1885 to 1886

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale


Played 20 Won 17, Lost 1, Drawn 2.

Scored 42 goals and 48 tries, to 5goals and 6 tries. (174-21)

The captains in 1885-86 were G C Helps and E W Mitchell.



v Widcombe Institute F.C. , at Kensington Meadows. Won (19-0) 5 goals and 4 tries to one touch down. Team:- L O’Donoghue, W Walker, J Burn, A Porter, S Swabey, J Trask, C Trask, F Ruddick, A Lavis, J Stringfield, H Foord, H Carleton, A Hill, F Soane, Dr Swabey.

Walker was credited with the first try, from which C Trask kicked a good goal. “In rapid succession Carleton, Burn, and Porter respectively added to the Bath score and then till half time the game was mainly a forward one. With the change of sides the Trasks put in some effective work, resulting in a couple of tries, and the passing all round was now decidedly good. But the feature of the game was a brilliant run effected by Burn from the Bath “25” right through his opponents, off which another goal was secured. Three more tries were then gained before “no side” was called. Behind the scrimmage Bath completely out-classed the Institute both in pace and passing, while of the forwards Dr. Swabey, F Soane, and T Stringfield were most conspicuous. Widcombe played a plucky up-hill game in the “squash,” but were at sea as regards their backs.”



v Frome, Away.



v Gloucester, Drawn 1 -1



v United Banks, Home



v Volunteers, Away.



v Bath College, played in Henrietta Park, in drizzling rain on a wet and slippery surface. Bath team: T Vincent, W A Walker (Capt.), J Trask, J Crowden, L A O’Donoghue, W Pinch, H T Foord, H Carleton, H and A Hill, L A O’Donoghue, L Loy, F Lavis, J Stringfield and A Parham.

Bath tries from Foord, Stringfield and Walker. O’Donoghue two conversions.

“All played very finely.”



v Batheaston, Home. Played on Bath College Ground, Henrietta Park, courtesy of Mr. Dunn. Won 9-0. Bath won by 2 goals (one under protest) and 3 tries to nil.

Team:- L O’Donoghue, W Walker, C Knight, J Trask, A Armitage Jones, F Hill, H Foord, F Lavis, J Stringfield, F Kirkpatrick, A Farewell, A Parham, M Swabey, F Soane, and L Loy.

Stringfield obtained an early try and Bath continued to press their advantage until a second try was obtained by Armitage Jones through a neat and clever run. The point was majored. After lemons, Bath scored three further tries. The first of these was effected by a dashing and plucky run of Foord; the second was fairly gained by hard following up on the part of Loy, though disputed and kicked under protest; and the third fell to the share of F Hill.”

“For the winning team Foord, was perhaps, most conspicuous, and , in addition to those already named, Lavis and Soane proved of sterling worth. For Batheaston the collaring of F Blanchard was very sure, and the all round play of Parker, Other, Durman and Gray deserving of mention.”



v Fishponds, Home. (Kensington Meadows) Bath won by 6 goals and 3 tries to 1 goal and 1 try. (21-4) Team:- L O’Donoghue, W Walker, Armitage Jones, F Blanchard, H Foord, A Hill, C A Knight, F Soane, H Carleton, E W Mitchell, F Lavis, H Barlow and F Hill.

Bath started two men short. Fishponds took advantage from their kick-off and Wigmore was able to score a try, which Haskins majored. This put Bath on their mettle and Walker invaded the enemy’s territory with a fine dribble. O’Donoghue’s kick brought the scores level. “Before half time Walker, whose swiftness of foot must have been a revelation to the opponents, gained two more tries, the former aided by a pretty and unselfish pass from Foord. Goals were kicked on both occasions by O’Donoghue. After half time Foord got in after a good run, and kicked the goal himself. The next opportunity was Blanchard’s, and actively did he seize it, but the kick at goal was a failure. Fishponds dropped out from the twenty-five, and O’Donoghue getting the ball right back made a fine run through all his opponents, but unfortunately fell but when a yard or so from the goal line. Walker, however, had been backing up and took the ball in. O’Donoghue placed the goal. The seventh try fell to O’Donoghue, who obtained it by a smart piece of play, and another goal resulted. Here the Fishponds men showed that although outpaced they were not disheartened, and rushed the ball up the field towards the Bath line, which was crossed by G Haskins after a smart little run. No goal, however, crowned this effort, and Walker finished the game with two more tries, Bath thus winning somewhat easily by six goals and three tries to one goal and one try.



v Bath College, Away. Won 2-0. Team: L O’Donoghue, G C Helps (Capt.), W A Walker, J E Trask, J Crowden, F Blanchard, H T Foord, L Loy, W Mathias, C A Knight, F Soane, J Stringfield, F Lavis, F Hill, A O’Donoghue.

Bath tries by Trask and Walker. The game was fast and very even throughout, with sound tackling and kicking from both back divisions. The College was to be congratulated upon its stout performance.



v Westbury Park, Away at Clifton as the Bath field was partially flooded. Won 3-0 (A Goal and three touches to nil) Team:- Stevens, W A Walker (Capt.), J E Trask, L O’Donoghue, H Foord, F Hill, L Loy, C Knight, F Soane, J Stringfield, A Hill, A Parham, H Lavis, A Farewell and A O’Donoghue.

“After some ten minutes even play, the Bath forwards, conspicuous among whom were Loy, Soane, and Lavis, worked the ball down towards the Westbury fortress, and Walker, getting it from a judicious cross kick, ran in and secured a try between the posts, from which L O’Donoghue placed a goal. Westbury, nothing daunted, played up with increase vigour, but the Bath men had a slight advantage at all points of the game, and kept the ball well down. Following up his own kick, Walker secured another try, but the referee, owing to a case of mistaken identity, disallowed the point. Westbury were obliged to touch down twice after this, and half time was called.

With the change of ends Westbury made the game more even, but were unable to score any points. Their own goal was more than once in imminent danger, but their sturdy defence prevented any catastrophe further than another touch down, so at the call of time Bath had gained the victory by a goal and three touches to nil.

Besides those mentioned, Stevens, F Hill, Foord, Knight and Stringfield played well for Bath, who now have a record of 10 matches – eight wins, one defeat, and one draw.” (Bath Chronicle)



v Arabs, Away. Won 11-0. (3 goals, 2 tries and 2 minors to 1 minor) Team:- : L O’Donoghue, W A Walker, J Trask, H Foord, G Helps (Capt.), F Hill, L Loy, J Stringfield, F Soane, C Knight, H G Lavis, A Farwell, L A O’Donoghue, and D Ruddick. Bath tries from Trask, Walker (2), Foord and A O’Donoghue. O’Donoghue converted three.

Match played at Weston School ground, courtesy of Mr. Browning. “Rain fell in more or less in abundance throughout the afternoon, and the ground was consequently little else than a swamp.”

Bath played with 14 men and Arabs with 13. Apart from the scorers, Bath gained excellent service from Helps, Stringfield, Loy, Soane and Lavis.



v University College Bristol on Kensington Meadows. Won 14-0. ( 4 goals, 2 tries and three touches to nothing)Team: L O’Donoghue, W A Walker (Capt.), C W Trask, S Swabey, H Foord, W Parham, L Loy, C A Knight, F Soane, C A Hayward, F Hill, J Stringfield, W Lysaght, M Swabey and F Priestly.

Bath’s tenth victory of the season, with tries from Parham, Walker, Knight, and Trask (3), O’Donoghue converting two. University played one short throughout and lost a further player through ‘disablement’. In addition to the scorers, there were good games from Soane, Hill, Hayward, Stringfield and S Swabey.



v Volunteers, on Kensington Meadows., watched by “numerous and enthusiastic spectators.”

Won 7- 0. (2 goals and 1 try to nil)

Bath Team: A L Porter, W A Walker, J E Trask, S Swabey, J A Leahy, G C Helps (Capt.), A Blair, C A Knight, F Soane, J Stringfield, H G Lavis, C A Hayward, W Lysaght, R H Hare, and J L Philipps.

Volunteers Team:- W Humphries, E E Jones,(Capt.), A Matthews, J Parker, F Blanchard, R Bolt, S Shepherd, W Sutton, T Alexander, G Hewlett, J Bullock, J Coombs, T Pepworth, H Collins, and J W Fry.

Tries by Leahy, Trask (2), with Porter converting two. Trask made some short, yet brilliant runs. Leahy, Helps, Hayward, Knight, Lavis, Swabey and Hare played well for Bath, and for the wearers of the ‘red and black,’ Jones, Matthews, Sutton, Alexander and Bullock were prominent, and their rugged defence kept Bath at bay for long periods of the second half.



v Gloucester, at Henrietta Park (by courtesy of Bath College).

Draw 1-1. (1t each)

Team: L O’Donoghue, S Swabey, C Trask, T Blanchard, H Foord, A Blair, G Helps (Capt.), C Hayward, H Digby, F Soane, C Knight, J Stringfield, H G Lavis, F Hill and L A O’Donoghue.


“The game was at first mainly confined to the forwards, and the play was of a give and take description, though the home team were seemingly the more alert of the two, and Helps and Digby put in some sterling work. Presently by a fine dribble on the part of Hayward, the ball was taken into the Gloucester twenty-five. Then the backs of the later began to put a different aspect on things, though Helps only just failed to get in on two occasions, and some fine passing the ball was worked up towards the Bath goal, and kept there for some time dangerously near the line, Coates especially being more than once within an ace of scoring, while Taylor had to be closely watched. Then a fine run by Swabey relieved his side and half time was called. Bath having kicked off the ball was well returned and once more the game settled in the home quarters, but again Swabey distinguished himself by a good run along the touch-line. Gloucester, not to be denied, pass behind the scrum with wonderful neatness and accuracy, and Coates, getting away, was but just brought down by one ankle. Soon, however, a Gloucester forward, by a fine run, crossed the home goal line, but was tackled and, after a struggle, gallantly dragged out by Stringfield, and the Gloucester captain’s claim to a try disallowed. Directly afterwards, by some clever healing and passing, Coates was enabled to gain a try for Gloucester, and but for Hill just succeeding in touching the ball in nits way over the bar, a goal would have resulted. The ball was now forced towards the Gloucester goal, Helps, Blair and Foord figuring prominently, and, by a slight miscalculation on the part of the Gloucester backs, Trask obtained the ball and ran in amid great cheering. The kick at goal was a failure. The game was now faster than ever, and loose packs the order of the day. Soon Gloucester had to touch down, and then Trask made a fair catch, from which O’Donoghue made a grand kick which just fell short of the goal. Gloucester played up harder than ever, and Bath had to touch down also. Taylor got away soon after but was splendidly stopped by Foord, and ‘no side’ was called. Thus one of the best games ever witnessed ended in a draw, each side scoring a try and a touch-down.”



v Bristol University, at Clifton. Won 2-0. Team: L O’Donoghue, J E Trask (Capt.), J Crowden, F G Parker, H Foord, A Parham, F Soane, C A Knight, H Lavis, A Edwards, E W Mitchell, A Farwell, M Swabey and F V Smith.

“After half-time, despite the additional disadvantage of playing up the incline, Bath still held their own, and presently Foord made a good run and passed to Trask, who, utilising his opportunity in his usual determined style, gained a try near the touchline.” Foord again got away late in the game for a brilliant try.



v Westbury Park, on Kensington Meadows. Won 20-0. ( 5 goals, 5 tries, 2 touches to nil )

Team: L O’Donoghue, W A Walker, W Trask, Crowden, Blanchard, Foord, Parham, Helps (Capt.), H M St. John, F Soane, C A Knight, J Stringfield, A and F Hill, and W Lysaght. Bath were enjoying a particularly good season, but they did not have a large following. The turnout for this match was described as ridiculously small. Tries were obtained by Trask (3), Crowden (2), Blanchard (2), Foord (2) and Walker.

CHRONICLE COMMENT: “In a recent letter to the local Press, it was stated that the Bathonian lends not his interest to matters intellectual, neither, it is manifest, does he effect matters athletic, but Gallic-like, prefers general indifference. The attendance was of quite average meagreness. The Bath club won their 15th victory by 5 tries and 5 touchdowns to 2 touches. T Blanchard playing in splendid form obtained 2 tries.”


“…………the number of spectators was again ridiculously small considering the brilliant form displayed this season…..they have lost only one match in seventeen. The utter lack of interest in their doings by Bath people is, to say the least, disappointing to the members of the club.”



v Volunteers, Home. (Kensington). Won 5-0. Team:- L O’Donoghue, Walker, Trask, Crowden, Blanchard, Foord, Parham, Helps, Soane, Knight, Lavis, A and F Hill, Lysaght and Severs. This was a hastily arranged fixture to replace a Frome cancellation.

“The game was well contested throughout, for though the Bath men succeeded in gaining five tries not one goal could they accomplish, and thus the Volunteers had but to make a single well-directed kick to win the game. This, however, they failed to do and the Bath club won their fifteenth victory by five tries and five touches to two touches. Blanchard, playing in splendid form, obtained two tries, and was ably supported by Crowden and Trask behind, who gained one each. Among the forwards, Helps, Soane, Knight, Lavis, Hill and Severs, worked hard and well, and Lysaght further distinguished himself by obtaining a try.”



v Widcombe Institute, Away. Won 23-0. Team: L O’Donoghue, W A Walker, J E Trask, T Blanchard, F Parker, H Foord, A Parham, J C Helps, C A Knight, W Lysaght, A Hill, W Severs, A N Farwell and H Turner.

Bath tries – Walker (3), Blanchard (2) and Parker (2), Helps, Foord, Trask and Lavis (1 each)

Foord kicked 6 conversions.

“All the home backs were in great form, Walker and Blanchard especially, while Helps, Knight, Lysaght, Lavis and Severs were conspicuous among the forwards.”



v Fishponds, Away. Won by 2 goals and 2 tries and two touch-downs to three touchdowns. (8-0)

Team: H Humphries, W A Walker, J E Trask, H Foord, A L Mackenzie, F Hill, H Pinch, G C Helps (Capt.), E W Mitchell, C A Knight, A Hill, H G Lavis, W B Severs, J Winckworth and V Soane.

Proceeds of the gate donated to the Easton Colliery explosion Relief Fund.

Tries by Walker (2), Foord and Trask. Foord kicked the two goals.


This page was added on 25/04/2014.

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