v Llanelly, Away Lost 3 – 14.Team:- H T F Buse, L G Matthews, C E Gough, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, E J Eastcott, J Wilkins, H Oak, S Weeks, J C Mackay, A Francis, D Wilson, L W Moore, P Moon. Dai John, the Llanelly scrum half, seemed to have discovered the secret of eternal youth. He was the outstanding player on the field, scoring 11 out of the Scarlet’s 14 points. Nevertheless, Llanelly only crossed the Bath line once. Bath’s try was demonstrably the better of the two, stemming from Wardle, who sent Eastcott away, and he cross-kicked beautifully. Moon just failed to gather, but the ball re-bounded off the post and Francis raced in to touch down. John scored a try and dropped two goals.
H. Tanner was at scrum-half: “One of his passes he gave John led to a drop goal, came out like a cannon ball, beautifully accurate.”
“Gerrard was magnificent. He did a couple of men’s work, collected a black eye, and was proud of it.”
Mackay led the pack well, and Les Matthews had a fine game. Gough was effective at centre and Buse did some good work under pressure.
v Llanelly, Home Won 21 – 3. Team:- H T F Buse, Wynne Jones, C Gough, R A Gerrard, J S Bartlett, L Wardle, H Davies, J Wilkins, H Oak, D Wilson, S Weeks, J G Mackay, J Minto, N W Matthews, and P Moon.
Several hundred supporters travelled over from the ‘Tinplate’ town on a 7/- return ticket. Bath had an immediate opportunity to win back the coveted Rag Doll, and they did it in some style. They crossed the Llanelly line 5 times, converting one, and dropped a goal. Llanelly responded with a solitary try. John was again the prime mover in every Llanelly foray, but Buse twice put in try saving tackles. Bath were livelier and more aggressive in front of their home crowd, and Bath’s Davies was in for the first try of the season. A further try followed in the 28th minute when Gerrard gave Wynne-Jones a lovely run-in to the corner. First half tries followed from Gough and Bartlett, but were not converted. In the second spell, Llanelly scrum half Tanner scored from a 5 yard scrum, but again – no conversion. Moon got the final try, and this time Gerrard added the extras. Four minutes later, Buse kicked a beautiful drop-goal for a brilliant victory. Bath had been superior throughout.
v Bedford, Home Won 8 – 3. Team:- H T F Buse, G V Wynne-Jones, C E Gough, R A Gerrard, J S Bartlett, L D Wardle, H Davies, J Wilkins, H Oak, A Weeks, J G Mackay, N W Matthews, D Wilson, B C Barber, P Moon. Bath’s first game versus Bedford.
Tries by Davies and Bartlett, one conversion by Buse. First half played in prolonged thunderstorm, second half in fine calm conditions.
GERRARD WOULDN’T GO OFF
“In this exciting passage Gerrard was hurt, and a couple of ambulance men made a chair of their arms and carried him of, but he had only got a few yards when he jumped down and dashed back into the play.”
v Devonport Services, Away Won 12 – 0. Team:- H T F Buse, A E Merrett, C E Gough, R A Gerrard, W A Hancock, , H Davies, L D Wardle, J Wilkins, H Oak, S Weeks, B C Barber, J C Mackay, N W Matthews, D Wilson, P Moon. A four tries to nil win away from home. Bath scorers were Gerrard (2), Merrett, and finally Hancock. This last score was the pick of the bunch. Merrett had intercepted on Bath’s 25. Hancock and Gough continued the running, and finally passed by to Hancock, who sped over in the corner. Merrett made a good but unsuccessful attempt at goal. The Services were outclassed. Wardle sustained a cracked-rib, but cheery, as ever, moved on with the party into Cornwall.
v Camborne, Away, Won 14-6. Team:- R James, L G Matthews, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, N W Matthews, H Oak, J Wilkins, B C Barber, J Mackay, S Weeks, D Wilson, P Moon. Bath’s win fourth win in a row. Tries:- Moon (2), Hancock and James. Gerrard converted one.
“The game was one of the hardest of the bunch, for the Cornishmen who work in foundries or mines are as tough as the native granite from which they draw their livelihood.”
“…a distinction to beat men of this calibre, the first they have sustained…..”
“Dick James gave an impressive display, kicking a long touch; and his try was a gem. Hancock shone; he has jumped back into form, and had a hand in three of the tries. Gerrard’s genius was noticeable in all he did. His play was a treat to the crowd who were not slow to appreciate it. Leslie Matthews lived up to his reputation; Merrett was forceful and dashing.”
It was not all hard work – after all – they were ‘On Tour.’ The weekend included a trip to Logan Rock (The rocking stone), St. Michael’s Mount and Porthcurno. It took two coaches and ten cars to move the party around, as they were joined by the Penzance Committee and several players.
A story was told that an army officer, with help, had once moved the stone. He had been forced to return it to its original spot, at a cost of several thousand pounds. But then again – tales abound in Cornwall! Some went fishing, others visited nearby resorts in pursuit of their individual pleasures. The evening concluded with a dance. There was ample fun.
“A trip with the Bath club is an education in leg-pulling.” Cyril Bailey was the arch-funmaker.
v Penzance, Away Won 19 – 0. Team:- H T F Buse, L G Matthews, E A Merrett, R A Gerrard, R W James, C E Gough, H Davies, J Wilkins, H Oak, S Weeks, B C Barber, D Wilson, A Francis, L W Moore, H Davies. Bath wound up a successful tour with a win by 2 goals and 3 tries to nil, and a weekend aggregate points total of 45 points to 6. Bath try scorers:- Matthews, Gerrard (2), James, and Barber. Oak converted two. In the second-half, Bath gave a wonderful exhibition of open play, with eleven players handling the ball in one glorious round of passing.
Their Cornish friends were wonderful hosts, and two charabanc loads journeyed to the station for a final send-off: “cheering crowds speeding the party on their homeward way.”
“It was a tour that will live in the memory fore the fine rugby we saw and the outstanding kindness of the Penzance Club.”
A GAME FIT FOR HEROES
v Harlequins, Home Lost 0 – 6. Team:- HTF Buse, G Wynne-Jones, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, S Weeks, H Oak, J Wilkins, B C Barber, J C Mackay, J S Wood, L W Moore, D Wilson. “Today’s torrential rain may have gladdened the hearts of the Waterworks Committee, but it dampened the ardour of Bath Rugby enthusiasts eager to see a fast open game….….”
“The rain teemed down, and while it sent up the stand receipts, it depressed those on the flower-pot stands, where it was only fir for heroes to remain.”
Harlequins played a fast moving game, despite the conditions, and scored a penalty goal and a try. Rather than be put off by the conditions, they appeared to revel in the downpour. Bath’s defence held firm for most of the game, and it was not until the last two minutes, that the home line was crossed. Gerrard was very closely marked, and many of the previous week’s tourists looked to be heavy legged, and possibly, still dreaming of their Cornish fare.
v Rosslyn Park, Home Won 12– 0. Team:- H T F Buse, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, J Wilkins, H Oak, N W Matthews, J C Mackay, S Weeks, J S Wood, D Wilson, P Moon. Bath won by two penalty goals and two tries on another thoroughly wet Saturday afternoon. Gerrard’s penalty put Bath three points ahead in three minutes.
The visitors wilted under hammer-like pressure, and in the fourteenth minute, Gough seized possession and Gerrard was in for a try. Then: “Gough took possession of a loose ball and gave to Gerrard, who, after a glorious ‘dummy,’ in which he left the impression that he was going to cut inside and go over himself, sent out a long pass to Wynne-Jones, who had a clear run in.” Gerrard added a second penalty and Bath had totted up 12 points in 22 minutes. The second half was never dull, and both defences were severely tested, but no further scores ensued.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 3 – 9. Team:- H T F Buse, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, N W Matthews, H Oak, A Weeks, J C Mackay, B C Barber, D Wilson, J S Wood, P Moon. A very large crowd attended this local derby staged at the Memorial Ground. Bristol scored a goal and a drop-goal to Hancock’s try for Bath. Attendance was in the region of 8000.
“The game was far from inspiring. Keeness instead of cleverness was the feature.” Gerrard was the best of the threes, but Wynne-Jones was neglected on the wing. Hancock was again prominent both with running and tackling.
“Two old combatants of other days – Frank Cashnella, of Bath, and Len Corbett, of Bristol – sat together at Bristol on Saturday, and their comments were free and frank.”
The Sports Chronicle listed 19 players who, up to that time, had played for both clubs:- Wynne-Jones, T Babbington, T B Timmins, F J Dyke, N Moore, T White, T Lampiere, H Shewring, O E Hartell, E L Stinchcombe, G G Gregory, F H Holister, T N J FitzHenry, E T Benson, W H Moncrieffe, R G Hurrell, M Shaw, R W Pickles and Dr. Taylor.
Bath’s first fixture with Aldershot Services, Home Won 11-3. Team:- H T F Buse, W E Hancock, C E Gough, R A Gerrard, J S Bartlett, L W Wardle, H Davies, N W Matthews, H Oak, A Weeks, B C Barber, J S Mackay, J S Wood, D Wilson, P Moon.
For the first try: “Gerrard crossed the line and, throwing off the attentions of two opponents, with a clever swerve, and a hand-off, he came in some yards towards the posts before grounding the ball.” For the second try: “Wood and Moon carried on the ball for some distance and, when it became loose again, Barber snapped it up and scored between the posts.”
“Bath crossed the opposition line for the third time. Gerrard took his accustomed part as an opening-maker, and, after a priceless dummy, gave Hancock the coolest of passes. Hancock showed that he has not lost his pace and, after going up to the full-back, cross-kicked. MOON sailed in to make a magnificent pick-up and dived over between the posts. This time OAK added the extra points.”
Bath were in a dominating mood, but a spirited revival by the visitors, made the game thoroughly entertaining to the end.
v Old Alleynians, Home Won 12 – 3. Team:- A Mulholland (R.A.F.), L G Matthews, R W James, C E Gough, G Wynne-Jones, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, P T Clothier, B C Barber, J C Mackay, P Moon, A Phillips, J S Wood. Bath ran in four tries from Wynne-Jones (2), Oak and Les Matthews. “Bath hammered away, the forwards having the pull in the set scrums, and the back division was not afraid to throw the wet ball about.”
“Bath shone in the mauls, while their forwards were superior in the rushes.”
v United Services, Away Lost 10 – 16. Team:- H T F Buse, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, L W Moore, S Weeks, B C Barber, J C Mackay, J S Wood, P Moon. Services won by 2 goals and 2 penalties to 1 drop goal and 2 tries. Determination and weight in the forwards had been a determining factor in recent Services victories. This again proved to be the case. True to custom, a ship’s bell was used to warn the players to be in readiness to quit the dressing rooms. Immediately after the start, Wardle gave a perfect pass, and Gerrard landed a beautifully judged drop-goal. The advantage was short lived, as three minutes later, Forrest improved Service’s position with a penalty. Wynne-Jones then featured in a number of promising attacks, but failed to put advantage to proper account. Weeks put Bath in the lead with a try, only for Harvey to level, and Forrest’s conversion kick put Services ahead. Bath’s fortunes declined when Forrest succeeded with a penalty from half-way. Fasson beat a limping Gerrard to score under the posts and Forrest added the extras. Gerrard had a leg strain, but picked up near the end, kicked ahead and scored a ‘glorious’ try.
Bath worked hard to pull back the arrears, but their rally had come too late.
v Clifton, Away, Lost 3 – 8. Team:- H F T Buse, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, A E Merrett, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, A Weeks, H Oak, T Wilkins, J C Mackay, L W Moore, P T Clothier, J Wilkins, and P Moon. Bath backs were inclined to run laterally, and stout defence allowed Clifton to get on top. The only bright spot was Hancock’s try, as he beat three opponents with great dash.
v Gloucester, Away Lost 0 – 17. Team:- H T F Buse, G Wynne-Jones, C E Gough, R W James, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, S Weeks, H Oak, T Wilkins, B C Barber, J C Mackay, D Wilson, L W Moore, P Moon. Gloucester scored a goal, 3 tries and a penalty without reply.
COME ON GLAWSTER!
With the pitch sodden, ‘tufty’ and ‘bumpy,’ a gruelling game was inevitable. Bath had never won at Kingsholm. All the portents looked bad – and in reality it proved to be so! Bath were without Gerrard who was nursing an injury. The Bath team had arrived an hour early, and whiled away their time playing skittles. At this – they were marginally successful.
Some 5000 of the Shire’s citizens were assembled, and for some reason, the start was delayed. They began a slow hand-clap, as the band found an extra number in their music sheets.
From kick-off: “Gough did some elusive things, but the threes were too closely marked. He and Davies, however, began two bits of thrustfulness, the ‘spear-head’ going first one way and then the other. Gough displayed splendid opportunism. The climax of this movement saw Hancock receive.
He tried to kick across, but the ball struck an opponent. A mixture of enterprising passing and judicious kicking kept Gloucester in their own half and on tenterhooks. Some erratic kicking did not help the home XV. Bath played grandly at this stage.”
Into the second half, and thick fog was descending upon the Gloucester faithful. The call was: “Come on Glawster!” They did not like it at all when, after a scramble, one of the home side got over, but the referee called them back for a knock-on at the 10 yards line.”
Near the end, there was a dramatic ‘swing of the pendulum.’ “It was swift and unexpected, those five minutes settles the issue. Gloucester threw the ball about in gay abandon and Bath were played out of the game.
The Chronicle correspondent, described it as: “a stirring and enjoyable encounter.”
v London Welsh, Home Won 17 – 0. Team:- H T F Buse, A E Merrett, R W James, R A Gerrard, L G Matthews, C E Gough, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, L W Moore, T Wilkins, P Moon, B C Barber, J S Wood.
“Bath outplayed London Welsh on the Recreation Ground, and beat them by a clear goal and four tries. The home side were in exuberant and exhilarating form, and never allowed the Londoners to get into their stride.
The margin by no means flattered them, and could well have been much larger. Gerrard was the mainspring of the Bath attack, which crossed the visitors’ line five times through Gough, Merrett, Wilson, Davies and Moore, with one being converted by Weeks.
v London Scottish, Away Lost 0 – 22: H F T Buse, W E G Hancock, A E Merrett, R W James, L G Matthews, C E Gough, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, B C Barber, L W Moore, P Moon, T Wilkins, J S Wood.
“Bath’s backs were outclassed at Richmond, where London Scottish beat the visitors by 2 goals and 4 tries without reply.
An observer said he came away with the impression that the Scottish on that form would have beaten any team in the country. They crossed Bath’s line three times in each half and cut Bath’s defence to pieces. Gerrard was badly missed.”
v Moseley, Home Won 3 – 0: H F T Buse, G Wynne- Jones, L G Matthews, R W James, L D Wardle, C E Gough, H Davies, A Weeks, H Oak, D Wilson, L W Moore, T Wilkins, L Phillips, B C Barber, P Wood.
“In a tough dour struggle on the Recreation Ground, Bath just managed to beat Midlanders Moseley by a try scored in the second half by winger Les Matthews. Bath had most of the play, but did not make best use of their chances, and the visitors played for almost 45 minutes without centre three-quarter Price, who had to retire with a cut head suffered in a loose scrum.
Price, a clergyman, preached three sermons in his parish. The Bath backs were far from impressive, but forward they were superior in the tight and loose.”
v Northampton, Away Lost 8 – 24. Team:- N Mulholland, G Wynne-Jones, L D Wardle, G C Foster, E Dicks, C E Gough, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, J Jones, L Phillips, B C Barber, P Moon, H Davies, A Francis. Bath took a weakened side to Franklin’s Gardens. They played much better than the scoreline suggests and were only 8-11 down at the interval; they then suffered from the loss of hooker, Oak. Wardle got the try which was converted by J Jones. Jones also got the penalty.
G C Foster’s 1st XV debut.
v Camborne, Home Won 3 – 0. Team:- R A Gerrard, G Wynne-Jones, L G Matthews, R A James, A E Merrett, C E Gough, H Davies, T Wilkins, J Jones, A Weeks, A Francis, J Minto, P Moon, B C Barber, J S Wood. The game was well attended, by a crowd who could forget their Christmas shopping, and enjoy a hard and heavy game of rugby.
GERRARD ON TRIAL
At the request of the England Selectors, Gerrard played at full-back. He attempted a drop-kick from the half way line and a later penalty attempt fell short. “Gerrard’s touch finding soon improved in length, and one hereabouts gained a lot of ground, but although Bath got the ball from the ensuing line-out, the passing broke down in the middle and spoilt a guilt-edged chance. “One of the best touches of the afternoon by Gerrard, won a heap of ground.” Unfortunately, Bath’s movements fizzled out, being too orthodox in nature, and therefore – easily marked. There was a brighter effort by the ‘threes’ which allowed Gerrard to break away on the right wing, but the kick on was not properly anticipated.
At last, a flash of genius: “It happened like lightening, changing the fortunes of the game in a trice.
The forwards, with the ball at their feet, with Weeks, in the van and Moon in attendance, covered 30 yards before serious obstacles began to present themselves.
Then Davies quick-wittedly picked up and gave to James. He ran straight and true, passed to Matthews under challenge and the latter tipped the leather over to Wynne-Jones, whose speedy burst got the opposition on the wrong leg.
He ran up to Boase and an astute pass to Matthews enabled the right centre to crash over for as stirring a try as one could wish to see. Gerrard’s kick from wide out was unsuccessful.”
“Matthews, Wynne-Jones and James, as well as the ever active Gerrard, took part in further thrusting movements, which were far more convincing than most of them hitherto.”
Bath won, but it was a bit of a struggle.
“Go on playing at full-back” was the advice of C N Lowe, the English selector……”
v Old Blues, Home Won 6 – 0. Team:- R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, R W James, L G Matthews, W E Hancock, C E Gough, H Davies, A Weeks, H Oak, M Fortt, J S Wood, A Ash, P T Clothier, L W Moore, P Moon. The two try margin, under-estimated Bath’s superiority, in this well-spiced holiday fare. Matthews and Moore scored Bath’s tries in the first half. Gerrard put in another competent performance: “His gathering was superb, his kicking thorough, and if you want a stopper Gerrard is your man. A pity Bath cannot muster 14 others with his rush preventing ability, never mind anything else. What Bath, however, may gain in defence, it loses in thrustfulness by his absence from the three-quarter line. The best approach I have seen to the Gerrard role in the back division is Matthews. The spectators must have been struck by his play. He has real striking power in attack, and first rate anticipation in defence.
He has that great asset – intelligence by which I mean the power to do things a trifle before the next fellow “
v Neath, Home Lost 3 – 13. Team:- R A Gerrard, L D Wardle, R W James, L G Matthews, G Foster, C E Gough, H Davies, T Wilkins, H Oak, A Weeks, M Fortt, J Phillips, A Francis, J Minto, P T Clothier. “The home side found progress difficult, however, Neath exhibiting some of the best team work seen on the ground this season, while their covering was unfailing.” Neath attacked in a most determined fashion, forcing Bath to be pre-occupied in defence. An ‘all-blacks’ goal was inevitable. Weeks reduced the arrears with a penalty, but first, Glyn Davies and then Glyn Daniels, put the visitors well ahead with tries, the last of which Davies converted. It had been an afternoon of determined, exciting and entertaining football – a thrilling struggle in the mire. Both sides ended up as ‘all-browns!’
UPS AND DOWNS
v Bridgend, Home Won 5 – 3. Team:- R A Gerrard, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, L G Matthews, L D Wardle, C E Gough, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, M Fortt, B C Barber, P Moon, J S Wood, P T Clothier. More rain fell on an already churned-up pitch, and the Avon was rising ominously. “Mud was by no means lacking.” Bath attacked from the whistle forcing a touch-down, and with a magnificent kick, Gerrard drove the opposition yards back from the re-start. There were exciting passages of play, with Bath excelling in passing movements. Bath’s try came right on half time, initiated and finished off by Moon, for Weeks to crown with extras. Bridgend responded in the second spell, with an unconverted try by Glen Harris. The game was played out in ‘see-saw’ order – the game going up and down the field, with marginally more ‘ups’ in Bath’s favour, than ‘downs’ to their disadvantage. Finally, mud was the great leveller.
v Richmond, Away Lost 9 – 11. Team:- P Moon, G Foster, R W James, L G Matthews, L D Wardle, C E Gough, K Parfitt, D Wilson H Oak, N W Matthews, B C Barber, A Weeks, P T Clothier, J S Wood, L Phillips. Richmond won by a goal, a try and a penalty to a goal and a drop goal. Bath played one of the strongest teams, without Gerrard, Buse, Dai Davies or Wynne-Jones. Bath travelled with faint hopes of success. Richmond were the first to score, but Bath fought on and Gough scored after dribbling for 30 yards, and Oak converted. This inspired the visitors to greater efforts and Norman Matthews figured in a smart run. Right on the interval, Matthews gathered a kick, passed to James, who dropped a goal. (Half-time 9-3 to Bath) In the second half, Ashford narrowed the margin with a penalty; Irish scored a somewhat fortuitous try and Bath were suddenly two points behind, and unlucky to lose on the run of play.
v Northampton, Home Lost 3 – 8. Team:- H F T Buse, L D Wardle, R W James, R A Gerrard, L G Matthews, C E Gough, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, J S Wood, B C Barber, P T Clothier, N W Matthews, P Moon. A Star-studded Northampton scored a goal and a penalty, but Bath could only respond with Gerrard’s second half penalty. With the England Trial out of the way, Gerrard was back in his favoured position at centre.
“Bath followed with a workmanlike forward attack, which went to Northampton’s end, but their good work was undone by indifferent work from the backs. Too much leaving it to the other fellow.”
Northampton were robust in attack, with cleverly contrived handling by their ‘threes.’ Their tackling was deadly, and in these respects, the Saints had the edge.
v Leicester, Home, Won 12 – 0. Team: H T F Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, N W Matthews, H Oak, D Wilson, J S Wood, A Weeks, P Moon, B C Barber, J Jones. Attendance 3000.
A dashing performance from Bath, with tries by Hancock (2), Wood and Gerrard.
“Leicester were very small fry indeed at Bath.” “It was a grand bit of passing and inter-passing by James, Leslie Matthews and Gerrard that saw the international hurtle over for an exhilarating try.”
“Bath gave the Midlanders’ defence no rest, the forwards doing their work splendidly and the backs, thanks to Gerrard’s return, showing a thrustfulness which was needed to turn the side into the striking force it should be.
The Tigers were unable to get going against a continuous and varied attack…”
The Tigers were never in the hunt!
v Moseley, Away, Won 14 – 3.Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, S Weeks, B C Barber, J Jones, P Moon, N W Matthews, P T Clothier. In the early stages, play was pretty even, with few sparkling movements, because of a high wind and muddy conditions. Much of the play resorted to a ‘foot-slog.’
However, Moseley did get a fine try in the 26th minute after Perry’s strong touch-line run.
He accelerated past three defenders, who were unable to lay a hand on him. Thereafter, Gerrard levelled with a penalty, and fresh zeal brought a tries for Barber and Wardle. An excellent all round performance was crowned, just on full-time, with a try by Moon, which Oak converted.
v Bedford, Away, Lost 3 – 11. Team:- H F T Buse, R W James, L G Matthews, G Foster, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, J G Mackay, B C Barber, N W Matthews, J Minto, P Moon. The climatic conditions were bleak and wintry and there had been a heavy overnight frost. The ground was hard underneath, but slippery on top. Bath missed Gerrard. Their line was crossed three times, with one converted. In reply, Norman Matthews dived over for a consolation try in the dying minutes. “Bath should not have lost by 8 points. The game was all in their favour in the first half, and they should have pressed home their advantage with more thrustfulness.”
v Gloucester, Home, Won 3 – 0. Team:- H F T Buse, G Wynne-Jones, R W James, L G Matthews, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, J Jones, A Francis, N W Matthews, B C Barber, P Moon. Played in a boisterous ‘Derby’ atmosphere. Oh what joy to beat Gloucester! Albeit on the Rec., and by only by three points. But a win was a win, and Bath had to fight hard against a formidable Gloucester pack to achieve it. A swirling wind and rain squalls reduced the game to ‘Kick and Rush’ conditions, as the ball became as slippery as glass. A succession and variety of kicks were unsuccessful. At last, an effective touch-kick took Bath to within striking range, and Wilson skated over, with a combination of quick thinking and a burst of speed. Given the conditions, it was too much to expect Oak to convert. “The crowd was raised to great excitement by the raid after raid with which Bath hammered the opposition.” Buse deserved special commendation for the manner in which he coped with the conditions. Bath quit the field of play, as worthy winners.
v Bridgend, Away, Lost 5 – 6. Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, A Weeks, H Oak, N W Matthews, A Francis, J S Wood, P Moon, J Jones, L Phillips. Bath again strove for that elusive victory in Wales. They lost by a margin of one, but Bridgend scored two tries to their goal. Bath actually held the lead when Norman Matthews dived over in the 18th minute. “It was a hard and strenuous game, chiefly between the forwards…….and there was an abundance of good, sound stopping and tackling to whet the appetites of a fairly large crowd.”
“It was a fine effort, and Bath came as near winning in Wales as they have ever done.”
v Bristol, Home, Drawn 0 – 0. Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, J Jones, J S Wood, B C Barber, N W Matthews, P Moon. A very large and enthusiastic crowd gathered for the annual clash on the Rec. Strangely, the extra seating erected for the following week’s County match was not fully utilised. (i.e. not sat upon.) “Folk like their own ‘pitches,’ whether it means sitting or standing.”
A Mascot had been placed on one of the goal posts as a reminder of the local rivalry which had been contested on 98 previous occasions.
“Bath were in an aggressive mood, every player putting all he knew into the game, and Bristol having a like intention, the game was an exciting and fierce affair.” “The fight, however, was mainly with the forwards.”
“One of the most thrilling passages of the afternoon occurred with only two or three minutes to go.
Wardle broke away on the left and, in a 45 yards’ run, first diagonally and then straightened out, he had the defence beaten to a frazzle – on the wrong leg and helpless.
Just as he went over the line he was tackled from behind, but, nevertheless, he looked as if he had scored.
Anyhow, that was my impression with a back view from the stand.
By the way the crowd cheered most people were of the same mind, but the referee thought otherwise, presumably because the ball was never touched down properly.
The decision was not a popular one, and unfortunately there was some booing – not the sort of thing you expect to hear on the Rec.”
The referee was none other than, W Wavell Wakefield, the former England Captain. “Wakers” was on the spot and was quite positive that the ball had not been properly grounded..
v Neath, Away, Lost 5 – 11. Team:- S Archard, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, G Foster, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A P Francis, L W Moore, J S Wood, H Davies, B C Barber, A Ash. Forward, H Davies scored Bath’s try, which was converted by Harry Oak. Neath had the usual strong pack, including, soon to be capped, D L Thomas and H Thomas.
v Blackheath, Home, Lost 8 – 13. Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H L Oak, S Weeks, J B Jones, J S Wood,
P Moon, B C Barber, A Francis. The Londoners sent a particularly strong side. Bath were well represented, but without the valuable services of Norman Matthews. Attendance was severely effected by more rain, and a company of about 600 to 700 clustered together in stand. Play was end to end, and Gerrard, Hancock, Leslie Matthews and Wardle figured well in open play. Wardle made a fine run in support of Gerrard, and Matthews set the seal running in a splendid try at the corner, which was grandly converted by Gerrard. Blackheath responded with a try by Brandram, and the sides changed ends with Bath leading 5-3.
BACK AND FORE
In the second half there was a brilliant movement involving the Bath backs and Gerrard warmed up the crowd with a glorious try. The game continued: “from end to end in fine style – full of incident and thrills galore.” Then Blackheath’s Black scored a try, Kemp added another and Black was back to add the conversion. Bath played the game out in robust style, but were not able to add to their score.
OPEN YERS EYES REF!
Certain of the referees decisions had displeased a section of the crowd, and he left the field amid some booing. “Purely as a precaution, a police officer walked with him to the dressing room. An excitable young woman spectator raised an umbrella as though intending to hit Mr. Llewellyn, but actually no blow was struck.
At no time was the referee molested, as one version of the rumours alleged; neither was there a ‘scrap’ between spectators.
The whole affair was quickly over, and amounted to no more than an ‘incident,’ such as often occurs on sports grounds after an exciting match.
During the game there was some booing and sardonic cheering, due to one or two decisions of the referee which did not find favour.
One was the disallowing of a try by Leslie Matthews on the ground that he had first struck the corner flag.
We understand that the flag was actually struck by the man who tackled Matthews. A photograph appears elsewhere.”
v Devonport Services, Home, Won 8 – 5. Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, L Phillips, J S Wood, J B Jones, D Francis, B C Barber, P Moon. Bath earned their double over the Services. Ten minutes in, and Gerrard scored a brilliant try. He had somehow cut out an opening, and was through the middle with a lightening break, He exchanged the ball with Hancock, who took it in full stride, drew the last line of defence, and returned the ball for his captain to cruise over unopposed. Oak failed to convert. Next Davies, broke to the blindside to again Hancock was away. The left winger varied his tactics by cross-kicking towards Moon who won the race for the touchdown. Gerrard converted and Bath were 8 points up within 20 minutes. The second half was more evenly contested. Bath manufactured an exhibition of
fine flowing rugby, and were unlucky not to crown their team effort with further scores. Five minutes from the end, Services merited their score by Attwood, when Bath were caught napping. Knapman’s conversion completed the scoring.
“Bath were a good, level lot, with Gerrard and Hancock the most dangerous.”
v Leicester, Away, Lost 6 – 11. Team:- H F T Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H L Oak, A P Francis, J S Wood, L W Moore, J B Jones, B C Barber, P Moon. Bath scores:- Hancock try, and Gerrard a penalty. Leicester’s response was two tries by wingman , Charles, a try by Vallance, and a conversion by Buckingham. Leicester had a fine international partnership in Gadney and Slow, and fellow internationals, R J Barr at full-back, and J Mc D Hodgson in their back row. In those days, getting to Leicester was a tiring train journey. It meant departure from G.W.R. Bath Spa station at 8 a.m. and travelling via Didcot, Oxford and Banbury, reaching Leicester at 12.20, where lunch was taken. The return train reached Bath at 12.35 a.m. Two of the party missed this, and Leicester players motored them to Rugby, they picked up a train for Didcot, and joining an excursion, were able to arrive in Bath less than a couple of hours behind their coleagues.1
v London Scottish, Home, Lost 0 – 15. Team:- H T F Buse, L G Matthews, R W James, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, L H Oak, S Weeks, J Jones, J S Wood, P Moon, B C Barber, L W Moore. It was a perfect afternoon for open rugby. “Matthews and Gerrard distinguished themselves by holding up one hot foray, and then Gerrard, in a straight and powerful run, covered 30 yards or more before Grant brought him down. Bath proved good interveners, and two passing movements by the visitors saw first Gerrard, and then Moon, nip in and accept passes meant for opponents.
As a matter of fact there were fumbled passes by both sides, a dry ball proving a bit of a will-of-the -wisp after the heavyweight specimens that rainy Saturdays have so often produced this season.”
“Twice very quickly the visitors all but scored in forceful and incisive movements, with a touch of unorthodoxy about them. Bath, however, were magnificent in defence, with Gerrard the greatest stumbling block of all. He seemed to be everywhere where danger threatened or materialised.”
In the second half: There was a good deal of kicking, some of it lacking in judgement, and a want of finish on both sides.” The closing stages were strenuous, and in a desperate passage of play, the Scots’ superior penetrative powers held sway, while the Bath defence wilted. In this period, three Exciles tries were scored and three converted.
v Penzance, Home. Won 36-7. Team:- H T F Buse, L G Matthews, A E Merrett, R A Gerrard, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, A Weeks, L Phillips, L W Moore, N W Matthews, P Moon and B C Barber.
In something of a romp, Bath scored eleven tries, but converted not one!
“Gerrard and Weeks took eight of the kicks between them, Buse and Barber one each, and as the crowd cried for ‘Chinny’ to have a go, he did and missed like the rest”
The try bonanza was completed with a Gerrard penalty. The Cornishmens’ reply was a penalty and a drop goal. Les Matthews had a field day, scoring five tries. It was something of a Matthews’ day, as, recently retired, brother Norman turned out to fill a shortage. The remaining tries were scored by Gerrard (2), Hancock (2), Merrett and Moon one each. “Several of the tries were of the sort you dream about, but do not often see.”
v Llanelly, Away, Lost 0 – 42. Team:- H F T Buse, G Foster, R W James, P Fortt, W E Hancock, L D Wardle, H Davies, A Francis, H Oak, A Weeks, J S Wood, L W Moore, A Ash, H Davies, P Moon.
In direct contrast with the Monday’s ‘run out,’ the Bath line was crossed 10 times, and 6 of the tries were converted. Bath certainly met sterner opposition at Stradey. A number of key players were not available, through illness or injury. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope, as the ‘Scarlets’ had lost seven out of their last ten games, and spectator support was falling off.
Not much was seen of Bath, as they were too busily occupied in defence. Llanelly ‘started with a bang,’ and a procession of scorers followed throughout. Bath provided some occasional flourishes, but Llanelly always called the tune.
v Old Cranleighans, Home, Won 26 – 3. Team:- H F T Buse, C E Gough, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, P Fortt, L D Wardle, H Davies, D Wilson, H Oak, S Weeks, D Campbell, A Francis, J Jones, L W Moore, P Moon.
Bath continued on their roller coaster of results, producing eight tries to one, against a weak Old Boys’ side. Tries by Merrett, Gerrard (4), Wardle (converted Oak), Merrett, and Fortt. Interestingly, there was another procession of failed kickers; Gerrard, Weeks and Fortt all off course in search of ‘the extras.’
Nothing dramatic, but good entertainment for the holiday crowd.
v OMT, Home Won 12 – 8. Team:- H F T Buse, P Fortt, R A Gerrard, A E Merrett, C E Gough, L D Wardle, K Parfitt, D Wilson, J Jones, A Weeks. On Easter Monday success in the sunshine. It was a fairly even struggle, and it took a magnificent drop goal by Wardle to gain the victory. Gerrard kicked a great goal, if only, to halt the run of recent failures.
v Old Tauntonians, Home, Lost 7-10. Team:- H T F Buse, R W James, A E Merrett, L D Wardle, D Whiting, C E Gough, K Parfitt, D Wilson, J Jones, A Weeks, J S Wood, L W Moore, A Francis, H Davis, J G Mackay. This was an interesting end to the season, as Bath had the unusual experience of facing up to their own R A Gerrard. As an Old Tauntonian, he assisted the old Boys in their first visit to the Recreation Ground. The Old Boys brought off a surprising win by 2 goals, to Bath’s drop goal and a try. James scored the try, and for the second game running, Wardle served up a fine drop goal.
“Up front there was not a great deal of fire, and all the players must have been glad at the close to put up their kit for a few months.”
4th May 1935
R A Gerrard was top scorer, despite absences with England trials etc. His personal tally was 16 tries, 1 drop goal, 7 penalties and 6 conversions.
(Missing goals had been a feature of the season)
The Roll Call
Full back: Buse 31, Gerrard 4, Mulholland 2, James, Moon, Archard once each.
Threequarters: L Matthews 28, James 27, Gerrard 25, Hancock 24, Wynne-Jones 14, Merrett 12, Wardle 9, Gough 8, Foster 6, Bartleyy3, P Fortt 3, D Whiting once.
Halves: Davies 36, Wardle 24, Gough 16, Parfitt 3, Eastcott once.
Forwards: Oak 37, Weeks 35, Moon 34, Barber 29, Wood 27, Wilson 24, Moore 17, N Matthews and J Jones 16, Mackay and Francis 15, J Wilkins 9, Phillips and Clothier 8, T Wilkins 7, H Davies 6, Minto 4, Ash and M Fortt 3, and D Campbell once.
Oak topped the attendance bill with 37, but there was no ‘ever present.’