v Swansea, Home Won (5 – 3): R Banks, W E Hancock, L S V Powell, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, W C Handford, C E Gough, J Jones, L W Moore, J Wilkins, I H Brooks, R G Hurrell, D Wilson, P Moon, B C Barber.
In dry weather, the pitch had benefited by a drenching by courtesy of the local fire brigade. This first game was well patronised, including a goodly number of lady supporters. The ‘Swans’ back division were a speedy lot, and it was only a last ditch tackle by Banks which downed Folland, after a lightening dash by stand-off Morris. In the fifteenth minute, a dash by Swansea’s Long allowed smart transfer to Glyn Davies for the first try of the season. The kick failed, but the visitors were ahead 3-0. “Bath then scored in curious circumstances. The ball went loose and rebounded from one of the uprights, completely deceiving Bassett, and Jones, who was following up, touched down under the bar. Banks landed the extra two points. The try was the result of fine following up.”
In the second half, Bath had much of the good play: “Gerrard was cheered for a brilliant piece of work in which he beat half a dozen opponents after easing a threatening situation for Bath.”
Swansea excepted strong pressure, no quarter was given and there were walking wounded on both sides. Amid great excitement, Bath were able to hold out until the final, relieving whistle.
“One thing is for certain – it was not brilliant football, although there were several scintillating moments.
v Penzance, Home Won (23 – 5): R Banks, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, R James, A E Merrett, C E Gough, W C Handford, J Jones, M V Shaw, J Wilkins, I Brooks, N W Matthews, D Wilson, B C Barber, P Moon. There were several still on the casualty list from the Swansea game!
The Penzance team’s HQ was the Christopher Hotel. A tour of “the city and its hills” was arranged, and on Monday morning Mr A J Taylor conducted them on a visit to the Roman Baths.
Bath took the lead after a quarter of an hour. Good work by Gerrard led to Brooks transferring the Shaw, who was left to fall over the line. Gerrard goaled. Seven minutes on and Hancock intercepted and ran half the length of the field for a second try, with Banks adding the extras. Bath had a monopoly of possession, but the first half concluded, with the home side failing to make the most of their chances.
The second spell was just 5 minutes old when Moon scored from loose play and Banks converted.
“It was not long before Bath went further ahead, James flashing through the centre in a characteristic run and grounding for Banks to bring off his third conversion.” “Six minutes from the end James came into prominence again with a try similar to his earlier one. The kick at goal looked to be a certainty, but Banks ‘tripped up’ this time.
Just when everybody was saying what a pity it was that Penzance had not scored, they did.
C H Penny obtained it after a movement in which several players participated, and the cheer which greeted it was-well, I have heard less enthusiastic applause when Bath have scored against Bristol..
It was a gesture of sportsmen to a team of sportsmen. Littler, who had played a splendid game at full back, turned the three into five with the last kick of the game.”
v United Services, Away Won (13 – 10): R Banks, J S Bartlett, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, H Davies, C E Gough, J Wilkins, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, I H Brooks, Minto, P Moon, D Wilson, J Jones. Bath’s first away game and a ‘seaside’ victory. It was a close call on train timings, so Bath had luncheon baskets brought aboard at Salisbury station. There was, nevertheless, a delayed start – Bath were late arriving, then a further hold up while a stray dog was chased off the pitch!
“The Services’ forwards were on top in the loose, and kept the visitors penned in their own 25 for some time. Things were looking dangerous for Bath until Gough, Gerrard, and Hancock broke to mid-field.” “Gerrard ,made the opening, punted ahead, and Hancock snapped up the ball and beat Cowgill to the line. Banks brought off a magnificent goal from the touch line.” “Gerrard was again in the picture with a lightening cut through, which nearly brought off another score. A moment later Hancock crossed again practically in the same place.” “Eight points in 16 minutes was not bad going. Near the end of the first half, Forrest scored for the Services and converted his own try. (8-5)
The second spell started with Services showing improved form, but were kept out with resolute defence. “A mid-field tackle had a brilliant conclusion. Hancock took the ball, ran half the length of the field and scored at the flag. Banks, with the best kick of the match goaled.” Right on time, Carter crossed for Services and Forrest converted.
“It was a good, hard game, with Bath just deserving the narrow margin by which they won.”
v Guys Hospital, Home Lost (8 – 10): R Banks, W E Hancock, L S V Powell, F J Dyke, L Matthews, R James, H Davies, M V Shaw, J Jones, D Wilson, J Wilkins, I H Brooks, P Moon, D Crichton-Miller, A Francis. It was the Hospital men’s first visit to the Bath ground.
Bath provided five players for County duty against Yorkshire. The game was poorly attended, about half the stand was full and barely a few dozen spectators on the popular side. Bath’s early performance matched the low key atmosphere, and it was Guys who livened up proceedings with a try by Wright, converted by Hogbin. When Bath threes finally got going: “Powell made the mistake of kicking when a pass was the obvious move.” “Most of the play was uninspiring and was mainly forward.” In contrast to Bath’s wild passing, Guys benefited from accurate handling with a try by Lindsay, again converted by Hogbin. The men away at Taunton – were sadly missed.
In the second spell, Bath were holding their own, and their effort was rewarded when Moon scored after a dribble through alongside Francis. Banks reduced Guys lead to five points. There was further consolation when Davies fed Hancock, who dived in at the corner for a splendid try. There was one final desperate period, when Bath tried to catch up, but there were far too many dropped passes in a disjointed back division.
v Harlequins, Away Lost 9-19. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, L St. V Powell, W H Moncrieffe, H Davies, C E Gough, B C Barber, N W Matthews, M V Shaw, I H Brooks, P Clothier, D Crichton-Miller, P Moon and A Francis. Quins amassed 16 points before Bath could impress. It was left to Bath’s internationals to counter the Harlequins’ efforts. Gerrard landed a penalty from the halfway line and then moved to the outside half position. “The best try of the afternoon came soon after this, Gerrard capping a perfect display of running by diving over wide out. His shot at goal was only a trifle wide. It was an effort which deserved full marks.” “High kicking and good following up by Bath led to another try. Block had failed to gather and Crichton-Miller dribbled on to score near the posts. Banks missed an easy goal.” Harlequins added to Bath’s agony with a late try by Dunkley.
“The home side were superior in every department.” Moncrieffe, ex Bristol, had a good first game.
Played in a near empty Twickenham stadium. “Play had not been particularly exciting, and the comparative silence in which the game was played was almost eerie.”
“Some of the visitors were apparently suffering from stage fright, and needed a bit of time to settle down.”
In the following Chronicle edition:
“A trip to Twickenham is an experience which all rugger folk should have, and those of us who went on Saturday saw the famous enclosure under perfect conditions.
It seemed almost like sacrilege to walk upon the thick and beautifully trimmed carpet of grass! I was told that there had been no shortage of water there, so it had been possible to keep the pitch as it should be.
Those of you who have been up to headquarters for a club match will know what I mean when I speak of the ‘depressing effect.’
You cannot help it on a ground enclosed on three sides by huge stands which swallow up three or four thousand people ‘at a mouthful’, and look around hungrily for 70,000 others to fill the gaps.
There is a very curious echo when the stands are empty. What on the Recreation Ground would be a round of hearty cheering sounds at Twickenham like a distant whisper.
Another strange effect is the way in which the breeze cuts between the stands. Goal-kickers have to be on their guard against this, and possibly it explains why Ralph Banks missed that ‘sitter’ right in front.”
v Rosslyn Park, Home – Won 14 – 10. Team:-R Banks, A E Merrett, W H Moncrieffe, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W C Handford, S Williams, B C Barber (Capt.), N W Matthews, P Clothier, D Crichton-Miller, I H Brooks, T Wilkins, P Moon and J Jones.
FUTILE KICKS AT GOAL
Tries by Moon, Crichton-Miller, Gerrard and Hancock. Banks one conversion. Moon’s try was initiated by Gerrard, who dribbled some 40 yards, with Crichton-Miller and Moon following up. “Gerrard took the kick, but, apparently, kicked the ground before hitting the ball, which travelled only a few yards.”
There was further good play when Merrett ran down the wing and punted ahead. Crichton-Miller was on hand to touch down. Gerrard had a kick at goal but went wide. Then it was William’s turn for a free kick, and he was short and wide. “Bath were awarded another free kick. This one Banks took but he met with no more success than had Gerrard or Williams.” Eventually, Bath gained a one point lead when Gerrard cut through to ground under the posts. This time Banks added the precious extras. Further persistence in attack brought reward through Hancock, who scored at the corner flag, after all the backs had handled.
Chronicle comment: “I’m afraid the science of tackling is apt to be overlooked by many players. They know they have to ‘have a go at a man’ in order to pull him up, but unfortunately, those who know how to do it efficiently are in a minority.
I notice that some clubs and schools have introduced for tackling practice dummy players fashioned on much the same lines as those used for bayonet practice during the war.
These dummies are suspended from a frame and are equipped with arms and legs. They cannot run of course, but they provide an excellent means of teaching players how to clasp an opponent in such a way that he is definitely pulled up.”
v Bristol, Away Won 3-0. Team:- Ralph Banks, L D Wardle, R A Gerrard, W H Moncrieffe, A E Merrett, S Williams, W C Hanford, N W Matthews, B C Barber (Capt .), P T Clothier, D Crichton-Miller, J Jones, S Weeks, I Brooks and Peter Moon. Referee: Mr. A E Freethy.
An estimated crowd of near 10,000 enjoyed “A Terrific Struggle Won by Three Points”
In the first half, Bath’s Handford was carried off with a knee injury and almost immediately afterwards Merrett scored the single try wide out. One man short, Bath continued to fight like Trojans to hold off their neighbours for a fine away victory. In injury time, it looked as if all was lost as Bristol centre Rugg crossed the Bath line. Disastrously for Bristol, he decided to run on in-goal, to get under the posts. Up came Norman Matthews and Peter Moon, who unceremoniously ‘pitchforked’ Rugg over the dead-ball line!
Bristol were relieved of their unbeaten record.
v Moseley, Home Won 14 – 11. Team:- R Banks, C E Gough, W H Moncrieffe, R A Gerrard, L G Matthews, S Williams, A E Merrett, B C Barber, N W Matthews, P Clothier, L H Brooks, S Weeks, D Crichton-Miller, P Moon, J Jones. In a thrilling and absorbing game, Bath beat the midlanders by 1 goal, 3 tries to 1 goal, 2 tries. Despite Bath’s lively start, it was Moseley who opened the scoring with a brilliant touch-line run by Manley, in which he sped past several Bath defenders. It was not long before the visitors were over again. Following loose Bath play, Williams cut straight through and Hill easily converted. A last ditch tackle by Banks, just stopped Manley running in another score. “At no time in the first 20 minutes did Bath look like scoring.” Then, following a relieving touch-line kick by Gough, Gerrard scored in the corner. Gerrard was nursing a bruised ankle, which delayed his return from the re-start. Weeks also returned after treatment, and Bath began to play more strongly.
“The Bath threequarters were having more of the ball now, and some of their handling was quite good, but there was too much ” running round in circles.” Later: A good dribble by several Bath forwards ended with Clothier touching down near the corner flag to put Bath only two points behind.” “This score acted as a great tonic, for Bath scored again almost immediately afterwards.” Merrett gained a lot of ground and Moon dribbled on a loose ball to touch down. Gerrard put Bath in the lead with his conversion. Moon then consolidated Bath’s position with another try.” Moseley rallied at the end for a third try.
v Clifton, Home Won 21 –14. Team:- H T Buse, L G Matthews, G V Wynne Jones, R Banks , W E Hancock, H Davies, C E Gough, B C Barber, I H Brooks, S Weeks, J Jones, P Moon, L W Moore, J Minto, J Oak. (It was G V Wynne Jones first game)
Hancock scored seven minutes from the start, but Clifton were quick to draw level. Following a period of even play, Banks made a nice opening for Moon to slip through unmarked. Banks converted.
In the second half: “Wynne-Jones came into the limelight when he cut through cleverly and punted ahead for Hancock to dribble over and fall on the ball just as he was tackled by Cottell. Banks had no difficulty in converting.” Clifton’s reply was a try by Burrough. Bath countered with a try by Les Matthews, who gathered a wayward kick and dived in at the corner. Then Clifton’s Burrough scored two tries in succession and Neale converted the second of the two. Clifton were now playing the better football, and there was every prospect of an exciting finish. Banks then forced his way over for a great try, which Oak easily converted
v Coventry, Away Won 7 – 0. Team:- H T Buse, A E Merrett, G V Wynne-Jones, F J Dyke, W E Hancock, R Banks, S Williams, B C Barber, L W Moore, I H Brooks, S Weeks, P Moon, J Minto, J Jones, P T Clothier. Attendance 3000.
“Hancock scored for Bath after a great run which ended in a jump over the full back. This try was the outcome of the first real pass that had come to the scorer.
He took a long one from Moon, and in his race along the touch line successfully evaded four opponents.” Buse dropped a magnificent goal, and was the outstanding player on the field.
Banks and Williams worked well as a half-back pairing. The three-quarters performed favourably in patches. “That the game was a hard one was shown by the fact that a number of players on both sides were damaged.”
Local paper: “ Blunders and brilliance, vacillation and vigour, were curiously mixed at Coventry.
The home side especially did much that was wrong, yet even their mistakes helped to keep the game bright.
The sight of a player kicking in the wrong direction or tackling one of his own side saved the proceedings from Monotony.”
v Old Millhillians, Home Won 12 – 5. Team:- H Buse, E J Eastcott, F J Dyke, G V W Jones, L G Matthews, R Banks, J T C Taylor (England Trialist), P T Clothier, J Jones, S Weeks, I H Brooks, J Minto, L W Moore, P Moon, D Crichton-Miller (Capt.) This was Old Millhillians first visit to Bath. On this, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the crowd stood in two minutes Remembrance silence
Eight changes due to County calls. This was a run of six wins. Minto’s try came from a forward rush after 10 minutes of play. The Londoners came back strongly and in their first foray, Buse was on hand with a clearance kick. More pressure on the Bath line and then the Old Boys’ Lawther scored and converted his own try. Bath’s fortunes revived in the second half and persistence was rewarded when Les Matthews went over in the corner, after Banks and Jones had handled. Matthews gave a repeat performance a few minutes later and Bath were nine points ahead. O.M.’s had not attacked constructively since the interval and their misery was compounded when Banks grabbed the ball from a loose scramble and lunged over for the final try.
v Gloucester, Away Lost 8-23. Team:- H Buse, A E Merrett, W H Moncrieffe, G V Wynne-Jones, W Hancock, R Banks, J T C Taylor, B C Barber, J Jones, P T Clothier, L H Brooks, J Minto, D Crichton-Miller, P Moon, N W Matthews.
Bath were vanquished to the tune of 4 goals and a penalty to a goal and a try, as a crowd of 5000 saw Bath come down with a bump “on foreign soil!” Bath scored after G V Wynne-Jones had made the break, passed to Moon, who beat the home full-back and handing to Jones for a clear run in. Banks converted. Merrett added another late on, but there was a margin of fifteen points.
Notes by Mascot:
“Since the game last week I have heard many arguments as to the merits of our victorious opponents, and have been somewhat surprised to hear that some bathonians who saw the match felt that Bath should have won it.
I hope I shall be forgiven if I say quite frankly that that is ‘all bunk.’ Bath certainly played very good football, but Gloucester played better football and won. There is little to be added to that. Gloucester are such an outstandingly good side this season that there is no discredit attaching to Bath ‘going under.’
Unfortunately there are spectators who have what I might call a ‘Bath complex.’
Keen support is an admirable thing, but I cannot understand the type of support (?) which insists on a winning side and makes excuses for every defeat.
After all, the very essence of Rugby Union play is ‘the game’, not the result. We all like to see our own club win, but beyond that, we can (or should) appreciate good football by opponents.
I should be very sorry to see Bath get together a team which could beat anybody easily; it would soon become boring and far from being ‘a game of rugger.”
v Bridgend, Away Lost 0-19.Team:- H Buse, A E Merrett, G V Wynne-Jones, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, J T C Taylor, R Banks, B C Barber, N W Matthews, I H Brooks, J Minto, J Jones, J Wilkins, L W Moore, P Moon. The Bridgend side included forward W J Chilcott. Bath suffered another heavy loss by 2 goals and 3 tries, without reply. They were outplayed by a superior side, which lived up to its reputation as being the second best team in Wales. “The game was as fast as any that Bath have had this season.”
v London Scottish, Home Won 14-11. Team:- R Banks, A E Merrett, G V Wynne-Jones, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, W H Moncrieffe, T J C Taylor, B C Barber, N W Matthews, J Jones, I H Brooks, J Minto, L W Moore, P Moon, J S Wood.
A meagre crowd: “…. the piercing East wind brought out the heaviest overcoats and motor rugs.” The Band entertained the crowd with Scottish airs.
“The spectators who braved the cold were able to keep warm through excitement, the game being one of the fastest and most entertaining seen on the ground this season.”
The Chronicle’s pre-match notes commented: “Each member of the visiting fifteen is to be presented at the interval with a Bath bun and a glass of warm water from the Pump Room-perhaps!”
London Scottish first game v Bath. An open game played at a furious pace. Bath scored 4 tries by Merrett (2), Moncrieffe and Matthews. Gerrard managed one conversion from close to the touch-line.
v Devonport Services, Away Won 13 – 11 Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, G V Wynne- Jones, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, J T C Taylor, W H Moncrieffe, B C Barber, L D Wardle, H Oak, J S Wood, I H Brooks, S Weeks, J Minto, L W Moore.
The hosts did a fine job in minimising frosting, and the local Fire Brigade then spent some hours pumping sea water on to the pitch to soften the turf. By the time Bath arrived, the weather was mild and the ground looked soft and playable.
Bath were soon involved with some enterprising play, but it was the Services who scored a snap try after ten minutes. This was duly converted. Bath seemed to fade away after this reverse, and Devonport’s international forward Webb, took advantage of slack marking at the line out, grabbing the ball, sold a dummy to those around him and dived over “with ridiculous ease.” Bath were eight points down. Then, fine runs by Gerrard and Hancock brought Bath to their opponents’ 25. Hancock tried to jump the full-back, but failed! “However, Hancock got a try a moment later, and Gerrard kicked a fine goal from close to the touch-line. This put more life into the Bath men and rendered the game more entertaining.
To see the forwards plastered with mud, and with mud everywhere, when the ground was reported to be on the hard side was quite unexpected.” Into the second half: “The game was held up temporarily because Oak had an “eye full,” play being resumed when his vision had been restored by the removal of mud.” The game then deteriorated into a forward battle and the mud made it difficult to distinguish respective colours. Gerrard levelled with a free kick, almost immediately countered with a Devonport, unconverted try. “Handling by the Bath ‘threes’ and a punt by Gerrard resulted in the ball going to G V Wynne-Jones, who rolled over to score.” Gerrard kicked a beautiful goal to clinch the game.
v Coventry, Home Lost (3 – 13): R Banks, L D Wardle, G V Wynne-Jones, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, W H Montcrieffe, J T C Taylor, N W Matthews, J Jones, S Weeks, I Brooks, B C Barber, P Moon, J Minto, L W Moore. Bath opened their Christmas festivities with a loss, despite a good start: Bath took the lead after eight minutes, Moore touching down in the corner after handling by Moncrieffe, Gerrard and Merrett.. Gerrard took the goal but was wide.”
“The Bath three-quarters were showing their old fault of keeping too straight a line, so that they had to take their passes practically standing still and were easy marks for the opposing threes.” Coventry secured the game with 2 goals and a penalty. “The game lacked nothing in vigour, and at one stage two ambulance men were on the field at the same time attending to a casualty on each side. The Bath man-Jack Jones-had to be carried off.”
“It was one of the most unconvincing performances that Bath have put up on the “Rec. this season.”
v Old Blues, Home Won 23 – 5. Team:- R Banks, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, R James, A E Merrett, W H Moncrieffe, T J C Taylor, B C Barber, J Jones, N W Matthews, I H Brooks, S Weeks, J Minto, L W Moore, P Moon. The Old Blues sent a weakened side to Bath and suffered in consequence. The final tally being 4 goals and a try to the Christmas hosts and a goal to the visitors. Bath try scorers were:- Gerrard (2), Moncrieffe, Hancock, and Barber. Conversions by Banks (3), and Weeks.
Gerrard had lost some of his speed, following injury, and allowed his opposite centre too much rope. It was probably this doubt over his fitness, which prompted the England selectors to ask him to turn out for Leicester versus the Barbarians, the following Wednesday.
v Bridgend, Home Lost (6 – 10): H T Buse, L D Wardle, R James, J Bailey (Devonport Services), W E Hancock, W H Moncrieffe, E Brown (St. Marks), B C Barber, N W Matthews, J Jones,, I H Brooks, S Weeks, J Minto, L M Moore, A Francis. Bath were without several of their regulars, and the visitors got their “double.”
In a keenly fought game, Bridgend were the victors by a drop goal and a try to a try and a penalty.
Moore was Bath’s first half try scorer and Weeks added a penalty. “It was in doing the unexpected that Bridgend were so dangerous a side.” Bath had attacked hotly, and there were many exciting incidents in the vicinity of the Bridgend line.
v Devonport Services, Home Won 6 – 0. Team:- H T F Buse, E J Eastcott, R James, R Banks, L D Wardle, W H Moncrieffe, J T C Taylor, I H Brooks, J Jones, S Weeks, L Oak, J Wilkins, P Moon, J Minto, L W Moore.
Moon “fell over” for Bath’s first try, Banks kicked a penalty, and Bath were 6 points up in 12 minutes.
Bath managed to complete their double over their Devon rivals despite five away on Somerset County duties. On a rain lashed pitch, and by mutual agreement, play was confined to 30 minutes each way. “The intensity of the rain drove a large number of spectators from the popular stand to the shelter of the north stand.” Forwards seemed to have a strange fascination with one muddy patch on the popular side. “The game was in no way spectacular and consisted of mainly loose forward play.”
“To vary the monotony, one pack or the other occasionally indulged in a rush, the only outcome of which was a save, or the ball going dead.”
v Richmond, Home Lost 6-10: Team:-H T F Buse, W E Hancock, G V Wynne-Jones, R James, A E Merrett, W H Moncrieffe, J T C Taylor, B C Barber, N W Matthews, S Weeks, J Jones, I H Brooks, J Minto, L W Moore, P Moon. Richmond’s first visit for two years.
Richmond scored a converted try within nine minutes, and were living up to their reputation of liking an open game. Bath later got away with a dribble and Hancock crossed in the corner. There was more enterprising play from Richmond and five minutes from the interval, Ford scored and converted his own try. At last, Bath showed some determination, and Weeks landed a very fine penalty from wide out.
BATH’S UNAVAILING ESSAYS
“Needing only one goal to win, Bath put in all they knew and kept Richmond in their 25 for the greater part of five minutes. During this attack, a try seemed imminent when Merrett was dribbling strongly for the line, but he kicked the ball dead.
Richmond eventually got clear with a long kick down the middle of the field, and with barely three minutes to go, Bath appeared to have little chance of saving the game.
Gerrard was absent, playing in England Final trial, where he scored a try.
v Northampton, Home Won 9-5. Team:- H T F Buse, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, W H Moncrieffe, G V Wynne-Jones, C E Gough, H Davies, B C Barber, N W Matthews, J S Wood, S Weeks, P T Clothier, P Moon, J Minto and J Jones.
After a fairly dull opening, Wynne-Jones was able to score wide out. “Weeks’ attempt to convert was a complete flop.” “It was one of the slowest games seen on the ground this season, and there was a remarkable lack of constructive football on both sides.” The first half ended with Bath’s play continuing to deteriorate. In the second half, Northampton countered a Bath attack and R A Palmer dribbled about 50 yards and transferred to his brother, E C Palmer, who touched down. Harris kicked an easy goal and Northampton led 5-3. R A Palmer withdrew shortly after with recurrence of a leg injury. Buse then kicked Bath into an attacking position, but Gerrard just failed with a drop at goal. Bath were awarded a free kick and Gerrard gave Bath a one point lead. Play at last, livened up in the closing stages and Moon made the game safe with Bath’s second unconverted try.
v Leicester, Away Lost 8 – 12. Team:- H T F Buse, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, R James, G V Wynne-Jones, C E Gough, H Davies, J S Wood, J Jones, P T Clothier, B C Barber, S Weeks, N W Matthews, J Minto, L W Moore. Attendance was in the region of 4000. Moncrieffe and Merrett were not available
The very first time the Tigers engaged in a handling movement – they scored. Reed crossed for a snap try. Next, Leicester’s Hewitt obtained a try wide out.
Bath responded when Minto and Matthews dribbled on and Wardle got over in the corner.
“Fine handling by Leicester gave them another try, Adams dropping the ball at the flag.” Again Leicester got away and Hewitt capitalised on clever back play. No conversion. Then it was Bath’s turn to score as Jones chased after Barber’s kick ahead. Minto kicked the first goal of the match.
v Llanelly, Home Won 8-7.Team:- H T Buse, W E Hancock, G V Wynne-Jones, W H Moncrieffe, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, H Davies, J S Wood, J Jones, P T Clothier, B C Barber (Capt.), S Weeks, P Moon, J Minto, I H Brooks.
“There were six Jones’s in the field, including the two in the Bath side. There would have been seven but for the Llanelly scrum half being unable to turn out.”
Chronicle comment “The Llanelly mascot, consisting of a dummy player in a scarlet jersey, was before the start, affixed to one of the posts in front of the north stand.”
A memorable win over a star studded Welsh side. Llanelly were kept at bay with: “amazingly improved marking and tackling.” Playing at outside half: “Gerrard worked amazingly hard and did many brilliant things, although very closely marked.” Moon put Bath on level terms, when he touched down, just on half time. Hancock hurt his shoulder scoring his late try. He had crossed the line wide out and forced his way nearer to the posts. Bath needed the conversion to win. Minto missed, but Llanelly had charged too early. Minto then landed a magnificent kick (without charge), to win a cliff-hanger.
v Northampton, Away Lost 0 – 22. Team:- H T F Buse, L D Wardle, G V Wynne-Jones, W H Moncrieffe, W E Hancock, C E Gough, J T C Taylor, B C Barber, J Jones, J S Wood, P Clothier, S Weeks, J H Brooks, J Minto and P Moon.
Northampton amassed 2 goals, 3 tries and a penalty without reply from Bath. Bath forwards below par and the need for weight in the pack was very evident. Bath were being beaten in the set scrums three times out of four. They fared better in the loose. Gerrard, Matthews and Crichton-Miller were absent.
Bath United had a good win over Portsmouth. There were impressive displays from T R Harris and R A Henson (KES) schoolboys mentioned earlier.
v Old Cranleighans, Home Lost 0 – 7. Team:- H T F Buse, L D Wardle, W H Moncrieffe, G V Wynne-Jones, W E Hancock, R James, J T C Taylor, B C Barber, N W Matthews, J S Wood, P Clothier, P Moon, J Minto, T Wilkins and J Jones.
O.C.’s had two players off injured at one time, and played all the second half with fourteen men.
“Bath had no reason to complain of the extent of their arrears.”
“Bath’s play was not up to standard, and one of the most obvious weaknesses was at stand-off half.”
“Play was inclined to be over-vigorous now, and some of the tackles looked to be unnecessarily robust.”
.”Try as they would, Bath could not start a constructive attacking movement to carry them any great distance.”
v Torquay Athletic, Away Lost 7 – 18. Team:- H Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, W Montcrieffe, L D Wardle, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, N W Matthews, J Jones, J Wilkins, T Wilkins, S Weeks, P Moon, J Minto, D Wilson.
This was Bath’s first visit since September 1928. Torquay scored a try after 15 minutes. Bath responded in the second half, when Wardle gathered cleanly and dropped a beautiful goal to put Bath in the lead. However, the lead was short lived as Torquay finished with a final tally of 3 goals and a try. There was some consolation in that Bath’s late try was undoubtedly the best of the match. It followed a dramatic rally: “After Wardle had nearly crossed, Moncrieffe cut an opening and sent out to Wynne-Jones, who raced over at the corner for the most spectacular try of the afternoon. Minto’s kick only just failed.”
v Bristol, Home Lost 0–12. Team:- H Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, W Montcrieffe, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L Wardle, H Davies, B C Barber, D Wilson, J Jones, P Clothier, J Minto, T Wilkins, S Weeks, L W Moore. Attendance 7000 approx. Bristol scored a goal, a try and a drop goal without reply.
Bath forwards were well and truly eclipsed, being beaten to possession and pushed all backwards in the tight. Gerrard excelled in defence, but along with the remainder of the backs, had little opportunity to attack. Little more can be said – Bath were well and truly whacked!
v Gloucester, Home. Won 13 – 8. Team:- H T F Buse, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, W H Moncrieffe, G V Wynne-Jones, H Davies, L D Wardle, B C Barber, N W Matthews, P Clothier, J Jones, P Moon, J G Mackay, J Minto, T Wilkins. The England selectors had asked Gerrard to stand down; he nevertheless kept involved by running the line for the first time in his career! Bath needed to check their run of defeats, but things started badly: “Bath were driven back in sensational fashion and within a couple of minutes, or less, of the start, the visitors had scored. Wardle missed the ball and Buse, under challenge, tried to pass back to Matthews, but instead Gloucester picked up and Edwards galloped for 40 yards through a defence caught out of position and scored for Watkins to convert.
Bath had been caught napping by the sudden and unexpected offensive, which contained just that element of surprise which is often a factor in successful Rugby.”
“Bath continued to show both aggressiveness and method but they were faced by men in deadly earnest to carry the day, and whose forwards were equal to the stern work, both in the set scrums and in the mauls, and whose outsides had that quality of quick-wittedness which made their passing attractive.
It was thus a hard fight with a spice of a ‘Derby’ spirit to render it different from the ordinary club match.”
After 20 minutes, Bath demonstrated good handling skills and finesse, Wardle serving to Moncrieffe, and the latter to Wynne-Jones, who ‘rollicked’ over in grand style. Wardle missed the kick. Five minutes before half time, Wynne-Jones scored his second try of the afternoon, and this time Buse converted. In turn, Gloucester rallied, and a fine 40 yard run brought a try for Sheppard. (Half time 8-8)
“Mid-way through the second half Bath took the lead with a most spectacular try which started from half-way. Davies, who initiated it, transferred to Merrett, who ran up to the full-back before giving to Hancock, who had a clear run, finally to ground the ball behind the posts.
It was a try in Bath’s best manner, and a try all the way after Davies had given the first pass. Buse’s conversion gave Bath a five points lead, with not much more than a quarter hour to go.”
Bath held out in this spirited encounter.
v Leicester, Home Won 8 – 0. Team:- H T F Buse, W E Buse, W E Hancock, A E Merrett, W H Moncrieffe, G V Wynne-Jones, L D Wardle, H Davies, B C Barber, N W Matthews, J Jones, J G Mackay, J Minto, T Wilkins, P Moon, J S Wood.
“Bath forwards shone in the loose with a determined mixture of dribbling and handling which got the crowd excited.”
“As soon as the second half opened, Bath attacked grimly, and their forwards, in one of the breeziest rushes of the afternoon, carried on with irrepressible spirit for 30 or 40 yards, with Matthews, Barber and Moon well in the van.”
“A brief visit to the Bath half was followed by a great score for Bath.
The movement leading up to it started well in their own territory and was easily the best bit of inspiration of the afternoon.
Moncrieffe began the good work, and after drawing his man, passed to Merrett, who, with a deceptive serve and a nice turn of speed, staved off a tackle to make rapid progress before giving a long pass to Wynne-Jones as he came up to the full-back.
Barr was helpless to intervene, and Wynne-Jones scored wide out.”
Bath were in full cry again, near the finish, when Davies cut a great opening to send away the fleet-footed Moon, who scored under the posts. Buse made no mistake with the conversion opportunity.
It was a magnificent victory for Bath, who had survived an early onslaught from their visitors, and then gained and kept the initiative with an all round team effort.
v Moseley, Away Won 4 – 0. Team:- H Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, N W Matthews, J Jones, S Weeks, J C Mackay, J Wilkins, P Moon, J S Wood, L W Moore. It was Bath’s third win in a row.
“Moseley’ crowded on all sail’ for the opening, which Bath, however, refused to afford.
The next of the visitors to shine was Gerrard, a master of the art of defensive tactics Bath made ground, but Price, who is a clergyman, sent Moseley away again. They continued to put on pressure, trying hard to work their outsides, but Bath’s tackling was the ‘get-your-man-quickly’ order and they never failed..” “Moseley were getting the ball from the scrums, only to be confronted by a defence that pulled down the man with uncompromising accuracy.
“Bath next threw out a challenge on the left flank. The ball veered into the middle and Wardle, seizing a chance 30 yards out, fairly in front of the posts, dropped a goal with a left footed kick.”
(Thurs.) v Neath, Away. Lost 3-20. Team:- H Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, R W James, R A Gerrard, E J Eastcott, L Wardle, H Davies, S Weeks, J Minto, H Davies, A Francis, G Twissell, J S Wood, A Pessell and A H Williams.
A weakened Bath side were beaten by three goals (two of which – penalties) and three tries to a solitary try by Wood.
“The chances that came to Neath were legion, for they got the ball with mechanical regularity from a pack which is regarded as the best anywhere. Weight, youth, balance, and a service of bewildering quickness enabled their outsides to have twenty times as much of the ball as did Bath back division.”
“The preceding play began in our own half with a neat pass by Wardle to Dick James. It was a grand movement. To the fleet-footed Wynne-Jones the ball went, then back to James. It was carried on with a foot rush almost to the line, where Eastcott picked up, transferred to Wood, who rolled over to score. Harry Davies, a greatly improved player, had a last hand in the raid. Gerrard’s kick from long range curled the wrong side of the post.”
“Bath’s tackling was the finest I have seen this season. Gerrard set a wonderful standard in pulling down his man, and the others followed his inspiring example.”
“Wynne-Jones brought off some of the brightest tackling of the evening. A great player is Wynne, who kept Davies out time and again, and made some fine dashes on his own.”
“Up in front Weeks led a forlorn hope with unflagging energy and spirit, and the pack, though outweighted and often pushed yards before the ball came in, kept hanging on, and there was one passage in the second half, lasting ten minutes, when the forwards, so far from refusing to crack up, stuck it so gamely that they were getting the ball quite a lot.”
v United Services, Home Lost 9 – 10. Team:- H Buse, W E Hancock, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, G V Wynne-Jones, L D Wardle, J T C Taylor, N W Matthews, J Jones, J S Wood, S Weeks, I Brooks, J Minto, P Moon, P T Clothier. Bath scored within five minutes of the start when Moon scored after good backing up by the forwards. However, Services took a first half lead with a converted try. The lead swapped when Gerrard kick a good penalty, but Services doubled their tally with another goal. Gerrard completed Bath’s contribution with a second penalty, and in a stirring finish, the Services held on to their slender lead.
“Nothing came off for the home side, who, after taking-so it seemed-their opponents too lightly in the first half-were over-eager, hasty, and even desperate to make up the leeway in the second that they threw out bad passes, fumbled openings, and in short, beat themselves by a combination of unsteadiness and a failure to have a ‘go.'”
v Old Merchant Taylors, Home Won 26–8. Team:- H Buse, J S Bartlett, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, J T C Taylor, N W Matthews, H Oak, S Weeks, I Brooks, J S Wood, J Minto, P Moon and J Wilkins. Bath beat O.M.T.’s by 4 goals and 2 tries to a goal and a try.
Bath tries:- Bartlett (2), Hancock, Wardle, Oak and Taylor. Conversions by Gerrard, Buse (2) and Weeks.
“Bath early on got good service from the scrum, raising the hopes of a crowd in holiday mood but the O.M.T.’s defence countered with gay abandon and were ready and able to seize upon the smallest lapse in order to force the play upfield.” The game included some immensely entertaining rugby, and Bath supporters went away happy.
v Headingley, Home Won 8 – 0. Team:- H Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, J T C Taylor, N W Matthews, H Oak, S Weeks, I Brooks, J Mackay, P Moon, P T Clothier, J Minto. Bath inflicted the only defeat of Headingley’s Easter Tour.
“Hancock crossed in the first half, following an opening by Merrett of commendable artistry, and Oak, late in the game, supplied the other, following up strongly and touching down as the ball went over. Weeks kicked the goal-as brilliant a kick as that of his the previous day. At this stage of the game Bath were an ever- present menace, and their threatenings could not be dissipated by a side which was surely glad to hear the call of time.”
v London Scottish, Away Lost 16 – 20. Team:- E J Eastcott, G V Wynne-Jones, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, J T C Taylor, S Weeks, H Oak, J Wilkins J Mackay, A Francis, J Minto, J S Wood, P Moon. The Exciles staged an unexpected ‘come-back’ to win this game: “Then in an inspired eight minutes-it seemed even less-the home side, pulled the game out of the fire-‘scraped through,’ as one London writer put it. It was, however, from the spectators’ point of view, a great game, because of its varying fortune.”
“It was a memorable game, but in the second half Dame Fortune proved to be entirely of Scottish ancestry!”
Tries by Wynne-Jones, Hancock and Moon. Conversions by Gerrard and Oak. Penalty by Gerrard.
v Newport, Away Lost 3 – 15. Team:- R W James, G V Wynne-Jones, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, J T C Taylor, N W Matthews, H Oak, I H Brooks, S Weeks, J G Mackay, J S Wood, P Moon and J Minto.
It was the 19th encounter, Newport having won 10 and lost 3. Bath’s last successes were in 1925-26 and 1933. “Gerrard tried to open up the game, only to be quickly ‘crashed.” Overall, Bath put up a good fight, and Gerrard’s magnificent penalty, from the half-way line, was scant reward for their efforts.
Newport’s Bill Everson, was in his 305th game, and had a dominating game at full-back and was responsible for six of their points tally. Up to that time, his career figures stood at 108 penalty goals, 6 drop goals, 240 conversions and 2 tries. Formidable opposition indeed!
‘The Argus’ – Match Report (extract):
“Bath were never eclipsed; little was seen of Gerrard, except that he and the other centre were so quick on their men that many of the Newport’s schemes went awry, but in Wardle, Bath had possibly the outstanding figure of the game, for the outside-half’s resourcefulness in defence and clever running were very fine indeed. R W James, the full back, made a couple of almost miraculous saves.”
With the exception of number of Penalty goals, in aggregate terms Bath were outscored by their opponents:-
Top try scorer was W (Bill) Hancock with 17. Followed by Moon 11, Wynne-Jones 8, Gerrard 5, N W Matthews and Merrett 4, J Jones 3, Banks, Moncrieffe, Moore, Oak and Wardle 2, Barber, Clothier, Minto, Shaw, Taylor and Wood one each.
Banks played in 18 matches and headed the list of conversions with 14. Others who added ‘extras’ were:- Gerrard 7, Buse 5, Weeks 3, Oak 2, and Minto 2.
Drop goals:- Wardle 2, Buse 1.
Penalty goals:- Gerrard 7, Weeks 2, Banks 1.
THE ROLL CALL
43 players appeared for the 1st XV:-
Moon 32, Hancock 30, J Jones 29, Minto 28, Brooks 26, Barber, Weeks and Wynne-Jones 24, N Matthews 23, Buse, Gerrard and Merrett 22, Moncrieffe 20, Wardle 19, Banks 18, Clothier and Taylor 16, Moore 15, Davies 14, Wood 13, J Wilkins 11, Gough and James 10, Crichton-Miller and Oak 7, Mackay 6, T Wilkins and Wilson 5, Eastcott, Handford and Shaw 4, Dyke, Powell and S Williams 3, Bartlett 2, Brown, J H Williams, Pessell and Twissell once each.