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Bere Regis Sports Club
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SKITTLES in Bere Regis 
2008 - 2009

30th March

Bere Essentials were busy this week, having to play two matches as the season draws to a close and cup matches need to be played.
Monday saw the last league game of the 08/09 season.  We played the Misfits at Wool Legion and unfortunately had another bad night, losing 4-0 and finishing nearer the bottom of the league than we have in the past.  Peter Wharf put up a fight but the rest of the team couldn't give him enough support.
On Wednesday we were back at Wool to play Breakaways in the Knockout Cup.  They are the recently-crowned league champions and showed us why, winning the match easily with a series of high scores.
So the season ended on a low note, however the team are determined to stick together and do better next time.

23rd March

This week Bere Essentials were back at Sandford Legion, our least favourite alley, against the Rejects.  They are a very experienced side who play at Sandford in the Poole league so we expected them to enjoy home advantage.

This proved to be the case from the start.  We lost the first game and then could only set 31 to go 2-0 down.  Leg 2 was better, partly due to our only stick-up of the night and we levelled the score at 1-1.  This win didn't seem to inspire us and we went on to lose the next two legs 2-0 to end up 3-1 down overall.

While our top and bottom players hit reasonable scores all night, the middle four seemed to find all the gaps, managing 19 scores of five or under out of 32 throws.  This left us setting totals in the low 30s when Rejects were setting mid-40s every time.  Not good enough.  Top score was your reporter and skipper.  (Mark Bennett  didn't play).

16th March

Bere Essentials had no match last week because their opponents, the Greyhound, were unable to raise a team.  This gave us four points, but it would have been better to play a match and enjoy the company of one of the most friendly teams in the league.

This week we met another friendly team, on the surface at least.  We were at the Lytchett Legion against the Breakaways who are top of the league by six points and there is nothing friendly about their skittles.  Nice to have a local derby even though we can't play in our village any more.

We welcomed back Peter Wharf, our normal No 1, who has been recovering from surgery and also Matt Bennett, who put in a guest appearance so we hoped to put up a fight.  Sadly, it all went to rats, Breakaways taking the match 4-0 with a strong performance which we could not equal.  We did win two games and set 55 for top score of the night but were always a pin or two off the pace.  Top score Alan Chalker despite a sore shoulder.  Amazingly Matt and Mark Bennett were joint bottom score - we won't let them forget that.

2nd March

Bere Essentials were back at Bloxworth Club this week, in a league match against Hooray Henrys.  A chance to boost our points total, especially as captain Henry admitted that he is struggling to raise a team at present and expected to lose 4-0.  We have had problems at Bloxworth recently so didn't share his confident prediction.

The first leg was a low-scoring one, neither team getting into the forties and Essentials being very slow to warm up, the weakest link only managing 10 pins in three throws.  1-0 to the Henrys.

Leg 2 was more like it, Essentials winning with 42 then easily getting a low target of 33 to level at 1-1.  Leg 3 started well for the Henrys when they set an almost unheard-of score of 50 but Essentials hit back with two stick-ups to take the leg 2-1.

The beer leg went our way too, steady scores giving us two quick games for an overall 3-1 victory.  The beer is cheap and the supper is welcome, but Essentials will be pleased to play somewhere else for a change after three matches out of the last four at Bloxworth.  Joint top score Mark Bennett and the skipper.

23rd February

There was no league match for Bere Essentials this week as we were enjoying the first round of the Pairs Cup.  Essentials had three pairs in action and our top players were drawn against each other at the Clay Pipe.  There were six pairs at that venue, with the top two going through to the final.
Both Essentials pairs started well and spent the evening competing for top spot with two veteran skittlers from the Rejects.  After six throws each the skipper and Mark Bennett took first place with 136 thanks to three stick-ups from Mark and some steady scores from skip.  Second with 130 were Eric Axford and Alan Chalker,giving Essentials a clean sweep.
It was an encouraging result and showed that some of the team can play a bit.  Supper was good and Ringwood Best was on at £1.99 a pint.  (The third pair, who shall remain nameless, were last at their venue).

16th February

When Essentials played M & Ms in the first half of the season we beat them 4-0.  By coincidence we were playing them at the Greyhound again this week so expected to add a few points to our total, especially as they are lurking in the basement of the league table.
The match started well, Essentials winning the first leg 2-0 but M & Ms fought back to win leg 2 by 2-1.  Essentials then struggled to a close win in leg 3 by 2-1, Eric's 16 stick-up cancelling out some 5s and 4s but the cracks were beginning to show.
The beer leg was another struggle, going to M & Ms 2-1 after they set 52 which we could not match.  A 2-2 draw in the end, not our best skittling at all.  Essentials seem to have lost the killer instinct, when the opposition are in trouble we let them off the hook.  Top scores from Eric Axford and Mark Bennett (who else?).  The supper was excellent.

9th February

Bere Essentials were back at Bloxworth Club this week, against the Second Fronters.  They are one of the better teams in the league so we knew we had a hard match ahead of us.
It proved to be very hard.  Once again Essentials failed to hit decent scores under pressure and we lost 4-0 in quick time.  Mark Bennett hit form with two good stick-ups but it was not enough and we were sent home with our tails between our legs.

2nd February

Despite the Arctic conditions Bere Essentials and the Woodentops bravely drove to Bloxworth for this week's league match.  The show must go on!  We were a bit concerned that the young stars in Rita's team have been playing well recently and were in a position to overtake us in the league table.  With two top players missing due to illness Essentials had a very different line-up but hoped that the Bloxworth Club alley would prove to be the great leveller as usual.
Essentials were slow to warm up again and lost the first leg 2-0 albeit by a very small margin.  Leg 2 was more to our liking, scores of 45 and 44 giving us a 2-1 win.  Woodentops won the first game of Leg 3 then cracked up completely, failing to match our pathetic 34 then setting an easy 31 to give us another 2-1 win.
The all-important beer leg went well for Essentials too, relatively low scores of 42 and 38 proving to be beyond Woodentops reach, giving us the leg and an overall winning score of 3-1.  A very friendly local derby, it could have gone either way but luckily didn't.  Top score Peter Stone and the old weakest link was back to bottom score again.

26th Janaury

Essentials were back in league action this week, after the first round of the singles competition.  We were at Wool Legion, against the Fumb Duckers who we beat comfortably earlier in the season so we were hoping for a good result.

 Apparently the FDs have been practising since we last met because they set off at great pace, hitting two stick-ups in the first game and generally outplaying us all night.  Our skipper played as stand-in No 1 again and had his best night for a long time, taking top score by 11 pins but this unusual performance was not enough to inspire the rest of the team.  Despite some steady scoring from most players we suffered from fielding a new 'weakest link' and missed out by small margins all the way to a 4-0 defeat.

 Well done FDs who should be higher up the league if they can keep up this form.  Perhaps a less embarrassing name would help.

12th January

An historic event happened this week - Bere Essentials signed up a female player for the first time.  Not just a female player, an M & S .... not really, but Michelle has a good pedigree having run her own team in the past and having her name on a cup or two as well.
We played Scuttles Skittlers who are well above us in the league, only a point behind the leaders, so we were in for a hard game.  They started very well, we didn't and just like last week we were two legs down in no time.  Deservedly so, you can't win matches by setting 39 when the opposition are getting scores in the fifties.
However, the third leg was better.  We hit our first scores over 40, Skittlers were dragged down to our level and suddenly we were back in the match 2-1.  Sadly the beer leg slipped from our grasp, we set a miserable 40 to lose the first game then missed the target by one pin to go 3-1 down overall.  Top score David Edmonds, just for a change.

5th January 2009

The Wareham League were back in action this week after the Christmas break and Bere Essentials met the Poison Dwarfs at the Greyhound.  We were walking wounded again and struggled to raise a team.  Eventually five players made it so we were able to start with a slight disadvantage.  Then Alan found his mate Tim in the bar and he agreed to sign up for us so we were back to full strength.
Tim is a very experienced skittler but hasn't played for six years so a few low scores were expected.  Unfortunately the rest of the team played as though they had been out for years too and we struggled to score over 40 in the first few games while the Dwarfs were hitting 50 regularly.
We lost the first two legs in quick time but managed to hit better scores in leg three, even setting 49, but the opposition were up to the challenge and they soon led by 3-0. 
A big effort was needed to avoid a whitewash and it came at last.  We set 51 to win the first game and then Dwarfs could only manage 44 which we reached withou needing our anchorman.  Tim finished with an eight, two nines and a stick-up but it wasn't enough to stop Mark Bennett getting top score.  We were pleased to get the beer leg and supper was excellent too.

24th November 2008

Essentials were looking forward to this week's match - a good alley, cheap beer and a nice supper with the added attraction of playing the bottom team so some points could be scored.  We were at the Clay Pipe against the Greyhound, who don't deserve to be bottom but had to miss a couple of games at the start of the season.  Farmers can't play skittles when there is a harvest to get in.

 Essentials started well, winning the first two legs 2-0 when Greyhound could only set us 38 and 39.  Leg 3 was very different, we set 48 which they reached with apparent ease and they then set us 49 which proved to be too much.  A score of 2-1 could easily become 2-2 so some effort was needed by Essentials.

The first game of the beer leg caused some little flutters of panic in the skippers chest when Greyhound set a stunning 52 to lead 1-0.  However, Essentials are always up for a fight-back and hit a massive 55 to level the score.  Greyhound then lost the plot slightly and set 40 which we reached without needing our last man for a 3-1 overall score.  Top man Alan Chalker.

This was our last league game for 08 as we have cup games and trebles in December so look out for the next report in the new year.

17th November

Bere Essentials faced a new team, the Bloxworth-based team with the silly name who joined the league this season.  Called the Fumb Duckers, but from now on referred to as the FDs in case a typo slips in, they proved to be a fun team to play and as the match was at Bloxworth Club they had plenty of noisy support.
Bloxworth has new heavy balls to go with the new heavy pins and we all thought they made the game more enjoyable.  FDs didn't seem to like them though, being unable to match our scores in the first three legs.  we were hitting totals of around 50 while they were in the mid-30s so we soon had a 3-1 overall lead.
Then came the beer leg.  Perhaps we relaxed, perhaps they got used to the balls, the outcome was not in our favour.  FDs ended the match in fine style with a 16 stick-up by their boy prodigy to win the beer and end up 3-1 down.  A lively night with a nice supper - just what skittles should be about.  Top score Mark Bennett.

10th November

Bere Essentials were back in league action this week, at Wool Legion against the league leaders, Scuttles Skittlers.  The Wool alley is true but very long so we knew it would be hard work.

 The opposition showed why they are at the top of the table from the off, setting us scores we could not quite manage.  The first two legs went against us in no time flat, Skittlers quickly building a 2-0 lead.

The third leg was better, we made them play three games to win but their third score of 53 proved to be too much.  Encouraged by this progress, we pushed hard to take the beer leg and managed to win in two games, partly due to a timely 13 from top score Phil Allgood.  I can't believe I wrote that, it was his first top score for four years.  Not our best night but at least we made a dent in their ambition to win the Beer Cup.

3rd November

This week Bere Essentials were playing at the Greyhound in the first round of the Knockout Cup.  After last week's disaster we were looking forward to playing on a decent alley and were more confident of putting in a good performance.  Our opponents were M&Ms, who we beat 4-0 in a league match earlier this season so a good result was on the cards.
Just for once, it all went according to plan.  The match was 'best of five' legs (to make a draw impossible) and Essentials raced to a 3-0 win in just six games.  The whole team played well, hitting several stick-ups and M&Ms didn't get a look in.  Top score Mark Bennett whose total included two 15s.  We have to wait until April for round 2.

27th October

Essentials were back at Sandford Legion this week and unfortunately back to our old habits there.  Poison Dwarfs beat us 4-0.  It was probably our worst team effort for years.  The weakest link was rubbish as usual but three more reliable team-mates fell by the wayside, including the skipper, who led by a bad example.  Dwarfs did well, hitting five stick-ups while we were hitting nothing.  Top score was Mark Bennett who put up a decent fight but only had Pete Stone to help him.  Better luck next week.

20th October

Bere Essentials and Misfits had an eventful match at the Greyhound this week.  Every skittler hopes for an 18 every time they throw but it rarely happens.  A young man called Michael Bolton, aged 15, hit two 18s in the match and ended up on the losing side.  He is in pole position for the highest score trophy though.

 On the other hand, the worst fear is an OXO.  Our senior player scored his first OXO since he started playing in 1961 and ended up on the winning side, partly because a Misfit also managed to score zero in the next game.

The match was finely balanced from the beginning.  Essentials won the first leg 2-0 helped by stick-ups from Alan and Matt.  Misfits took the second leg 2-0 to level the match then Essentials hit back again to take the third leg 2-0, Eric's OXO offset by the skipper's 15.

The beer leg was a cliffhanger, Essentials set 56 with stick-ups from Alan and Mark to win the first game.  Misfits then set 57 to draw level but could not match our final score of 51, giving us the beer leg and a 3-1 win.  A great night for us, finished off by a good supper.  Top score Alan Chalker - again

13th October

Here is every skittlers nightmare - you are playing the Breakaways at Wool Legion, they are top of the league and have just set 58.  It's you to take the first throw of the match and your team are looking for a good start.  What can you do?  If your name is Peter Wharf you hit a stunning 17 and inspire your team to win the game.  A nice 15 from Pete Stone helped.
Unfortunately the Breakaways showed why they are top by taking the next four games for a 2-0 lead.  Time for an Essentials fightback.  Breakaways set a relatively low 45 but our weakest link hit a three and left Mark needing too much.  However, we then set 48 which was a winning score and beat their 50 thanks to Alan Chalker's 16 to take the leg 2-1.
Sadly, Breakaways took the beer leg for a 3-1 overall win - the fightback was not quite good enough.  By consistent skittling, Matt Bennett hit our top score without a stick-up - 22 pins more than the weakest link could manage.  Guess who will be dropped next week.

6th October

Bere Essentials returned to Sandford Legion this week, scene of some of our worst skittling nightmares last season.  We played M & Ms who were one place above us in the league so a tight game looked likely.
However, anything can happen on the Sandford alley.  M & Ms struggled from their first throw, setting 27 which we reached easily and then failing to beat our 38.  Encouraged by this good start, Essentials went on to set some challenging scores, several in the 40s.  This was good enough to take the next three legs for a 4-0 win, losing only one game in the process.
Most of the team coped well with the alley, especially Mark Bennett who hit seven or over every hand to take top spot.  Perhaps we should look forward to our next match at Sandford later this month.

29th September

Essentials league position plunged from second to sixth after last week's defeat so we hoped to pick up a few points against Hooray Henrys at the Greyhound.  They are a friendly team and we always enjoy playing them, especially as we usually win.
However, Henry has strengthened his squad during the close season and it was obvious from the start of the match that we were up against it. Despite being set 47 in the second game they won the first leg 2-0.  Essentials then fought back to take the second leg 2-0 with useful stick-ups from Eric and the skipper.
Henrys won the next leg 2-1 after our weakest link could only manage a four and two fives - not enough on the Greyhound alley, leaving too much for the anchor men to do.  Then the match swung back our way, steady scoring by all the team giving us a 2-0 win again for a hard-fought draw.  A very enjoyable evening helped by the usual generous supper.  Matt would have loved it.
Top score Peter Wharf who hit 17 on the last throw of the match when he only needed six to win.  Pity he couldn't do it earlier!

22nd September

Two weeks ago Bere Essentials enjoyed a win over Rejects when the outcome of the match depended on two throws.  This week we had a similar match but this time our luck ran out.
We played the Second Fronters at Bloxworth Club, hoping for a good result to keep our position as second in the league.  As on all the alleys, we have shiny new pins at Bloxworth and scoring seemed to be even harder than with the old ones.  A series of fives, sixes and sevens meant we were struggling from the beginning of the match and the loss of Matt Bennett part way through due to a footballing injury didn't help.
Twice in the match we had a chance to win a leg and twice the team left the anchor man with too much to do so a possible 2-2 draw turned into a 4-0 defeat.  The Fronters skipper was sympathetic, he claimed they had struggled too but he was smiling when he said it.
Top score Alan Chalker who had the only stick-up on the night.

15th September

Bere Essentials second match of the new season was against the Woodentops at the Clay Pipe.  We have enjoyed some success against the Woodentops in the past so were hoping for a good result.
The first two legs went according to plan, thanks to some consistent scoring from all the team and a cracking 17 stick-up from Alan Chalker.  We won both legs 2-0 and started leg 3 very confidently by setting a score of 50.  This proved to be no problem to Woodentops who then took the next game too for a 2-1 overall score.
The beer leg started badly too, Essentials unable to reach a modest target of 44.  The fightback began when we set 47 and Woodentops cracked under the pressure.  The last game was ours too for a another 3-1 result - a great start to the season.
We had an interested spectator, a skittler from Bristol who was on holiday nearby.  He was amazed at the weight and size of our pins, apparently far bigger than they use, and enjoyed a throw or two after we finished our match.

8th September 2008

Bere Essentials started the new season with the old problem - could we raise a team?  This early in the season players are still on holiday or doing more important things so we arrived at Lytchett Legion with five players and the promise of a late starter.  Luckily our opponents, the Rejects, were in the same position so we played the first leg five-a-side.
There are new pins at most of the alleys this year, courtesy of the Wareham League spending some of our hard-earned match fees, so the good old days of easy stick-ups are gone.  After three low-scoring games Essentials led 1-0, at which point our late starter arrived and Rejects signed up a new player so we were all back to full strength.
Rejects struck back in leg 2 (they should keep their new guy) to level the score.  By leg 3 both teams were getting used to the new pins and the scores were creeping up.  Essentials crept highest and we won the leg 2-0, helped by a rare stick-up from Phil Algood.
Rejects started the beer leg in fine style, taking the first game although we set 48.  Essentials won the second game to leave the match finely balanced.  The last game ended in a dramatic fashion, Rejects' anchor man needing eight to draw the match.  Seven pins fell to his first ball but the next two were wides!  Essentials gratefully took a 3-1 win - a great start to the season against a strong team.  Top score Mark Bennett.  Who else?