v Llanelly , Home Lost 0 -16. Selected team:- B Capon, F W Thomas, J Bailey, L.A.C. L Moores, Pat Leahy, Tom Cuff, Marine J Parkin, C P Hosking, L James, W Barrow, N Owen, C J Stewart, Tom Smith, K Weiss and Austin Higgins.
A temporary stand had been erected in front of the bomb damaged West Stand. Constructed with steel scaffolding and corrugated sheeting, it was 120’ long and 10’deep, at a cost of £100. Accommodation was in three rows, one of which was seated and allowed for a total capacity of 300. Teams to assemble and change at the Cross Baths. Proceeds of first game to Alkmaar Fund and 2000 supporters attended. A Mr. A E Ley from the Bristol area, cycled his usual 26 miles to attend the season start.
Again, Bath v Llanelly – Gareth Hughes Introduction to his compilation of ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SCARLET.
“What were you doing at five o’clock in the afternoon Saturday, the 8th of September, 1945?
Gareth Hughes goes on to suggest possible venues, then –
“For my part, I know exactly what I was doing. I was glued to the wireless, waiting impatiently for the result of Llanelli’s first rugby match after the war. And I can still recall the pride and exhilaration when the news was broadcast to an expectant nation- or at least that part of it which I, as a third-former at Llanelly County School, represented. “Bath nil, Llanelly 16 points.” My joy was boundless; and my pride was confirmed a few days later when a headline in a local newspaper proclaimed, “Impressive Start to Rugby Season”. No addicted supporter at Stradey will be surprised to know that the Scarlets’ margin of victory would have been greater “but for the inconsistent decisions of the referee, who twice disallowed spectacular, and what appeared to be legitimate, scores by Gerwyn Rees”.” The newspaper files of more than a century provide staunch evidence that every referee who ever set foot at Stradey should properly have been consigned to the nearest lunatic asylum.
”Bath nil, Llanelly 16 points”. A simple statistic, in my case never to be forgotten. Yet, in general terms, I have never been much interested in the statistics which attach to the game. It has always seemed to me that the sociological aspects of rugby are very much more interesting than the arithmetical ones. That man of steel went straight from a hard shift in the heat and glare of the furnaces to play against a major touring team at Stradey seems to me to be the real stuff of rugby history. Statistics and records obviously have their place in this book. But what I hope will stand out most clearly from its pages are the style and character – the personality, perhaps – of Llanelly rugby.”
v Weston-s-Mare. Away. Won 17-8. Team:- Moores, Trim, Bailey, Ellis, Leahy, T Cuff, J W Swift, Bambridge, Wass, Barrow, Stewart, Owen, Weiss, Smith, Higgins.
Bath won their first away match of the season by 4 tries and a goal to a goal and a penalty goal. The whole team showed a marked improvement on the performance against Llanelly. J W Swift (Midsomer Norton) gave an excellent service from the base of the scrum, and working well with Tom Cuff, opened up the game whenever possible. Bailey and Leahy showed well at centre. Bath’s first try stemmed from a quick heel and Trim ran strongly. Higgins, playing in borrowed boots (his own were stolen the week before!) took his inside pass for a well taken try. The kick was unsuccessful.
Weston quickly went ahead with a converted try by Bucknell. This roused the Bath pack to greater efforts and Ellis put Bath ahead with an unconverted try. (6-5 Half-time)
Higgins soon registered his second try and Trim was quick to follow. Les Moore’s converted with an excellent kick. Bucknell then secured a penalty to narrow the gap to 14-8.”A quick heel sent the ball across the Bath line to Leahy, who ran well to score in the corner.
The skipper’s play recalled the season before last, when he registered 25 tries.”
v Devonport Services. Home. Won 16-9. Team:- L.A.C. L Moores, G Trim, Joe Bailey, Cpl. H W Smith, Pat Leahy, Tom Cuff, J W Swift, Lieut. Bullough, W Barrow, Capt. W Bainbridge, N Owen, C E Stewart, K Weiss, Tom Smith and Austin Higgins (Capt.)
This was another fine win over H.M.S. Drake. Bath scored two goals and two tries to a penalty and two tries. Drake’s men showed commendable spirit in the second half, when they secured all their points. For much of the game the visitors were without C/P/ O. Beavan, with a knee injury.
He was an ex-prisoner of war, and while detained in Marlag Nord, Germany, the Bristol man ran five rugby teams for men of the Royal and Merchant Navies. He knew something about rugby, as he had been playing since 1929! “He spent nearly all his time training, coaching, encouraging and he made life a little more tolerable than it might have been.”
The full-back Lt. Healey, was a survivor of ill-fated H.M.S. Prince of Wales battleship. Healey kicked a fine penalty, when L.A.C. Leslie Moores handled after a tackle. In all other respects, Moores had a fine game; he kicked astutely, tackled magnificently and had fine positional sense. Shipmates Bailey and Cpl. H W Smith figured well as Bath’s centres. G Trim’s speed of foot, accounted for ten of Bath’s points and Tom Cuff had his best game of the season. “Smith, Swift, Lieut. Bullough, R.M.E.. and Captain Bainbridge, Cheshire Regiment, where all on view at the Rec. for the first time and all won all-round approbation.” Bill Barrow led his forwards by example. “Barrow, by the way, had a flurried journey. His car broke down at Keynsham, and he was carted the rest of the way in a hire car which cost him 15s 6d., but the game was so enjoyable all-round that I am sure it was worth it!”
Bath’s tries scored by Higgins, Trim (2), and Smith. Trim converted two. Healy kicked a penalty for Drake and P/O Leslie Williams scored both the visitors’ tries.
v Harlequins. Away. Lost 6-11. Team:- Moores, Leahy, Ellis, Bailey, Trim, Cuff, Swift, Barrow, Bullough, Bainbridge, Owen, Stewart, Higgins, T Smith, Weiss.
Bath managed two tries to Quin’s three. (one converted). The lighter Bath pack gained a fair share from the tight-scrums and were superior in the loose play. Unfortunately, Bath’s back play was considerably stultified by a Cuff’ leg injury in the opening minutes. Trim ran well for Bath’s first try, and in doing so, beat several opponents. Last minute replacement Ellis performed creditably and Les Moores at full-back, was a ‘power of strength.’
“His injured ear, well protected by a scrum cap, appeared to suffer no ill effects from his many tackles.”
Swift showed well at the base of the scrum. Of the Bath forwards, Owens, Stewart, Bullough and Bainbridge were prominent in the loose. Bullough crowned his performance by scoring Bath’s second try. Lennox-Cooke did all the scoring for Harlequins and no doubt impressed the selectors.
It was an altogether strenuous game, played at a very fast pace. The Bath backs disappointed by their lack of thrust and Harlequins were to be considered as deserving winners.
v London Welsh. Home. Lost 8-15. Team:- L.A.C. Leslie Moores, Lieut. Steel, Cpl. W H Smith, R B Ellis, G Trim, J Bailey, J W Swift, W Barrow, Capt. W Bainbridge, Lt. Bullough, Jack Minto, H Pryer (Devonport Services), A Higgins, K Weiss, T Smith.
The Welsh brought the same side that had recently defeated Rosslyn Park, who’s selection included the famed Claude Davey and Haydn Tanner, but Davey stood down as he was nursing an injury from the previous week’s game.
A goodly crowd saw Bath lead 8-6 at the interval, but overhauled in the second half, with the Exciles running in a final tally of five tries. Visiting stand-off Lloyd-Thomas scored under Bath’s posts within three minutes.
Bath came back when Les Moores cross-kicked and the speedy Trim showed the defence a clean pair of heels, to score and convert his own try. It continued ‘a hammer and tongs’ affair with first one side and then the other dictating the run of play. Next, Anthony rounded off a good movement with an Exciles unconverted try. Trim, on top of his form, scored again for Bath. Exciles second half scorers were Price-Davies (2), Gwyn and Williams.
v Bristol. Home. Won 6-3. Team:- L.A.C. Leslie Moores, Capt. Edwards, Dr. Pat Leahy, R B Ellis, G Trim, Joe Bailey, J W Swift, Lt. Bullough, Sergt. Major Jock Minto, Capt. W Bainbridge, C.P.O. A Beasley, C P Hosking, K Weiss, Lieut. Morton R.N.V.R., A Higgins..
Bath’s slender 6-3 lead was taken into the second half, and they held on for a memorable victory over their local rivals. The Bath Chronicle report is fully reproduced hereunder.
‘THOMAS HARRY’ OUT
“For the first time this season, Bath’s front row forward Tom Smith, was a spectator on the Recreation Ground this afternoon. Footballer and boxer, he had a really bad eye, but it was neither in the ring nor on the football field. It was caused by being knocked down by a cyclist, which upset a final row that has played together throughout the season with a great deal of success.”
BACK TO BUSINESS AGAIN
“The match with Bristol might almost be called the third series of meeting. The Clubs have now met before and after two great wars, and the latest struggle, as ardent as ever, could be regarded as the first of a new series-the first after Great War No.2.
It was interesting to reflect on the few on the field today who took part in the real Bath and Bristol battles now at last resumed. Joe Bailey, Jack Minto and Kenneth Weiss were the only trio in these meetings.
Happily the weather was kind, or the gate would have suffered, as the temporary stand is held up by considerations of the licensing authorities.”
OFF WITH A RUSH
“It is a truism to say that a side went off with a ‘bang.’ Bristol, it would be truer to say, began with an ‘explosion,’ for within as many seconds as it takes to say ‘Jack Robinson,’ they had stormed the Bath defences, overcome them and scored.
It was one of those characteristic Bristol forward rushes that sent Griffen over for the first try of the afternoon. Flemming however, could not convert.
But for the first 20 minutes Bristol kept piling it on with all their sails set fore and especially aft. Their young players went out flat in the hope of bringing about some early scores and therefore an early decision.
It is not much to say that Bath, beaten in the tight, were nonplussed by these shock tactics, and were often fumbling about to retrieve a difficult situation. Repeatedly the Bristol backs were moving strongly when somehow they were checkmated.
It was, of course, all very thrilling for the big attendance, with many of them old-timers at the game, who remembered dour conflicts of long ago, and the boys of Prior Park College came along to study what finesse there was.
Bristol had the best chance of going further ahead when Jefferies missed quite an easy kick at goal. Two players who stood out in this gruelling encounter were Moores, a full-back, who never shirked with the sternest task, and Joe Bailey, who did wonders behind a beaten pack. It was at least 20 minutes before Bath, recovering themselves, were able to throw out a really strong challenge to the sister city.
Talk about those Christmas pantomime transformation scenes-well that’s what happened here.
The good fairy in white, a little enshrouded in the midst which is already descending, waved her wand, and hey presto! The match swung right round in favour of Bath, and by half-time the local team were leading.
First, Capt. Edwards, making his first appearance, proved a star indeed.
He was right in the passing and ran into the centre, passed to Leahy, who in turn transferred the ball to Trim, and then back it acme from trim to Leahy, and Edwards, who scored a smashing try.
It was about half-way between the posts and the corner flag, and Moores could not make the kick, but soon afterwards he gave Bath the lead with a capital penalty goal. That is how Bath were up on the score sheet at the interval, after looking outpaced and outclassed.
Having gained the lead, Bath resolved to keep it, and the second half was a real stirring affair. Once upon a time these duels consisted of kicking into touch lineouts and scrums, but this afternoon there was quite a lot of really good passing introduced by both sets of backs.
It was touch-and-go for a while for the visitors, and then likewise for the home side for whom some deadly looking passing nearly gave Edwards his chance again, and also that intrepid half-back, Bailey.
The closing stages saw Bath undoubtedly carrying more of the attack into the enemy camp than they were called upon to ward off, and the spectators were right on their toes the whole time.”
v Bridgwater. Home. Won 27-3. Team:- Moores, Edwards, Ellis, Leahy, Trim, Bailey, Swift, Minte, Bainbridge, Bullough, Beasley, Stewart, Weiss, Higgins, Pryor or Hosking.
“There was a very good crowd, who during the interval of waiting, were able to watch the Women’s Land Army procession to the Pavilion.” Bath went ahead after 5 minutes, when Captain W Bainbridge rode two tackles careered over the line near the corner flag. There was good work by Joe Bailey, but Bath were kept in check until Captain Edwards, the left winger picked up in the loose, to storm over for Bath’s second try, which Trim converted. Bath were now ‘on song,’ and Joe Bailey put them further ahead with the first drop goal of the season.
Later, Captain Edwards rounded off a fine three-quarter movement by going over again. A Bath defensive mistake allowed J C Andrews a well-deserved try, but Bath were not to be denied and ran out comfortable winners. It had been an entertainment to see Staff Sergt. Jock Minto again, but duty called, and he was soon on his way back to Palestine.
v St. Mary’s Hospital. Away. Lost 7-19. Team:- Moores, Edwards, Steele, Leahy, Trim, Bailey,
Sgt. Major Len Joseph (Swansea), Bainbridge, Barrow, Bullough, Stewart, Hosking, Weiss, Beasley, Higgins.
All the early pressure came from ‘in-form’ St Mary’s, culminating in a try by scrum-half Graham. Soon after, a fine break by Joe Bailey, was followed with a smart try for Edwards which levelled the score. At the re-commencement, Bath fell into arrears when the Medics scored three tries, one of which was converted. Bailey narrowed the margin with a 40 yard drop goal, only for St. Mary’s to touch down under the posts and convert.
v Stroud. Home. Won 24-13. Team:- Moores, Edwards, Leahy, Steele, Trim, Bailey, Joseph, Bullough, Jackson, Smith, Stewart, Pryor, Weiss, Beasley, Higgins.
In common with several of his fellow players, ex L.A.C. Leslie Moores was now in ‘Civvy Street,’ and had his ‘demob’ suite to prove it!
Pryor scored within five minutes. Trim converted and contributed his own try shortly after; his pace got him through would be tacklers, without a finger laid on him. Stroud kept their spirits up and came back with a converted try. Then it was the turn of Bath’s left wing, Edwards, who handed off three defenders to storm over in the corner. Edwards was outstanding throughout, and scored his second try after an astute cross-kick by Leahy.
There were 20 set scrums from which Bath gained possession 3 times to the visitors’ 17 times. Incidentally, the ball had to be re-presented on 6 occasions. “An inquest has shown, I think, that the two major faults are loose packing and poor shoving. The front row is breaking, the second row is not binding, and the back row-well, you cannot have three wing forwards.” The reporter bemoaned the fact that the Club had been presented with a scrummaging machine – but never used it! Eventually, it was given to the United Services, and they had improved their scrummaging 100 per cent!
v Wasps. Away. Lost 3-26. Team:- Moores, Edwards, Leahy, Steel, Trim, Bailey, Swift, Bainbridge, Bullough, Jackson, Smith, Stewart, Pryor, Beasley, Weiss, Higgins.
Bath took a drubbing at Wasps, trailing 3-8 at half time; they fared no better after the interval and Wasps eventually crossed Bath’s line 6 times, converting 4 of their tries. Wasps had a heavy pack and had much the better of the game. Mr. Leslie Moores was very steady under pressure and it was known that the England selectors were interested in his performance. He contributed Bath’s only score, with a fine first half penalty goal.
“Twice the game was held up in order that ‘worn’ garments might be replaced-and all of them cost coupons!”
“Here is a little human note. Old players, old members, and those who have been supporters for many years, and are now old age pensioners, are entitled to admittance to the matches for 6d. Generally they are known to officials, but they should show their pension book in case of doubt.”
v Gloucester. Home. Lost 8-27. Team:- L Moores, A Pollard, Capt. Edwards, Pat Leahy, G Trim, Joe Bailey, J W Swift, Lt. Bullough, Tom Smith, Capt. Bainbridge, P Pryor, P G H Curtis, K Weiss, C.P.O. A Beasley, and A Higgins.
After leading 5-4 at the interval, Bath collapsed badly when scrum-half J W Swift re-developed cartilage trouble, and was forced to see out the game on the wing. Bath were faced by an international pairing of Cpl. W E Jones (Neath) and none other than last year’s skipper Flt. Lt. D D Evans (Bridgend and Bath). In a game driven by Gloucester’s fine pack, the visitors scored 4 goals, a try and a drop goal to Bath’s goal and a try.
Bath tries from newcomer Pollard (R.A.F. Melksham), and late on, by Trim.
v Leicester. Away. Lost 3-9. Team:- J Hodder, G Trim, Sub-Lt. P Roberts, Les Moores, C.P.O. Beasley, Sgt. Fred Hayman, Joe Bailey, Tom Smith, L Gladwell, W Barrow, P Brown, Lt. Bullough, Surgeon Lt. Milne, Weiss, and Higgins.
Bath had to be content with a first half try by Bailey, whilst the Tigers were home and dry with two tries and a penalty goal. Early on, Bath had a fair share of this rather tame game, but the backs tended to kick away possession.
Watkins was Leicester’s opening scorer, with a penalty conceded by Freddie Hayman. Joe Bailey made one brilliant break through and drew the defence cleverly: “but he had the mortification of seeing his pass to his oncoming colleagues go begging.” Leicester stepped up their effort and a forward surge, bowled over Hodder, for Albert Brown to touch down. Bailey got Bath’s try at this point. Beasley, in particular, continued to kick away any chances. In contrast, Leicester were continuing to handle expertly and Hodder only just saved a certain score when Thomas came speeding through the centre. However, Thomas was not to be denied and the next handling movement saw him out-run the Bath defence for a finely executed try.
v London Scottish. Home. Won 16-8. Team:- J Hodder, Capt. Edwards, Sergt. F Hayman, L Moores, G Trim, Joe Bailey, Staff Sergt. L Joseph, W Barrow, W Gladwell, Surgeon Lt. Milne, Tom Smith, Major Lossack, C.P.O. A Beasley, K Weiss and Austin Higgins.
A ‘pre-fab’ West grandstand had, at long last, been erected. Made of tubular steel and iron sheets it provided shelter for 600 people, half of them seated. It was a much-awaited facility, albeit temporary after Planning appeals taken up following the 1942 Blitz.
Bath ‘celebrated’ an exciting game with a win. It was noted that winger, Trim: “lost part of his couponed garments in his attempt to make for the line.”
Bath started to pile on the points in the last few minutes of the first half: “First 36 year old Joe Bailey dropped a goal from an angle in a manner which suggested that it was as easy to him as shelling peas.
Then Higgins, ever the opportunist skipper, dribbled ahead for 40 yards, and left Beasley to carry on and score a first rate try by the posts. Trim duly obliged by adding the extra points.”
Hayman’s first time tackling was an inspiration. In the second half, Bath’s Edwards dropped a goal and Beasley scored his second try.
v Northampton, Away. Lost 6-12. Selected team:- J Hodder, G Trim, L Moores, Sub Lt. P Roberts, J Arnold, F Hayman, Staff Sgt. Joseph, W Barrow, L.A.C. David Rees (R.A.F. Lynham), Lt. Bullough, Major Lossock, P Curtis, T Gladwell, T Smith, and K Weiss. Louis Cannell was at centre for the Saints.
Moores sent Trim in for Bath’s try, following “a grand rush,” only for he Saints to respond with the first of their two penalty goals kicked by White. Next, Louis Cannell ran 50 yards for a fine Northampton try.
“Play was held up while a pig, which had strayed on to the field, was chased off. Moores, from his new position, made a good clearance of the obstruction!”
Moores reduced the margin with a penalty and R O Pell scored a late try for Northampton. New find, L.A.C. Rees performed admirably at hooker.
v Bridgwater Barbarians. Away. Won 31-6 Team:- Hodder, Trim, Moores, Hayman, Edwards, Bailey, Joseph, Smith, Rees, Bullough, Barrow, Beasley, Weiss, Lossock, Higgins.
Bath’s visit attracted the biggest crowd of the season. Bridgwater were woefully under- strength in the three-quarters and this is where Bath showed vast superiority, having much the better of the early exchanges. Les Moores scored a try in the first five minutes, quickly followed up by Edwards, with Trim converting. The ball was greasy following a storm, but Bath’s handling movements continued to test the Bridgwater defence. Trim was the next to force his way over, converting his own try. Next Barrow gathered possession in the home 25 and scored a try wide out. Hayman grounded the next one beneath the posts for Trim to add the extras. The ‘Brick Towners’ countered with a penalty goal, but Bath continued to hold sway and came away worthy winners. Two second half tries flowed from Edwards, both of which, Trim converted. Lossock and Rees were prominent and Pryor, Smith and Bullough put in some good work.
v Weston-s-Mare. Home. Won 13-3. Team:- Budd West, Capt. Edwards, Fred Hayman, Leslie Moores, G Trim, Roy Harris, Joe Bailey, Tom Smith, David Rees, Peter Brown, W Barrow, C Jones, A Beasley, K Weiss, and A Higgins. The temporary stand was soon filled, highlighting the long felt need for a covered area. The supporters had waited 3 1/2 years for restoration of some element of covered accommodation.
It was a welcome return for Roy Harris after his soldiering days in Burma. Budd West, also ‘demobbed,’ was at full back. From the start, Bath’s superiority was evident, and Harris soon impressed his stamp on the game, with the classic nature of his play. Along with Bailey, he used the ball beautifully, whilst Hayman and Moore were excellent collaborators. After a while, Bath somehow, fell away from their early promise, but eventually, staged a second half recovery with excellently worked tries by Edwards and Harris.
v Old Blues. Home. Won.23-0. The Boxing Day crowd of around 3000 were treated to a feast of seven tries, some of which were to live long in the memory. Three of them were registered in the first half and four thereafter and they came from wingers Edwards (2), Hayman and Moores, and forwards Ellis, Beasley and the indefatigable Higgins. Les Moores kicked one goal out of five attempts and other unsuccessful kickers were Ellis and Beasley. L Bryant was a successful, if rather laboured in his hooking duties.
v Llanelly. Away. Drawn 3-3. Team:- West, Hayman, Moores, Bailey, Edwards, Harris, W Gagg, Smith, Rees, Bullough, Barrow, Lossock, Weiss, Beasley and Higgins.
Honours even at one try each – quite an achievement in the ‘Scarlets’ den! Bath’s defence was soon caught on the wrong foot and Thomas ran over for their try. Bath were quicker off the mark after the interval and deservedly drew level when Moores kicked ahead, catching the Llanelly full-back out of position, for Trim to dribble on and touch down. Unfortunately, Higgins missed with the conversion attempt, which would have been just revenge for their early season 0-16 defeat. It was probably Bath’s best performance in Wales and the forwards, in particular, were congratulated on the way they adapted to the conditions, together with the whole team, on their magnificent display.
v Exeter. Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- Bud West, Fred Hayman, Les Moores, Joe Bailey, G Trim, Roy Harris, L Joseph, Bainbridge, David Rees, W Barrow, J Knight, Weiss, Beasley, W Gladwell and A Higgins.
An under-strength Bath side faced a team with an enviable home record, having only lost to Bristol that season. The heavier Exeter pack proceeded to push Bath off the ball. In the lines-out, Exeter gained most of the ball, without effective opposition. The home side got their first try from a clever blind-side movement. Bath came back strongly, but their movements lacked cohesion. Joe Bailey took a drop shot at goal, but the ball veered past the outside upright. More forward work brought a try for Exeter’s Paul, which was duly converted. Rutter quickly followed with another touchdown, to complete the afternoon’s scoring.
For Bath, West had a good game at full-back and Beasley showed well in the pack. As to the rest of the forwards – they all looked as if they would benefit from plenty of lineout and scrummaging practice!
v Northampton. Home, Won. 16-5. Team:- West, Edwards, I Lumsden, Bailey, Hayman, Harris, Joseph, Smith, Rees, Bainbridge, W M Lossock, Knight, Weiss, Higgins, and Beasley. Ian Lumsden, the Scottish international played at centre. “At the end of seven minutes the ball came very well out from the scrum, and Harris passed to Bailey, who, in turn, transferred the ball to Lumsden, who made one of the best runs seen on the ground for years, to ground the ball under the posts.” C.P.O. Beasley added the extras. “The second score of the first half came when Bailey beat a couple of men and gave the ball to Capt. Edwards, whose speed and resource carried him over in the corner for a try which this time Beasley was unable to convert.”
Bath crossed again, early in the second half, Edwards getting his second try, but Beasley missed again.
“Later Harris got through in wonderful style, and when running strongly towards the post, passed to Lumsden, who scored right under the bar, Beasley converting.” White scored and converted for Northampton.
Skipper, Austin Higgins was gratified at the revival of form. Edward’s and Lumsden’s running had been a treat to watch.
“In the heat of battle a few tempers became a little frayed, but all this was dissolved over a convivial glass afterwards, which is what happens in Rugby.”
v Cardiff cancelled due to heavy frost. Loss of gate money was a considerable blow, and emphasised the continued need for a public appeal for funds.
v Moseley. Away. Won 18-0. Team:- Bud West, J Arnold, F Hayman, Joe Bailey (Capt), Capt. Edwards, Roy Harris, L Joseph, W Barrow, D Rees, T Smith, Bainbridge, J Knight, K Weiss, J Gladwell, and A Higgins.
A notable win, with Harris’s generalship a vital factor in a revised Bath back line, playing in greasy conditions. The avalanche of tries started from the first minute, when the Moseley backs failed to gather a slippery ball and Captain Edwards crossed with ease. Hooker, Rees gained frequent possession and Harris showed a great willingness to move the ball about, despite the slippery conditions. Another opportunist try by Edwards had Bath 6-0 ahead at half-time. On resumption, Bath moved strongly into attack and tries followed in quick succession from Hayman and Edwards. The Bath hooker now had so much ball, that the Moseley backs were effectively eclipsed. The scoring spree was concluded, when first Rees and then Joseph crossed over.
v Wasps, Home. Won 11-5. Team:- Budd West, J Arnold, (ex R.A.F.) Fred Hayman, Joe Bailey, Capt. Edwards, Major Roy Harris, Staff Sgt. L Joseph, Capt. Bainbridge, L.A.C. D Rees, T Smith, Major W M Lossock, W Barrow, K Weiss, C.P.O. A Beasley and A Higgins.
A very fierce struggle, with first one side and then the other in ascendancy. Almost on Full Time, Bud West kicked a remarkable long distance penalty for Bath. Tries from Higgins, converted by West, and Harris. There were fine performances from Higgins and Hayman, and the latter’s speed, particularly at the Moseley game, was amazing the crowds. Fred Hayman was doing some invaluable coaching work at Bath’s Sutcliffe School.
v Stroud, Away. Won 13-10. Team:- West, Hayman, Lumsden, Bailey, J Arnold, Harris, Halse, Bainbridge, Rees, Smith, Lossock, Barrow, Beasley, Weiss, and Higgins. Attendance 400.
Bath trailed 5-10 at half time. Austin Higgins had scored a try, which was converted by West. Stroud scored two converted tries. Second half tries by Hayman and Higgins, converted by West, clinched the game for Bath.
Stroud had set out to play a spoiling game, but the Bath three-quarters, particularly Ian Lumsden, progressively outplayed the opposition.
“The hospitality of the Stroud team and supporters was highly appreciated by the visitors, who gave a good account of themselves at the sing-song at a local hostelry.”
v Gloucester. Away. Won 13-11. Team:-West, Hayman, Lumsden, Bailey, Edwards, Harris, Joseph, Smith, Rees, Bainbridge, Barrow, Lossock, Weiss, Beasley, and Higgins.
Bath maintained their winning form with a triumph over Gloucester. They established a 13-5 lead at half-time and held on as the home side crept up to within two points. Gloucester included internationals T Price and J Thornton.
Bath tries from Bailey, Edwards and Lumsden, with West converting two. Much of Bath’s success was engendered by the leadership qualities and popularity of their skipper, Austin Higgins.
“More than once I have stated that the evacuation of the Admiralty to Bath did a great thing in many ways. It brought outstanding sportsmen to the city like Austin Higgins, John Wass, Philip Curtis, and the late lamented Green who died so suddenly in the height of his popularity.”
It was the first time that season, that Gloucester had been beaten by an English side. Bath had last won at Gloucester (5-3) on 19th November 1938. Bath won the return match 6-5 on February 18th 1939.
Unfortunately, Roy Harris sustained a bruised kidney injury which, landed him in the local hospital, and was to keep him out of the Combined Counties side. He was later transferred to the military wing of St. Martin’s Hospital for further treatment.
v Moseley, Home. Won 3-0. Team:- Budd West, Dai Rees, Leslie Moores, Joe Bailey, Jack Arnold, W F Pears, Staff-Sergt. L Joseph, Tom Smith, L.A.C. Donald Rees, Major Bainbridge, W Barrow, Major W M Lossock, W Weiss, C.P.O. A Beasley and Austin Higgins.
Big rugby at Twickenham and Bristol, allied to heavy morning rain, was to make a big hole in attendance.
Those who did turn up were rewarded by some carefree rugby, with good service from the scrum and snappy passing in the backs. Also appreciated, was the distinct numbering on the backs of the Moseley jerseys, enabling spectators to identify players from anywhere in the field of play. It was thought that Bath would do well to copy.
“Dai Rees celebrated his first game for Bath by going over for an admirable try, after a neat and clever run, in which he brought a nice side step into operation.”
The absence of the Bath “stars” made a world of difference to the play.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 0-5. C R West, G Edwards, I Lumsden, J Bailey, Dai Rees, W F Pears, L Joseph, W Bainbridge, Donald Rees, T Smith, W Lossock, W Barrow, K Weiss, J Knight, and A Higgins.
C.P.O. Beasley was detained at Devonport, awaiting demobilisation, so J Knight deputised. Bath were greatly disadvantaged by the continued injuries to Harris, and Hayman. They struggled in bleak, muddy conditions, to hold Bristol to a pointless first half, and the home side finally won the game when scrum-half J A Harris, squeezed through on the blind side, for the try to be converted by V H Thompson
“Kick and scrum, the old order of things, operated in this meeting of such old rivals.”
“The ground was so badly cut up as to suggest ploughing for a late harvest.” “Bath forwards were magnificent in the loose. The mud was the bugbear; it clung to the players and they could not shake themselves free of it; oddly enough the play gravitated to where the mire was at its worst.” The same thing used to happen at Bath, where, on wet days, a particularly muddy depression in front of the West stand, seemed to soak in most of the action.
v Newport, Home. Lost 5-20. Team:- Budd West, Fred Hayman, Joe Bailey, Ian Lumsden, Leslie Moores, W F Pears, L Joseph, Major Bainbridge, Donald Rees, T Smith, A Beasley, W Barrow, K Weiss, J Knight, and A Higgins. Newport fielded three international forwards. Les Moores deputised for Capt. Edwards, who had not recovered from injury. Bath fought bravely against the odds, and a try by Beasley, converted by West, was the only reply to Newport’s 2 goals, a try, a drop goal and a penalty. It was a magnificent crowd and the play was worthy of the occasion.
v St Mary’s Hospital. Home. Lost 15-16. Team:- West, Dai Rees, Bailey, P Roberts, A Beasley, W R Pears, N Halse, Pte. Dai Rees, L.A.C. Donald Rees, Smith, Bainbridge, Barrow, Knight, Weiss, and Higgins.
Bath lost by 3 penalties and 2 tries, to 2 goals and 2 tries. Two features of this game stand out. First, that two of St. Mary’s conversions were scored by ex-Prior Park pupil, and back row forward Murphy O’Connor.
Second, that it was the first occasion that Bath fielded a side with three unrelated players named Rees – Dai, Dai and Donald! It was not a good day for Pte. Dai Rees, as in attempting to score, he broke his collarbone. He was destined to join Major Roy Harris in St. Martin’s Hospital.
Bath tries by Bailey and Higgins, and Bailey crowned a good performance by kicking three penalties. It had been anybody’s game from start to finish. Bath’s pack were again inspired by Austin Higgin’s leadership.
v Cardiff. Home. Lost 3-11.Team:- Budd West, Major John DeWolf, Ian Lumsden, Joe Bailey, Fred Hayman, W F Pears, N Halse, L.A.C. Donald Rees, Dai Rees, T Smith, Major W Bainbridge, Sgt. J Mooney, Ken Weiss, A Beasley, and J Knight.
Sergt. J Mooney, from the School of Infantry, Warminster, was a welcome newcomer. Bath were also pleased to welcome back Major John de Wolf, who had just returned from overseas.
The Cardiff side is worthy of note. A correspondent had enquired as to their occupations, and these are added, where known:- St. John Rees (Medical student), Selwyn Evans (Medical student), J Mahoney, W H Wilkins, Graham Hale (Bank Clerk), W B Cleaver (Colliery Manager), W Darch, W G Jones (Collier), Tom Holley, Geo Tomkins (Assistant Coliery Manager), Cliff Davies (Collier), Ray Bale (Market gardener), S Miller, Stan Bowes and Hubert Jones (Medical Student).
The fabulous ‘Billy’ Cleaver and Cliff Davies were Cardiff’s internationals.
Cardiff’s superior back play and support won the day, with a goal and two tries to Bath’s solitary try by Pears.
Astonishingly, Bath’s Welsh born hooker, Donald Rees, won the strikes in a ratio of three to one. Bath gained the ball from the tight 20 times to 6 in the first half, and 13 times to 5 in the second. On the downside, the heeling was often slow, and an adjusted half-back pairing of Lumsden and Halse failed to get the Bath backs running at speed.
The turning point came, when the Cardiff scrum-half gave two dummies near the line, enabling Hubert Jones to go over near the posts, for ‘Sinjon’ Rees to convert.
Tail-piece:- In these times of austerity, Cardiff came prepared – they brought their own lemons!
v Swansea. Away. Lost 4-14. Team:- J Hodder, Fred Hayman, Lieut. Peter Roberts, Joe Bailey, Major J de Wolf, W R Pears, Staff-Sergt. L Joseph, L.A.C. Donald Rees, Dai Rees, Sergt. J Mooney, J Knight, A Beasley, A Higgins, W Knight and K Weiss. Joseph came in for Halse and Higgins for Bainbridge. Swansea included winger Guy Addenbrooke, destined to serve Bath with great distinction over many years. Indeed, it was Addenbrooke who scored Swansea’s first try – a foretaste of what Bath would eventually come to enjoy. Both sets of backs decided to play open rugby with varying success. Swansea crossed the Bath line three times, converting once and landing a penalty. Hooker, Rees provided ample set-piece possession, but the Bath backs, lacked initiative and made little progress. There was a glimmer of hope when Joseph benefited from a quick heel and transferred to Pears for a smartly taken drop-goal. This put heart into the visitors, they re-doubled their effort, but were unable to penetrate the stout Swansea defence.
v London Scottish, Away. Lost 8-30. Team:- J Hodder, F Hayman, J Bailey, J de Wolf, G Fortt, F Pears, L Joseph, Dai Rees, Donald Rees, Sergt. Mooney, W Barrow, Major W M Lossock, K Weiss, J Knight, Austin Higgins (Capt.) The Exciles crossed the Bath line no less than seven times, converting 4 and adding a penalty and a drop goal to Bath’s goal and a penalty.
The Bath try was scored by L Joseph and converted by John de Wolf. Wolf reduced the Scottish lead with a penalty goal. Notably, Bruce-Lockhart dropped a beautiful goal for the Exciles, along with fellow international, Sampson and trialist Mackintosh his play was outstanding.
“Rees, Lossock, Higgins and Barrow worked hard in the tight scrums and in the loose, and the latter was actually lying injured at the time of the final score.”
v Exeter. Home, Lost 8-10. Team:- J Hodder, T Hicks, J Bailey, I Lumsden, F Hayman, W R Pears, L Joseph, Sgt. Mooney, G Fortt, T Smith, W Barrow, Major J Lossock, K Weiss, J Knight, Austin Higgins.
The pitch was in perfect condition, it was a lovely day and a near record crowd gave a warm Easter welcome to their visitors from Devonshire. Unfortunately Bath were without their regular hooker, Donald Rees. Bath played in white, simply because their regular colours were looking ‘worse for wear.’ Early pressure, and a grand run by Hayman, brought a try for Higgins near the posts; Joe Bailey missed ‘a sitter.’ Later, Exeter’s Ford dropped a real beauty to put the visitors ahead. Next, poor defence allowed Paul in for a try, but the kicked failed from an easy position.
Near half-time, Hayman fielded an awkward pass and touched down wide out for Bailey to convert and establish a one point lead. Exeter’s Flying Officer Orchard notched up the winning try five minutes from time.
v Newport. Away. Lost 0-34. Team:- J Hodder, Philip Fortt, Tom Hicks, W S Pears, Fred Hayman, Joe Bailey, L Joseph, J Mooney, Donald Rees, Tom Smith, S Irwin, C Burrough, Austin Higgins, J Knight, G Fortt.
The Supporters’ Club amassed for the 12.45 G.W.R. train to Newport, for the last game ‘on foreign soil.’
Officers and men of U.S.A. destroyers were welcomed and witnessed their first game of Rugby. The result manifests a decisive beating. Nevertheless: “Bath had enjoyed much of the game territorially, but good play fizzled out at the important moment.” “Newport opened up the game at every opportunity and tries followed at regular intervals, Morgan converting three of them in the second half.” Irwin and Rees were prominent in the Bath pack, with Rees particularly successful in the loose. Half-backs, Joseph and Bailey worked hard in defence, while Hicks made repeated attempts to pierce the Newport defence.
Newport’s final account was:- tries Baker (3), Les Williams (2), Graham Jones, E Coleman and R T Evans one each. D R Morgan kicked five goals.
Despite the loss, the Supporters enjoyed themselves on the way back, with their homespun ditties and songs.
v Newbridge. Home. Lost 11-19. Team:- Leslie Moores, R Ascott, W Pears, Joe Bailey, Fred Hayman, T Hicks, N Halse, Sam Irwin, Don Rees, R A Ball, W Barrow, T Smith, A Higgins, Jack Knight, J Speke. Two thrilling first half tries by Hayman, one converted by Bailey, and another midway in second half by Halse put Bath in the lead 11-6. Then disaster, as weak tackling let the visiting side through for two quick tries. Said one of the visiting players: “Somehow we could not seem to settle down till the last quarter of an hour. We have been playing together through the war. You see, we are all colliers and are fortunate enough to be exempted, so we were able to keep together a young side.”
JERSEYS IN CRISIS
Bath’s hooped jerseys were in a dreadful state, but they could not wear their white set, as the visitors came in that colour. Such was the shortage of kit, which was governed by Coupon restrictions, that Bath had to borrow the amber and black quarters of H.M.S. Royal Arthur, at Corsham.
Following this game, the Bath Committee decreed that in future, tea tickets would be issued to visiting clubs.
v Old Merchant Taylors. Home. Won 17-10. Team:- J Arnold, Capt. Edwards, Joe Bailey, N Thomas, R Ascott, Tom Hicks, Norman Halse, Sam Irwin, W Barrow, A Beasley, R Ball, Austin Higgins, J Knight, W Robinson and T Smith.
It was a renewal of the Hicks and Halse partnership, who had also been wartime comrades on the Western Front with Wessex Division. Tommy Hicks dropped a goal. Smith, Ascott and Hicks scored tries, with two converted.
It was with regret that Bath learned that O.M.T.’s full-back, who was injured early in the game, had sustained three broken ribs and a possible punctured lung. A second visiting player had three stitches in a head wound. A very hard ground, left three Bath players with ankle injuries.
v Leicester. Home. Lost 5-17. Team:- J Hodder, A Beasley, J Arnold, J Bailey, J Ellis, T Hicks, N Halse, J Robinson, D Rees, K Coles, S Irwin, D Speke, A Higgins, W Barrow, T Smith.
Bath were stale and leg weary, and the Tigers beat them with only fourteen players on the field for most of the second half. Leicester’s Channer at out half was the dominating factor.
“Bath’s score came right at the end when Jack Arnold cork-screwed over for Jack Ellis to convert. Two youngsters D Speke and S Irwin played well in the Bath pack.”
Leicester lost wing K Stimpson early in the second half.
Bath Seven v Bristol Seven: I Lumsden, T Hicks, F Hayman, L Joseph, L.A.C. Don Rees (Later played for Cardiff and eventually went Rugby League), G Fortt, L Moores. Reserve T Smith.
The relevant Club Minute suggested that the 7’s Captain should have a word with Ken Weiss and “suggest that his play should not be allowed to become too robust.”