s ranks, and Bere never looked back, and wickets tumbled steadily as Bere's fielders closed in for the kill.

Mark Bennett looked menacing when cleaning up the tail again, and Rick ‘Wakeman’ Davis despite taking a few hits on the way, took an important 4-48 and helped Bere maintain their average with a maximum points haul.

A disappointing cancellation away to Blandford 2nds, left Bere with 4 played out of six when 40 points may have slipped away.

A home match with bottom of the table-Melplash presented Bere with the chance of getting their season back on track, or so they thought. With the weather conveniently breaking, and a flat, slow wicket, captain Peter Cheeseman elected to field. Bere for the most part of the Melplash innings left the fielding and bowling boots at home. It was a day when wickets were to be hard to come by, with only six falling before tea.

Having collected only three points, Bere were then given the unenviable task of chasing 182 for victory at home, a feat rarely done. Bere’s opening batsmen made steady progress in the hunt for runs, but with the outfield lightning fast, and the field retreating, anything was possible. A patient 38 from Russell Hewitt was complemented by the in form Dean Rogerson whose 46 coupled with veteran Mark Bennett’s 29 steered Bere down a gradual path towards 182.

With the fifth wicket falling at 132, Bere needed 50 from 7 overs, and the time had come for an acceleration. One or two lusty blows from Bennett were enough for over number one, however he fell to a sharp return catch. Steve Cheeseman and Graeme Price who showed a welcome return to form, then set about the target with some astute running, which panicked the fielders into errors. Some 32 runs were plundered off the final three overs leading Bere to victory with six balls to spare. An improbable win.

A thoroughly weakened Gillingham side visited Bere for the third Sunday League game this term.. With a strict policy of including youth blended with experience, Alan Green as captain was keen for this initiative to succeed.

The Gills batted first, and were always up against it, as Bere’ s bowlers not giving any ground. The captain himself took a steadfast 3 for 28, and was supported by all the other bowlers each chipping in with wickets as Gill’ crumbled to 90 all out, just reaping in one batting point. A rare run out for Dean Rogerson in the Sunday side, gave him the chance to open with run machine Reg Fripp, and they made short work of the 91 target within 27 easy overs for a 20 point haul, keeping Bere within reach of the top three.

Unexplored territory for Bere was in the shape of Motcombe, a far outpost of Dorset cricket in the Balkan borders. At the stadium entrance Bere’s travellers were confronted by a sign warning ‘beware ye who bowl wides’, and this was to prove prophetic as they gave the opposition 6 extra overs and 40 runs in the sundry column. This helped the northern farmers to an effective 192 for 7, a total that seemed out of Bere’s reach.

Six wickets a piece for Alan Green and Iain Macklin curtailed what would have been a massive total. Bere’s middle order were amongst the runs, with Alan ‘Vasbert’ Green filling in for the all rounder’s role.

The man behind the grill, coming off his triumphant century in week one, continued his rich vein of form with a powerful 37 at the head of the innings. Further contributions from Dean Rogerson (21) and Andy ‘Chamois’ Welsh who carried his bat to the end of the day with his personal best of 35 not out. It was a weekend with 16 being the key number, as both the Saturday and Sunday sides losing by that margin of runs.

Boasting a 100 per cent record and an ego to match, Dorchester Casuals visited Bere, sitting atop the league table having dropped just two points from a possible 60. Clearly being placed in a division about four below their standard, the Casuals were sweeping away all before them. On one of the bleakest Bank Holiday weekends on record, the drizzle hung around the ground; making playing conditions a misery.

Bere gave the league leaders a fright. Humble pie was dished out by Bere’s bowlers, as the visitors collapsed to 40 for 3, and with a blatant stumping appeal being turned down it could have been worse.

The Casuals rescued matters with some big hitting, taking them to 159 for 5, with rain reducing the playing time. The latter meant Bere had the worst of the conditions, and early wickets fell.

Reg Fripp suffered when his middled pull was plucked out of the air at backward short leg. Alan Green and Andy Welsh calmed the storm, and were looking to up the ante. Green was on the receiving end of a dubious leg before decision, after witnessing some ridiculous appealing. A succession of Bere bats then got themselves out to some indifferent strokeplay and foundered 39 runs adrift, new boy David Scott took Bere closer than they might have thought.

Skipper Alan Green was absent for the trip to Whitecliff Rec to face Poole OG & Poole 3rds. Bere were facing an unknown quantity in that with a vast squad to choose from, Poole could be strong or weak.

With Herbie Swann at the helm, Bere had a disciplinarian with a no-nonsense approach. He commanded 110 per cent from his bowlers and fielders. Having won the toss, Reg Fripp and Iain Macklin put the brakes on for the early exchanges, frustrating the home side who proved to have little in the batting department. Dean Rogerson in his third appearance in Sunday colours, was left to mop up with Poole in disarray. His match winning 4 for 9 was decisive as he cleaned up the buffet. Rogerson then turned in a top showing with the bat as he partnered Reg Fripp who can’t stop scoring.

Their opening stand ensured an early shower and an extra ale or two.

It is many moons ago, since Bere ventured down the far side of Bulbarrow to play Ibberton, who have formed a league side now, being initially a friendly playing side. Stand in skipper Swann was in no mood to give ground to the valley villagers. The Ibberton Cup however was not up for grabs to Bere’s highest run scorer, having being archived to the trophy cabinet.

The league is serious business, and Bere’s youngsters are being blooded, with games like these valuable experience.

The home side batted first and were given 30-40 runs in extras, enabling them to reach 131 from 42 overs with Bere having 47 overs to win and a possible 19 points. With the openers accounted for and no sign of seventies Magpie icon-Mick Robertson, Alan Lambert turned in a tidy spell of left arm seam up taking 3 for 22. With a swathe cut through the middle order, Bere restricted their former friendly rivals to reachable target.

Stalwart Hall of Famers, Doug Curtis and Reg Fripp put on 41 for the first wicket in painstaking fashion. On his return, Curtis grafted out 21 runs providing a base for Sir Charles Way to hit 40 in quick time, leaving the final few overs and victory in the hands of Bere’s youngsters. One of the up and coming starlets Brian Benjafield took pride in hitting the winning run with two overs to spare, and three wickets in the bag.

With the sweet sound of success ringing in their ears after a thrilling yet debilitating win over lowly Melplash, Bere’s Saturday eleven travelled to Sherborne for what was to be a sterner test of their resolve. The day was to be long and tedious with numerous interruptions, the weather was typically dull and dank, following a glorious five days.

Bere’s fielders for the first innings donned many jumpers, including one recently receiving its annual sheep-dip. Bere’s opening bowlers needed to atone for the previous week’s blot on an otherwise excellent half term report. Messrs Oram and Cheeseman kept the runs down, although with a degree of help from Sherborne’s run crazy opening batters. Oram got the breakthrough in the fifteenth over, when a firm on-drive was pouched by Rick ‘The Flashing Beard’ Davis at the second juggled attempt.

The Sherborne top four then capitulated as Bere’s bowlers then closed in. The Flashing Beard and Oram bowled numbers three and one respectively, and the home side were on the ropes. As has generally been the case down the seasons, Bere are not a side to finish teams off, and in true sporting fashion they allowed the home side to achieve respectability.

It was spin king Dean Rogerson that got the all-important breakthrough, bowling the senior partner of Sherborne’s major stand, as they rebuilt earlier damage. A further stand of 40 earnt Sherborne four batting points, and more importantly Bere had a fair bit of work to do. Bere’s response moved off in a slow, steady fashion. However as frustration crept in, skipper Peter Cheeseman looking to up the tempo, middled a crisp drive which went straight to mid-on. He departed for 8.

Bere were then in all sorts of trouble at 25 for 3, with some indifferent strokeplay. Dean Rogerson and Andy Kent brought about some stability, until Kent fell after a faint edge to the keeper. This was followed by Mark Bennett falling first ball, and Bere reached a nadir at 71for 6. The Flashing Beard was hastily called to the fray by the captain. His rapid 21 was a major turning point in Bere’s fortunes, despite slumping to 100 for 7 after his dismissal. Inzamam Ul Merritt and Graeme Price batted with authority not giving a chance, and attaining the 4-5 runs needed every over. But with the former falling to full pitched delivery, Bere needed 21 off 5 overs.

Price picked up the baton, and his 47 not out was amongst the most complete innings by a Bere player. Bere won with five balls to spare and by two wickets in another close encounter.

By virtue of three cancelled matches and collecting near maximum points along the way, one of Bere’s oldest rivals-Shroton led the division. They came to Bere having a two-point advantage in the average column. Bere skipper Pete Cheeseman had already primed his charges for the challenge by stating the importance of the game the previous week. With Bere’s wicket becoming flatter and more batsman friendly by the season, the home skipper having won the crucial toss, hoped for a score in excess of 200.

The captain opened up, and had the wobbliest of starts, being dropped twice in the first three overs. With the Shroton bowlers pinning Bere down to under the required three runs an over, Cheeseman looked to pressurise the dobbers. His acceleration came at the just about the prefect time. With Russell Hewitt playing the anchor role for once, Cheeseman raced towards his first fifty for the season.

An increase in the tempo, helped Bere to 54 for the first wicket, the captain then fell on 40, with Charlie Way striding to the middle at number three. A confident start was soon undone, and Bere were in slump mode once again.

What followed were amongst unprecedented scenes at the BRACA. Umpire Swann was forced to uphold rule 5.5 removing Shroton’s third string bowler from the attack. This necessary action, proved to unsettle Shroton, as Bere’s middle order cashed in some ordinary bowling in the extreme considering they were up against the league leaders. The Flashing Beard of Rick Davis was called to the wicket, and he set about the bowling with his customary ‘no defence’ approach on his way to 28, holing out on the mid wicket boundary. Dean Rogerson sustained his prolific run output, by hitting 44, sharing another crucial partnership with Andy Kent, who is gradually putting some scores together with his cultured strokeplay at the crease.

With the visitors in total disarray and their heads well and truly in the turf, hungry Bere pressed home their advantage by hitting a very impressive 213 for 7 from their 45 over allocation.

Bere expected Shroton to chase in a positive manner, and Skipper Cheeseman shrewdly set a field with a defensive leaning for the first series of overs. There was a gift from the gods, as in the fourth over, Steve Cheeseman managed to induce one of Shroton’s dangerous openers into chasing a wide delivery, and edged with keeper Kent taking a sharp low effort in front of first slip. Bere were ecstatic and in the ascendancy, although Shroton had traded on a reputation of big hitting, an element that Bere were most aware of.

The young Chris Oram bowled his heart out for the cause, he passed the outside edge countless times. Justly he saw his reward when Shroton’s number flashed wildly outside off stump, sending the ball of in the direction of fine third man. Russell Hewitt, realising he had to take this chance, launched himself from first slip, and appeared to land at cover point whilst taking a ‘blinding’ catch. One out of the top drawer at full stretch two-handed to his right. Mark Bennett, gleefully snapped up a stray shot from another batsman. Bere had three back in the hutch for 34.

Shroton then dug their heels in, as if to make a statement of defiance and maintain their lead at the top. Bere were in no mood to cave in this time, and stepped up a gear, and took the initiative by forcing Shroton to hit out or take chances. Veteran Bennett, then broke up a threatening stand in his usual manner, hitting off stump this time. With Shroton needing 8-10 runs an over, fortunes fluctuated both ways, but Bere held all the chips. Skipper Cheeseman played his trump card by bringing back Rick Davis, the Milborne Revelation, who after being clubbed onto the A35 slip road, banked two more wickets from catches in the deep from Inzamam Ul Merritt and Sir Charles Way.

This effectively was game over, as Shroton batted for points, and to reduce the harvest that Bere were going to gain, nonetheless Bere achieved greatness that day, and more importantly another 19, pulling them to with 0.21 of a point at the head of affairs.

The breaking of a jinx away to Hamworthy Recreation, managed to relieve an enormous weight off the shoulders of Bere’s playing staff. The visit of Bere’s eternal Jonah’s, heralded what Bere thought would be a victory and a healthy point advantage. Prior to the match, Bere’s camp seemed in somewhat downbeat mood, their captain sensed this as he attempted to rally the squad once again. With Inzamam absent, and Charlie Way having to fill in behind the stumps, Bere were depleted, but still contained a side capable of dismissing a Hamworthy side which differed greatly to the side Bere faced earlier in the season.

Forcing the visitors to bat, skipper Peter Cheeseman reinstalled his faith in the bowlers delivering the goods. They certainly repaid by capturing two early wickets, Brian Benjafield clutched a skier running round from mid-on when nearby fielders ran for cover. Steve Cheeseman extracted extra bounce and movement to take care of the dangerous number three batsmen, then Hamworthy dug in. Cheeseman, took his second wicket, and then the Bearded wonder took over as Rick Davis found his line and length, frustrating the Hamworthy middle order, a continuous stream of wickets tumbled, Davis ending up with 4 for 19, and the skipper was more than happy with a target of 109 from 52 overs.

What followed, was a Bere batting performance unseen for some five or six years. Quite the most dismal showing, as they were humbled for 69, against accurate bowlers, who had their day, as the Hamworthy curse reared its head once again. Even the wicket had its say, as all trueness and bounce lacked during the second innings helping Ham’s pie throwers. Openers Hewitt and Cheeseman, were dismissed to very close leg before wicket calls. The wicket gremlin accounted for Dean Rogerson as he received a good ol’ shooter and Bere were out for the count at 26 for 4. A lethal combination of poor strokes, tight bowling and the wicket conspired to end Bere’s run of 5 games without a win.

The captain reflected over the day’s events putting it down to ‘a bad day at the office’ and things must improve before next week’s trip to lowly Gillingham.

Bere’s bowlers made short work of Gillingham and assured themselves of an early finish, having being able to retire to the bar by 5.00pm. On their newly refurbished grass wicket, Gillingham decided to bat, but from a neutral’s viewpoint, they only lasted a paltry 26 overs for their 47, as Bere’s hungry bowlers closed in for the kill like deprived vultures.

Veteran seamer, Mark Bennett cleaned up with a destructive spell taking 4 for 7, earning him the Shell Ultra Classic man of the match award. Fellow vet, Rick Davis rolled back the years, with his slightly more expensive 4 for 16, with 10 coming from the last over of his spell of 12. Andy Kent after being re-installed behind the stumps, took a jug inducing three catches taking his season’s tally to 7 with 2 stumpings. With the scent of victory all around, Bere were not going to throw away the game this occasion, although they lost three wickets getting there, Russell Hewitt showed a welcome return to form with 22 not out from 33 balls, as Bere ran out winners with a mere 50 overs left, and 19 points safely packed away.

With a win being a must, Bere’s Sunday eleven skipper, Alan Green was hoping for a satisfactory outcome from the match up at home to Iwerne Minster.

Being of equal standard, both teams were out gain promotional ground on each other. In his own words, the skipper ‘had all his prayers answered’. They batted first on a batsman friendly track, which would have given Herbie Gale a backache. Run machine, Reg Fripp recorded a further half century for the statisticians. His 70 was the backbone of Bere’s formidable innings. A resurrected Andy ‘Chamois’ Welsh continued to bat with authority, and gained his second high scoring not out of the term on 44. Bere only lost 6 wickets out of their 205.

Green was aware that Iwerne Munster had some strokeplayers in their ranks. He assigned Reg Fripp and Iain Macklin to the task of keeping the runs down, and they did just that with Iwerne being pegged back to just three an over. With the opportunity presenting itself, the captain was able to hand valuable experience to youngsters Brian Benjafield, Paul Fripp and Phil Dolan. Bere coasted home by a margin of 42 runs.

The prospect of another match on Bere’s cricket graveyard-Broadstone Rec, faced the Sunday side away to Oakdale Conservative Club, owners of the biggest name in the league. Bere negotiated their way to victory against the rock bottom club who had amassed only 4 points this season. There were a few scares on the way though as Bere defended what they thought was a useful total. Opener Reg Fripp, was subjected to a barrage of short bowling, and after a period of some frustration, was adjudged to be out whilst fending another short ball which appeared to brush the face grill on his helmet, rather than a glove as was suggested. Swashbuckler extraordinaire, Rick Davis was thrust into the limelight, and his array of inventive aerial shots, and powerful dancing helped him top score with 45.

The middle order caved in leaving ‘Nick-Nick’ to take over. Their ninth wicket effort certainly saved Bere’s blushes at the home of the basement boys. The champagne moment, without doubt was debutant youth, Tom Bennett’s crisp cover drive for four. With Green bowling in his usual stingy manner, he grabbed three wickets and Oakdale slumped to 95 for 7, and looked out of the race.

But as is customary, Bere’s spirit momentarily subsided in the field and let Oak’ have a dash at the target. They whittled the run rate down to 3 an over needed, when Iain Macklin took a catch deep out on the mid-wicket boundary which was a huge turning point. This made a total of seven catches in all, equally shared amongst the team. Thankfully the two missed opportunities that went down were irrelevant, however the unnamed culprit, has been offered ‘councilling’.

On a pitch with a Millennium Dome at either end, Bere invited Moordown 2nds to bat on their own track. Reg ‘Lockheed’ Fripp was once again most thrifty, as the home side were in trouble at 21 for 5. A mammoth sixth wicket stand helped Moordown to their 163, it was like father like son, as Paul Fripp polished off the tail to ensure maximum bowling points were bagged. Team pharmacist, Herbie Swann (also club chairman, grass doctor, wicket keeper, psychologist and general guru) supplied skipper Green with a headache relieving potion, which was instrumental in his 39, as Bere edged their way to their goal. Bob Croom lived up to his all-rounder tag, hitting out with ferocity on his way to 27 after team batsman Swann had calmed a top order storm with 24, as Bere teetered on 85 for 6.

The picnic chairs had already been in the fold position, and the car park exodus begun, when Iain Macklin steered Bere to within easy reach of the target. With nine wickets down, Paul Fripp and Phil Dolan batted the final over with three needed to win, they scrambled two of balls four and five to seal a tie, and keep Bere in third spot.

Second against third, matched Bere against former rivals, Lytchett Matravers.



Alan Green

Alan Green accepts the adulation of his fans, as he reaches his fifty, or is he reprimanding umpire Brian Benjafield for an earlier fielding misdemeanour. And it looks like non-striker Alan Lambert is doing his best to be selected for the next match.

ReflectionsCow Corner

It’s a long, hard day in the field as Mr Reliable, Rick Davis (left) reflects on a dropped catch, enabling Lytchett’s opener to move on to fifty. The cap is well and truly buried in the outfield, as he ponders where his glass of water has gone. Meanwhile Doug Curtis steams in from ‘cow corner’ outpacing a Lada on the slip-road, trying to cut off a rope-bound sweep.

The recent heatwave had baked Bere’s green and pleasant pitch, leaving a corker of a wicket to grace the event. With the outfield in tip top condition, and the official press being present, captain Alan Green and his charges were out to gain some ground on the team one place above them. With Lytchett having amongst their ranks, one or two batsman capable of taking apart most attacks, Bere were fearful when Lytchett batted first, and took more than full advantage of the conditions. Lytchett’s numbers one and three bats, went about the Bere bowling with a flourish, and set the pace of over 6 an over for the first 22. Bere could only reply with 2 wickets, although dropped catches hindered the cause.

Rick Davis returned unusually indifferent figures of 0 for 55, this thrust the captain into the fray, and he quickly captured two wickets, putting Bere back in the hunt, or to try and enforce some damage limitation as Lytchett seemed to be on their way to 250 plus. However they only contained some 2 batsmen on the day, and their total pushed on towards 200 with wickets not falling soon enough for Bere. More dropped catches for Bere proved to be their failing as with the corresponding fixture, this gave Lytchett the luxury of pushing the score along with the knowledge that they had wickets in hand.

Bere were glad for the tea interval and copious amounts of fluids and pizza were distributed, giving most welcome relief from the heat and the leather chase.

Stalwart openers Reg Fripp and ‘Deadly’ Doug Curtis got Bere off to a confident start, with 33 coming from 9 overs, however fresh fruit was once again on hand in the shape of pears, as the reply stumbled, faltered, collapsed rather like a Graeme Price racing tip. David Scott went first ball, playing a shot that hinted that he might have had a hot date after the event. With Fripp falling to a piece of ill fortune, the baton was passed to his partner, and Curtis duly took up the challenge, as Alan ‘Venkatesh’ Green joined him at the wicket with around 6 an over needed. They added 60 for the fourth wicket, with the acceleration coming after the drinks break. Curtis fell two short of a richly deserved fifty, and was applauded off the famous ground from all parts.

Green then assumed the mantle, and despite being struck down with cramp, and receiving treatment from the umpire, within the allotted 15 minute period before a blacksmith is called, he went on to record his season’s best and nudged Bere to within an outside chance. With the likes of Carruthers and Davis yet to come, Bere were sure of maximum batting points, also considering that Lytchett had rather cheekily used 9 bowlers. Bere’s assault ended on 174, with Messrs Swann, Cheeseman (N) and Davis falling cheaply. On his home debut Tom Bennett received a wicked delivery, but we are sure there are plenty of runs to come from his bat.

To maintain their promotion push, Bere's Saturday eleven were to negotiate the stormy waters, of a difficult trip to Yetminster, followed by a home match with runaway league leaders Poole & Poole OG 2nds, then an away date with Compton House, who have crept up and overtook Bere to claim second spot in the league.

The first of the aforementioned obstacles at Yetminster was a game that capt ain Pete Cheeseman feared. Batting first, Bere got off to their usual sluggish start, barely registering two runs an over. There was the loss of Russell Hewitt for 5 which dented Bere's chances severely, this was compounded by the further departure of Pete Cheeseman who retired hurt on 23, after receiving a vicious blow to the cheekbone area, which temporarily hospitalised him.

Thankfully later, after some careful attention, Bere's captain escaped with a black eye. Dean Rogerson in fine form this season, dominated a partnership with the captain, and then continued until he fell on 36 with the score at 89 for 4. Wicket keeper Andy Kent duly delivered to Bere's faithful still waiting for a big score from him. Paired with low order clubber Rick Davis, they took Bere's total to respectability. Chris Oram showed he could still wield the willow with a mighty six, as Bere fell eighteen runs short of full points.

Bere knew that Yetminster are a canny side on their own track, and were most cautious that they could quite easily reach their target. Davis was promoted to opening bowler in the absence of Steve Cheeseman, and he repaid the selectors' trust by grabbing a wicket in his first over. He later claimed 2 for 50 and also became leading wicket taker.

Yetminster may have fancied their chances, however they did not bargain with the sizzling form of Chris Oram on the day. A venomous spell of left arm over had the Yetees in all sorts. Leaving the top order to Messrs Davis and Rogerson, he ripped out the last five wickets of six to fall with final figures of 6 for 32, a long time since any Bere bowler has claimed 6 wickets in the Saturday side.

With 26 overs bowled Bere had guaranteed themselves another early shower, and were finely poised for the forthcoming tests ahead.

Eleven wins out of eleven, was the proud boast of league leaders Poole & Poole OG's 2nds when they visited Bere. Their side contained no fewer than seven changes from the earlier away encounter, and they were certainly not coming to party at the BRACA. Bere themselves had some four to make, being most untimely for the selection committee in their search for the best eleven. The welcome return of young spin king, Pete Macklin after a long lay off, bolstered the bowling ranks, giving the skipper extended options.

Bere won the toss, and elected to bat on another even paced wicket better suited to batting. The visitors'opening bowlers pegged Bere back, with the first wicket falling on 25, 13 overs had already passed. Russell Hewitt, althoug h unknown to him at the time, was about to embark on one his more dogged and patient innings. He received little support from Bere's middle order, but the extras column broke 20.

Hewitt managed to carry his bat, a feat achieved only once before for 54 not out off the 45 overs, making sure that Bere had a target to defend after a titanic effort from Bere's chief batter.

Life was never going to be easy protecting 137, especially as the visitors possessed a lot of experience in their first five. This prove d to be their trump card, as they eased past 137 for the loss of four wickets. The lad Oram, turned his hand a spin for four overs, and earned some success removing Poole's complacent captain without a stroke being offered.

With the heatwave continuing at a pace, Bere knew when they travelled to high flying Compton House who were of late, demolishing all opponents. Their quaint ground nestling in the lee of the A303, next to a butterfly farm, is steeped in Dorset Cricket history.

It was butterflies of a different sort for Bere's opening batsmen, as their fears that the wicket would induce inordinate bounce were realised in the first over as Russell Hewitt was rapped on the grill a couple of times. The bowling was similar from both ends, and captain Peter Cheeseman also faced a barrage of accurate yet short bowling. He fell for 2, as did Hewitt, leaving Bere with some work to do.

Not one of Bere's batsmen came to grips with a track not seen too often in Dorset, but is commonplace in other counties. They managed to salvage a point after reaching 99 after some more lustful hitting from the bearded Rick Davis. With the pre-match atmosphere and spirit being at a season's low, Bere's premier eleven were a shadow of their early season best. A right royal rollicking during the tea interval was designed to instil some fight in Bere with their season on the ropes. They came out knowing that Compton House's top batter was averaging around 70 for the season, but they put in a feisty performance with the ball, wi th Hristo Oram once again turning to spin.

Steve Cheeseman (2-23) and Mark Bennett made sure that the home side did not have an easy ride, but Bere suffered and were comprehensively outplayed by a better side on the day.

The best Bere can hope for is a third place finish being just rewards on the year.

Bere breezed past a Blandford 2nds side, who had just come off the back of a thrilling one run victory at home to Gillingham, so Bere were to be warned. Blandford batted first, and with Bere's bowlers not firing on all four cylinders, they cashed in and got the sort of start that would indicate a score of around 250-300. Skipper Cheeseman, deployed main spinner Dean Rogerson and Hristo Oram in spin mode, which stemmed the flow dramatically. Rogerson captured the first three wickets to fall, one being a sharp return catch.

With the 20 over spin period, being vital to Bere's chances, this set the home side up for what was to be a 7 wicket win, chasing 159 off 47 overs. Veterans Russell Hewitt and Charlie 'shows the' Way made batting look simple. Hewitt appeared to be set for a ton or close, until he was run out by a direct hit coming in from mid-wicket for 45. Way then assumed the mantle of senior batsman, by hitting the final match winning boundary and e nding up unbeaten on 31.

The Sunday team continued its magical mystery tour around division 6, with tour organiser, raconteur, team captain, all-rounder Alan 'Upshantha' Green at the helm. With the fixtures being published some five months prior to the season, Bere's answer to Thomas Cook was able to line up a minibus odyssey for late July. There was even talk of a coach being arranged. This week the squad including umpire, scorer, team nutritionist, physio, and alcohol coach, all travelled to Gillingham to play their seconds.

One of the players in his eagerness to climb aboard the transport fell flat on his face, which gave for a spectacular start to the day. Order was soon restored and on an indifferent wicket, Bere chose to bat. They grafted their way to a respectable total built around Dean Rogerson's 55, Reg Fripp's solid 28 at the head of the innings, and sensible late hitting from Iain Macklin and Nick 'sandwiches' Cheeseman. A textbook cover drive from Brian Benjafield ensured a fourth batting point when the innings closed on 150 for 8.

Despite an early breakthrough, thoughts appeared to be on the evening ahead, as fielders practised a chorus of 'Teflon hands' following eight spilled catches. They watched the showstopping , Egdon break dance performed on the boundary rope. Paul Fripp in tandem with Iain Macklin, restored parity by taking matters into their own hands and bowled out 4 of the last 5 batsmen to ensure a victory by 29 runs.

A celebratory bus tour of Sturminster Newton ensued, where acquaintances were renewed with exiled Bere sporting legend, Pete 'Pedro' Bennett now resides as landlord of one of the local hostelries. A felicitous evening followed with fines, food, and fermented hops being dispensed with seemingl y endless regularity, before drawing to a close when the bus disgorged its merry cargo back at base camp Bere.

Finally the captain would like to record grateful thanks to the driver, scorer, umpire and supporters for their contributions to a 'cracking day out'.

Bere lost a game that 'should have been in the bag' according to Bere's Sunday captain Green, whilst away to Motcombe from the upper most foothills in the Dorset/Wilts border. They entertained them at The Rec, with the sun beating down; the grounds men were able to leave the covers off prior to the game, ensuring no moisture would assist the bowlers in the early part of the day.

Green won the toss, and with an outfield faster than Inzamam at tea, he expected runs to be piled on and effectively bat Mot' out of it. Run machine Reg Fripp failed to pass 400 runs on the season, when he fell for 6. This heralded Jack of all Trades-Herbie Swann to the wicket. Runs per over were not a problem, so Swann had licence to run riot. In tandem with 'Deadly' Doug Curtis they tucked into the buffet.

With Curtis happy to play an anchor role, his partner played as fluently as he has done for some time. Strokes at either side of the wicket, gave the sparse crowd cause for applause, in particular a half volley on leg stick that was clipped away and thudded off the perimeter fence before the commentators could draw breath. He fell to a blinding return catch, from a shot that originated from the middle once again, good cricket all round.

In the background, Curtis was compiling his season's first 50, stepping on the gas at the right time, providing a platform for skipper Green to flail at will. The captain is certainly enjoying his cricket this term, and played like a man possessed. He reached his own fifty and assumed a one day membership of the 'Jug Brigade' from around 35 balls faced, including one giant 'Reclamation' six and some potent off driving. He was aided by Bob Croom, whose 19 was uncharacteristically made up of singles and the odd boundary.

Bere posted a total of 191 for 6 after some late tumbling.

After being somewhat pleased to field second, Bere 's opening bowlers of Reg Fripp and Iain Macklin stole the show limiting the visitors to under two an over, with Fripp claiming an early victim inducing a catch snapped up by son Paul. With , Mot's batting style forcing Bere to man the leg side boundary, there was still an air that if one batsman could tick, then Bere were in for a long day. Macklin and second-string bowler Paul Fripp took a combined 4 wicket s, ending the match, and Bere were able to relax, although there were further chances missed when catches went down. Bere lost Doug Curtis, when he raced after a drive fielding at mid-off, stepped on the ball pulling a vital muscle in the process. He was unable to play a further part, but it was job done for Bere, as Green brought himself on and bagged three wickets leaving the away team on 139 for 8.

The clubhouse was pumping afterwards, with the usual suspects in attendance, minus the skipper who embarked on a mid-summer porridge break in the Outer Hebrides, whilst attempting to achieve his Duke of Edinburgh Award at the 41st try.

Super soaraway league leaders-Dorchester Casuals were smarting from their first league defeat of the season, the week before Bere were due to face them. Bere knew they were going to be on the end of a Cas' backlash, on Dorchester Rec. Skipper Green had some six to seven bowlers in his armoury, and he utilised them to full, as Bere fielded first in the pleasant Sunday sun, with the heat relenting somewhat. For the most part of this season, the home side's lower order batsmen had played a 'walk on part', as their top batters plundered all and sundry in division six. Green was hoping to exploit this weakness and stem the flow of runs, hopefully restricting the home side to a total less than 200.

The opening bowlers of Reg Fripp and Iain Macklin more than delivered, as the much-vaunted home batsmen struggled early doors, achieving just 2.5 runs an over. It was a day for leather chasing in the vast expanse of outfield, but Bere never wavered and each of the six bowlers took a wicket apiece, one going to Pete Macklin back from a season threatening knee injury, after a glorious boundary catch from Dave Scott.

With the inevitable charge from the home side, Bere were happy with the 176 that was set for them, a total many runs short of Casuals' expectations. In the retiring heat of early August, Swann and Fripp opened the Bere innings, and along with some measured help from the extr as column, added 31 for the first wicket, when Fripp fell, after surpassing 400 runs for the season. Skipper Green joined Swann in the middle, and his most energetic task was to administer cramp relief to the ailing number 2 batsman. Swann departed soon afterwards, and Bere's response went into freefall, as premier batsmen threw their wickets away like confetti with thoughts on the after match fare at a local tavern.

They managed three figures from 40 overs, but as the squad well know, this was match that could have been etched into Bere history, with a win of epic proportions against a powerful side, destined for the upper reaches.

Next up for Bere were Poole & Poole OG 3rds at home, a side that contained seven more changes than the line up Bere faced away in their nine wicket triumph. Green knew this was to be a stern task. Heavy overnight rain, had given The BRACA a glorious lush green look to the ground, with the pitch looking its optimum best. However the wicket had dampened quite considerably, wh ich meant that winning the toss was crucial, as batting second was to be a lot easier as a drying track gave aid to the batters.

Bere lost the toss, and Green was confident of 200 plus. Prolific opener Fripp, feel to a dubious leg before adjudication for a season low, this left stalwart Herbie Swann to take up the attack, he fell for 11, and Bere were in some trouble.

After playing this term with some patchy form, heart throb Graeme Price was thrust into the fray at number 5. He achieved a career highest score of 92, out of 168, a contribution of some magnitude. There were shots from all around the wicket, a feast of strokeplay. He fell just eight short of the magical three figures in the last over, typically attempting to force the pace, and left the arena to rapturous applause.

Bere came out from the tea break, bowling with vigour, and claimed three wickets in the first fifteen overs, but with the Macklin's on holiday, the skipper knew his bowling options were limited, and with Fripp Snr bowled out, Andy , Chamois'Welsh returned trapping two wickets, but Bere had no answer in the end to Poole's aggressive hitting and supreme running between the wickets.

Three matches are now left to play, home to old friendly rivals Ibberton and away to Iwerne Minster and home to Oakdale Conservative Club.

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A trip to Melplash was not a journey that Bere’s Saturday squad will ever relish. The usual mid-July unpredictable weather very nearly had a say, as just before the game was due to start, there was an downpour of tropical dimensions. This was not uncommon in these parts, a bleak cricketing enclave on the Devon border. Pete Cheeseman was forced to make changes as key members were away, injured or on work duty.

The captain led from the front right at the outset, having been put in, a decision made easier by the dampness of the track. The track itself was green, covered in dandelions, uneven and more unpredictable bounce than a seventies perm, which meant the bowlers would have their day. This prophecy certainly became true, as one by one each Bere batsmen capitulated. With Cheeseman falling early after top scoring with 30, the side totally lost their way, although veteran Alan Green defied the bowling with his 16. To ensure that a batting point was in the bag, tail-enders Nick ‘sandwiches’ Cheeseman, Brian Benjafield and Shane Hewitt added what was to be later, a crucial 16 runs at the death.

Shane was playing his debut for the club on his birthday, this was indeed a moment in the club’s history as well as Shane’s career, as the youngster has shown promise in the youth squad which the club is sure he will progress, just like Bere legend and father Russell Hewitt. His batting debut was made in most hostile fashion, as the bowlers’ tails were up, and the fielders were closing in. Shane belied his years as he calmly strode out to the middle, and with his third delivery played an exquisite late cut over the slip cordon for four taking Bere to three figures. A champagne moment but Bere succumbed to 107 all out.

Defending such a small total was not going to be straightforward, as skipper Cheeseman knew all too well and with Melplash possessing some renowned big hitters (all from the same family), it could be early bath time. Bere got off a dream start, as Rick Davis in his first over, induced the batsman to tickle one round the corner, the predatory Chris Oram pounced and the bails were off and Melplash were 4 for 1. Davis removed the other opener and Bere were on their way, for the fall of the fourth wicket he took a blinding catch down at square leg, prompting his Milborne Hill-Billy Breakdance in celebration.

However Melplash with some 6 wickets in the bank and 51 overs to reach 108 were always going to be favourites on their own track. With the score at 81 for 4, Bere looked out of it, and the runs were coming at a steady pace. An exceptional piece of cricketing captaincy from Cheeseman turned the corner for Bere. He noticed that Melplash’s most dangerous hitter was playing the ball through the air through the on-side, he positioned Russell Hewitt at unorthodox leg-slip, who duly snapped up a catch two balls in off the bowling of Oram which was exemplary.

Melplash’s nemesis was to be 81, as 4 wickets fell at this score, as the home batsmen wilted under the immense Bere pressure leaving their number 5 batsmen to conduct matters. An inspired Oram took five wickets with his spin-seam combination for a paltry 13 runs. With finishes not seen like this since the days of Bere defending sub 100 totals at Plaintain Park, Bere rolled up their sleeves and claimed an improbable victory, keeping them in the promotion, albeit on the fringe, as Alan Green whooped up the crowd when he caught and bowled their number five whose patient batting almost swung things the home side’s way.

With a slim chance of promotion, Bere met genial Sherborne at home whose fate has all but been sealed in the division. So Bere needed to press home the advantage. The visitors batted first and were never in the hunt, they only managed 69, themselves being a shadow of the former strong sides they fielded. Opening bat Russell Hewitt added 28 not out to his season’s tally, and with Inzamam Ul Merritt, they took Bere to a maximum points haul from 25 overs.

The final match of the season for Bere’s weary warriors was away to old foe and adversaries Shroton. They had become a force in Dorset cricket once again and were vying for promotion with chameleons Compton House. If they had won by two clear points from Compton then they would be promoted, however if the unlikely event occurred and both side slipped up then Bere could sneak in through the back door to division 2.

So with Bere needing a miracle of biblical proportions, and more permutations than a far-east betting syndicate, the season climax had all the ingredients of a show stopper. Shroton won the toss and batted, as they needed full points on the day. Bere had read the script and Rick ‘Six Gun’ Davis duly delivered by removing perhaps the most prolific batsman in the division for a duck. The home umpire’s adjudication that he was leg before prompted a show of petulance unseen in these parts. After kicking his batting gloves all the way back to the pavilion, he then kicked a boundary flag onto the roof, which remains there to this day. It was Davis’ 30th victim this term confirming him as the leading wicket taker in his first season at the BRACA, he had proved to be a more than useful addition to the squad and the club in general.

Bere did not become complacent, as Oram removed Shroton’s captain with Andy Kent taking another sharp chance low down behind the stumps. Bere then in the ascendancy were then put severely under the cosh, as the home side’s reputation became reality, as unconventional cricket took over. Some 142 runs were added for the next 2 wickets, and Bere knew this was not their day. The bowlers took a hammering, as Shroton set Bere a target of 227 from their 45 allocation. The home team’s bowlers were raring to go, with the scent of promotion in their nostrils, they disposed of captain Cheeseman for nought, and his partner Hewitt closely followed after a marvellous catch. Bere slumped to 80 for 6, and the situation demanded patience as the field was closing in fast, and Bere had no hope now of claiming an implausible win.

Resistance from Andy Kent took Bere to their goal of batting out the overs preventing Shroton from gaining maximum points. The final pairing of Nick and Steve Cheeseman were subjected to sledging and general abuse, however they held out to defend the final 5 overs much to the disgust of the home side, whose memories must have been short, as in the home encounter with Bere on 26 June this year, they too defended till the last preventing Bere from taking 20 points.

So honours were even this term, and Bere will travel north once again in 2000.

The Sunday eleven skipper, Alan Green had steered Bere towards a position of similar stability to that of their Saturday counterparts. They too were gunning for a spot in the top two, although they also had a mountain to climb. They welcomed back old friends from Ibberton, this time in competitive mode rather than friendly as of yesteryear. The hillsiders came to town in spite of bringing a much weakened side, fielding some eight youngsters, which is good to see. They gave the Sunday heroes a run for their money and the points, as a close encounter of the cricket kind was experienced.

Green chose to bat on another ‘brown beauty’ prepared by the groundstaff. Bere were curtailed in the early part of their innings, as the bowling was of an accurate nature. Reg Fripp once again proved to be the mainstay of the innings with his 46, as he closed in on 500 runs for the season. There was a fateful run out of Andy ‘Chamois’ Welsh as he was starting to set about the bowling, this left Bere on 75 for 3. An acceleration of the run rate from Bere’s middle order came at just about the right time, as outlaw Rick Davis bludgeoned 36 off his old mates’ bowling having played for Ibberton for many years. Iain Macklin showed he is fast improving with the bat and ball, as he hit 23 not out taking Bere past the 170 mark ending on 177 for 7.

Ibberton’s reply started in solid fashion, and at 80 without loss, the home team’s nerve ends were jangling, before Pete Macklin got the all-important breakthrough after another Rick Davis catch, the visitors were still nicely placed at 113 for 3 with 12 overs left. New bowling sensation Frank Holland took a wicket on his debut, being Ibberton’ number three. This wicket gave Bere the launch pad for victory, as Pete Macklin claimed four victims from his ten overs, maintaining his impressive strike rate. He was joined by Paul Fripp, who took a season’s best of 4-50, cleaning up the last seven batters from the final over. Fripp junior bowled the number 11 to leave Bere on a high with full points and a win by a 14 run margin.

Crunch time had arrived, and Alan Green had set up another minibus tour for the Sunday eleven away to Iwerne Minster. It was Bere’s chance for a closer inspection of lottery funding at Iwerne’s state of the art ground. The home team obviously had confidence in their new asset, as they chose to bat first and strolled to 76 without loss in 16 overs. Pete Macklin then struck in his first over, as he grabbed a return catch to help restore some balance in the match. Bere then closed in, and tidy bowling and fielding restricted Iwerne, although more catching and councilling is required. Paul Fripp took two wickets in two balls just before the home innings closed, this left honours about even at tea.

A post-tea debacle followed from Bere, as they emulated their woeful England counterparts. Perhaps with one eye on the post-match festivities, they crumbled without trace. They were contained in the early stages with guile at one end, and tidy seam at the other, then injudicious shots and judgement intervened with a constant fall of wickets. The pantomime season seemed to get into full swing early as shots of ‘behind you’ reached the batsmen, only for them turn around and watch a cartwheeling leg-stump. Nick ‘sandwiches’ Cheeseman briefly troubled the bowlers, before the innings fell apart giving the season’s lowest total of 65.

This effectively ended Bere’s hopes of promotion, but the chance to finish third was well and truly on. Their successful season continued with another chapter being added to the team’s soon to be published book-‘Safe Hands, are they catching?’, which will be available in hardback complete with protective cover.

The final outing of the season for Green’s marauding heroes was at home to Oakdale Conservative Club. They visited Bere securely fastened in bottom place looking at division 7 cricket next season. Bere batted first, and Reg Fripp stood on the threshold of Bere history as he needed 49 runs to reach 500 in a season, a feat not achieved to date. Reg is experiencing an Indian Summer in his career, and was keen to end the season on a high. He had his chance against possibly the weakest bowling line-up in the division, when skipper Green batted first.

Sadly Fripp fell four runs short of a half century on the day, and three runs shorts of 500, a magical feat, all witnessed by a bumper Bank Holiday crowd. Green was has also played some more than reasonable cricket this term, with the added responsibility of captainship, tour operator and all round good egg. He was no too far behind Fripp in the run stakes, and his quickfire 34 took him to 365 on the year. Nick ’Sandwiches’ Cheeseman notched his season’s and personal best of 40 off around 30 deliveries and Oakdale were set a target of 161.

The second innings was something of an anti-climax as the conservatives were held to 69 all out, with Reg Fripp exacting revenge with 5 for 15, making sure the clubhouse was open for business earlier rather than later, as the players and members helped bring the curtain down on another season, the sixteenth since time began.

All eyes and ears now focussed on Bere’s inaugural tour the next weekend down in deepest Devon. With a squad of fourteen, Green and his troops clambered aboard the magical mystery minibus and made the journey to Torpoint, Plymouth. After what can only be described as an eventful journey, Bere’s playing staff concentrated hard on the drinking only to discover that someone had arranged 2 cricket matches for the weekend. With this bad news in mind, they reached the accommodation which was first class although not accepting people with red and blue hair.

Tour organiser Alan Green provided the cabaret for the evening doing his turn on Dire Straits classic ‘Sultans of Swing’ until the early hours. The next morning proved the harsh reality that they had to play Holbeton, a village just east of Plymouth with neighbouring settlement-Brixton. A most pleasant setting greeted the tourists, however the home side did not turn up until some fifteen minutes before the start. A timed game was played out, for Bere’s part in a friendly manner considering the frivolity going on. The home side did not read the script, and played with a purpose perhaps not taking in the sense of the occasion. Bere were set 227 to win with 20 overs being bowled after 6.00pm. Bere’s batting was characteristically sluggish, but things livened up when Nick ‘Black Book’ Carruthers who slapped the home bowlers around the park in tandem with Mark Bennett, they took Bere to within 6 runs and achieve a creditable draw.

A totally different welcome was givenm by Bere’s hosts-Torpoint, who tried the welcoming, friendly approach unlike their Saturday counterparts. Bere were in no mood to sit back, and The Black Book and Inzamam Ul Merritt hit fifties as Bere rattled up 228 from their 40 overs. Torpoint were eventually skittled for 155 with 10 bowlers and 13 players being used. The Sandwich Man took a champagne moment winning 5 catches, as he celebrated his eighteenth birthday in style. Players received their salutary fines, mostly for phoning their girlfriends, setting themselves on fire and general tour revelry. They were well received by the hosts, and have made some good contacts for future tours. This well a well-executed Bere away weekend, orchestrated by Alan Green who the club thanks sincerely for his efforts.

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