Friendlies for 1999

Saturday Team

After a rather embarrassing 16 to 3 loss, which I'll skip over, the Saturday 'all stars' bounced back with a very good draw against Sandford Labour Club. The scorers were Bert Stranack and Wayne Cope with one goal each.

Sunday Team

Bere Regis 11: Dewlish 2 (Friendly) 22/8/99

Another season, another league and another challenge. Despite being pipped for the runners-up spot by an AC side containing more ringers than a campanologists‘ club, Bere were still promoted to Div 3, where there are no easy games.

During the close season, transfer dealing was frantic. Gary Jeff, the defensive psychopath, left under the ‘Bossywoman‘ ruling. Meanwhile, the manager gained the signature, amidst much competition, of the latest teenage sensation, Johnny Cleall. Whilst certainly not as violent as Gary, many have compared him to Rio Ferdinand for his defensive know-how and his tan.

Mark Gale has also been upping his work rate in the summer, ready for the season ahead. A pre-season knockaround at the ‘Theatre of Creams‘ (otherwise known as Iver‘s farm) saw Mark attempting to get beef off the bone with a thunderous challenge that broke Lorraine‘s wrist and severely sprained her ankle. Next time she will know not to take the last burger!

As a confidence booster, the manager chose a fairly innocuous friendly against a side that rarely played with a referee, let alone against a league team. Once again, team selection proved a bit of a lottery. Dino, the only goalie in the club after Lyndon‘s retirement, broke his arm in a pre-season friendly at Swanage, surprisingly from a cannonball shot as opposed to the normal GBH seen at the Swans‘ ground. Bungy also got confused when the manager mentioned squad rotation and stayed on his farm practising his crop rotation. Despite these setbacks, Bere still fielded a fairly strong side, with Wayne Cope stepping into Bungy‘s shoes, albeit with a touch more skill, and Steve Ives making up the foreign contingent, travelling from another county to pick up Dean‘s goalkeeping gloves.

An expectant crowd turned up to see if all the pre-season questions could be answered. Could Bere really continue at the level they left off last season? Could Johnny Cleall really fill the chasm left by the departure of Gary Jeff? Could Rob White really keep his big mouth shut for 5 minutes? The answers were Yes, Yes and No

Bere took about 5 minutes to find their rhythm again, but once they did the effect was devastating. Dewlish were cut to ribbons as wave after wave of attacks breached their defences. Kev Cox and Chris Oram played sublime one touch football on the right flank and it was only a matter of time before one of those hard and low crosses caused some damage. In the end, it was Rob White, picking up the pieces from just such a cross, that drew first blood as he was hacked down in the area for a penalty. Mark Gale was mentally strong enough to take the kick (after his failure last year, which cost Bere the Cup) and the score was 1-0. The goals then followed thick and fast, starting with an own goal, a couple from Wayne and Rob in the middle, an exquisite chip from Ian Macklin and a blast from Earle to finish off and Bere were 8-1 up at half-time.

To even things up for the second half, Nick brought himself on in the Paul Gascoigne role and gave ‘Sweet‘ a run to blow those cobwebs away. The effect was immediate, as Bere allowed Dewlish to make a game of it, reverting to the old 3-1-6 formation used by schoolchildren everywhere. The only time a midfield player was seen defending was when Chris Oram ran the length of the pitch to knock the ball past his own keeper and give Dewlish their second goal. Despite this Bere continued to score and ran out easy winners, finishing with a volley from Andy Curtis that just made it over the goal line.

The real bonus of the day was the addition to the squad of a useful keeper, who had only come along to watch his son play. Perhaps this is why Pete Larder turns up every week !!

Bere Regis 4: Damory Oak 2 (Friendly) 96 29/8/99

In the Golden days of English football, when English clubs beat ‘Johnny Foreigner‘ for a pastime and Bobby Moore had his hands on the World Cup, your average professional footballer used to drink like a fish before the match and still play sublime football. Jimmy Greaves used to sink several pints and still manage 30 goals a season, or so Nick tells me. George Best‘s antics are legendary, whilst even Bobby Moore probably had 2 or 3 before lifting the World Cup. So it is good to see Bere‘s Sunday side rolling back the years to that Golden era of English football.

The dressing room was like a meeting of the AA as most of the team struggled to find their boots, let alone play in them. Wayne, Johnny and Kev Cox had about 3 hours sleep between them and drank enough to keep Denmark‘s economy going for a couple of months. Even the captain led by example, staying out until midnight drinking, then coming home to find a party going on at his house, as Lorraine celebrated a week without breaking a bone. Yet still, like the professionals they are, the side always rise to the occasion when they pull on the old blue-and-white shirts.

Nick welcomed back Bungy for his first game, but was without Andy Curtis and Steve Ives as they were off doing some proper work. Earle just about made it in time to pull on the old yellow jersey, although if he had known I‘m sure he would have stayed at home and changed a few more nappies. Compared to this shambles of a team, the opposition looked quite frightening. As Bere ambled out to blast a few shots as a warm-up, Damory were well through their pre-match exercises. Bungy almost dropped his fag in shock! Yet, when the kick-off came, it was still Bere who started more brightly, as Rob weaved his magic spells and Kev and Chris combined once more to great effect. This ascendancy continued until an elbow in the ribs forced the captain off and the manager into a reshuffle. With Rob White covering at the back, Bere lost some momentum and went behind to a wonderful volley from a Damory forward. When Mark decided to manfully carry on, Bere went through the gears in no time and a delightful through ball found Wayne in acres of space to pick his spot and make the score 1-1. Bere should have made it 2-1 as a hashed clearance fell straight to Bere‘s wayward genius, Rob White. With the imperious elegance of David Beckham, and from 40 yards out, he set his sights on goal and with the power of Posh Spice he mis-hit the ball so badly that it barely went out for a goal kick. Despite Bere‘s worst efforts they could not break down an offside trap honed on the parade ground at Blandford camp and the score remained tied at half-time.

Playing down the hill in the second half, and downwind from Pete Larder, Bere were a more confident side and it was not long before they took the lead, with a fairly elaborate goal. Having finally broken through the offside trap and rounding the keeper, Rob White could not stop his momentum in time to shoot. He then decided to round a few more players before passing the ball to Chris, who rounded some more before passing it back to Rob, who finally scored. I‘m amazed Archie did not book them for time wasting. Bere continued their momentum with another goal soon after. Adam showed a remarkable turn of speed not seen since it was his turn to buy the round. He latched onto a loose ball and squeezed the ball in from the tightest of angles to make it 3-1. Finally, Wayne rounded off Bere‘s scoring, robbing the defender, accepting a perfect wall pass from Rob before slotting the ball home to give him his 4th goal in 2 matches. With the game won, Earle came out for a run and handed the gloves to our versatile captain. As most of the team pressed forward in search of goals, it was no surprise when Damory broke away to make it 4-2. It was a surprise, though, when Mark dived like a rocket to save a power drive with a Seaman-like save. Perhaps the manager can now end his search for a keeper!