There were encouraging prospects for the oncoming season with good attendances at training. The following players had expressed availability for the first club trial:-
Full backs.- Sam Bailey (Bathwick), E E Hardiman (Berkshire Wanderers), S Coles (St. Saviours O.B.’s), and A Matthews (Avonvale).
Threequarters.- W J Gibbs, H Richardson, R Banks, C Woodward, A E Anderson, G Nudds, S Watts, J H L Donaldson (Newton Abbot), and G Hathaway.
Half backs.- J Gillette (ex Marlborough and Rosslyn Park), F Rhymes, S Symes, and S Dowding.
Forwards.- C E Carruthers, L J Richardson, H B L Wake, C N Mannings, L W Humphries, A Morley, J Dobson, P Chapman, G Woodward, L Seal, E Dunscombe, F Miles, F J Love, J Banks, A Halford (Wilts. Regt.), E McDaniel, J Lockyer, W G D Banyard, and C Watson.
Gibbs and Pitman were on holiday. Harry Slade was in Swansea. Harry Vowles was not well and would make a start some weeks later. The Whites beat the Colours 11-3.
v Leicester, Away. Lost 8-23. Team:- A V Twose (Wellington), W J Gibbs, R Banks, J W Gilette, C Woodward, S Symes, H Slade, C E Carruthers, H E L Wake, J Dobson, A Morley, N J Blake, E Dunscombe, G Woodward and F J Love.
Bath turned out in new jerseys and stockings and hoped to do well against a strong Tigers side. However, the Leicester backs combined splendidly and had scored within two minutes of the start and again within very few minutes. Bath then rallied for Slade to dribble over with Twose converting. By the finish Leicester had scored 2 goals, 1 drop goal, 1 penalty and 2 tries, against Bath’s goal and a try by Symes.
v Aberavon, Home. Lost 5-9. Team:- A V Twose, W J Gibbs, R Banks, Pilot Officer J Armour (R.A.F. Upavon), C Woodward, S Symes, H Slade, H B L Wake, C E Carruthers, A Morley, G Woodward, Sergt. Coles, N J Blake, J Dobson and S W Humphries. The Welsh ‘Wizards’ included seven internationals. Attendance 5000 in sunny weather.
“Bath forwards opened very strongly, and showed capital work in the loose, but Hopkins sent to the home 25 when his side had heeled.
Bath were playing C Woodward outside the scrum.
Aberavon attacked hotly, Slade and Banks defending well.” Later: “Then followed a scrum. Bath heeled; Slade gave to Woodward, who gave the dummy and went over with a great try near the uprights. Twose goaled after 22 minutes play.
Bath forwards continued to do well, and Hopkins, the visiting captain, pulled them up fearlessly, and got in a good punt.
Slade marked cleverly and kicked well to touch. The home side passing, however, broke down, and from the next scrum the visiting halves tried to work the reverse pass very cleverly, but were pulled up forward.” Aberavon penned Bath towards the end of the first half and crowned their effort with an easy try for Shon Thomas, thus ending Bath 5 –Aberavon 3 at the interval. The Wizards pulled back two tries in the second spell and despite bombarding the Welsh line, Bath could not get through again.
It was generally considered to be a highly satisfactory performance against Wales’ top team. Bath forwards played like men inspired.
v United Services, Away. Lost 3-8. Team:- C Woodward, W J Gibbs, R Banks, Pilot Officer J Armour, C Knott (R.A.F.), S Symes, H Slade, H B L Wake, C E Carruthers, R S Chaddock, L W Humphries, N J Blake, J Dobson, A Morley and G Woodward.
Played throughout in torrential rain; it cleared after the final whistle, and Bath travelled home in strong sunshine! Blake got Bath’s try, but Services produced 1 goal and a try in a strenuous game under wretched conditions. “Bath’s outsides could show no combined play, and it was very rare indeed that their forwards heeled.” Ralph Banks did a lot of useful kicking and led up to Joe Blake’s try.
v Devonport Services, Home. Lost 5-11. Team:- S Bailey, W J Gibbs, R Banks, F O Armour, F Knox, S Symes, H Slade, H B L Wake, C E Carruthers, A Morley, G Woodward, R S Chaddock, N J Blake, L J Richardson, and L W Humphries. An attendance of around 5000, heard the news of that morning’s death of Mr. Walter Sants a former treasurer and founder member of the Club.
Work on the North Stand was going well and there was some optimism that the job would be finished in time for the October 15th Jubilee match.
Within five minutes of the start, there was a muddle amongst the Bath backs, and Hussey was in for a visitors’ try; Bath continued to have the worst of the play. Two Services tries followed in the second half.
Then:“Bath certainly were showing more life, but their efforts were generally futile.”
Almost on time, Banks scored with a tremendous dash to the line and Slade converted, but it was too little too late – and three losses in a row!
Bath XV v Bath Combination XV, Home. Team: -C Woodward, A E Anderson, R Banks, J Armour, B Knox, F Rhymes, J W Colquhoun, C E Carruthers, L J Richardson, L W Humphries, G Woodward, N J Blake, J Dobson, L Seal and T J Love.
BATH CHRONICLE AND HERALD 3/10/1925 (Extracts)
Team Work Lacking.
“The form shown last week was a disappointment to many. A well-known Alderman of the city summed it up thus: “15 good men, but no team” and he was right. What is lacking is team work. Individually the players are good, but there must be concerted action.”
“Seven aside Rugby is to be introduced in London. A series of games are to be played by the leading London clubs for the Middlesex Hospital Restoration Fund. It will be a new thing to London, but has long been a feature of Scottish Rugby. There will be three forwards, two threequarters, a half, and a full-back.”
v Plymouth Albion, Away. Lost 3-19. Team:- Sam Bailey, Gibbs, Banks, Armour, Knox, Colquhoun, Rhymes, Richardson, Mannings, Chaddock, Dobson, G Woodward, Morley, Russell-James and Dunscombe. Attendance 5000. Prior to the match the team were very pleased to visit the Hoe.
Mannings scored well into the second half, but Albion crossed the Bath line 4 times, converted twice and added a penalty goal. Once again, Bath forwards failed to heel the ball and the backs had little chance to shine. The tackling was generally weak.
v Llanelly, Home. Lost 0-8. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, J Armour, B Knox, S Symes, J W Colquhoun, H B L Wake, C E Carruthers, L J Richardson, C N Mannings, G Woodward, R S Chaddock, A Morley and L W Humphries. Attendance 6000.
There was a sensational start as Llanelly scored, virtually – from the kick-off. Neither Slade nor Knox could gather, and the Red forwards dribbled over for Rees Thomas to touch down. It was exciting rugby and Bath did well to hold the visitors. The Scarlets were a robust lot, and play continued strenuously, with Llanelly “bombarding” the home line. At no-side, the visitors had scored two tries and converted one. Bath had played well and were somewhat unlucky to have had no reward for their efforts.
Not a good season! Bath had lost the five opening games. ‘UBIQUE’, writing in the Bath programme for the Llanelly game:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is but always to be blest” – Pope
And continued: “I doubt if there is any blessing attached to the winning of a match, but we have hoped and still hope for our first victory this season. I feel I must say something to our friends who are taking such a pessimistic view of the prospects this season. Let me admit straight away that I realise we have struck a bad patch so far. These lean times come to every club at intervals, but there is no need to be despondent and unkindly critical.
After identifying significant changes in the playing strength since the previous season, and the requirement of a probationary period for newcomers he continued:
”How are we to regain our prestige, especially among our own supporters, who perhaps are unsympathetically critical?
Intelligent training is my solution.
There is little good obtained by merely punting a ball or attempting dropped goals when training. Too much kicking stiffens the muscles of the thigh.
The forwards realising their weaknesses, should practice packing against another eight, each man having his own appointed position and then a hooker should be trained. There is a lot of craft displayed by some teams in packing. They will pack on the left or right side, according as they see the intentions and disposition of the opposing pack. These points should be practised and a definite plan of campaign adopted.
The backs have their moves to work out as well as the forwards. A definite understanding between scrum half and stand off half, where the latter should stand, or rather which way he is running to receive the ball, for the stand off half should always take his pass on the run. There are many tricks the three-quarters can practise, including the reverse pass, throwing the ball over the scrum, cross kicking, short punting etc. All this is what I mean by intelligent training. Why should not some of our junior teams train with the premier side? It would be to mutual benefit of all.
Our captain is keen on team work and I am sure if he insists more on the ‘team training’ he will produce players fit to combat the experience of our more seasoned opponents. The younger players must accept the advice and good intentions of those older ones who have profited by a long ‘experience bought,’ which nevertheless is made somewhat easier by ‘experience taught,’ providing the player is willing to be taught.”
“To my pessimistic and despondent supporters I would say:
“Cheerfulness, or joyousness, is the heaven under which everything but poison thrives.” – Richter.
“At last I discovered the mysteries of Sospan Fach. It appears that about 1897 the Llanelly Club was considerably strengthened by the inclusion of the players of the famous Seaside Stars, among whom were Badger, Cliff Bowen, Ben Davies, Dai Morgan, ‘Fishguard’ Thomas and others. They really inaugurated the stand-off half position, for previously both halves worked the scrum. Interpassing among the backs in what is known as the approved Welsh style, with Ben Davies the pivot as stand-off half, was introduced and great success resulted. The points were piled up each week and after each score players and spectators took to singing the following ditty:”
Mae bys Mary Ann wedi gwiwo
A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach
A’r baban bach yn crio
A’r gath wedi scramo Johnny bach.
Sospan fach yn berwi ar y tan
Sospan fach yn berwi ar y tan
A’r gath wedi scramo Johnny bach
Sospan Fach (in translation)
Mary Ann’s finger is gathering
David the servant, is not very well
The little baby is crying
and the cat had scratched little Johnnie.
The little saucepan is boiling on the fire
the little saucepan is boiling on the fire
And the cat has scratched little Johnnie.
This was adopted later as the Scarlet’s War Song.
Diamond Jubilee Match. Bath v South Western Counties. An ‘All Pay’ match. (Reserved seats 3/-)
Bath Team: H G Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, S Watts, J Armour, F Rhymes, J W Colquhonn, H B L Wake, L J Richardson, R S Chaddock, C E Carruthers, C N Mannings, J Dobson, G Woodward, A Morley.
South Western Counties: W F Gaisford (Bart’s and Somerset), H Smith (Barnstaple and Devon), J Hanley (Plymouth and Devon), Reg Pickles (Bristol, and Gloucestershire), S Jago (Plymouth and Cornwall), C Carter (Bristol and Gloucestershire), Dr. Taylor (Gloucester and North), T Voyce (Gloucestershire and England) (Captain), J S Tucker (Bristol, Gloucestershire and England), M Shaw (Bristol and Gloucestershire), A Spriggs (Bridgwater and Somerset), C Gummer (Plymouth and Devon), W Roscolla (Cornwall), E Stanbury (Plymouth and Devon), and H Rew (Exeter and Devon).
Referee T H Vile (WALES). Touch Judges:- Corbett and Considine (both England) Bath Lost 3-19
Gibbs scored Bath’s try. At some stages, there was only one team in it – and that was not Bath! However, they defended resolutely against great odds. Western Counties scored 2 goals and 3 tries.
New stand was not ready, but upper part for spectators was made available. When completed a clock in memory of the late George Roberts, so many years the Hon. Treasurer, would be placed at the Pavilion entrance for all to see.
v St. Thomas Hospital, Home. Won 6-0. Team:- H Slade, M J Gibbs, R Banks, H Richardson, A E Anderson, F Rhymes, J W Colquhoun, L J Richardson, C N Mannings, A Morley, V J Matthews, G Woodward, A J Blake, J Dobson, and L W Humphries. Gibbs and Joe Blake scored Bath’s tries. It was the first win of the season – but a very poor display.
Extracts from CHRONICLE COMMENT 24th October 1925
NO REASON TO BE DEPRESSED BY SATURDAY’S PLAY.
TRAINING IMPERATIVE (By “Mascot.”)
“There has been a good deal of crying out about the game Bath played last Saturday against St. Thomas’s Hospital. A follower for the last 30 years describes it as the worst exhibition he has ever seen Bath give. This is surely an exaggeration! Many, many times there have been occasions when they could do nothing right, and probably there always will be.”
“Mascot” then instanced other occasions of poor performances, and continued:
“It is probable that the Bath play will not reach such a low ebb again this season; in fact, it will be impossible for it to do so. Let’s look on the bright side-we’ve found a good full-back-if nothing else, and I’ve no doubt we shall give Pontypool a good game next week. We may not win, but then perhaps we hardly expect to. And then again-we may!”
The writer then highlighted the advantages of systematic training: “………and it would be a good thing if some experienced player could take the responsibility of coaching the side. The forwards very badly want scrum practice. It is not a case of running about to get fit, everyone, I suppose, is fit by now. It is a case of scrumming properly, knowing how to pack and how to heel”
Later: “When the new pavilion is ready, things may improve. As regards the attendance of the 1st XV. at training now, it was never as bad. When Considine was fit he rarely missed an evening, and the same could be said of Harry Richardson. Now that Carruthers has finished, it will be worse than ever”
At least, it was pleasing to read of others’ enthusiasm for the Club at this time:
“Cashnella is keen as mustard. On Tuesday he was in town on sweet pea business, but he got back in time to have his say at a Bath Committee meeting, and was keen enough to make sure that his attendance was registered.”
v R.A.F.Upavon, Away. Won 14-3. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, I J Pitman, G Nudds, F Rhymes, S Watts, L J Richardson, C N Mannings, R S Chaddock, G Woodward, J Dobson, N J Blake, L W Humphries, and V J Matthews. Played on the windy airfield strip.
It was I J Pitman’s first appearance that season, and the game opened with Pitman playing at outside half and Watts at centre. There was soon a fine try by Gibbs after running half the length of the field. Slade converted. Woodward secured a second try soon after; Woodward was over again following a forward rush. The conversion attempt was touched in flight and disallowed. On half time Watts went over in the corner for Bath to lead 11-0. Bath continued to have the better of the play and Gibbs scored again in the second half. The R.A.F. had a useful side, but Bath missed many chances through another poor performance at forward. “There appeared to be too many winging men in the visiting pack, but two who got in a tremendous amount of work were Joe Blake and Len Humphries.”
“A soccer match in the same field attracted more attention than did the Bath game and it was pretty evident that Rugby is little known round Upavon way.”
v Pontypool, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, G Nudds, I J Pitman, H Vowles, G Woodward, H B L Wake, L J Richardson, C N Mannings, L W Humphries, N J Blake, A Morley, R S Chaddock and F Milsom (Devon Services).
Pontypool were especially strong at forward and at loose play, and Bath were three points down after three minutes. “The best bit of Rugby of the season was seen when Slade started Pitman, and the old International got in a great run, but was pulled down by Ford just outside.” Later, Vowles missed a drop goal by inches. At the turn around the crowd were better pleased than they had been all season; the team was playing well and were unlucky not to have scored. There was a further reverse, when Vaisey scored following up a cross kick. Bath only reward was a Woodward penalty when a Welshman was well offside. “The return of Harry Vowles made a distinct change for the better.” (Bath Chronicle)
Bath beaten but not disgraced.
Announcement of Somerset XV to face Cornwall, with only four Bath players selected:- W J Gibbs, H V Wake, T Rose and J Richardson.
v Old Edwardians, Away. Lost 0-8. Team:- H Slade, A E Anderson, S Bailey, I J Pitman, G Nudds, S Dowding (Bath Harlequins), R Banks, C N Mannings, L W Humphries, N J Blake, A Mosley, L Seal, F Milsom, F J Love and E Dunscombe.
This was Bath’s first game on the Old Boys new ground at King’s Heath. “Much rain had fallen, and the ground was a swamp, scarcely fit to play on.” There was a poor crowd and it was a disappointing game. Bath failed to take advantage of many chances, and their forwards were outplayed by: “a young, fast, robust lot, who knew how to play together as a pack.”
“There is no doubt at all that Bath-both Soccer and Rugby, for all that-are not being favoured at all by luck this season.”
v Plymouth Albion, Home. Won 12-9. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, H C Partridge (Sherborne Old Boy), I J Pitman, G Nudds, H Vowles, R Banks, H B Wake, C N Mannings, R S Chaddock, L W Humphries, A Morley, E Dunscombe, C Carruthers and F Milsom.
Bath’s ‘new man’ Partridge gathered well and: fairly bullocked over with a capital try.” Further tries by Mannings and Pitman. Banks kicked a penalty. The one black spot was that Pitman had to come off after scoring a brilliant try. Harry Vowles made a significant contribution towards Bath’s victory.
HINTS TO FORWARDS included:-
“5. Do not pick up in the loose unless absolutely certain of a quick and clean pick-up-use your feet.”
v Pontypool, Away. Lost 8-9. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, S Watts, L M Basden, G Nudds, H Vowles, R Banks, H B L Wake, R H Juckes (Cheltenham College), C N Mannings, Milsom, R S Chaddock, E Dunscombe, R Pocock and Daniel (sub from Pontypool for Seal, who did not turn up)
In the first half there was a try from new acquisition Jukes, which was converted by Banks. In the second spell: “The ball went to Basden, who punted high, followed up strongly, kicked on, and being too fast for the defenders, picked up and forced himself over with a capital try.” However, the visitors’ spirited efforts were not enough and by the finish, Pontypool had run in three tries for their narrow win. Despite the loss, it was considered Bath’s finest effort on Welsh soil. Vowles and Banks had particularly good games against strong opposition. Milsom, described as the Radstock man, left his kit in the charabanc, which had gone back to Pontypool Road Station. It is reported that he eventually succeeded in borrowing kit, but played in very uncomfortable borrowed boots. Slade had a good game in defence.
“It will probably be Bath’s last visit to Pontypool for some seasons. After all there is practically little pleasure in visiting such a place, and especially now when Pontypool are not playing the kind of football which will attract good opponents.”
v Old Paulines, Home. Won 19-3. Team:- H Slade, G Nudds, S Watts, S Bailey, G M Basden, F Dowding, R Banks, C N Mannings, R S Chaddock, F Milsom, A Morley, E Dunscombe, V G Matthews, R L Pocock and N J Blake. Old Paulines first visit to Bath.
“The Vowles and Banks combination at half back is the best we have had this season and it would be good to know that the two could play together regularly. There is not the slightest doubt but that Vowles makes a tremendous difference to the Bath side.”
Tries by Banks (2), Milsom, and Basden. Banks two conversions. Watts drop goal
v Devonport Services, Away lost 3-15. Team:- G Woodward, W J Gibbs, H C Partridge, S Watts, G Nudds, H Slade, R Banks, R S Chaddock, A Morley, E Dunscombe, L W Humphries,
F Milsom, H Jones, S Jones and R Pocock.
Despite some afternoon sun, the game was played in freezing conditions. The pitch was badly frosted and it was agreed to move the touch line in five yards and to play on the reduced area. There was a crowd of less than 1000 – Argyle and Plymouth Albion were also playing at home. The Services men managed to cross the Bath line three times, and the visitors’ reply came from the one penalty goal in the second half, secured by Ralph Banks. George Woodward was having a fine game at full back, until he was carried off following a particularly heavy collision.
v Richmond, Home. Lost 9-16. Team:- H Slade, W J Sileby, H C Cartridge, G Nudds, S Watts, H Vowles, R Banks, H B L Wake, C N Mannings, L J Richardson, R S Chaddock, H Jones, L W Humphries, E Dunscombe (Wessex R.E.’s) and F Milsom. Attendance 5000.
Unconverted tries by Vowles, Banks and Gibbs. Richmond played delightfully open football, whilst H W H Considine was dominant in the line-out and scored one of Richmond’s four tries. Richmond were particularly skilled at backing one another up. Bath would do well to copy.
It was easy to see why the visitors had lost just one match to date, and although the result was disappointing, as a spectacle, it was the best so far, that season. Joe Nudds maintained his reputation of being perhaps, the most improved man on the Bath side that season. The dressing rooms in the new North Stand were used for this game, although they will not be officially handed over until the terms of the new lease have been agreed.
v Old Blues, Home. Lost 11-14. Team:- H Slade, L M Basden, S Watts, G Nudds, L W Scott, H Vowles, R Banks, H B L Wake, C N Mannings, L J Richardson, L W Humphries, A Milsom, A Morley, L W Bisgrove and A N Goold (Lancashire). This was good holiday rugby, with both sides prepared to throw the ball about. George Nudds was often prominent and both L M Basden and S Watts did good work. Bath got ahead for a while, when Nudds scooped up and showed exceptional dash and skill for a “topping try.” Later, Sam Humphries followed up for another, and finally Oxford man, Scott, showed a clean pair of heels for a great try under the posts, which Slade converted. A good Bath effort, but they were outscored by Old Blues, by two converted tries and a drop goal.
v Richmond, Away. Lost 5-11. Team:- S Bailey, W G Gibbs, R E Partridge, G Nudds, L H Scott, H Slade, S Watts, H B L Wake, L J Richardson, A Milsom, W Bisgrove, C S Barlow (Somerset and Cambridge Blue), F Dunscombe, A N Goold and J Burgess.
Richardson went off with a twisted knee and Richmond scored within three minutes of his departure. Scott then got a champion try, which Barlow converted to level the scores at half time. There were numerous mistakes on both sides, but first Green and then Dearden increased Richmond’s winning margin.
v Cardiff. Home. Drawn 13-13.: H Slade, W J Gibbs, H C Partridge, G Nudds, L H Scott, H Vowles, R Banks, H B L Wake, C N Mannings, L W Humphries, R S Chaddock, A V Matthews,
A Milsom, F Burgess, F J Love.
Snow clearance commenced at 5a.m. Messrs. Tucker had again worked well, and the straw was duly stacked by 3-15 kick-off time.
Bath tries from Milsom, Gibbs and Scott. Conversions – Banks (2). Bath led 13-5 at the interval. Cardiff restarted well and added a further goal and a try to level an intense encounter.
v Cross Keys, Home. Won 14-6. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, H C Partridge, G Nudds, L H Scott, F Rhymes, R Banks, C N Mannings, H B L Wake, L W Humphries, R S Chaddock, A Milsom, R H Juckes, E Dunscombe and F J Love.
Chaddock took possession: “He beat several by feinting, and then sent out a long pass to Scott. It was a difficult one to negotiate, but the Oxford man scooped it up capitally, and with a great run at top speed managed to get in at the corner with a capital try.”
Later: “Nudds carried on in a dribble and controlling the ball well at great pace, dribbled over the line and scored between the posts.” Bath consolidated their position with a try by Milsom, converted by Slade, and Nudds fell over with a good try following Rhyme’s dribble.
Cross Keys were surprised at Bath’s win.
v London Welsh. Away, Lost 3-11. Team:- H Slade, L M Basden (from Bath Harlequins at short notice), S Watts, G Nudds, L H Scott, F Rhymes, R Banks, C N Mannings, R S Chaddock, E Dunscombe, L Seal, L J Love, A Milsom, N Matthews* (Avonvale) and F Huxtable.
*Humphries was selected but could not get away from business.
Francis of Avonvale was pencilled in – but had no intention of playing. Norman Matthews, also of Avonvale stepped in – and what a servant he became! He was brother of A.V. Matthews who was regularly playing for the ‘A’s, and also of Leslie – destined to be another great servant to the Club.
“F Huxtable, I think, came to the station on the off chance, and it was a good thing he did, although Bob Pocock was there as well. It was strange to see Huxtable in the pack, but he told me he enjoyed it
In the last few minutes, Mannings moved Slade up as an extra three-quarter and put Huxtable at full back. This rather upset the ‘A’ man for he thought at once that the captain had done so to get him out of the way. This of course was not so. Mannings used a little bit of tact and told him afterwards that he thought Slade possibly might run through and score, but this did not come off.”
The Herne Hill pitch was in a frightful condition. “The water in places was over the players’ boots and splashed as they ran through it as they were paddling at Weston. The touch judges had an unenviable task and got literally covered in mud from head to foot.”
“The changing quarters at Herne Hill are not of the best and the men had quite a job to get rid of the mud, for there is only one bath.”
We read that Cashnella was the very reluctant touch judge, and as soon as the team arrived back in Paddington, he had a lengthy spell in the ‘wash and brush-up.’ Ever the immaculate dresser, the team had to wait again, while he went to buy a new collar!
Bath’s Scott was the first to score after good following up by Watts and Nudds. However, the Exciles were skilled in open play and soon had their visitors under pressure, and although Bath defended valiantly the London Welsh tally ended as 1 goal, 1 try and a penalty goal to Bath’s one try.
v R.A.F., Home. Lost 0-10. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R W L Glenn (Richmond and R.A.F. Upavon), G Nudds, L H Scott, H Vowles, R Banks, H Wake, C Mannings, R S Chaddock, L W Humphries, A Milsom, H R Juckes, F J Low and E Dunscombe.
“It’s quite a long time since there has been such an epidemic of dropping passes among the Bath backs. The ground was bad, but the Air men made no such mistakes.”
Bath were handicapped by an injury to Ralph Banks. Glenn had a poor game and did not give Gibbs one decent pass. Harry Vowles had a rare tussle with his opposite number Russell.
The Bath ‘A’s side beat Gloucester O.B.’s 5-3 on the Rec. Harry McDaniel was at full-back and Eric McDaniel in the forwards. Eric was the father of the late Duncan McDaniel, Old Edwardian and outstanding local personality, who died prematurely in 1999.
v Aberavon, Away. Lost 14-23. No less than five regular players cried off for this away game. The final team availability was :- F Huxtable (Bath ‘A’), W G Gibbs, Eric Chard (Avonvale), G Nudds and L H Scott, H Slade, C Brinkworth (Combe Down), R S Chaddock, A Milsom, E Dunscombe, F J Love, J Dobson, W S Banyard (Bath ‘A’), R Pocock, and J Pitt (Avon R.C.)
There was a big crowd to watch Aberavon, who were at full strength forward, but there were some reserves amongst the backs. Bath tries from Gibbs (3), Scott, Conversion Slade
Non availability for away games was giving cause for concern, and some observers felt that players crying-off should not be selected for home games. One letter to the Chronicle criticised the selection policy of preferring casual outsiders, at the expense of Bath men.
“So far this season, 30 forwards have played, and the average number of changes in the pack has been three per week. Surely a team could be built up which would play together and train together.”
“Huxtable, the ‘A’ team full back up to last week, played very well in that position for the 1st. He is not brilliant, and may appear to be somewhat slow, but he was sound and never once made a mistake. With Slade wanted so badly as a half back, Huxtable is probably the best full back available.”
Of course, there were other considerations – not the least, that many players were expected to work on Saturday mornings and always had difficulty in getting away.
“Port Talbot is not an ideal place for a visitor. Bill Gibbs, however, did do a little shopping.”
v London Welsh, Home. Lost 6-19. Team:- F Huxtable, H C Partridge, G Nudds, E Chard, L H Scott, C Brinkworth, H Slade, H B L Wake, R S Chaddock, W D Banyard, A Milsom, J C Juckes, J Dobson, F J Love and E Dunscombe.
“Then the home team opened out capitally by Slade; Chard handled and sent out a wide one to Scott. The Oxford man ran round his wing, and then swerved inside, and beating Ungoed, put on great pace and ran behind with the finest try seen on the ground for a long time. Slade missed an easy goal, but Bath had begun well.” Partridge secured a try in the second half, but by the finish the Exciles had crossed the Bath line five times and converted twice. London Welsh were then a particularly good side. Bath’s main problem was their poor heeling from the scrum. Consequently, their backs had little chance to match the Welshmen’s fluid play. “The Bath pack were outweighted and beaten in the scrum by a more clever lot.”
George Nudds was outstanding in defence. “F Huxtable did not do badly at full back, but it is evident he is not fast enough for the first. This is his first season at rugby, so he has plenty of time to develop, and he does very well with the ‘A’s. He has had three very stiff games, for the first, London Welsh in London, and here in Bath and Aberavon away.”
v Gloucester, Home. Won 3-0. Team:- H Slade, L H Scott, W J Gibbs, E Chard, H C Partridge, C Brinkworth, G Nudds, H B L Wake, H R Juckes, R S Chaddock, A Milsom, E Dunscombe, W D Banyard, F J Love and J Dobson.
The new stand was fully patronised. Tommy Vile was referee. Considine was a touch judge. Nudds and Brinkworth were tried as the half-back pairing.
Territorially, Gloucester had the best of the opening exchanges but both sides played well throughout. There was no score at half time, but in the second spell: “Bath, however, got a try just after a solo effort by Gibbs. He kicked hard from the ground past the full back who had yards start, but Bill overhauled him to touch down very near the touch in goal. Slade failed with a difficult kick.”
Bath held on to gain a great victory. It was a much needed tonic for both club and supporters. New bloods, Brinkworth, Slade, Nudds and Chard did exceptionally well.
v Llanelly, Away. Lost 0-22. Team;- S Bailey, W J Gibbs, H G Slade, P Chard, T H Scott, C Brinkworth, G Nudds, A Milsom, E Dunscombe, F J Love, J Dobson, J Pitt, R Pocock, W Banyard and F Wood. The Bath selection included many youngsters, whilst Llanelly were in good strength. It was a disastrous second half for the visitors and at the finish, the Welshmen had crossed the Bath line no less than six times, and converting twice. Nevertheless, the young side, facing five Internationals, showed considerable promise for the future. “Bath even often heeled, and Brinkworth got the ball away smartly, Nudds and Chard making desperate attempts to get through.”
v Blackheath, Away. Lost 6-23. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, E Chard, G Nudds, L H Scott, C Brinkworth, J Lester, H B Wake, R S Chaddock, J Juckes, A Milsom, W D Banyard, F J Love, E Dunscombe and G Woodward. Bath try by Banyard and a Penalty Try after Dunscombe was obstructed. Although Bath started brightly, both Brinkworth and Lester had great difficulty in holding back their opposite numbers. ‘The Club’ won most of the possession and then handled well in their backs. Harry Slade defended valiantly and brought off one particularly memorable tackle, but: “ It was T E S Francis who had the most to do with Bath’s defeat.”
Wake, Woodward, Chaddock and Banyard were the pick of Bath’s forwards, but a specialist hooker was missed.
v Gloucester, Away. Lost 3-17. Team:- R Banks, W J Gibbs, E Chard, I J Pitman, L H Scott, C Brinkworth, G Nudds, H B L Wake, R S Chaddock, J Jukes, A Milsom, J Dobson, W D Banyard, T J Love and N Matthews. Attendance 6000. Scott scored Bath’s try, but Gloucester amassed 1 goal, 3 tries and a Penalty Goal. “None of the Bath backs tackled well, and several of the Gloucester tries should have been stopped, and the second one for certain.” Ralph Banks played well at full back.
I J Pitman was not available as he was at the Boat Race, watching his brother C.E., who was stroking the Oxford boat. Cambridge won!
v Bristol, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- G Woodward, W J Gibbs, R Banks, H Slade, E Chard, F Rhymes, W Russell, H B L Wake, R S Chaddock, H Juckes, E Dunscombe, A Milsom, W D Banyard, J Dobson and N Matthews..
Just when Bath anticipated a large crowd, there was a sudden downpour and hundreds stayed away. The gate of about £100, was very disappointing. Those who braved the storm were rewarded with an entertaining encounter. Bath had the edge in the first half, with impressive performances from Milsom and Chaddock and smart following-up by W Russell, from the Combe Down Club. The Bath forwards adapted to the conditions, but the experience of Bristol’s Corbett and Chantrill kept them at bay. Of the Bath forwards, Norman Matthews from Avonvale was probably the best on view. Ralph Banks scored a penalty drop goal following an off-side ruling. Both sets of forwards played a hard and fast game.
v United Services, Home. Lost 3-11. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, W (Bill) Russell (Combe Down), E Chard, F Rhymes, G Nudds, H B L Wake, R S Chaddock, E Dunscombe, W D Banyard, A Milsom, A N Goold, J Dobson and N Matthews.
Hereward Wake kicked off for Bath, but they were soon on the defensive. Slade, Nudds and Gibbs worked to get the ball away, but they were pinned down with accurate touch finding. Then Russell served Nudds, who drew his man in admirable style to send in Chard for a capital try. However, Bath were overhauled before the half was out, when a Haver’s try was converted.
ALARM OF FIRE
“Some excitement was caused by an alarm of fire in the stand, but the sensation was soon quelled. Nothing really alarming had happened.”
At the finish United Services had run in three tries and converted one, Bath’s managed the one first half score.
v Old Merchant Taylors, Home. Lost 5-17. Team:- G Woodward, W J Gibbs, H Slade, G Nudds. E Chard, F Rhymes, A V Twose (Wellington), H B L Wake, R S Chaddock, W D Banyard, A Milsom, A N Goold, J Dobson, E Dunscombe and N Matthews.
The Bath City Military Band entertained a good crowd in ideal weather and a good game was anticipated.
Despite good work by Goold and Twose, Bath were two tries down by half time. “The heat was beginning to tell on the forwards, but the game continued fast and open. Bath were hard pressed again when the backs missed their chances.”
“There was little doubt that Bath’s form had been quite as disappointing as it had been on Saturday, and the backs had been chiefly at fault. Their handling and tackling had for the most part been very weak.”
BATH SUDDENLY WAKE UP
George Woodward led to a capital try by Twose. Woodward charged a drop kick down, picked up and gave to Twose, who ran from behind halfway to score between the posts. The Wellington man converted his own try. Sadly, Bath then dropped behind as the visitors ran in three more tries.
Bath were to lose all the Easter matches! “The gates were perhaps not quite as large as they have been some seasons, but it is surprising that so many supporters still turn up match after match to watch a losing side. Few, however, will be sorry when the season is over. It has been a difficult one to get through in more senses than one.”
v Leicester, Home. Lost 6-13. Team:- A V Twose, W G Gibbs, A F Lace (Combe Down), G Woodward, E Chard, S Watts, F Rhymes, G Nudds, H Juckes, A N Goold, E Dunscombe, A Milsom, W D Banyard, J Dobson and L W Bisgrove (now with Weston-super-Mare).
Twose kicked a penalty goal within three minutes of the start. Bath continued in lively style, leading to a forward rush, allowing Goold to hack-on and score. However, Leicester’s heavier scrum managed to pin the Bath forwards down, and despite hard tackling from Nudds, Chard, Woodward and Lace, the Tigers ran in three tries (two converted) before the interval. Bath had the better of the second half in defensive terms, with Goold and Milsom prominent. Despite another lost game -it was a much improved and spirited performance.
v Rugby, Home. Won 12-8. Team:- G Woodward, W J Gibbs, E Chard, A F Lace, R Banks, F Rhymes, G Nudds, H B L Wake, A N Goold, E Dunscombe, L W Bisgrove, J Dobson, N Matthews, A V Matthews and A Milsom. This was Rugby’s first game at Bath. I J Pitman had been selected, but was committed to running for Eton. He was replaced by Ralph Banks, with A V Matthews replacing Banyard. “A good run by Lace led to the first score. He sent out to the left to Banks who cross-kicked in front of the posts. Izzard missed rather badly, and Bisgrove had only to pick up to fall over and score. Nudds missed the easiest of kicks.”
Three Bath tries followed.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 6-16. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R Banks, A F Lace, E Chard, F Rhymes, G Nudds, H B L Wake, A N Goold, R S Chaddock, A Milsom, E Dunscombe, W D Banyard, N Matthews and G Woodward.
“Bath were holding their own when Corbett tried the dummy business, he was well smothered. The ball went out to Lace and Chard, and the latter kicked over the line and followed up. Chantrill should have touched down, but missed it and Chard, who had come up at great pace, got a try, Banks just missing the goal.” Bath led 3-0 at half time. They got another good try in the second half, when Woodward scored from another Banks cross-kick. However, Bristol had rallied, and their final tally was four tries (2 converted), to Bath’s two. Gibbs suffered from a thigh strain for much of the game, and in the circumstances, Bath were well pleased with their display.
Despite bad ankles, Slade had another outstanding game: “I do not remember Harry Slade making a single mistake in the game last week. He fielded, ran, kicked, stopped rushes, and tackled almost perfectly, and there is no wonder a Bristol writer said that in Slade Bath have a full back whom any side would appreciate.”
“One Bath forward, who had better be nameless, was so pleased with the game, that he decided to make a real holiday of the week-end, and his absence from home naturally caused his people some alarm.”
A SPECTATOR’S OPINIONS
Bath’s plucky fight.
Forming one of the party who visited the Memorial Ground on Saturday, I was asked by them to give a little version of the football played between Bath and Bristol. I may say how proud I felt at the display given by Bath, especially in the first half. The score of 16 points to 6 very much flatters Bristol. I think the score should have read –Bristol, 11pts., Bath 9 pts. -as Chard scored quite a brilliant try, which the referee did not allow. I don’t wish to decry the referee at all, but the try scored by Quick should not have been allowed. Anyway it is over; but I would like to offer my praise to the Bath players on the great game they played. Mind you, Bristol played well, but there was only one team in it in the first half, and it does not fall to the credit of Bristol. Chantrill gave a great display, but so did Harry Slade, and of the two I preferred Slade’s on the day, as he had not so much room to move in as his vis-à-vis. He was loudly applauded.”
v Newport, Away. Lost 9-20. Team:- H Slade, W J Gibbs, R banks, I J Pitman, E Chard, F Rhymes, G Nudds, A N Goold, E Dunscombe, A Milsom, G Woodward, N Matthews, W D Banyard, A F Lace and R L Pocock.
The Bath team arrived at 1.35, followed at 2.45 by a 400-500 Supporters’ Excursion, to be entertained by the Newport Supporters’ club headed by the Mayor. The weather was sunny, with the Rodney Road pitch bare in some patches. Lace opened Bath’s scoring with a beautiful drop kick from a mark. Chard scored the try. However, the homesters’ backs were too clever for Bath and they crossed three times, converting one and added a penalty goal for good measure.