1944 to 1945

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1944-1945

23/9/1944

1st Trial match and 37 players turned up.

Mr. R H Swaffield was organising a Colts XV, and had a muster of 17 candidates, six of whom were passed forward to the Senior’s trial.

 

30/9/1944

Final Trial: Bath v Rest organised.

 

 7/10/1944

v R.A.F. Home. Won 16-0. (7 new players mostly “locals”): *Capt. Bailey, T F Trim, Sergt. F Cheshire, P F Moores, P/O. A Beasley, I Lumsden, Lieut.G Raper R.N, Lieut. Patterson RNVR, Chief P/O J Rogers, C P Hosking, N Owen, G Stewart, A Higgins, T Smith, K Weiss.

*(Parachute officer who was in Normandy on D Day.)

A significant newcomer was Tom Smith, aged 16 and just out of City of Bath School. He was to make 20 appearances before National Service in the R.A.F. and returned in 1948 for many years as a front row stalwart, mostly in the company of J W P Roberts.

R.A.F. TEAM:

LAC I Walters Newport

CAPT. Cockinos Norwich

AC Davies Neath

LAC Woodfield Bristol University

LAC Davies Swansea Valley

AC Gregory Wigan

LAC Glanville London Welsh

LAC Morgan Cardiff University

AC Beckingham Welsh Secondary Schools

AC Richards Pontypool

AC Wood Huddersfield

AC Webb Oxford Town

CPL Morgan Swansea

LAC Hornbin Cornwall

SGT. Petrie Scottish Trialist.

Bath won by 2 goals, a try and a penalty to nil. Petty Officer Beasley, on the right wing, had a good afternoon scoring 13 of Bath’s points with 2 tries, 2 conversions and a penalty. Trim scored the other try.

14/10/1944

v R.A.A.F. Home. Lost 5-24. Team (as per programme):- L.A.C. Moores, P Leahy, C H Hodgkins, P/O A Beasley, T F Trim, Flt/Lt. D D Evans (Captain), Lt. R G Raper, F/O Harris, K Weiss, A Higgins, C T Hawkes, W Barrow, C.P.O. J Rogers, Lt. D T Morton and T Smith.

[R.A.A.F. side included Flying Officer Turvey, New South Wales Rugby League stand-off, LAC Schalz (Queensland), Flt. Sgt. Cearney (New South Wales hooker)]

Considered to be the best team selection of the War at the Rec. Bath were beaten by 3 goals and 3 tries to a try by Austin Higgins, converted by Danny Evans.

Takings £22.5.0 Net Gate £16.0.9. R.A.A.F. Benevolent Fund £8.0.5., Bath Club £2.3.5.

 

21/10/1944

v Bristol. Home. Lost 3-8. “On the Rec. the best attendance of the war so far-1500-saw Bristol win by 1 goal, 1 try (8pts.) to a penalty goal (3 pts.), Danny Evans landing the latter” (PERRIPAT)

 

28 /10/1944

v B.A.C. Home. Won 8-0. Team:- Moores, Trim, Beasley, Bailey, Pritchard, Evans, Roper, Hoskin, Barrow, Weiss, Owen, Harris, Higgins, Steward, Paterson.

“Austin Higgins scored both of Bath’s tries on the Rec. on Saturday, and Evans converted one, to give Bath a victory over B.A.C. by 1 goal, 1 try (8pts.) to nil.” All the scoring was in the first half.

 

4/11/1944

v R.A.F. Home. Drawn 5-5. Team:- R West, A Beasley, L F Moores, D D Evans (Capt.), G F Trim, P Leahy, G Raper, D W Staunton, W Anderson, J Harris, N Owen, G Stewart, K Weiss, Tom Smith and A Higgins. A fair result between two evenly matched teams. Owens got the try and Danny Evans added the extras.

 

11/11/1944

v R.N.A.S., Home. Won 20-0

The Royal Naval Air Service side never had 15 men on the field at any one time! One of their player’s car broke down, and he arrived late. When he finally took to the field – another player came off injured, and did not return!

A Beasley, P Leahy and L Moores scored tries, while D D Evans kicked a penalty, and two conversions. Leahy dropped the goal

Bath won by 2 goals, a drop goal, a penalty and a try.

 

25/11/1944

v Parachute Regiment. XV, Home. Lost 6-8.

Bath had only themselves to blame: “Shocking passing was one of the causes of their downfall.

They relied too much on their captain, Evans, but held their own in a pointless first half. After this the visitors were the better side in the second period, and scored a try and a goal. L Moores scored a try for Bath, and D Evans kicked a penalty.”

 

2/12/1944

v R.A.F. Lynham, Home. Won 29-3.

“Bath had a runaway win-their biggest of the season….by four goals and three tries to a try.

The game was a personal triumph for Austin Higgins, who scored three tries, after running in his own inimitable manner. Pritchard (2), Les Moores and Cyril Porter scored Bath’s other tries, with D Evans converting three and Porter one.”

 

9/12/1944

v Bridgwater. Away. Won 16-6. “After being slow to settle down and trailing by six points at the interval, Bath woke up in the second phase of their away match with Bridgwater, and piled on 16 points without reply, dominating the scene to such an extent that the home side seldom left their own half.

Danny Evans , the Bath skipper, was on the peak of his form, and he had a hand in all the scoring. He scored the first try himself, kicked a penalty, and converted tries scored by Leahy and Beasley, for which he paved the way.

Included in the Bath team that day was S Morgan, and R.A.F. man stationed locally, who had played for Hull Kingston Rovers, the Rugby League side.”

“Bath entertained to dinner afterwards. A rare courtesy in these austerity days.”

 

16/12/1944

v Rotol (Gloucester), Home. Won 9-8.

“Bath three-quarters threw away countless chances to pile up points, and almost the whole side was sluggish in comparison with the lively visitors. Beasley was one exception, and he scored two of Bath’s three tries, the other going to forward Owen after a loose maul.” Bath survived many anxious moments.

 

23/12/1944

v Cardiff, Away. Lost 3-12.

 

13/1/1945

v R.A.F. XV, Home. Won 38-0. Two former ex-Schools youngsters, and former pupils of City of Bath Boys’ School, were selected. Tom Smith’s display at Cardiff ensured selection, and Hunt, a wing three-quarter was brought in. Smith was 16 years old and Hunt was 17, and both were bank clerks.

Team:-L.A.C. Leslie Moores, T Pritchard, P Hunt, Lieut. Steele (Glider Pilot Regt.), T Cuff (Oxford Greyhounds), D Rees, Lieut. D T Morton, R.N.V.R., W Barrow, J Harris, C P Hosking, K Weiss, L Owen, C T Hawkes, G Stewart and T Smith.

The first match in 1945 got off to a late start due to the airmen’s late arrival. Bathonian Tommy Cuff played a promising game at outside-half, for his third game for the Bath Club. Cuff had served on the Malta convoys and had lost a portion of his shoulder, but was still a very fine rugby player. Appropriately, he scored the first try of the afternoon, demonstrating a safe pair of hands and no end of football craft. Rees converted. Owen bounded in for Bath’s second try, after a line-out take. Next, Pritchard touched down, after excellent work by Rees, Cuff and Steele. Pritchard scored again, and this time Cuff converted to put Bath 16-0 up by half-time.

 

Thanks to Mr. Castle, of Oldfield School, arrangements were in hand for Bath ex-Schoolboys to train at the school gym. Also, a series of lectures was planned on various aspects of the game.

 

20/1/1945

v R.A.F.XV, Home. Won 37-3.Team:- West, F Pritchard, P/O A Beasley, F/O C Porter, P Hunt, L.A.C. Leslie Moores, Flt. Lt. D D Evans (Capt.), Lt. D T Morton, W Barrow, C P Hosking, N Owen, G Stewart, K Weiss, T Smith and Austin Higgins. Referee – Mr. Harry Slade.

The visiting side were previously unbeaten and their victims included the Bristol Club. All the more credit to Bath, who ran in 4 goals and 4 tries. “Bath were on top of their form, and they could do little wrong. The pack worked magnificently, and the backs handled with skill and finesse.” Cyril Porter registered the first try and his co-centre Beasley added a second. Les Moores, playing stand-off half to Evans, went over for the third. The final try of the first half went to Stewart, as he proved to be unstoppable as he surged forward from a loose maul. To this we must add, that Danny Evans converted all four, with a magnificent display of kicking from a variety of angles. Bath’s second half tries flowed from Hunt (3), Moores and Higgins, one of which was converted by Porter. F/O Moore scored a try for the R.A.F. side. Flt. Lt. D D Evans was Bath’s inspiration throughout. It was said that he could fill any position in the back line with distinction. It was a sparkling exhibition of rugby, which delighted and astonished the spectators.

 

27/1/1945

Rugby ‘Footballers Day’

Collections for the R.F.U. Appeal for the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund were extended until 24th February, as there had been a run of bad weather resulting in match cancellations.

 

3/2/1945

v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home. Won 15-13. Team:- J Hodder, P Hunt, P/O A Beasley, P Leahy, L Pritchard, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, Lt. Cdr. G Raper, Lt. D T Moreton, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, G Stewart, N Owen, A Higgins, K Weiss and T Smith. The match was billed as “the biggest rugby day of the war,” and the match certainly attracted the biggest crowd, estimated at 2,300.

Perhaps it was because it signalled the re-start to home and away fixture normality. Takings were in aid of the John Levis Memorial Fund.

The Medics had a reputation for brilliance of play and the game did not disappoint: “Not since the great days of the Bath Club have more or finer tackling been witnessed, and Evans himself set a great example by the way he brought the opposition down.” St. Mary’s included the talented N M Hall at outside half. It was all the more sweet, that the first points for Bath were from a Danny Evans drop goal – Nim Hall’s speciality. The visitors soon replied with a try by Browse, which Hall converted, to give St. Mary’s a one point lead at the interval. St Mary’s backs had been fast and dangerous, and it was as well that Hodder was in fine form at full-back. “In the second half Evans scored a penalty goal for bath, and Leahy followed with a try. Beasley added a further try, which Evans converted.

For St, Mary’s, Bennett and Venneker scored tries, one of which Hall converted.”

“it was, of course, a tremendous duel. Bath were beaten in the scrums; they could not compete with their fleet-footed outsides. So Bath reklied on the quick breaking of their pack, and ‘none-pins’ tactics among the St. Mary’s threequarters. The local forwards were devastating. They completely upset or stopped the smooth worlking of the Hospital back division. Superb in this respect were Flying Officer Harris, Neville Owen, G Stewart, and , of course, Bill Barrow.”

 

10/2/1945

v R.A.F. Colerne, Home. Won 20-0. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, P/O G L Morrell, L.A.C. Les Moores, P/O Beasley, P Leahy, G E Drewett, Lt. D T Morton, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, J Stewart, N Owen, A Higgins, K Weiss and T Smith. In pouring rain, it was agreed to play 30 minutes each way. In these miserable conditions, fewer than 60 spectators attended!

Two new players came into the ranks. One was J E Drewett a 17 year old Bath Ex-Schools scrum-half, and the other was Petty Officer Morrell, who had appeared for United Services and Devonport Services. Bath ran in five tries and converted one. Bath’s only try of the first half was scored by 17 year old Drewett in his debut game. Bath continued to do nearly all of the attacking, but in deteriorating conditions, the ball was greasy and unmanageable. The second half scores were tries by Harris, Leahy (2), Morrell and Pritchard, with Beasley converting one.

 

17/2/1945

v Cardiff, Home. Lost 0-13. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, L.A.C. Les Moores, P/O L Morrell, P Leahy, Flt. Lt D D Evans (Capt.), Lt. Cmdr. G Raper, F/O J Harris, W Barrow, Lt. D T Morton, N Owen, G Stewart, A Higgins, K Weiss and T Smith.

Cardiff Team:- F Brookman, A C Jones, G Hale, L Williams, V Roberts, W B (Billy) Cleaver, W Darch, R Bale, M James, G Blackmore, A M Rees, H Johnson, S Davies (Capt.), J Hickey and D C Williams. Referee – Vernon Parfitt (Newport).

Cardiff skipper Davies scored in the first half and Hookey converted. “It was a tough and resolute game, full of exciting passages, but not overmuch outside play.” “Bath stood up extraordinarily well to the bigger opposition, and scarcely deserved to be in arrears when half time came, with the choice for the players of oranges and lemons!” “….the Bath eight were forced to yield in the tight, they fought valiently and well in the loose. However, towards the end especially, they were often not up on top of their man swiftly enough.” Cardiff’s covering was superb and an object lesson in teamwork. Danny Evans worked away like a Trojan, and it was certainly not his fault that the Cardiff line was not crossed. He set up chances for at least one try and possibly two. Bath finished the game without both half backs. Scrum-half Lieut. Commander George Raper was carried off after taking a kick in the kidney area, and a minute or two later, Danny Evans withdrew with severe cramp.

24/2/1945

v Oxford University Greyhounds, Home. Won 16-3. Team:- J Hodder, L-Cpl R Fewing, R.E.M.E., L.A.C. L Moores, P Leahy, Lt. Steele, Flt Lt. D D Evans, D Rees, Lt. D T Morton, N Owen, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, J Wass, A Higgins, K Weiss and T Smith.

Lance Corporal Robert Fewing, an Old Sulian, was given a run out on the wing.

John Wass, Bath’s hard working secretary, was again inveigled into covering a player shortage. Bath crossed over six points up after a brace of penalties from the boot of Danny Evans. Although supplied with plenty of possession, the Bath backs were far from convincing. The second half tries were scored by forwards, Weiss and Smith (both their first of the season), and converted by Evans.

 

3/3/1945

v R.A.F. St. Athan, Home. Won 6-3. Team:- J Hodder, Pat Leahy, L.A.C. Les Moores, Marine Slater, Marine Mainwaring, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, Cadet Rating M Hanna, Lt. D T Morton, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, G Stewart, F/O H Johnson (Cardiff), L.A.C. Fisher, K Weiss, T Smith.

Officer cadet Mick Hanna, former City of Bath School captain made his debut at scrum half.

The R.A.F. included players from several leading south Wales clubs and they dictated play for the first half hour. Bath full back Hodder and Danny Evans worked particularly hard during this period. Bath’s heroic defence meant that the R.A.F. side had to content themselves with one first half penalty kicked by Walters. Bath came back at them when Evans landed a penalty, and Doctor Leahy scored the winning try in the second half.

 

10/3/1945

v R.A.F. Melksham, Home. Won 33-0. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, Pat Leahy, L.A.C. Leslie Moores, Marine Slater, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, G E Drewett, W Barrow, Lt. D P Morton, C Hawkes, Surgeon-Lt. Cursitor, G Stewart, K Weiss, A Higgins and T Smith.

Two Bath Ex-Schoolboys acquitted themselves with honour. Seventeen year old Drewett had another impressive game at scrum-half, and fellow youngster Tom Smith gave a solid performance in the back row. The early tries went to forwards Morton, Barrow and Higgins, with Danny Evans converting two of them. The other try of the first half went to F Pritchard after a strong run by Leslie Moores. Evans missed the kick from wide out. There were second half tries from Hawkes, Pritchard (2), Evans and Moores, one of which was converted by Evans. With continued grooming, it was confidently predicted that Drewett would be Bath’s scrum-half after the war. Marine Slater put in a fine performance on the wing.

 

17/3/1945

v Bridgwater, Home. Won 10-0. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, L.A.C. L Moores, Marine Morrell, P Leahy, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, G E Drewett, Surgeon-Lt. Cursitor, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, G Stewart, D T Morton, K Weiss, A Higgins and T Smith.

“The high light of the first half was a try by Higgins and the altogether brilliant passing which led up to it. The movement began right back from a five yards’ scrum in front of Bath’s goal. Drewett passed out to Evans, who transferred to Pritchard. The latter, using a very cunning side-step, beat a couple of opponents, and then handed the ball to Weiss. The last named gave a very long pass out to Leahy, who next gave to Morrell. As they approached the Bridgwater line he passed inside to Leahy, who gave the final transfer for Higgins to run round and put the ball behind the posts. Evans added the finishing touch to a spectacular effort by converting.”

Higgins repeated his effort in the second half, planting the ball between the posts – Danny Evans again added the extras.

 

24/3/1945

v Bristol, Away. Lost 6-9. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, L.A.C. L Moores, P Roberts (ex Cardiff), P/O/ Morrell, Tom Cuff, Flt. Lt D D Evans, Surgeon-Lt. Cursitor, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, F/O H Johnson (ex Cardiff), N Owen, Lt. D T Morton, K Weiss and T Smith.

Bath included Midshipman P Roberts, the Cardiff player. He was the son of ‘mine host’ at the Christopher Hotel. Higgins was out with water on the knee. Bath pressed for much of the first half and forced a penalty for ‘off-side.’ Evans was unlucky, as the ball struck the upright. Ten Minutes from the start P/O Morrell scored a grand opportunist try, but Evans could not convert. Cuff and Roberts combined well in a neat manoeuvre. In the second half, Bristol came more into the game, with Griffin and Jefferies scoring tries and D Jones landing a penalty goal. Morrell scored a second try near the finish, but Bath could not save the game.

 

31/3/1945

v Nuneaton, Home. Lost 0-3. Team:- J Hodder, F Pritchard, L.A.C. L Moores, Marine Slater, P/O Morrell, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, W Fewing, (Metro-Vickers) Surgeon Lt. Curistor, W Barrow, Lt. D T Morton, G Stewart, F/O J Harris, T Smith, K Weiss and Peter Brown.

Peter Brown (Pre war Bath hooker) playing while home on leave from Middle East – left the field with a cut eye, ten minutes before half-time, and went to the surgery of Club President – Dr. Scott Reid for 4 stitches. He did not return. In later life, P H Brown was to undertake intensive research, write and produce the 1865-1965 Club booklet. Attendance 2000.

W Fewing was tried at scrum half. He was the brother of Robert Fewing, who had recently enjoyed a Bath debut.

Bath had the best of early play and came close to scoring. Danny Evans initiated a number of attacks, but none came to fruition. This allowed Nuneaton to come into the game, land a second penalty goal early in the second half, and hold out to the end. Bath’s general play was scrappy, but they did suffer considerable disruption with the loss of their hooker. The Bath backs failed to stamp any authority on the game.

 

2/4/1945

v Leicester Barbarians. Home. Team from:- J Hodder, Marine Slater, P Leahy, Midshipman P Roberts, F W Thomas (B.A.C.), S Beaverstock, Flt. Lt. D D Evans, W Fewing, Surg. Lt. Cursitor, W Barrow, F/O J Harris, N Owen, G Stewart, T Smith, K Weiss, K Shaughnessy, and A Higgins.

Bath Won 5-3 in front of 2000 spectators. F W Thomas scored Bath’s try after a fine bout of passing.

It was fitting that Welsh International and former Swansea player, Danny Evans should kick the conversion. There was general regret that Danny was to be posted away from the area. He had been a regular for the Bath side, put on many high class displays, been instrumental in winning many games, and had been an inspiration to his fellow players.

Leicester had dropped their ‘Tigers’ tag for the duration of the War and played under the Leicester Barbarians banner. Leicester’s try was scored by fly half C E Watkin

Kevin Shaughnessy, a 17 year old City of Bath schoolboy had a debut game at forward and looked a very good prospect for the future.

 

R.A.A.F. offered 14th April 1945, but letter received stating unable to raise a side. The Bath season was therefore wound up.

 

 

 

 

This page was added on 28/05/2014.

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