“Once more the bouncing ball is on the move.”
Reference to the Torquay game freely adapted from a Chronicle Article – “Ringing Up the Curtain” [BY “THE SPY.”]
v Torquay, Away. Won 9-5. Team:- E C Hartell, G Johnson, H Walwin, N Coates, V Coates, W Fear, R Ascott, S Ernest, A Carpenter, J Dainton, G Donaldson, B Harding, S Head, R Merry and S Harris.
Despite Bath’s bright start, the homesters were first to score. “A minute later Ernest got a good try for Bath, Ascott just after scoring a splendid try, and Norman Coates just failed to convert.” Walwin scored the third try near the end.
Fear, Ascott, Walwin and the Coates brothers played particularly well. The result was considered : “……….a magnificent victory most gratifying to the new captain and his team.”
A ‘DAY TRIP’ TO TORQUAY (To play rugby”!)
“True, the journey was a long one, but it was far from being tedious, for there was plenty to interest. First, there was the hot coffee, which everyone enjoyed, especially those who cut it so finely that they had no time for anything before leaving home. A game of Bridge-where only one player knew the game, and he trying to teach the other three – provided many amusing points, while Whist, with a discussion on the ability of referees, etc., thrown in, made the time pass very pleasantly. So from 6-30 to 8-30 the happy family were kept busy, and then breakfast was taken. Mr. Taylor knows well enough how to cater for the Bath XV., so little need be said of that. Beyond Exeter the journey was especially interesting, the stretch by the sea as far as Teignmouth providing many topics for discussion. The birds provided no end of arguments. There were cranes, storks, gulls, and I believe, some even spotted eagles and ostriches.”
“The ground being just outside the station the bags were soon in the pavilion, and everyone made for the sea”
“All I troubled about was that they would be back in time for the kick off at 3-30. Anyhow, no one was drowned, although several went to the very bottom step on the ladder, so the bathing finished up alright.”
Lunch was taken at the Union Hotel, leaving half an hour to spare. This was taken up with an open top bus ride around St. Mary’s Church and towards Babbacombe!
Then the game……….
“After the match, of course, came the dinner, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.”
“Then came the speeches, which, truth to tell, I generally try to avoid, but on Saturday they were enjoyable, interesting and instructive.”
“A song with a good chorus, and a discussion on the intrinsic value of 8d., and all were in the saloon ready for home. That the Bathonians had made friendly relations during their short stay was evident, for even one of the station officials was loath for us to depart.”
“The long day was too much for some of the party, but the saloon was most comfortable, and despite the noise, more than one had a nap. I will conclude by saying the party arrived in Bath about 1 a.m., and everyone on the best of terms with themselves, for they had made the very best of a splendid day.”
v Bridgwater, Away. Won 5-0. Team:- E C Hartell, V Coates, N Coates, C Walwin, J Johnson, W Fear, R Ascott, A Ford, E Cambridge, A Carpenter, J Dainton, G Donaldson, S Head, R Merry and S Harris.
Notwithstanding that most of the Somerset Committee were in attendance, this fixture lapsed into a rather dull encounter. Bath were superior behind the scrum, but the backs did not get enough ball.
In short: “Vincent Coates got a fine try five minutes from the start after shaking off several opponents and Ascott goaled with a splendid kick.”
v Penylan, Home. Lost 0-9. Team:- E C Hartell, V H S Coates, N H Coates, C Walwin, J Johnson, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, E Cambridge, S Head, S Harris, A Carpenter, J Dainton, R Merry, G Donaldson.
The Bros. Coates combined splendidly but could not penetrate the Welsh defence. There was a below par performance from the forwards, who were beaten in all departments. The glaring weakness was in the line-outs, were there seemed to be a reluctance to contest for possession. All three Penylan tries were initiated from line-out moves.
v Abertillery, Home. Won 13-9. Team:- E C Hartell, A F Kitching, E C Walwin, N H Coates, V H S Coates, W Fear, R Ascott, A Ford, A Carpenter, W Thomas, R Merry, G Donaldson, S Harris, R West, and M Ward.
Vincent Coates, Kitching, and Ford got Bath’s tries and Ascott converted two.
Bath played well, and it was a pleasing win, after the previous week’s set back.
“From the next scrum Bath got out, and Norman Coates, after breaking through powerfully, slung out to his brother, who ran round in great style with a try, which Ascott failed to convert.”
“Then came a brilliant try by Bath. Kitching got it with one of his brilliant runs. Ascott got hold in his own 25, and gave to Norman Coates, who started Walwin. The right centre gave to Kitching, and the wing sped away in his own sweet way. The Welshmen mad a desperate effort to cut him off, but it was futile, for the Bathonian crossed the line with a magnificent try.”
“Thomas made a big difference to the Bath forwards. It was his first game this season, but no one would have thought it. He was here there and everywhere.”
“Anything to encourage the men to train,’ was the opinion of the committee last week. They have decided to provide tea on training evenings.”
Dickie Ascott’s conversion kicks were vital: “This nippy little player is still at Radstock, but the Bath Executive would be very pleased to hear that it is possible to settle down again in Bath.”
v Bridgwater, Home, Won 17-0. Team:- E C Hartell, A F Kitching, E C Walwin, H G Atkin, J Johnson, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, A Carpenter, W H Thomas, M Ward, G Donaldson, R Merry, E Cambridge and S Harris.
Walwin, and Kitching (2) tries. Two conversions Hatherill. Walwin drop gaol. Fear and Hatherill combined splendidly and Walwin had a hand in most of the passing movements. All Bath the forwards played well. It was Atkin’s first game of the season, but he had been keeping fir at ‘Association.’
“Walwin, too, did well. He had a hand in all the passing movements, and the way he can pick up from the loose, is certainly an eye opener. His drop-goal too, was well judged and I am pleased he has opened his scoring sheet.”
“E C Walwin, is, I consider, the capture of the 1911-12 season. He started well, and has improved every game he has played.”
v Penarth, Away. Lost 0-13. Team:- W Emery, R Ascott, W Stevens, H Atkin,
J Johnson, A Hatherill (Capt.), E Baker, E Cambridge, G Donaldson, M Ward, S Harris, S Head, R Merry, H West, and A Carpenter.
There were six absent on County duty, and Walwin with an injured knee. H G Atkin was attending on morning school, and his inclusion was due to the kindness of Dr. Coates, who put his car at his disposal – to just make the 12.14 out of Bath.
On this occasion, the weakened team were no match for the seasiders.
v Ferndale, Away. Lost 5-7. Selected Team:- E C Hartell, W Lewis, J Old, G Spoors, A Blanchard, W Fear, T Lempriere, A Ford, A Carpenter, E Cambridge, M Ward, S Harris, G Donaldson, H West and S Head.
Although Ferndale is only 19 miles from Cardiff , the journey took 70 minutes. Fear, Carpenter, Hartell and Lewis missed the connection at Cardiff. Bateman of Bristol played at full back, and other substitutes were found. George Spoors (ex Bristol), just missed connecting at Stapleton Road Station, and in a written apology, commented that he was glad he could not hear the comments from the Bath party, as their train steamed away under the bridge!
The run of play was fairly even and at half time there was no score. Then Jones dropped a goal to edge Ferndale ahead. Immediately, Lempriere broke away from a scrum and sent Head in for a good try, which Bateman converted. Bath held their one point lead until the last five minutes, when Griffen scored for Ferndale to win by two points.
BATH & WILTS CHRONICLE 21st October 1911: “Bathonians will be sorry to hear that the connection of W H Thomas with the 1st XV is likely to cease before long.
Ever since that fine forward commenced to play for bath he has been filling an appointment at Swindon, and with the most cheerful sportsmanship has ungrudgingly travelled from the G.W.R. town to appear in Bath matches.
He agent to a company who also has a branch in Cardiff, and Thomas this week has received a notice that he is to be transferred to the Welsh metropolis.” The Cardiff captain heard of the move and Thomas was destined to serve the Cardiff club with distinction.
v Bridgwater Albion, Home, Won 8-3. Team:- E C Hartell, A F Kitching, H G Atkin, N Coates, R Ascott, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, W H Thomas, E Cambridge, S Harris, S Head, A Carpenter, M Ward, G Donaldson.
Tries Kitching and Ward. Hatherill converted one.
A game of immense pace, played in ideal conditions. However, the Bath forward effort waned in the first half, prompting exhortations to ‘buck-up’ from the crowd.
The ‘ups’ rallied in the last quarter of the second moiety and: “they subjected the Albion defence to a rare fusillade, and once pierced it as already narrated. It did the spectator’s’ hearts good to see so splendid a recovery.”
“Norman Coates played a champion game, keeping his eye on things generally, and never giving anything away. Atkins was a tower of defence, his kicking eclipsing anyone else’s on the field. Kitching was quite himself, his beautifully straight dashes for the line arousing much enthusiasm.”
v London Welsh, Home. Won 19-8. Team:- E C Hartell, A Blanchard, J Johnson, C Walwin, R Ascott, G Spoors, A Hatherill, A Ford, A Carpenter, E Cambridge, F Cashnella, S Harris, S Head, G Donaldson and R West.
Cambridge followed Blanchard’s fly kick for an early score. Then Johnson dummied through for a beautiful try which Hatherill goaled. Bath were leading 8-3 at the change over. Ford, Ascott and Walwin added second half tries and Hatherill was able to convert one of them.
“It was a good sporting game and a treat to watch.”
v Jesus College, Oxford, Home. Won 20-10. Team:- E C Hartell, R Ascott, J Johnson, C Walwin, A F Kitching, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, A Carpenter, E Cambridge, S Harris, R West, S Head, Bert Harding and E Russell.
A wretched afternoon accounted for a poor attendance. Ascott (3), Hatherill, Kitching (2) got Bath’s tries, Hatherill converting one.
“The feature of the match was the fine robust dribbling of the Bath forwards, who ‘footed’ the ball admirably; unfortunately they packed indifferently and did not get the advantage in the scrums they otherwise might have.”
All Bath’s tries came from backs, which testified to their skill in open play.
25/11/1911 – AN ‘ALL BLACK’ DAY
v Neath.(Welsh Champions) Home, Lost 0-15. Team:- E C Hartell, A F Kitching, C E Walwin, W Stevens, R Ascott, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, W Thomas, A Carpenter, E Cambridge, S Head, S Harris, R West and F Cashnella.
Hodges was selected, but was not released by Stothert & Pitt’s, so Bath started with seven forwards, as last minute replacement – Cashnella was described as “not yet ready.”
Bath were 0-5 down at half time, then Ascott was forced to go off and Cashnella moved on to the wing position. However, the All Blacks were too hot for the home team and their final tally was 1 goal, 2 tries, and a drop goal.
“It must be agreed, however, that the tactics of the visitors today were not so clean as Bath people like to see. There was a deal of obstructing, and then there was a lot of offside play which many referees would have penalised.”
“The visiting forwards were all good. Certainly they had no drawing room players, but Bath were distinctly unlucky in only having six to oppose them for the greater part of the second half.”
Ascott dislocated a finger and was despatched to hospital, and Hartell sustained a bad neck injury. There was serious concern when Hartell had difficulty in moving his jaws, and he became unconscious upon removal to the RUH ward. Fortunately, his injury did not prove to be critical and a good recovery was to follow. “It will be some time before he is fit for much.”
The Neath Club was very prompt in enquiring after Hartell’s condition.
From CHRONICLE REPORT 25/11/1911
v Stroud, Away. Won 5-0. Team:- Wally Lewis, A Smith, A Blanchard,
Cliff Walwin, H G Atkin, W Fear, Bob Russell (St. Stephen’s), A Ford, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, W H Thomas, E Cambridge, and R West.
Atkin scored near the end and Wally Lewis added a splendid conversion.
A weak side, a wet ground, a poor crowd and an uninteresting game!
BUT THEY SANG ALL THE WAY HOME.
“The victory of course put the company on good terms with themselves and the return journey was indeed pleasant. The people on the station at Stroud were delighted with the vocal efforts of several of the Bath team, and the journey to Bath came to an end all too soon for many and varied were the songs given en route. The action of the committee in deciding to travel by the G.W.R. made the journey all the more enjoyable for the party were kept together all the way.”
v Cheltenham, Home. Won 8-7. Team:- Wally Lewis, R Ascott, H G Atkin, F Russell, A Blanchard, A Hatherill, G Spoors, E Cambridge, S Harris, S Head, R West, A West, W H Thomas, E (Fred) Russell, and L Hatherill.
George Spoors and Blanchard got the tries and Hatherill converted one.
“The game does not call for lengthy comment because it was largely kick and rush, with a modicum of science, and a maximum of gruelling work.”
v Portsmouth, Home. Won 16-0. Team:- W Lewis, A F Kitching, C Walwin,
H G Atkin, R Ascott, H Vowles, A Hatherill, A Ford, W Thomas, E Cambridge, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, E Russell, and R West.
Portsmouth were well led by their captain, the Reverend A Thompson.
Financial considerations did not trouble the visitors: “The team is run on strictest amateur lines, and the players all pay their own railway fares and teas etc., so that the side is bound to consist of players of a certain position.”
Bath played the attractive football.
Early on: “Thomas then picked up nicely, and gave out to Walwin. Cliff fed Kitching nicely, and the wing man beat any amount of opposition and scored a fine try behind the posts. Hatherill easily goaled.”
Again: Portsmouth were still obtaining from the scrum, but Kitching got round and robbed their backs in his own 25. He made off in his own style and got over again with a splendid try after a brilliant run.”
Ascott scored twice in the second moiety, from which Lewis got two extra points.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 9-24.
Team:- W Lewis, R Ascott, C Walwin, N Coates, V Coates, W Fear, A Hatherill, E Cambridge, A Carpenter, S Head, F Hallett, W Ward, R West, A West and E Russell.
Bath were 3-13 down by half time, their only counter from a Cambridge break-away try.
Norman Coates and Ascott scored in the second spell, but Bristol were the superior side, and had crossed the Bath line five times, converted three and added a penalty.
Cambridge was the outstanding Bath forward. Cecil and Henry Biggs did splendidly for Bristol.
v Mountain Ash, Home. Drawn 3-3.
Selected Team:- G Dixon, V Coates, N Coates, C Walwin, L Burt, W Fear, R Ascott, E Cambridge, S Head, S Harris, A Carpenter, H W Warde, E Russell, R West and A West.
Messrs. A West, E Russell and S Head were obliged to work over Christmas, so A Ford, R Merry and veteran Cashnella brought the team up to strength.
The holiday match gate was reduced by about two thirds owing to incessant rain. The gate money amounted to £12, which was £24 less than the previous Boxing Day.
The visitors were immediately penalised and Norman Coates kicked a splendid goal, almost from the touch-line and on the 25. Owen Jones scored in the corner to level matters
v Ferndale, Home Won 10-4.
Team:- G Dixon, L Burt, C Walwin, N Coates, V Coates, W Fear, R Ascott, A Ford, A Carpenter, R West, S Harris, W Warde, R Merry, Sid Holman, and F Cashnella.
More wretched weather for the holiday period! Cashnella, Holman crossed for tries and Ascott added: “a pretty goal with his left.”
v Penylan, Home. Won 6-5.
Team:- L Burt, V Coates, N Coates, C Walwin, R Ascott, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Carpenter, E Cambridge, S Head, S Harris, A West, H W Warde, R West and S Holman.
A West scored the try and Walwin added a penalty, enabling Bath to hold on for a close win.
v Stroud, Home. Won 37-0. Team:- W Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, C W Walwin, A Blanchard, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, E S Cambridge, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, A West, E Russell, B Harding.
Hartell had been injured in the Neath game, “but Wally Lewis has stepped into his shoes with astonishing facility.” A Blanchard was a continual source of strength in the wing position.
CROWD ON BEST BEHAVIOUR
“Players certainly, and the bulk of spectators, too, were pleased at the improved conduct of those watching the Bath match on Saturday. There was an absence of those irritating and irresponsible personal remarks which have occasioned extreme annoyance in recent matches. All players are not perfect and spectators should remember that the members of the team turn out for the love of the game or from a feeling of loyalty to the club; they receive nothing for their services, and to be subject to insulting comments is enough to make them think, ‘Is this good enough?’ It was therefore an agreeable change to find the crowd devoid of cavaliers. If those who come to matches are not satisfied they always have an alternative open to them.” (Bath Chronicle)
v Clifton, Away. Won 20-4. Team:- W Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, C W Walwin, A F Kitching, A Hatherill, G Spoors, E S Cambridge, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Harris, S Head, A West, B Harding, E Russell.
On a bright, crisp and sunny afternoon, the brothers Coates excelled in this game and were too fast and too clever for the Clifton back division. Vincent was unlucky not to secure more than one try, as he was repeatedly brought to ground just short of the try line. Kitching was closely marked, but this enabled Walwin to create opportunities and play a capital game. All the three-quarters scored, although Walwin’s contribution was a drop goal.
Pontypool game cancelled. “The turf on Friday afternoon was as hard as a cobble stone roadway and perhaps more dangerous, owing to the many rough ridges.”
v Bridgwater Albion, Away. Lost 8-12.
Team:- W Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, Bob Russell, S Pratt, Tommy Lempriere, G Spoors, A Ford, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Harris, H West, S Head, E Russell, E S Cambridge. Bath played with fourteen men throughout the second half, when Lempriere retired after taking a vigorous tackle.
Bridgwater had had very few successes, but managed to beat a weakened Bath side.
“There was a robustness bordering on ferocity displayed by the Albion forwards. Bath have regarded Weston as too keen opponents for matches to be pleasant, but they are inclined to give the biscuit to Bridgwater Albion after Saturday’s gruelling. It speaks well for the toughness of the Bath team that they escaped from the lions’ den without serious injury.”
v Clifton, Home. Won 22-3.
Team:- W Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, C Walwin, A Kitching, G Spoors, A Hatherill, A Ford, E Cambridge, A Carpenter, S Harris, F Cashnella, S Head, E Russell, and A West.
This game was played at a cracking pace in the best sporting tradition. Clifton’s useful forwards provided stiff opposition for the Bath eight.
v Neath, Away. Lost 5-17.
Team:- W Lewis, (Sub provided by Neath), N Coates, B Russell, H Burt, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, E S Cambridge, F Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Head, Harding (provided by Neath), A West and E Russell.
Despite makeshift selection, Bath played well from the start.
“No one would have thought they had come straight from the train after a three and a half hours’ journey – for the team changed in the saloon – so full of vim and dash were they.”
Bath were 5-3 up at half time, with a try by Norman Coates converted by Wally Lewis. In the second spell, spectators were astonished to witness Mr. Davies of Llancwmwydd, sending off of both Perry (Neath) and Cashnella – although they protested their innocence.
“Both were loudly cheered as they came in, shaking each other by the hand, and they certainly harboured no ill-feeling to one another.”
The Welsh evening papers attracted headlines such as “A Referee’s Inexplicable Conduct.”
v Penarth, Home. Won 6-0. Team:- W Lewis, A F Kitching, C W Walwin, N Coates, V Coates, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, E S Cambridge, F Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Harris, S Head, A West, and E Russell.
v Pontypool, Home. Lost 0-6. Team:- W Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, C Walwin, A F Kitching, W Fear, F Hill (formerly Bristol), W S D Craven, A Ford, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, A West and E Russell.
There was a debut appearance for W S D Craven (Now at Trowbridge), the Blackheath and Army Captain, and also Frederick Hill from Bristol, a 1905-6 Schoolboy International.
Following an uncharacteristic Walwin fumble, the visitors scored a soft try before the game was five minutes old. A second try followed on the left hand touch-line.
The Bath backs made a number of fine runs, but were unable to breach a stout defence.
News came that A F Kitching, was leaving Monkton Combe School, having been a master for seven years.
v Cheltenham, Away. Won 8-3. Team:- Lewis, V Coates, N Coates, Walwin, Blanchard, Fear, B Russell, Warde, Ford, Cashnella, Carpenter, Syd Head, Harris, West and E Russell.
“Bath were altogether superior, and with the merest turn of luck might have converted a defeat into a rout.”
“It was the continuity of action which has been the most marked feature in the improved back play of Bath this season. The cleverness and ‘never done with’ spirit which characterise the movements of the brothers Coates has delighted the onlookers. At Cheltenham on Saturday they handled the ball five times between them in the same attack, and then the oval was kicked across for the forwards to carry it on.”
v Bristol, Home. Lost 11-16. Team:- W Lewis, V H M Coates, N H Coates, C W Walwin, A Blanchard, A Hatherill, W Fear, A Ford, W F Warde, A Carpenter, F J Cashnella, S Head, A West, E Russell and S Harris.
Norman Coates secured an early try after an up and under harassed Bateman. Hatherill converted. Walwin dropped a goal from a penalty, after Bateman’s deliberate throw to touch.
Bath were therefore 8-5 up at half time, but Bristol came back to clinch an exciting encounter.
Cecil Biggs (ex Cardiff) did much to stifle Bath’s forays.
v Pontypool, Away. Lost 4-43. Amended team:- W Lewis, T Russell, N H Coates, B Russell, Wall, W Fear, A Hatherill, Ford, Warde, Cashnella, Dainton, Harris, Head, Fisher and Beadon. T Russell drop goal.
Bath were handicapped by a series of cry-offs, and further weakened when Fear was laid out with a kick on the knee. By the time he resumed, Wally Lewis was incapacitated and forward Warde was standing in as full back. Pontypool got a third trey during this period and two more when Cashnella was hors de combat. Pontypool played fast open rugby, and Bath’s makeshift side were no match for the Welshmen.
BATH CHRONICLE: “In all the years I have known the Bath team such a crushing defeat has never been experienced previously and Bathonians were so ashamed of the colossal hiding they received that most of them went home by the back streets on Saturday night, while several, I am told, felt indisposed and unable to take out-door exercise on Sunday.”
v Headingley, Home. Won 20-8.Team:- C W Walwin, V Coates, N Coates, J Johnson, Burt, H Vowles, A Hatherill, A Ford, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, W F Warde, A West and E Russell.
V Coates scored Bath’s second try. Unfortunately, “Hatherill did not lift the leather.”
v Kersal, Home. Won 17-3. Team:- C W Walwin, V Coates, N Coates, E (‘Whacker’) Smith (Stotherts) L Burt, H Vowles, A Hatherill, A Ford, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Head, S Harris, W F Warde, A West and E Russell.
Tries from Vowles, Cashnella, Hatherill, Harris and N Coates. Warde managed one conversion. Gate money amounted to £35.
v Abertillery, Away. Lost 0-22. Team:- E Washer, H Burt, N Coates, C W Walwin, A Blanchard, H Vowles, Shellard (St. Stephens), A Ford, F J Cashnella, A Carpenter, S Head, A West, S Harris, E Russell and A Roman (Abertillery).
v Bristol, Home. Won 21-4. Team:- C W Walwin, V H M Coates, N H Coates, H G Atkin, A Blanchard, W Fear, A Hatherill, A Ford, F G Cashnella, W F Warde, S Head, E Russell, A West, A Carpenter, and S Harris.
Bath had not beaten Bristol since March 1897 – over a span of 35 encounters. The ”Old Cabot’ programme notes reflected: “Think of the events that took place – the start and finish of the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the death of King Edward VII and well into the reign of the young King George V. Not a single win and a total of 413 points scored against them and only 106 for.” At long last, Bristol were on the receiving end of a major drubbing.
“What memories for every Bath man who played in it and what oceans of ale swallowed that night!