The first Club Trial was held on 28th August at the Stothert & Pitt Ground.
The following teams were selected:-
Blues:- J Arnold, V Peplow, Bryn Evans, N J Bailey, F Hayes, R T V Kyrke, G Lee, M Spark, (or Norman Halse), L Harter, E Hemmings, W Barrow, J Saunders, Lt. Gardner, L Eades, A Todd and J Vassiere.
Whites:- J de Wolf, K O’Shaughnessy, H Leek, T Hicks, C Porter, T Nolan, R Charles, R A Ball, F Carey, L Harding, R R Broakes, G S Brown, J Dickinson, R Speke and P Ryan.
v Llanelly, Home. Lost 0-3. Team: J Arnold, K O’Shaughnessy, C A Bowell, T Hicks, C J Porter, I Goodhand, N Halse, G A Reid, M J Howell, J Messer, A Burcombe, G S Brown, A Higgins, L S Harter and W G Jenkins.
Bath gave 1st XV debuts to Ian Goodhand, the R.A.F. Yatesbury, St Ives and Cornwall scrum-half, and George Brown, a second row forward, then serving in the R.A.F.
The Bath pitch was an “oasis of green,” as four pumps had poured 120,000 gallons of water on the playing area. Some of it was misdirected and skipper Tommy Hicks and Committeeman Cyril Bailey took a pre-match soaking. The visitors were well supported and the Rag Doll mascot was in place on a goal post.
There was little between the two sides in the early stages, but eventually the ‘Scarlets’ made progress. The Welsh had the better of the scrums but there was nothing to show at the interval. Bath re-started purposefully, as if they had just awakened to the new season. However, it was Llanelly who registered the first try following a sustained bout of pressure. Slick handling led to an unconverted try by Ron Jeffries. Bath responded with a particularly strong run by Porter, but the visitors survived to take Bath’s ground record in the first game.
v Leicester, Away. Lost 11-31. Team:- J Arnold, V Peplow, K O’Shaughnessy, C A Bowell, Kyrke, T W Hicks, M Spark, W Barrow, M J Howell, J Messer, G A Reid, L S Harter, A Todd, G S Brown, and A Higgins.
Bath kept the Tigers in reasonable check for the first half, but were overcome by a succession of tries after the interval. In all, Leicester crossed the Bath line five times, converting two and dropping three goals.
Chief architect of Bath’s downfall was M R Channer at outside-half.
Bath had scored first, with a magnificent penalty by O’Shaughnessy. Hicks and Bowell dropped goals.
v Swansea, Away. Lost 3-21.Team: – L Moores, K O’Shaughnessy, H Leek, C A Bowell, C J Porter, J Bailey, M Spark, L S Harter, W Barrow, J Messer, Lt. E Gardner (Devonport Services), J Saunders, A Todd, G S Brown and D L Vallis. Alan Todd scored Bath’s first try of the season.
Outside half Alan Thomas amassed fifteen of Swansea’s points. In the early stages, Bath forwards provided a strong challenge in the loose and there was resolute tackling, particularly from K O’Shaughnessy, J Bailey and C Bowell in the backs. Bath’s effective tactic was to defend with touch kicks, but the Swansea backs gradually gained the ascendancy. Swansea’s Addenbrooke was well marked, but L J Shaw was able to outflank Porter, to score the first of Swansea’s three tries.
v Weston-super-Mare, Away. Lost 6-8. L Moores, C Porter, J DeWolf, T Hicks, K O’Shaughnessy, J Bailey. M Spark, W Messer, Harding, Harter, Vallis, Saunders, Jenkins, Brown, Todd. Weston had the better of the play in a match played out to a thrilling finish. The Weston pack played well in both the tight and the loose. Forwards Todd and Saunders featured in Bath’s stiff resistance, but the Bath backs were hindered by lack of opportunities. The final margin was just two points, made up of a goal and a try to the ‘Seasiders,’ and two penalty goals by Porter.
v Devonport Services, Home. Won 21-3. L Moores, K O’Shaughnessy, I Goodhand, T Hicks, H Leek, N Halse, J Bailey, J Messer, W Barrow, L Harter, G Reid, G Brown, W G Jenkins, A Higgins and A Todd.
Everyone was delighted with Bath’s display, the forwards were in top form, with Messer having a particularly fine game. The backs combined well and did nearly all the attacking. It was a fine 1st XV debut for Old Edwardian Haydn Leek.
The five tries were scored by O’Shaughnessy, Goodhand (2), Messer and Jenkins, with O’Shaughnessy landing two penalties.
v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 4-3. Team:- L Moores, K O’Shaughnessy, T Hicks, I Goodhand, H Leek, J H Bailey, M Thomas, L Harter, M J Howell, J Messer, W Barrow, G A Reid, G S Brown, A Higgins and A Todd.. Bath turned out in blue jerseys, as the manufacturers could not yet produce in tricolour.
Another close brush with the ‘Seasiders.’ This time, Bath edged ahead with a drop goal by veteran Joe Bailey, now in his 17th season. He had only recently thrown in his lot with Avon R.F.C., but he was more than happy to turn out with his old club mates. Higgins, Todd, Messer and Harter did some grand work in the forwards. White kicked Weston’s penalty.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Away. Lost 10-23. Team:- J Arnold, H Leek, C A Bowell, T Hicks, V Peplow, J H Bailey, M Thomas, J Messer, M J Howell, L S Harter, G A Reid, Lt H Gardner, A Higgins, A Todd and W G Jenkins. Attendance 1000.
Bath backs were given plenty of chances, but the back line was stultified by Bailey’s tendency to accept his scrum-half’s pass while standing still. However, Bath were first to score when Jenkins started a dribble and Todd was up to gather and dive over. St Mary’s were quick to respond with a converted try. Bath retaliated when Peplow grounded from near the touch-line. Venniker, the Barbarians forward was the next to score for the Medics. Forrest kicked his second conversion. Next, a Bath pass went awry, and Cooper was up to dribble over to extend the Hospital’s lead. Forrest converted with ease.
Thomas worked well at scrum-half and it was his quick pass which enabled Bailey to drop a goal from outside the Hospital’s 25 yard line.
The Hospitals then clinched matters with a second converted try by Venniker and another by winger Mark.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 0-26. Team:- J Arnold, T Hicks, H Leek, Ian Goodhand, , C Porter, J Bailey, N Halse, J Messer, M J Howell, G Reid, G S Brown, H Gardner, A Higgins, A Todd and K Weiss.
Bath failed to rise to the occasion and were well and truly beaten. Both sides were under strength, and it was a very poor spectacle. Bristol crossed the Bath line 5 times, converting 4 and adding a penalty.
Bath had improved on their blue jerseys by adding numbers. Unfortunately, they failed to put numbers to names in the match programme!
Play was fast and furious from the onset, but Bath found themselves almost entirely on the defensive. Bristol soon built up a substantial lead, and there seemed little they could do to stem a succession of tries.
v Bridgwater, Home. Won 23-10. Team:- J Arnold, C J Porter, C A Bowell, J H Bailey, H Leek, G S Lee, M Spark, W Barrow, P Boltwood (Avonvale), A Todd, G A Reid (Capt.), L Harter, P Ryan, G Brown and T Lewis.
Jack Arnold was the only surviving player from the corresponding match 26th October 1946.
Following this game, there was a call to field a more regular selection. In the first nine matches, Bath had utilised 34 players, and no one had played in all 9 games. Bath had been affected by County calls for a match at Taunton. Bowell was the fastest man in the Bath side. In the 8th minute he outstripped all opposition for a fine try. Porter kicked the first of his two penalties in the 24th minute. “A minute later Porter broke right through, lost the ball, recovered it, and then scored.” Porter soon added another try just before the interval.
PORTER AND LEEK
It was interesting to note that both the Bath wingers, Cyril Porter and Haydn Leek, were products of King Edward’s School. Bridgwater rallied briefly with a converted try. Next, there was a roar of applause as Bowell ran 40 yards to score a magnificent try after spread-eagling the Bridgwater defence.
Up stepped Cyril Porter and the try was converted – indeed the first kicking success in the 1947-48 season. The visitors then managed a second try, but 5 minutes later, that man Porter kicked another penalty and only a minute later, crowned his outstanding performance with a final try.
v United Services, Home. Won 19-10. J Arnold, H Leek, C A Bowell, T Hicks, CJ Porter, G S Lee, M Spark, W Barrow, P Boltwood, L S Harter, G S Brown, Lt. H Gardner, A Todd, G A Reid and T Lewis.
Cyril Porter was certainly the designated kicker, but even he had his odd moments. Bath’s first penalty was smack in front of the posts and less than 30 yards out. Porter miss-kicked.
Thankfully, Lt. Gardiner’s opportunist try put Bath ahead in the fourth minute. This time, Porter’s kick went under the crossbar. Despite this, the football was lively and Lee and Bolwell featured in several sorties. In the 14th minute, Porter succeeded with a penalty from wide out. Perhaps the earlier opportunities were not enough of a challenge! Then the home crowd sportingly applauded a magnificent try by Service’s Barras, which was converted by Howard-Jones.
A bout of clever passing allowed Bowell to romp over in the corner for a great try. Porter could not convert. Bowell was warming to his tasks and was soon over again after a 45 yard run. Porter succeeded.
“The Services proved very good interceptors, turning defence into attack through this means. Thirteen minutes of the second half sufficed for Bath to go ahead again. It was one of those spectacular half-the-field movements in which Hicks did the running, Porter carried on, Lee took a smart hand, and Lewis, once more showing his right to inclusion, went over. Porter duly converted.”
Ten minutes from the end, former Prior Park schoolboy, Murphy O’Connor scored a try near the posts for Howard-Jones to convert.
v Stroud, Home. Won 26-0. Team:- J Arnold, C Porter, C A Bowell, L Moores, H Leek, G S Lee, M Spark, J Messer, P Boltwood, W Barrow, A Burcombe, L S Harter, T Lewis, G A Reid and A Todd.
“Porter was the scorer in chief-the others did their part well-it being especially pleasing to know that Moores can still be relied upon when called on for the 1st XV.
W Burcombe-the old Walcot School boy was certainly an acquisition.” (Programme Notes)
Tries by Porter (4), Lee and Reid, with Porter converting four.
v Gloucester, Home. Lost 8-14. Team: J Arnold, H Leek, C A Bolwell, K O’Shaughnessy, C J Porter, T Hicks, M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, A Burcombe, G A Reid, T Lewis, L S Harter and A Todd. Gloucester had an international half-back pairing of Danny Evans and W Jones, with internationals T Price and A Hudson in the forwards.
Bath lost by a goal and a try to Gloucester’s goal, try and two penalty goals. This hard fought tussle generated the biggest crowd of the season and public address announcer, John Tolman, was frequently heard trying to marshal the crowd into relatively open spaces.
Play was end to end, with a rousing rally led by Leek and Hicks. Then Leek was prominent on the other flank, as he tried to bring Porter and Bowell into play. Bath backs continued to handle well and Leek got away, only to be grassed by by Hook. O’Shaughnessy distinguished himself in attack, and then it was Gloucester’s turn to apply the pressure and they scored right on half-time for a 5-0 lead.
“Half-time saw lemons for the players-an unusual pleasure-and a blanket collection for the Royal Wedding presentation.”
After re-start, Jones kicked two penalties in a row for Gloucester, from almost the identical spot.
“Some of the spectators apparently did not see eye to eye with the referee’s decision, but they showed their feelings only in the mildest murmurs.”
Gloucester added a try by Daniel. Bath eventually opened their scoring three minutes from the end when Barrow touched down wide out. Then with seconds to go, Boltwood won a race for the ball for Porter to convert with the last kick of the afternoon.
“Our XV gave a good show and perhaps the only position where Gloucester had the pull was at half-back. Danny Evans of course knows all the tricks of his kicking trade and there will be few sides who can hold he and his partner Willie.” (Programme Notes)
v Wasps, Home. Won 9-0. Selected team: J Arnold, H Leek, C A Bolwell, L Moores, C L Porter, T W Hicks, M Spark, P Boltwood, W Barrow, J Messer, A Burcombe, G A Reid, A Todd, L S Harter and T Lewis. It was bright rugby on a dark day. The ground was in remarkable condition despite the buffeting it had received from roundabouts and other funfair ‘heavies.’ However, it commenced to drizzle, almost from the kick-off whistle and the early game was kept amongst the forward fraternity. Bath certainly handled the slippery ball more purposfully and tries came from Moores, Reid and Porter.
Wasps put up a tough show and Bath did well to win. However, the line-out work called for a great deal of improvement.
v Harlequins, Home. Lost 9-12 Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, H Leek, L Moores, C J Porter, T Hicks (Capt), M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, L S Harter, A Burcombe, A Todd, G A Reid, T Lewis.
Quins snatched victory with a last minute try after an evenly balanced game. The visitors included Maurice Daly, the Irish cap, who had played for Bath in the War years. Trevor Lewis scored an outstanding try for Bath. In his 30 yard dash, his sheer speed and resource got him clean through a despairing defence. Bath actually took the lead in the 29th minute, when Jack Arnold intercepted some rather nonchalant passing and after a tricky run, fed to Messer, who romped over the line.
“Strange to relate, Porter missed with a ‘gift-from-the-gods’ kick bang in front.” Daly was quick to equalise for the Quins. After restart, Stileman kicked a penalty for Quins, then Moores equalised. It was 9 all, with 15 minutes to go. Play was fast and furious to the very end and the Harlequins snatched victory with a second try by Daly in the last split minute.
“The Referee was Cyril Gadney and we spent a very enjoyable evening at the Club room for the Quins are a very convivial company, as they should be, for according to Nuttall, a Harlequin “is a buffoon in a pantomime dressed in part-coloured clothes, who plays tricks to divert the audience.”
v London Scottish, Home. Won 7-3. J Arnold, C Porter, H Leek, L Moores, V Peplow, M Spark, T Hicks, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, L Harter, W Burcombe, T Lewis, G Reid, A Todd. There was an improved performance at half-back, where Tom Hicks combined well with Malcolm Spark. Porter landed a penalty in the 13th minute of the second half, but the best was yet to come: “A five yards scrum followed and Bath heeled beautifully. Spark whipped the ball out to Hicks, who from a perfect position dropped a goal which was a real beauty. How the crowd rose to him. This was in the 33rd minute and the excitement ran high. “It was a terrific battle to the end.”
v Exeter, Away. Lost 12-21. J Arnold, C Porter, L Moores , G Lee, J DeWolf, M Spark, T Hicks, W Barrow, P Boltwood, T Northam, L Harter, P Burcombe, R Ball, G Reid and T Lewis.
This was a shock defeat by 3 goals and 2 penalties to a goal, a dropped goal and a penalty. Bath were certainly the pre-match favourites, as Exeter were weakened by County calls. Bath had yet to register an away victory, but had only ventured away from home 6 times over 16 matches.
Bath got off to a surprisingly good start, when Ported kicked a penalty from outside the 25 yard line. However, Exeter soon levelled with a converted try and went further ahead with a penalty, and a converted try. George Reid had led Bath’s pack well, but was rushed to hospital with a cut lip after 20 minutes. Such was his devotion to the Bath cause, that he was stitched up and back on the field, with the second half only 10 minutes old. Exeter had further successes, mainly due to the superiority of their forward play. At last Bath’s persistence was rewarded with a try by Lee, converted by Porter and a late drop goal by Les Moores.
v Weston-super-Mare, away. Won 10-8. Team: J Arnold, P Wenyon, L Moores, G Lee, C Porter, T Hicks, M Spark, P Boltwood, W Barrow, G Reid, L Harter, A Burcombe, T Lewis, J Saunders and W G Jenkins.
There was a very small crowd in unusually mild weather. No doubt the citizens of Weston-super-Mare had their minds on Christmas shopping. Bath soon scored when Wenyon dived across and Porter converted from wide out. Weston levelled with a penalty and an unconverted try. Bath lost Hicks (suspected broken wrist) and Boltwood with concussion. Despite this handicap, Bath continued to win ball from the scrum and the threequarters continued to look dangerous. Next, Lewis scored after a 30 yards run and Porter achieved a magnificent conversion. Boltwood returned to the action, but he looked very shaken. It was a grand victory for Bath.
v Old Blues, Home. Won 9-8. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, K O’Shaughnessy, L Moores, C Porter, C S Lee, M Spark, P Boltwood, M Howell, J Messer, W Barrow, G A Reid, (Capt.), W G Jenkins, A Todd and P Ryan. This was the usual holiday fare, with the result in doubt until the very end. Bath tries by Cyril Porter and Gerald Jenkins and Porter also kicked a penalty.
The Club Flag was at half mast in memory of Mr. J T Timmins, the former Bath and Somerset Captain.
v Llanelly, Away. Lost 8-15. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, K O’Shaughnessy, H Leek, T Lewis, C S Lee, M Spark, P Boltwood, J Messer, C Burrough, G A Reid, (Capt.), G Brown, A Todd, W G Jenkins, Newburn. Llanelly scored five tries.
Bath tries by Messer and O’Shaughnessy, with O’Shaughnessy converting one.
The rigours of the afternoon were soon forgotten in Llanelly R.F.C.’s well known ‘watering hole’ – the Salutation Hotel.
There was a story that the players had lunch on the train and for some unaccountable reason, several players left their hats behind, and had to borrow replacements, or walk hatless to Stradey Park in bitterly cold weather.
“On our return to the station in the evening our hats were there-they had been sent on from Swansea-but they charged us a shilling each for the privilege of having them back!”
LETTER OF PROTEST
Days later, there were disturbing reports regarding the standard of refereeing at the Llanelly match. There were allegations of biased decisions in favour of the home side. Both Mr Davies and Charles Burrough spoke in support of the players, and their reactions to grossly unfair decisions, and over robust play by the Llanelly team, after Bath were leading at half time. The Bath captain G A Reid, together with W G Jenkins and Allan Todd were reported as disgusted, and it was decided to send a letter of protest to the Llanelly Club and the Welsh Referees Society. In the Society letter, reference was made to possible intimidation of the Referee. (Llanelli’s reply agreed with Bath, and they in turn, had written to the Welsh Union – who were responsible for appointing referees).
v Old Cranleighans, away. Won 3-0. P Adams, A Wenyon, K S Pears (T), J Arnold, L Moores, G S Lee, M Spark, P Boltwood, W Barrow, J Messer, L Harter, H Burcombe, T Lewis, A Todd and G Reid. Pears, Oxford University, scored the game’s only try. The Bath pack were in fine form, with Burcombe and Boltwood to the fore.
Malcolm Spark Reflects:- Out of pocket expenses.
“In 1948 Bath played old Cranleighans in London in a morning match. The Club treated us to tickets to the England v Australia match at Twickenham in the afternoon. After the final whistle, the late Harry Davies Hon. Team Secretary, called us on to the pitch and gave us half a crown to pay our tube fares to Paddington and for something to eat. The following week the club received a letter from the R.F.U. saying it had been reported that money had been handed out to players and demanded an explanation!”
v London Welsh, Home. No score draw. Team: J Arnold, W S Pears, K O’Shaughnessy, L Moores, A Wenyon, G S Lee, M Spark, P Boltwood, W Barrow, G A Reid, G S Brown, L S Harter, Higgins, W G Jenkins, and A Todd.
ROBERT JONES SENT OFF
Bath scrum half Malcolm Spark related that: “The Referee, an Australian, on an Exchange basis, did not like the way the London Welsh scrum half and me put the ball into the scrum. He penalised us both at least half a dozen times and then said; “The next time either of you put the ball in crooked, you will be sent off.” Next scrum he was off! All very unfair.”
v Cardiff, Away. Lost 0-3. Team: J Arnold, V Peplow, L Moores, H Leek, A Wenyon, G S Lee, M Spark, P Boltwood, W Barrow, G A Reid, P Speke, L S Harter, T Lewis, A Higgins and A Todd. The game highlighted the need for a young, fully fit hooker.
Cardiff fielded just three of their normal side. They had a record of ten players on duty at Twickenham. (Frank Trott, Les Williams, Billy Cleaver, Bleddyn Williams, Haydn Tanner, Cliff Davies, Maldwyn James, W E Tamplin, Les Mansfield and Gwyn Evans!)
In the early stages, both sides tried to play an open game, but incessant rain gradually made handling impossible and players became almost unrecognisable under a layer of all pervading Arms Park mud. Cardiff had the better of the scrums throughout and amidst the scramble Cardiff’s determination was rewarded with a try by Loveluck.
v Moseley, Away, Lost 8 – 11: J Arnold, J Vassiere, G S Lee, H Leek, A Wenyon, G Foster, M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, C Burrough, G Reid, T Lewis, A Todd, A Higgins. It was, wing forward, Jim Vassiere’s first XV debut. He played on the wing in a Bath side showing a number of changes. For the first time, Bath journeyed to Moseley by coach.
Moseley took the lead with a penalty after 20 minutes play. Arnold featured in much of the defensive play, frequently fielding lofty punts and finding safe touches. However, Bath fell further into arrears when Woodward sent winger Layton away and Field converted. They added a further penalty after the interval. Trevor Lewis and Leek scored tries for Bath and and Foster converted one.
v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home. Drawn 3-3. J Arnold, W S Pears, H Leek, L Moores, V Peplow, G Foster, M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, G A Reid, J Saunders, A Higgins, Butler and Todd.
Happily there was shelter at 6d a transfer in the restored North Stand, for the Bath faithful who had braved this appalling afternoon. There was no such cover for the 30 players and officials who manoeuvred around a rain sodden mud patch.
Bath completed their scoring effort early. In fact, spectators had barely settled, before Peplow touched down directly from the kick-off. “Smiling conditions marked the second half but long before this time many of the players were covered with mud and the ground was a quagmire.”
Wade, who had masterminded most of St. Mary’s attacks, succeeded in sending in Ewart to level the scores. “The visitors made some of their liveliest thrusts in the closing minutes in a great effort to win but the Bath defence rose to the occasion.”
v Newport, Home. Lost 3-12. Team: J Arnold, V Peplow, L Moores, H Leek, W S Pears, G Foster, M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, G A Reid, J Saunders, A Higgins, P Ryan and A Todd.
Newport won by four tries to one. Fly-half Roy Burnett was too hot to handle, and wrong-footing the Bath defence, he set up their first try by Tovey. Later: “Then the lively Burnett snapped up the ball in the loose and came right through the middle to score a spectacular try amid cheers.” D Jones scored their third try after some grand side-stepping by Walsh. Bath rallied, cheered on by their supporters, and repeated cries of “feet.” At one point Arnold relieved with a magnificent kick to touch, but Newport’s fourth try was not long in coming, Walsh touching down in the 26th minute. It was an exciting game, but the visitors carried too many ‘big guns’ outside. Burnett was a source of danger throughout. Bath did have some reward for their valiant efforts, when a final foot-slog by the forwards allowed Saunders to dive over for Bath’s only try.
v Gloucester, Away. Lost 0-15. Team: J Arnold, V Peplow, W S Pears, L Moores, J R Hopwood, G Foster, N Halse, P Boltwood, W Barrow, J Messer, J Saunders, R Speke, A Higgins, P Ryan and A Todd (Capt.)
Bath were whitewashed to the tune of a goal, 2 tries, and a drop goal to nothing at Kingsholm.
There was a debut appearance for Yeovil aspirant J R Hopwood on the wing. Gloucester included the formidable partnership of Danny Evans and W E Jones. From the first, Gloucester were faster on the ball, although Bath’s defence held firm. Bath could not find a way through, despite repeated attempts from Halse and Higgins. Just before half time, Jones landed a drop goal and a brace of tries was to follow.
v Stroud, Away. Lost 0-11. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, M J Daly, G S Lee, V Peplow, G Foster, M Spark, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, G A Reid, L S Harter, A Higgins, M Sutton and A Todd. Attendance 1000.
Another collapse, this time by a goal and two tries to nil. Stroud were happy to avenge their defeat on the Rec. There was the added attraction of Irish international Daly playing at centre for Bath, but strong cover saw to it that he made little progress. Stroud were superior in almost every department and Bath could not complain at the result.
v Bristol, Home. Won 10-8. J Arnold, A Wenyon, Moores , Pears, Adams, G Foster, N Halse, Messer, Boltwood, Barrow, L Harter, G A Reid, A Higgins, M Sutton and A Todd.
Conditions were perfect, a lush green sward, newly cut and rolled, and Army Cadets giving a smart display of marching for the benefit of a bumper crowd. A new ball was produced and Bristol kicked off towards the North Parade end.
“Bristol were the first to score, this being in the 13th minute when full-back N Gibbs kicked a wonderful penalty goal from more than half-way. It was the more notable because it was against the breeze-a beautiful piece of precision kicking.” Bath were tackling magnificently and a thrilling foot slog led by Sutton took Bath into the Bristol 25. Amid great excitement, Reid streaked ahead and beat the full back for Bath’s first try. Les Moores converted. Bath were almost unstoppable during this period. Forwards and backs joined in, ending in newcomer Adams diving across the line with several opponents clinging on in vain. Moores added the extras. (Half time 10-3)
Bristol scored a converted try almost from the re-start, reducing the margin to two. “The battle never once let up, in fact, as time approached it became even sterner. Bristol worked their way nearer. Every moment was tense.” The game finished with a thunderous cheer for Bath.
v Taunton, Home. Won 12-3. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, W S Pears, L Moores, P Adams, G Foster, N Halse, P Boltwood, W Barrow, J Messer, G A Reid, L Harter, A Higgins, M Sutton and A Todd.
In fine weather, Bath were happy to throw the ball about and Peter Adams scored the first try after 15 minutes. Just before half time, Pears ran beautifully to score Bath’s second. Barrow got the third. At last, Taunton got on the scoreboard, with a simple penalty and then Bath’s Wenyon got over just before the final whistle.
v London Irish, Home. Won 6-3. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, W S Pears, L Moores, T W Hicks, G Foster, N Halse, P Boltwood, W Barrow, J Messer, G A Reid, L S Harter, A Higgins, M Sutton and A Todd.
Another good win in a season of mixed fortunes. Nevertheless, Bath had defeated Bristol, Taunton, Wasps and now London Irish. Tommy Hicks returned after a long absence with a wrist injury and scored the winning try. Les Moores figured well at centre and Jack Arnold showed great steadiness under stern pressure. Austin Higgins was the outstanding forward, but Reid’s try warranted special mention, coming from a clever reverse pass by Norman Halse.
It was a happy day for Committee, Players and Spectators. Alderman E Taylor, Deputy Mayor, cutting the ribbon to officially open the rebuilt North Stand Dressing Rooms, which had originally been destroyed in the Bath raids of 1942.
v Newport, Away. Lost 0-25. Team: J Arnold, H Leek, T Hicks, L Moores, P Adams, G Foster, N Halse, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, L Harter, G Reid, T Lewis, M Sutton, and A Todd. Newport fielded an exceptionally strong team consisting of:-
Gwillie Jenkins (Captain), A Roach, J Evans, Malcolm Thomas, D Jones, Roy Burnett, Haydn Thomas,E Coleman, J H Bale, D Kelly, J A Gwilliam, D Davies, D Dando, L E T Jones and A H Rowlands. Ken Jones, Newport’s Welsh international and sprint champion, was at that time teaching in a Bathwick school. Perhaps, lucky for Bath – he was not available.
Newport scored 2 goals, 3 tries and 2 penalties, which was a rout by any standards.
v OMT, Home, Won 5-0. Selected team:- J Arnold, A Wenyon, W Pears, T Hicks, P Adams, G Foster, N Halse, J Messer, T Smith, P Boltwood, G Reid, L Harter, A Todd, M Sutton and W Jenkins.
The referee was former stalwart Dick Chaddock. One of the best forwards who ever played for Bath and one of the most popular; he did yeoman service as a player and afterwards as Treasurer.
Pears got the try and Adams converted. Hicks and Pears took the honours amongst the backs.
v Leicester, Home, Lost 3-16. Selected Team:- P Adams, A Wenyon, W Pears, T Hicks, K John, G Foster, N Halse, J Messer, T Smith, P Boltwood, A Todd, G Brown, A Higgins, M Sutton and W Jenkins.
As ever, M Channer, Tigers’ stand-off, dictated play, and Bath’s much changed back division let in two goals and two tries. It was felt that the Bath pack had stood up magnificently, but behind them there were all too frequent lapses in defence. Bath had their chances, twice knocking on with the line at their mercy. Their only score came after a forward rush, enabling Sutton to touch down.
v London Scottish, Away, Lost 3-11. Team:- Arnold, Wenyon, Leek, Hicks, Adams, Pears, Spark, Messer, Smith, Boltwood, Brown, Reid, Todd, Sutton, and Jenkins.
“Last Saturday’s game at Richmond was the good game we always get against the Scottish. From a Bath point of view the first half was splendid but in the second half our men rather marred the good impression they had made by weak tackling and by the number of times they were penalised for off-side.” (Programme Notes)
Adams kicked a beautiful penalty goal against the breeze and from a difficult angle. This was the only piece of encouragement in a generally one-sided game.
v Northampton, Away. Lost 5-14. Team: J Arnold, A Wenyon, T Hicks, L Moores, H Leek, J Bailey, M Hanna (Old Sulians), J Vassiere, P Boltwood, T Smith, L Harter, G S Brown, A Todd, M Sutton and W J Jenkins. This was a long trip for Bath’s last away engagement and they returned somewhat chastened with a loss by a goal, two tries and a penalty to a goal.
Bath’s try was scored by Jim Vassiere and converted by Les Moores.
v Newbridge, Home. Lost 0-16.Team:- J Arnold, A Wenyon, H Leek, T W Hicks, K John, L Moores, N Halse, G Reid, P Boltwood, T Smith, G S Brown, L S Harter, A Todd, M Sutton and J Vassiere. This was a heavy home loss by a margin of a goal, a try and 2 drop goals.
Newbridge dropped two vital drop goals before Bath could get into their stride. The visitors played some sparkling football, and were dangerous every time they moved the ball. Several of their runs left the bewildered defence standing. Hicks left the game with a badly split thumb and did not return. Bath could not equal the thrusting speed of the opposition and gradually subsided and made too many mistakes to have further impact on the result.
v Moseley, Home. Won 18-8. Team:- J Arnold, A Wenyon, W S Pears, K O’Shaughnessy, K John, B Henson**, M Hanna, J Messer, W Barrow, P Boltwood, L S Harter, G A Reid, A Higgins, M Sutton and A Todd.
** Brian Henson was a guest player in his first game for Bath. In younger days, he partnered Roy Harris in the Bath Schoolboy team, which was rated as “the best team that ever was.” Reports say he was an outstanding prospect, but Brian remained loyal to the Chippenham Club. Many years later, Brian was honoured with Presidency of the Bath Old Players Association.
Bath tries by Wenyon, Harter, O’Shaughnessy and John. Conversions:- O’Shaughnessy (2), and Arnold.