Mr A E Sheppard Captain of the ‘A’ XV. Mr A E Wetten Captain of the Extras.
v Wellington, Away. Lost 0-12. Team:- E F Gooding, G Francis, E H Seers, G G Vincent, A E Bruton, C Purcell, O Edwards, F Derrick, G Ruddick, S Duck, W E Puddy, H Edwards, A J Taylor, F Knight and W Watts.
Bath took a weak, unfit side to Wellington, and with the added hazard of heat and a hard crusted pitch, went down four tries without reply. Vincent had an off day and most of the Wellington tries were as a result of Bath blundering, rather than their opponent’s brilliance. Play on the Bath side was generally slack and there seems to have been a reluctance to get the season started.
CHRONICLE- FOOTBALL TALK:“Of the three-quarter line, J T Timmins wired on Thursday from the Welsh mountains that he could not appear, and then Stiles declined. Awdry, I know, is ready and willing to again play at half, but the match clashed with the Gymkhana at Newton, in which he had taken much interest, Belson was averse to playing in such weather, and Billett, the other absent forward, also declined. There is a rumour that this last named has ‘chucked’ the game, being now a married man, but he has told other members of the team that he intends to see another season through.”
v Chepstow. First home game and city colours lowered. Lost 3-8. Team:- E F Gooding, G Francis, E H Seers, H Edwards, J C White, C Purcell, O Edwards, F Derrick, A J Billett, G Ruddick, F Knight, W Watts, C W Parkes, S Duck and A J Taylor. G Ruddick scored Bath’s try.
CHRONICLE: “It was the same as at Wellington on the previous Saturday. The incompetence of the three-quarter line was the chief factor in Bath’s defeat. The forwards gave the outside men endless opportunities, while the halves were always where wanted, but the quartet was miserably weak. We could have won hands down had the countless avenues to scoring not been closed by the bungling of men who could not hold the ball when it was thrown fair into their hands.”
v Penylan, Home. Won 11-6. Team:- W Macarthy, E F Gooding, H Parker, J T Timmins, A D Stiles, C Purcell, O Edwards, F Derrick, A J Billett, F C Belson, C W Parkes, G Ruddick, W Puddy, H Edwards and A J Taylor.
A win but: “The turf was so hard that the Bathonians evidenced a decided disinclination to feeling it oftener than was necessary. It is all very well to suggest the players should be wrapped in cotton wool, but men may be pardoned for a desire to avoid casualties thus early in the chapter.” Bath tries by Parker, Billett and Parkes, with Belson kicking a conversion.
J T Timmins took on the mantle of vice captaincy and acquitted himself well.
It was hoped that the win would revitalise local interest. “It need be for Saturday’s gate was parlous poor.”
v Cinderford, Away. Won 6-3. Team: W Macarthy, W E Davies, J T Timmins, H Parker, E F Gooding, G G Vincent, O Edwards, F Derrick (Capt.), A Billett, G Ruddick, J Ruddick, C W Parkes, T B Timmins, S Duck and A J Taylor.
“A jovial party returned from the Forest.”……
“It was an interesting game to watch in the first half, but the second was a scramble, which degenerated at the finish almost into a melee. The Cinders were decidedly hot when things first let loose, and it seemed as if Bath would not pull the game out of the fire. But there was more smartness and combination among the visitors, and after the flash of the first ten minutes the colliers fell away woefully, and Bath had all the best of the opening moiety.”
Derrick and J T Timmins engineered tries scored by T B Timmins and Billett. This last named Lansdown man: “dived over the line in a twinkle.”
G G Vincent had the “delicious effrontery” to take the ball out of opposition hands time after time. Full-back Macarthy played a safe and plucky game. “His head must be uncommonly hard, for while the forward whose knee came up against it had to limp off the field, Mac saw the job out, and the hottest five minutes of the match remained. The coal getters did not mince matters in their exertions to score, and Gooding got a nasty tumble.”
Vice President Frank Soane was a spectator and took his trousseau with him in case there was a vacant place. “It was no wonder Vincent did so well, for he borrowed the ex-captain’s (Soane’s) ‘everlastings ’, those unmistakable grey worsteds which have been sported on all the principal Rugger enclosures of the country.”
v Stroud, Away. Won 6-0. Team:- W Macarthy, W E Davies, H Parker, J T Timmins, E F Gooding, G G Vincent, O Edwards, F Soane, F C Belson, G Ruddick, A Billett, S Duck, T B Timmins, A James and C W Parkes. Tries by Edwards and Gooding.
CHRONICLE – TEAM TALK
“Though the initial half was fast, exciting and contested at an almost killing pace, and the game was so open as to afford the onlooker ample entertainment for their money, there was precious little finished football about it. It may be correctly termed a high-class scramble.
I am forced to regretfully admit that for some minute it was a case of going more for the man than the ball. Percy Smith, whose bulky form has loomed large in Gloucestershire matches, soon got his monkey up. He mauled the Bath full-back somewhat severely, and plucky little Gooding, who came to Macarthy’s rescue, resented his toughness.
Contestants on either side rushing to the scene became exceedingly animated, and it reminded me of the incident between Belson senior and Craddock in a Cheltenham game long ago. One or two men tumbled about, not over the ball, and a free fight looked imminent, for Bathonians are not the boys to submit to rough tactics tamely. Happily the threat of the referee to stop the game and some sensible words from the Stroud supporters to their men quenched the fire and the game went on.”
Referring to ‘the grand old man’(Soane) – “His deadly tackling was again to the front, and caused the ponderous P.S*. to say rude things of him. The ex-captain is far from being played out, and there was not a bit on winging noticeable.”
(*P.S. refers to the Stroud hooker P Smith. As we all know – front rows are inclined to chat to one another!)
“Belson put in the most brilliant performance of the day. It was a masterly dribble over fully three parts of the field. He went so fast that no other Bathonian could keep within measurable distance of him, and it was a thousand pities that the Stroud back, the pace of L Smith and the raggedness of the ground combined robbed a magnificent effort of the try it richly deserved.”
v Knowle, Away. Won 8-0. Team:- Bigwood, W E Davies, A E Fry, H Parker, E F Gooding, A Fear, O Edwards, F Derrick (Capt.), C W Parkes, A Billett, G Ruddick, J Ruddick, S Duck, W Puddy and A J Taylor.
Try by Derrick, conversion and penalty Bigwood. “As fine an exhibition of leather steering as ever could be seen, and Bigwood was certainly the hero of the match.”…….
“Bigwood was ‘Biggy’ at his best, and was never caught napping. His punting was powerful, and his place kicking simply marvellous.”
“One of the Knowle forwards is a gentleman of rotundity, and a conversation regarding his corpulence brought out some charming Somerset repartee when Bath were playing at Knowle. Said an enthusiastic Bath supporter – ‘Call him a footballer? He’s a pig.’ Top this came the crushing retort – ‘one pig is no judge of another.”
Bath College v Selwyn Biggs XV. Selwyn Bigg’s younger brothers were at College and he brought a strong team to play them on the Widcombe Institute ground.
The Celebrity side included, notably – Arthur Gould, and Selwyn, Norman and J J E Biggs.
The College side included C F Biggs.
v Old Edwardians, Home. Won 8-0. Team: M S Bigwood, Gooding, Fry, Timmins, Parker, O Edwards, W E Davies, Derrick, Soane, Belson, J Ruddick, Timmins, G Ruddick, A J Billett and S Duck.
Bath showed their superiority against a heavy team. Owen Edwards rendered “fruitful the tricky opening” for wing, Parker to score the first of his two tries. Bigwood converted from one try.
Bath’s Welsh halfback pair were speedy and nippy.
v Bridgwater, Home. Lost 3-5. Team: M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, J T Timmins, H Parker, O Edwards, C Purcell, F Derrick, F Soane, F C Belson, T B Timmins, A Billett, J Ruddick, G Ruddick, and S Duck. Bigwood kicked Bath’s penalty goal.
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “Rough luck and rough play characterised Saturday’s match with Bridgwater. There was plenty of both. We do not expect kid glove football, but the visitors excel in applying unnecessary brute force, and they give an effective demonstration of their ability in this respect on Saturday. The wonder is that only one man had to be carried off the field.”
Referring to the injury, which was to Bath outside-half Owen Edwards: “He was slipping away from the full-back when two Bridgwater three-quarters rushed up, one caught him by the leg and turned him over and the other fell on him when he was doubled up.”
“Gooding’s kicking was feeble in the extreme, though he stopped awkward rushes with his well-known daring. Edwards was not the only one who was badly mauled. Purcell was severely gruelled, and his unsteadiness towards the finish is probably to be ascribed to this, while J T Timmins was palpably suffering from too close attention by his opponents.”
v Clifton, Home. Won 11-6. Team: M S Bigwood, Gooding, Fry, Timmins, Parker, Purcell, G G Vincent, F Derrick, F C Belson, T B Timmins, J Ruddick, G Ruddick, S Duck, W Puddy and C W Parkes. Won by a goal and 2 tries to 2 tries. Bath tries by G Ruddick, H Parker, and W Puddy, with Bigwood converting one.
v Stroud, Home. Won 8-0. Team: M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, J T Timmins, H Parker, G G Vincent, C Purcell, F Derrick, J Ruddick, G Ruddick, S Duck, C W Parkes, W Puddy, A J Taylor and C Williams. Bath left their scoring until the last quarter, being largely frustrated by a valiant performance from the Stroud custodian. (Full-back) Bath tries from G Ruddick and J T Timmins, with Bigwood converting one.
Bath Crowd Behaviour
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “So far the record is flattering, and the performances of the team are reflected in the substantial crowds which have patronised each of the four home matches. It would be pleasant to be able to compliment that crowd on displaying a sportsmanlike spirit, but truth has to be spoken, and the yells and jeers on Saturday were disgusting to those who love impartiality and can appreciate football merit in friend and foe alike. What bad taste and utter foolishness it is to shout gratuitous insults to the referee and bawl forth uncomplimentary suggestions to the visiting fifteen. All genuine sportsmen sincerely hope that the next home match will yield a fairer and more gentlemanly spirit on behalf of the onlookers.”
v Weston-super-Mare, Away. Won 15-3. Team: Bigwood, Parker, J T Timmins, Fry, Gooding, Vincent, Purcell, Derrick, Soane, J Ruddick, G Ruddick, Parkes, Duck, and T B Timmins. Bath halves won this game, both Vincent and Purcell were in grand form.
Bigwood had a good day ‘with the boot,’ converting tries by J T Timmins, A E Fry and G G Vincent.
v Gloucester, Home. Lost 0-18.Team: Bigwood, A W Shorland, S Pomeroy, J T Timmins, H Parker, W E Davies, C Purcell, F Derrick, G Ruddick, C W Parkes, S Duck, W Puddy, T B Timmins, H Merchant and A J Taylor. Bath suffered a heavy loss on Home territory, going down by three goals and a try without reply.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 0-13. Team:- M S Bigwood, J Long, A E Fry, J T Timmins, H Parker, C Purcell, G G Vincent, F Derrick, F Soane, F C Belson, J Ruddick, G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S Duck and C W Parkes.
Bath were soundly beaten by a smart Bristol side who had matters much their own way. The sad observation was that Bath did not put up much of a fight. Bath lost by 2 goals and one try.
“It is almost inexplicable how the Bristol backs received the ball from the vast majority of the scrums when the Bath forwards appeared to be pushing far harder than the opposing eight. There must have been a lack of understanding among the Bath scrummagers or they must have lost all idea of how to control the ball, for it happened as often when the leather was put in by their own half as when Foster rolled the oval.”
An article (dated 24/12/1932) reports that someone produced a ‘Memorial Card’ which read:
“In doleful memory of Bath F.C., who were badly beaten by Bristol Rugby team on Dec. 3rd, 1898”
v Chepstow, Away. Drawn 0-0. Team: M S Bigwood, J T Timmins, H Parker, A E Fry, E F Gooding, C Purcell, W E Davies, F Derrick, T B Timmins, S Duck, C Williams and W Puddy, C W Parkes, S M Knight and A J Taylor.
v Bridgwater, Home. Won 3-0. Team: M S Bigwood, J Timmins, H Parker, A E Fry,
E F Gooding, G G Vincent, C Purcell, F Derrick, F C Belson, G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S Duck, S M Knight, W Puddy and A J Taylor.. It was good to beat Bridgwater. Bigwood and all the backs played well, T B Timmins put in some good work and Belson’s fine dribbles gained a lot of ground.
A E Fry scored the try.
v Cinderford. Home. Lost 3-6. Team: Bigwood, A Carter, Parker, Fry, Gooding, Vincent, Purcell, Derrick, Soane, T B Timmins, Duck, J and G Ruddick, Billett and S M Knight.
Bath had already won in the Forest of Dean, and a repeat was expected for Cinderford’s first visit to the city. However, the performance of some of the Bath forwards left much to be desired, and the ‘colliers’ were able to monopolise the ball, with moves controlled by a smart pair of halves. Therefore, Bath experienced an unexpected reverse of fortunes, with the visitors scoring two tries to Bath’s one. F Derrick scored Bath’s try.
v Treorchy scheduled, but scratched as the Welsh side were unable to raise a team. Evidently, four or five players had been knocked out in their game with Llwynypia, and as Treorchy did not run a second XV, they were unable to put together the required numbers.
Concerned at the loss of a Boxing Day gate, Secretary Piper sent a telegram imploring them to travel with as many as they could muster, but the appeal was turned down. On Christmas Day, the Committee were busy considering alternative arrangements and even thought of switching Newport ‘A’s who were playing Bath Extras, and fielding them as the Welsh Mysteries!
As a last resort the Bath 3rds versus Weston-super-Mare 2nds was switched to the Pulteney Street area. Tickets were reduced to half-price and the 2000 or so crowd, accepted the position with good humour.
After a while it was discovered that Bath had 16 men on the field, and Bigwood gracefully withdrew. Titch Fry turned out at centre, scored a try and dropped two goals.
“Young D’Aguilar is a hardworking forward and though far short of the 6ft. 4in. of J.B.S. has by no means done growing yet and evidently has football in him.”
v Rest of Bath. Won 15-0 Team: Bigwood, J Timmins, Carter, H G Knight, Gooding, Vincent, Purcell, Derrick, T B Timmins, Duck, J and G Ruddick, Billett, W Puddy and S M Knight.
Bath tries from Timmins, Gooding, Vincent and Knight. Bigwood kicked a penalty.
Rest of Bath Team: J Godwin (Post Office),Captain., E L Greenslade and S W Rowse (Post Office), W Emery, C W Maber and W Fear (Albion), W Alexander (Post Office), J T Tope (Walcot), W Watts (Albion), C H Whittington and E H Aust (Avon Vale), H M Melhuish and C Smith (Post Office), N Moore (Bath ‘A’), F J Cashnella (Oldfield Park).
v Croydon, Away. Lost 3-8 on New Year’s Eve. Team:-M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, J T Timmins, W Macarthy, C Purcell, G G Vincent, F Soane, J Ruddick, T B Timmins, G Ruddick, S M Knight, A J Billett, W Puddy and H G Knight. G Ruddick scored Bath’s try.
G.W.R. train left at 7.42 a.m., and the return fare was 6/-.
FOOTBALL TALK in BATH CHRONICLE 5/1/1899
“There was nothing particularly cheerful associated with the close of the old year for Bath footballers, two defeats and a disappointing out. (on Bank Holiday) with a mudlarking exhibition against a scratch team being the record for the final week of 1898. Let us hope the New Year will open more auspiciously for the blue and black.
The visit to the London suburb was marred by the wretched weather that prevailed. Bath players are a happy go lucky lot as a rule, and did not grumble at the tediousness of the railway journey. It was undoubtedly economical to take the team to town by excursion, but it was a tiring ride, and the party grew so hungry before they reached Victoria Station where luncheon was served that the robustness of their appetites is said to have given the waiters a fright, and a forward, ‘without any rudeness’, can be fairly described as “beefy” when he can accommodate four plates of roasts sirloin, and this feat, I am told, was done in excellent time.”
The post match hospitality evidently took in “various places of amusement in the gay metropolis, and started home at one in the morning. It was half-past four on New Year’s Day before they landed in Bath, with two bridegrooms among the number.”
Croydon pack included two men of wondrous proportions. Frank Soane was a somewhat reluctant late addition to the team, and probably regretted his participation. Suffering from a black eye and a crushed finger, he caught the first available train back to Bath to see the New Year in by his fireside!
v Clifton, Away, Lost 0-3. Team:- M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, H Parker, J T Timmins, C Purcell, M Purcell, F Derrick, J Ruddick, T B Timmins, S M Knight, S Duck, G Ruddick, H Merchant and W Puddy. E W Cunningham scored Clifton’s try.
Bath were a bit unlucky having given a brilliant exhibition of passing, which “took the ball three parts of the field, that it was abominably hard lines to see it blocked right on the line, when a try was certainly deserved……It was the only flash of sunshine on a dreary afternoon”.
Following a break by the Purcell brothers and handling from Fry to Parker………..
“George Ruddick, who was always on the look-out for a chance in the open, backed him up gamely, and it was vexing to see the fleet-footed forward bowled over on the verge of the Clifton line.”
“J T Timmins did an immense amount of hard tackling, with unfailing certainty.”………………..
“The holder of the whistle on Saturday was weakness personified. Our forwards were bursting home with a certain try, when he pulled them up for no apparent reason except that several Cliftonians, who shouted “offside” whenever they saw Bath making headway. He appeared afraid to give anything contrary to the wishes of the home team.”
v Weston-super-Mare. Home. Won 8-0. Team: Bigwood, Gooding, Fry, Parker, Timmins, C and M Purcell, Derrick, Soane, Billett, J and G Ruddick, Duck, Timmins and S Knight.
“After many defeats, a win for Bath is welcome, but there was little to boast of in the exhibition given against Weston-super-Mare on Saturday, and had there been the slightest fire in the seasiders’ play the boot would have been on the other leg, but there was not the sting in it that characterizes the sand blown over their sea front parapet, and Bath were enabled to record a victory by a penalty goal and a converted try to love.” Try by Derrick. Bigwood obliged with the boot.
“M.Purcell demonstrated that the match committee were right in placing sufficient confidence in him to partner his brother , and if there were any fear of any change being made in the half-backs, it certainly would not be the latest comer that would be affected, for this M.P. is pretty safe of re-election.”
v Cheltenham. Home. Won 8-0.Team: M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, H Parker, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick (capt.), J and G Ruddick, S Duck, A Billett, C Williams, W Watts and S M Knight. Bath’s single try was worked by Malcolm Purcell, enabling Parker “to fall on the leather.” Bigwood successfully performed “what might have been regarded as a hopeless task, for it was comical to see Derrick searching for a spot above water on which to place the ball for the full-back.” Try by Parker. Bigwood conversion and penalty.
Indeed, the flooded pitch produced a game more akin to water polo, but nevertheless appreciated by a small crowd.
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “……for it must have been decidedly unpleasant for the players to have to slide along the mud and take involuntary cold baths in the pools of rain water which had accumulated on the playing area..”
v Gloucester, Away. Lost 0-8. Team:- W Macarthy, E F Gooding, A E Fry, H Parker, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick (capt.), S Duck, A Billett, C Williams, A E Wetten, H Merchant, S M Knight and J Godwin.
A Good performance at Gloucester despite losing by a goal and a try. The pack stuck to their task manfully, despite the Gloucester forwards reported to be two stones per man bulkier. Godwin, the Bath Post Office captain again stood in at short notice, He had never played in the pack before, but took on Gloucester’s heaviest. The brothers Purcell were heroic in defence. There was a word of thanks to the Midland Railway “for again placing a comfortable saloon at the disposal of the visitors.”
v Keble College, Home. Won 9-3. Team:- M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, Ll Edwards, W Macarthy, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick (capt.), F Soane, A Billett, S Duck, J Godwin, W Watts, A J Taylor and A E Wetten. Bath tries by M Purcell (2) and A J Taylor.
v Wellington, Home. Won 5-3. Team:- M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, A E Fry, H Parker, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick (capt.), F Soane, J and G Ruddick, A Billett, S Duck, S M Knight and W Watts. George Ruddick scored the try and Bigwood converted.
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “All’s well that ends well’ and after being raised from the depths of despondency to a delirium of delight, the spectators who crowded into the Wellington match in such gratifying numbers were able to leave the field jubilant and contented.”
“Bath’s strong point lay in the cleverness and vigour of their forward rank, whose speediness and combination in the open were delightful to watch, while the tackling was safer and keener than has been shown for many a long day.”
There was a twenty minute delayed start. Evidently, on a previous Saturday somebody had upset the landlord of the Angel Hotel and he turned the Wellington team away. Luckily the Baths were available.
“It was said that the antics of a foolish footballer who belonged to a team recently in Bath had given umbrage to ‘mine host.”
v Bristol, Home. Lost 0-14. Team:- M S Bigwood, E F Gooding, J T Timmins, H Parker, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick (capt.), F Soane, J and G Ruddick, A Billett, S Duck, S M Knight and W Watts.
CHRONICLE PRE-MATCH COMMENT:
“Here we are face-to-face with the return Bristol match, and the barometer of sanguine expectation is again steadily rising whatever may be the vagaries of the weather glass. Recently the Bath men have done so well that the eternal hope of which posts speak is leading mercurial supporters of the blue and black to anticipate a glorious victory.”
“They (Bristol) were given a goal and a try by the unaccountable muddling of Bigwood, who, bad at Bristol in December, was much worse at home, and could not field the ball with any degree of certainty.”
“It was surprising how correctly the visitors could handle the ball, which resembled the proverbial bladder of lard………..When will a Bath three-quarter be found who can take a transfer going at full tilt? He is unknown at present. All honour to the plucky defence made by our third line, but for offensive tactics it remains useless.”
“Soane, whose eye was blackened in the contest states that it was absolutely the last Bristol match in which he will figure. It is a pity the finale was not more auspicious. But the spectators saw a capital game, if it did go the wrong way for the blue and black and the exchequer has experienced a welcome lift. £104* is a pile of money to take at a match in Bath………” *(A record gate at that time)
“A Bathonian who felt deeply hurt at the result, and may have sought consolation in the flowing bowl, vows that the playing ground was in mourning on Sunday-what he really saw was a whole host of rooks searching among the oat husks scattered o’er swampy patches for grains of corn.”
v Bridgwater Albion, Drawn 0-0. Home, but originally booked as an away match, but in doubt pending a decision to suspend the Bridgwater ground. A complaint had been lodged with Somerset Committee concerning Albion onlookers baiting the referee at a match against Plymouth.
Team: W Macarthy, E F Gooding, W Emery, J T Timmins, A E Bruton, C and M Purcell, F Derrick, S Duck, J and G Ruddick, A Billett, W Watts, A E Wetten and S M Knight.
“The state of the field probably had more to do with the disappointing exhibition than the onlookers realized. After the frost, the mud stuck with almost bird-lime tenacity to the boots of the players, who found it terribly hard going.”
A disappointing draw for Bath, but judging by their cheers at no-side, Bridgwater were quite pleased with the result.
v Exeter. Home. Lost 3-5. Team:- W Macarthy, A E Bruton, J T Timmins, H Parker, E F Gooding, C and M Purcell, F Derrick, A Billett, J and G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S Duck, W Watts and S M Knight. Try by George Ruddick.
A loss, but Bath gave an improved performance though missing Bigwood’s place kicking. Bath supporters were at fault, as referee Satterly had to stop the game for some minutes in order to:
“ administer a caution to the excitable folk who leer and yell in the most empty-headed fashion.”
v Cheltenham, Away. Drawn 6-6. Team: W Macarthy, A E Bruton, H Parker, J T Timmins, E F Gooding, C and M Purcell, F Derrick, A Billett, J and G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S Duck, W Watts and S M Knight.
Again Bath missed a specialist kicker. The unconverted tries were scored by Malcolm Purcell and George Ruddick.
Bath felt that one of the Cheltenham tries should have been disallowed: “There is no question that had there been a corner flag, Fry would have knocked it down, but the Montpellier Gardens ground did not possess such a desirable and necessary marker.”
v Taunton, Away. Lost 3-6. Team: W Macarthy, A E Bruton, J T Timmins, H Parker, E F Gooding, C and M Purcell, F Derrick, A Billett, J and G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S Duck, W Watts and S M Knight. Billett scored Bath’s try.
Bath paid the penalty of a slow and tedious heel, so the backs could not get going. Bath again, ill at ease with the referee, who failed to check frequent off-side offences.
Talk of marriage was again in the air, this time of Club Captain Derrick.
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “The benedicks are increasing so fast that a Married v Single match might be arranged for 1899-1900.”
v Bridgwater, Away. Lost 0-6. Team: Macarthy, Emery, A E Bruton, J T Timmins, Gooding, C Purcell, W Fear, Duck, Billett, J and G Ruddick, T B Timmins, S M Knight, A E Wetten and W Watts.
Bath were an improvement on the previous week, but let in two soft tries. At that point in time, there were no fixtures arranged with Bridgwater for the following season, and no one seemed to be sorry.
v Knowle. Home. Lost 3-10. Team: Macarthy, Gooding, Fry, J Timmins, Parker, C and M Purcell, Derrick, J and G Ruddick, T B Timmins, Watts, Billett, Duck and Knight.
Bath took an unexpected whopping at the hands of Knowle. The home side lacked staying power and could not stand up to the “none too gentle Knowle forwards.” M Purcell scored Bath’s try.
v Catford Bridge. Home. Won 12-0.Team: W Macarthy, W Emery, A E Fry, J T Timmins, H Parker, C and M Purcell, F Derrick, S Duck, A Billett, T B Timmins, W Watts, S M Knight, J Godwin and A E Wetten.
The majority of the Londoners were splendid physical specimens, well over 6 foot, except for their diminutive half-back Clark.
“………….part two made amends for the dullness of the ante-lemon-sucking raggedness.”
Bath clocked up two tries, a drop goal and a penalty for a good win. Bath tries by M Purcell.
Fry kicked a penalty and M Purcell dropped a goal.
v Exeter, Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- W Macarthy, J Godwin, S W Rowse, J T Timmins, S Pomeroy, C Purcell, W Fear, J Ruddick, T B Timmins, S M Knight, A J Billett, A E Wetten, H Merchant, J C White and F J Cashnella.
This was the last away game and enthusiasm was waning. .There were a number of cry-offs to add to Bath’s problems. The ubiquitous J Godwin (Post Office) played on the wing and a certain Frank John Cashnella answered the call at forward. Godwin played a fine game in defence, but lacked the speed to take the ball forward effectively. “J T Timmins was seen in several brilliant dashes, intercepting and dribbling with great neatness, though he had to put up with some deliberate fouling by his opponents.”
“While Bath had rude Boreas at their back in the first part, they suffered in the second not only by his increased strength, but also from the additional disadvantage of having the sun in their eyes.
Fear, of the defunct Bath Albions, who again partnered C Purcell behind the packs and did wonderfully good work throughout, dribbled away from about the first scrum, and Lake, the full back, being beaten, four or five Bath forwards had only to tumble on the ball to score a try. But one lost his head, and kicking the leather, the gale carried it over the dead ball line and a certain try was missed. It was an irritating blunder. The dead ball line at Exeter is remarkably close to the goal posts owing to the fact that an asphalt cycle track encloses the playing area.”
“The excuses made for absence one heard on the journey were ludicrously childish. Two stalwart forwards were said to have stated that as the saloon would be attached to the rear of an express, they would suffer from ‘train sickness’ and be no good! True, the train did sway a little, but such pretexts as these are ridiculous.”
“The timetable on Saturday was a masterpiece in smart management: Leave Bath 1.33: arrive at Exeter – having changed in the saloon – 3.45; drive to field reached at 4: kick-off 4.5: finish 5.15 and drive to St. David’s Station; start for home, 5.30: dress and tea in saloon: reach Bath, 7.40.”
v Taunton, Home Won 17-0. “The regular Bath team has been chosen for the match which is time to commence at 4 o’clock.”
Happily for Bath, Taunton did not repeat their previous triumph on the banks of the Tone. Bath were fortunate in being allowed to amass a seventeen points to nil result. Points were wanted badly and Fry and Purcell shared the honours, with Malcolm Purcell giving his best performance of the season.
“All regretted that the genial skipper could not carry the concluding try, but the new jersey which he had donned was the cause of the mischief, a Tauntonian just managing to grab it as Derrick was careering over the line.” Bath’s win elevated them to third place in the County table.
Incidentally, Derrick’s wedding, due this week, had to be postponed owing to illness in the bride’s family. The ‘shilling subscription’ list was therefore re-opened so that more of his ‘Stuckeys’ banking colleagues, players and committeemen, could contribute to his presentation.
FOR THE RECORD
Bath employed 45 players for their 34 1st XV engagements.
TOP APEARANCES:- Duck 31, Derrick, Purcell and G Ruddick 30, E F Gooding 29.
Full backs:- M S Bigwood 19, W F Macarthy 13, E F Gooding 2.
Three-quarters:- E F Gooding 27, J T Timmins and H Parker 26, A E Fry 20, A E Bruton 11, W E Davies and W Emery 3, E B Seers, W F Macarthy, J Francis, S Pomeroy and C Carter 2, H G Knight, G G Vincent, J Godwin, S Rowse, H Edwards, J C White, J Long, A D Stiles, Shorland and Llewellyn Edwards 1 each.
Half-backs:- C Purcell 30, M Purcell 14, G G Vincent 10, O Edwards 8, W Fear and E Davies 3 each.
Forwards:- S Duck 31, F Derrick and G Ruddick 30, A Billett 26, J Ruddick 25, T B Timmins 23, S M Knight 19, W Watts 14, W Puddy, C W Parkes, A J Taylor 11, F Soane 10, F C Belson 7, A E Wetton 6, C Williams 4, J Godwin and H merchant 3, F Knight and H Edwards 2, H G Knight, F Cashnella and J C White once each.
Somerset County commitments kept Soane out of the Bath team 4 times, G G Vincent 3, J Ruddick 2 and J T Timmins once.
G Ruddick 9, M Purcell and H Parker 5, F Derrick 4, A Billett and J T Timmins 3, E F Gooding and A E Fry 2, C Parkes, T B Timmins, O Edwards, G G Vincent, A Taylor, S M Knight and C Purcell one each.
Conversions:- M S Bigwood 10, A E Fry 3.
Penalties:- Bigwood 5 and Fry 1.
Drop goals:- Malcolm Purcell 2
The Second XV won 16 of their 29 games, while 8 were lost and 5 Drawn. Points For 228, Against 94.