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SKITTLES in Bere Regis 

22nd March

Bere Essentials played their last league game this week, bringing to an end a rather strange and disappointing season during which two teams went missing.  We had missed two matches recently. Two weeks ago our opponents couldn't raise a team so we claimed four points and last week we only had four players so we gave away four points.
This week we were at Sandford Legion against the Woodentops and had the sort of match that can only happen on that alley.  Woodentops were missing two of their strongest players and both teams became victims of the curse of Sandford so an amazingly low-scoring game ensued.
Throughout the evening no player on either side scored more than nine (and there were very few of those), two players hit OXOs, there were lots of twos and threes and a great deal of cussing and grumbling.  The team scores ranged from 25 to 40.  The end result was a 3-1 win for Essentials so the season ended on a relative high.  Top score Mark Bennett who was the only player to score six or more all night.
This is the last league report this season, there are a few cup and individual games left but nothing worthy of mention.

1st March

No league matches last week, it was round 1 of the pairs.  No, we didn't do very well.

 Bere Essentials were back at Wool Legion, against the Poison Dwarfs.  In previous seasons we have been close to the Dwarfs in the league but this year we are way behind on points.  However, we were looking forward to giving them a fright as several of our players have had good scores on the Wool alley recently.

 Somehow things didn't live up to expectations.  Too many 4s and 5s on our part in the first leg gave them an easy 2-0 win.  We put up a better fight in leg 2 but Dwarfs hit some high scores to win 2-1.  The third leg started well when the skipper extended his current purple patch by hitting our first stick-up of the match and the team rallied round to win the leg 2-0.

 Into the beer leg with high hopes of a draw at last, as we have taken a few beer points this season.  Sadly, it was all over in no time when we hit scores as low as two and three to give Dwarfs the match on a plate.  The skipper hit another stick-up to take top score but it was not enough to save us from another 3-1 defeat.  We are all looking forward to the end of the season

15th February

There have been some changes in the Wareham League table this week.  The sadly-named Fumb Duckers lived up to their anagram and failed to turn up for several matches so have been removed from the results.  The points scored against them have also been removed so a few teams have moved up or down.  Bere Essentials stay at eighth.
This week we were at the Clay Pipe against our old friends Scuttles Skittlers who are third.  We nearly squeaked a draw against them earlier in the season so hoped to do better this time.  They took the first leg easily but we fought back by setting 50 at the start of the second leg.  This didn't last though and we were soon 2-0 down.
Going for the honourable draw, things looked promising in leg 3 when the skipper hit 17 and 13 but sadly found himself on the losing side again.  Too many 5s and 6s (and a 2) left us 3-0 down.  The beer leg was a different matter.  Some steady scoring capped by a brilliant 17 from Eric set Skittlers 57, which proved to be too much for them.  The shock was so great that they could only manage  to set 35 and another beer leg was ours.
Another match where we were so near but ended up so far.  A good sporting game though and the beer is cheap and the supper welcome.  Top score Captain Edmonds for the third week running (and yes, Mark Bennett was playing).

8th February

Hoping for an end to our run of bad luck (or bad skittling) Bere Essentials set off for Wareham Legion this week.  Our opponents were M&Ms, one of only three teams below us in the league, so we were looking for our first win this year.

M&Ms had other ideas though.  They set scores of 46 and better while we could only manage less-challenging targets in the low 40s so we soon found ourselves 3-0 down, having won only one game out of seven.

 Faced with another ignominious 4-0 defeat we started the beer leg with our top man hitting a four.  The bottom two needed to pull something out of the bag and the skipper came to the rescue with a 15 stick-up.  Mark hit a nine to leave M&Ms needing 50 which proved to be too much.  They then set a modest 41 which became easy when the skipper surprised everybody with another 15, saving our blushes and getting top score by nine points.  An overall score of 3-1 to M&Ms, but not a complete disaster.

1st February

The Bere Essentials were back at one of our favourite alleys, the Greyhound, source of great suppers and friendly staff.  We played the Second Fronters who, like nearly every team, are lots of points ahead of us in the league.  Hopes were high as we had what is probably our best team on parade and we were up for a win.

 Fronters started with a rather daunting 53 which was beyond our reach but we fought back by setting 54 - not enough as Fronters hit a series of stick-ups to lead 1-0.  They went on to win the next two legs for a 3-0 lead, even though Essentials were playing better than they had for ages.

The beer leg was a different story.  Essentials set a superb 59 in the first game with two stick-ups backed up by steady scoring which Fronters found to be beyond them.  The second game left Peter Wharf needing to hit 14 to win and he rose to the occasion with a fine 15 to give us a rare point.

 Top score was Captain Edmonds, but it was a good team effort with all six players being within six points of each other.  The beef in mushroom sauce was delicious.

18th January

Another hard match for Bere Essentials this week, at our least favourite alley, Bloxworth Club, against the Misfits who are currently third in the league table.  We were also missing Bennett the Younger who can usually be relied on to hit a good score.
To our amazement we won the first leg 2-1 having set a very respectable 47 in the third game.  Misfits soon put us in our place however, winning the second leg 2-0.  Mark Bennett then hit 14 to help us start the third leg with a win but we couldn't keep it up and lost again by 2-1.
The beer leg was a disaster.  One of our players suffering from a bad hip could only score two and three and the fitter players didn't do much better so we went down again to leave the final result at 3-1 to Misfits.  Mark Bennett was top score again despite finishing the match with five scores of five.  He had started well though.
No league match next week, it is Round 1 of the singles.

11th January

Bere Essentials were in action at Lytchett Legion this week, against the Rejects who are currently second in the league.  It promised to be a hard game but we were determined to enjoy ourselves and give it our best shot.
We set a good score of 46 to begin with, but Rejects made it look easy by starting with a stickup.  They went on to hit several more, setting 61 to win the first leg 2-0.  Suitably chastened we lost the second leg 2-0 as well but managed to keep up some cheerful banter.
This obviously got to the Rejects who had a flat patch, letting us win the third leg to make the score 2-1.  Encouraged by this, we started the beer leg with a win, hoping to draw the match but our scoring slumped again leaving us with a 3-1 loss.
Peter Wharf missed top score by one pin again, beaten this week by Matt Bennett while Mark struggled.  It would have been different if the skipper had played.

4th January 2010

The second half of the Wareham League season started this week with Bere Essentials playing on the new alley at Wareham Legion.  Our opponents were the dangerously-named Fumb Duckers, or 'FDs' for safe typing.  We have had a shocking season so far and are currently close to the bottom of the league table so a carefree approach will be needed for the rest of the season.  Luckily FDs are not too intense about their skittles and we ended up enjoying a fun evening.
We drew 2-2 last time we met and the teams were well matched again, close games leaving us 2-1 down going imto the 'must-win' beer leg.  Essentials won the first game and then set the highest score of the night with 46 but FDs matched this comfortably.  Peter Wharf then hit a vital 13 stick-up to give us a 2-2 draw again.  Top score Matt Bennett, one pin ahead of Peter.

23rd November

Bere Essentials lost 4-0 against the Second Fronters at Lytchett Legion.  No excuses, the alley is one of our favourites.  We started brightly, most of the team being optimists and trying to forget our recent history but to no avail.  Pete Stone was 'least worst'.

Luckily we have no league games until January so we can have a rest and try to do better next year.

16th November

This week's report on Bere Essentials latest match will be mercifully brief due to the writer being choked with emotion.  The reader(s) will be saved from the gruesome details - it is sufficient to say that we lost 3-1 again, this time to the M&Ms at Bloxworth.  We played so badly that Phil 'Winger' Allgood was top score.  Well done M&Ms, they didn't let us drag them down to our level.
An apology to Miss Russell who I mistakenly called Donna in the last report.  Sorry Della, it was a cracking 18 though.

9th November

Bere Essentials had a local derby this week, against the Woodentops at the Greyhound.  The Woodentops used to be known as 'Woodentops Nil' and were wooden spoon specialists but now have a strong group of young people who score freely.  They were level on points too so a close match was on the cards.
Essentials started badly, losing the first leg 2-0 when the middle pair could only manage 16 between them in four throws.  Things looked better when we won the next game but went downhill when we set 37 and lost the deciding game to go 2-0 down overall.  Woodentops then gave us a boost by setting 36 which we followed by setting 54, thanks to a great 17 from Matt, pulling back to 2-1.
As last week the beer leg was crucial but we could only set 43 which Woodentops easily hit.  Some amazing scoring followed this, a flurry of floppers leaving us to hit an unlikely 63 to draw the match.  Mark started well with 17 but the rest of the team couldn't keep up the pace and we lost 3-1 overall.  Congratulations to Donna who hit 18 to seal the win, following her dad who pinched the match for his team last week.
A good night with a great supper but another blow to our pride.  Top score Mark Bennett, one pin in front of son Matt.

2nd November

Bere Essentials played on the new alley in Wareham Legion.  The alley is unusual in that it has been laid in the snooker room, which is upstairs.  A quiet conversation in the bar below will be out of the question on Monday evenings for a while.  The alley is very well made (by our lovely little league secretary's company) and has nearly new balls and pins so we knew we would have no excuses for bad scores.

Our opponents were Scuttles Skittlers who always make life hard for us.  Perhaps they were stunned when Matt's first throw on the alley led to 16 after a flopper and they let us take the first leg 2-0.  Then the fightback started, Skittlers winning the second leg 2-0 and the third leg by 2-1.

Essentials were determined to take the beer leg and started well with a winning score of 52 but lost the next game by one pin.  Everything depended on the last game of the evening but things looked gloomy when we only set 42.  Luckily Skittlers hit a bad patch with a two and a four and left their anchor man to hit 14 to win the match.  Paul dropped his habit of hitting sixes and had an excellent 16 stick-up under pressure to win 3-1.  A good night with close games but disappointing for Essentials.  Top score (without a stick-up) was the skipper.

26th October

Bere Essentials were back on our least favourite alley this week, scene of some of our lowest scores and our worst defeats.  We were at Sandford Legion against our old friends the Poison Dwarfs, all good skittles so we knew we had a hard game ahead of us.
Despite a couple of dodgy scores, we managed to win the first leg 2-0.  Then the curse of Sandford struck and the Dwarfs romped through leg 2 and levelled the score.  Leg 3 saw an Essentials recovery even though Matt was unlucky to bolter a stick-up for the first time.  We won the leg 2-0 for an overall lead of 2-1.
All to play for in the beer leg then.  We won the first game (after Matt boltered his second stick-up ever ) and were ready to win the match but it was not to be.  We hit 32, probably our lowest score at Sandford, to let the Dwarfs back into the match.  They went on to win the last game to draw the match 2-2.  A good game but not the result we had hoped for.  Top score Mark Bennett as usual.

12th October

Last week I credited our opponents the Rejects with topping the league but, due to a rare error by our lovely little secretary, this was not true.  The league table has since been corrected so this week we met the real leaders, the Misfits.  We played at Wool Legion and found out that Misfits play there regularly in the Legion's own league so a tough night was on the cards for Bere Essentials.

 We lost the first game and then had a purple patch, Pete Stone turning a first-ball flopper into 17 helped us win the next game which we followed by some steady scoring (51 without a stick-up) to lead 1-0.

 Flushed with success we won the next game with two stick-ups but then it went horribly wrong.  Mark Bennett put up a great fight to top score with a total of 85 but it was not enough. Too many scores of six or less let Misfits back in and they won the next six games on the trot to take the match 3-1.  An enjoyable match though, Misfits are a fun team to play against and very sporting too.

 No match next week, we have a bye in the Knockout Cup first round.

5th October

Before this week's match Bere Essentials were fifth in the league with a game in hand over the top four so a move up the table was a possibility.  We were at the Clay Pipe, an alley where we usually do well.  Unfortunately, our opponents were the Rejects who are currently the league leaders and are always hard to beat.

Sadly, our hopes were dashed from the beginning.  Essentials started badly, had a shaky middle and ended badly.  Although it was a surprisingly low-scoring match we only managed to win one game out of nine, losing 4-0 overall.  We we always close but not close enough, with two or three experienced players scoring fives or less rather too often.  Top score Mark Bennett.

 Never mind, the beer is cheap by pub standards and the supper is good.

27th September 2009

Bere Essentials played the unfortunately-named Fumb Duckers (FDs) this week, at Bloxworth Club.  Not our favourite alley, the surface is not very even as it consists of ordinary floorboards which were laid 15 years ago and some warping has taken place since which can make a ball swerve slightly.  Still, it is the same for both teams and the beer is cheap and we get a supper.
FDs were new to the league last year and have a mixture of experience and youth.  The (very) young lads have no fear of the alley and hurl the balls down with abandon.  This proved to be a good tactic as FDs won the first two legs 2-1 and 2-0 to take a 2-0 overall lead.  Essentials were looking at each other and wondering what was going on.
Then, as the evening progressed, it became obvious that the boys had gone past their bedtimes.  They seemed to lose concentration, no doubt looking forward to cocoa and a cuddle with teddy.  Their scores dropped and Essentials took advantage, winning four games on the trot to level the match at 2-2.  Joint top scores from Mark and Matt Bennett.  Sadly, no supper!

21st September 2009

Bere Essentials had a hard match this week, against the Breakaways at Wool Legion.  Breakaways won the league last season and set some very high scores when we last played them at Wool.  They throw hard and accurately and get a lot of stick-ups.

 Essentials started well with a stick-up from Matt but could only set 47 and Breakaways hit that easily.  They went on to win the next game to lead 1-0.  However, they were missing Spud, their inspirational skipper and went on to set some low scores, 39 twice and a 42.  Essentials took advantage of this lapse in form and romped into a 2-1 lead.

 Sadly the beer leg went against us.  After a surprising pair of fives from our top scoring players Breakaways regained their confidence and took the leg for a 2-2 draw overall.  Chance missed for Essentials who could have enjoyed an unlikely win.  Top score Matt Bennett.

14th September 2009

The Wareham skittles league has a new alley, fitted this summer in the Wareham Legion.  The league helped the Legion financially and are very pleased to have an alley in Wareham again.

League matches started last week but Bere Essentials had no match because the team we were due to play pulled out of the league at the last minute due to a dire lack of players.

This week we were at the Greyhound against the new team from Wareham Legion - an unknown quantity consisting of two men and four ladies who all looked capable of some good scores.

The Legion set the first score, a modest 37 which we matched easily.  Essentials then shocked them by setting 57, Matt Bennett and the skipper starting with 17 and 13 respectively.  1-0 up.  The second leg went to Essentials after we set 52 twice despite losing a game.  2-0 up.

The Legion struggled in leg 3 to go 3-0 down but came back in leg 4 with another game but it was not enough and we ended up winners by 4-0.  They have potential but could not match our string of stick-ups.  (It is our favourite alley).

Top score with three stick-ups was the skipper, who enjoyed a pleasing start to the season.