1927 to 1928

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale




v Weston-s-Mare, Away. Draw 0 – 0. Team: D James, J B Hannah, W Hancock, K Holmes, L N Basden (Capt.), A Tomlinson, J Snelling, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, P R Skinner, A Milsom, W Usher, H Burgess. (Team on 4.45 G.W.R. for 6p.m. kick-off) Supporters able to travel for the price of a single fare. “Weston supporters must have been very pleased with the home men’s display in the first half. Certainly their backs had shown more open play than had Bath’s. Hannah did not get a single pass in the first half. Basden was the most thrustful of the Bath threequarters. Hancock showed himself the fastest player on the field.”

A draw was a fair result. “It was a good opening match; it did many good old Rugby enthusiasts more good than any physic. They were all glad that again a start has been made.”



v Leicester, Away. Lost 0-33 ( 6 goals and a try). Team:- D James, L M Basden, I J Pitman (Capt.), J B Hannah, A Tomlinson, C A F Fortune, J Snelling, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, A Milsom, P R Skinner, H Burgess and K T F Holmes.

The Chronicle Headlines:-

Tigers Terrific Triumph



“….beaten by Leicester’s heavy pack and fast outsides—but Bath have no need for pessimism!”

“One hardly expected Bath to be beaten forward, but they were, and badly.”

“Bath were also beaten at half-one might say they were beaten everywhere except at fullback.”

James brought off some remarkable tackles. Once again, Hannah had scarcely a pass: “and at each round of Leicester passing the Bath wing men were usually left with two, and sometimes three, men to stop.”



v Plymouth Albion, Home Won 18 – 0. Team:- D James, C E Gough, L M Basden (Capt.), W Hancock, J B Hannah, A Tomlinson, J St. V Powell, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, H Burgess, R I Collett, A Milsom, P R Skinner, S Weeks. Plymouth looked jaded from a Wednesday match against the New South Wales Waratahs and were outplayed: “Perhaps it is as well for them that they were not playing at Beacon Park. One wonders what their supporters would have thought of them.”

First score came after ten minutes play: “The forwards had heeled, Powell sent out well and Basden threw over Hancock’s head to Gough who took the ball well and then threw outside to Hancock who made for the line. He jumped Dyer and just fell over the line to score Bath’s first try of the season. Burgess kicked a splendid goal.” Hancock and Burgess repeated their scoring just on half-time. Then a try by Basden, was converted by Burgess in the second spell, and finally Hannah dashed over following some more exciting and athletic runs by Hancock.

This was Charlie Gough’s debut first class game and he looked promising. “It is a pity that Hancock cannot get away for out of town matches.” J St.V Powell looked good at outside half. (ex Taunton, and a Somerset player)

Local Products

“I see a Bristol contemporary claims young Gough as a Bristolian. This is not correct. He was born in Bath, attended Oldfield Council Infant School and Boys School, and then went to Colston School, Bristol. In summer he is a very well known figure on the North Parade Ground and has been a member of Bath C.C. for several seasons. He is a very promising medium fast bowler.

As a matter of fact all four of Bath’s threequarters against Plymouth were products of local Rugby. Hannah had several seasons with Bath ‘A’ after leaving Kingswood School and before taking up an appointment at Taunton. Hancock, of course, is Bath born and bred. At School he played soccer for Weymouth House and once played in a schoolboys’ International Trial, South v North at Reading. Starting with the Extras – I’ll go as far as to say Cashnella found him – he soon jumped into the first – he showed us how he can jump last week. Then Leslie Baden is surely from the Bath junior sides. I believe he has played for Bathwick, Bathampton and the Bath Harlequins.”




v United Services. Away. Lost 3-8. Team :- L M Basden, W J Gibbs, I J Pitman, W Hancock, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, J St. V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, R I Collett, N S Goold, S Weeks, W B Banyard, A Milsom and W Stapley. Gibbs got Bath’s solitary try. Game described as: ”a rare good one.” It was generally felt that Bath should have won. Unfortunately: “Tomlinson’s passing was anywhere and anyhow.” The Bath forwards needed practice in heeling from the loose.


A Trip by Road.

“The trip to Portsmouth by the Bath Club will not be quickly forgotten. It was a beautiful day, not a spot of rain falling. The experiment of going by road will almost certainly be repeated. It was a delightful run down and did not take as long as by rail.”

“I J Pitman returned to captain the side, also W J Gibbs, which was excellent news. Bath travelled by

CHARABANC leaving Grand Parade at 9am to return at 7pm. The journey was approx. 4 hours each way! Unfortunately Hannah and Hancock could not play as unable to get away from business.”

Mr. Piper’s Alarm.

“Mr. J.T.Piper was at the station to meet the team in, and wondered whatever had happened when they did not arrive.”

And afterwards..

“The game was over at 4.50. Tea was taken in the Pavilion and before 6 o’clock the party was aboard a car for the South Parade Pier, Southsea, with Joe Nudds and J T Piper as official guides. A walk along the front to the Clarence, and a car ride back to Pompey, and then it was time, 7p.m., to start for home.

Portsmouth was left at 7.15 and supper- badly needed – was partaken at Salisbury – the only stopping place. The party was in Bath in time for Tomlinson to catch the mail for Bristol.”


In the early stages, Bath were getting much of the play. “Gibbs once dashed for the corner, and was pushed into touch a yard from the line. He has lost none of his dash; he got a splendid try, putting the finishing touch to a fine burst through by Pitman, and when it is remembered that it is his first game since last season he played excellently. His knee stood it all right, and I am pleased to say he will play whenever selected, and I cannot see how he can be left out.”

“C E Gough came out of it with credit again. His smart punts in the first half were extremely useful.”

Generally the forwards were at fault: There is no getting away from the fact that Bath’s forwards must begin to realise that this season there are some clever backs behind them.”



v Bridgwater: Home. Won 13-5. Team:- D James, J B Hannah, L M Basden, W Hancock, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, A Milsom, W L Stapley, S Weeks, A N Goold, and H Burgess.

Although the rain had cleared for this Thursday evening game, the indifferent weather kept the crowds away.

“The game opened tamely, the first incident being a good run by Hannah and Basden. Bath were throwing the ball about, but seemingly without looking where it was going and there were several bad misses, which Bridgwater took full advantage of to press hotly.” Bath tries by Milsom (2), and Hannah. Burgess converted two.

Hancock had some champion runs, but despite being his 18th birthday – he was not gifted with a try!



v Old Alleynians, Home Won 21 – 5: Team: D James, W J Gibbs, L M Basden, I J Pitman, W Hancock, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, H Burgess, A N Goold, R I Collett, A Milsom, P R Skinner, S Weeks.


Although played in fine weather, the River Avon was still in full flood from recent storms; for a time it was feared that the fixture would be threatened. The flood water was visibly rising along the far corner of the ground. It was all the more important that the game was started with minimum delay. The Londoners had arrived at Bath Spa station at 3pm, having changed in the train, and a fleet of taxis got them to the Rec. by 3.10. Once under way, the ball was soon wet and difficult to hold.

It was the first fixture v O.A.’s, who soon showed they were: “typical of Old Boys teams who play delightful open rugby a joy to watch.” Bath showed some reluctance to tackle and there were many bad passes and handling mistakes.

Bath try scorers:- Gibbs, Powell, Pitman, Gibbs and Hancock. Burgess kicked two early penalty gaols.



v Devonport Services, Away Lost 8 – 10: T Coles, J B Hannah, L M Baden, I J Pitman, L A M Parsons, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, R I Collett, H Burgess, S Weeks, A Milsom, P R Skinner, W H Stapley, F Miles and I S Spence.

Played in wet and windy conditions, Bath did well to hold the Services to a two points difference. The Bath forwards were hard pressed to contain the heavier home forwards, and showed understandable reluctance to go down on the ball. Two foot rushes in as many minutes, brought two tries for Devonport. Bath countered when Powell punted ahead, but Hannah was not able to ground the ball. The greasy conditions made handling difficult and play was riddled with mistakes on both sides. Bath had the better of the play for much of the second half, but Powell resorted to unproductive touch finding. Hannah was the best of the Bath threes, running three parts of the field for a good try, which Burgess converted. W H Stapley, from the ‘A’s was equally successful in scoring a second try, but Burgess missed his conversion kick from in front of the posts. The ball rolled over just as he kicked!

Pitman looked a certain scorer in the last minute, but opted a pass to L A M Parsons. L A M P dropped it!


v Edgware, Home Won 6 – 5: D James, J B Hannah, L M Basden, I J Pitman, W Hancock, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, A N Goold, H Burgess, A Milsom, S Weeks. The Londoners brought five county players and three Welsh Trialists. The game was a fine spectacle, with the result in doubt to the end. Bath scored two unconverted tries to Edgware’s goal. Burgess was again awry with his kicking. “The outstanding feature of the whole game was Bath’s second try by J B Hannah. I shall write this down as one of the best movements the Bath backs have brought off for many seasons. It was started from beyond half-way by Hancock, and between them the backs covered half the length of the field running and passing for Hannah to make the final dash for the corner and just get there. Hannah is a scoring wing and no doubt about it. It seems to me that Hancock is wasted on the wing, where he has little to do.”



v Plymouth Albion, Away Drawn 6 – 6. Team :- D James, J B Hannah, I J Pitman, J Dingley, L M Basden, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, H Burgess, P R Skinner, R S Chaddock, S Weeks, A Milsom. Bath were unlucky to draw! Their backs had the better of the game.

Both Plymouth’s tries came as a result of rushes- Bath’s from bouts of passing and clever three-quarter play. Pitman was in fine form and just missed a score. “L St. V Powell, too, was especially good. He took a deal of stopping, did a lot of it himself, and his kicking to touch, especially in the second half, was decidedly useful. In Hannah and Basden Bath have two capital wings. The latter got both tries, the former should have had at least one.”

Collett splendidly led an effective pack of forwards.



v Old Paulines, Home Won 6 – 5: Coles, J B Hannah, D James. J Dingley, C Gough, A Tomlinson, Hancock, R I Collett, H Burgess, S Weeks, A Milsom, W H Stapley, P R Skinner, W H Sheppard, and W Usher. “On Saturday it was impossible to play an open game, the weather spoiling both the play and the gate.” “A feature of the game were the splendid rushes of the visiting forwards, who several times covered half the length of the field in one sweep.”

It was estimated that the referee awarded 19 free kicks. Replacement, Gough did well. His try was the result of good following up and clean ball control.



v London Welsh, Home Won 9 – 6 Team:- D James, J B Hannah, W Hancock, I J Pitman, Gough, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, H Burgess, W H Sheppard, P R Skinner, A Milsom and S Weeks. (2 Tries and a Penalty) “The man of the Bath outsides was undoubtedly Powell, who, with his namesake, W.C., the Welsh International were the two best backs on the field.” I J Pitman sent out some wild passes and he and Hancock did not combine at all well. W H Sheppard was prominent in the forwards, putting his weight to good effect.



v Glamorgan Wanderers, Home Won 3 – 0: D James, J B Hannah, W Hancock, I J Pitman, L M Basden, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Stapley, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, R I Collett, P R Skinner, H Burgess, A Milsom. “Although Saturday’s game was played under the most deplorable conditions, it was a good one to watch, for interest was maintained to the end.” Strong defence work protected the try lines. The Wanderer’s line was pierced but once: “Hannah’s try was one of his very best, obtained after a great dash following a nice bit of passing work with Tomlinson.” ”Sheppard was again as good as any with Collett running him close. W H Stapley was an efficient deputy for Dunscombe. He seems to enjoy a rough and tumble in the mud.”



v Cardiff, Home Won 9 – 5. Team:- D James, I J Pitman, L M Basden, W Hancock, J B Hannah, L St. V Powell, A Tomlinson, R I Collett, H Burgess, A Milsom, W H Stapley, S Weeks, P R Skinner, W Usher, M E L Robey. It was Bath’s eighth win of the season and brought their points tally up to 100. There was a splendid crowd in fine weather, who were well pleased with what they saw. “Bath deserve no end of praise for the manner in which at this time of the game they battled with the Cardiff attacks. There was some splendid tackling right through the game, but it was especially noticeable in the last 10 minutes.” Pitman had a better game, operating from the wing position, and his speed got him a good try.



v Devonport Services, Home Won 3 – 0: L M Basden, I J Pitman, J Dingley, W Hancock, J B Hannah, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, W H Stapley, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, A Milsom, W H Sheppard, H Burgess, P R Skinner. Referee:- Mr. A E Freethy (Neath) L St V Powell was again in excellent form, and Hannah got his customary try. “The man of the match* was W H Sheppard, who did wonders on the heavy ground.” (* Possibly, first recorded mention of “Man of the Match”)



v Bristol, Away Lost 3 – 6: L M Basden, I J Pitman, J Dingley, W Hancock, J B Hannah, L St. V Powell, A Tomlinson, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, R I Collett, H Burgess, W H Sheppard, A Milsom, P R Skinner, N Matthews. ”A great Bath performance-wonderful forwards. Bristol people were the first to offer congratulations to Bath.” This match was broadcast live. An innovation. Bath lost by 1 penalty goal and a try to one try.

“Lillicrap is a very dangerous wing, and several times beat I J Pitman, who certainly was not in the best of form. Hancock, Powell and Dingley did most of the stopping, the first named being brilliant in this direction.”

“The game was one of the best ever seen between the two sides, and it was played before the biggest crowd.” “The Bath forwards were simply wonderful.”



v Oxford Greyhounds, Home. Won 18 – 6 Team:- D James, I J Pitman, L M Basden, I S M Spence, W Gibbs, L St. V Powell, A Tomlinson, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, R I Collett, W H Sheppard, H Burgess, P R Skinner, A Milsom. “It was a real exhibition of how Rugby should be played.” Burgess hit goal kicking form, landing 3 conversions and a penalty. Gibbs scored an outstanding try late in the game. (Bath’s two other try scorers are not recorded.)



v Richmond, Home Won 15 – 8: L M Basden, J B Hannah, W Hancock, J Dingley, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, H Burgess, P R Skinner, A Milsom, W H Stapley, S Weeks, W H Sheppard. Bath won by a drop goal, goal and 2 tries to 1 goal and 1 try. It was an emphatic and unexpected victory. “The splendid play of the forwards, and some sure tackling by the backs were the chief features in the victory, while there was some fine running by the backs, Hannah and Powell being especially prominent in this direction.” J Dingley got a good try and Bill Hancock kicked Bath’s first drop goal of the season and excelled at tackling.



re Edgware, Away. Telegram read: “Worse than ever, snowing as well; play absolutely impossible.”



v Torquay, Away Lost 6 – 8. “Bath did not enjoy the best of luck against Torquay, for not only were they beaten by the kick, but lost Weeks, one of their best forwards so badly injured that he had to be removed from the ground by ambulance”.



v Gloucester, Away. Lost 5-8. Team:- L M Basden, J B Hannah, W Hancock, I J Pitman, W J Gibbs, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, H Burgess, S Weeks, W Usher, R Pocock, J Tanner and W E Shortman. Bath took 300 supporters by excursion train. Gloucester were strong at forward, but play was even in the early stages. Hannah got clear away for Bath’s try, after Pitman snapped up from Gloucester mis-handling. Weeks goaled.

In the second half, Gloucester dominated in the pack and their first try followed when Basden could not field an awkwardly bouncing ball. Boughton added extras. Gloucester’s forwards continued to dictate terms and Hemming dribbled over for their match winning try



Boxing Day v Old Blues, and Saturday 31/12/1927 v Mountain Ash – Cancelled due to bad weather.

During Christmas 1927/28 season – the West Country suffered the heaviest snowfall for 35 years.



v Torquay, Home Won 16 – 3: L M Basden, J B Hannah, W Hancock, I J Pitman, E J Gibbs, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, A N Goold, H Burgess, A Milsom, E Dunscombe, S Weeks, P R Skinner. “The home threequarter line was the most effective in attack we have seen this season, and much of their brilliance was due to the fact that both centres, Pitman and Hancock, every time they got the ball, made a determined effort to go straight through. ………The fact that all four of the Bath threequarters scored and all the tries were via the halfbacks, shows how well he (Powell) and Tomlinson got rid of the ball.” Tries;- Hannah, Hancock, Pitman and Gibbs. Conversions:- Weeks (2)



v Cardiff, Away Lost 5 – 9: L M Basden, C E Gough, J Dingley, W Hancock, I S M Spence, C A F Fortune, L St V Powell, A Milsom, S Weeks, PR Skinner, W H Stapley, W Usher, L Seal, P Curtis and F H Wood. County commitments and injuries left Bath with a poor side to take on a talented Cardiff outfit. However, Bath’s young forwards played surprisingly well and kept their heavier opponents at bay for much of the first half. The game deteriorated when beset with heavy rain. Bath were one try to nil down at half time. “Within a minute of the interval Spencer got in with a great run down the touch line, and when close by Male gave inside to Stapley who just managed to score, and Weeks goaled, giving Bath the lead with a splendid goal. But just after Frank Williams marked and then dropped a goal, a good one, so Cardiff were a point ahead. Male got a penalty for a Bath offside. Cardiff won – but by just four points. It is doubtful whether Bath’s regular side could have done any better. Basden was outstanding at full back.



v Llanelly, Home Lost 0 – 5. Team:- L M Basden, J B Hannah, W Hancock, J Dingley, I J M Spence, C A F Fortune, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, N A Goold, A Milsom, E Dunscombe.

The headlines indicated – TOUGH GAME FULL OF INCIDENT. Unfortunately Bath lost Goold at the interval and it became difficult to contain Llanelly’s brilliant backs. Bath were caught napping when Jenkins intercepted to send in Parkin, for Faul to convert.

“The Welsh threes were a spirited quartet, who went away with almost machine-like precision, but the Bath threes, notably Spence on the left wing, and Dingley his centre, were quite as good. Whenever the ball came his way Spence, with remarkable turns of speed, quickly gained ground on the sodden pitch and often turned attack into counter-attack.”

“The game was, perhaps, not so good as some former ones against the Scarlets, but there was much that was thrilling, and incidents abounded.”



v Blackheath, Away Lost 0 – 8. Team:- D James, J B Hannah, I J Pitman, W Hannah, I F M Spence, A J Tomlinson, L M Basden, W H Sheppard, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, H Burgess, S Weeks, W H Stapley, L Seal and J Tanner. Blackheath included four Internationals

J B Hannah, Tomlinson, Sheppard and Dunscombe all declared ‘crocked’ after this match. The Bath threequarters had an off day. I J Pitman got in some good footwork until eventually: “the mud beat him.” Tanner was off the field for fifteen minutes.

That evening the Bath party of 25 went to the ‘New Theatre’ to see “The Wrecker” – Arnold Ridley had reserved the front row of the upper circle. (The Best Seats in the House!) After the show the party went backstage and Cashnella amused all and sundry by manipulating the signal leavers which feature in the play.



v Old Dunstonians, Home. Won 14-8. Team:- D James, C E Gough, W Hancock, I J Pitman, F J M Spence, L Wills, L M Basden, H B L Wake, N Matthews, S Weeks, A Milsom, J Tanner, W H Stapley, M E L Robey and P R Skinner. These were the Old Boys of St. Dunstan’s College, Catford on their first visit to Bath. Tries from Matthews, Spence, Robey and Hancock. Weeks converted the final try. As expected, the Old Boys played open rugby, but they could not match the in-form Bath threequarter line. Pitman delighted the crowd with his handling and running, whilst Gough and Spence: “did everything that came to them in good fashion.” Hancock showed his great speed. Young Wills created a very good impression.



v Moseley, Home won 17 – 3: D James, I F M Spence, I J Pitman, W Hancock, C E Gough, L Wills, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, PR Skinner, S Weeks, A Milsom, W H Stapley.

Bath tries:- Hancock, Wills, Gough, Milsom, and Spence. Weeks converted the first try.


“The clements were in a gracious mood, and at last there was a dry turf and a beautiful spring afternoon, with warm sunshine, tempered, however, with a high wind, which was likely to prove an embarrassment to the players.”

“Of the two packs, Bath were the superior, both in regard to their work in the scrummage and in the loose.

All their movements were done with finish and polish that we now expect when Sheppard, Wake, Matthews, Skinner, and all the others are together.”

L St. V Powell had returned after injury sustained at the Llanelly match, and played; “with his old time vigour and finesse.” He combined well with newcomer Wills, who displayed all the tricks of a resourceful veteran.

“W Hancock was another to open up the game with ingenuity, and very cleverly to begin with did he and the other centre I J Pitman, handle the ball, and straight and determinedly did they run.”



v Mr. Freethy’s XV, Home Drawn 3 –3: D James, C E Gough, L M Basden, W Hancock, I J M Spence, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, S Weeks, W H Stapley, A Milsom, P R Skinner.

Billed as a ‘match of wasted chances,’ a tame game produced a draw at one try each. The Freethy XV was much changed; the Neath contingent had all withdrawn and they started one short. In the early stages the Bath backs kicked away much of their possession and missed scoring chances. A fine run down the wing brought a try for the visitors’ D Evans, and the Welshmen continued to play well into the second half. However, Bath managed to equalise. The home forwards heeled smartly, Tomlinson served Powell, on to Basden – who dodged the defence to score a good try.

There was a general disappointment at the absence of Internationals from the visitors’ side. It later transpired that Mr. Freethy had approached Neath players without permission, and the matter was to be reported to the Welsh Union.



v Moseley, Away Won 8 – 3: L M Basden, C E Gough, I J Pitman, W Hancock, I F M Spence, A Tomlinson, L St. V Powell, E Dunscombe, N Matthews, W H Stapley, S Weeks, P R Skinner, J Tanner, L Seal, and W Usher. 400 supporters travelled by special train.

Bath tries by Powell and Pitman, with Weeks converting the second. Powell, Spence and Pitman again did well.



v Llanelly, Away Lost 8 – 37: L M Basden, I F M Spence, I J Pitman, W Hancock, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, S Weeks, P R Skinner, W H Stapley, L Seal, J Tanner.

“Despite their heavy defeat, Bath had a good reception from a crowd of 8000 who voted it the best game of the season.” It was one of the finest sides Bath had encountered for 20 years or more, containing seven Welsh internationals, including the great Albert Jenkins capped 14 times from 1920. “Except for the fact that they could not heel the Bath forwards did not do badly, Sheppard, Matthews, and Dunscombe battled strenuously against their big opponents and I should say Stapley played the game of his career.”

Bath’s consolation try came from Stapley, Weeks converted, and also kicked a penalty from near half way.



v St. Thomas, Home Won 15 – 0: D James, I F M Spence, W Hancock, L M Basden, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, E Dunscombe, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, W H Stapley, W Usher.

Tries:- Hancock (2), Basden. Conversion Weeks. Tomlinson – drop goal.

”Try after try was lost by Bath through palpable mistakes when in an advantageous position.”

“There was some applause at the interval, but this was mainly to warm cold hands, and it can certainly be said that the first half was an uneventful one.”



v Old Edwardians, Away Won 13 – 0: L M Basden, I F M Spence, R Banks, W Hancock, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, A N Goold, S Weeks, P R Skinner, W H Stapley

Bad news for Bath selectors, when F M Spence broke an arm cranking up a friends car!

J B Hannah returned from injury sustained at Blackheath in January. Hancock scored after 15 minutes play after a smart run by Matthews. Weeks added two more points. After more impressive work by Matthews, Hancock was over for his second try, and again Weeks did the honours. At this stage, Bath were showing by far the better football and Hannah was over after a lot of running. Bath had a better all round performance, snapping up any chances that came their way.



v Bristol, Home Lost 0 –32: D James, C E Gough, W Hancock, J Dingley, R Banks, A Tomlinson, L St V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, E Dunscombe, S Weeks, P R Skinner, W H Stapley, J Tanner and G Piles (Avonvale). Attendance 7000. (2000 estimated from Bristol)

“The Club Treasurer was particularly delighted with the appearance of the new stand. There was not a vacant seat of the 1200 there.”

Len Corbett led his side on to the field as the band played ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ His side continued ‘on song’ throughout this one sided encounter, scoring 4g. 1p. 3t. with no Bath reply. Both sides were badly hit with injuries. Bath were without Pitman, Basden, Spence, Hannah, Sheppard, Goold, Collett, Milsom and Burgess. Bath were overwhelmed with a succession of Bristol tries.

D James in particular, and Gough, Hancock, Matthews and Wake, distinguished themselves in defensive play.




The truth of the saying ‘ a fellow feeling makes a wondrous kind,’ received exemplification this morning in Bath City Police Court this morning, when the Bench had before them a Bath man who ascribed his offence to disappointment with the result of the Bath v Bristol match on Saturday, when Bath were beaten by 32 points to nil.

The man in the dock was, a milkman and newspaper seller charged for being drunk and disorderly in Walcot Street on Saturday evening.

The constable admitted, in reply to a question, that the prisoner went very quietly to the Police Station, and caused no trouble.

When asked what he had to say, he remarked: ‘I went to the Bath and Bristol Rugby match, and they put 32 points on them, and I was very sad about it (laughter). Then I went back on my round, and did my customers, as many as I could. I had a few newspapers left, and I went and had just a couple of glasses of beer, and was making for home’ (laughter)

The Chairman (Sir Harry Hatt): “We sympathise with you to some extent. It was a very disappointing match (laughter). I know something about you and you know a very little has a bad effect on you, and you ought to try and give it up all together for your own advantage. You have not been in trouble for some little time, and under the circumstances you will be fined 2s 6d.”

The charged: “Thank you, sir.”

On the Bench there were Sir Harry Hatt, Major J M T Reilly, Mr. P Browning and C Cowley.



v Newport, Away Lost 0 –15 (A Penalty and 4 tries) Team:- A Dolman (Bathampton), C E Gough, W Hancock, J Dingley, W Usher, J Wills, R Banks, N Matthews, E Dunscombe (Captain), W Stapley, S Weeks, J Williams, J Tanner, S Ray and G W Mabboth.

Played in heavy rain on a poor pitch, the Newport backs conquered the conditions. However, stout Bath tackling kept them at bay for the first half. Dolman was a decided success at full back, making no mistakes – he was the equal of Newport’s Everson. Scrum half Wills combined well with Banks. Overall, it was a good Bath effort against an ‘in form’ side.



v London Welsh, Away, Won 11-6 : D James, C E Gough, W Hancock, A E Anderson, J B Hannah, J Wills, R Banks, E Dunscombe (Capt.), W H Stapley, S Weeks, P R Skinner, J Tanner, W Banyard, H Slade and Ray.

A surprising result considering previous losses to Bristol and Newport. “The ground could scarcely have been worse. It was absolutely waterlogged with large pools everywhere, and when Bath arrived at about 2.30 things were not looking at all encouraging. It was pelting with rain, there was not a soul on the ground, and a wait of nearly an hour.

Bath scored after 15 minutes play. The forwards had heeled, young Wills fed Banks, who punted high and followed up with the forwards in attendance. Ungoed the full-back could not clear, the ball was kicked over the line and Hancock’s great speed got him first there for the touch.”

Tries:- Hancock, Stapley and Ray. Weeks converted Hancock’s try.



v United Services, Home. Won 15-8. Team:- D James, J B Hannah, I J Pitman, W Hancock, L M Basden, L Wills, R Banks, H B L Wake, N Matthews, W H Sheppard, E Dunscombe, S Weeks, P R Skinner, J Tanner, and Ray. Tries by Hancock (2) and Ray. The chief feature of this splendidly open game, was that Bath scored three tries, with the three opportunities presented to them. Weeks goal kicking was superb. There was some stout defensive work. Hancock’s tries brought him level with Hannah at 13 each.



v Old Merchant Taylors, Home. Lost 6-13. Team from:- James, Hannah, Pitman, Hancock, Mackay, Basden, Gough, Wills, Banks, Wake, Sheppard, Matthews, Dunscombe, Skinner, Stapley, Weeks, H W Considine, Kay, Usher, Tanner and Seal. (Final team not published) The O.M.T.’s proved to be too strong for Bath, as the home side threw away chances. Hancock was by far the fastest and most dangerous player, but he and his fellow backs saw few chances.

Tries by Hannah and Matthews.


v Leicester, Home, Won 11-3. Team:- A Dolman, C E Gough, W Hancock, I J Pitman, L M Basden, L Wills, R Banks, N Matthews, W H Stapley, P R Skinner, F Ray, L Seal, S Weeks, J Tanner, and A N Goold. Attendance 4000. Tries:- Goold (2) , and Stapley. Weeks converted one.

Bath’s A.N. Goold was the best forward on the field and contributed to a notable win. The half- back combination of Wills and Banks worked well. A Dolman showed great promise in a mistake- free debut at full back



“With James unable to play, it was well that there was such a capable substitute available as Dolman, of Bathampton, who played a really excellent game. Bathampton should be proud of such a full-back, and I know are proud that one of their players helped to beat Leicester.”


“It was last season, I think, that Dolman played in the same XV as his father who had been playing for more years than perhaps he would like to say. As many as 25 I know. Dick Dolman was playing for Bathampton and District or Avonvale before that.”


11/4/1928 Chronicle gave detail of Seven-a-side Tournament arranged by the Bath Club, competing for the Arnold Ridley Cup. It proved to be brilliantly successful and a crowd of over 2000 watched the Tuesday Finals.



v University of Wales, Home Won 17 – 5: D James, J B Hannah, W Hancock, I J Pitman, C E Gough, L Wills, R Banks, H B L Wake, N Matthews, A N Goold, W H Stapley, S Weeks, J Tanner, P R Skinner and F Ray. A strong wind and intense cold spoiled enjoyment of this game. Bath were vastly superior to the student’s side, and ran in 5 tries.

Bath’s L M Basden not selected for this game, as he was captain of a South Wales G.W.R. team which was playing Paddington G.W.R. at Penarth.


SEVEN-A-SIDE – 17/4/1928 Bath v Bristol, Away, Won 9 – 8.

Bath : W Hancock, J B Hannah, A N Goold, L Wills, N Matthews, P R Skinner, W H Stapley.

Bristol: W G Budd, H Sherman, E L Stinchcombe, H Aplin, LS Raiment, W H Hale, C J Robinson.

Bath tries from Hannah, Goold and Hancock.



v Bridgwater, Away. Lost 6-18. Team:- D James, L M Scott, W Hancock, J Dingley, W Farnham, R Banks, F Dowding, H B L Wake, A N Goold, N Matthews, P R Skinner, W H Stapley, J Tanner, W Usher and S Weeks. After two hours on a charabanc, Bath gave a generally lifeless display. However, there was a brief revival when Stapley scored, after a break by Dowding and Banks. Weeks slotted a penalty near the end. Bridgwater deservedly won with 3 goals and a penalty.



v Gloucester, Home Won 10 –8: D James, L M Basden, W Hancock, I J Pitman, C E Gough, L Wills, R Banks, H B L Wake, N Matthews, W H Stapley, P R Skinner, S Weeks, J Tanner, W H Sheppard, and W Usher. Pitman and Hancock got the tries and Weeks added the extras.

Bath made frequent mistakes, allowing the Gloucester full-back Boughton to run back at Bath, gifting him prominent contributions to play.

A gruelling game forward, but Bath took their opportunities in a closely fought game.

A fitting and long awaited win over local rivals, provided a happy end to a hard season



This page was added on 14/05/2014.

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