Sunday Match Reports 1999 - 2000

4/9 Bere Regis 1 Gillingham 1

Despite playing against 10 men our Saturday all stars couldn't make any serious dents in the visitors defence. Bungy was the only scorer in a disappointing start to the season.

5/9 Bere Regis 1 West Quay Marina 5

With a good pre-season behind them, Bere were looking forward to making their mark on Division 3. Unfortunately, their mark turned out to be 3/10, must try harder! Whilst there are no excuses for a 5-1 drubbing, here are a few very good attempts. With the first choice goalkeeper still out with a broken wrist; with 2 players away on a cricket tour; with Rob White suspended (surprise, surprise!); with the captain playing with 3 cracked ribs; with Adam missing, presumed drunk, after his Saturday night out; and with Bungy looking like a cross between John Lennon and the Mad Hatter after that same Saturday night celebration, it was always going to be a hard game.

Add to this the fact that Bere were playing a team that thrashed the league champions 6-0 at the end of last season and had Combination players coming out of its ears and the task became impossible.

Things looked even worse when this reporter arrived at the ground at 10.00 to find the opposition out warming up and Dougie Curtis as the only player in the home changing rooms, trying out for a new role as sweeper. Eventually, all the home team turned up (with Johnny Cleall later than some of his tackles) and battled manfully to keep a rampant West Quay (aka AC Sports, aka Ambassador) side at bay. For poor Steve Ives in goal it was more Bosnia than Bosnich as he and his defence repelled wave after wave of attacks.

The midfield ran themselves ragged as the opposition cut Bere apart with clean, incisive passing, similar to Bere when they have their full strength side out. Despite holding out for 20 minutes, Bere eventually caved in as a slide rule pass found another willing runner and an exquisite finish. Soon after, Bere were 2-0 down as a far post corner was headed perfectly into the top corner. Bere did have their moments, though, and one of those led to Bere’s only goal. Wayne had looked both lively and dangerous all game and he latched onto a lofted pass, drew the keeper towards him, and finished with a composure that Shearer would kill for.

As if to show they were only toying with us, West Quay replied straight from the kick off as, arguably, their best player ghosted past two players and thundered a 25 yard shot into the top corner leaving Steve Ives helpless (although he still argues that he would have got it if it had not got the faintest of touches off Spivey’s shirt). Bere held out resiliently until half-time, but they would need more than the usual half time cup of tea to pull this one out of the fire.

The manager was forced to make two changes at half time. Mark Gale was forced off with the lightweight excuse that he could not breathe, as if that would stop Tony Adams!! Brian Jones was also another casualty as he had driven himself into the ground, as opposed to driving himself into another car, as normal. The manager went for experience as he brought himself and Forrest on as eager replacements, despite the fact that Macca had only just returned from the Motherland at 5.30 that morning.

West Quay, fortunately, had started to get overconfident though (probably the sight of the subs’ Zimmer frames), starting with a shot straight from the kick-off and continuing with a succession of long range shots that had Iver spending more time in the nettles than in the goal (come back Pete, all is forgiven). Despite a goal early on that owed more to the luck of the bounce than to skill, Bere continued to soldier on and started to make a game of it. West Quay started to get rattled afte a bit of fire, passion and skill from Wayne and Johnny; a few crunching tackles from Bungy and some solid defending from Spivey and Macca. Chances started to appear for Bere. Earle weaved his way into a shooting opportunity, only to get a last minute block from a defender. A towering header from Spivey gave Wayne something to chase and from the weak back header Wayne volleyed superbly, only to see it tipped round the post by the keeper.

Earle, once again, found some space (and it has to be a lot for him) at the near post from a corner, but the header left something to be desired (co-ordination for a start). The purple patch soon became black again, though, as Bere tired once more and West Quay stepped up a gear. Another superb individual effort from their ‘one-trick’ midfielder and Bere were 5-1 down and ready to throw in the towel.

Fortunately, the referee had his mind on his holidays and with fully 10 minutes to go he blew the whistle for full-time. Punch-drunk and happy to concede, Bere trooped off the park with heads down. There was no shame in this defeat, though, as all the players battled manfully against a team that will certainly be vying for honours this year. Notoriously slow starters, the best is yet to come from the Sunday heroes!!

SUNDAY 19th SEPTEMBER - Bovington Challengers 1: Bere Regis 3

The difficult start continued for Bere as they played last year’s league champions and a team that only last week had drawn with the early pacesetters, West Quay. This same fixture last year had ended with a 7-1 drubbing for Bere, but with the ‘gang’ of last year back together once again after suspension and tour duties Bere were a much stiffer proposition this year.

The simple task of turning up and getting changed is always a tricky time for our manager and this week was no exception. Adam and Johnny were non-arrivals with a severe case of hangover blues. Wayne looked like something even the cat wouldn't drag in, having had less sleep and more drink than your average rock star. Bungy, on the other hand, looked like something only a very fashionable cat would drag in, after a shopping expedition to River Island.’ They were practically giving it away,’ he said. The general consensus of opinion was that they must have been looking at what had been bought. In fact, there was a genuine danger that if we got too near to the Tank Museum Bungy’s shoes would have been confiscated and used as tank tracks.

Having finally got the team assembled, it proved even more difficult to get them to all find the changing rooms at Bovington. Rob White, being a stickler for tradition, was determined to try and change where he had changed the previous year and, despite Nick’s simple instructions (!), half the team followed him to the wrong changing rooms. Then, while the rest of the team made a bee-line for the pitch that they were to play on, Rob insisted on walking to the front of the barracks to be picked up later by his team mates.

As the crowd watched half the team change in the open air (more a sort of ‘Half Nelson’ than the ‘Full Monty’), Dougie and Sweet went to pick up Rob. Rob was quite wary about accepting a lift from an old man with sweets, but relented when he saw that the match should have started 5 minutes ago. There was just time for a 30-second team talk, a quick introduction of the new keeper (Terry Vater, affectionately known as ‘Paddle’) and the inevitable reshuffle as Iver started at left back, and then we were off. The match was played at a cracking pace, as tackles flew in thick and fast and the ball bounced around like a pinball. Bungy was in his element, scything players down like the ‘Grim Reaper’.

Mark Gale was once again the victim in some fairly heavy challenges, going down more times than Monica Lewinsky in the first half. As the half wore on, Bere started to gain the upper hand. The long ball tactic from Bovington was having no effect, as ‘Paddle’ swept more efficiently than Dougie ever could. The midfield playmakers, such as Rob, Earle and Chris, started to find little bits of space on the crowded pitch to play football. Finally, there was the skill and commitment of the forwards. Where Blackburn used to have their SAS up front (Shearer and Sutton), Bere have CAC up front (Curtis and Cope). Despite looking like something the cat dragged in, Wayne played like a tiger on the pitch, with ferocious tackling and skill to spare. Andy was just as determined and constantly forced the defenders into mistakes. Bere’s persistence was soon rewarded, when a beautiful, flowing move from one side of the pitch to the other found Rob White in space and he buried the ball emphatically past the despairing keeper. This was almost bettered soon after, when a Beckham-like cross from Chris Oram on the right found Wayne’s head at the far post. With the goal at his mercy, Wayne produced a header that really troubled the keeper. Unfortunately, it only troubled him because he had to go and fetch it from the field behind the goal and Bere remained 1-0 up.

There was still time for Earle to curl a delicious free-kick that was just tipped over the bar,before half-time brought a welcome respite for Bovington Strugglers. The second half was a different proposition, though. A tactical switch at half-time meant that Bovington packed the midfield a bit more and gained a lot more possession. With both midfield and attack running from deep Bere were swamped. The Army team threw everything they had at Bere in the first 20 minutes, long balls, short balls, cannonballs, grenades…..but Bere held fast. Bere were springing the offside trap to perfection and Bovington were not happy, receiving a couple of bookings for insulting the linesman and questioning his parentage. It is lucky that Macca gets good training at this on a Wednesday night, or his resolve might have cracked. It was almost like an episode of the ‘X Files’ at one point, with the strange sight of Rob White actually coming back to defend, clearing off the line no less!! That was the last straw, as Bere realised they had sat back for too long. With a bit more fire in their belly they got themselves back in the game.

A perfectly flighted corner was headed on by both Bungy and Iver and there was Ian Macklin to outjump(!) the last defender on the line and make it 2-0. As usual, Bere made it difficult for themselves, once again, by conceding a soft goal soon after, but the fire and bite remained to ensure that they were not swamped again. Chris Oram was booked for viciously slamming his cheek onto a Bovington elbow. Earle was booked for getting the ball, admittedly via the man. It was, however, Rob White again who produced a moment of magic to seal the game for Bere. Rob used his immense upper body strength to shrug off one of the Queen’s finest (the Queen being Julian Clarey). A little look up told him where the goalie was and he imperiously lobbed him from fully 30 yards for a peach of a goal.

From that moment on there was just one team in it. Bungy ‘Jigsaw’ Brown could, and should, have added another as he robbed the last defender and bore down on the keeper. Unforunately,he lived up to his nickname once again as he fell to pieces in the box, almost passing it back to the keeper in the end. Earle capped a fine midfield display with a 25 yard strike that seemed destined for the top corner until’Fatboy Slim’ in goal managed to get airborne and tip it away for the corner. ‘Paddle’ was getting bored in goal, even to the point of fluffing an easy save to make an even more difficult one at the feet of the Bovington forward. The final whistle came as a welcome relief to Bovington. A 3-1 win against one of the fancied teams and surely more to come.

SUNDAY 26th SEPTEMBER Bere Regis 4: Sturminster Marshall 1

Another tricky game was in prospect, as Bere played the last of the sides to be promoted with them from last season. Bere had lost the last two home games against Stur, so it was never going to be easy. Thankfully, the absence of Freaks in the Stur side (and the inclusion of some in the Bere side) made this an easier game than first imagined. Bere’s cause was not helped by the number of hangovers in the changing room. A drugs test in the Bere changing room before a game would show excessive quantities of Aspirin and Paracetamol in the blood, thanks to Macca’s essential first aid kit. There was also the absence of Earle Dacre to contend with, his normal ‘holding’ role converting to one of holding the baby until half past three in the morning. With a referee less understanding than Hitler, Bere were forced to start without him, with Steve Ives fulfilling his utility player role once again by marauding up front.

The first half saw constant pressure by Bere Regis, but little to show for it. Stur hardly left their own half in the first 20 minutes as Bere piled on the pressure. Despite their domination, there were precious few shots on target as players either took one touch too many or missed the goal altogether. The manager was just starting to tear what little hair he had out again when Bere, finally, took the lead. Kev Cox, the Ginger Menace, attacked down the right wing again and after, some devastating short play had sliced Stur apart, Rob White produced a killer ball that Kev somehow squeezed between the keeper and the post. This should have been the platform on which to build, instead Bere dug themselves into a hole! A solitary attack from Stur allowed a one-on-one at the back post with ‘Paddle’. A marvellous block only allowed the ball to ricochet to another Stur player, who blasted the ball at the arm of our immovable ‘Ben Nevis’ on the line for a debatable penalty. This was duly dispatched and Stur were level. After a funny five minutes, Bere started to reassert themselves and it was no surprise that Bere took the lead before half time. Some more marauding from the excellent Kev Cox earned a corner. A superb delivery from Chris Oram caused confusion in defence and Rob White, although playing some way below his normal Premiership standard, was still on the spot to hammer the ball into the roof of the net and go off on one of his crazed goal celebrations once again.

A rocket from the manager at half time produced a great improvement in the second half. From the off, Bere let the ball do the work with quick, accurate passing and devastating movement off the ball. Kev and Chris were a marriage made in heaven on the right hand side, as Stur’s defence were cut to ribbons. It was not long before Bere scored again. A desperate defensive clearance fell kindly to Wayne in the area. With a poise far beyond his years he produced a pinpoint pass to Chris through a melee of players and Chris finished in style. As the game wore on, Bere looked more and more like the Man U of the Sunday league, soaking up the pressure and then breaking in style. Kev Cox continued to impress and was on hand once again to finish off another devastating move for his second and Bere’s fourth. From then on , Kev became an out and out striker, searching for that elusive hat-trick. Fortunately it never came, as Bere are short of match balls, and the score remained at 4-1 at the final whistle.

SUNDAY 3rd OCTOBER Pimperne 0: Bere Regis 7

Bere’s manager is very much like Bungy’s ex-girlfriends, never satisfied. Before the game he made it plain that, whilst the team was winning, we were still not playing the football that he knows we are capable of. Unlike the previous away game at Bovington, Bere managed to find the changing rooms without mishap, although Spivey did try to go to Pimperne via Wimborne. There was even time for the manager to go through the team formation as, in the absence of Chris Oram, Macca slotted into the back three and Johnny Cleall stepped up into midfield.

Playing into the wind into the first half, Bere soon asserted their authority and passed the ball around with ease. This was the Regis of yesteryear, tackling with venom, taking on the opposition and cutting their defence to ribbons. Wayne Cope was the first to score, with a neat finish from another flowing Bere move. A second followed soon after, and what a gem it was! A beautifully flighted cross from the left found Rob ‘Gustavo’ White in acres of space. Without a moment’s hesitation he caught the ball sweetly on the volley from the edge of the area and smashed it into the back of the net off the inside of the post. The third could not have been more different. A corner was floated in on the wind and completely misjudged by both attack and defence. Wayne Cope was not fooled, though, and knew exactly what he was doing as the ball deflected off his arse and into the net. Total football!! Pimperne struggled manfully to get back into the game, but on the couple of occasions they did manage to get the ball into the Bere half (thanks to Rob’s precision corners) they could not get it past Macca, who could not put a foot (or is it two feet?) wrong. Bere finished the first half with another classic goal. Wonderful anticipation from Spivey won the ball and a precision pass gave Rob White time and space on the ball. One look up and a delightful left foot pass found the ever-willing Andy Curtis running beyond the last defender. All it needed was the finish and Andy duly obliged, thundering the ball in off the crossbar to make it 4-0 at half-time.

The second half was a different story, though. Maybe it was the sight of Steve Ives relaxing on the bank like some porn star, needing only a moustache and some corny music to finish off the effect. Maybe it was the comment that if Macca had done the same then the Cerne Giant would have had some competition. Most likely is the fact that, with the wind at their backs and a 4-0 lead, Bere reverted to the long ball game and a shoot on sight policy. This started from the kick-off as, incited by his fellow team-mates, Rob White tried a shot from the kick-off that only a Man Utd keeper would have let in. As chance after chance went begging, the manager began to despair that we would score again. The turning point came when Bungy Brown, our occasional goalscorer, stole in at the near post to slot the ball past a despairing keeper. The sight of Bungy scoring against them tipped the Pimperne players over the edge and they gave up altogether. Firstly, they resorted to violence. A Pimperne player with a set of ‘chops’ that would make Johnny Vaughan blush took a kick at Macca when the ref was not looking. Then, realising that Macca was used to abuse and violence, they resorted to comedy, with defensive clearances that went backwards not forwards and shouts of ‘ Go on, Ginola’ every time Rob White touched the ball. This massive ego boost, not that it needs too much of a boost, encouraged Rob to greater things as not long after he rounded two defenders and slotted the ball precisely into the corner to make it 6-0. There was just time for one more goal, as Ian Macklin almost took the roof off the net from 5 yards out, before the ref blew the final whistle for a resounding 7-0 win for Bere. This left Bere second in the league, only one point behind favourites West Quay and looking good.

SUNDAY 17th OCTOBER Bere Regis 21: Poole Labour 0

As I have said before, there are no easy games in this league, except maybe for Poole Labour at home. Currently, the League’s whipping boys they were coming from a 13-0 drubbing against West Quay and were yet to score a goal. Bere had their own worries, however, losing their talisman, Rob White, through holiday commitments; their hardman, Bungy Brown, through injury; and their McManaman, Chris Oram, who had gone to watch the Rams get a beating, as opposed to Bungy, who was giving the sheep a beating. This proved to be no problem at all, though, as Nick Macklin now has a squad that even Alex Ferguson looks on with envy. He was able to draft in proven internationals, such as Steve Ives and Ian Macklin, and still name three quality substitutes. Poole Labour could only marvel at this strength in depth, as they started the game with just nine players, most of which were older than our own Scottish antique.

It was, therefore, no surprise when the goals started to flow from the off as Bere, with the bold gamble of three up front, attacked with skill and pace (against Poole Labour’s Hale and Pace) and were 2-0 up after 5 minutes. An exquisite own goal at the back post from a nervous Poole Labour defender started the rout off and it went downhill from there for the poor beleaguered Poole team. There is not enough space to describe every goal as Bere raced away to a 13-0 lead at half-time, but some of the more memorable ones deserve a mention. Johnny Cleall managed two with his standing foot in a first half hat-trick, one a volley that almost knocked the goal over. Macca once again showed off his favourite trick as he gave us another lazy lob in the box. Earle span like a top to beat the last defender and the offside trap, before calmly rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home. Wayne, Kev Cox and Andy Curtis all showed they have been diligently watching ‘Michael Owen’s Soccer Skills’ as they produced top quality finishes, although Wayne got more of a cheer for an air shot of epic proportions in the penalty area. The goal of the half was probably produced by Poole Labour, though, as a hapless defender mishit the ball with one foot and lashed it into the net with the other. Paddle, in our goal, felt about as useful as a chocolate teapot. This may explain why, in one of the rare occasions the ball came into the Bere half, he almost gifted them a goal as he tried to dribble it past their attacker. Luckily, Paddle has the skill to hoof the ball up the field and Bere finished the half 13-0 ahead.

The second half was more of the same as Bere made the most of a chance to improve their goal difference. Spivey started the scoring off with a near post header from a corner that was booted away from inside the goal. Luckily, the ref was on the spot to see that justice was done. Andy Curtis rapped another one in shortly after, but Bere then had a bit of a lean spell. Passes were missed, shots were wayward and on one occasion Poole Labour actually managed to get into the Bere half. Paddle even had to put his paper down to deal with it! Fortunately, this did not last and Wayne, who had missed more chances than a blind Monopoly player, finally got his shooting boots on with a goal for the record books, scored with his left foot no less!! The mood was soon taken up by the rest of the team, as Andy chalked up five altogether, Wayne eventually reached four and Adam relinquished the flag long enough to lash the ball past a suicidal keeper. Even Mark Gale managed to find the net with one of his better shots, most of his others were reminiscent of Johnny Wilkinson against Italy, but a fraction higher!! As the referee blew his whistle for a glorious 21-0 victory, Steve Ives looked a bit sadder than most as the only player, except Paddle, who had not scored. I am sure the old trophies were unpacked that night for Steve to reminisce on the times when he could score goals. Another three points in the bag and Bere remain one point behind West Quay in second place, albeit with the best ‘goals for’ in the league.

SUNDAY 31st October Coolshore Utd 2: Bere Regis 3

After a severe case of rain stopped play the week before, it was business as usual at wild and windy ‘Chapelgate’ pitch against another old adversary with a new name (aka Kings Arms). Bungy was still absent with a suspected double break (one in his leg and one in his relationship). Earle was off ‘Dancing with Wolves’, once again. Steve Ives was absent, presumably suffering from jet lag. Otherwise, the team was much the same as normal, but with many of the team suffering from illness in one form or another. Rob White had a severe head cold, Spivey had a stomach complaint (it’s too fat!) and Macca was weak and listless (could be blood loss). Luckily, Adam had enough drugs to get everyone started and the game commenced.

Against the wind, Bere did not start well in the first few minutes. To say that Coolshore adopted the Wimbledon approach would be an insult to Wombles everywhere. The ball was in the air longer than Payne Stewart! It soon proved effective, though, as a hopeful through ball sprang Bere's weak offside trap and their forward finished immaculately to give Coolshore the lead in the first five minutes. Bere never lost their heads and slowly began to dominate the game, as they finally brought the ball back to ground and began to pass it around. Kev Cox was once again on Duracell batteries, as he, Rob and Chrissy ran rings around the opposition on the right hand side. Chances soon followed, but we caught their keeper on a day when he would have saved the Devil himself. First Andy, then Wayne, then Johnny and even when the keeper was beaten, the crossbar was there to deny Bere their deserved equaliser. Bere came off at half-time 1-0 down, certain that they had used up all their goals in that one game against Poole Labour.

The second half continued in the same vein, as Bere struggled to find the net. Kev Cox picked up where he left off, tormenting the Coolshore defence to distraction and creating chance after chance. Ian Macklin hit the bar with a thunderous drive. Then, horror of horrors, even Rob White showed he was human by blasting over from 3 yards out. This was, surely, not going to be Bere’s day. Just when you thought things could not get any worse, they did!! Rob White controlled the ball on the edge of the area and left it for Andy to finish into the far corner for a deserved equaliser. But no, the referee disallowed the goal for Andy not calling a name when he shouted ‘Rob leave it’. This caused our loyal away supporter to give the referee so much abuse that he booked his son. Andy made sure the ref got a name this time, shouting each letter into his face. He won’t forget the name ‘CRUSTI’ in a hurry. All these shenanigans finally had the effect of waking the sleeping tiger and Bere roared into life. Bere had yet to play their trump card, the magician that is ‘Nwayneu’ Cope. For his first trick he slotted the ball past the despairing keeper from a perfect ‘White’ through ball to equalise. This, unfortunately, was a day when Bere’s normally trusty old defence was playing like the old Arsenal defence, but without the ‘nal’. Another missed offside and Bere were 2-1 down. No problem for the magician and his lovely assistant. A big boot from Paddle, a sublime flick from Rob White and ‘Nwayneu’ was there once again to produce a perfect lob and the equalising goal. Even when his lovely assistant was taken off with a gorgeous black eye, the magician had one last rabbit to pull out of his hat. Ghosting in behind the defence once more he slotted the ball into the corner for the winning goal and a deserved hat-trick. Despite playing against 11 men and the referee, Bere had once again laughed in the face of defeat and won 3-2. This result has kept Bere in second place in the league behind West Quay. Next week, the Cup and all the thrills and spills of another Regis Cup run.

SUNDAY 7TH NOVEMBER Hamworthy Royals 3: Bere Regis 2 (Cup)

Aaah….the magic of the cup, the magic for Bere being watch them disappear in a puff of smoke. Nick Macklin had almost a full squad to choose from, with Bungy limping back from injury. The one key absentee was Paddles in goal, tempted away (as most footballers are nowadays) by the lure of more money, although not hyper-inflated transfer fees in this case, more double-time during the Christmas rush at work. There was still, however, the reassuring sight of Steve Ives filling the goal as only he can.

Little was known about Hamworthy, apart from a few useful results in the league, so the manager started with his trusty 3-5-2 on a pitch that would make a postage stamp seem spacious. Whilst the pitch had more furrows than most of Bungy’s ploughed fields, Bere were passing the ball confidently on the little grass there was and started the game at a gallop. Kev Cox picked up from where he had left off last week and, with the help of Chris and Rob, sliced the Hamworthy right flank apart. For his first goal, he robbed the last defender and coolly slotted the ball inside the keeper’s near post, as Andy kept the keeper’s mind in two places with a perfectly timed run for the cross. His second goal was spectacular, a volley from fully 25 yards that gave the keeper no chance and set Bere up perfectly to stride easily into the next round. Twenty minutes gone, 2-0 up and cruising. It was then that Bere stopped playing and Hamworthy started. The Hamworthy forwards used their superior speed and agility against Bere’s ageing back line, now bolstered by the pace of Earle Dacre. Holes started to appear in all areas, particularly between Spivey’s legs as an embarrassing ‘nutmeg’ had Mark Gale laughing so much he almost let their forward in to score. As it was, Hamworthy did score before half-time, a scrappy goal as Bere failed to clear from a corner, which gave them hope for the second half.

At half-time, Nick made a few changes to try and plug the gaps in our leaking defence by switching to a 4-4-2, bringing Johnny Cleall back, and switching Kev Cox to left midfield. The second half still did not spark Bere back into life, though, and as the game wore on Bere’s luck ran out. The ball was attracted to the Hamworthy players like a magnet and no matter how hard Bere tried they could not get it back. With the luck of the bounce in Hamworthy’s favour it was only a matter of time before they scored, another scrappy goal as a deflection from Rob White’s head caught Iver off balance in goal. Despite the save, the ball fell straight to a Hamworthy forward (surprise,surprise!), who despite Iver’s best efforts managed to force the ball in. The final humiliation came in the last few minutes, as another hopeful ball in flicked off a Hamworthy head to another willing runner, who smashed the ball eagerly past poor Iver. With little time to do anything Bere were out of sorts, out of luck and out of the Cup. At least there is still the league!! With West Quay’s win over Bere cancelled because of ineligible players on the West Quay side, Bere now find themselves third, but the only team with a 100% record. The bad news is that Poole Labour dropped out of the league, which has taken away three points and 21 goals from Bere. Macca and Spivey will have to try somewhere else for their habitual one goal a season!!

SUNDAY 14TH NOVEMBER Bere Regis 5: Weld Arms 1

With the disappointment of an early Cup exit behind them, Bere now have their minds firmly set on that elusive league title. Only one injury worry this week, as Chris Oram was suffering from a throat infection, with a voice so husky that Nick thought he was listening to one of those 0898 numbers (must have pressed redial accidentally). This gave Adam an opportunity to shine in midfield, as Johnny moved back to left back and Earle moved up into his accustomed ‘Ince’ role, covering the back three. With both teams out warming up early, there was only one vital ingredient missing, the referee! The obligatory two minutes silence came and went and still no sign, so much for ‘Remembrance’ Sunday. It is times like these that Nick’s famed powers of persuasion come in handy, as before our very eyes Dean Rogerson transformed himself from a bored and hungover supporter to a Class 1 referee, complete with his own whistle.

As the game kicked off, though, Bere must have wished that he had not taken up the whistle. On the back foot from the start, Bere were penned in their own half for the first fifteen minutes, with Pete Larder and Steve Ives getting more exercise than most. Bere had about as much rhythm as Macca after 6 pints and it was only a huge slice of luck that pulled them back into the game. As Wayne chased a hopeful long ball there was a spectacular mix up between the last defender and his keeper, as the defender coolly slotted the ball into an empty net, although Rob White still tried to claim it! Bere managed to assert themselves a bit more, but it was still not pretty to watch as passes were missed, tackles were wayward and the team bickered and argued so much that some of the married players felt that they were back at home. It took a moment of supreme skill from Earle Dacre to wake Bere from their slumbers and increase their lead. Riding challenges like a fat Lester Piggott he saw Adam making a run from deep. With one imperious swing of that mighty left foot he arced a pinpoint 40 yard pass into Adam’s path, who finished with ease to make it 2-0 to Bere and, despite the best efforts of both teams, this is how it stayed at half-time.

The second half started in much the same way as the first. With the notable exception of Earle Dacre, a colossus in midfield, Bere’s timing was slightly off, which allowed Weld Arms to dominate. The defence held out for as long as they could, with Johnny Cleall impregnable at left back, but it was only a matter of time before the ramparts were breached. An amazing save from stand-in keeper Steve Ives stopped one certain goal, who then spoilt his professional image by giving everyone a bow. A last ditch tackle by Spivey when Weld seemed certain to score prevented another. It was third time lucky for Weld, though, as their 6’5 defender brushed Bungy aside from a corner and powered the ball in off the post to pull one goal back. The manager need not have worried as Bere only do this to put a few more grey hairs on the old man.

They finally found that extra gear and powered away from Weld in some style. An excellent run from Rob White could only be stopped by foul means on the edge of the penalty area. They were doubly penalised for this when a Weld player took exception to Dean’s decision and used language that even Zoe Ball would be frightened of using. Down to ten men and with a free-kick in a dangerous position, things did not look good for Weld. This was time for Bere’s well rehearsed free-kick routine. As Mark and Earle bickered over who would take the kick, Rob White stole in on the blind side and with the immortal words ‘I’m ‘aving this’, blasted an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner. Once again, the goal celebrations were outrageous as Rob and several others, including supporters, made a mess of the nearest hedge. A stricter referee would have sent him off, but we were not so lucky! Things got worse for Weld as Bere attacked straight from the restart and gained a penalty as a Weld defender did his famous ‘kitten playing with a ball of wool’ impersonation, by lying on his back in the penalty area and batting the ball back to the keeper with his hand. The penalty was duly despatched by Mark ‘Birthday Boy’ Gale (21 again) and Bere were 4-1 up. Bere were now rampant and it was left to Adam Rogerson to finish the scoring off in style. Spivey picked up a loose ball in midfield and curled a sweet left foot pass into Adam’s path. Having just missed a left foot shot with a similar run 5 minutes before, Adam made no mistake with his right foot and Bere ran out easy 5-1 winners, though not without a scare!!

This leaves Bere second in the league with a 100% record and a game in hand on the leaders. Next stop, Hamworthy Royals and a chance for revenge for that Cup defeat!!

SUNDAY 21st NOVEMBER Hamworthy Royals 2: Bere Regis 1

The microscopic pitches of Upton Rec beckoned once again, as Bere attempted to exact revenge. Whilst Chrissy Oram had managed to shake off his virus, Nick was without the services of that old war horse Darren Spivey due to a calf injury ( Iver had hit him with one for not buying enough eggs ). Despite this, the team still looked strong with the return of Dean Rogerson in the position of centre back as Bere, once again, reverted to a flat back four against the Royals, presumably to counter the attacking instincts of Prince Charles on the right!! As the only team still to have a 100% record Bere were starting to feel the pressure, especially now they had started to attract a cult following, or something like that. A win was desperately needed to keep pace with the runaway leaders West Quay.

Hamworthy were once again late on parade, although perhaps this was a bit of kidology as they started much the stronger of the two teams. Bere were forced back into their own half from the start and for the first twenty minutes there was only one team in it, as Bere fought valiantly uphill and against the wind. Despite some remarkable goalkeeping from Steve Ives, Bere went one down after 15 minutes, when the Hamworthy forward ran fully 40 yards unchallenged to slot the ball inside the near post. Despite protestations that the ball had gone out of play earlier the referee was unmoved and the goal stood. Bere started to show flashes of what they are capable of with a surging move on the right hand side that caught the defence napping, but it was Hamworthy who continued to dominate the first half. As their confidence rose they made two fatal mistakes. The first was trying to walk the ball into the net, as they missed two golden chances near the end of the half. The second was trying to take the mickey out of a talented Bere side with some fancy footwork, the most notable being a nutmeg on Mark Gale that certainly brightened Spivey’s day. This fired Bere up into some hard tackling and some serious arguing. Rob White led the way with a verbal assault on the linesman that left him reeling and bemused, especially when Rob complained to the ref that the linesman had sworn at him ( Is there no depths to which this man will not stoop? ). It was quite understandable, though, as he had just cheated Bere out of a legitimate goal from Wayne Cope that would have left the sides level at half-time. As it was, Bere were lucky to be only one down, but still everything to play for in the second half.

Half-time gave Nick Macklin the chance to put his tactical genius to work and he did this to great effect. ‘Kindergarten’ Cox was switched to left midfield and Chris Oram rose from the subs’ bench to mesmerise and tantalise on the right hand side. A verbal rocket fired Bere up to fever pitch and at the start of the second half Hamworthy never knew what hit them. Tackles flew in thick and fast and Bere dominated in much the same way that Hamworthy dominated the first. The Royals defended desperately but could find no answer to the commitment and skill that Bere were showing. Once again, it was the magician ‘Nwaynewu’ Cope who fired Bere level with a wonderful finish from another flowing Bere move and it looked like there was only one team in it. Even worse for Hamworthy was their swearing problem. Every time they swore they had a free-kick awarded against them, this made them more frustrated and so they swore some more and so they got penalised etc etc. If only Bere had a Beckham or a Zola they would have been home and dry. As it was, Bere’s free kick routines were more ‘Morecambe and Wise’ than ‘Zola and Wise’, with mis-hits and air shots galore. Whilst Bere were playing the better football they were missing chances and you cannot afford to do that at this level. Wayne headered over from just under the bar. Rob White, obviously afraid of messing his hair up, met an inch perfect cross with a powder puff header that just made it to the keeper. It was at this point that Hamworthy decided it was time to get their retaliation in first. Johnny Cleall was kicked one time too many for his liking and proceeded to chase the culprit across the pitch before launching into a less than convincing Lennox Lewis impersonation. Although (somehow!) the referee allowed him to stay on the pitch, from the resulting free kick Bere did not pick up the runners and Hamworthy took the lead through the legs of Steve Ives. The game was on a knife edge from there onwards and could have gone either way. Andy Curtis missed on the goal line when it seemed easier to score. Meanwhile at the other end Johnny Cleall cleared spectacularly off the goal line with Iver well and truly beaten. Though Bere threw everything but the kitchen sink at them, the Hamworthy defence remained solid and Bere had lost their unbeaten record.

Bere now slip down to third behind West Quay and Hamworthy, although with three games in hand on Hamworthy. Next Sunday, another top of the table clash against old rivals West Quay at Turlin Moor. Be sure to bring your shin pads, spectators included!!

SUNDAY 28th NOVEMBER West Quay Marina 8: Bere Regis 2

The less said the better.

SUNDAY 5th DECEMBER Weld Arms 2: Bere Regis 0

Injuries and work commitments continue to dog the Bere Regis team as they were without Paddle, Spivey, Oram, Cleall and Curtis for a difficult away tie. There was still an air of confidence, though, as Bere arrived at Lulworth and the shabbiest changing room in the league. Despite the sofa and carpet, Bere’s superstars were used to much better and the thought of using a hosepipe to shower afterwards probably caused the lack of concentration that was to follow.

The first half started disastrously for Bere and got worse as it went along. Failing to clear a free-kick after 5 minutes a well struck shot found its way through the huddle of players and into the net to give Weld the lead. Soon after it was 2-0 as appeals for a push in the back were ignored by the referee and a Weld player was given acres of room to pick his spot. There was little to admire from either team in the first half as the game became scrappy, but certainly Bere could play a lot better than this. The team spirit and rhythm seemed to have gone completely, with more bitches than can be found in Pricey’s batchelor pad. Half time was a welcome respite for both players and spectators and a chance for Nick Macklin to have his say.

After the manager had made his feelings particularly clear in the interval, Bere started the second half brightly. Rob White dropped back to pick up the loose ball and began to use it to great effect. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when the opposition goal (and keeper) led a charmed life. A spectacular point blank save at the feet of Wayne Cope saved one certain goal. A series of goal-line clearances from a corner saved another. A one-on one between Wayne and the keeper normally ends in a goal, but the shot beat the keeper and then just slid past the post. Another spectacular save from a rasping shot by Ian Macklin and the Gods were well and truly against Bere Regis.

As Bere pressed harder, gaps appeared in the defence and chances were missed at both ends in what was an exciting and entertaining game for the neutral. Steve Ives was particularly keen to entertain the neutral as he tried to take on the Weld forward, forgetting that he had lost that yard of pace about 10 years ago. Luckily, the opposition were in a forgiving mood and decided to head over an open goal from 5 yards out. As Bere were not able to entertain their cult following with pretty football, they continued where Steve had left off with pratty football. Ian Macklin showed off his famous trick of sitting down on the ball to confuse the defenders, then getting up and running off with it again. Kev Cox was passing to the channels with great effect, unfortunately it was the English and Bristol Channels as his slice became more severe. Even the great Rob White joined in when he seemed to be going through puberty at one point, with a shriek that had dogs running for cover and bats coming out to see what all the racket was about. In between this entertainment, Bere contrived to miss some more chances as Wayne knocked the ball over the bar on the line and a Weld defender joined in with a clearance that just shaved the top of the bar. Near the end, when it was all over bar the shouting, the shouting started with a final chance to bicker before everyone joined up in the bar afterwards. The last word, however, went to Steve Ives with a finger point and a ‘SHUT YOUR MOUTH’ that would grace any episode of Eastenders. With a final score of 2-0 to the Weld, there was still plenty of entertainment for Bere’s long-suffering fans, but little for their even longer-suffering manager. Will the slump continue and Nick go the way of other managers under ‘Deadly’ Cyril, the chairman. Find out next week!!

SUNDAY, 12TH DECEMBER Bere Regis 3: Coolshore Utd 3

The knives were out for Nick Macklin as his young charges faced bottom-of-the-league Coolshore in a match they dare not lose. The return of Spivey to peak fitness once more, with Chris Oram and Andy Curtis also available must have given the manager a few sleepless nights in his team selection prior to the Sunday. He need not have worried, though, as Johnny Cleall aggravated an injury on the Saturday whilst Steve Ives, in common with Man Utd players of late, had transport problems. However, unlike Messrs. Beckham and Cole his car does not even start let alone speed. Luckily, Nick had a more than adequate replacement in Earle Dacre and with Wayne slotting in at wing-back the team virtually picked itself.

The way Bere started the game, you would never have believed they had been out of sorts for a few weeks. Passing and moving with verve and skill, Bere tore the opposition apart and, but for the lack of a final ball, could have been 3 or 4 ahead in the first 20 minutes. Ian Macklin had left his shooting boots at home as he miscued 2 efforts which he would normally have put away with his eyes closed. Bungy shot past the keeper, only to see his effort cleared off the line, although the shot itself was so pitiful that I doubt it would have made it over the line. With Chrissy and Rob pulling the strings and Kev and Wayne probing for weaknesses it was only a matter of time before we saw a goal. Unfortunately, it was at the wrong end. On one of the few occasions that Coolshore ventured into the Bere half a hopeful cross developed more bend than Dale Winton and, somehow, crept into the far corner of the goal. Unbelievably, this was how it stayed until half-time despite sustained pressure on the Coolshore goal. Bere trooped in at half-time to nurse their injured pride, except for Rob White who trooped in to nurse an injured something else. Rob had, earlier in the game, been a victim of the sort of tackle that starts off with one ball on the pitch and ends up with three. However, he is not known as the’ Man of Iron’ for nothing and he manfully carried on with a swelling in his shorts that even Macca was eyeing enviously.

Expecting the worst at half-time, the team were surprised to find Nick Macklin positively drooling, and not just because he had forgotten to take his tablet that morning. His message was very simple, keep playing like that and the goals will come. Little did we know how quickly that prophecy would come true. Two minutes into the second half and Bere were level. A simple one-two between Wayne and Spivey on the left gave Wayne half a yard of space. That was all that was needed as he left one defender for dead and flighted a beautiful cross that found Rob White at the back post. One touch to control, one touch to finish and the ball was nestling nicely in the corner of the net. Bere continued to play some pretty football, but with the final touch missing and lady luck constantly sleeping with the enemy lately Bere soon found themselves behind once more. A lightning break by Coolshore left Bere exposed at the back post and Earle could only pick the ball out of the back of the net. Bere soon got back into the game with a goal that was about as pretty as Bungy. A scramble in the goalmouth saw some desperate defending and woeful shooting, until Ian Macklin was on hand to toe poke the ball into the corner and Bere were level. Minutes later, they were ahead for the first time in the game. A wicked near post corner from Rob White was missed by both Bungy and the defenders and there was ‘Johnny on the spot’ Ian Macklin again to give Bere the lead. All Bere needed to do was shut up shop and they were home and dry. Unfortunately, Bere’s defence were ‘Open All Hours’ as they contrived to give Coolshore the equaliser. A hopeful punt upfield should have been meat and drink to Mark Gale. However, a bobble at the wrong moment and all Mark could do was miscue an inch perfect through ball to the centre forward. Dean Rogerson tried to make amends, but only succeeded in bundling the forward over to give a penalty to Coolshore. Despite a valiant effort by Earle, the penalty was expertly put away and Bere were left to rue what might have been. There might still have been time for Bere to win it, but an excellent save from the Coolshore keeper from Andy Curtis meant that the scores stayed level. There might also have been time if the referee had followed the normal tradition of adding injury time on and not taking it off, which seems the only explanation for a very short second half.

A point was some consolation for Nick after a desperate last few weeks and might save him yet from Cyril’s chopper. Talking of which, after some close examination of Rob White’s horrific injury the thought is that he may be scarred for wife!!

SUNDAY, 9TH JANUARY Bere Regis 3: Windgreen 1

After the long winter break and a chance to recharge the batteries (with lager), Bere were back to the job of dragging themselves out of their recent slump. With this reporter, unfortunately, on a special assignment at the London Boat Show we have only second hand accounts of what went on, and it is amazing how many people played amazingly well!! The big plus for the manager for the New Year was the return of Paddles in goal, with Bere having won every game with him between the sticks.

By all accounts, the first half was some of the best football Bere have played all season, or previous seasons. Rob White ran the show as only he can and the only downside was a lack of finishing (Bere’s age old problem) as Bere came in at half time only one goal to the good.

The second half saw Windgreen creep back into the game and at 2-1 to Bere they had chances to not only draw level but even take the lead, as they sprang Bere’s flimsy offside trap. The imposing figure of Paddles in goal is enough to frighten anyone, including his defence, and Bere made sure nearer the end to finish up with a deserved 3-1 win.

This could be a turning point for Bere, not only on the pitch but off as well with the arrival of Cox’s lunchbox. Before the girls get too carried away, it is nowhere near as exciting as Linford’s lunchbox, with far less meat to go round, but it certainly fills a hole at the end of the game.

Bere Regis 2: Pimperne 0

With almost a full strength squad to choose from, the manager’s main concern was who to leave out. He decided to try Spivey in midfield and give Rob White a run up front, against a Pimperne side that had improved no end since their 7-0 thrashing early in the season.

Bere started at a gallop and quickly took the lead, thanks to a graceful leap and deft header by Wayne Cope from an inch perfect corner by Chris Oram. This should have been a platform to build on, but Bere lost their way somewhat, playing with as much passion as Frenchy after 10 pints of lager. Every now and again, Bere turned on the style and should have scored again when Kev Cox had time to pick his spot from 10 yards out, but the only spot he found was in the middle of the crossbar. Pimperne could not take advantage of Bere’s lethargy, though, with their best chance just shaving the outside of the post, although I am sure Paddles had it covered. Johnny Cleall tried to make it 1-1 at half time as he committed the cardinal sin of passing across the face of the goal, straight to a Pimperne forward. Luckily, the referee spotted the’ Hand of God’ used to control the ball (or the ‘Hand of Thank God’ for Johnny) and Bere could breathe again. 1-0 up at half time, but Bere were playing well within themselves.

The second half was a much more one-sided affair as, with the wind at their backs, Bere kept Pimperne penned in for virtually the whole half. Still they could not kill Pimperne off as a combination of good keeping and bad finishing kept Pimperne in the game. With Chris Oram setting up attack after attack from in front of the back three it was surely just a matter of time before Bere made the game safe. Earle Dacre kept pulling the trigger from the edge of the area, but could only fire blanks. Bungy blasted a ferocious shot goalwards, but straight at the keeper, whose fist out almost made it back to the halfway line. Andy Curtis rattled one against the crossbar, which appeared to bounce back down over the line, but the ref was too far away (and too grumpy) to give it. Even Rob White and Wayne Cope showed they were human, missing what for players of their ability would be described as simple chances. Pimperne almost stole a point near the end as they slipped the offside trap and had a clear run on goal. Fortunately, Paddles frightened the poor forward out of his wits and he tried an ambitious shot from far out that just crept wide. The game was made safe right at the death with a bizarre goal that was almost an offside and certainly an own goal, but I am sure Rob White will still claim it. A 2-0 win, probably a fair result in the end, but Bere can certainly do much better than this.

This has left Bere joint top of the table, level with West Quay, but having played 3 games more. The next stop is Bere’s old friends and rivals, Sturminster Marshall.

SUNDAY 23RD JANUARY Sturminster Marshall 0: Bere Regis 4

Conditions were once again almost perfect for a feast of football, in the middle of the housing estate at Stur Marshall. This has been a happy hunting ground in the past two seasons, as Bere have triumphed in the last two away visits. The only worry for the manager was the back injury sustained by his midfield playmaker Rob White, caused by reaching for his wallet to buy a round and using muscles which are rarely used to such exercise. Whilst Rob was the victim of a bad back, Kev Cox was still suffering from a bad backpass sustained in the 4-3 defeat by Stickland the previous day. It was lucky that he had such sympathetic and understanding team mates to nurse him through his terrible ordeal. With Rob White starting on the bench, Nick started with CAC (Curtis and Cope) up front and gave Johnny Cleall a run at left midfield, a decision which had a profound influence on the game.

Bere started the game in a hurry to win it, putting Stur on the back foot straight away despite playing against the wind. With Bungy and Earle tackling as if their lives depended on it this gave Chris Oram the chance to do what he does best, picking up the loose ball and finding the gaps. It was not long before Bere were ahead, although it was not thanks to Bere’s wonderful attacking play but a hideous back pass (not you this time Kev) that Earle pounced on like an eager kitten and finished with aplomb. Before long, Bere found themselves 2-0 up. Once again, Chris found space on the right hand side and floated in a delicious cross that Johnny powered in from all of one yard out. Then, tragedy struck. It is a well known fact that Johnny has admired Beckham for a long time and modelled his lifestyle on him…the goatee beard….the thong….the tattoo of Bere Regis on his bottom. Unfortunately, he took his obsession that bit too far and, in a scene reminiscent of Argentina ’98, he lashed out after a particularly nasty challenge from a Stur head case. You simply cannot do that at this level of football and, whilst the Stur head case was quite rightly sent off for trying to decapitate him, we had to say goodbye to Johnny for the rest of the game. Apparently, Johnny is looking to switch to direct debit for his fines as he seeks to fund the DCFA all on his own. This setback did not disturb Bere’s rhythm and they soon went 3-0 up as a long throw from the tireless Earle Dacre found Wayne Cope at the near post. Exquisite close control and a precision finish were all that was needed and Wayne was happy to oblige. However, with both sides down to 10 men, Bere began to tire at the end of the half and, but for a goal line clearance from Spivey, Stur could have cut the deficit. As it was, Bere held out and went in at half time three goals to the good.

With the game effectively over as a contest, the second half was more like a training session than a football match. This was witnessed by the fact that Stur had 9 players on the pitch for 10 minutes, obviously the manager was trying the Tranmere trick but could not quite understand the concept. With both sides simply going through the motions, there was even time for Dean Rogerson to show off his party trick ( No, not that one) as he glided his way past several players before fluffing the final pass. Bere never really got out of second gear, but still managed to create chances against a disappointing Stur team. Wayne was clean through against the keeper and waited for him to fall at his feet before confidently hitting it at him. Another beautifully flighted cross from Chrissy Oram found Kev Cox at the back post, but he blasted over from a few yards out. Poor Paddles in the Bere goal had very little to do except try to keep warm. On the few occasions he was called into action, his new Teflon non-stick gloves ensured a bit of action for his defenders, as Spivey was once again on hand to clear the loose ball. It was left to the manager to breathe a bit of life into the game, as a double substitution allowed Rob the chance to score his customary goal and Macca the chance to realise a lifetime ambition. Not the one with the schoolgirls and the custard, but the one where he has always wanted to play a competitive game at the age of 40, although whether this could be called a competitive game was dubious. Still, Rob White did get that customary goal with about 5 minutes left, leaving the defender for dead and slotting the ball cleanly past the hapless keeper. A comfortable 4-0 win in the end, which has left Bere three points clear at the top of the table, but lurking ominously behind are West Quay, with four games in hand. Four games left to play and all against class opposition, can Bere keep up their winning streak in 2000 ? A home match against Bovington Challengers next week will be the first test.

SUNDAY, 30TH JANUARY Bere Regis 3: Bovington Challengers 2

Another crunch match for this high-flying Bere team, as they took on the might of the British army on home territory. A victory away from home earlier in the year by Bere was no indication of how this game would be, especially with the war in Kosovo now at an end and the prospect of raw, bloodthirsty recruits hungry for battle being drafted back in. In contrast, Mark Gale had suffered his own private battle in the last week and entered the changing rooms looking like he had already played the full 90 minutes. Through the week he had to contend with the ravages of flu, falling through scaffolding and his wife’s new haircut. Then to top it all, he had used Bungy’s new deodorant the previous week, little knowing that Bungy uses this for all manner of purposes, ranging from sheep dip through to boot cleaner and paint stripper. It left Mark’s armpits looking like something even the Elephant Man would find repulsive. He typified the current Bere team spirit, though, as he was still there to be counted, as well as the likes of Andy and Kev, who had both done a full day’s work and brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘just got out of beds’. It was also good to see Bere’s newest international, Khalil Ghabaee, making his home debut on the bench after his transfer from the remotest parts of Pimperne. It is rumoured that Cal particularly likes Nick’s management style, as it reminds him of a few Iranian dictators back home.

Nick started the game with the same 11 who had finished the previous match, with Johnny being kept well away from people who have been trained to kill for a living, just in case. Playing against a fairly strong headwind, the first half was always going to be difficult for Bere. Paddle, after having a couple of fairly quiet weeks in goal freezing to death, decided this would be the week he would wear a black bin bag liner to keep him warm and I have never seen him sweat so much. Bere coped with the Challengers long ball game admirably, though, and the few times they did get through Paddles ‘Dusty Bin’ Vater was there to tidy things up. Meanwhile, Bere were playing some tidy football on the ground and creating some useful chances themselves. In a fairly tight first half, it was Bere who broke the deadlock fairly late on. Andy Curtis found himself one-on-one with the keeper and managed to toe poke the ball past him before being bundled over unceremoniously for a clear penalty. Rob White, having watched Man Utd on many occasions, ran over to surround the ref and demand a sending off for the keeper. Unfortunately, when he saw that he was surrounding the ref on his own he soon changed his tune and the keeper escaped without even a booking. No matter, as Bere got there just reward courtesy of ‘Iceman’ Gale and another coolly taken penalty. Bere kept their lead until half-time, with the only scare being a bullet header from Dean Rogerson of all people, that clipped the top of Bere’s crossbar, although Paddle was more frightened at the sight of an airborne Rogerson flying towards him. Infact, Bere could have gone even further ahead, but with the goal at his mercy Andy could only find the post and the score remained at 1-0.

The second half gave Bere the chance to shine and with the wind at their backs they kept Bovington penned in their own half for the first 30 minutes and played some delightful football to please the swelling crowd. Chances came and went and it was left to ‘Bungy’ Brown to put Bere further ahead, as an inch perfect corner from Rob White found Bungy unmarked and he always makes sure from one yard out, powering it through the keeper’s hands with ease. Bovington tried to raise their game, but with a mixture of relentless pressure, simple passing and hard tackling Bere remained on top. When Wayne capitalised on a defensive mistake to make it 3-0 it seemed the game was well and truly over. Bere’s main problem, however, is that they never truly kill off an opponent. Infact, rumours abound that Nick Macklin is about to sign Harold Shipman for just that reason. A tactical substitution to take Mark Gale off, at the same time as an all out assault from the army boys almost proved disastrous for Bere. Twice the offside trap was sprung and, despite some unbelievable keeping from Paddles ( a memorable double save almost foiled the first goal), Bovington found themselves back in the game at 3-2. This was merely a ploy, though, to ensure that Nick's hair stays white, as Bere weathered the final assault quite comfortably and ran out deserved, and relieved, 3-2 winners.

Thanks to shock results in the other games, this allowed Bere to open up a 6 point gap at the top, as favourites West Quay suffered their first defeat at the hands of lowly Windgreen. Hamworthy Royals at home will be a treat for the fans next Sunday as Bere hope to beat the Royals, having twice tasted bitter defeat. This will not be one for the faint hearted!!

SUNDAY 6th FEBRUARY Bere Regis 6: Hamworthy Royals 2

Awesome! Scintillating! Sensational! Impeccable! These are just a few words that Bungy can’t spell. Coincidentally, they also describe the magnificent performance given by the Bere team against their bete noire, Hamworthy Royals. Despite having lost twice this season to the Royals, the manager was quietly confident looking at the team before the game. With another full squad to choose from, and an eager one at that, once again his problem was who to leave out. Johnny Cleall started on the bench again as Nick started with the same team who beat Bovington so convincingly last week. This was good news for all the eligible young ladies of Bere Regis, as it was a well known fact that Johnny was prepared to ‘give his right nut’ to play in this game, although I think Nick would have preferred a pint.

The weather was not ideal for good football, but it was the kind of conditions that Bungy and Dacre revel in. The rain and the wind would prove to be a crucial factor in what was to come and with Mark winning the toss once again (He is such a good tosser!) Bere chose to battle against the wind in the first half. It was vital that Bere stayed within touching distance for the second half and just as vital that Bere did not get sucked in to the Royals ‘kick and rush’ game. Playing simple pass and move football Bere slowly began to dominate and before long they were ahead. Finding space on the left Wayne whipped in a vicious first time ball which Andy, timing his run to perfection, thumped into the back of the net. Despite this, Bere found life difficult against the wind and, before they knew it, two lapses of concentration meant they were 2-1 down. In traditional ‘Tranmere’ style two long throws caused chaos in the box and both times a Royal player was in the right place at the wrong time to hammer the ball into the net. There was a time when this would have finished the Sunday side off, but not this time and not this team.

Bere raised their game and hit straight back with another flowing goal. Rob White beat the offside trap, looked up and, in a carbon copy of the first goal, whipped in a perfect ball for Andy to grab his second goal. There was still more to come though. Once again, it was another cross from the left and Kev Cox, from the edge of the box, hit a right foot shot so crisp that Gary Lineker could have advertised it. The keeper could only stand and watch as the ball flew past him to give Bere a 3-2 lead at half time. In fact, it could have been more as Bere exploited that weak left hand side again and a beautifully flighted cross had them queuing up at the back post to convert it. With Andy on a hat trick, who in their ‘white’ mind would call for the ball and mishit the volley so badly that the ball almost went for a throw ? No prizes for the answer!

The second half was more of a procession than a competition as, with the wind at their backs, Bere tore the Royals apart. Johnny, on for Wayne who had been feeling his hamstring in the first half (not something we encourage on a Sunday morning), made space on the left and produced a peach of a cross which Rob White converted with a cream of a header. Realising they were on a hiding to nothing Hamworthy tried a different tactic as they tried to provoke Johnny into something rash. But this was a new Johnny, a more mature Johnny and a Johnny with a lot less money to waste after his recent hot-headedness. He, and the rest of the Bere team, just let their football do the talking and before long they were 5-2 ahead. This time Kev Cox showed us his more subtle side, as opposed to the power of his first half strike, with a lob that had the keeper grasping at thin air in despair. This was Bere back to their imperious best and looking invincible. The defence was impregnable, the midfield ingenious and the forwards in clover. Rob White hit the bar with a 30 yard effort; Bungy hit the post with a stooping header; Andy Curtis missed the chance of a hat trick by a whisker…..and still the chances kept coming. It was left to Earl Dacre to have the final word with one of his left foot thunderbolts that looked a goal from the moment it deflected off the poor defender, before that it was missing by a mile! Bere ran out easy winners in the end at 6-2 and look to have secured runners-up spot in some style.

This result has kept Bere top of the league, but West Quay are still hot on their heels with four games in hand and Combination players coming out of their ears. A well earned rest this week will be followed by a top of the table clash against the favourites for the title, West Quay. We know where the MOTD cameras will be that week!

SUNDAY 20TH FEBRUARY Bere Regis 1: West Quay Marina 4

This was it, the big game that would decide the destiny of the title (forgetting the three games in hand that West Quay have). There have been many examples of giant killing in recent months: Caledonian Thistle against Celtic, Italy against Scotland, in fact any rubbish team against any team that Macca supports. Unfortunately, this was not one of those examples. Things did not look good even before the game, as Bere suffered their own ‘Stanley’ incident. Unlike Leicester, this was not Mr. Stanley Collymore but Mr. Stanley knife as Rob White tried to cut his toenails with one, macho man that he is, and almost sliced his big toe off. Sickness was also rife in the Bere team, with more bugs in the changing room than can be found in Pete Larder’s jacket. Add to this the fact that West Quay were fielding their strongest team, with more ‘Combinations’ than a Rubik’s cube, and Bere never really stood a chance. Yet Bere have never lacked guts (just look at Earle, Macca and Dean) and they were prepared to fight to the final whistle. Let battle commence !!

Against a team with the strength in depth that West Quay have, Bere’s only hope was to weather the storm and hope to get something on the break. But Bere were still putting their wellies on when the first thunderbolt struck, a goal after 13 seconds that owed more to Bere indecision than West Quay precision. Despite this, Bere kept plugging away like King Canute against the incoming tide as wave after wave of attack ground them down. Paddles had no complaint of feeling cold this week as he saved two or three, watched one wonder shot hit the post and others fly inches wide. Against this Dorset select team, Bere’s only chance was to battle hard and this they did. Against West Quay’s one trick pony in midfield Bere had their own no trick carthorse in Bungy Brown and he certainly made his presence felt. This combination of strong tackling in midfield and stalwart defending almost saw Bere through to half-time, but just before the interval West Quay struck again. This time you could only sit back and marvel at the movement, the running and the immaculate finish, which is what Bere did. Two-nil at half-time and Bere were lucky to get the nil, their only chance being a long range effort from Andy that the keeper held comfortably.

The second half was a bit more encouraging. With the game already in the bag, West Quay tried to over complicate and this gave Bere a bit more time and space to stop them playing and set up their own attacks. Against lesser teams you cannot give players like Earle, Chris and Rob White time on the ball and expect to come away unscathed. However, against the cream of Dorset Combination in defence there was no way Bere could unlock the Quay and the half seemed to be ending in a stalemate. But Nick, ever the crowd pleaser, decided to change all this with a double substitution, bringing on Bere’s Continental players, Macca and Khalil. This had an immediate effect as, with the Bere defence still a bit confused, a West Quay forward gleefully ran on to a hopeful through ball and made it 3-0 to West Quay. Clearly looking for a clean sheet against one of the best attacks in the league, the West Quay defence had never seen the guile and trickery of Khalil Ghabaee before and it may have been their downfall. Given space to roam on the right hand side Cal tore up the wing like a cheetah, dodged and weaved like a panther and crossed like a plonker, slicing the ball as only he can. However, the presence of Cal threatening on the wing gave Rob White the chance to ghost into the penalty area and when he was unceremoniously bundled over Bere had a chance to break their duck. Once again, ‘Iceman’ Gale strode up and stroked the ball into the corner to give Bere a well deserved consolation goal. There was still time for West Quay to score one more, as their Dorchester Town substitute outpaced the defence and beat Paddle with ease. In the end, West Quay ran out worthy winners, but Bere were not disgraced and were rewarded with several bottles of champagne from the gracious victors as they celebrated winning the league in style.

With one game left, Bere have already clinched runners-up spot and so will travel to Corfe Mullen on Sunday in their own ‘almost’ victory parade. Any of our loyal supporters are welcome to come and watch, but you have to bring your own bottle!!

SUNDAY 27TH FEBRUARY Windgreen 1:Bere Regis 5

The last league game of the season saw Bere travel to Corfe Mullen to battle against the wind and the Windgreen. With Johnny Cleall back in suspenders (as usual), Bere were once again treated to the sight of our own ‘Big Mac’ (not to be confused with the burger, ours contains a lot more meat) slotting in to the back three. Our foreign contingent of Khalil (Iran) and Steve Ives (Iran faster) were left to watch from the bench, but guaranteed a game with many a hangover waiting to pounce.

The first half hour was pretty poor, to say the least. With the pitch having more grass than Paul Merson could reasonably handle and more bobbles than Pete Larders’ hat collection, Bere could not find their rhythm at all. Playing against the wind is always difficult, but luckily Bere were playing against a team that would not know a football if it came up and smacked them in the face, which it invariably did with their skill levels. It looked like the half would end goalless, until Bungy Brown showed us his own Brazilian party piece. Finding some space on the left he looked up and curled a right foot shot past the despairing keeper and into the far corner. At least that is what he would tell you. To others, it looked like a fairly poor cross, some inept defending that West Ham would be proud of and a keeper who would have trouble getting into a Subutteo team flapping the ball into the net.

Still, they all count and at least it gave Paddles something to laugh at. He was almost in tears after the second soon after. A long chase for Earle Dacre left him too puffed out to run any further, so with a mighty swing of his left foot virtually from the touchline he delivered a vicious cross that the defender stabbed into his own net. A minute later it was three, and this time it was a treat. Some good approach play, an early cross and a perfectly timed run from Bungy all culminated in a volley that had goal written on it from the moment it left his boot. Wild celebrations, and even wilder laughter from Paddles, followed but Bere were not done yet. Just a few minutes later, Kev Cox and Andy Curtis combined beautifully to give Andy a scoring opportunity which he lashed into the top corner with relish. 4-0 and Bere were playing the beautiful game once more. Unfortunately, the half time whistle came just when Bere had woken up.

The rest did Bere no good and , with the game virtually sewn up, Bere not only took their foot off the pedal, they put it in neutral, put the handbrake on and were busy listening to the radio. Not that Windgreen could take advantage as, against the wind, they struggled to get the ball out of their own half. Then came a moment of pure magic. A hopeful ball over the last defender looked to be a lost cause until that man Spivey intervened. With remarkable poise and skill he managed to flick the ball, on the run, over the keeper and into the net. Unfortunately, it was his own keeper and his own net, which almost wiped the smile off Paddles’ face.

Nick tried to put some spark back into Bere’s play with the introduction of fresh legs, or should I say free range legs as Steve Ives emerged from semi retirement to remind us of what we were missing…not much. The real crowd pleaser, though, came in the form of our Iranian international Cal, a real entertainer if ever I saw one, although not intentionally. Prowling the right hand side like an eager spaniel he struck terror into the heart of the Windgreen team. Just as Tranmere have their own long throw specialist, Cal is Bere’s foul throw specialist as, perhaps due to some Iranian custom, he would bow to the player he was throwing the ball to. Luckily, the ref saw no harm in this, which probably finished off Windgreen’s will to win as their keeper tried to dribble the ball past Wayne Cope, got caught in possession and could only watch with despair as Wayne finished from an acute angle to make the final score 5-1.

Bere have now made sure of runners-up spot and celebrated in some style, with the traditional baiting of the bar staff at the ‘Worlds’ End’ and an afternoon at the club with Mr Fosters and his friends. The next step is the cup in 3 weeks’ time and the visit, once again, of the mighty West Quay. The odds are so bad that even Pricey would not bet on us, yet stranger things have happened!!

THE CUP RUN

This year, the Cup was on a league basis, with only the winners and the best runners-up out of all the leagues going through. Bere were pitted against West Quay, Weld Arms and Sandford, playing only one game against each team.

Bere Regis 1 West Quay 3

Things looked ominous with the first game at home to West Quay. Runaway winners of the league, West Quay were the Man Utd of the division, but with uglier girlfriends. Bere were still without Johnny Cleall, whilst Wayne had some kind of stomach problem, I think it had been too full of lager the night before. Fortunately, West Quay had problems of their own. When one of the opposition ask you if you have any spare boots it is always encouraging and Bere felt a lot more confident at kick off time. Despite this, West Quay still showed their quality and Bere were always on the back foot. But defending like caged animals has always been Bere’s strong point and West Quay could not find a way through. Meanwhile, at the other end a perfectly flighted free kick by Galer found Rob White’s head and Bere had taken the lead. With Paddles leading a charmed life in the Bere goal, they held out until half time and went in one goal to the good. The second half saw the arrival of West Quay’s Dorchester Town player, but this did not worry Bere. In fact, Bere grew more confident and began to find holes in the West Quay defence. After 20 minutes of the second half, Bere were well on top and coasting. This may have been their downfall, as a well worked move gave their midfield player some space on the edge of the area and he found the top corner, accompanied by a shout of ‘Safe’ from our ever reliable keeper. West Quay visibly gained in confidence and some slack marking allowed them to go 2-1 up, followed by some even slacker marking giving them a 3-1 lead. Bere were not without their moments, though, and a purposeful run and cross from Spivey gave Bere’s veteran forward, Iver, the chance to put the icing on a wonderful performance. Unfortunately, the ‘Where did that go?’ expression on his face summed the effort up as the ball was powered straight back to Spivey on the touchline. A final score of 3-1 to West Quay, but I am sure Nick would have taken that at the beginning of the game!

Weld Arms 6 Bere Regis 2

The ‘Group of Death’ continued with an away match against Weld Arms at, reputedly, the smallest pitch in the world, and that includes subutteo matches. Freshly ploughed ready for the match there were more humps than your average camel sale. Of more concern to the manager, though, was the absence of Mark Gale (foot injury) and Messrs Cleall and Cope (party injury). The makeshift side looked shakier than Paddles before his first drink and they soon found themselves behind, then further behind, then before you could say ‘cheating ref’, Bere were 3-0 down to the most comical goal you will ever see. Paddles, probably still shocked at waking up next to a pig, managed to dive over the top of a fairly tame shot. Luckily, Kev Cox was there to clear the ball off the line. The ref had other ideas, though, and with eyesight that would make an eagle jealous he saw that the ball had actually crossed the line and gave a goal. Infact, he was so far up the pitch that he was stood next to Rob White, who gets a nosebleed when he goes back into his own half. Nick, as linesman, threw all his toys and the baby out of the pram and gave the ref the kind of verbal assault that comes naturally to a builder. Bere tried to come back in the second half, but they made the mistake of trying to play football. Weld’s one touch football (a big boot to the forwards) put them 4-0 up so Paddles tried the same and two flicks later Andy Curtis had pulled one back. A spot of gentlemanly football from Earle and Adam (‘After you’ ‘No, sir, I insist you first’) gave Weld the chance to make it 5-1 and prompted the quote of the match from Macca, ‘How the hell do you defend against that!!’ Andy Curtis, again, managed to pull one back with a majestic finish, only for Weld to rub salt in the wounds in the last few minutes and make the final score 6-2 to the Weld. The Cup dream was on ice for at least another year!

Sandford 0 Bere Regis 1

The final round robin game pitched Bere against local rivals Sandford, who had previously beaten Weld 6-0 and narrowly lost to West Quay. Playing for pride only, Bere did not hold out much hope, although they were heartened by the return of Mark, Johnny and Wayne. On a perfect pitch at Bovington and against a proper footballing side, Bere were able to revert to their normal playing style. In a closely matched first half, Bere probably just shaded Sandford on the number of chances, the most clear cut being a run through on goal for Earle who shot just wide. A tight defence proved the platform to build upon and the playmakers such as Chris, Rob and Earle grew in confidence and began to enjoy themselves as they stroked the ball around with ease. Even Bungy gave up the hardman act at times and showed his more skilful side, something which Rob White has consistently told him not to do!! 0-0 at half time and all to play for.

The second half opened out a bit more as Sandford searched for that elusive goal. Yet Bere simply soaked up the pressure and looked to exploit the gaps on the break. A chance for Adam and a couple for Rob White served notice to Sandford, but they did not heed the danger signs. In the end it was Chris Oram, a star player all season, to round the game off in style for Bere. Finding himself in space on the edge of the area he casually looked up, spotted the keeper off his line, and chipped the ball into the far corner of the goal. The 1-0 lead never looked in trouble. In fact, Bere should have added to this in the dying minutes when Rob let Macca loose on the right wing . Chest out and arms pumping like pistons he easily outpaced the left back and fired in a cross that would not have disgraced Becks, only for Adam to sky the ball over the bar from a few yards out. However, when the final whistle came Bere were worthy 1-0 winners and had provided a fitting end to another marvellous season.