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Bere Essentials Skittles 2005 - 2006

27th April 2006

Bere Essentials dreams of silverware ended last night.  Our semi-final match for the Knockout Cup was at Bloxworth Club against the league champions, Second Fronters.  (We were eighth in the league, remember).  The venue has been a bit of a problem for us all season, but we went into the match with high hopes because any team can have a mare of a night on that alley.
Not Second Fronters, however.  After a slightly shaky start they showed why they won the league and won the match in three straight legs.  Is Bloxworth a hard alley?  Not if you can set 55 it isn't.  They did.  Essentials played pretty well by Bloxworth standards but it was never good enough.
One small chance of glory still to come - we have a trebles entry in the semi-finals in two weeks time.  Watch this space. BERE REGIS ANNUAL SIX'A'SIDES

11th April 2006

Essentials were in action last night in the second round of the Knockout Cup, at the Greyhound, against the Breakaways.  A local derby, but we ended the season six places below them and 21 points behind.
Breakaways went for the jugular straight away, hitting an amazing 65 in the first game.  We lost that, but as Mark said, 'it doesn't matter if they score 100 as long as we win the next two games'.  We then won the next four games, to lead by two legs to nil, consistent scoring keeping the pressure on the opposition.
The next two legs were close, three games each time, but Breakaways came out on top, 2-2 overall.  However, the Cup requires matches of five legs to avoid a draw, so we were still in the running.  The last leg was a classic, one game each and all to win (or lose) on the last game.  Essentials won!  Through to the next round against the second best team in the league - a fantastic match, a great team effort and high hopes for the rest of the competition.

Wareham Skittles League Final Table 2005/6









SECOND FRONTERS 26 19 5 2 77 23
BREAKAWAYS 26 17 4 5 74 17
MISFITS 26 20 1 5 72 21
BIN LINERS 26 18 4 4 71 18
SCUTTLES SKITTLERS 26 16 6 4 70 15
REJECTS 26 11 6 9 63 15
POISON DWARFS 26 10 7 9 54 13
BERE ESSENTIALS 26 11 7 8 53 16
BORN AGAIN 26 6 8 12 45 11
GREYHOUND INN 26 8 5 13 45 13
ODDBALLS 26 4 6 16 30 7
WOODENTOPS 26 3 4 19 30 6
HOORAY HENRY’S 26 1 7 18 26 4
M & Ms 26 1 4 21 18 3
*  Matches can be won 4-0 or 3-1 so the points total may not relate to the number of matches won.

3rd April 2006

Spring is really here - this week's match was the last league game of the season.  Bere Essentials were at the Royal Oak against the M & Ms, a young team who are new to the league and who currently lie in bottom place.  We hoped to end the season in style with a win, but were missing Peter Wharf (broken finger) and the skipper was playing single-handed due to an old war wound.
M & Ms started well, setting 49 to win the first game, but Essentials hit back, taking the next four games to lead 2-0 at the halfway stage.  Leg 3 began well, Steve Gamble hitting a good stick-up, but M & Ms got their act together to win the leg 2-1 after Essentials skipper lost the plot with a 3 when a 4 would have been enough.
The beer leg went our way, Steve and Mark Bennett getting stick-ups at just the right time to give us a 3-1 win overall.  It was a good social evening with the non-playing team members cheering the team on.  Nice to see Roger back in the village, he will be a regular player next season. Top score Steve Gamble.

29th March 2006

The second match this week was held on Wednesday, a rescheduled match that should have been held at Sandford Legion.  Luckily (we thought) it had to be played at the Clay Pipe, where we usually do well.  Unluckily, our opponents also do well there. 
Misfits gave us a skittles lesson, winning six games on the trot for a 3-0 lead, and then taking the beer leg 2-1.  Our only moment of glory was winning one game after Mark Bennett started us off with 18 when we only needed 41.  He was top score too.

27th March 2006

On Monday Bere Essentials played a scheduled league match at the Drax, against the Rejects.  They are a mature team, very experienced in local skittles and 13 points above us in the table.  They were soon shaking their heads and sucking their teeth in disbelief at the low scores in the first leg - 39, 37 and 38 leaving Essentials with a 2-1 win.
The next leg was even better, Essentials took the first game with 40 and then hit 48 for a 2-0 lead overall.  However, just like last week, we started to struggle and ended up with a 2-2 draw.  A good result all the same.  Top score Mark Bennett.

Peter Wharf

A bravery award to Peter Wharf who hurt his hand halfway through the match, played on to the end and found out the next day that he had fractured a finger!

20 March

An old football adage springs to mind this week ‘a game of two halves’ as the Bere Essentials travelled to the Clay Pipe and took on the mighty Bin Liners.

Winning the toss, stand-in skipper Mark, decided to throw first and the Essentials never looked back.  Two stick-ups from Colin and Mark, solid support from all other team members and a shell shocked opposition not knowing what hit them as four straight winning legs were reeled off without reply, 2-0 up and still unbeaten in the skippers absence.

However, a tactical substitution followed, arranged earlier in the evening, and before long the Bin Liners showed why their top three league position is no fluke, four straight winning legs with no reply, 2-2, an early finish for all concerned, and another two well deserved points for the Essentials.

Top score Colin Greening.

13 March

After a cancelled match and the first round of the ‘Trebles’ it was nice to resume the league with a long distance trip to The Royal Oak against an ever improving Greyhound side.

With the Captain and Steve away in sunnier climes, Peter requiring a 100000 mile service, the Bere Essentials were down to its bear bones but it gave the opportunity for Martin to show us all why retirement should never be an option.

Two poor scores in the first game gave the opposition a flying start and Essentials were 1-0 down without Colin even finishing his pint, well nearly.  The next game was a reversal, Mark Read showing the way with a great stick-up when it was needed, 1-1 and all to play for.  Game three was nip and tuck, but with stick-ups from Martin and Mark Read, a 2-1 lead was taken into the final game.  A stick-up from Matthew and a series of solid scores took it to a deciding leg where only six was required for victory from the final throw, no trouble; even with the front pin still standing.  A 3-1 win made it a fine evening for the Essentials; good performances from Martin and Matthew but top score by far Mark Read.

6th March

This week the Wareham League held the first round of the matches in the Trebles competition.  These matches are played as 'Mini-leagues' of four teams at each venue, with the top two going through to the next round.  Bere Essentials had two teams entered.
The team that played at Bloxworth Club had a difficult evening, scores were very low and no less than six 'OXO's were scored.  One unfortunate player had two in the same event.  This must be a record.  No progress to the next round, unfortunately.
The captain took a team to the Clay Pipe, a much better proposition by far.  Gordon Tucker was called up as a last-minute stand-in and played single-handed rather than strain a bad back.  He hit two stickups and helped the team to a close win - the term 'Supersub' comes to mind.  So we do have a presence in the next round.  Watch this space.

20th February

Following our success against one of the top teams last week, Bere Essentials set out for Lytchett Legion with high hopes this week.  Never mind that we were playing the legendary Second Fronters, never mind that they are top of the league 17 points above us, never mind that they won the league last year, we can beat anybody on a good night.
And so it seemed - Fronters struggled at first, setting 39 which we only just managed after our single-hander hit a two.  We lost game 2 and then set 45 to win the leg 2-1.  These were very low scores for Lytchett, mainly due to a new set of very heavy pins which did not scatter like the old ones.  We won't see many 18s here in the future.
Then it all changed - Fronters started to get to grips with the alley and raised the standard somewhat.  Despite our best efforts we lost six games in a row to go down 3-1.  Their score in the final game was 54 so maybe the new pins are not so bad.  Top score Mark Bennett, for the fourth week running.

13th February

Bere Essentials have an aversion to certain alleys.  One of these is at Bloxworth Club.  There are several reasons why the alley is hard to score on - the spaces between the pins seem to be large, the planks are only floorboards and have warped, the beer is cheap etc.  For whatever reason, we struggle.
This week things were made more difficult because we were playing the Breakaways.  Spud's team are joint second in the league, 15 points above Essentials and are hard to beat.  A strong team with a mix of experience and talented youth.  We feared the worst.
Leg 1 went as expected, close but not close enough and Essentials were 1-0 down very quickly.  It looked as if a hammering was on the cards.  Then everything changed for the better.  A good start to leg 2 gave Essentials the edge for a 2-0 win.  Leg three went to three games but Breakaways collapsed under pressure, setting 31 to give us a 2-1 lead.  The beer leg also went to three games but a good team effort saw us through to a 3-1 win.  A great result for the Essentials.  Top score Mark Bennett.

30th January

Essentials were pleased to be back at the Greyhound this week, an alley which usually lends itself to high scoring and not so many bolters.  The opposition were the Poison Dwarfs, who have been just above or just below our league position all season.  The Dwarfs are normally an all-girl outfit but this week they featured one young man to keep up the league policy of introducing young players.
Essentials started well by winning the first game but then lost five games on the trot to find ourselves 2-0 down at the halfway point.  This included setting 56 (which Dwarfs reached easily) and then being set 60 (not so easy).  An 18 stickup did the damage.  We were playing well and began to wonder what we had to do to get back into the match.
One game down in leg 3 and we needed inspiration.  Ex-captain Martin Barlow, now an occasional reserve, hit a cracking 15 and set us on our way to 56.  This did the trick, Dwarfs lost the plot and Essentials won four games in a row to draw 2-2.  Great relief all round, another Bere comeback and a fair result for everyone.  Top score Mark Bennett.
The first round of the pairs will be held next week.

23rd January

Bere Essentials have a major problem with the alley at Sandford Legion.  It is hard to understand why we always struggle there - the alley is probably the shortest in the league, the surface is good and the pins are quite new.  The balls are all different in size but that is the only excuse we have.  Anyway, other teams seem to cope with them as they are.
This week it was Born Again's turn to humble us.  They are a few points behind us so an Essentials win or a draw looked probable.  Or so it seemed until we started playing.  Our opening game was a disaster, setting 34 which they reached easily.  They then set 51 to take the first leg 2-0.
The second leg was similar, although we managed a face-saving 52 thanks to a rare stick-up they won 2-1.  The third leg saw Essentials set two scores in the 30's to lose 2-1 again.
Then it was the beer leg.  Somehow we shook off our jinx, played with confidence and won 2-0.  Some consolation I suppose, at least it wasn't a whitewash.  Born Again played really well and deserved the victory.  Top score Mark Bennett.

16th January

Bere Essentials played the Oddballs at the Clay Pipe.  Oddballs have some good players but they are below us in the league and we have done well at the Clay Pipe in the past so our confidence was high.
Unfortunately, they were playing to a different plan and, given a bit of help by our low scoring, they won the first leg 2-1.  The average score was 42, much lower than expected on that alley.  Essentials managed to score more freely and won the second leg 2-0 after setting a respectable 50.
In the third leg Oddballs solitary male player (Dave) started a run of stick-ups with a great 18.  This was not enough to save his team though, Essentials winning 2-1.  Into the beer leg, Essentials on a high, looking for a 3-1 win.  Whatever Dave was drinking was obviously being shared by the team - Oddballs came back strongly with a 54 and then Essentials cracked up completely, setting an abysmal 32 to give the leg away.  Final score - a hard-fought 2-2 draw.  Top score Peter Wharf.

9th January

Regular readers of these gripping installments will know by now that Bere Essentials always enjoy playing against Scuttles Skittlers.  They are usually above us in the league but we always manage to raise our game and we have upset their plans several times in recent seasons.  This week we met at the Greyhound, so expected a hard but friendly match with some high scores.
Essentials won the first game by a pin but that spurred Skittlers on and they replied by setting a massive 65 to win the second game.  We then missed some stick-up chances and set a pathetic 43, not enough to save leg 1.
We lost the first game of leg 2 but found the knack of hitting stick-ups again and took the leg 2-1.  This winning streak continued into leg 3 when we set a creditable 57 to win the first game.  Skittlers matched this in the second game with 58 and went on to win leg 3 by 2-1.
So to the beer leg - we have a good record in the beer competition and were determined to keep it up.  Skittlers set another 57 to win the first game so a Bere backlash was needed.  Luckily, Skittlers cracked under pressure (as in the first match of the season) and we won the second game.  Skittlers could only manage to set 42 in game 3 and we cruised home after Pete Wharf started us off with a stick-up 13.
Final result - a 2-2 draw and the best evening of skittles for a long time against a truly sporting team.  Top score Mark Bennett.  Beef stew and chips for supper, thanks to the Greyhound.

19th December

Bere Essentials had the chance to get our revenge for the shocking defeat we suffered against the Woodentops three weeks ago. We played at Lytchett Legion, normally an alley we score well on, at least when the central heating is on.

Essentials started well, winning the first game, but then struggled to set a hard target and let Woodentops back in. They went on to set 53 in the third game which we could not match, winning the first leg 2-1.

Fortunately, that was all that Woodentops could do. Essentials must have warmed up and went on to win the next six games, taking all three remaining legs by 2-0 each time. Top score Steve Gamble with our only stick-up of the night.

Woodentops seemed to have lost the plot for a while. However, with their new mixture of youth and experience they are no longer an easy 4-0 win and will surely move up the league soon. Why should we be kind to them, they didn't offer us a mince pie.

12th December

Bere Essentials returned to the Drax, our current bogey alley. We played Hooray Henrys, always a good fixture as they are a friendly team - in fact, so friendly that they have not yet won a match this season. They have won enough points to stay four places from bottom however, so we could not take them lightly after our recent performance at the Drax.

This time the gods were smiling on us. We won the first leg 2-0, steady scoring by the rest of the team after Colin's stick-up leading to a fairly easy win. Leg 2 was a little harder but we came through 2-1 when Henrys hit more gaps than skittles.

The third leg saw another Essentials win, by 2-0, so we went into the beer leg with high hopes. Colin gave us another boost with his second stick-up, to take a 1-0 lead. The second game saw Henrys set 39, not enough even at the Drax. Unfortunately, Essentials lost the plot for a while, hit a series of fives and lost the game. The Bere backlash worked - 45 was too big a target for Henrys and Essentials chalked up a 4-0.

A good result for us, Henrys record remained intact and hopefully we will have moved up the table. Top score Colin Greening.

5th December

After our shock defeat last week, Bere Essentials set off for Bloxworth Club determined to do better. We were playing Born Again, a young team with some strong players who are above us in the league. High scores are rare at Bloxworth so anything could happen.

The first leg started well with a win but we set an abysmal score in the second game to give the opposition some encouragement that they didn't need. Luckily we came good again to take the leg 2-1.

The second leg was a disaster, Born Again taking two games quickly for a 2-0 win. Essentials then got their act together with some consistent scoring to go 2-1 up overall after winning two straight games.

We pride ourselves on doing well in the beer leg so were delighted to start by setting 51, thanks to Mark Read's stick-up. This proved to be too much for Born Again, who then struggled to set us a challenging target, the beer leg going our way 2-0.

A good recovery after last week, a 3-1 win against good opposition is encouraging. Top score (with one hand) was Mark Read. Back to the Drax next week - watch this space.

28th November

Bere Essentials had a very humbling experience. Playing at the Drax Arms, they lost 3-1 to the team at the bottom of the league table - the team previously known as ' Woodentops Nil '. They played well, we were rubbish. It is too painful to report the details.

14th November

Bere Essentials had a game in the village this week, at the Royal Oak, a nice break for the drivers and a chance to enjoy a pint or two. The match was round one of the Aggregate Cup, where any pins left standing have to be cleared up by the next player before all nine are reset. This requires high levels of accuracy and we were up against Second Fronters, who are a strong team, so we would have to be at our best.

Essentials started badly, struggling to clear single pins and leaving awkward pin settings for the next player, so we were soon lagging by 15 or so. But then... we warmed up, hit form, whatever and scored 53 on one hand. Fronters lost it for a while and amazingly Essentials took the lead by five pins.

Sadly this was not to last long. Just when we should have turned the screw their captain had an 18 with a last-ball flopper and our captain had a couple of bad throws so we were behind again. Fronters piled on the pressure, Essentials could not respond and we were out of the Cup at the first hurdle.

7th November

Essentials were at Sandford Legion again this week - enough has been said in the past about the problems we have at this venue so no more this time. We were playing the Rejects, not exactly a jolly team at the best of times so we set out for Sandford wishing we were at home with a good book.

The opposition had only three players at eight o'clock, but it is supposed to be a friendly league so we didn't claim the game. Three more arrived at 8.20, including the captain who offered no apologies. Mind you, he is not famous for his social skills.

Anyway, we lost 4-0. We were simply awful, all the team (bar one) played well below their capabilities so we can't complain. We should have claimed the game and gone home to that good book.

The one exception was our apprentice skittler, Matt Bennett (age 14 and a bit). He had a cracking evening, two stick-ups and top score by miles. If we had all played like Matt we would have won 4-0.

31 October

This week saw a relatively short trip to The Greyhound against table topping Binliners. With David and Phil away in sunnier climes (Spain), unavailability on a high, our newly adopted youth policy, Matthew, was called upon but still we only managed to field five, bring back 'The Cheshire Exile'. Having to adopt the league rules for player number six, the opposition's lowest score minus one, it was always going to be a tough night ahead.

Binliners started well, setting a huge 64, even with Steve's stick-up (13) the leg was lost. Essentials rallied and took the next with Mark (15) and Steve (14) showing the way with two more stick-ups. Binliners replied in the last leg with another large score and we were 1-0 down.

With two stick-ups from Peter (13) and Mark (18) the first leg was won, only to see the opposition stamp their authority and keep the pins flying with a series of stick-ups of their own. Steve blasted another stick-up (15), his third of the evening, but all in vain as the next two legs were lost and 2-0 down.

Whilst waiting for bar staff, a problem all night, Colin got a stick-up (14) and with good team support the first leg was won again. Binliners not to be out done smashed wood everywhere, even with another stick-up from Mark (14) wasn't enough, 3-0 down.

The Beer leg followed, Mark hit a stick-up (12), his forth of the night, and the first leg was taken. By now we should have known better, three consecutive sticks-ups and a massive score of 68 made it leg and leg. In a very tense final leg the Binliners gained victory on the last throw of the evening to make it 4-0, the score certainly did not reflect such a close and pulsating game.

Young Matthew showed good promise in a long and tiring evening, sticking-up all night as well as playing. It was an excellent game of skittles though, both teams playing their part and every game going 2-1,however, the service at the bar was slow and I'm not sure about the food (usually excellent), it hadn't arrived by 11.10pm when we called it a night and left.

Top score Mark Bennett.

24th October 2005

At the end of last season the Wareham League lost one of it's oldest teams when the Wooders decided that it was time to call it a day. Luckily, a new team, the M & Ms, has taken their place, maintaining the number that we need to make fixtures easy and they were our opponents this week.

M & Ms are in the bottom half of the league so Essentials were hoping for a win, especially as we were at the Clay Pipe, scene of some epic scores in the past. However, we found ourselves on the wrong end of some good scoring in the first leg, M & Ms showing the way and winning 2-0.

The Bere Essentials fightback then began slowly but surely with a couple of timely stick-ups and we took the second leg 2-1. The panic was over and we settled down to some more consistent scoring. Leg 3 was a little easier, we set 54 in one game and their last man needed 28 to win. Not likely.

Encouraged by this improvement Essentials went into the beer leg with confidence and wrapped up the match 3-1. Top score David Edmonds. M & Ms played well and look as though they will become a strong team with a bit more experience. They are very welcome.

17th October

After struggling to score well at Sandford, Bere Essentials had the dubious pleasure of playing at Bloxworth Club this week - another difficult alley which seems to have very big gaps between the pins. We played Misfits, one of the stronger teams in the league, but only two points above us so far.

Essentials started very well, due to Misfits finding the gaps more frequently than us. They only managed 31 in the second game which gave us the first leg 2-0. We were unlucky to lose the next leg, both teams hitting better scores but Misfits showed what they can do by taking the leg 2-0. The scoring improved again in the third leg but Essentials were outplayed again, narrowly beaten by 2-0.

Our record in the beer leg has been good so far and we put up a good fight this match, going to a third game to decide the leg. Unfortunately, despite being set only 42 to win our skittling fell apart and we had to concede the leg for an overall result of 3-1 to Misfits. Top score Steve Gamble. At least the supper was good, as always.

10th October

I think Bere Essentials least favourite alley is at Sandford Legion - it is very difficult to get a good score there and we have struggled against weaker teams in the past. This week we met Hooray Henrys, not one of the strongest teams in the league so we hoped for a win, but anything can happen at Sandford.

So we struggled. The first two legs went our way, but only after making good recoveries from a game down, and no really convincing scoring. Henrys came good in the third leg and won 2-1. This leg saw a rare OXO from Colin, only the third (he thinks) in a long history of skittling.

Luckily, we were back to form for the beer leg, again losing the first game, but coming back strongly to win the match by 3-1. Top score Mark Bennett.

It was pleasing to hear that our 'team-member in exile' in Cheshire is keeping up to date with our progress - and I thought nobody read this rubbish.

3rd October

No game we have a bye in the first round of the Knockout Cup.

26th September

A 'home' game for Bere Essentials this week, at the Drax Arms, against the Second Fronters who finished last season as champions. Essentials were missing two regular players and introduced Matthew Bennett who had a birthday last week and is now old enough to play. The League is very keen to recruit young players to ensure that skittles has a future in the area.

Fronters showed their class in leg 1, setting 54 in the first game - a very high score at the Drax. essentials could not match that and lost the leg 2-0.

The second leg went our way, winning 2-0 after Fronters could only manage 31 in the second game. It is that sort of alley. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got, Fronters turned up the pressure and set two more high scores to win the match 3-1. Our unbeaten record in the beer leg has gone too.

Top score Mark Bennett, with son Matthew only two pins behind - a great start for the young man.

19th September

At last, a home game for Bere Essentials at the Royal Oak against the Breakaways, so it was a local derby too. Spud has a strong team with some experienced players and three young men who are learning fast. They finished well up the league last year and should do well again this season.

Essentials had a flying start with two stick-ups in the first leg, scoring 53 twice and winning 2-0. Things went downhill after that and we lost the next two legs very quickly, due to some erratic skittling by most of the team.

Unbeaten so far in the beer leg, we put in a more determined effort and took the leg 2-1, largely thanks to two 16 stick-ups just when we needed them. A close match with a fair result. Top score - Peter Wharf. Home again next week at the Drax.

12th September

Bere Essentials had the pleasure of playing the Poison Dwarfs, all girls, always a fun team and currently top of the league. We were at Lytchett Legion, a good alley where some high scores have been seen in the past so we looked forward to a good night of skittles.

Essentials started well winning the first leg fairly easily 2-0. The first game of the second leg went our way too, thanks to two 14 stick-ups, but then the wheels fell off. We went into low-scoring mode for the next two games and gave the second leg away.

Losing the first game of leg 3 shocked us into raising our scores and we went on to take the leg 2-1. This prompted some steady scoring for the rest of the night, and we took the beer leg 2-0. A sporting evening with a high standard of banter. Joint top scores - Colin Greening and Mark Bennett.

5th September

Bere Essentials had a short journey to the Greyhound this week, to play the Oddballs. Unfortunately, they were unable to field six players so we had the situation where they had to count our lowest score (minus one) as their sixth player. This always leads to confusion, especially with the numerically challenged, but should favour the team with six players.

We started well and won the first leg 2-1 but suffered from a rash of sevens in the second leg, losing 2-0 when Oddballs anchorman hit a timely stick-up. The Greyhound is a high-scoring alley and we simply didn't hit enough pins.

Essentials raised their standards after this fright with three stick-ups including a stunning 18 from Mark Bennett. We set some challenging targets to win the next two legs 2-0 for an overall result of 3-1. Oddballs put up a good fight and things could have been different if they had brought a full team. A good night and an excellent supper. Top score Mark Bennett.

30 August 2005

The first matches in the Wareham League 05/06 season were played on Tuesday, on a sweltering hot evening not really suited to skittles. Bere Essentials were at the Clay Pipe, against our old friends Scuttles Skittlers who finished second in the league last season. We have always been their bogey team so we expected a hard game.

Essentials started well, winning the first leg 2-0, largely due to Phil Allgood who must have been practising during the break. Phil scored well again in the second leg, but Skittlers rallied and won the leg 2-1. They hit form again in the third leg and after three high-scoring games, with stick-ups from both teams, they won 2-1 again.

The beer leg also went their way at first but Essentials came back with well-timed stick-ups to win 2-1. Skittlers said they always crack up in the beer leg and they certainly did this time.

We had a great night despite being out of practice, good scores, friendly opposition and sausage and chips for supper. The beer at the Clay Pipe is very cheap too, especially by Bere Regis standards. The match was watched by several grockles and their kids from the caravan site - I don't know what they made of a Dorset evening out but we enjoyed it.