1895 to 1896

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1895-1896

 

21/9/1895

Trial match at Henrietta Park.

 

28/9/1895

v Clifton, Away. Won 6-3. Team: J Long, W F Long, B Lawrence, E A Fry, E H Seers, G G Vincent, P Heath, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, W England, G O Hyett, J Ruddick and R E Bartlett.

Bath opened their season at Horfield “under atmospherical conditions that are likely to be long remembered.” (It was extremely hot)

“It was close on half-past four when Soane opened the match, his kick off leading to early scrums in the open and a scrambling attack on the Clifton lines. The assault was not long sustained, the home forwards smartly forcing their way out and frustrating an attempt by Heath to get the ball away to the three-quarters. Very shortly after the start Sinnott received a nasty knock on the eye, and had to retire for a couple of minutes, afterwards resuming his place with a bandaged head. In midfield J Long had a free kick at goal, and although he missed the mark he helped his side to get to the quarter line. Superior play, of the home forwards, however, had the effect, and they worked their way half the length of the field before meeting with a reverse in the shape of an effective long shot from Fry. This put Bath on the aggressive in earnest, and Soane looked like getting in on a burst through the scrum, but he found that he was marked too closely. The homesters had the chance of getting out of difficulties with a free kick, but off-side neutralised this, and then Clifton were penalised, and Soane placing the ball at a sharp angle beyond the twenty-five flag, J Long shot the ball over the bar very cleverly, scoring a penalty goal. There was after this a lively turn of loose play, each side pressing in turn, affording spectators plenty of excitement; and at length in neutral territory Vincent received and shot down the field, challenged by Battye. He raced into the Clifton ground, and when collared passed to W F Long, who scored in a fair position. J Long aimed strongly at goal, but failed to record the major point. After a brief look in on the Bath ground, the Clifton men were driven back with a big rush, which B H Belson carried right on to the goal line, well backed up by D’Aguilar and Soane, and when half-time was called the visitors were pressing hard.

In the opening stages of the second half the play was not of a very scientific character, and Clifton, although they had the sloping ground in their favour, were driven on the defensive, the strong resistance of Sinnott, Taylor, and Norrington notwithstanding. In front of the home goal Vincent passed out to his three-quarters, but an overthrow was given to W F Long on the wing, and he had as much as he could do in keeping the ball out of the hands of Baker. Clifton’s chance came a few minutes later. Lias, Battye, and Baker combined in carrying the ball down the field, the last man being pulled over only when on the point of scoring. The aggressors were pushed back some yards but were not to be denied, and from a rush Bingham got in. Lias failed to improve on the try, although the shot was a good one. Bath subsequently forced the game but following an exchange of long shot were hotly pressed, Baker dashing along the touch line and forcing J Long to save. Another attack was led by Taylor, and Sinnott and Metcalfe did good work, but the Somerset men this time held their own, and when the contest drifted into the open it was waged on very even terms for several minutes. Clifton once more pressed, but again had to retire, and the game ended in favour of Bath by a penalty goal and a try to a try.

 

5/10/1895

v Bridgwater at Recreation Ground. Drawn 0-0. Team: J Long, W F Long, B Lawrence, E A Fry, E H Seers, G G Vincent, P Heath, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, E H Bolt, W England, G O Hyett, J Ruddick and R E Bartlett.

The weather was in sharp contrast to the previous Saturday’s heat-wave, the spectators: “instead of hiding themselves from the sun’s rays under parasols and huge umbrellas, had to be encumbered with great coats and the requisite waterproof paraphernalia to keep out the cold and rain.” The promised stand had not yet been erected and with the rain coming down in fine style, pressmen and spectators alike, were cruelly exposed to a drenching.

Bridgwater commenced with a vigorous onslaught, and one of their three-quarters looked like getting away. It took a fine tackle by Vincent to halt his progress. Heath figured in another fine tackle shortly after. J Long had an excellent game at back and repulsed attacks with superb kicks to touch. “Bath completely held their opponents in the scrums, Soane, Belson, England, D’Aguilar and others putting in some grand work.” Vincent made a number of attempts to get away, but with no little difficulty, he was pulled down. Bath worked hard for a score, but the game ended pointless at 5.45pm. Contemporary comment: “Bath were lucky in scrambling out of the ordeal as they did.”

 

12/10/1895

v Bristol, Away . Bath lost by 2 tries to 1 try.(3-6)

Selected side: M S Bigwood, W J Williams, G Middleton, A E Fry, W F Long, G G Vincent, E H Seers, E Billett, R A Bartlett, L J Fry, F Derrick, J Ruddick, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar and F C Belson. Banks took the field as a last minute replacement.

This was always considered to be the ‘fixture of the year,’ and by kick-off time the ropes were crowded a dozen deep, and the ‘flower pot’ facilities on the other side of the field were packed to their utmost capacity. “The Bath forwards held their own well in the scrum, Soane and D’Aguilar doing good work, and the former was well to the fore in a well timed rush, which carried play just within the Bristol lines.” W F Long and Fry gave a very good account of themselves. Bristol’s: “Fenner tried his old tactics of dodging around scrum and had his claret tapped, but no luck attended his effort.” (i.e. he had a blood injury!)

The second half opened with brilliant three-quarter play by Bristol and eventually Chard scored following a smart run by Palmer. “The visitors towards the end worked up a strong pressure, but greatly to the disappointment of their numerous supporters, who cheered again and again, they could not draw level, and Bristol came out the winners by three points.”

 

26/10/1895

v Exeter (A) Lost 0-34 Team: J Long, W F Long, E A Fry, B Lawrence, A Stiles, G G Vincent, E H Seers, J B S D’Aguilar, (capt.), L J Fry, B H Belson, E H Bolt, G Knight, S Duck, C Williams and R A Bartlett.

 

9/11/1895

v Taunton (A) Bath lost 1 goal to nil. (0-5) Team:- J Long, W F Long, B Lawrence, A Osman, A D Stiles, G G Vincent, E H Seers, J D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, L J Fry, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, E H Bolt, and S Duck.

After a fine run, Sturt scored very early for Taunton and converted his own try.

Despite sending a weakened team, Bath were considered to have had the best of play, but they failed to make the most of their chances. Bath’s wingman, Stiles missed a certain try, when he ran over the dead ball line. It was, nevertheless, a good game to watch and the Taunton faithful voted it the best they had seen that season.

 

16/11/1895

v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 5-0. Team:- J Long, W F Long, B Lawrence, E C Faithfull, E F Gooding, G G Vincent, E H Seers, L J Fry, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, C Williams, J D’Aguilar (Capt.), F Derrick, B H Belson and F C Belson.

A delayed start. Both teams on the pitch, but no ball! A disappointing game, with a poor performance from the forwards.

“It was not without feelings of fear and trembling that the Bath supporters lined the barriers at the Recreation Ground this afternoon.”

“There was an encouraging muster of spectators, and had the weather been less boisterous the concourse undoubtedly would have been much larger.”

“It is certain that the committee of the Bath F.C. will have reason when the season ends to regret having listened to the advocates of the threepenny admittance, for there can be no question that under its operation the income will by no means balance the expenditure. About £10 was the result of Saturday’s match, and from that the Company’s share has to be deducted.”

“A fair gathering of spectators lined the barriers, but the new grand stand came in for very meagre patronage.”

“At length Long got possession again and put in a grand circuitous run, which drew hearty plaudits from the crowd. Then the play was carried again right on to the line, and after some few minutes Lawrence obtained possession from a line out, and scored. Jimmy Long again failed at goal, the wind rendering goal kicking practically out of the question.”

 

23/11/1895

v Clifton, Home. Drawn 6-6. Team: J Long, W F Long, R Lawrence, W L Williams, E F Gooding, E H Seers, G G Vincent, F Soane, J D’Aguilar, the Belsons, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, C Williams and L J Fry.

Bath were at full-strength: “This fact is worth recording seeing that for several weeks past the lines have been all knocked out of shape by absenteeism, and the nursery has had to be drawn upon to fill most glaring gaps at the last moment.”

The back division play was “radically bad.” Bath’s equalising try came from forwards’ initiative: “the elder Belson, on his own responsibility, asked his brother to stand outside the scrums which were being continually formed on the Clifton line. He did so, and the oval being whipped out to him he dashed across and scored.”

James scored first for Clifton, after dashing off in brilliant style and rounding the Bath full-back. Baker failed with the kick. Bath’s reply was not long in coming: “Bath got away right down the field from the kick out, and play settled down for a short space in the Clifton half. From just above the 25 flag Belson obtained possession from a line out and bolting down the track scored magnificently, amid the greatest enthusiasm. D’Aguilar kept things equal by failing at goal.” Both the Belsons played exceedingly well against their former clubmates.

‘A Spy’ commented: “It grieves me to say so, but it is scarcely open to denial that the exhibition given by the Bath halves and three-quarters was almost sufficient to make the proverbial saint break the laws against blasphemy.”

“A more ragged lot of three-quarters than were out on Saturday have rarely sported club jerseys.”

 

28/11/1895

v Bath College at Claverton. Won 29-0 Team: J Long, W F Long, B Lawrence, D B Moneypenny*, E F Gooding, E H Seers, G G Vincent, J D’Aguilar, B H Belson, L J Fry, F Derrick, H Howard, C Williams, R A Bartlett, E C Faithful. * D B Moneypenny was a younger brother to CJB Moneypenny and C B Moneypenny, the former Bath three-quarters. This was his only game with Bath. He went on to play for London Scottish and gain three Scottish Caps in 1899.

 

30/11/1895

v Cheltenham, Home. Lost 3-8. Team:- E F Gooding, F C Belson, A E Gibson, A E Fry, A Osman, E H Seers, P Heath, B H Belson, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, L J Fry, E H Bolt, F Derrick, J Rawlings and J Townsend. With a small crowd in attendance, the sixpenny side was very sparsely patronised.

“The Bath side was wretchedly weak and the exhibition was indeed a sorry one.” At one stage, Fry broke from a line-out and : “started ploughing through a semi-solid mass of players, and was brought down a rare crusher. A very few minutes later and Ruddick landed over amid considerable enthusiasm, but A E Fry put in a poor shot at goal.” A magnificent kick at goal by Eagles brought the score level at half-time, but the visitors overtook Bath in the second spell.

 

7/12/1895

v Rosslyn Park, Away. Won 11-0. Team: J Long, G G Vincent, A E Fry, W J Williams, F C Belson, P M Heath, E H Seers, J D’Aguilar, B H Belson, J Ruddick, L J Fry, F Derrick, R A Bartlett, E H Bolt and C Williams. J Long was absent when the visitors took the field: “Bath put out Derrick from the pack to keep the castle, a very dangerous situation being threatened as a consequence of there being no one at home when the home lines were raided.” Nevertheless, Bath notched up 8 points by the interval and finally came home with a handsome win.

“The Parkers were themselves distinctly off colour; this fact was candidly admitted by one of their forwards. He was a diminutive man, but possessed a large voice, and he sadly asked the rest of his team if they were not all mad – a remark which caused no little laughter in the stand, which by the way, was very well patronised.”

 

 14/12/1895

v Gloucester. Drawn 3-3. The Recreation ground pitch was a quagmire. “There was a fairly large crowd present, the grand stand having as good a complement as at any time since its erection.” Team: J Long, W F Long, G G Vincent, A E Fry, F C Belson, E H Seers, P Heath, J Ruddick, J D’Aguilar, B H Belson, L J Fry, R A Bartlett, F Derrick, C Williams, F Soane.

At cessation of hostilities, the teams came off with a try apiece. Seers touched down for Bath after another grand forward dribble. In strenuous and exciting play, Soane worked “like a horse” and was well backed up by Belson, Derrick, Heath and others. Vincent put in some sterling work and J Long relieved in awkward situations.

 

21/12/1895

v Bridgwater Albion. Away. Lost 3 tries to 2 tries. (6-9) Team: Gooding, W F Long, A E Fry, B H Vincent, G G Vincent, E H Seers, P Heath, F Soane, J D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, J Ruddick, L J Fry, R Bartlett, and F Derrick.

The Albions’ Bradley was quick to break away, but Heath ‘grassed’ him in fine style. After two more attempts Bradley succeeded in scoring. Heath then featured for Bath, but his dashing effort was temporarily halted as he lost the ball. However, Seers was backing up and was able to touch down.

Smart scored a second try for Bridgwater. The second half commenced with some furious play, mostly in favour of the Albions, and Bradley was over for his second try. “Later on Heath obtained from a scrum and passing cleverly to Vincent the latter was enabled to score beneath the posts.” “The superiority of the Albion forwards became increasingly manifest as the game proceeded, the oval invariably coming out behind them as a result of their smart heeling tactics.”

Gooding was very active and equal to almost every occasion.

 

24/12/1895

v Burton on Trent, Home. Won 11-0.Team: J Long, W F Long, B H Vincent, A E Fry, G C Middleton, P M Heath, G G Vincent, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, L J Fry, F Derrick and G O Hyatt. Bath won by a goal and 2 tries to nil.

Said to be a surprise win, as besides supplying strong beer, the Midlands town normally produced a strong rugby team. However, due to the holiday period, they travelled short of players, partially making up their numbers, with three Coventry guests. They were obliged to play with three three-quarters and seven in the pack. To add to their misery, E M Baker sustained a head injury and their numbers were finally reduced to 12.

Bartlett, D’Aguilar and Belson shone in defensive work, but it was Vincent who stood out in attack: “After a time Bath forged over the centre, and the forwards took the game on to the brink of the visitors’ 25. Byrne was appealed to, but put in a poor kick, and after beating about the home citadel for some few minutes George Vincent, dodging some half a dozen of his adversaries in magnificent style, scored the first try of the day amid intensive enthusiasm.”

 

26/12/1895

v Kensington Nomads. Home. Bath won 15-0 Selected Team:- Barrett, W F Long, B H Vincent, A E Fry, G C Middleton, E H Seers, G G Vincent, J B D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, L J Fry, F Derrick and Soane. This game was arranged at short notice, after negotiations with Croydon fell through.

“The London Welsh offered to come on Christmas Day, but the Bath executive is not quite so enthusiastic as to intrude football on the sanctity of that festival, when domestic felicity reigns supreme.”

As part of the Christmas fare, Bath ‘A’ had played Cardiff Stars on the snow clad Recreation Ground. By the afternoon the ground was in a sorry plight: “and there were few outside ardent footballers who were prepared to encounter the mud and slush.” There was a delayed start, as apparently no one had stepped forward to act as touch judges. Two spectators were persuaded to fulfil this role and Frank Soane finally got the game under way.

The game was but five minutes old when W F Long obtained on the visitors’ 25 and romped over. D’Aguilar failed with the place kick, but made amends with a fine try from a line-out. This time B H Vincent tried his luck, but another goal kick failed. Bath had returned to the attack when half time was signalled:

“A few minutes breathing time was very acceptable, and in the absence of foot-warmers a large number of the spectators took to steeplechasing across the spare ground.”

“G G Vincent scored twice within the next minute, aided on the second occasion by some grand forward work. The elder Belson took the kicks but neither were successful; the first striking the upright, and the other being a miserable failure- a veritable daisy cutter. The visitors were now fairly driven off their feet. Scarcely another moment had elapsed before W F Long obtained a fifth try.” Bath were ‘on the warpath’ to the end.

 

Christmas 1895 was a period of rain sleet and snow. The Burton on Trent fixture was a failure as regards to gate, and the amount taken at the turnstile was not sufficient to cover the match guarantee. On Boxing morning the ‘A’s match raised £6, and the afternoon 1st XV game against Kensington £20 only. The ‘A’s game on the 28th December raised £2 on the gate and 30 shillings for the stand.

Some sort of protection for the ground would have cost up to £60, but the Management had preferred to trust to providence to keep the ground playable.

“That a little hardening at the present moment would be beneficial the players who grovelled ankle deep in a sea of mud on Saturday last would doubtless agree.”

28/12 1895

v Old Edwardians. Away. Lost 3-6. Team: M S Bigwood, G C Middleton, E S Tagart, C Gill, J Long, G G Vincent, E H Seers, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, L J Fry, G O Hyatt, R A Bartlett, P M Heath, E C Faithful and Neave. “Bath took a very odd assortment to Birmingham on Saturday, having as many as five three-quarters and three halves.” It was a poorly attended match and the weakened side managed one very good try by D’Aguilar, after a series of forward rushes. Vincent and Seers unlucky not to score. The state of the ground was certainly against ‘scientific’ back play.

 

2/1/1896

v Newton Abbot, Home. Lost 0-7. Team: J Long, W F Long, E S B Tagart, T H Edwards, G Middleton, G G Vincent, P M Heath, F Soane, D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F Derrick, G O Hyatt, J Ruddick, L J Fry and L Neave.

Bath were off colour. “…..a deterioration presumably due to Christmas and New Year dances and other forms of festivity.”

 

4/1/1896

v Penarth, away. Won 8-6. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, E H Seers, G Middleton, Llewellyn Thomas, T H Edwards, O Edwards, R A Bartlett, G O Hyatt, L Neave, E C Faithfull, E Billett, W H Noke, G Knight and Mullins. A remarkable win with a scratch side, against a fully fit Penarth on their home patch! Tries by Middleton and Thomas, one converted by Thomas. Both Llewellyn Thomas and Mullins played their one and only game for the Club this day.

Regular players who did not make the trip were:- A E Fry, G G Vincent, F S B Taggart, W J Williams, F Soane, F C Belson, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, L J Fry and J Ruddick.

At long last – an Away win in Wales!

 

11/1/1896

v Old Edwardians (First occasion of playing Old Edwardians at home) Lost 3-5. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, A E Fry, E S B Tagart, G G Vincent, E H Seers, P M Heath, F Soane, J S B D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, J Ruddick, L J Fry, R A Bartlett, L Neave. Try by Long 5 minutes from the start, and the backs were playing brilliantly. Unfortunately an improvement in the outsides’ play, brought a corresponding decadence in the forward enterprise. After the visitors’ had scored their goal, a Bath forward rally came too late.

It was a case of “A game is never lost ’til it’s won,” as the tables were turned just as everyone was waiting for the final whistle.

“Seers was remarkably keen in picking the ball from the heels of the forwards. Heath combined well with his partner and made frequent openings, and the three-quarters went away with a dash, and transferred with a precision which showed the Welsh game is not quite unknown in these parts. Towards the finish the movements became slow and mechanical, but, nevertheless, there was evidence of what can be done, and though Bath lost in a vexatious manner it did, supporters of the team left the field with cause for comfort and consolation.”

 

 18/1/1896

v Stroud at the Recreation Ground. Match drawn 0-0. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, A E Fry, E S B Tagart, E H Seers, G G Vincent, P M Heath, J B D’Aguilar, (Capt.), F C Belson, T B Timmins, L D Neave, F Derrick, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett and G Knight. Heath was the only one who played up to form. The younger Belson had a very poor game, which prompted the comment: “A man can’t dance all night and a good part of the morning and be fit for a tough football tussle the same day. “It’s agin natter.” Fry, not wishing to forego the pleasure of the ball-room scratched the football engagement.”

25/1/1896

v Wellington, Home. Won 10-3. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, A E Fry, E H Seers, W J Williams, G G Vincent, P M Heath, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, J Ruddick, R A Bartlett, F Derrick and L J Fry.

Bath showed grit and determination to win this one. True, Wellington were without star winger Mermagen. Ground conditions were heavy and did not suite Wellington’s fast and light backs. Bath pack played well and probably benefited from 5 of them turning out for Thursday night training! Fry dropped a goal, D’Aguilar scored a try and there was a final try by Derrick, after Vincent had figured in clever dribbles.

 

1/2/1896

v Wellington (A) Bath lost by a goal and 1 try to nil. (0 – 8) Selected Team: Bigwood, W F Long, F C Belson, Seers, Derrick, Vincent, Sheppard, Soane, D’Aguilar, B H Belson, L Fry, Ruddick, Bartlett, Harding and Ward.

There was the all too usual difficulty of finding players for away matches, with Stiles and Gooding declaring themselves unavailable. Some ‘A’ players were showing a reluctance to play with the senior team, and Bath were short of three-quarters. “Two lads, who proved mere passengers, and worse than useless were picked up at the station to make up a team – the club had much better have saved their fares.”

To add to their troubles, the senior Belson dropped out with cramp after fifteen minutes. However, Soane never played with more vigour and Ruddick was a marvel of energy and resource.

8/2/1896

v Bristol, Home. Lost 3-6. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, A E Fry, G Middleton, W J Williams, G G Vincent, E H Seers, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar, L J Fry, R A Bartlett, J Ruddick, F Derrick, F C Belson, and A Billett. The crowd of 4000 was a record for this local derby game. Bath’s try came from Derrick, after a forwards’ scramble. At the final whistle: “……the Bristolians gave way to a frenzy of joy, hats, umbrellas and handkerchiefs being frantically waved.”

There was considerable sorrow, that the brothers Biggs, had seemingly thrown in their lot with the Richmond Club. “It was the same old story over again. No combination or understanding as to what should be done between the players. Plenty of individual flash and dash, but no intelligent cohesion. When a forward got off in a dribble there was no one alongside him; the halves did not work together as they should have done, and at three-quarter lack of continuity in the line was felt again. It is seldom, or never, Bath plays the same quartet two weeks in succession, and with this black spot it is marvellous the team has done so well this season. The players cannot very well be blamed, it is simply the bad luck of the management in never having a permanent competent line to put in the field.”

 

15/2/1896

v Weston –s-Mare (A) Bath won by 2 tries to nil. (6-0). Bath played with fourteen men, with three of the forward regulars missing. Soane kept his pack intact and played three three-quarters. Forward pressure brought an easy try for Vincent. Having the best of matters, Soane then switched himself to right centre for the last quarter. He promptly took the ball over the line for Long to touch down. Soane’s dribbles were fine exhibitions of toe and knee skill, and F C Belson and Fry played with distinction.

“A L M Swabey-I believe I have remembered correctly – a Bath forward of Kensington Meadows days, happened to be among the onlookers. Rheumatism, the effect of a hard winter in Florida, alone kept him from sporting the old colours once again and making the fifteenth man.”

 

 22/2/1896

v Stroud, Away. Lost 5-16. Team: Bigwood, W F Long, E H Seers, A Osman, W J Williams, G G Vincent, E Sheppard, Soane, D’Aguilar, B H and F C Belson, Ruddick, R Bartlett, L Fry and C Williams.

CHRONICLE COMMENT: “Bath’s licking is all the more inexplicable as we had what may be termed a strong team as Bath teams go nowadays! Certainly it was a good team to play an out-of-town match, for it is the fashion for the hon. Secretary to have a score of refusals for an away engagement and be scouring the place for substitutes with feverish anxiety half-an-hour before the train is due to leave.”

Try by Seers, converted by Bigwood. Soane gave another exhibition, moving the ball a full fifty yards in one of his extended dribbles.

 

29/2/1896

v Penarth (H) Bath Lost 3-14. Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, G Middleton, A E Fry, W J Williams, Vincent, Seers, Soane (Capt), D’Aguilar, F C Belson, L L Fry, C Ruddick, R Bartlett, A Billett and A E Bartlett. A Bigwood’s penalty succeeded from wide out.

CHRONICLE COMMENT: “In these degenerate days, when goal kicking is in danger of being numbered with the lost arts, it was refreshing to see the two place kicks which ended successfully. They were both on a par, being practically from the same spot, just on the right touch line. Bigwood’s was a beauty, and how every loyal Bathonian prayed that his side would ‘keep it up.’ That they tried to do so no one can deny, but the combination of cleverness of the other side would not let them, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in admitting that Bath were fairly and squarely out-classed.”

 

7/3/1896

v Gloucester (A) Drawn 0-0. Selected Team: M S Bigwood, W F Long, A E Fry, S W Rowse*, Osman, Seers, Alexander, Soane, D’Aguilar, F C Belson, L J Fry, R Bartlett, A Billett, Tipper, and Wheeler.

(*S W Rowse was the Bath Post Office XV captain, playing with fellow postal worker Alexander. In fact, the Bath Post Office seemed able to provide ready replacements, in times of team shortages.)

 

About this time there was something of a small-pox epidemic. Hence the comment: “With that fatherly care which always characterises them, the officials of the Club, I presume, have already purchased a powerful disinfectant for each member of the team, as we do not want our doughty warriors bringing back the germs of small-pox.”

There were five married men in the Bath team. One regular player was kept away by the small-pox scare.

From Bath’s point of view it was an achievement, just to avoid a double defeat by Gloucester, and a second draw was considered quite satisfactory. Bath had been off the Gloucester fixture list, and only reinstated the previous season. Ten years had passed since Bath last visited Gloucester. The home crowd gave Bath a good reception and showed no unpleasant or rowdy bias in favour of their team. It was one of the best social outings of the season.

“After keeping up Bath’s reputation for feeding, the interval before the return train started, was devoted to harmony, and with Rowse present, the piano was kept going merrily.”

 

14/3/1896

v Exeter, Home. Drawn 0-0. Selected Team: F Gooding, W F Long, A Fry, W J Williams, A.Osman, Vincent, Seers, Soane, D’Aguilar, B Belson, F Belson, L Fry, Derrick, Bartlett and Billett.

A good result achieved by resolute man on man tackling.

CHRONICLE COMMENT

“I do not remember Soane having played a finer or more inspiring game. Head, heart, and muscle were fully devoted to the game, and he spurted at a pace which would put many a sprinter to shame. The incident when with three or four of the fastest men in the pack close behind him he took up the running from Vincent, and strove his hardest to beat the Exeter back, was the sight of the game, and he deserved success. It is distinctly hard lines to be pulled up for not giving five yards when you know you have given a man over half-a-dozen, and had the referee been a better judge of distance, the attack then being kept up, probably would have led to victory.”

 

19/3/1896

v Keble College, Oxford at Recreation Ground. Bath lost 0-29. Team: Bigwood, Long, Williams, Fry, Seers, Vincent, Sheppard, Soane, D’Aguilar, F C Belson, R A Bartlett, A E Bartlett, Derrick, Billett, and Tipper.

“’Twere better far we ne’er had met.”

A exceptionally fine display of back play from the visitors, which the crowd enjoyed.

“Soane did his best to encourage the pack, but our forwards had no dash or devil about them, and all played as if they had got up before their usual hour in the morning.”

The BATH CHRONICLE reported the death of Dr. Brabazon, a Vice President, an old and interested friend of the Club, who over the years, had always been ready to attend to injured players when requested.

 

21/3/1896

v Cheltenham (A) Drawn 1 try each. Team: Bigwood, W F Long, F Wheeler, E F Gooding, A Osman, Vincent, Seers, Fry (Capt), Derrick, R Bartlett, Duck, Wheeler, M C Kendall, Duck and Bristowe.

With continual problems with player availability, the committee was somewhat relieved that this was the last ‘out’ fixture.

 

28/3/1896

v Taunton at the Recreation Ground. Playing in a near gale, Bath won by a drop goal and 2 tries to a try. (10-3) Team: E F Gooding, W F Long, F Wheeler, A E Fry, A Osman, G G Vincent, A E Sheppard, F Soane, J B S D’Aguilar, B H Belson, F C Belson, F Derrick, L J Fry, R A Bartlett and A Billett.

The visitors’ threes could make no progress behind a beaten pack. A drop goal by Tich Fry. Tries by D’Aguilar and Long.

2/4/1896

v Barbarians. Draw 13-13.

Bath team: J Long, W F Long, F Wheeler, W J Williams, E F Gooding, G G Vincent, A E Sheppard, F Soane, J B F Derrick, J B S D’Aguilar, L J Fry, B H Belson, F C Belson, R A Bartlett and A W Billett.

 

Barbarians Team: F W Potter (Bedford), Norman Biggs (Cardiff (Bath) and Wales), E M Baker (Oxford U and England), C G Ames (Blackheath), C O Robinson (Percy Park), R O H Livesy (Blackheath), C G Robinson (Percy Park), P Maud (capt.) (Blackheath), H W Finlinson (Blackheath), W J Carey (Blackheath), F Carpmael (Blackheath), G D McCormack (Blackheath), C R V Wallace (Cardiff), and M H Morgan (Merton College) and P M Heath (Bath)

 

Double prices and the fact that the match was on a busy day just before the holidays accounted for the comparatively small attendance on the Recreation Ground this afternoon, when this contest, the “A 1” game of the Bath programme was played. With such a poor show it is doubtful whether the crack team will again visit Bath for a time.

Bath scorers:- F C Belson, J B F Derrick (converted by J Long), F C Belson (converted by J Long).

Barbarians scorers:- Livesay, Biggs (converted by Biggs), Maud (converted by Biggs).

Thos fine result: “was principally due to the splendid forward work of the Bath team; the pack were clever in the scrum, broke up quickly, and in the loose were fast and clever, both with their feet and in passing.”

 

4/4/1896

v Lennox on Recreation Ground. Bath lost by a goal and 2 tries to a goal and a penalty goal (8-11) Team: J Long, W F Long, W J Williams, A E Fry, F Wheeler, G G Vincent, E Sheppard, F Soane, J B D’Aguilar, B Belson, F Belson, L Fry, G Billett, F Tipper and A Roberts.

W F Long lofted a kick, which the Lennox back failed to hold, allowing Vincent to take the rebound and race over, Jim Long converting. He also kicked a magnificent penalty. These were the only highlights in a game Bath expected to win, but the ‘Citizens’ of Bath were poor in their tackles and their passing erratic.

 

At the Barbarians game, only £14 was taken, including Stand transfers. Of this, the visitors took 40%, and this would only pay a small proportion of their expenses. The Lennox match raised £15, and O.M.T.’s £25.

 

6/4/1896

v Old Merchant Taylor’s, Home. Won 7-3. W F Long must be given the credit for this win. His drop-goal “was remarkable proof of his coolness, judgement and ability.”

 

This page was added on 27/04/2014.

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