1928 to 1929

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1928-1929

 

1/9/1928

v Leicester, Away, Lost 5 – 17.Team:- B. Dolman, F Rhymes, H R D Robey, C E Gough, W Hancock, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, W H Stapley, A Milsom, P R Skinner, J Tanner, S Weeks, L Seal.

Attendance 5000 in fine conditions. Bath had made several changes due to the holiday season absences.

They were outweighed in the pack and unable to heel effectively. In consequence, their backs had no chances in attack, and confined their efforts to stoic defence, against: “a clever and fast lot.” Hancock and Gough were particularly efficient in this respect. On one occasion, Gough and Hancock brought off a fine run, but Gough was brought down five yards from the Leicester line. Later, Hancock failed to lift the ball, in a drop goal attempt. Bath were still trailing 0-3 at half time, from Hewitt’s thirteenth minute try. After the restart Tiger tries flowed from Wood, Hewitt, Prentice (goaled), finally Hewitt again. Although invaluable in defence, Bill Hancock remained starved of good ball, and for attacking purposes, was wasted in the wing position. He was moved to the centre in the final quarter – and a try resulted.

 

W.HANCOCK

W. Hancock, the brilliant three-quarter, is another Bath born player who gained his first experience of Rugger through the Bath Schools’ Rugby Union. A member of Weymouth House School XV., he captained the Bath Boys in 1923-24, and during the same season gained the great honour of playing in the English International trial at Reading. On leaving school he was given a trial with Bath Extras and quickly gained a place in Bath ‘A’ team. He was one of the XV, who gained the brilliant victory over Plymouth Albion at Beacon Park the season before last and scored a fine individual try in this his first match in first-class football. A repetition of this brilliant form very soon brought him a regular place in the Bath 1st XV., and he has scarcely missed a match since. Last season was an excellent one for him, and in March he played his first game for Somerset, signalling his initial appearance in the county side by scoring two very fine tries. Hancock must easily be the fastest player in the West of England Rugby, and great things are expected of him in the future.

He spends his summer in the cricket field and on the running track. He won the 100 yards championship at the Whit Monday Sports on the Rec., and is a regular member of the Bath ‘A’ cricket XI.

8/9/1928

v Moseley, Home. Won 29-5. Team:- L M Basden, J B Hannah, L S V Powell, CE Gough, W Hancock, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, W H Stapley, A Milsom, L W Moore, J Tanner, S Weeks, H B L Wake. Bath scored 4 goals and three tries to Moseley’s single goal in an entertaining game.

Bath tries:- Hannah, Hancock (from ½ way line), Stapley (2), Hancock, Wake and again, Hancock.

Weeks kicked the four conversions. Bath backs proved far to clever for the Moseley outfit – and this with comparatively little possession from the set piece play. It was strange that Bath scored 7 times to Moseley’s once, yet the visitors got possession of the ball from 9 scrums out of 10. Possession had been the problem at the Leicester game, and it was Sheppard’s immediate task to improve the forward performance. Enthusiasm was not lacking.

 

13/9/1928

v Bridgwater, Home. Won 26-3. Team:- L M Basden, J B Hannah, L St V Powell, W E Hancock, C E Gough, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, C R Skinner, S Weeks, A Milsom, J Tanner, L Seal and H West.

After being 0-3 down, Hancock scored an excellent try 20 minutes into the game, and Weeks converted.

Bath gradually gained the upper hand and dazzled the visitors with short inter-passing. Then Tanner touched down after a forward charge after an up and under. Weeks added the extras. (10-3 Half-time)

Twelve minutes after the re-start and Hancock broke through for a great solo try, which Weeks again majored. Gough was next over, following a smart break by scrum-half Lester. Powell then snapped up a loose ball to race away and score, only for Weeks to fail with the kick. (21-3) Finally Hannah scored a good try. This time Weeks succeeded, with, perhaps his best kick of the match. Bath had scored 60 points in their first three matches.

 

J.B.HANNAH

J.B.Hannah our brilliant wing threequarter, was born at Rishton, near Blackburn. Although not Bath born, he claims to be a Bathonian for he was educated at Kingswood School and spent his happiest days on Lansdown. He was vice-captain of the School XV. for two seasons.

He started with Bath ‘A’ in 1921 and played several games for the firsts. Being removed from Bath he became captain of Taunton Y.M.C.A. for two seasons and played occasionally for Bridgwater. He returned to Bath in 1927 and after a few games with the A regained his place in the 1st XV. He played last season for Somerset v. Devon and the combined Somerset and Gloucester XV. v the Waratahs.

A player of great speed, dash and resolution, especially popular with spectators and players, he should go a long way.

 

15/9/1928

v United Services, Portsmouth. Away. Lost 3-16. Team- : H R D Robey, J B Hannah, L S V Powell, C E Gough, W Hancock, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, A Milsom, J Tanner, S Weeks, H B L Wake, H West, I Morgan. Bath managed a single try in reply to 2 goals and 2 tries from a strong, heavy, fast, robust and clever Services side.

Robey was the only man behind Bath’s scrum, that could reflect on having had a good game.

 

Outside-half Lester, was injured and a virtual passenger when removed to the wing position. However, despite his injury, he continued to be involved, as the ball had an uncanny knack of moving in his direction. “I should say he was bowled over quite a dozen times after he was injured. Happily he was able to stick it out, and during the week it was reported that he was fit again.”

Charlie Gough stood in for Lester, and a number of wild attempts at distribution followed. On the other flank, Hannah did not get one pass and Hancock did not have one run.

In the pack, Sheppard played for all he was worth and Tanner and Matthews were often noticed.

 

22/9/1928

v Llanelly, Home. Lost 3-7 Team:- H G Slade, I F M Spence, W E Hancock, L St, V Powell, J B Hannah, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, H B L Wake, N Matthews, A Milsom, S Weeks, L Seal, J Dingley and H West. Referee:- Mr. A E Freethy. Llanelly brought some 700 of their faithful support. They were a weakened side, in that there was an international at Swansea. Nevertheless, the Scarlets included their previous seasons’ internationals – Dudley Bartlet, Dai John, Ivor Jones, Iorwerth Jones and Archie Skym They were arguably the finest club side in the UK at this time.

“A great passing movement by Bath started by Spence made three parts of the field and showed that if the local backs could get the ball they could make good use of it. The movement should have brought a score, but as so often happens it ended with a knock on. At any rate it showed that the Scarlets were not having all the play.”

“Excitement was great, especially among the Bath fans on the popular side.”

Llanelly won by a drop goal and a try to a penalty by Weeks.

 

29/9/1928

v Torquay Athletic. Away. Lost 0-12. Team:- L M Basden, I F M Spence, W E Hancock, R Banks, J B Hannah, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, W Usher, B Thornely, H West and J Dingley.

Torquay had only lost one home game in the last two seasons; the touring party were weakened by players not available to travel. In pouring rain, they did not play at all well. As a robust Torquay pack warmed to their task, “Bath’s forwards appeared to be taking everything and giving nothing.” Torquay had previously beaten Lydney, Sidmouth and Barnstaple, but it was a good win for the seasiders. Basden was the best of the Bath backs; Hancock had a quiet match, as he much disliked a wet ground. The Bath line was breached on four occasions, but there was little to enthuse the small stand-full of spectators and the 50 or so, on the popular side.

 

1/10/1928

v Camborne, Away. Lost 3-13. Team:- L M Basden, J H W James, L St. V Powell, J Lester, R Banks, A Tomlinson, L Wills, W H Sheppard, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, L T Seal, H West, J Dingley and B Thornely. Camborne had supplied the bulk of the Cornish XV.

A large, and appreciative crowd, turned out in beautifully fine weather to see Camborne score within five minutes. Bath forwards were heeling well, but the backs’ handling was letting them down. Seal was close to scoring after a break by Dingley and Thornely. It was Thornely initiated another break away, but this time Banks could not hold the pass. Camborne scored again just on the interval, so the sides turned around with Bath 0 Camborne 8. Thornely reinforced the Bath backs for the second half, and for a while, the tourists had the better of the play. Eventually, their efforts brought a well worked try by James, but it was not converted. Camborne added another converted try near the finish for a deserved win. The Bath backs had been generally weak, but Wills worked well throughout. Gate money amounted to nearly £120.

 

6/10/1928

H Slade, J Hannah, L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, I F Spence, L Wills, J Lester, W H Sheppard, J R Skinner, H E Wake, N Matthews, J Tanner, S Weeks, J Dingley and H West.

Bath were relieved to chalk up a win, exactly reversing the score of the previous week.

Services fielded a good side and played bright rugby, but Bath were faster in the backs and would have scored more, had they passed with greater accuracy.

Visitors were well led by “Horsey” Brown, and the side included ten officers.

Hancock, Lester and Wills scored Bath’s tries and Weeks added two conversions.

 

13/10/1928

v Plymouth, Away – Lost 13 – 20 Team:- L M Basden, I F M Spence, W E Hancock, N Thornely, J B Hannah, L Wills, J Lester, N Matthews, S Weeks, J Tanner, H West, J Dingley, A Milsom, W Robey and P Curtis.

One of the best games of the season in which Plymouth ran in four tries to Bath’s three. “After splendid passing Hancock made a great effort with a fine run and a jump, but was brought down almost on the line. It was a fine move.” ”Hancock’s try brought the house down as it were. It was one of his own, for he dribbled from the Bath 25 line, gathered the ball on the bounce and raced away, with the Plymouth side after him to score. The next try by Wills, too, started at halfway, where Weeks found himself getting away with the ball. Running strongly, he did the right thing in passing to Milsom, who was well up. Then Hannah received, and at last passed inside to young Wills, who dived over the line.

The running and passing, quite bewildered the Plymouth defence, but the next bout of passing was even better, but did not yield a score. Altogether seven men handled, either of the last two could have scored, I fancy, but they kept on throwing the ball about, and when Wills gave to Thornely, the Cambridge man had only to take it and fall over the line, but it went over his shoulder.” The final try was by Norman Matthews when the Plymouth side were caught napping.

 

20/10/1928

v Gloucester, Away. Lost 0-6. Team :- H G Slade, I F M Spence(Capt.), L S V Powell, W E Hancock, J B Hannah, L Wills, C J Deer, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, J Dingley, H West, A Milsom, J Tanner, H B L Wake. Although they did well in the opening stages, Bath failed to take advantage of the few opportunities that came their way, and Gloucester ended up convincing winners after scoring two unconverted tries. C J Deer, from the ‘A’ team, was retained at outside half, and although Bath defended valiantly, they often had difficulty in stemming some great Gloucester rushes.

 

27/10/1928

v Old Edwardians, Home. Won 19-5. Team:- R Sanger, I F M Spence, L St V Powell, C E Gough, J B Hannah, L Wills, C J Deer, H B L Wake, P R Skinner, S Weeks, J Dingley, A Milsom, J Tanner, B N Thornely, H West. The Bath side was depleted with County calls which took Slade, Hancock and W H Sheppard.

Bath tries from Wills, West (2), Powell and Spence. Weeks 2 conversions. A very poor attendance attributed to bad weather conditions. Gough replaced Hancock and was the most effective of the Bath threequarters. Powell was handicapped with an ankle injury and Hannah had struck “a lean patch. He has not scored since the Bridgwater game.”

Bath’s lack of form appeared to stem from the various half back combinations: “Wills and Lester started; then we had Wills and Deer, now we get Wills and Banks. And I shall be very surprised if in the end it does not revert to Wills and Lester.”

 

1/11/1928

v Oxford Greyhounds, Away. Lost 8-42. Team:- R Sanger, I F M Spence, W Farnham, B N Thornely, J H W James, R Banks, C Dear, A Milsom, S Weeks, W H Stapley, L W Moore, M Robey, Royal, Davis, and R K Lindsay. This was a heavy reverse for Bath and generated considerable comment on the desirability of arranging mid-week fixtures, when fewer players were available. This selection contained no less than nine ‘A’ XV regulars. Greyhounds opened their scoring with a drop goal, following a miss-kick by Milsom.

“Bath now had a look in, and Farnham cut out a lovely opening and gave Spence a good pass. The latter could have walked over the line, but much to his own chagrin, he dropped the ball in unaccountable fashion and lost a certain try.” Dear was having a poor game at scrum-half, so Royal was brought out of the pack to work the scrum. For a while Thornely and Milsom kept the Oxonians in check, but close on half-time Novis scored on the blind side and with the conversion, the visitors had a useful lead of twelve points. Later, after Spence should have scored, Royal got over for Weeks to convert.

After the interval, Bath just went to pieces and wretchedly poor tackling allowed three converted tries in quick succession. Then Banks got away nicely and sent in Dear. Weeks missed the conversion kick from in front of the posts. In the final stages Thornely performed heroics in defence, but it did not prevent the Greyhounds scoring three further tries and adding a drop goal, to complete Bath’s humiliation.

 

3/11/1928

v Torquay, Home. Lost 6-9. Team :- H G Slade, J H W James, W E Hancock, C E Gough, I F M Spence, L Wills, R Banks, W H Sheppard, P R Skinner, H B L Wake, S Weeks, J Dingley, B N Thornely, A Milsom, N Matthews. Before the main match, the crowd watched Prior Park College beat King Edward’s School.

Torquay were having a good season and had lost to only one side, and that was Gloucester. Much of their success stemmed from their half-backs Delahay (former Welsh captain), and Gwyn Richards. Play was fast and vigorous

Milsom got Bath’s only try and Weeks kicked a penalty. Torquay managed a goal, a drop goal, and a penalty.

 

PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES!

“No, there is no need for either alarm or pessimism. True we have had some disappointments, such as at Gloucester and twice against Torquay, but the Bath team is really 95 per cent. excellent. Once the extra five per cent. of finish is added, everything will be all right.” (By ‘MASCOT’ – Bath Chronicle)

 

 10/11/1928

v Old Paulines, Home. Won 11-6 Team:- M Rich, J B Hannah, C E Gough, J H W James, I F M Spence, R Banks, P H Hazard, W H Sheppard, H B L Wake, A Milsom, S Weeks, P R Skinner, J Tanner, J Dingley and L Seal. A somewhat experimental Bath selection, scored 1 goal and 2 tries to Paulines 2 tries. Bath tries from Hannah, Wake and Gough, with Banks converting the final one. It was an improved performance from the Bath backs, who were better in combined play. “Bath forwards were all good.”

Perhaps they were already benefiting from Considine’s coaching!

17/11/1928

v Cardiff, Home. Won 10 – 3. Team:- H G Slade, J B Hannah, C E Gough, W E Hancock, J H W James, F Rhymes, R Banks, W H Sheppard, I F M Spence, N Matthews, P R Skinner, H West, S Weeks, A Milsom, J Dingley.

Triumph for Bath in a Fast Game.

HOME LINE NOT CROSSED

WELSH ATTACKS RESISTED BY STOUT DEFENCE

Bath played 100 per cent better rugby than they have done for some weeks, and on such form can meet Bristol, or any other side as far as that goes with every confidence. There was no mistaking the superiority of the home backs over Cardiff, for everyone behind the Bath pack, and in it as well, gave a good account of himself………………

The Bath ‘ups’ heeled splendidly, their rushes were a treat to watch, and, there was a distinct improvement in the line-out play.”

Bath won by a drop gaol and two tries to Cardiff’s penalty goal. Milsom got the first try after Weeks had broken from a line-out. “Twenty minutes from the start Hancock got a rare good try. He received beyond the half-way and punted high. The ball bounced badly for Cracos who lost it altogether, and Hancock came up to dribble on.

He controlled the ball cleverly and steered it over the line to score. An easy kick, but Weeks could not goal.”

For Cardiff, Cracos landed a brilliant penalty from half-way. Near the close, Bath heeled for Rhymes to send out smartly, and Banks dropped a fine goal. Bath played 100% better rugby than they had done for some weeks.

 

24/11/1928

v Bristol, Away. Lost 3-8. (1 penalty goal to 1 goal and a try) Team:- H Slade, J B Hannah, C E Gough, W E Hancock, J H W James, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, H B Wake, B N Thornely, N Matthews, S Weeks, A Milsom, P R Skinner and J Dingley.

Enthusiasm for the local derby was as great as ever, and a goodly number of supporters journeyed to Bristol by road and rail. The attendance was estimated at 11,000 for ‘the match of the season.’ Bristol’s backs showed all the early running, but the Bath forwards were prominent in the loose play. Slade played well and put in some effective relieving kicks. Banks kicked a penalty after prolonged pressure on the Bristol line. Bristol pulled back in the second half with tries by Robinson and Hale, with Hore adding one conversion.

“There was never a dull moment from beginning to end, and 30 men have never given of their best in a more wholehearted manner than the 30 players did on Saturday.”

 

At this time Norman Matthews was chosen as an England Reserve.

“Matthews must be one of the best forwards in the West-he is of the real Somerset type, strong, fast, vigorous and daring, and he is to be congratulated on reaching the fifth rung of the Rugby ladder. He has passed through school, junior club, town club and county. May he go on with the good work.”

 

1/12/1928

v Edgware, Home. Won 6-0. Team:- S F Le M James, J H W James, C E Gough, W E Hancock, J B Hannah, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, N Matthews, B N Thornely, P R Skinner, H B L Wake, S Weeks, J Dingley, A Milsom.

Hannah scored within ten minutes, after a fine round of passing. In the second half, a great run by Hancock set up their second try. The ball moved to Milsom, who punted forward to follow up and score. The game was poor as a spectacle and the referee’s excessive ‘whistling’ did much to slow things up.

F S Le M (Toby) James (Old Edwardians) showed well as a deputy full back. He played an excellent game-remarkable in fact, for such a youngster.

 

8/12/1928

v Richmond, Away. Lost 3-11. Team:- H G Slade, W E Hancock, J H James, C E Gough, J B Hannah, G Nudds, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, B N Thornely, P R Skinner, A Milsom, J Dingley, S Weeks, H West. George Nudds was home on leave and played at five-eight, leaving seven forwards.

 

A Family Affair!

S G U Considine ran the touch-line; his brother, H W H played in the Richmond side. S G U’s brother-in-law,

J H W James was on the Bath wing.

“In the last few minutes Bath got quite a spectacular try. Hancock kicked across and Hannah, coming up at full speed, took the ball on the bounce and raced over. Weeks could not goal.

Hancock brought off a great run, and Bath were attacking hotly on the last stages.”

Benefiting from Considine’s coaching, Bath had high hopes to win this game. ‘MASCOT’ added some homespun advice:

“It is usually useless to boot on in the loose. That simply gives the ball to the opposition. The game of Rugby is to get the ball and make your opponents chase you. And the best way to get the ball is to get it back from loose scrummages.”

15/12/1928

v Weston-super-Mare, Away at Skittles! Bath had travelled to Weston, but the ground was unplayable due to frost. They took tea and adjourned to the Plough Hotel, and occupied themselves for two hours in a keenly contested skittles match. Bath won by 18 pins.!

22/12/1928

v Blackheath, Home. Lost 6-11. Team:- H Slade, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J H W James, J B Hannah, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, B N Thornely, H B L Wake, PR Skinner, A Milsom, N Matthews, W H Stapley, J Dingley, S Weeks.

“The “King” was played before the game, both teams standing…………………….….Fifteen minutes from the start, HANCOCK eluded Young, slipped Clayton-Green and scored a really great try. Banks did not convert. The crowd of 4000 loudly applauded.” Spence secured Bath’s second try after Hancock had kicked ahead. At this stage scores were level at 6-6. However, fortune favoured The Club, when Tusker touched down, after a Morris cross-kick. Novis added the extras for a five points margin. Blackheath played ‘class rugby.’

 

26/12/1928

v Old Blues, Home. Won 10-9. Team:- H R Robey, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J H W James, S F Le M James, R Banks, F Rhymes, I F M Spence, H B L Wake, N W Matthews, B N Thornely, W H Stapley, A Milsom, A V Bird and P Curtis. “Play was at once fast and open.” Bath forwards were excellent in the loose.

Try by Stapley, and Penalty and Drop Goal by Banks. The Old Boys scored three tries, playing some of the best football seen that season. They were described as a fine sporting lot, and many considered them to be unlucky to lose.

 

27/12/1928

v Gloucester, Home. Drawn 3-3. Team from:- H G Slade, J B Hannah, F S Le M James, W E Hancock, J H W James, and C E Gough, R Banks, and F Rhymes, I F M Spence, H B L Wake, N W Matthews, B N Thornely, W H Stapley, A Milsom, S Weeks, P Curtis, H West and C Bird. (Bath Chronicle 24th December)

Following the Old Blues game, Bath faced a complete change in style as they ‘entertained’ forward orientated Gloucester. Hancock scored a try late on, and had Banks converted – a different story could have been told.

There were few signs of Christmas excesses as both sides threw themselves into the game. Gloucester had experienced difficulty with selecting a side, but the local Cinderford Club helped out with some hard working forwards. A 3-3 draw was a fair result. Three minutes from the end, Bath were trailing and a few spectators had already left the ground. Then Stapley, who had a grand game, kicked and followed up. Gloucester’s Gladwin failed to gather and Hancock raced in to field the slippery ball, and touched down under the posts. Up stepped Ralph Banks for the conversion, but astonishingly – he missed!

Bath had a late fright when Harry Slade’s attempted clearance went straight to Stephen’s hand. There was some relief on both sides, when referee Burge blew the final whistle.

 

THE TRAIN NOW STANDING……….

5/1/1929

v Moseley cancelled late on due to frost. The Moseley Secretary wrote a letter to Bath on the Friday and additionally, wired the Bath station at 11.5 a.m. on the Saturday. It was transmitted and arrived at 11.52 a.m.. Practically the whole team had arrived by then, including Basden from Newport, Wake from Burnham and Slade from Avonmouth. Luckily, no one had gone direct to Birmingham.

“There was a good number of Bathonians who had made up their minds to avail themselves of the opportunity of a half day in Birmingham. When it was known that the Bath club were not travelling the station officials were undecided as to whether to run the train or not, but the numbers evidently warranted it, so tickets were issued and a great crowd went.”

Meanwhile the players had arrived at Bath Spa Station, where lunch was laid on in the refreshment room. They ate heartily – then dispersed!

 

12/1/1929

v R.N.E.College, played on King Edward’s School pitch, as the 1st team area was frost bound.

Bath won 21-3. Team:- L M Basden, C E Gough, L Wills, L St. V Powell, J H W James, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, P R Skinner, S Weeks, A Milsom, L T Seal, J Dingley, J Tanner and F Coombs.

Bath scored 3 goals and 2 tries to the College’s try. Bath try scorers:- Milsom, Wills, Powell, Banks, and Wills. Conversions Banks (2) and Weeks.

 

19/1/1929

v Cardiff, Away. Lost 3-10. ( 1 penalty goal to 2 goals) Team:- H G Slade, J B Hannah, L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, C E Gough, F Rhymes, R Banks, P R Skinner, A Milsom, J Dingley, S Weeks, L T Seal, J Tanner, J Jones and H West.

There was a good Bath following, as the G.W.R. offered cheap day returns @ 4/-. The moderate crowd were dwarfed by the massive Cardiff Arms Park stands. Hannah got away in the first minute, but with the line at his mercy, he kicked the ball dead. The Cardiff pack came back strongly, and it was left to Banks to clear the line with some excellent line kicking. There were fine efforts from Slade, Powell and Gough. Weeks opened the scoring with a penalty, after Cardiff were caught offside. Bath’s young forwards were doing excellently, but Cardiff revived and Thomas led the dribble across the Bath line, for Stone to convert. “Then came an exciting bit of play, an excellent round of passing finished by a fine run by Hannah. He kicked ahead, but Coughlin brought off a wonderful save. Bath were playing well, but Cardiff were attacking at half-time.”

“Bath gave away a try ten minutes from the end. Several of them muddled badly in midfield, and when Hughes came up he had only to kick over the line on his own to score. Stone converted.”

 

26/1/1929

v Pontypool, Home. Won 8-3. Team:- H G Slade, J H W James, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J B Hannah, R Banks, F Rhymes, I F M Spence, P R Skinner, H B L Wake, S Weeks, A Milsom, J Dingley, L T Seal and H West..

Bath went ahead after three minutes with a fine try by Spence. “Bath were heeling well, and the threes showed better handling than they have done for some weeks.”

“Slade relieved to half way, and here Bath got possession. Rhymes, Banks, Hancock, Gough and Hannah handled, and Hannah beat his wing man and turned inside. When opposed by Bayliss he passed inside to Gough who raced round with as good a try as Bath has scored this season. Banks converted.” Cobley scored for the visitors.

“Bath, however, played streets better than they did at Cardiff, and I believe, if the same backs are kept together, they will yet show us some brilliant play.”

 

EDGE – WHERE?

GAME ON A SWAMP – GOOD RUGBY QUITE IMPOSSIBLE

2/2/1929

v Edgware, Away. Won 4-0. Team:- H G Slade, J H W James, W E Hancock, C E Gough, G G Spinney, R Banks, F Rhymes, I F M Spence, N Matthews, B N Thornely, A Milsom, S Weeks, P Curtis, H West, J Dingley.

Prior to the fixture, ‘MASCOT’ hoped that the changing quarters were better than two years previously, when the team walked through a farm to get to the ground: “In London, mind! Some of our players were surprised to find ducks, fowls and pigs in London! Edgware, of course, is quite outside the City – a suburban village in fact.”

Little had changed!

The team arrived in pouring rain, with an hour and a half before kick-off. The players were loath to leave the charabanc, so they killed time with a ‘drive-around.

“The entrance to the ground was an absolutely impassable swamp and an entry had been made through a neighbouring hostelry. The ground was terrible, the worst Bath had ever played on.” “They should not have played at all for the ground was not fit. There were pools of water; it was short and narrow, and the changing quarters were absolutely crude.” A stand had been built, with changing quarters underneath, but the ‘site’ was accessed across a stretch of planks, which bridged a sea of yellow mud.

The unhappy band was short of Slade and Rhymes until 3-20. “Good Rugby was bound to be entirely out of the question, and it would be simply kick and rush in a swamp, and it would probably be dark before the end.” In the event, they played 30 minutes each way.

“Twenty-five minutes from the start Banks dropped a capital goal. He received from Rhymes, beat a man and sent over a beauty from a 40 yards range.”

G G Spinney had his first game on the wing. A former Monkton Combe boy, he played for Combe Down last season, and had just started with Bath Extras.

Little more can be said.

 

9/2/1929

v St Thomas Hospital, Home. Won 24-0. Team:- H G Slade, J B Hannah, C E Gough, W E Hancock, J H W James, F Rhymes, R Banks, P R Skinner, A Milsom, S Weeks, H B L Wake, J Dingley, LT Seal, H Seal, I F M Spence. As the Chronicle headline indicated – ‘St. Thomas’s Hospital Easy Victims of Bath.’

Bath scored six tries against poor opposition. Scorers:- Spence, Banks, Weeks, Hannah, Hancock, and Skinner. Weeks converted three.

 

16/2/1929

v Plymouth cancelled due to frost.

 

23/2/1929

v Weston-s-Mare, Home. Won 19-0. Team:- L St V Powell, J H W James, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J B Hannah, R Banks, F Rhymes, I F M Spence (Capt.), H B L Wake, N Matthews, P R Skinner, S Weeks, A Milsom, J Dingley, L T Seal. G.W.R. laid on 3/- cheap returns.

Bath’s superior speed did the damage. Tries:- Gough, Hannah, Spence and Wake (2) Weeks two conversions.

 

2/3/1929

v Plymouth Albion, Home. Won 19-4. (2 goals and 3 tries to a drop goal) Team:- L St V Powell, J B Hannah, J H W James, C E Gough, J B Hannah, R Banks, F Rhymes, I F M Spence, H West, P R Skinner, J Dingley, S Weeks, A Milsom, N Matthews, L T Seal.

Groundsman Dando, did well to forecast a playable pitch, after a very wet start to the day.

“Eight minutes from the start Spence scored. Again it was a case of speed. Plymouth were attacking when Banks stole away on the blind side of the scrum and kicked ahead. Hancock, following up strongly, kicked over the line, but fell full length before he could get to the ball.

Spence, however, was up and scored. Weeks could not goal, but Bath’s forwards got another try directly afterwards from a forward rush, Matthews being the scorer. This time Banks missed an easy kick.”

Rhymes was gifted a try following a scrum on the visitors’ line; the Plymouth’s scrum-half’s pass completely missed his partner, and Rhymes was left to fall on the ball. Later it was a smart pass from Rhymes to Banks, that left Hancock to round the Plymouth full back. This time Banks converted. Later Gough obtained a good try after Banks had made the running. Banks added the extras. Banks sprained his ankle and was out for the rest of the season. Plymouth’s reply was a drop goal by Lewin.

9/3/1929

v London Welsh, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- L St V Powell, L H Burt, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J B Hannah, H G Slade, W A Parfitt, I F M Spence, N Matthews, J Dingley, P R Skinner, S Weeks, A Milsom, H West and W Usher . Bath’s try came ten minutes from the start: “It was a bit unfortunate for the Welsh for Slade punted high and when Ungoed was waiting for the ball he was knocked off his pins-and knocked out by one of his own side, and the home forwards rushed on for Matthews* to get the touch to score. Weeks could not goal.”

*(It later transpired that Usher actually touched the ball down.)

The Welsh had the better of the play, running in two tries. Much of Bath’s performance was deplorably bad as the forwards gave a below par display: “The following-up was lackadaisical, and the line-out work bad. Our forwards will have to rouse themselves or they will lose the good name they have made. The sunshine may have been the cause. Every team has an off day now and then, and it was better that Bath had its last Saturday than that it should have one next.” Banks was greatly missed.

 

14/3/1929

v Newport, Home. Lost 10-16. Team :- B Dolman, J B Hannah, C E Gough, L St V Powell, W E Hancock, F Rhymes, T J M Barrington, I F M Spence, N Matthews, J Dingley, P R Skinner, A Milsom,

S Weeks, J Tanner, and H West. There was a surprisingly small gate for this Thursday match. In the absence of Banks, Bath were glad to have the services of T J M Barrington the Somerset County half back. He was soon brought into play with relieving and tactical kicks. He also combined well with Rhymes and Powell. “Newport were penalised for offside and Weeks kicked well but could not get the points. Powell was doing really well. With Bath heeling he took his passes from Barrington in fine style.

Then he surpassed himself for, after receiving a good pass, as quick as lightening, he dropped and got a real fine goal so, after 23 minutes’ play Bath had a 4 points lead.” Then Newport pulled back when Phillips found himself unmarked in a line out. He had only to fall over to score and full back Everson converted.

(Bath 4-5 down at the interval) Upon resumption, Newport began to throw the ball about, and mistakes by Dolman and Powell let in Griffiths for a gift try. “The Bath players showed a decided dislike to going down to stop the big Newport forwards, who several times got away with the ball at their feet. A round of passing by Newport sent Watkins off in a fine run, but Hancock came across from the opposite wing and stopped him with a very fine tackle.” Newport continued to attack hotly and Davies was their next scorer. A minute later, and it was Bath’s turn; Barrington dribbled through, Spence picked up and set off for the line, but lost the ball. The in-form Barrington was there to follow up and score. Then Newport’s Watkins was gifted with a try, and Bath fell behind 7-16. Despite Newport’s monopoly of the ball: “A fine run by Matthews forced Newport to carry over their line and from the scrum Bath heeled but Hannah’s gallop was stopped. Bath heeled again and Barrington went clean through to score a great try. Rhymes could not goal.”

There were exciting exchanges in the final play: “Bath were beaten but had given their famous opponents a good run for their victory.”

“What a fine sporting crowd we have now on the Rec. Naturally they prefer to see Bath on top, but no piece of good play on the part of an opponent goes un-applauded.” [‘MASCOT’]

 

This day the ‘A’s beat Wiveliscombe and the Extras beat Stothert and Pitt’s. It was the ‘A’s first win of the season.

 

16/3/1929

v Pontypool, Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- H Burgess, J B Hannah, W E Hancock, W N Walker (Avon),

G G Spinney, W A Parfitt, L St. V Powell, I F M Spence, H B L Wake, N Matthews, J Dingley, P R Skinner,

S Weeks, H West and J Jones. There was a surprisingly moderate crowd in fine weather. Some fine Bath tackling allowed some success in keeping the Pontypool backs in check, but they eventually succumbed to a goal, a try and a penalty. Again the forward follow-up was lax and the occasional passing movements went awry.

 

23/3/1929

v Bristol, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- H J Slade, J B Hannah, C E Gough, L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, F Rhymes, R Banks, I F M Spence, H B L Wake, N Matthews, J Dingley, PR Skinner, A Milsom, H Burgess, B N Thornely. “Bristol just won after one of the hardest and most exciting games there has ever been between the two clubs. And in spite of the keenness, the pace, and the great rivalry, there was not a single stoppage for injury. Bristol must be given the credit for having the better players behind the scrum, but Bath’s forwards excelled, and at the end of the game were going so well that had there been more time they most certainly would have won, or at least saved the game. It may be repeated Matthews was the best forward on the field, and there were 16 good ones.

It was unfortunate that the Bath outside men were not in attacking form. Had Gough been himself and played just his ordinary game, I cannot see that Bristol would have won. But he started badly, and never recovered, so that there was scarcely one round of passing. A feature of the game, however, was Bath’s excellent tackling, Hannah, Powell and Hancock doing no end. Bristol’s backs had the ball time and again from loose play and line-out, but try as they would they could not pierce the home defence until close on half time.”

Sherman scored twice for the visitors and Spence got Bath’s try.

The Bristol bogey remained, but it was an exciting game to watch. It was Bath’s fourth loss in a row.

The crowd was a record for the season. The gross gate amounted to £220, but the Recreation Ground Company’s share was £40, and there was £26 Entertainment Tax. The Chief Constable allowed a total of 327 cars to be parked up in Pulteney Street alone.

The post match entertainment included a Bath Supporters’ Club Dance at the Drill Hall, Lower Bristol Road.

“The teams will be there en bloc.”

”The Bristol players clearly like a dance, and the Bath Club Committee are giving the affair their fullest support.”

 

30/3/1929

v St. Barts. Hospital, Home. Won 21-14. Team:- H G Slade, W E Hancock, C E Gough, A Merritt, H Burgess, F Rhymes, L St. V Powell, H B L Wake, N Matthews, A Milsom, B N Thornely, P Curtis, W H Stapley, S Weeks and P R Skinner. These clubs last met in 1924, when Bart’s won 13-8 on the Rec.

Bath recovered from being six points down within twelve minutes for a win by a goal, 4 tries, and a drop goal to 1 goal and 3 tries. Bath tries by Milsom, Hancock, Gough (2), and Wake. Weeks one conversion and Merritt dropped a goal.

 

1/4/1929

(Monday) v O.M.T.’s, Home. Lost 11-18. Selected squad:- H G Slade, W E Hancock, C E Gough, L St. V Powell, J H W James, W M Walker, R F Kelly, A Merritt, J B Hannah, F Rhymes, W A Parfitt, R Banks, H B L Wake, N Matthews, A Milsom, B N Thornely, P Curtis, H Burgess, W H Stapley, S Weeks, A V Bird and J Jones.

O.M.T.’s fielded an English International, two Cambridge Blues, an Oxford Blue and six Middlesex County players and the seven point margin should be seen in the light that Bath were without Spence, Wake, Banks, Hannah, Rhymes, Dingley and Hancock. Bath’s forwards played magnificently, particularly Matthews, Thorneley and Stapley, and Bath enjoyed much of the game territorially. Parfitt was not so efficient at scrum-half and Powell was inclined to kick too much. Bath were eventually overcome by 3 goals and a try to a goal, a try and a penalty goal. Two tries by Stapley, and a conversion and a penalty goal by Weeks.

 

2/4/1929

(Tuesday) v Leicester, Home. Lost 9-16. Team:- H Slade, W A Walker, C E Gough, A Merritt, L St. V Powell, W Farnham, F Rhymes, J Dingley, N Matthews, A Milsom, B L Thornely, F M Coombs, A Weeks, H Burgess and P Curtis.. Banks and Hancock had cried off with injuries and Bath’s make-shift side did not perform well. Leicester’s first try was hotly disputed. A foot in touch was there for all to see; the Leicester touch-judge put his flag up – then brought it down. At half-time he said he had made a mistake, which did not particularly endear him to the nearby spectators. “Of the Bath backs nothing good can be said; they were not in the same class as Leicester. They showed no attack, and their tackling was bad . The local forwards struggled gallantly against their heavier opponents, and it must have been disheartening to them when they found they had to do their own work and that of their backs.” Charlie Gough was the only Bath back to shine in a generally poor game. The Tigers won by 2 goals and 2 tries to a try and two penalty goals. Farnham scored Bath’s only try after some smart following up, by Walcot boys Farnham and Merrett. Weeks kicked two penalty goals.

The Bath Chronicle Headline said it all: “TIGERS TOO TOUGH FOR TIRED BATHONIANS.”

 

6/4/1929

v United Services, Home. Lost 3-6. H G Slade, J B Hannah, C E Gough, A Merrett, W E Hancock, F Rhymes, A E Anderson, H B L Wake, N Matthews, I F M Spence, S Weeks, J Jones, H Burgess, A Milsom and J Tanner.

It was another match that highlighted the weakness of the three-quarter line. On the day, it seemed they could get nothing right, and a succession of fumblings played into the hands of the Services outfit. Anderson had a reasonable game, but Hancock was nursing a sprained ankle. The chief weakness was at centre, where there was no momentum to their play. In the forwards, Tanner and Jones played to the best of their ability, but the whole pack was outplayed by the skill and fitness of the Service’s pack in forward rushes, combined with inter-passing. Bath seemed unable to smother man and ball together so their opponent’s forward momentum was not contained. By contrast the Services were uncompromising in their first time tackles. They were well led by Crick, who kept up a war cry of “hard and fast” throughout the game. Burgess kicked a very fine penalty, but it mattered little against the Services’ two tries.

J B Hannah tore shoulder ligaments and would be out for the rest of the season.

 

11/4/1929

v Weston-s-Mare, Away. Lost 0-5. Team:- Ivor Fale, W E Hancock, A Merritt, K Holmes, C E Gough, A Tomlinson, A E Anderson, I F M Spence, N Matthews, S Weeks, H Burgess, J Dingley, P R Skinner, A Milsom, J Tanner. The game was played out in the teeth of a strong, and very cold, North Easterly wind. Some 200 spectators huddled together near the corrugated fencing. Both Full-backs were witnessing their clearance kicks flying backwards over their heads, sometimes to the dead ball line. As a game of rugby, it was not worth crossing the road to see – let alone travelling to the ‘seaside.’ Nevertheless, a dozen or so did travel from Bath and probably caught colds in the process! There were many penalties for ‘off-side,’ and at one time the Referee had to speak to some unruly sections of the crowd. Bath survived until three minutes from the interval, when Danny Evans, then resident in Weston, got a hold on the ball, rode a couple of bad tackles and ran in for the only try of the match. T L Scott converted. In the second half, Weston did better against the wind and managed to keep Bath out.

“No one, I think, was sorry when it was all over.”

 

13/4/1929

v Old Alleynians, Home. Won 28-3. Team:- B Dolman, W E Hancock, A Merritt, H Slade, C E Gough, F Rhymes, A E Anderson, I F M Spence, N Matthews, H Burgess, J Dingley, P R Skinner, A Milsom, B N Thornely, H B L Wake, J Tanner, S Weeks. No commentary or detail of scorers is extant.

 

17/4/1929

v Bridgwater, Away. Drawn 3-3. Team :- B Dolman, S Follon, W V Smith, K Holmes, W E Hancock, W A Parfitt, W Farnham, I F M Spence, N Matthews, P R Skinner, B N Thornely, H Burgess, S Weeks, A Milsom, and J Jones..

Banks and Hannah were on the injured list, while Gough and Slade were unable to get away. Bert Dolman of Bathampton was given the full-back spot, with Ken Holmes (Bristol University) and W V Smith (‘A’s and Extras) at centre. Hancock, was in fact, the only first choice selection behind the pack and the team did well to share the honours. Thornely had scored Bath’s try ten minutes before the interval, but Bridgwater’s right centre, W H F Routh saved their game with a try close on time.

The Bridgwater backs moved well in the second half, but stout tackling by Parfitt, Farnham, Follon, and in particular, Hancock held the line. However, Hancock did not get a run with the ball for the whole of the game.

For Bridgwater, the County half-back pairing of J Snook and T J M Barrington were in sparkling form. It was a satisfactory result – all things considered.

 

20/4/1929

v Llanelly, Away. Lost 3 – 25. Selected squad from:- L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, K Holmes, C H Beer, K Preston, F Rhymes, A E Anderson, I F M Spence, N Matthews, P R Skinner, J Dingley, S Wicks, A Milsom, H Burgess, J Tanner and J Jones.

Bath travelled to Stradey with a greatly depleted side, with Banks, Hannah and Wake on the injury list. Adding to their difficulties, Slade, Powell, Gough, Thornely, Dingley, Skinner and Burgess could not get away. They travelled one man short and were grateful to accept the services of Swansea’s Glyn Grimshaw, who played on the right wing.

The score against would have been even higher had their opponent’s kickers been on form. In fact, Llanelly’s Iowerth and Ivor Jones missed nine or ten goal attempts. J D Bartlett on the wing, and Dai John at outside-half, were Llanelly’s dangermen. Heavy Welsh forwards were wining ball from almost every scrum and were only kept at bay with valiant Bath tackling, where Beer, K Holmes and Hancock were especially prominent. Bath suffered the temporary loss of Grimshaw and Seal, so played much of the second half one man short. Milsom was brought out from the pack to help the threes and did magnificently. Time after time, he broke up the Welsh passing. Bath forwards never gave up, and a fine forward rush was rewarded with a try by Milsom in the last three minutes.

 

20/4/1929

Before the 7-a-side tournament, spectators savoured the delight of seeing S G U Considine and other former stars, who turned out for the Old Crocks against Bath ‘A’s.

Old Crocks v Bath A. “DOGS match”, i.e. “Dear Old Gentlemen”. Drawn 3-3.

 

FULL MATCH REPORT FROM BATH CHRONICLE:-

IDOLS OF OTHER DAYS

OLD CROCKS ENGAGE THE ‘A’’s

HARRY VOWLES LIKE OLD TIMES

The great Rugby event in Bath today was the appearance of Mr. Considine’s “Old Crocks2 fifteen against the ‘A’s on the Recreation Ground. As they came on the field the veterans had a tremendous reception from the spectators, ‘Consi.,’ Harry Vowles, the Burts, Harry Richardson and his brother, L .J. Woodward, Dick Chaddock, in fact everyone came in for his own special bit of cheering as he was picked out. It must all have been very gratifying to the ‘idols’ of other days.

The ‘A’s started, but were whistled back owing to a man in front at the kick-off. The first scrum, on the line, saw the ‘Crocks’ very strong scrummagers, after which a splendid forward rush led by Chaddock and Woodward, took play well into the ‘A’ twenty-five. Good footwork by the ‘A’ forwards brought them well up the field, but the ‘Old Boys’ sent them back to the centre. A strong kick by Stevens helped the ‘A’s not only to gain ground, but to tackle ‘Consi.’ In possession, an unusual and unexpected occurrence for him.

The Crocks were now being pressed a little, but they got out of a tight situation by means of a splendid forward burst, which took them to the ‘A’ line before a check was applied. Here a series of scrummages took place, with Considine having a pot at a drop goal. The Old Crocks were certainly showing the youngsters how to tackle, bringing their men down “good and hard.”

THE WILY HARRY VOWLES

Harry Vowles was responding magnificently to the crowd’s “Come on Harry,” and was showing all his old-time wiliness at the base of the scrum. Eastcott then got in a fine run for the ‘A’s, but was laid low in a beautiful tackle by “S.G.U.” The game continued full of interest, a good pace being shown by both sides, and the spectators were splendidly enthusiastic.

Hutchinson, for the ‘A’s, opened out at half-way and gave to GOUGH, who punted ahead, following up, and regaining possession, scored a try near the posts, but Bill Usher failed with an easy kick.

The Old Crocks then put in another stout attack, in which was seen some good passing, with Vowles and a lot of others quite as fit as ever, especially the heavy-weights, Ern Rogers and Fred Russell.

On changing over, Mannings, Humphries, and Hodges went away in a fine forward dribbling movement, which took them close to the ‘A’ line, where a free kick to the ‘Crocks,’ taken by Hodges, failed, the kicker allowing too much for the strong wind.

The Crocks continued gamely, and kept the ‘A’s pegged in their own twenty-five, where Burt gave a shocking pass to Hodges, which robbed them of a certain try. Another free to the O.C.’s, taken by Vowles, just failed to put the sides all square.

Considine had a bit of a game with the opposition, handing off and eluding in something like his old style.

The ‘A’s were still defending, and had been doing so almost all this half, and were forced to save by touching down. Len Burt then found touch close to the line, and from the line-out CLARENCE WHITTAKER, who was following up, scored perilously near the dead-ball line, but Hodges again could not goal.

The ‘A’s backs then forged ahead to just beyond half-way, but they were always well marked, and consequently unable to gain much ground. Subsequently, the Crocks sent them back, but the Second String came on again, and the end was a draw.

Teams;-

Bath ‘A’: C Bailey, E J Eastcott, C E Gough, Hutchinson, W C Stevens, L Wills, W Parfitt, W Usher, H Burgess, J Dingley, F Coombs, D Smith, R Wills, J Jones and P Curtis.

Old Crocks: S.G.U. Considine, L F Burt, H Richardson, J Russell, C Whittaker, L V Burt, H Vowles, L J Richardson, C Mannings, R S Chaddock, E Hodges, F Russell, G Woodward, L Humphries and J Blake.

 

27/4/29

v Barnstaple, Away. Won 24-5. Team:- H Slade, W E Hancock, C H Beer, A Merritt, C E Gough, F Rhymes, A E Anderson, I F M Spence, N Matthews, S Weeks, P R Skinner, H Burgess, J Dingley, A Milsom, L T Seal. Attendance 4000.

Bath tries were scored by Gough (2), Beer, Hancock (2) and Rhymes, with Spence converting two and Slade one.

Bath followed instructions to throw the ball about, and it paid dividends. The Bath backs generally, had a field day, and Slade and Hancock were outstanding. Barnstaple’s reply was a try by Weaver, which was converted by Williams. Bath had an enjoyable journey home via Lynton, Lynmouth and Porlock. Bath was reached at a few minutes to six, after a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

 

 

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