First Trial. Whites v Colours. Principle selections:-
Whites:- C Bailey, J W Jacobs, H T Buse, L St. V Powell, F S Le M James, T Blanning, L Churchhouse, P A Curtis, R G Sampson, J Jones, S Shipp, J G Mackay, P Moon, H Blackmore, H Davies and H B Deacon.
Colours:- R Banks, A E Merrett, H Dyke, L D Wardle, J H Collins, E J Eastcott, A J Hutchinson, C A Hollindale, S Weeks, T C Hughes, W C Barber, I H Brooks, F Hollister, J Broughton, L W Moore and D Thomas.
Teams changed at the Rec. and were motored to the St. Stephen’s R.F.C. ground at Kensington Meadows. Colours won by 20 points to 14.
(Tuesday K.O. 6.40p.m.) Trial match against a Don Burland’s Bristol XV, the proceeds devoted to funds for the new Stand. Seats were bookable at 2/-. General Admission was 8d., Enclosure 1/2d, North Stand 1/8d, West Stand 2/-. Unemployed admitted for 6d on production of insurance card, and Boys admission 4d.
Bath team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W C Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, D Wilson, P Clothier, B C Barber, I H Brooks, L W Moore, P Moon and F H Hollister.
v Exeter, Home, Won 6-0. Team:-R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W G Handford, D Wilson, M V Shaw, P Clothier, B C Barber, I Brooks, L Hollister, L W Moore, D Thomas.
Exeter missed their rail connection at Bristol and came to Bath in taxis. The ground and surrounds were in beautiful condition and a crowd of over 4000 assembled. As play got under way, Exeter worked especially well to stop Bath’s forward rushes. Fifteen minutes into the game and Gerrard initiated an attack, and Powell fielded his kick ahead, to feed Merrett for the first try. Unfortunately, Banks missed the easiest of kicks. “Just before half-time a mistake by Exeter let Handford dribble over to score, Banks again failing with an easy kick.”
v United Services, Away, Won 21-5. Team:- L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, F Dyke (Bishopston), A E Merrett, C E Gough, W G Handford, M V Shaw, D Wilson, P Clothier, B C Barber, I H Brooks, D Crichton-Miller, L W Moore, F H Hollister. Bath scorers: Hancock, Gerrard, Gough (2), Crichton-Miller. Gerrard kicked three conversions. A very satisfactory win in ideal conditions.
v Neath, Home, Won 19-8: H Buse, E J Eastcott, F J Dyke, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, N T FitzHenry, M V Shaw, S Weeks, J Jones, I Brooks, N W Matthews, D Crichton-Miller, L W Moore, F H Hollister. Chronicle Comment: “It is doubtful if Bath ever played better Rugby than they did against Neath last week, and it is certain that their supporters have never been more pleased, nor more surprised.” “The play of the Bath side on the Rec. will never be forgotten. There was no luck about Bath’s victory. They won handsomely, but I think it will be admitted they were full value for every point they got. Neath had a good side, but they found Bath at the very top of their form.”
Of the five tries, four were obtained by backs, while the first, by Norman Matthews, was of the wing threequarter type. “At any rate Norman raced for the line a la Hancock, and I believe that, had he been opposed by a full-back, he would have jumped for it.” A significant contribution to Bath’s success, was N T FitzHenry’s capital service to Gough. Buse had a great game, making no mistakes throughout.
v Devonport Services, Away, Won 7-6. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, E J Eastcott, N T FitzHenry, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N Matthews, D Wilson, I H Brooks, L W Moore, F Hollister, S Weeks and J G Mackay.
Services scored the tries, but Bath won with a second half penalty from Gerrard and drop goal by Powell from 30 yards out. Bath backs had an ‘off-day.’
v Redruth, Away, Won 10-8: R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, C E Gough, F H Dyke, T Blanning, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, D Wilson, A Weeks, D Mackay, I Brooks, L W Moore, F H Hollister.
Early morning training was on Penzance sands: “An amusing incident occurred when the ball was kicked into the sea and floated out with the tide. Ivor Brooks divested himself of his clothes and swam out to rescue it.
The rest of the morning was spent in a putting competition and a bowls match.”
There was another episode involving ‘four men in a boat’ at Elford Passage on the Sunday. They were somewhat lucky to get back to shore!
As to the match: “Bath were still having the better of things, and after 15 minutes Merrett scored a brilliant try, ‘selling the dummy’ and breaking through the centre. He easily beat Williams and grounded under the posts. Weeks converted.”
“Gerrard got in another fine run, and Matthews carried on. Redruth passed well, but could not break through. So far it was a fast and exciting game. The Bath forwards were doing well, with Wilson prominent.” Then Redruth levelled with a smart, converted try, and early play in the second half favoured the home side and a penalty by Jennings had Redruth ahead 5-8. Finally, brilliant passing ended with Gough dashing over in the corner, for Gerrard to seal a Bath win with a fine kick.
Redruth were previously unbeaten.
v Penzance, Away. Team:- H Buse, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, C E Gough, F H Dyke, T Blanning, D Wilson, M V Shaw, S Weeks, G Mackay, S Shipp, F H Hollister, L W Moore, L D Wardle.
Bath ended the tour in a blaze of glory, beating Penzance 24 points to 5, in glorious sunshine, watched by about 3000 spectators. Bath wrested yet another unbeaten record for the second day in succession.
Gerrard was the first to score, taking an inside pass to touch down wide out. He converted his own try.
“Gough scored a brilliant try after Dyke and Gerrard had handled. He ran strongly, handed off several opponents and cut in to ground under the posts. Gerrard again converted. Into the second half, and Gerrard fed Gough for another fine try, which he duly converted. “Then Gough got in still another fine run, and from good passing Powell dashed over in the corner. Gerrard could not convert, but Bath were well ahead (18-0). Next, Gerrard sent in Gough for his third try and finally, Dyke broke right through in the centre for Mackay to touch down in the corner. Almost on time, Penzance got a consolation try by Penny, which Cogbill converted.
Copies of Bath’s Football Chronicle were available for sale by 7a.m. on Sunday morning. Bath players appreciated this special effort: “and Penzance people wondered how it was we could have our own paper following us about.”
v Old Cranleighans, Home, Lost 9-11. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, C E Gough, F J Dyke, N T Fitzpatrick, P Clothier, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, B C Barber, I Brooks, D Crichton-Miller, D Wilson, F H Hollister. A shock defeat at the hands of the Old Boys.
The Old Boys scored within 8 minutes of the start. They were a good side and were beating Bath in the scrums, while their centres were strong and worrying Bath with their kicking. Then Bath scored when Dyke made an opening for Gerrard, who dashed through in great style, for Powell to send in Merrett. Gerrard just missed his kick at goal. Play was fast and keen, but there were many handling mistakes on both sides. Early in the second half, Cranleighans broke from half way for a brilliant try. Then it was Bath’s turn, and again it was Merrett who followed up Gerrard’s kick to touch down. Merrett scored all three tries.
Crichton-Miller and Brooks were the best of the forwards, and Louis Powell was easily the best of the Bath outsides. Gerrard was too closely marked on this occasion, and shared in his team’s generally subdued performance.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 0-5. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, C E Gough, T Blanning, F J Dyke, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, P T Clothier, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, D Crichton-Miller and F H Hollister.
In a hard fought struggle, Bristol took revenge on Bath in front of 10,000 spectators. Much of the play was confined to the forwards, and there was one fine rush carried on by Gerrard and Crichton-Miller. The last named should have passed to the waiting Merrett, and a fine chance went begging. Powell, Gerrard and Gough showed well, as Bath attacked vigorously, but despite strenuous efforts, there was no score at half time. Bristol’s score came 16 minutes from the interval: “There was a muddle in front of the Bath posts and Barrington picked up to run over and score, this after several Bath men had muddled. Burland kicked the goal and Bath were five points down.” Powell had been briefly off with an ankle problem, then sustained a head injury in the final five minutes of the first half, and the doctor would not permit his return. Bath were therefore without Powell for a run of 50 minutes, and his absences severely disrupted the team effort. Blanning and Dyke combined well, and Gerrard did some excellent tackling: “and saved many an ugly rush.”
The final verdict: “It was a rare, hard game, played in a fine spirit throughout, and enjoyed by one of the biggest crowds that has ever witnessed a Bath and Bristol game.”
v Clifton, Away, Lost 3-14. Team:- R Banks, E J Eastcott, L D Wardle, H Buse, J S Bartlett, J F Dyke, T Blanning, M V Shaw, J Jones, S Weeks, I Brooks, P Curtis, L W Moore, F H Hollister, J Mackay. Owing to County calls, it was practically a United XV that faced Clifton on their Eastfield ground. Clifton had most of the play, taking advantage of the visitors’ blunders. Bath’s solitary try was scored by, winger, J S Bartlett.
v Harlequins, Home, Drawn 6-6. Team:- F J Dyke, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, L St. V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W C Handford, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, P T Clothier, I H Brooks, B C Barber, L W Moore, F H Hollister, D Crichton-Miller.
A miss-field by Dyke gifted Harlequins an early try, but Bath bounced back and were just kept out after Hollister and Shaw dribbled to the visitors’ line. “There was not a lot of brilliant play, the backs of both sides rather overdoing the kicking.” However, the tackling of both sides was of a high order. Then Bath were penalised twice and Chapman succeeded with his second attempt. The visitors were 6 points up. Later, Bath pressed “a hot attack” on the Harlequin’s line and Matthews was credited with a try as a group of forwards bundled over. Mistakes were numerous, until Crichton-Miller led a rush, and in a similar bunching, Merrett got credit for the touch down.
v Llanelly, Away, Lost 3-12. Team:- H Buse, A E Merrett, E J Eastcott, F J Dyke, W E Hancock, C E Gough, W C Handford, S Weeks, M V Shaw, P T Clothier, I Brooks, B C Barber, J Jones, L W Moore, and F H Hollister.
Bath arrived in exceptionally fine weather, with the pitch in perfect condition. They were the first visitors to utilise the new headquarters at the Stradey Park ground. There was certainly an unexpected opener: “Bath forwards broke away for the first time and punted high. Elvet Jones missed the ball altogether and Merrett was up to take the ball on the bound. He beat two men and scored a good try. Dyke could not goal.” Bath were three points up in eight minutes. As the game developed, the Scarlets got into their stride and crossed the Bath line three times, with an added penalty goal. The game had been very keen and there were some hot exchanges between the forwards: “In fact, it was too keen to be pleasant, and the game suffered thereby.” Both sides were depleted with International calls; Llanelly could thank their two halves, Dai John and Bert Jones, for their victory. The Bath forwards deserved the highest praise.
v Old Paulines, Away, Won 6-0. Team:- H Buse, W Hancock, F J Dyke, E J Eastcott, Terry Babington, W C Handford, R Northway, P A Curtis, P Moon, S Weeks, B C Barber, M Fortt, D Crichton-Miller, L Moore, F H Hollister. “The only regular first teamers playing were Hancock, Handford, Barber, Crichton-Miller, Moore and Hollister.”
It was the first visit to the new ground at Thames Ditton. There was a crowd of about 100 when Bath kicked off to monopolised play, in a nonetheless scoreless first half. At resumption, Crichton-Miller and Dyke missed tries by the narrowest of margins as Bath bombarded the Old Boys’ line. Then a round of passing ended with Hancock’s cross-kick and Crichton-Miller touched down under the cross bar for Weeks to goal. Bath’s second try followed from a line-out, when Fortt went over to score.
v Gloucester, Home, Won 3-0. Team:- H Buse, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W C Handford, D Wilson, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, P T Clothier, B C Barber, D Crichton-Miller, L W Moore, F H Hollister.
With both sides at full strength, play was fast and open, but no tries had materialised by the interval. Gloucester opened very strongly at the restart and Bath were hard pressed in defence. Then Clothier, Matthews and Crichton-Miller led a rush, allowing Wilson to fall on the ball for the one and only try of this highly contested encounter. Later, Matthews made a magnificent effort, beating man after man, until overcome by sheer weight of numbers.
“Play behind the scrum, however, was now rarely seen, the game being confined to the forwards.
here great things were happening, so great, indeed, that the referee ordered a minute’s breather.”
Bath had a few anxious moments in the closing stages, but hung on for a memorable victory.
v Moseley, Home, Won 26-3. Team:- H Buse, A E Merrett, L St. V Powell, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W C Handford, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, P T Clothier, B C Barber, L W Moore, F H Hollister, D Wilson, and I H Brooks. Bath started favourites and justified this with tries by Hancock (3), Barber, Merrett and Gerrard, with Gerrard converting four. Moseley’s Hubble scored by way of consolation, but it had been a fine romp for the likes of Hancock and Gerrard.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Won 11-8. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, T Babington, W E Hancock, D M Pickles, N T J FitzHenry, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, P T Clothier, B C Barber, I Brooks, D Crichton-Miller, L W Moore, and D Wilson.
Dennis Pickles and Terry Babington were newcomers to the Rec. faithful. It was an important ‘try-out’ for the Pickles and FitzHenry half-back pairing. The visiting right wing, Haddon-Cove had scored within two minutes, followed by the right wing Hunter minutes later. Blacktop, the full-back goaled and Bath were eight points down. Bath had been slow to respond. Nevertheless, FitzHenry was providing a good service, and eventually, Wilson, Barber and Matthews narrowly failed to get over.
“At last Brooks scored, so tamely that no one seemed to know how he managed it. Bath had carried a scrum just outside the line, the ball was kicked over, and Brooks managed to get to it.” In the second half: “FitzHenry sent out a good pass and the ball travelled to Babington, who ran straight through. He could not get clear however, and when tackled sent out a wide pass to Merrett. The wing man gathered well and raced over to score.” With just five minutes to go, Hancock took a high kick on the bounce, and raced to touch down under the posts, for Banks to goal.
v Swansea, Away Lost 0-10. Team:- R Banks, J S Bartlett, R P Northway, F J Dyke, W E Hancock, T N FitzHenry, D W Pickles, B C Barber (Capt.), I H Brooks, L W Moore, P Moon, M Fortt, T and G Wilkins (Oldfield Old Boys) and A G Smith, F H Hollister, D Crichton-Miller.
Bath sent a sadly depleted side to take on the mighty All Whites. In the event, Bath defended stoutly to keep the home side at bay, with FitzHenry featuring strongly. Playing with the wind, the Bath forwards were doing remarkably well and there was no score by half-time. Five minutes from the restart and Morris dropped a goal for Swansea. The home side continued to press strongly, but there was no way through for their backs. It was left to Swansea forward, Cowling to dribble over for their first try, which was not converted. Another try came for Swansea, but it was impossible to see who was the scorer, there being such a heap of players.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 14-0. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, D W Pickles, W E Hancock, C E Gough, T N FitzHenry, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, P T Clothier, I Brooks, B C Barber, P Moon, L W Moore, T H Hollister. Bath were without Gerrard and Crichton-Miller, both engaged in International trials. The St. Mary’s side included the South African, T J Ostler.
Tries by Clothier, Hancock (2) and FitzHenry, with Banks converting one.
“A great run by Norman Matthews raised a great shout from the crowd and following this the ball came across to Hancock, the left wing, who ran faster and stronger than he had done before in the game and scored a fine try in the corner.”
v Bridgend, Home, Won 16-6. Team:- R Banks, W Hancock, R A Gerrard, T J Dyke, A E Merrett, D W Pickles, T N J FitzHenry, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, I H Brooks, P Clothier, F H Hollister, L W Moore, and P Moon.
Bath started with thirteen men, as neither Hollister nor Dyke had arrived. It was presumed something has happened to them on the road from Bristol! It was just over five minutes into the game, when Pickles received some thirty years out. He beat all opposition with a dummy, and served up a perfect pass for Gerrard to score under the posts, enabling Banks to kick an easy goal. Later, Bath were awarded a penalty try, when Merrett was obstructed. Bath were eight points up. Smart kicking and a follow up yielded a try for Bridgend’s Williams. (A brilliant player) In the second half: “Bath backs, however, were doing better than ever, and Pickles, Gerrard, Hancock and Merrett all did some more running.” However, it was Bridgend who sprang a surprise a quarter hour into the second spell. Their right winger Matthews, snapped up a bouncing ball, and was across the Bath line at great speed. “There was a fine round of passing initiated by FitzHenry, and carried on by Pickles and Gerrard. Both centres passed at the right moment and Merrett just got in at the corner.” It was easily the best movement of the match.
“Another try followed, this time on the other wing. The forwards changed the direction of the attack, and Hancock, receiving a long pass, ran over wide out.”
v Old Blues, Home Won 9-3. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, D W Pickles, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, F J Dyke, W C Handford, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, D Wilson, I Brooks, P T Clothier, T H Hollister, L W Moore, P Moon. Takings £120.
It was a dismal afternoon, but nonetheless, a bright Boxing Day entertainment for a large crowd ‘full of Christmas cheer.’ The Old Boys scored first with a penalty goal. Both packs played tremendously hard, all in the best of spirit, and there was very little quarter given or asked for.”
Bath tries were by Hancock, Dyke and Powell. The touch judge was former stalwart Charlie Carruthers.
v Penarth, Home, Won 3-0. Team:-R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, J S Bartlett, L Matthews, D W Pickles, W G Handford, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, P Moon, I Brooks, P T Clothier, J Jones, L J Tanner, S Shipp.
More Christmas cheer as Bath staged a narrow win over the Cardiff suburb side. Bath’s luck was Penarth’s misfortune, as the game hinged on a last minute penalty, as the Penarth scrumhalf was caught offside. Banks kicked the decider. Bath had won all three holiday games.
v Coventry, Home, Won 11-9. Team:-R Banks, A E Merrett, D W Pickles, R A Gerrard, J S Bartlett, C E Gough, N J FitzHenry, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, P T Clothier, B C Barber, I Brooks, D Wilson, L J Tanner, P Moon
Still in a holiday mood, Bath tries stemmed from Merrett and Bartlett. Gerrard converted one and kicked a penalty. Coventry scored a goal and a drop goal. It was a splendid finish to the old year. “Norman Matthews was again outstanding, with Clothier, Barber and Brooks always up with him in those desperate affairs, while Tanner and Moon, with Shaw and Wilson, kept the pace hot, and well held their own with those sturdy and robust men of Coventry.”
v Richmond, Away, Won 8-5. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St. V Powell, D W Pickles, A E Merrett, C E Gough, A E Neale, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, F H Hollister, B C Barber, I H Brooks, P Moon, D Wilson, L W Moore.
Changing quarters had now been provided by the home side. Previously, their visitors had never relished the facilities of the Richmond Town Public Baths.
Richmond’s forwards were particularly good in the loose, and their backs tackled splendidly. Fifteen minutes from the start, and their efforts were rewarded with a try by Robins, converted by Butterworth, and they held on to their 5-0 lead until half time. On resumption, Bath had more of the play and first Pickles and then Hancock, and then Merrett, were all hauled down just short of the line. Bath’s winning points, stemmed from a long range penalty by Banks, and a kick ahead from Barber which allowed Moore to touch down and Banks to convert. “The football was by no means brilliant.”
v Redruth, Home, Won 8-3. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, D W Pickles, A E Merrett, C E Gough, T N J FitzHenry, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, D Wilson, B C Barber, I Brooks, P Moon, L W Moore, F H Hollister.
Bad line-out marking allowed a Cornish forward dribble, and Richards scored for Redruth. The following play was exceptionally keen between the forwards, and the visitors were “tackling like demons.” Bath were rising to the challenge, and good work by Brookes, Barber, Wilson and FitzHenry ended with a Cornishman off-side, and Banks levelled the score with a penalty.
“Just before the end there was a brilliant run by Hancock. The wing man dribbled into the centre of the field, beating several of the opponents.
Then the home forwards joined in, carrying the ball over the line for Wilson to score, amid great enthusiasm. Banks kicked the goal, so that Bath won in the last two minutes, after a great forward second half.”
v Leicester, Away, Lost 0-11. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St. V Powell, D W Pickles, A E Merrett, N T J FitzHenry, C E Gough, N W Matthews, B C Barber, I H Brooks, L W Moore, S Shipp, P Moon, S Weeks and J Wilkins. An outbreak of ‘Flu’ claimed Shaw, Wilson and Hollister, and Jones, Mackay, Barnett and Tanner could not get away. Bath were beaten by a goal, a try and a penalty gaol. Banks, Pickles and Powell were prominent in defence, otherwise the backs obtained little possession as Tigers’ forwards dominated play. There was one fine round of passing by FitzHenry, Pickles and Hancock which almost led to a try. There were two good runs by Powell, but both times he was brought down short of the line.
The game at Neath was in doubt and some players were uncertain whether to leave their place of work. The latest information was to be posted at the Bath Chronicle Office: “A notice will be posted in the window of the ‘Chronicle and Herald’ office as soon as information is received.”
This and many other games were cancelled, as grounds were bone hard.
v Moseley, Away, Won 17-9: R Banks, W E Hancock, D W Pickles, F J Dyke, J S Bartlett, C E Gough, N T J FitzHenry, M V Shaw, B C Barber, I H Brooks, L W Moore, P Moon, S Shipp, J Jones, and F H Hollister.
“Owing to the claims of Somerset for the County semi-final Bath lacked the services of several players for their visit to the Reddings, but adopting superior tactics they won an attractive game which Moseley at one period seemed to have in hand.
M.V. Shaw the veteran forward, revealed clever leadership, the Bath pack keeping the ball close in the first half when facing a stiff breeze. After the interval the visitors’ backs used the wind cleverly. Their high punting, coupled with fast following up of the forwards put a too severe strain on the none too strong Moseley defence. The brilliant kicking of R.Banks was a feature of the match and gave the visitors a just reward for periods of prolonged pressure. The visitors’ back division proved far superior to the Moseley backs, C E Gough being a stylish fly-half and W E Hancock a dangerous wing three-quarter.” Tries:- Hancock and Dyke, 3 penalties and a conversion by Banks.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 11-5. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, D W Pickles, L St V Powell, A E Merrett, C E Gough, T N J FitzHenry, D Wilson, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, I Brooks, J Jones, P Moon, L W Moore, F H Hollister.
“FitzHenry the scrum half, often appeared to have difficulty in finding Gough, and L Powell, the Bath centre, was often at fault in taking passes. There had really been little brilliance so far behind the scrum by either side. Fifteen minutes from the start the Welsh forwards were penalised at a scrum on their 25 line, and Pickles kicked a great penalty goal for Bath from a very difficult angle.”
Later: Wilson, the forward, managed to get hold midway between half-way and the 25. He ran away, handing-off two would be tacklers, and at the exact moment gave a beautiful pass to Merrett, who gathered well and put on pace to run in and score between the posts. Banks kicked an easy goal, and the interval was sounded with Bath leading by eight points.” In the second spell, the Exciles responded with a goal.
“After some good passing Hancock was brought down a yard from the line after having had a rare jump to get over. Within a minute, however, the same player got possession again and this time, without any jump he scored a great try wide out, having beaten Davies with a swerve. Banks could not goal.”
v Northampton, Home, Won 10-5. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L Matthews, H Dyke, A E Merrett, C E Gough, N T J FitzHenry, N W Matthews, B C Barber, S Shipp, I H Brooks, D Wilson, P Moon, L Moore, and L J Tanner.
A debut try for Les Matthews, who gave a very promising display:
“The play of the Bath backs, however, improved and when a Northampton player kicked hard to Banks, the home full back made off in unorthodox style and after making a lot of ground sent out to Hancock on the wing. This player had a go to get through but when he found it impossible, passed inside to Matthews, who had the passage made easy for him to score.” Banks missed the conversion attempt, but soon made amends with a smart drop-goal, so Bath were leading by seven points. Northampton quickly responded with a try by Stimpson, converted by Ballion. (Half-time 7-5)
Near the end, a smart heel, allowed FitzHenry to find Wilson for a second Bath try.
A home game v Llanelly postponed due to severe weather conditions. The wire from Llanelly read: “Train arrangements cancelled by G.W. Railway. Letter follows.” The Bath Stationmaster advised: “The service from South Wales is in a dreadful mess.”
The Rec. was certainly playable, but the problem was letting players and public know of the cancellation. A notice was posted in the Bath Chronicle & Herald window.
News that the game was off did not appear to have spread so quickly as the earlier advice that the game was on! All was confusion! Crichton-Miller wired: “Presume no game; at any rate, I can not get there.” “At any rate, quite a number got to the Rec. before they were aware of it, and these included players who had come from Bristol, bandsmen and stewards.” Rumours were rife: “Llanelly were stranded at Cardiff” was one version, but in fact, they never left Llanelly. The train was on the platform, the team was ready to board, Supporters had paid their 6/6d return fare, but no one got away, owing to signal failure – a direct result of the South Wales blizzard.
Spectators turned up, only to turn around disappointed.
One can reasonably assume that the nearly pubs had an early increase in trade!
There was a later provision, that if there were any future match postponements, bills would be posted on all the City’s tram cars.
v Bristol, Home, Lost 6-8. Team:- R Banks, J S Bartlett, R A Gerrard, D W Pickles, W E Hancock, N T J FitzHenry, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, I H Brooks, L J Tanner. J Jones, L W Moore, P Moon.
Tucker scored for Bristol in the tenth minute for Burland to goal. Bath’s first half display was rather disappointing, although Gerrard and Hancock featured in fine runs. The Bristol threes were more accurate with their handling and deserved their half-time lead. In the second spell, FitzHenry touched down after a forward rush. (3-5) “Pickles and Gerrard again made ground with strong running, the latter making great efforts to get through, but found numbers too many for him.” Burland’s try improved Bristol’s lead from a kick and chase to the line. Just before the end, some smart following up allowed Moon to score a try, but it proved to be too far out for Pickles to goal. The last few minutes were tremendously exciting. The visitors gave the crowd another shock, as Patten sped away, but Banks was equal to the challenge and brought him down, ten yards out.
“The best play of the whole match was, I think, shown by the Bath forwards, who were simply great in the loose, although there were times when the backing up was not altogether what it might have been.”
“The outstanding man among the Bath backs was Ralph Banks, whose display was well nigh perfect.”
“To Bath -Be advised:-
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself. “
***In the Bristol Evening World, former Bristol stalwart Sam Tucker recalled a game that Bristol won at Bath some years ago by two dropped gaols to two tries, and all against run of play. Along with another match, with a big Bristol score, he recalled his club’s single mindedness in ramming home their perceived superiority over the Bath side.
“That is the beauty of the game between Bath and Bristol. There is no letting up for one single instant. While they are the best of friends off the field, there is no quarter during the progress of the match, and consequently –some of the finer points of the game are never allowed to come out on top, but in the match I am quoting, Pickles Corbett and Quick had a regular field day, and I suppose it was one of the most dazzling displays ever seen between the two sides, and I think it must have been that game that gave a pointer to Bath as to how rugger should be played because ever since then Bath have come on by leaps and bounds, until just now they must be reckoned as one of the leading ten clubs in the country.”
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-17: R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, R A Gerrard, J S Bartlett, C E Gough, N T J FitzHenry, D Wilson, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, H Brooks, J C Mackay, S Shipp, P Moon, J Wilkins.
This was Bath’s heaviest defeat of the season. “Bath have given some poor displays at Gloucester, and Saturday’s was about the poorest, at any rate, for some years.” Gloucester were superior to Bath in every position on the field. “The tackling all through was lamentably weak, and the backs showed no signs of effective attack.” Bath’s forwards were beaten both in and out of the scrums. Gerrard was seldom prominent – perhaps reserving himself for the following week’s International.
v Devonport Services, Home, Lost 13-14. Team:- L St. V Powell, W E Hancock, C E Gough, L Matthews, A E Merrett, R P Northway, H Davies, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, D Wilson, B C Barber, I H Brooks, P Moon, L D Wardle, L J Tanner.
Bath’s first try came when Wardle picked up a loose ball and sent out a long pass for Hancock to speed over. The Services soon replied with a goal to take the lead. Then there were some mistakes by the Bath outside men, and Services forward Ogilvie put them further ahead. Into the second half, and weak tackling allowed a try for Mansfield. Fulljames missed with the kick. (3-11) Further poor defence allowed Walsham to run straight over from the 25 yard line. (3-14) At last Bath revived, when a bright bit of play brought an opening for Hancock. He raced off at top speed until checked by Gay five yards from the line, but Moon was following up to take his pass and scored for Merrett to gaol. Services were rattled for a while, and Davies pounced over close to the scrum. Merrett brought Bath to within one point. There was more inspired play, as Barber raced from half-way, only to be felled just short of the line. There was more splendid running by Hancock and Northway, and the latter just missed with a drop-gaol attempt. It had been a memorable revival, but unfortunately, Bath finished one point down.
v Llanelly (Previously postponed from 25th February), Home, Lost 3-6. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St. V Powell, H Buse, A E Merrett, R P Northway, H Davies, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, B C Barber, J Wilkins, S Shipp, L W Moore, A Francis and L D Wardle.
“Within eight minutes of the start, Bert Jones, the scrum half, obtained the ball from a scrum and went through. Dai John followed him, and taking a short pass, slipped away to dodge Banks and score.
Ivor Jones failed with an easy kick.” Later, a Llanelly forward set up a passing movement with Daniel, enabling right wing E W Jones to score, but again Ivor Jones failed to goal. It was not all Llanelly, and Bath figured in handling movements, but their passing was often wild, enabling the visitors to take advantage of mistakes. (Half-time 0-6)
Hancock was Bath’s scorer, running around Jones at great pace. Towards the finish, it was a great forward struggle: “The Llanelly pack, by far the heavier, came again before the end, but their efforts were only spasmodic, and Bath clearly had the better of the second half, but could not get on terms.”
v London Irish, Home, Lost 5-6. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, L St V Powell, D W Pickles, A E Merrett, L D Wardle, N T J FitzHenry, D Wilson, M V Shaw, P Clothier, B C Barber, T Wilkins, P Moon, L W Moore, L J Tanner.
Bath were just beaten in a well fought game. Unfortunately, this made it five in a row! Bath were without Gerrard (injured), and Gough and N Matthews at Exeter, but Pickles, FitzHenry and Clothier came back, and there was quite a good side out.
The Bath forwards started in great style with Moon and Wilson prominent. The ball was being moved to the backs in promising style. A miss-field by Powell forced Bath to touch down, and from the re-start, an Irish rush yielded a try for Wright. Moon, Barber, Clothier and Hancock showed well, but they could not get clear. (Half-time 0-3)
“The second half was well going on when at last Banks came up to have a hand in the attack.
Gathering midway between the half and the 25 he raced through diagonally and having beaten the Irish threequarters he sent out a long pass to Merrett, who gathered and made no mistake in scoring, having simply to run. Banks kicked a good goal, so Bath had the lead.”
Things seemed to be going Bath’s way until the Irish produced a good passing movement, sending McCarthy over in grand style. “It was easily the best try of the three and was a bit of an eye opener for the Bath men.” Bath tried valiantly, but the combination of stout Irish tackling and Bath’s lack of finishing power, allowed the Exciles to carry the day.
v United Services, Home, Won 22-5: R Banks, W E Hancock, L St. V Powell, R Gerrard, A E Merrett, H Davies, C E Gough, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, J Wilkins, BC Barber, H I Brooks, P Clothier, A Francis (St. Marks), P Moon. Bath displayed an all round improvement in form to win by 2 goals, 1 penalty and 3 tries. The Services played bright open rugby, and were by no means overwhelmed, despite the 5 tries to 1 count. Gerrard had a hand in most of the tries, and Ralph Banks had a grand match. “Bath forwards played with more life than they have been showing lately. B C Barber was again outstanding, with N Matthews, P Clothier and I Brooks often prominent.”
v Newport, Home, Won 12-5: R Banks, A E Merrett, F J Dyke, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, J Wilkins, M V Shaw, J Jones, B C Barber, H Brooks, P Moon, A Francis, N W Matthews. Bath ran in 4 tries to Newport’s 1 on this Thursday evening, in front of a good crowd. “Bath showed brilliant handling, Gough, Gerrard, Dyke and Merrett making a lot of ground.” Play was exciting indeed, for Francis and Jones between them transferred play right to the other end, the former running in great style, and Jones following up to carry on when he had kicked.” After 23 minutes, Bath made good use of the ball, as it travelled via Gough, Dyke and Gerrard to Merrett, who raced for the line in great style. Newport pulled ahead briefly, with a converted try. “It was still good Rugby, and both sides had shown a lot of running, while both full backs had given a fine exhibition of kicking.”
Brooks was soon to score in the second half, after a cross kick from Merrett. Banks again failed to goal.
Then Davies got away, and he passed to Moon and on to Matthews for the try. Bath had all the play at the end, and Matthews crowned a great game with a second try, following good work by Francis, Gerrard, Hancock, Dyke and Gough. Schoolmaster, Harry Davies was proving to be a great success at scrum half. “Bath has a great forward in B C Barber, from whom, on his form just now, we may expect great things next season. He does not always get the best of luck, but I do not know that he wants it. He missed winning the Llanelly match by less than a yard; he had another great run on Saturday, and was as good as any forward on the field on Thursday.” A Francis, from St. Marks, had his best game for the Club.
v Exeter, Away, Lost 3-6: R Banks, A E Merrett, F J Dyke, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock,C E Gough, H Davies, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, J Wilkins, B C Barber, H I Brooks, P Moon, A Francis, J Jones. Exeter had never been “a happy hunting ground for Bath,” and indeed, they lost their last away match of the season by two tries to one, in very hot conditions. Exeter were first to score wide out. “Exeter forwards were bustling lot and with a lively ball, Bath had difficulty in stopping some of their rushes.” Bath levelled after 20 minutes, when Gerrard chased a lengthy kick ahead to score. Banks hit the upright with a kick from straight in front of the posts. Bath, and particularly, Dyke, were resorting to too much kicking, and Exeter had effectively clinched the game before half time, when Rew beat Banks for their second score.
“Banks brought off a grand run just before the finish, but the end came with Bath once more defeated at Exeter.” Norman Matthews was again the outstanding forward.
v Northampton, Home, Lost 8-12: R Banks, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, F J Dyke, A E Merrett, C E Gough, H Davies, M V Shaw, N W Matthews, B S Barber, H I Brooks, J Wilkins, A Francis, P Moon, R G Hurrell. Another day when the ground needed the Fire Brigade hoses.
“Within five minutes of the start Bath had scored. Norman Matthews kicked high and followed up well with Knott, the visiting full back falling, gathered again and went over to score.” Bath again took advantage of Northampton’s inactivity: “Barber took it and then gave to Moon who easily scored and when Gerrrard goaled Bath were eight points up, after ten minutes play.” “Good play by Matthews and Barber, kept Bath on the attack for some time.” The visitors then staged a revival and Treen scored a good try, after a strong run by Knott. Further Northampton tries followed from King, and Knott. Then, Hancock was singularly unfortunate to have the ball wrenched from him, giving King a clear run for the line for his second score. It was a disappointing result after such a good start, but the big Northampton pack succeeded in wearing the Bath eight down. Shaw suffered from somewhat indifferent passing from Davies.
v Old Merchant Taylors’, Home, Won 5-3: H Buse, E J Eastcott, A E Merrett, R James (S G U Considine’s brother-in-law), W E Hancock, C E Gough, T Blanning, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, J Wilkins, B C Barber, H Brooks, P Moon, R G Hurrell, A Francis.
R A Gerrard and F J Dyke were on the injured list, and Banks was rested for the Leicester game. “Barber soon headed a fine Bath rush and when he brought over Parry, the visiting full back, play was in the visitors’ territory where Bath had a free, but Buse kicked over the line for the visitors to save. Once again Bath were opposed by a heavy pack of forwards, who came away in great style, and Buse did well to pull them up. He dodged two or three and kicked to touch.” Bath’s try came after Eastcott had followed up, and robbed the visiting full back by kicking on, for James to drop on the ball as it went over the line.
Buse kicked a fine goal and Bath were five points up after 20 minutes play. ‘Taylors scored when their forwards initiated a great dribble, and Turnbull followed up to touch down before half time was called.. In strenuous play, Bath forwards performed well to keep the Saints at bay for the second spell – but at times they were very hard pressed.
v Leicester, Home, Won 15-8. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, L St V Powell, H Buse, L G Matthews, H Davies, C E Gough, M V Shaw, T Wilkins, J Wilkins, B C Barber, H J Brooks, J Jones, L W Moore and S Weeks. Bath were not at full strength, as Gerrard, Hancock and Dyke were injured and Norman Matthews, Moon and Francis were not available. Leicester had already defeated Bristol and Plymouth. It was therefore extraordinary that Bath should engineer a win by 3 goals to 1 goal and a penalty. Bath tries were scored by late replacement Les Matthews, Merrett and Gough. Conversions by Weeks (2) and Banks.
“Everybody in the Bath side did well, but I think special praise should be allotted to the forwards, who stuck it so well.” Banks was very sound at full back.
As Leslie Moore remarked: “It was a famous victory.”
Full-backs: R Banks 28, H T Buse 7, L St. V Powell 2 and F J Dyke one game,
Threequarters:- A E Merrett 33, W E Hancock 27, L St. V Powell 23, R A Gerrard 18, D W Pickles 11, F J Dyke 10, J S Bartlett 7, E J Eastcott 6, C E Gough 5, L G Matthews 4, H T Buse 3, T Babington 2, and R P Northway, L D Wardle and R James 1 each.
Half-backs:- C E Gough 24, T J FitzHenry 16, W C Handford 9, F J Dyke and H Handford 9, F J Dyke and H Davies 7, T Blanning 5, R P Northway and D W Pickles 3 each, and A E Neale and L D Wardle 1 each.
Forwards:- M Shaw 34, H I Brooks 33, L W Moore 28, N W Matthews and B C Barber 27, D Wilson and F H Hollister 21, P Moon 20, P Clothier 16, J Jones and J Wilkins 11, S Weeks 9, D Crichton-Miller 8, S Shipp 7, L J Tanner and A Francis 6, J G Mackay 5, L D Wardle and T Wilkins 3, P Curtis and R G Hurrell 2, and D Thomas and A G Smith 1.