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SKITTLES in Bere Regis 2007-2008

7th April

Bere Essentials enjoyed their last league game of the season at Wool Legion against the Woodentops.  They are below us in the league but have some good young players and have surprised a few teams this year.
Essentials won the first game after being set 38, then hit back hard with a 52 after stick-ups from the first two players to lead 1-0.  Leg 2 went our way too, another stick-up from Mark helping us to a 2-0 lead.
Leg 3 was more of a struggle, Woodentops were hitting some better scores but two more stick-ups, from Matt and the skipper, saw us safely through to lead 3-0.  The beer leg has been a problem this season and we started badly, losing the first game after a reliable team member hit a 'skittlers one'.  Luckily our form returned and after a close battle we took the leg to win 4-0. Top score Mark Bennett.
We are still in the Aggregate Cup, round two is later this month, otherwise that is about it for 2007/8 

31st March

Bere Essentials were back at Sandford again this week, against the Greyhound, who are currently bottom of the league.  On form alone we were likely to win, but at Sandford anything can happen and usually does.
Essentials started well, won the first game with the help of a rare stick-up but then lost the next two to go 1-0 down.  Leg 2 went exactly the same way, Greyhound taking two games after losing the first again.  Six games played with neither side hitting 40.
Some serious scoring was going to be needed or Essentials were going to be embarassed.  Luckily we started hitting a few more pins, taking four straight games to draw 2-2.  We even managed two more stick-ups, though they were only a 10 and a 12 but it helped us recover some pride.  Greyhound deserved to draw and should be much higher in the league.  Joint top score Matt Bennett and the skipper.


               Overall Score and position in 2007-2008 League
           Team   Played Won Drawn Lost Points Beer
Scuttles Skittlers 22 17 3 2 66 16
Bin Liners   22 14 5 3 62 16
Second Fronters 22 14 3 5 62 17
Misfits   22 14 3 5 60 16
Rejects   22 15 4 3 60 16
Breakaways 23 12 7 4 57 13
Poison Dwarfs 22 11 4 7 54 14
Bere Essentials 23 7 7 9 42 8
M & M's   22 2 6 14 26 9
Hooray Henrys   22 4 1 17 25 7
Woodentops   22 4 4 14 25 6
Six Muskateers   22 2 2 18 19 4
Greyhound Inn 22 1 5 16 18 2
Results for week 24 March 31st. 2008
Highest Score - Kevin Watson of the Second Fronters - 23 @ The Greyhound Inn - 17-12-2007

17th March

The Wareham League season is drawing to a close now - after Easter there will be two more league games and the odd cup match to play and that will be it.  Essentials position in the table is unlikely to change, we are eighth with a gap of ten points above us and thirteen below.
This week we played the Rejects at Lytchett Legion, one of our better alleys so we were hoping for a good result.  We didn't get off to the greatest start though, Rejects taking the first leg 2-0.  Matt Bennett came good in the second leg with a 14 stick-up and we won 2-0 to level the score.
Leg 3 was a hard-fought battle which Essentials won 2-1 after losing the first game so we went into the beer leg looking to win the match.  Sadly, the Essentials ' beer leg collapse' occured again, Rejects won 2-0 and we had to settle for a draw.  Top score Peter Wharf, fresh back from holidays, hadn't touched a ball for a month.  Perhaps we all need a break.

10th March

Continuing from last week's report which claimed that the alley at Sandford had played a large part in our poor league position this year, Essentials had a chance to prove a point this week, being drawn at the Clay Pipe against the Binliners.  The Pipe is one of our favourite venues, cheap beer, a nice supper and a high-scoring alley.  The Binliners are a hard team to beat, second in the league and 23 points above us, so a great effort would be needed.

The first leg went well, stick-ups from Mark Bennett and Pete Stone helping us to a 2-1 win.  Leg 2 went to the Binliners 2-0 after some weak scoring by Essentials, the skipper having a shocking night. Luckily, Binliners began to struggle in leg 3 and Essentials won it 2-1 after some very close games.

Into the all-important beer leg which Binliners were keen to win as they have their eyes on the trophy.  Essentials set 48 but it was not enough to win the first game.  Binliners then set a lowly 44 which Essentials hit easily after another stick-up from Mark.  Steady scoring including a 14 by Pete set Binliners 52 to win, which proved to be too much for them. So a stunning win for Essentials, 3-1 overall against a top team (who were very sporting in defeat) may have proved a point. The supper was good too.  Top score Mark Bennett with four stick-ups.

3rd March

Bere Essentials have had a poor season this year, partly due to having about eight matches at Sandford Legion.  Their alley is very difficult to play, there are three different-sized balls and the pins are determined to stay up.  It is the only alley where a player gets clapped for scoring eight.  Yes, it is the same for everybody but for some reason Essentials seem to do particularly badly there.  We all have a mental block about scoring.

This week we played there again, against M & Ms who are lurking one place below us in the league table.  Fortunately, they seem to struggle at Sandford too and managed to hit even fewer pins than us.  After three legs and only one total over 40 Essentials had managed to take a 3-0 lead.

As usual we failed to shine in the beer leg, M & Ms taking this 2-0 after setting an amazing 43 for an overall score of 3-1 to Essentials.  Top score was new recruit Peter Stone who had never played there before which must prove that it is all in the mind really.

League Table for Week 20 February 18th. 2008

         Team   Played Won Drawn Lost Points Beer
Bin Liners   19 12 5 2 55 15
Second Fronters 19 13 2 2 54 12
Scuttles Skittlers 18 14 2 2 54 12
Rejects   18 13 3 2 50 13
Misfits   18 11 3 4 49 13
Breakaways 19 11 4 4 48 11
Poison Dwarfs 18 9 3 6 44 13
Bere Essentials 19 5 5 9 32 6
M & M's   18 2 5 11 22 8
Hooray Henrys   18 3 3 13 19 5
Woodentops   19 3 3 13 19 5
Six Muskateers   19 2 2 15 17 3
Greyhound Inn 18 1 4 13 15 2

18th February

Bere Essentials were in league action at Lytchett Legion this week, against the Misfits.  No complaints about the alley, Lytchett is a good place for high scores and the alley is always clean and shiny.  ( We could do with one new ball though). Misfits are 15 points above us in the league table and their captain Pogo is on good form so we knew we had a fight on our hands.
Set 56 to win the first game, Peter Wharf gave us a good start with a 14 stick-up but we couldn't reach the target.  Peter starred again with 15 in the second game which we won and hit a third stick-up to no avail when we lost the third game and the leg.
Leg 2 went to the Misfits 2-0 but the Bere fightback began with some steady scoring to take Leg 3 by 2-1, thanks to a nice 16 from Mark Bennett.  We went into the beer leg with confidence, looking to draw the match, but Misfits hit form again and took an easy 2-0 win.
A very hard game against a sporting team, but an enjoyable evening all round.  Top score Peter Wharf by a country mile - how did he end up on the losing side?

Woodentops had a win this week against the Breakaways.   Mat Elford of the Woodentops came runner-up to Ian Tubbs in the singles at the Greyhound last week.   So, all in all, things are looking up for the Woodentops.

11th February

Bere Essentials had a hard match this week, against the Second Fronters at Wool Legion.  Fronters are usually at the top of the league table but have been struggling a bit this season (currently third) and were likely to want a few points from us.  We use the long alley at Wool, don't ask why, everybody complains, so it was going to be hard work.
Essentials started well.  Fronters had a weak start, setting just 35 to give us the first game.  We then set 51 and sat back to enjoy winning the first leg.  It was not to be.  Fronters hit the target then set a modest 43 which we failed to beat.  The next two legs went to three games but we lost both, only by small margins but that is what counts if you want to win.
The beer leg was our only hope but the rot had set in, the lad's heads were down and Fronters went on to a 4-0 win.  A most disappointing evening for Essentials, played in a gloomy atmosphere.  There is nothing like an empty Legion on a winter Monday!  Top score Eric Axford.

4th February 2008

This week Bere Essentials were back at our bogey alley at Sandford Legion, scene of some of our worst defeats.  Too choked with emotion to go into the awful details, it is enough to say that the Hooray Henrys (14 points below us in the league) managed to beat us 3-1.  We were terrible, nothing went right all night and Henrys deserved their win.  Top of a bad bunch Alan Chalker, playing single-handed to protect an injured shoulder.
Last week saw the first round of the Pairs competition, in which the Essentials entries failed to progress.  Our hirsutely-challenged chairman, Pogo Norman had a belting night at the Greyhound, hitting eight stick-ups in eight throws and finishing with a personal score of 114.  This was an amazing performance, unheard of in Wareham League history.
Lastly, our fame is spreading - we have had hits from skittlers in London and Cheltenham, no doubt puzzled by our method of scoring but very welcome.

21st January 2008

Two of the village teams had a short journey to Bloxworth Club as Essentials played Breakaways.  Spud and his team of young men always give you a hard game and this week was no exception.  Essentials started well, taking the first leg by 2-1 thanks to Matt Bennett averaging more than 10.
We started Leg 2 very well, setting 51 which is usually a winning score at Bloxworth.  Breakaways don't hold with tradition however and having beat that score, set 53 to win the leg.
The third leg saw some slack scoring by both teams. Having easily reached our first game target of 37, Essentials set 34 for the second game and then failed to match Breakaways' 47 to lose the leg 2-1.
The beer leg was very close, but decided in Breakaways favour after Spud was left to score a stick-up to win.  If there is one anchor man in the league that you would bet on it is Spud and he didn't let his team down.  We all agreed a 2-2 draw would have been a fair result but you can't keep a good man down.  Top score Matt Bennett, a whole eight points in front of his Dad.

14th January 2008

Essentials were looking forward to this week's match, against our old friends the Poison Dwarfs at the Greyhound.  Dwarfs are next above us in the league and are always a pleasure to play against.  We were also pleased to see new pins, courtesy of the Wareham League who have replaced the pins in most of the alleys we use.

Essentials found the pins to be very helpful from the off, setting 59 in the first game which proved to be a winning total.  Dwarfs then set 42 which we were well on the way to beat until our ' weakest link' hit a two.  Discouraged by this loss we set an easy 39 to gift the Dwarfs the first leg.

Fortunately this proved to be a temporary glitch.  Dwarfs never got to grips with the new pins while Essentials scored steadily, helped by three stick-ups from top score Mark Bennett (who else?).  Six straight games gave us victory by three legs to one, not enough to overtake them but at least we narrowed the gap.

The Greyhound were great hosts as usual and laid on a curry supper that was so nice that an enterprisig Dwarf cadged a container to take some home!

17th December

These weekly reports always mention the top-scoring player and usually have a kind word to say about team-mates who do well.  However, there is never a comment about the (occasional) poor unfortunate who has a bad night and lets the side down.  This week is an exception to that rule.  Essentials played Scuttles Skittlers at Sandford Legion and our skipper was rubbish.  (This can be reported because the writer is the skipper.)
Scuttles Skittlers are a strong team, second in the league, so we needed a good start to get them on the back foot.  Modt of the team scored well by Sandford standards but the skipper averaged four for his first six throws and we found ourselves 3-0 down in no time.
Luckily the beer leg went our way, a flukey nine from skip helped by an excellent stick-up from Phil Algood gave us a consolation point.  The opposition were not well pleased, but we were delighted.  Top score Mark Bennett, 30 pins higher than 'he who will be dropped next match.

3rd December

Bere Essentials were back at Wool Legion, against the Rejects.  They, like us, have more mature players than not and have a wealth of experience between them.  Currently lying second in the league, they are a hard team to beat, especially on the long alley at Wool.

 Leg 1 went according to form, Rejects winning 2-0 in quick time.  Then the Bere fightback began, Essentials winning leg 2 by 2-1 after a grim struggle.  Rejects then faced a total of 51 when Matt hit Essentials only stick-up of the night.  Despite a 14 they could not match our total then set only 41 to give us leg 3 by 2-0.

Essentials went into the beer leg full of confidence but Rejects found form to win the leg and draw the match 2-2.  A good result for Essentials, Rejects were not so pleased.  Top score Matt Bennett.

26th November 2007

Following last week's thrashing, Bere Essentials were hopeful of a good result this week, being back at full strength having recruited the League President Eric Axford.  We were at Bloxworth again, playing M & Ms who are somewhat below us in the league so we were looking for a win.
The match started well for M & Ms who set 45, a challenging score at Bloxworth and one we could not match.  Things improved from there on, Essentials winning the next four games for a 2-0 lead.
Leg 3 found Essentials lacking, either too relaxed or complacent and we lost two low-scoring games to make it 2-1.  Never mind, at least we could win the beer leg.  Or not.  In spite of a 15 stick-up from top score Alan Chalker, we lost the leg for an overall score of 2-2.  We are still in our lowest league position for years.
Well done M & Ms, who dug out some good scores when needed.  Supper was OK, left-overs from a funeral party apparently but very welcome.

19th November 2007

The captain's worst nightmare happened again this week - only five players available again.  A recruitment drive is going to be necessary in the very near future.  To make matters worse we were at Sandford (bogey alley) against the Binliners (second in the league).  The missing player, called 'Tosser' on the scoreboard, gets the opposition's lowest score minus one which is only a small handicap but seems to knock our confidence.
The match went as expected, Binliners were on form and we had some low scores at times, as usual at Sandford.  The second leg was close but overall we were second-best and lost 4-0.  A real shame because we have some very reliable players and on a good night we can beat any team in the league.  Top score was Alan Chalker with the only stick-up from our side.  Bottom score was Tosser

12th November 2007

Bere Essentials were back in league action this week, at Bloxworth Club against the Greyhound.  Our league position is not too good at present so we hoped to take some points off one of the few teams below us.
Greyhound are a tribute to the league's policy of encouraging new players, turning out six young men without an oldie in sight.  The first leg went to plan, Greyhound proving to be a bit erratic and allowing us a 2-0 win.
Leg 2 was not so successful, we could only set 37 in the first game and then failed to reach their 39 when our anchorman needed six and somehow managed to score only one!  Level at 1-1.
Leg three was close, Essentials eventually winning 2-1 after a hard struggle.  The beer leg started well with a win but the second game went to the Greyhound by one point meaning that we had to win the last game to win the match.  We set 45, which should be enough at Bloxworth and things were looking good when their last man needed a stick-up to win.  He did it, of course, so there was a happy ending for the Greyhound who thoroughly deserved a 2-2 draw.
Top score Mark Bennett, with son Matt one pin behind

5th November 2007

Bere Essentials had a break from the league with the first round of the Aggregate Cup.  This is the game where all the pins have to be knocked over before all nine are reset - the match can be won or lost by players missing a single pin.  Accuracy is everything, the ability to clear up pins and leave your team-mate nine to throw at is vital.  The winning side have the highest score after nine throws.
We were at Wool Legion, against Born Again.  They are a young side, ably led by the not-so-young Arthur Stickley, and should be a strong team in years to come.  Essentials started well, gaining a slight lead after two throws. but Born Again came back strongly with a stick-up to level the score.
Steady scoring by Essentials, partly due to some excellent skittling by Matt Bennett who hit seven single pins out of seven shots, saw our lead extend to double figures.  A stick-up by Pete Wharf in the seventh leg put our lead up to 35 and Arthur sportingly conceded the match.  Good team play by Essentials - let's hope we can keep winning in our league matches.  Thanks to Mark for running the team so well in my absence.

22 October 2007

With an unchanged team the Bere Essentials found themselves against The Second Fronters at the Greyhound Inn. A tricky fixture, big scores and a long evening expected. After winning the ‘toss’, for third week running, the Essentials led the way only to lose by one pin after their last man hit the required 12. The next leg saw skittles fly everywhere, well, until the Essentials played, chasing 70 was never in doubt, the team fell some way short even with a stick up from Steve, 1-0 down. 

The next game started well, 22 required from the last two players, and with stick ups from Alan and Mark, again never in doubt, but no, still only 21 scored, lost by one pin. The reply was good, another stick up from Mark, 16 this time, leg and leg. The decider, close again, but 10 required to win on the final throw, only eight hit, 2-0 down. The famous ‘rest leg’ was to follow and then having to chase another big score of 68, it looked grim and 3-0 down. Chasing 53 in the first leg of the final game looked like another chance to salvage a point, alas 52 and one short again. A poor score of 45 in the second leg saw an easy victory ahead for the chasing team, no problems, a 4-0 loss, close at times but probably the right result on the night. Top score Mark Bennett. 

The evening finished on a high though, food at the Greyhound, just splendid.

15 October 2007

With a changed team and under new temporary management the Bere Essentials travelled to Lytchett RBL to play the highly rated Breakaways. Normally these meetings go the full distance, often with twelve legs having to be used and still no winner. Winning the ‘toss’ once again and throwing first, the Essentials never looked back, a 16 from Mark and a flurry of good team scores saw the first two legs taken, 1-0 up. Nip and tuck in the next game, all three legs used, but the Breakaways fought back to level the match 1-1. The third game saw stick ups from Steve and Matt, three legs with scores in the 50s and the Essentials taking a 2-1 lead. The final game was just as competitive, scores slightly lower but only a couple pins between the two teams. Almost predictable, the Breakaways won through, this giving a hard fought 2-2 draw. Top score Matt Bennett.

08 October 2007

The Bere Essentials found themselves at the Clay Pipe against a Poison Dwarf side always good for a close, competitive game. This was to be no different. After winning the ‘toss’ the opening two legs were shared but even with a good 16 from David it wasn’t enough in the third and the Essentials were 1-0 down. Managing to fit in our compulsory rest legs, much earlier than usual I may add, the next two legs came and went, still close but 2-0 down. The first leg of the third game started in a similar manner, close but not close enough, a scrappy second saw the Essentials home by the odd pin then with stick ups from Steve and Mark the revival had begun, 2-1 and all to play for. The forth game started evenly but the Dwarfs edged in front to take the first leg, the odd pin again. The next saw one of the biggest scores of the evening by the Essentials but it was to no avail, the Dwarfs bounced back, another stick up and home with ease for an overall deserved 3-1 win. Closer than the score might suggest though. Top score Mr Edmonds. This may be a reminder from the captain that an instant return to the team is in line after his three weeks holiday in a sunnier clime, that is if they let him through the Aussie airport wearing a huge grin from a Rugby World Cup win. Not that it will be mentioned over there.

01 October 2007

No game this week against ‘Born Again’, refurbishment at the Royal Oak, to be rearranged.

24th September

Bere Essentials, like any team of finely-tuned athletes, are prone to injury from time to time and this week several of the team were 'walking wounded.'  One bad back, one rugby injury, one member who was nursing some bruises from playing against Swan's young fourth team - luckily our squad has strength in depth and we were able to put out a competitive team.  The match was Round 1 of the Knockout Cup, against the Rejects at Bloxworth.
Rejects are usually close to us in the league table so we expected a close game.  The format is like a league match except that five legs can be played, to avoid a draw.  Unfortunately, our match only went to three legs, Rejects showing us how to play the tricky Bloxworth alley and winning 3-0.  Essentials put up a fight, setting a world record 54 in one game but overall Rejects were the better team, taking advantage of our inconsistent scoring.
Never mind, Round 2 of the Cup is in April 2008 so we aren't too disappointed.

17th September

After three matches so far this season Bere Essentials are sixth in the league and this week we hoped to improve our position by taking a few points off the Six Musketeers (the reformed and renamed Better Misfits).  The venue was that great leveller Sandford Legion, lowest-scoring alley in the area, and a place where anything can happen and usually does.
Perhaps the shock of losing the first game when Musketeers set 41 spurred us on to winning the next four games for a 2-0 lead.  Leg 3 went to the opposition, scores of 35 and 37 being enough to win.  Fortunately this was a brief glitch and Essentials were able to take the beer leg for a 3-1 result.  Only two scores exceeded 40 all night, it really is our bogey alley.  Top score Mark Bennett, averaging seven

10th September

Bere Essentials league match turned into every captain's nightmare this week - only five players were available to play.  Last season we had a squad of ten, which posed some problems in itself, like who gets dropped, but this year we have lost two players (neither a great loss to be honest) and raising a team of six is proving to be difficult.
However, the five stalwarts who turned up played wonderfully well against Scuttles Skittlers at the Clay Pipe, one of our favourite venues, cheap beer, nice supper, friendly staff.  Who misses the Drax?
When a player is missing, the vacancy in the team scores one point less than the opposition's lowest score so a competitive game is possible even though you are at a disadvantage.  There is also a bit of a mental block with a team mate missing.
Essentials ended up losing 3-1 which was a fine effort against one of the top teams.  Mark Bennett starred with three stick-ups, top score by 20 points.  Bottom score?  The vacancy.

3rd September

This week Bere Essentials had a local derby against the Woodentops at the Greyhound.  This was our first look at the new owners, who turned out to be very helpful, manned the bar in the alley and did a very nice supper.  A great improvement on the last landlady.
Woodentops have a nucleus of keen young men now and they will mature into a very strong team if they keep up their present progress.  Luckily, Essentials were on form and hit some good scores from the start.  We won the first leg 2-0 after hitting 61, took the second leg 2-1 having enjoyed a 62 so felt everything was under control.
Leg 3 was not so good - Woodentops hit back as we went into decline and beat us 2-0.  No stick-ups for Essentials for the first time all night.  However, there was a happy ending.  We set 59 for the first game of the beer leg and then matched their 45 to win the leg 2-0.  Another overall score of 3-1 to start the new season well.  Top score Mark Bennett, just like last week.

August 2007

Here we go again, summer is over!
The Wareham skittle league season started this week - autumn has officially arrived.
As the Drax Arms plan to close their skittle alley for commercial reasons, joining the other pub landlords who think profit is more important than providing a service to the local community, the league has included Wool RBL as a venue this season.  The alley will be warm and dry and the beer will be much cheaper, so the move will be very welcome.
Bere Essentials joined Hooray Henrys to be the first to play at the new alley and were made very welcome.  Henry struggled to find a team and apologised for fielding a group of beginners and walking wounded.  Essentials looked forward to a good opening game and all started well.
The first three legs went our way, each being won 2-0 for a 3-0 lead despite some rusty performances on our part.  Mark Bennett hit a splendid 17 to help us on our way.
Unfortunately (a word I hope not to use much this season) the beer leg proved to be a bit more difficult.  Henrys scored well and put us under pressure for the first time and the cracks appeared.  Set 42 to save the leg Essentials crumbled with a series of fours and fives and Henrys took a well-deserved beer leg 2-0.
A good evening at a pleasant venue, although the alley looks very long this early in the season.