1941 to 1942

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale




v New Zealand Services XV. Home. Won 14 – 3. Team:- H Leek (K.E.S.), F Hayman, Capt. De Wolf, K Holvey, L Harding, R Beaverstock, A Chivers, H M Wilmersdoerffer (Cambridge University), G A Cook (Newport), W Barrow, B E Coleman-Smith, W Woodward, K Weiss, K Bamford and H Davies. Opening match won 14 – 3. Attendance 1000.

“It was grand sporting opposition whose pack outweighed Bath’s but their heeling was sluggish. Had the ball come out quicker for them, they might have done far better in the scoring business. In the first part of the game with visitors going flat out for the Bath line anything might have happened if the Bath defence had wavered. Capt. De Wolf, chosen as skipper, was an inspiration and an example. His tackling was superb.

The Star Turn

Bath’s tries scored by Wilmersdoeffer, Hayman (2) and Weiss –in this order- and Weiss converted Hayman’s first try. Wilmersdoeffer, a welcome newcomer to the second row, crowned a thrilling forward rush.

The star turn of the afternoon was Hayman. He was on top of his form. His tries were magnificent affairs. He showed that he could beat player after player, use all the arts of running, and above all, think a bit quicker than his opponent. Besides his brace of scores, he made the last try for Weiss. De Wolf ‘played up’ to Hayman with fine skill and one must say that Chivers in his preliminary outing at fly half came through very well.” King Edward’s schoolboy, Hayden Leek made his debut appearance at full-back and had a fine game.



v R.A.F. Home. Won 26 – 14. Team:- J Hodder, K Holvey, Porter, Capt. J De Wolf, F Hayman, A Chivers, M Spark*, H M Wilmersdeoffer, G A Cook, W Barrow, B E Coleman Smith, K Weiss, L Harding, W Woodward and H Davies.

*Malcolm Spark’s had a creditable first game at Scrum half; P/O Jim Parsons was posted elsewhere. Spark had been at Canterbury and earlier played a big part in the Bath Public Schools XV. Attendance was down to around 750. This was a great pity, as there was promise of many more bright and entertaining games. There was certainly much to enthuse about, and who can complain when a total of 40 points were scored!

Bath scored 6 tries and Weiss converted four of them. Fred Hayman, putting another outstanding performance, helped himself to four tries and, hard working forward, Harding got the other two. Oddly, Bath were tied down in the set scrums, but reigned supreme in the loose.

Victor Smith, former secretary of the Bath Club, now in the Army, was a spectator.

Cyril Bailey, the former Match Secretary, had joined the colours.



v Welsh Army XV. Home. Lost 8-10. Team:- J Hodder, D Authreau, C Porter, J De Wolf (Capt), F Hayman, K Holvey, R Beaverstock, K Weiss, W Barrow, W Woodward, Coleman-Smith, Cpl. Carter, H M Wilmersdeorffer, H Davies and L Harding. Entertaining a side which contained a talented cross-section of the Principality’s rugby clubs, Bath were at a disadvantage in facing their robust type of forward play. They went down by two goals to a goal and a try

Bath started well enough, with Harding’s third try in a fortnight, but the visitors were 7 points up by half-time. Bath rallied significantly and Beaverstoke touched down amidst popular applause and Porter converted. Both wingers suffered through lack of possession.



Some of the service sides played were fully named in the Club minute books. However, wartime security precluded public disclosure. The Chronicle comment for the 1/11/41 game read: “I cannot name the unit coming, but it is famous and football is one of its assets”.



v 1st Battalion. Welsh Guards. Home. Lost 0-11. Selected Team:- J Hodder, F Hayman, J De Wolf, C Porter, K Holvey, R Beaverstock, L Harding, H M Wilmersdeoffer, Sgt. Cook, C H Woodward, W Barrow, K Weiss, Coleman-Smith and H Davies.

The Bath Chronicle reported on the visiting side: “Their pack, great big fellows, strong and determined, were really tearaway in the loose, and Bath had as big a handful as I can recall. All three tries were the rounding off of rushes.” The Welsh eight were equally dominating in the set piece play. Only Hayman seemed capable of a noteworthy performance against such odds.



An Army XV v Home Guard. Chronicle commented as being one of the brightest and best games anyone could wish to see. The Home Guards won 5-0.



v Royal Artillery Shrivenham. Home. Won 14 – 6. Team:-J Hodder, F Hayman, C Porter, J De Wolf, K Holvey, Evans, R Beaverstock, Sgt. Cook, R James, C Woodward, W Barrow, L Harding, K Weiss, H M Wilmersdeoffer and G B Coleman-Smith. Again, it was a very poor attendance. However, Bath were back to winning ways, defeating a lively Army XV by a goal and 3 tries to a penalty and a try. Bath Scorers:- tries from Weiss, Porter and de Wolf (2), with a conversion by Porter.

It was Freddie Hayman’s last game before joining the Canadian Army. “So his admirers, of whom there are many, should turn up in large numbers to give him a farewell ‘big hand’ in token of their and our good wishes. He is one of the best boys Bath has produced for years.”



v Cheltenham. Home. Lost 4 – 6. Team:- J Hodder (Capt), K Holvey, C Porter, P/O J A Wright, E Lavington (Avonvale), Sqd Leader W G Moesbey, P/O D D D Evans (Wales, Staffordshire and Sale), W Barrow, H Davies, J Watts, H M Wilmersdeoffer, G B Coleman-Smith, L Harding, K Weiss and C H Woodward. Attendance was less than 1000.

Warship Week. Match proceeds of £15 to be invested in Government Stock.

The visitors had played 9 games and lost just one, with 98 points For and 20 Against.

Bath were forced to make a number of late replacements due to unavoidable non-availability. It was a case of R.A.F. personnel to the rescue, in a strangely unfamiliar side. Davies and Jenkins had scored tries for Cheltenham: “Bath, however, made a discovery in Evans, the scrum half, who was as lively and effective as anyone could desire, and added to his outstanding qualities by seizing the ball in the loose and, amidst the general hub-bub, dropping the first goal of the season at Bath.”



v R.A.C. Bath’s first Away trip of the season. Won 15 – 6. Selected Team :-

J Hodder, K. Holvey, C.Porter, J. De Wolf Capt., Capt. Cotton, J. Evans, D Evans, Gillard, S.Harding, C.Woodward, K.Weiss, R.James, J.Wass, H. Davies, A.D.Stevens. Woodward scored wide out and Porter goaled with a fine kick and Bath carried their 5-0 lead into the second half. The Wiltshire based side came back with a try by winger, Evans, but the conversion attempt failed. “Harry Davies, fielding a long kick went through the Army side, and the ball going inside to Porter, the latter finished off with a brilliant run to score under the posts. He also converted. Again Evans came into the picture and the ball went via Holvey to Porter. The centre cut through in fine style to score his second try and kick his third goal. Just before the finish Larcomb scored a good try for the Army.”



West of England 6, Somerset Services 10.

The West selection was:- J Hodder, K Holvey, C Porter, J de Wolf (Army), R A Gerrard (England), R D Cotton (R.A.F.), E Evans (Llanelly), D Evans (Wales and Bridgend), Thompson (Ulster), L Harding, C Gillard, C Woodward (Bristol), K Weiss, J Wass (Wasps), H M Wilmersdoeffer (Cambridge University)and H W Davies. They had all played for Bath, so only their additional pedigree is added.

The Referee was H Hamilton-Smythe (England)


Worthy of Note, there were many well known local names in the clash between Stothert’s and the Home Guard……….


Stothert & Pitts v 5th Battalion Somerset Home Guard.

Stothert’s (From) :-J Allen, L Waters, W Hurford, J Waite, H Beer, J Simmonds, T Chivers, W Philpot, F Durk, S Francis, K Coles, R Broadhurst, F Rawlings, J Kent, L Bally, F Harper. Reserve G Indoe.

Home Guard (From):- H G Dolman, A Fewing, N Matthews, W Ascutt, W Hornet, A Bentley-Hunt, J Giles, M Sparks, W Denning, R Millard, V Skidmore, J Taylor, K Parfitt, W Parfitt, J Goddard, M Richards, T Turner, J Ruddle.



v Army XV. Home. Won 28-6. Team:- J Hodder, Steel (Yorkshire), G Foster, J De Wolf, C Porter, T R Harris, Sq. Ldr D Evans, L Harding, Juba (Leicester), C H Woodward, J Wass, Thompson, K Weiss, H Davies, R Coleman-Smith. There was added interest to this game as Roy, now Captain Harris R.A., turned out for Bath and struck up a fine partnership with Squadron Leader Danny Evans.

Bath tries recorded by Harris (2), Steel (2), Porter, Juba, Foster and Evans. Porter kicked Bath’s 2 conversions.



v Bristol. Home. Won 14-3. Team:- J Hodder, C Porter, Capt. R A Gerrard, Capt. J De Wolfe, A Beasley, E Evans, P/O D Evans, L Harding, C H Woodward, J Wass, D Milne, F Thompson, Lt. Coleman-Smith, A C Juba, H Davies.

Bath kept their line intact, beating their local rivals by a goal and 3 tries to a penalty goal. Bristol were indeed unlucky to lose their hooker, Fred Hill, with a cut over his artificial eye, before half time. (Fred Hill was destined to play for England in a Victory International and he joined Bath in later years to render outstanding service, forming part of a renowned front row of Roberts, Hill and Smith.)

Bath tries by Beasley (2), Woodward and de Wolf. Porter kicked Bath’s goal.



v R.A.F. XV, Home. Lost 0-19. Team:- J Hodder, A Beasley, Cpl. Steele, Capt. De Wolfe, F Hayman, P A Carter, E Evans, P/O D Evans, L Harding, Brocken (Rosslyn Park), J Wass, P Barrow, H Davies, P Orbell, K Weiss, Lt. R Coleman-Smith. The R.A.F. XV included Sutherland (All Blacks), Lawson (Richmond) and Watkins (Cross Keys). The diminutive Freddy Hayman was back on the wing for Bath, after an absence of six weeks. In that interval he had joined the Canadian Army!

Following some undistinguished mid-field tussling, the Airmen began to monopolise the scrums, facilitating a steady flow of possession to their backs. However, the Bath defence was equal to the occasion and put in some stout tackling.

“Home hopes soared high when D Evans made an opening for de Wolf, who went strongly for the line. With only a yard or two to travel Cashman dashed across, and, with a magnificent tackle, stopped what was Bath’s best chance so far.”

All Black, Sutherland then figured in most of the second half action, scoring three tries in succession, converting one of them, and leaving Hurley and Cashman to convert the other two.



v R.A.F. Locking Home. Won 24-5. Team:- J Hodder, C Porter, J de Wolf (Capt.), R A Gerrard, P O Carter, N Halse, P/O D Evans, L Harding, J Wass, C Woodward, B Henson, K Weiss, H Davies, Juba, and P Brocken. Bath included Gerrard of England and Danny Evans (Wales), and the visitors had two Davies’s, Idwal and W H (both of Wales).

In a thoroughly entertaining game, Bath scored tries through Weiss, de Wolf, Porter (2), Harding and Brocken. Porter converted two and Evans rounded off a fine personal performance converting Brocken’s try. ‘Curly’ Halse was very much at home in his normal position at scrum half, and Danny Evans was happy to move out to accommodate him. Brian Henson, a fly-half from Chippenham, and a newcomer to the Club, played in the forwards. de Wolf’s try came after Gerrard had zig-zagged through all opposition, without a hand being laid on him. Idwal Davies scored for the R.A.F. side and Hole converted.



v Bristol Supporters Away. Lost 3-5. Team:- H Leek, C Porter, J De Wolfe, K Holvey, 2nd Lt. Williams, P/O E Evans, D Evans. Forwards from:- Shehan, Harding, Juba, J Wass, C Woodward, K Weiss, W Barrow, H Davies, J Milne.

The Bristol side defeated Bath by a goal to a try at the Imperial Ground, Knowle.

The home side were the first to apply pressure and the two Evanses repelled all borders. Haydn Leek from King Edwards School played at full-back and handled difficult balls under pressure. Bath came back at the Bristol side, but against run of play, Grimshaw broke clean through the Bath centre to touch down near the posts, and Palmer converted. Wass and Barrow showed in spirited rushes, and the latter player scored Bath’s try. Porter missed with the conversion kick. Bath had one last chance, when de Wolf made for the line, and passed to Weiss, who had the line at his mercy.

Unfortunately, he was not fast enough and was caught from behind.



‘All Pay’ Welfare match. West of England XV 16, R.A.F. 0.

The R.A.F. side were previously unbeaten. Attendance 1500.

Team:-J Hodder (Bath), F L Hayman (Somerset and Bath), J de Wolf (Bath), R A Gerrard (England, Somerset and Bath), D Sheehan (Ireland), Roy Harris (England Reserve and Bath), Davies, W G Jones (Wales), Caldecott (Coventry), Juba (Leicester), H Milne (Cambridge and Aberdeen), J Wass (Bath and Eastern Counties), C Woodward (Bath) and Harding (Bath).



v R.A.F. Innsworth Home. Won 30-6. Team:- J Hodder, C Porter, K Holvey, Capt. De Wolfe, W Rees, A Evans, P/O Evans, J Wass, A Milne, A C Juba, L Harding, C H Woodward, H Davies, H Orbell, J Barrow.

Quite a romp in which de Wolf landed 4 tries, followed by Milne, Danny Evans, Barrow and Porter. D Evans converted 2 and Porter 1.De Wolf was in devastating form; he was so fast off the mark that the defence was left flat-footed, as he was well away – speeding for the line. He and Danny Evans had certainly infused their fellow players “with virility and determination.” It was Holvey’s last game as a civilian, as he was about the take up flying duties.



v R.A.F. Locking Away. Proceeds to Aid to Russia Fund.

Won 11-8. Team:- J Hodder, C Porter, Capt. De Wolfe, K Holvey, A Beasley, E Evans, P/O Evans, A Milne, A Juba, L Harding, C H Woodward, J Wass, K Weiss, J Barrow, R Coleman-Smith,

The R.A.F. side were young and fit and proceeded to play at a tremendous pace, and soon opened up the scoring with a unconverted try by Hole. De Wolf then marshalled his forces and bursting through the centre, handed on to Beasley for Bath’s first try. Next Milne threw off a couple of tacklers for a fine forward’s try, which de Wolf converted. Not to be outdone, the airmen came back with great vigour, but Bath held out, until some very good passing was rewarded by a try which Hole converted.

“The second half was played in much the same style as the first, each side attacking in turn, until from some midfield play, de Wolf and E Evans brought the ball well up, and, from a scrum in which Bath got possession a smart pass was made to de Wolf, who again made a strong dash for the line only to be tackled. Beasley who was following up hard received a sharp pass from de Wolf, and crossed in the corner.”



v NZ Forestry Coy. (Cirencester). Home. Lost 15-19. Team:- C Porter, K Weiss, A Beasley, de Wolf, Thomas, D Evans, Rees (Cardiff), Brocken, Stewart, Harding, Davies, Barrow, Wass, Woodward and Milne.

After a fortnight’s break, Bath were again in action against a New Zealand Army, Forestry Company, based in Cirencester. In a closely fought, exciting game, Bath just missed out, going down by a penalty goal and 4 tries (15 points, to 2 goals and 3 tries (19 points) The soldiers were eight points in the lead after 6 minutes and continued to look fast and dangerous. “Their forwards were a tremendous ‘handful.” The Army were soon to score again, when Baker speeded over and converted his own try.

At last, Bath got a grip on the situation and Thomas speeded in for an unconverted try. In the second half Evans kicked a penalty and later fed Porter for another Bath try. Stewart added another to bring Bath within one point. (12-13) Next, Milne picked up smartly and got over to put Bath 2 points in the lead. In turn, the Army nudged ahead with a try by Denny, and Walters finally decided the issue with another Army try.



v R.A.F. Melksham. Home. Won 30-6. Team:- V Rees (Cardiff), C Porter, J de Wolf, A Beasley, J Hughes, D Evans, D V R Jones, L Harding, I Wass, C Woodward, Lt. Milne, W R Stewart, K Weiss, R Brocken, H Davies.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men. Both injuries were for bruised ribs.

Bath tries from Beasley (3), Porter, Jones, Hughes and Milne. Porter converted 2 and landed a penalty. Evans got the other conversion. During the game, the half back pairing was changed to Danny Evans and de Wolf. It proved to be a most successful partnership. Beasley was in great form and John Wass set an inspiring example as he led the forwards.



v R.A.F. XV. Home. Won 13-11 Team:- J Hodder, C Porter, J Hughes, Beasley, de Wolfe, V Rees, D Evans, D V Buckley, W Barrow, W R Stewart, L Harding, J Wass, C Woodward, J Milne, H Davies.

Bath’s Rees scored a first half try but were trailing 3 points to 8 at half-time.

Beasley and Porter had second half successes and Danny Evans dropped a beautiful, match winning goal.

This was an embarrassing situation, where two teams turned up for the same fixture. A coin was tossed and the R.A.F. side played. The North Irish Horse stayed to watch the game and played Bath on the following Saturday.


28/3/42 date left open on account of proposed Air Raid Precaution Exercises.

In view of an embarrassing fixture clash the previous Saturday, Bath played off their double booking against the Army side..



v North Irish Horse. Home. Drawn 8-8. (1 goal and a penalty to 1 goal and a try) Team: J Hodder, C Porter, Ball, A Beasley, V Rees, T Hicks, D Jones, W R Stewart, K Weiss, A Davies, C Woodward, W Barrow, Lt. Milne, L Harding, and C Brocken.

There was possibly a slight edge to this game in view of the previous Saturday’s clash of fixtures; there were some lively exchanges from the start. Tommy Hicks was home on leave, and Bath welcomed him back to his old half-back position. Jones landed a penalty goal for Bath. Weiss scored a second half try, which Jones converted. Play certainly hotted up at the end, and the Irish improved on their goal, with an unconverted try, to draw the game.



v 455 Battery 68th Searchlight Regt. Home. Won 8-3. Team:- Hodder, Porter, Gerrard, Beasley, Rees, DE Wolfe, D Evans, Stewart, Barrow, Harding, Brocken, Milne, Woodward, Wass, Weiss. Visitors included W H Travers and V J Law (Wales)



v North Irish Horse Team: Hodder, Porter, Beasley, Gerrard, Hayman, DE Wolf, P/O Evans, Woodward, Stewart, Coleman, Barrow, Harding, Brocken. W J Jones, Wass.



v Bridgend Sports Club Team: Hodder, Porter, Gerrard, Hayman, Sgt. Wright, DE Wolfe, P/O Evans, Stewart, Woodward, Simmonds, Barrow, Harding, Brocken, Seager, Wass.



v R.A.F. XV (H) Team: Hodder, Rees, A E Kingston, Beasley, Porter, De Wolf, Evans, Woodward, Stewart, Weiss, Barrow, Harding, Brocken, Prowse, Wass.



v Cheltenham (A) Team: Hodder, Porter, Beasley, Giles, Rees, DE Wolf, Evans, Woodward, Stewart, Weiss, Barrow, Brocken, Harding, Wass, Milne.



This page was added on 27/05/2014.

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