1931 to 1932

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1931-32

 

“BEST SEASON SINCE THE WAR”

Mervyn Shaw’s successful captaincy and Gerrard’s fine form, strongly influenced the team performance throughout the season.

50 payers compete for places.

3/9/1931

First Trial match: P Moon, W E Hancock, L St. V Powell, J Kellock, A Burns, H Slade, C E Gough, S Weeks, L T Seal, E G Haydon, B C Barber, A Roney, D Wilson, L J Tanner and J Broughton.

Versus: R Banks, E J Eastcott, H Buse, M Fortt, F S le M James, A J Hutchinson, L Wills, M V Shaw, R G Sampson, J Jones, A Shipp, A L Cutler, L W Moore, H Davis and A Sealy.

 

8/9/1931

Second Trial match: J Waite, R Oates, J Kellock, F S le M James, G G Spinney, A Chancellor, L Coleman, A J Hutchinson, A Burns, L Churchouse, A L Cutler, H Davis, P Moon, A Sealy, H Cleeves, F Holmes, F Wake, J Adams, D Meredith.

Versus: B Dolman, E J Eastcott, H Buse, M Fortt, J W Jacobs, R Brown, L Wills, H Davies, P Curtis, J Jones, J Tanner, L W Moore, R G Sampson, A Shipp, A Roney, A Milsom, H W H Considine, J Broughton.

 

5/9/1931

v Leicester, Away, Lost 0-6: R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, A Merrett, C E Gough, H Slade, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, E G Haydon, B C Barber, L T Seal, D Wilson, A Shipp, S Weeks.

NEW JERSEYS

Unfortunately it was a very wet day for Bath to be-sport themselves in their new wide-stripped jerseys. Nevertheless they looked “a smart lot” as they took the field against a crack Leicester outfit.

Leicester were three up in three minutes, as Gadney scored from a Tiger’s heel. “Then there came another burst from the Leicester scrum, Hardwick getting away and giving to Gadney, who easily scored again. This time Barr failed but the home side were 6 points up in twelve minutes.

There had been no brilliant play. The weather was spoiling all hope of it.” However, the Tigers adapted better to these conditions, and had taken advantage of their two chances. Bath played slightly better in the second half, but did not look like scoring; the ball did not get to the wingmen. Bath were well ‘turned out’ – but well beaten!

 

12/9/1931

v Swansea, Home, Lost 5-8. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, A Merrett, C E Gough, A L Hutchinson, M V Shaw, D Wilson, S Weeks, N W Matthews, D Thomas, E G Haydon, L T Seal, B C Barber.

The ‘All Whites’ scored a first half try when winger, Bateman powered over in the corner. There was much enterprising play, with both sides resisting with stalwart defence. Bath found it difficult to secure possession: Consequently Bath’s outsides had not been very much in the picture.”

“Just afterwards the unexpected happened.

Powell followed up smartly and Herbert for the first time in the match was beaten. It was a clever move by Powell. He seemed purposely to run outside Herbert to prevent him from getting the ball to touch.

Powell, as it were trapped the ball – here his little bit of Soccer came in.

Then he picked up and coolly passed to Haydon, who had a clear run round behind the posts.” Banks goaled.

This stimulated a Swansea effort, and outside-half Idwyl Rees cut through for a capital try, which Batemen goaled.

The Swansea halves – Bryn Evans and Idwyl Rees had been the main architects of Bath’s defeat.

For Bath, Gerrard got through an amazing amount of work, especially in tackling, but otherwise, the Bath back line was not very effective. Haydon was conspicuous in all his play – and again got on the score sheet.

 

19/9/1931

v United Services, Away, Won 10-3. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, A Merrett, C E Gough, S Williams (R.A.F. Amesbury), M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, D Thomas, J Jones (United player), S Weeks, E G Haydon, D Crichton-Miller.

Bath’s previous away win against the Services, had been as long ago as 1923, and it was the home team that opened the scoring, when G C Falla crossed over in the twentieth minute. Banks featured well in defence, but chances were lost through wild passing. In the second half, Bath improved and secured a fine win, with tries from Gerrard and Jones, converted by Banks and Weeks respectively.

“George Haydon did better than he has done for some time, while, as I have said before, Derrick Wilson was the best forward on the field.” Nevertheless, there was considerable room for team improvement.

 

24/9/1931

v Clifton, Home, Won 21-5: R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, H Buse, A Merrett, C E Gough, S Williams, M V Shaw, S Weeks, D Thomas, R G Sampson, S Shipp, B C Barber, L J Tanner, and Lieut. F Groves (Wiltshire Regiment).

“Bath’s game with Clifton on Thursday evening proved a very enjoyable affair, Clifton playing in their usual sporty and breezy manner.

When it is remembered that there were half a dozen or so United players in the Bath side, it may be agreed that the team did very well, seeing too, that Powell was off for some considerable time. The score, however, might have been heavier, had the passing been more accurate, and the middle men, the centres and the halves, been more enterprising.”

The referee Mr. Hughes invoked the new Law, that players must not leave the field of play without permission:

“At half-time several Bath players went to the touch line to see Cutting, but Mr. Hughes followed them and had them back.

Personally, I do not at all like the bottle, bucket and sponge business at half-time.

Another rule says that the referee ‘must not allow anyone but the players on to the playing enclosure during a match except with his permission.’

What about the man with the lemons?”

 

3/10/1931

Miller, J Jones, B C Barber, D Thomas, R G Sampson.

Bath missed the services of Gerrard and there was concern that he would much in demand for the County over the coming months. Powell’s recent play had been disappointing. Crichton-Miller, Wilson, Sampson and Barber showed well in the forwards. However, there was a demonstrable reluctance to go down to stop forward rushes.

 

10/10/1931

v Bridgend, Home, Won 16-15. (2g. 1 penalty and a try to 3 goals) Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, S Williams, R A Gerrard, A Merrett, A E Anderson, T Blanning, M V Shaw, F Grove, D Wilson, R G Sampson, B C Barber, L T Seal, D Thomas and D Crichton-Miller.

The first time these clubs had met, and there were:“hot exchanges between the forwards.”

 

A RE-ORGANISED SIDE GAVE THE BEST DISPLAY OF THE SEASON.

Powell and Gough were dropped in selection shake-ups.

Bridgend’s J J Davies was the first to score, and Chilcott converted. Bath were quick to counter with a try by Hancock, and Sampson added the extras. Bath kept up a “hot” attack for some time, in which Anderson, Williams and Hancock were prominent, but it was Bridgend’s Gwyn Smith who crossed over, for Chilcott to again convert. Next Banks secured a penalty, when Bridgend did not play the ball. (Half-time Bath 8 – Bridgend 10)

There were frenzied exchanges in the second half and Banks stood up well in defence. Bath were playing well: “Blanning sent out in capital fashion and the ball travelled via Anderson, Gerrard and Williams to Hancock, who romped home in the corner. Sampson kicked a great goal.” Bridgend were the next to score when Gwyn Smith took an inside pass. Chilcott got his third goal, and the Welshmen were two points ahead.

“Then Anderson shone in a fine run, and the forwards, having caught the fever, saved the game with a brilliant rush.

There was capital passing among the forwards and Thomas, the last to receive, went for the line in real earnest to give Bath the lead.

Sampson could not goal, but Bath had a one point lead. Excitement, if you like, and five minutes to go.

There was no further score.”

The Welshmen were young, keen and clever. Bath had done extremely well to win. Overall, it was one of the best exhibitions of Rugby, ever staged on the Rec.

 

17/10/1931

v Bristol, Away, Won 13-11. (2gl, 1t to 1gl, 2 t’s) Team:- R Banks, A E Merritt, R A Gerrard, S Williams, W E Hancock, A E Anderson, T Blanning, M V Shaw, L T Seal, D Wilson, N W Matthews, R G Sampson, D Thomas, L S Tanner, E J Eastcott. Attendance 7000+.

Crichton-Miller had been selected for London Counties versus the Springboks. News that George Haydon would be leaving the Club, to take up a post in London.

Gerrard’s try was probably the best of the match, but, E J Eastcott (normally the United’s wing three-quarter) playing at wing forward, scored a sensational match winning try. Merrett had scored in great style for Banks to convert, but it was Eastcott who sealed Bath’s win, when he crossed over, following a dribble by Wilson. Banks was on hand to add the vital extras.

“It was Bath’s determination to win which brought them their remarkable success, and Mervyn Shaw and his men are to be heartily congratulated on the splendid result.”

 

24/10/1931

H Slade, A Merrett, S Williams, L St V Powell, W E Hancock, R Northway, T Blanning, M V Shaw, L T Seal, S Weeks, B C Barber, S Shipp, L J Tanner, D Thomas, D Crichton-Miller.

Bath had five players away on Somerset duty, but were three points ahead in as many minutes, when Weeks slotted a neat penalty. The Exciles levelled with a try on the quarter hour.

“Then Bath put a jerk into it.” Slade and Powell showed well in attack. However, it was the Welshmen who scored a converted try 15 minutes into the second half. Bath’s reply was a try by Hancock – too wide out for Weeks to goal. Further drama followed and Weeks succeeded with a penalty when the visitors were penalised. Gratefully, Bath held on to their one point lead. London Welsh had been previously unbeaten. The Bath forwards deserved great credit for the victory.

 

31/10/1931

v Harlequins, Away, Lost 0-19.Team:-R Banks, W E Hancock, S Williams, R A Gerrard, A Merrett, R Northway, T Blanning, N W Matthews, S Weeks, L T Seal, D Wilson, B C Barber, L T Tanner, H W H Considine, D Thomas.

Bath were without Shaw (damaged shoulder) and Crichton-Miller (hand injury), but nevertheless took a strong side to Twickenham. It was difficult to account for their loss of form. Harlequins’ newcomer G C De La Condamine, at scrum-half, was an unknown quantity and played a fine game.

“The fact of the matter was, they could do nothing right. Individually, they were all real workers, but there was a decided lack of team work and little method.”

“Twickenham is a weird kind of place for a club game. There is accommodation for seating 72,000 spectators, and on Saturday there were, I suppose, between 2,000 and 3,000.”

This was the first meeting after a gap of 23 1/2 years. (19/10/1907)

7/11/1931

v Old Paulines, Home, Won 32-3. Team:- R Banks, A Merrett, Dr. G T Petty, S Williams, E J Eastcott, C E Gough, L Handford, NW Matthews, S Weeks, L T Seal (Captain), D Wilson, D Thomas, J Jones, L T Tanner and L W Moore.

‘In Remembrance’ a minute’s silence was observed before the start of the game.

Bath were without Shaw, Gerrard and Hancock, but nevertheless crossed the Old Boys’ line on seven occasions.

Bath tries by Eastcott, Merrett (4), Wilson and Gough. Conversions – Banks and Weeks. ( 2 each)

 

14/11/1931

v Neath, Home, Lost 3-4. Team:- B Dolman, A E Merrett, G T Petty, S Williams, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, D Wilson, L T Seal, J Jones, S Boughton, L W Moore, L J Tanner, D Thomas, P Moon.

Bath were “properly against it” in the absence of Banks, Gerrard, Matthews and Sampson. (County duty) Crichton-Miller and Shaw were still injured. It was B Dolman’s 1st XV debut. It was soon apparent that Bath were being beaten in the tight scrums, but were doing good work in the loose. Neath had difficulty in checking a great rush in which Moore and Wilson were prominent. Bath secured a half-time lead when Moon scored from a forward rush. Neath then exerted a prolonged period of pressure resulting in a fine drop goal from their centre Bevan. This kick proved to be the decider, although Bath were attacking at the finish. Wilson, Moore and Seal were prominent at forward, and the tackling of backs Hancock, Gough, Petty and Williams did much to keep the Welshmen at bay.

Significantly, the Bath line was not crossed.

 

21/11/1931

v Llanelly, Away, Lost 0-16. Team:- R Banks (Capt.), E J Eastcott, L D Wardle, S Williams, W E Hancock, C Gough, W G Handford, L T Seal, D Wilson, L W Moore, J Jones, P Moon, S Shipp, I Brooks, H Davies.

Llanelly ran in four tries and converted two. It was a 1st XV baptism for Harry Davies; he was moved out to do a spell on the wing, when Williams went off injured. Veteran Dai John masterminded most of the Scarlets’ movements outside the scrum. The combination of an ex Wales outside-half and an outstanding pack, was unbeatable.

28/11/1931

R Banks, A Merrett, Dr. G T Petty, LD Wardle, W E Hancock, W G Handford, C E Gough, N W Matthews, (Capt.), D Wilson, J Jones, L W Moore, P Moon, R G Sampson, L T Seal, and D Crichton-Miller.

Bath’s repertoire was a third minute try by Hancock, a drop goal from Wardle and penalty by Banks. Crichton-Miller, Norman Matthews and R Sampson “got into a lot of strenuous play.” The Bath backs gave a generally muddled performance, but took the few chances that were presented.

 

12/12/1931

v Richmond, Home, Won 13-6. Team:- H Buse, E J Eastcott, L D Wardle, G T Petty, A E Merrett, W G Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, J Jones, L W Moore, P Moon, R G Sampson, I Brooks, L T Seal and L J Tanner.

Bath played without Norman Matthews, Gerrard, S Williams, Hancock, Banks and Wilson, who were all on Somerset duty. They nevertheless chalked up a handsome win. On the same day United beat Bournemouth by the same score and the ‘A’s beat Yeovil 21-0. The ‘A’s took 19 players away with them, and the Bath Club Selectors chose from a total player availability of 55!

In the 1st XV game, Sampson scored a penalty, Wardle – a fine drop goal, and tries were secured by Gough and Wardle. Buse gave a fine display at full-back.

 

19/12/1931

v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home, Lost 14 –16. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, L St. V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, S Williams, MV Shaw, P Moon, D Wilson, J Jones, L W Moore, I Brooks, L T Seal, J Broughton.

Bath scores – Banks penalty, tries by Moore, Gough and Hancock. Banks one conversion, one penalty goal. Hancock’s try was a characteristic jump over the opposing full-back Emmerson.

Hancock’s gazelle-like tactics in successive weeks, had earned him the nickname – “Springbok.”

 

26/12/1931

v R Banks, W E Hancock, J Bailey, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, N W Matthews, L W Moore, B C Barber, H Minto, I Brooks, P Moon.

The Boxing Day visit of the old Christ’s College boys, was one of the most popular of the season. With everyone in good spirits, the crowd were treated to a fast and open game, in which there was scarcely a dull moment. A drop goal was kicked by Louis Powell, followed by a try from Moon, converted by Banks. Merrett scored two tries late on. Handford had a busy afternoon and the watching Harry Vowles described him as “the goods.”

 

28/12/1931

v Pontypool, Home, Won 5-3. Team:-H Buse, W E Hancock, J Bailey, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, L W Moore, R G Sampson, N W Matthews.

Bath shaded their Welsh visitors in a hard fought game.

“Fifteen minutes from the start Pontypool found a weak spot in the home defence, Morris getting through finely and giving Bodger a fine pass for him to race from the 25 to score wide out. Baynham could not goal.

Bath scored immediately after. Gough got in a short punt but Bayliss could not gather. The ball was kicked over the line and Bailey simply dived for it to score. Sampson kicked the goal to give Bath the lead.”

 

2/1/1932

v Devonport Services, Home, Won 16-0. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, S Williams, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, P Moon, N W Matthews, L W Moore.

The Bath forwards gradually gained ascendancy, but play was scrappy, and the slippery conditions hampered the outside men. The only first half score came in the twentieth minute, when Merrett followed up well for a touch down. Into the second spell, and Moon dribbled away, rounding Malin for the second score. Then Powell dropped a smart goal following a line out, and almost immediately after Moon employed his dribbling skills for another try. The Services revived briefly, but were unable to catch Merrett, after he was sent away by Powell. Banks failed to convert at all four attempts. It was a deserved win, as the home side adapted well in

wretched conditions. The Bath forwards seemed to revel in the mud and played much better than their heavier opponents.

9/1/1932

v Neath, Away, Lost 3-6: R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, S Williams, W E Hancock, C E Gough, T Blanning, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, I Brooks, B C Barber, N W Matthews, P Moon, L W Moore.

Play commenced in pouring rain and it was agreed to confine the game to 30 minutes each way: “There was scarcely a spectator on the ground.” Bath got off to a terrible start, when Merrett passed back and Banks failed to hold. Trew dribbled over and Neath were three points up in the first minute! Matthews and Hancock did fine work in defence, until: “Neath passed in good style, Trew cutting through well for Gwynn Moore to score in the corner.”

Bath forwards rallied well and a concerted effort saw the whole pack surge over the Neath line. However, the referee ruled adversely and a scrum five was awarded. Neath survived this period of Bath pressure and held the visitors out until well into the second half, when Matthews was able to touch down in the corner.

 

16/1/1932

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-8: R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, E J Eastcott, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, J Jones, I Brooks, B C Barber, L W Moore, P Moon.

Gerrard was away on England duty and S Williams was in the R.A.F. side playing at Bristol. Similarly, Gloucester had Tanner, Saxby and James in Swansea with the England squad. A good number of Bath supporters took advantage of the L.M.S. 12-30 excursion from Green Park Station. Gloucester monopolised possession, but were held in check by stout Bath defence. Hancock was particularly effective in this respect. There were several Bath forays, as the visitors were having the better of the game. However, it was the Gloucester outside half who broke through in fine style, handing on to Parker, who scored in the corner. Boughton kicked a remarkable conversion and Bath found themselves five points down after twenty minutes play. Bath attacked at the re-start, but first Gough missed his pass badly, and then Eastcott wasted an opportunity by passing at Hancock’s feet. Boughton kicked a fine penalty to put Gloucester eight points ahead. It was three minutes from the end before Bath were able to reply with a good try by Norman Matthews, who ran half the length of the field for the closing score.

News comment was that it was a “tame” sort of game, with Gloucester’s rugby only a shade better than the Bath play. The Bath forwards had an off day: “They were beaten at heeling and there was none of those great rushes in the loose which we have come to expect of them.” Banks played a sound game, but both wings were starved of possession.

“The players simply had an off-day-practically every one of them-and perhaps the best thing to do is to forget it.”

 

23/1/1932

v Camborne, Home, Won 14-0. Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L D Wardle, L St. V Powell, W Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, L W Moore, J Jones, P Moon.

Bath put on an excellent display in the first half, but were closed down by the visitors in the second. Gough suffered from a slow service from scrum-half Handford. It was Camborne’s first appearance at Bath.

“BATH GOOD IN THE FIRST HALF”

BUT NOT SO DASHING IN THE SECOND”

“The Cornishmen had a fine pack of forwards, heavy, fast and strong, but Bath continued to have most of the play.”

“After almost perfect handling Hancock received and, easily beating Ford, the full back, scored a rare good try 8 minutes from the start. Banks could not goal”

Hancock was again prominent in attack, but this time, Ford saved the position. Bath continued to play well and a fine passing movement saw Eastcott, Wardle and Handford handle to send Wilson in for a good try. Shortly afterwards, Matthews was gifted a soft try. He got away in a dribble, steered the ball over the line and dived on it to score. Near the finish and Powell sent a long pass to Hancock, who raced over for another, which Banks goaled.

 

30/1/1932

15: H Buse, E J Eastcott, L D Wardle, A E Anderson, J W Jacobs, C E Gough ,W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, D L Midgley, J W Jenkins, S Shipp.

There was a poor crowd, as Argyle were playing Leeds at home.

Bath took a weakened team to Plymouth and lost by five tries to nil. The backs were mainly drawn from the United ranks and it was J W Jacob’s, W Jenkin’s and O L Midgeley’s first outing for the senior side. Matthews, Banks, Hancock and Moon were all down with flu. The Bath backs made many mistakes and the resulting margin was an inevitable consequence. The Bath forwards worked hard throughout and Eastcott was the best of a poor back line.

 

6/2/1932

v Llanelly, Home, Won 5-3: H Buse, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, L St V Powell, E J Eastcott, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, S Weeks, I Brooks, B C Barber, L W Moore, L T Seal, R G Sampson.

Gerrard was the star attraction for a big crowd on the Rec., but Bath were still short of flu victims -Banks, Hancock and Matthews. It was the second half before Ivor Jones scored for the Scarlets, and with a few minutes to go, Jones scored Bath’s try, and Weeks secured the all important conversion.

“The last ten minutes were as exciting as anything we have seen this season. Bath stuck at it and were rewarded when Merrett, coming more into the picture than he had done before in the game, cross kicked with two or three forwards up. There was clearly a chance of a score, but when Moore missed his chance it looked as though once again the movement was going to fritter away.

Happily, Brooks and Jones managed to steer the ball over the line and Jones got touch. It was an easy kick, but we have seen them missed and it was a real tonic for the crowd when Weeks got the goal.”

MATCH STATS.

“The fine afternoon brought out a big crowd and they were well rewarded. The takings were just under £100, included in which were nearly 600 “tuppences” from Bath’s unemployed.

There were 279 from Llanelly on the excursion which ran to Bath at 6s 6d., the return fare. They left here at 11pm, so that Bath shop-keepers must have benefited.”

The admittance concession at 2d, was bestowed by the Bath Club. It proved to be a real boon. In the prevailing circumstances, it was just about all these men could afford.

 

Extract from ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SCARLET (Gareth Hughes): “Another time playing at Bath, the referee did not turn up and Dai Hiddlestone was nominated to take his place. Before the game, Dai came into the team’s changing-room and said, ‘Now boys, I want a good clean game.’ I asked Bryn Howells, the full-back, What’s the matter with Dai?’ Then we realised, that at the time, there was a Bath official standing nearby. As soon as we got out on the pitch, Dai gave voice to his real feelings. ‘Now boys, don’t forget, hit out at everything above the grass!’ I don’t remember the result of the game – or what the players thought of the referee!”

 

13/2/1932

v London Welsh, Away, Won 21-7: R Banks, E J Eastcott, H Buse, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, I Brooks, B C Barber, S Weeks, L W Moore, D L Midgley.

The game was played in front of a moderate crowd, braving bitterly cold weather at Herne Hill.

The Excile’s Jones-Davies dropped a fine goal at their first incursion into the Bath half. Then a Welsh break-down allowed Eascott to get away to feed Powell, who raced up to the defending backs and sent in Moore for a good try. Again, Eastcott and Handford combined to send in Moore for his second touch down. Bath continued to have the best of matters, enabling Midgley to score from an interception. Other try scorers were Powell, and Weeks. Banks succeeded with three conversions. The Exciles staged a late revival when Evans made a grand run, and sent in Gibbons.

 

20/2/1932

v Northampton, Away, Won 18-5.Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, S Watts, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, W G Handford, D Wilson, M V Shaw, S Weeks, I Brooks, B C Barber, L W Moore, N W Matthews, J L Hollister.

A victory by 3 gaols and a try, again said much for an improvement in place kicking performance in recent weeks. Gerrard and Hancock figured in early passing movements, whilst Wardle and Banks kicked well for territory. Bath were monopolising the scrums, and their efforts were rewarded when Wardle sent away Gerrard for the first try, which Weeks converted. Shortly after the re-start, the home full-back fumbled a clearance kick and Merrett scored in a good position. Unfortunately, Weeks failed to gaol. However, he made amends in converting a splendid Hancock try a very few minutes later. Bath were thirteen points up.

Then a Saints forward rush bagged a try for Coley, which Daniels converted.

Bath scored again just afterwards, when Merrett received from Gerrard. Weeks added the extras. It was a well deserved win.

 

27/2/1932

v Exeter, Away, Drawn 6-6: R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, S Williams, A E Merrett, T Blanning, L D Wardle, M V Shaw, S Weeks, J Jones, I Brooks, B C Barber, D Crichton-Miller, F H Hollister,

L W Moore. Crichton-Miller livened up play, in an otherwise dull game. Bath were 0-6 down, when Weeks picked up near the Exeter line and sent Hollister over. Weeks just failed with the kick. The visitors kept up the pressure throughout the second half, both Wardle and Merrett trying for drop goals. It was almost time, when Weeks levelled the scores, with a great kick from the half-way mark

 

5/3/1932

v Bristol, Home, Won 11-6 (1 goal, a try and a penalty to 1try and a penalty) Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, B C Barber, J Brooks, S Weeks, L W Moore and D Crichton-Miller.

Billed as – The Match of the Season.

Bath Chronicle: “Bath deserved their win. They had risen to the occasion and had played with rare dash.”

“A Great Crowd

The weather was splendid and the turf, although dry, could not be called hard. The crowd must have been a record. They started pouring in immediately the gates were opened at 1.45 and there was a continual stream until the start of the game. Naturally there was a big crowd of Bristolians and the ladies were well in evidence. Every seat in the reserved stand had been booked, and the ring seats were well patronised.

It was a real treat to have a fine day for a Bristol match. Last season it simply poured.

An interested spectator was C.J.B. Moneypenny*, the well-known Bath athlete of some 40 years ago.

Five minutes from the start there must have been 8000 present.”

(*Moneypenny – former Bath rugby player)

Admission prices revised up for this derby: Boys 2d; Boys enclosure 4d; unemployed 6d; popular side 1/-; enclosure 1/6; north stand 2/-; ring side 2/-; west stand 2/6; reserved stand 4/-. Gate money amounted to just over £375.

Bath tries from Moore and Gerrard. Weeks Conversion and Penalty Goal. Crichton-Miller played with great dash.

“Gerrard again did more than his share of the work. His try was one of his very best efforts and going as he was it would have taken a good man to have stopped him.”

The game was played in the best of spirit and both sides were heartily congratulated. It was a memorable ‘Double.’

 

A WONDERFUL DAY

Woman’s View of the Bath v Bristol Match.

“A wonderful day, a wonderful game, and a wonderful crowd. These remarks were repeated by hundreds of people who smilingly waited their turn to leave the Recreation Ground, Bath, on Saturday, writes a woman spectator.

I was most interested to see the number of well-known people who were on the ground, some, perhaps, who never come to any other match. Among them I noticed the Mayor of Bath, who was piloted through the crowds by Alderman Colmer, and people were pleased to see his Worship taking a brief respite from his strenuous duties. His smiling “attendant Angel” was not accompanying him, but he was on the ground enjoying every moment of the game.

Our Member, Mr. Loel Guinness, arrived 10 minutes before the match was due to start and walked briskly to his seat.

Lord Dorchester took his place in the ring seats, accompanied by Lady Dorchester, who was looking charming in brown attire.

As upright as ever, Sit Harry Hatt walked along the enclosure, and a few paces in front of him was the genial Alderman Percy Jackman, with Mrs Jackman attired in a seal skin coat.

The Chief Constable (Captain Peel) was also there with his fiancée, and others I noticed were Colonel McWatters, General Molesworth, Major Longrigg, Mr. Edward Bromet, Mr. Fleming Spence (accompanied by his daughter), Miss Doris Witham, and the Rev. D Buchanan, who was in his seat by 1.45p.m.

One does not suggest that the Bath and Bristol match yet resembles Ascot, but it is becoming more marked each year by the presence of a representative and distinguished gathering.

I repeat again, a wonderful day, a wonderful game, and a wonderful crowd.”

 

10/3/1932

v Newport (Thurs.), Away, Lost 0-16. Team:- C Bailey, E J Eastcott, B C Barber, W E Hancock, F Ackroyd (Bristol University), W G Handford, S Watts, M V Shaw, S Weeks, L W Moore, I Brooks, F Hollister,

D Crichton-Miller, J Jones and P Moon. The Usksiders were without their Internationals, who were rested before the coming Saturday’s Wales and Ireland match. Bath sent a depleted side, owing to illnesses and business commitments. Mervyn Shaw was a doubtful starter, due to fluid on the knee, so Harry Davis was on standby, if Shaw was a non starter. In all, Buse, Powell, Wardle, Gough and Matthews were unable to play, which called into question the desirability of playing strong opponents in a Thursday match.

Newport’s ‘Reserves’ were more than a match for the Bath contingent, and were dictating play for most of the game. There was a noticeable period in the second half, when Bath were pinned down in their own half for a full twenty minutes. “Ackroyd and Hancock did a lot of stopping, Eastcott was good, but Moon was obviously out of place on the wing. He would have been much more useful with the forwards.” “Handford and Watts did not combine very well.” Midgley was the best of the Bath forwards.

 

12/3/1932

v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 14-3. Team:- C Bailey, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W G Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, S Weeks, L W Moore, I Brooks, D Wilson, B C Barber and F H Hollister.

Many of the Bath players had a hard game losing at Newport (0-16) midweek.

This prompted Chronicle comment: “It is. I think, being generally agreed that Thursday games are no good to club football, and I shall be among many when I say that I hope they will soon be done away with.

If the Bath v Newport fixture must be retained, and I see no earthly reason why it should – for Newport are no longer the attraction to Bath people that they were – then let us have it on a Saturday.”

Bath tries from Powell, Hancock (2), and Wilson, with Weeks converting Hancock’s second try in great style.

 

19/3/1932

v Devonport Services, Away, Won 16-8. Team:-R Banks, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, L D Wardle, W E Hancock, T Blanning, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, I Brooks, B C Barber, L W Moore, D Wilson, S Weeks, and O L Midgley.

Bath conceded a converted try within three minutes of the start., and the Services went further ahead with a great try by Stephenson. Bath then improved and after a good round of passing, Gough initiated a movement, sending out a long pass for Eastcott to score in the corner. Into the second half: “The game now was full of thrills and fought at a killing pace.” A fine kick ahead by Powell led to Eastcott’s second try, which Weeks converted. Then it was Eastcott’s turn to send in Wardle for another great score, followed by a solo success by Gough. This time Banks goaled.

“All the Bath side did well in the second half to pull the game out of the fire.” Local news reports, and a 2000 crowd, were unanimous in their praise, in that it was one of the best games of the season.

 

26/3/1932

v Northampton, Home, Won 14-6. Team:- R Banks, W Hancock, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, E J Eastcott, F Rhymes, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, S Weeks, I Brooks, L W Moore, D Wilson, F H Hollister and O L Midgley.

Gerrard turned down an invitation to play for the Barbarians, preferring to play for his Club. Overall, it was not an exceptionally brilliant game, but there a few splendid movements. The crowd gave Rhymes a warm welcome upon his return at scrum-half. Gerrard was outstanding behind the scrum, and had a hand in all the tries. Eastcott was not so much in evidence, but Hancock once again proved that, given good ball – he could get the tries. Banks was sound in defence, putting in good tackles and some fine relieving kicks.

Tries by Matthews, Hancock (2), and Gerrard. Weeks one conversion.

 

28/3/1932

v OMT’s, Home , Won 9-3. Team:-R Banks, E A Merrett, S Williams, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, T Blanning, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, D Wilson, L J Tanner, J Jones, L T Seal, L W Moore and G Newton Dunn (Local army player and ex Devonport Services).

The Gate money was under £90.

Bath tries from Williams, Gerrard and Matthews. Referee was Len Corbett of Bristol and England fame.

 

29/3/1932

v Leicester, Home. Won 11-9. Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, F Rhymes, S Williams, M V Shaw, S Weeks, I Brooks, B C Barber, J Jones, O L Midgley, F H Hollister, and R G Sampson.

In bad weather, the gate money was under £40. Leicester arrived having lost to Bristol and beaten Plymouth on their Easter Tour. They fielded an Irish, an English and a Scottish International in Beamish, Barr and Greenlees.

Leicester’s big forwards, adapted to the wet conditions, and worked well in the loose. In the tenth minute, a Tiger’s centre dropped a pass and Gerrard dribbled through, with Midgley in close attendance. The full-back was out of position, and Gerrard dived to touch down and score. Weeks added the extras.

Hancock added a great try before half time: “Hancock’s first try against Leicester was one of the very best that has ever been scored on the Bath ground. It was remarkable that the players concerned held the ball as they did. Williams picked up in the loose and fed Rhymes, Hancock, Powell and Eastcott handled. Gerrard was left out of it, and Hancock took his pass again, to score. It was a movement which would have beaten almost any side.”

(8-0 at half-time)

In the second half, Hancock chalked up a second try for Bath, whilst three tries for Leicester reduced the final margin to two points.

 

2/4/1932

v United Services, Home, Won 29-16. Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, F Rhymes, C E Gough, M V Shaw, S Weeks, D Crichton-Miller, D Wilson, L W Moore, F H Hollister, B C Barber, I Brooks.

Bath tries stemmed from Gerrard, Hancock (2), Barber, Wilson and Banks, with Weeks and Banks converting two each. Bath had won six in a row. It was later confirmed that Crichton-Miller had fractured his cheek-bone. This was extremely bad luck, coming as it had, after a hand fracture earlier in the season. A message from the hospital read: “progressing slowly and painfully.”

A great deal of credit for the continuing success, was attributed to the leadership of Club Captain Mervyn Shaw.

 

ON TOUR

9/4/1932 v Camborne, Away, Lost 8-9. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, S Williams, L St V Powell,

E J Eastcott, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, D Wilson, N H Matthews, I Brooks, B C Barber,

L T Seal, F Hollister, S Weeks.

This was Mervyn Shaw’s 3rd Season, and 100th game for the Club. The referee was W W Wakefield of England fame.

“It was a poor game and Bath played without fire.” Camborne took an early lead with a try by Peters and three minutes later, went further ahead with a penalty awarded against Banks for non release. (half-time 0-6)

Bath improved in the second half when first Hancock and then Powell crossed for tries. Banks converted Powell’s try, and the visitors were ahead. “Bath had all the play towards the end, but something generally went wrong.

Camborne, who were tackling like tigers, scored again and thus won a very tame match.” High kicking and keen following up, had won it for the Cornishmen.

 

11/4/1932 v Newton Abbott, Away, Lost 0-6: R Banks, W E Hancock, S Williams, L St V Powell,

E J Eastcott, W Handford, C Gough, M Shaw, S Weeks, D Wilson, B Barber, I Brooks, L Seal, F Hollister, J Jones.

Rain fell just as the game started, and there were very few spectators. The home side scored a penalty within the first five minutes. Thereafter, both sides tried to play open football, but the conditions were against them. On the few occasions the wings saw the ball, they were well covered by stout Devon defenders. Barber and Shaw were prominent in Bath rushes. However, it was Newton Abbot who scored a try before half-time, when their left wing intercepted a wayward Handford pass, intended for Eastcott.

In the second half, Bath put on a fine display of open play, but still they could not score.

 

“The Bath party were home at 11.25, from what was the most enjoyable tour the club has ever undertaken.

The weather was the only drawback, every kind being experienced, from brilliant sunshine at Porthcurnow on Sunday afternoon, pelting cold rain on Sunday evening, and a blizzard at Penzance yesterday morning before we left.”

 

16/4/1932

v London Irish, Home, Won 28-0. Team:- R Banks, S Williams, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W G Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, D Wilson, S Weeks, B C Barber, J Brooks, L W Moore, L T Seal and N W Matthews.

Bath fielded a very strong side. S Williams was at right wing, which meant that he had played in every position behind the scrum for Bath. The Exciles had difficulty in getting a representative XV, so late in the season. Bath benefited greatly by the return of Gerrard to the side. It was accepted that he was not at his best, having sustained a rib injury in an England game. Nevertheless, his presence had a great uplifting effect on the team.

The first of Bath’s tries was by Brooks after ten minutes play, and scores followed from Williams, Gerrard, Gough, Barber (2), Hancock. Penalty Weeks, and two conversions by Banks.

“Hancock’s try from half-way was perhaps the most spectacular of the lot, the way he slipped inside to beat the full-back being one of his best movements.”

 

19/4/1932 – PLAYERS OF PROMISE

Referring to recent United XV performances, the Chronicle Rugby correspondent had observed the fine form of youngsters Harris, Foster, Stock and the brothers Wilkins. Harris and Foster were still King Edward’s scholars. Harris was a particularly promising player, but was one week short of sixteen, and intending to stay at K.E.S. for another year. Wing-threequarter Leslie Matthews, brother of Norman, and son of the G.W.R. stationmaster was also a player with a future. His father played for the old Avonvale Club at Bathford. Stock and the Wilkins brothers had graduated from Oldfield Old Boys.

 

19/4/1932

v Gloucester, Home. Won 8-3. Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L St. V Powell, S Williams, W E Hancock, W G Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, B C Barber, I Brooks, S Weeks, D Wilson, L T Seal and L W Moore. Referee – Mr. Barry of Cardiff.

Gloucester started in perfect weather in front of a large and appreciative crowd. Both sides threw the ball about in great style. “There were two good full-backs on view, both Boughton and Banks kicking with length and accuracy.

Offsides were pretty numerous, but this was excusable-play was so keen, but perfectly clean.”

Gloucester had the heavier pack: “Bath’s rushing tactics held them, and then the ball went to Powell from Handford and Gough.

Williams took his pass well and sent out to Hancock. The wingman turned inside to beat James, and then cross-kicked over the goal line.

Seal followed up at great speed, beat the Gloucester men in the race for the ball and literally flung himself to get a try.”

Soon after the re-start, Handford was credited with a try after a scrum on the Gloucester line. Weeks kicked a capital goal. Boughton replied with a penalty, when Powell was adjudged off-side. Williams figured prominently in another Bath break, kicking on for Eastcott, who was only just bundled into touch a yard from the Gloucester line.

“It was a very fine game to finish off a successful season.”

FOR THE RECORD

Bath scored 40 gaols, 5 drop goals, 10 penalty goals, and 56 tries.

Their opponents scored 22 goals, 2 drop goals, 9 penalties and 45 tries.

TOP TRY-GETTERS

Hancock 29, Merrett 13, Gerrard 9, Gough 6, Barber, Moore, and Eastcott 5, Matthews and Moon 4, Jones, Thomas, Williams and Wilson 3, Wardle, L St. V Powell 2, Haydon, Bailey, Midgley, Buse, Hollister, Banks, Brooks, Seal and Handford one each.

Forty goals were kicked from 96 tries, the opposition getting 22 out of 67 attempts.

CONVERSIONS:- Banks 19, Weeks 17 and Sampson 4.

In addition there were 10 PENALTY GOALS by Weeks 6, Banks 3 and Sampson one;

and 5 DROP GOALS by Wardle 2, Powell 2 and Merrett 1.

APPEARANCES

FULL-BACKS: – Banks 30, Buse 4, C Bailey 2 and Slade and Dolman once each.

THREEQUARTERS:- Hancock 33, Powell 26, Merrett 23, Eastcott 19, Williams and Gerrard 15, Wardle 7, Petty 4, S Bailey 2 and Anderson, Jacobs, S J Watts. Ackroyd and Moon once each.

HALF-BACKS :- Gough 29, Handford 21, Blanning 8, Williams 5, Rhymes 3, Anderson, Northway and Wardle 2, and Slade, Hutchinson, Merrett and S J Watts once each.

FORWARDS:- Shaw 32, Wilson 31, Barber 28, Brooks 26, Moore 25, Weeks 23, Matthews and Jones 20, Seal 18, Moon 11, Thomas 10, Crichton-Miller, Sampson and Hollister 9, Tanner 8, Midgley 6, Shipp 5, Haydon 3, Grove and Broughton 2, and H Davies, Eastcott, H W Considine, Minto, Jenkins and E Newton Dunn once each.

 

 

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