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Youth Cricket in West Dorset

The Yarn’s guide to youth cricket in Dorset

Have I just seen our 2031 Ashes hero? OK, that’s 16 years away, but with the current series against Australia now under way, we’ve been looking at the strength of youth cricket here in West Dorset in 2015.

Yarn’s very own cricket fan Peter Smith (not much of a player but has commentated on the BBC’s Test Match Special), started his innings with Bridport’s Under 9’s…

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One of the Bridport Bandits' Nissan Micras at the workshop in Bridport

On Track for Better Careers with Bridport Bandits

A young people’s motorsport project set up more than 20 years ago in Bridport, originally to turn around the lives of youngsters convicted of car crime, has been so successful that its members are fixing cars professionally, and in one case, owning a garage and employing former club members in West Dorset.

Bridport Bandits, the popular name for the Bridport Autograss Racing Club, have thrown off their original image to take boys and girls aged 11-18 with an interest in cars and teach them basic skills and more at their workshops, as well as the chance to drive in autograss races (from age 12 upwards).

The club’s instructors, with links to the motor trade in and around West Dorset, prepare race vehicles for members and support young people getting their minis to race under NASA (National Autograss Sports Association) rules and regulations.

If you go into any garage in the Bridport area you’ll find someone who is a former Bridport Bandit

Club secretary Martin Singer reckons the group is probably unique. “Unlike other similar teams who get financial support from their local authority, we don’t get any, and we rely entirely on donations,” he said. “It’s an expensive sport with a cost of around £2,000 per year, per car to maintain, and not all parents can make that sort of financial contribution on behalf of their kids.”

But such is the club’s reputation for social responsibility, keeping youngsters off the streets and giving them a constructive hobby which has sparked careers, organisations like Bridport Round Table have helped the Bandits out.

“Members picked up litter after the beer festival and we were at the Boxing Day swim. In return they gave us donations for which we are grateful but we do have to actively fundraise to keep afloat,” he said. Martin spoke with pride about the success of one of the former members, Ryan Bennett. “Ryan learned the basics with us, then went on to be an apprentice, became a fully qualified mechanic, started his own business on the Pineapple Business Park in Salway Ash, and now takes on apprentices who came through the club just like him. If you go into any garage in the Bridport area you’ll find someone who is a former Bridport Bandit.”

The club races in the Junior Autograss Class with 1000cc classic minis and competes in the Southern League some Sundays, often at their home track, the Wessex Motor Racing Club at Bearley, near Tintinhull, Yeovil.

One of Bridport Bandits' Nissan Micras racing

The Bandits currently have 15-20 members and meet at their garage in Gundry Lane, next to the Bridport Youth Centre on Monday and Thursday evenings 7-9pm. Anyone interested in joining, or who has car mechanic skills to share, or would consider becoming a sponsor, should contact club secretary Martin Singer on 07888 680789.
Trevor Senior - manager of Bridport FC

Home Wins for Trevor

Why would a former football league player who scored more than 170 goals across the leagues, and is a club legend at Reading where he holds the all-time goalscoring records, choose to manage a club in the Western League where players are paid travelling expenses only, not thousands of pounds a week?

And why, six years into his current spell in charge of Bridport, is he so comfortable here despite indifferent results this season, that he would probably only be lured away from a role he clearly loves if Reading FC came calling?

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Watch a video of dolphins swimming alongside Bridport Gig Club's junior team

Young giggers row with dolphins

Bridport Gig Club’s junior team’s efforts were rewarded this weekend when they were treated to an extraordinary row alongside dolphins, in front of West Bay’s cliffs.

A video, posted to the Bridport Notice Facebook page (which Yarn Magazine runs), was played nearly 10,000 times in under 12 hours. It was shown nearly 30,000 Facebook users in that same time span.

UPDATE: As of 27th July, the video has been played nearly 50,000 times, and has been shared by the likes of Country Living Magazine and the official Visit England tourism page. It has also been featured on various national newspapers’ websites, as well as, we’re told, CBS in America!

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Lym Valley Croquet secretary, Steve Howard, about to play

It’s Just Not Cricket!

Guess the sport: it was dropped from the Olympics after its only appearance in 1900 for having “hardly any pretensions to athleticism”

One piece of its equipment sounds like it can be bought from a DIY shop. It’s been described as “chess on grass” by one of its players at a club in Uplyme, whose members turn out on Mondays and Thursdays at a cricket ground. The game’s popular (but not necessarily well-informed) image is of a genteel pastime more associated with period dramas like Downton Abbey, but that doesn’t fit well with the group I’m visiting who actually play the game.

It’s croquet, of course!

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