1950 to 1951

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1950-1951

9/9/1950

v Leicester, Away. Lost 6-8. P Sullivan, W Williams, K Wilcox, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, G Eglington, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, L Harter, J Dingle, M Webb, T Lewis, G Brown, A Lewis. Sullivan was injured in the first fifteen minutes; Trevor Lewis took his place at fullback and the whole team defended stubbornly. Bath took a first half lead with a try by Alec Lewis. Sullivan returned and added a penalty three minutes after resumption. Seven minutes later, Leicester’s Cullen cut through for a sparkling try and two minutes from time, Cullin gave the Tigers victory when he converted Quine’s try two minutes from time. It followed an uncharacteristic breakdown in the previously solid defence.

It was Fred Hill’s first game for Bath after a move from Bristol. Fred played in two wartime internationals in the 1945-46 season. He was to become Bath’s mainstay hooker for several seasons, and he hit the hundred game mark in September 1952. He received noteworthy assistance from fellow forwards, Roberts, Harter, Webb, Dingle and Brown.

 

14/9/1950

v Hylton Cleavers XV, Home, Lost 0-16. P Sullivan, W Williams, K Wilcox, G Edlington, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, L Harter, J Dingle, T Lewis, G Brown, A Lewis. Attendance 6000. The proceeds were to go to Bath’s own Memorial Fund.

Visiting star Glyn Rowlands scored two spectacular tries, each time running from deep. Other tries from D J O’Brien and T F H Jackson and both were converted by Edney. Maurice Daly (Harlequins and formerly Bath) was responsible for much of the visitors’ fluid movements. Efforts by Alec Lewis, Guy Addenbrooke, Guy Eglinton, John Roberts and Len Harter, were all deserving of tries and the final score did not reflect the quality of Bath’s play. Opposing hookers, Fred Hill and A P Henderson, had a rare tussle in the front row. At one time Henderson withdrew with bruised ribs!

Trevor Lewis was outstanding in the loose.

 

16/9/1950

v Llanelly, Home, Drawn 8-8. L Moores, R Hambly, G Edlington, K O’Shaughnessy, W Williams, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, L Harter, J Dingle, T Lewis, G Brown, A Lewis.

A tie, Llanelli scoring a goal and a penalty and Bath a goal and a try. Sullivan was forced to cry off after injury in the mid-week game. Les Moores was an able deputy. A rather dull first half was livened up when Handel Greville sent out a long pass for Peter Stone to touch down under the posts and for Ossie Williams to convert. Bath levelled nine minutes into the re-start when Edlington and Hambly combined in some clever play in which this last named to cross the try line. Les Moores converted. Hambly had a fine game, putting in some telling tackles. There was a scrum on Llanelli’s line, and an eight man heave enabled Tom Smith to fall on the ball for another try. Unfortunately, Moores missed the kick. Bath were ahead for just five minute, then Ossie Williams levelled with a magnificent penalty goal. The game was intense to the end, with a magnificent effort from both sides.

 

21/9/1950

v Combination, Home, Won 6-3. G Price, K Box, R Hambly, G Edlington, W Donnelly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, J Francis, T Smith, M Webb, K Newburn, T Lewis, G Brown, J Vassiere. The Combination was led by former Bath stalwart Tommy Hicks.

The game was spoilt by too much kicking. Bath tries by Hambly and Addenbrooke.

Combination XV:_ J Payne (Stothert & Pitt), V Peplow (Walcot), T Hicks (Walcot), J Stock (Stothert & Pitt), L Gage (Avonvale), A Chivers (St. Marks), F Gray (Avonvale), J Messer (Walcot), P Boltwood (Avonvale), E Hemmings (Walcot), F Book (Walcot), F Spencer (Walcot), P Ryan (Walcot), D Flower (Avonvale) and E Farnham (Walcot).

 

23/9/1950

v Devonport Services, Home, Won 3-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K Wilcox, G Edlington, W Donnelly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, L Harter, J Dingle, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis. Allan Todd returned to the side after a year’s absence and a spell with London Scottish.

“Play remained in the visitors’ 25 and from a scrum Hanna shot away on the blind side, shook off a would-be tackler, and scored in the corner after 13 minutes. Sullivan’s kick at goal was wide of the mark.”

In the second half, Bath appeared to cede their forward supremacy to the lively Services side and progress was by way of touch line kicks. Then Wilcox led a lively foot-rush, but the effort came to nought against stout defending. It was a rather lucky win.

 

30/9/1950

v Devonport Services, Away, Won 11-3. P Sullivan (1g), W Donnelly, R Self, K Watts, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, L Harter, G Brown, J Vassiere, A Todd, A Lewis.

There was a bit more determined play for this return game, although Services took an early lead with a penalty. It was in fact, Devonport’s first points of the season. The pitch was a muddy morass in places and the ball was slippery. Nevertheless, Bath overcame the conditions with tries by Donnelly, Alec Lewis and Addenbrooke, with Sullivan converting the final try.

 

2/10/1950

v Penzance, Away, Lost 0-14. A Burnett, G Cottell, K Watts, L Moores, R Hambly, R Self, M Hanna, P Sheppard, J Francis, T Smith, L Harter, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, A Lewis.

Owing to injuries and non-availability, Bath took a makeshift squad on tour. The selected side were unable to cope with the tough Cornish style of play: “Watts sustained a badly bruised thigh, and after being off for some time, moved to the wing. Alec Lewis, who was the best forward, was concussed, though he refused to leave the field. With Bath beaten in the scrums and in the lines-out, the “Pirates” got on top after 10 minutes and never looked back” Attendance 2000.

 

3/10/1950

v Falmouth, Away, Won 13-11. A Burnett, J Vassiere, R Self , L Moores, R Hambly, J Arnold, N Halse, T Smith, J Francis, L Harter, M Webb, G Brown, R Ball, A Todd, A Lewis. Bath’s pack, admirably led by Alec Lewis, carried them to victory. Alec Lewis scored both the tries and Roy Self gave a fine display of his kicking skills by converting both and adding a penalty.

“It was as well that Jack Arnold took his boots. Owing to the crop of injuries and absentees, he turned out at fly-half, and played with his usual all-round ability and “life” both in attack and defence.”

 

7/10/1950

v Weston Super Mare, Away, Won 3-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K Wilcox, K O’Shaughnessy, W Donnelly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, J Dingle, L Harter, G Brown, A Todd, A Lewis. Bath just about managed to hold on for a close win at Weston.

Glyn John was not available and his place taken by K O’Shaughnessy. At this time, Welsh Secondary School International, Glyn John was doing his National Service at R.A.F. Compton Bassett.

“Alec Lewis had his ear and nose bandaged. He also had an injured eye, and gravel rash on the knee. After all, this was his fifth game in eight days but he was up and smiling as usual despite the scars of war.” There was another casualty during the game, when Dingle took a blow in the face, but he too, carried on.

“Bath opened the scoring with their best effort of the first half. A heel from a loose maul and the ball was whipped out to Hambly. The young right wing sped away, shook off a tackler and dived over the line for a great try. He simply jumped through the air over the line.”

“John Roberts had to change his jersey at half time as his was torn to shreds, but there was not one big enough in the kit to fit him so he donned one of all red- as befitting a Welshman,”

 

14/10/1950

v Somerset Police, Home, Won 6-5. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K O’Shaughnessy, K Wilcox, W Donnelly, G Hawkes, M Hanna, T Smith, J Francis, J Roberts, J Dingle, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, L Harter.

Sgt. Tremlett turned out for the visitors. He was officer in charge of Bath’s Lower Weston police station. The ‘men-in-blue’ were short of five regulars and Bath had six away on County calls. Kevin O’Shaughnessy was given captaincy of the side, as a farewell gesture before his departure to Nigeria on the Monday. The two weighty packs fought it out, leading to Bath tries by O’Shaughnessy and Hambly and a try for Sgt. Tremlett, converted by Hawkins for the visitors.

 

21/10/1950

v Bristol, Home. Won 13-6. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, G John, M Hanna, J Roberts, J Francis, T Smith, Dingle, G Brown, A Todd, A Lewis, T Lewis. Played in the presence of Sir Wavell Wakefield, President of the R.F.U. and members of the Somerset County Selection Committee.

A good win against old rivals Bristol. Nineteen year old Glyn John played at outside-half. (Fully Capped in 1954) He had arrived at the Club along with schoolteacher, Dennis Mattingley, a second row forward with Berkshire County experience.

Bath played a bright, open game. The Programme editor commented: “We certainly must congratulate the Bristol people. If all the games were like last week’s – no matter which side won, what followers our game would have. It would have done some clubs good, if they had scratched their games and been on the Rec. to see how rugby can be played even if the rivalry be as keen as it was last week.”

After enterprising interplay between Trevor Lewis and Glyn John, Alec Lewis was on hand to score Bath’s first try, which Sullivan converted. Bristol reduced the arrears with a penalty by Denham.

“Right on half-time, amid further great excitement, Bath scored a second try. Corbett threw out a long pass, just outside his 25 and Donnelly brilliantly nipped in and took it.” It was the 24th minute of the second half before Moule touched down for Bristol. (8-6)

“John crowned one of the most memorable first games ever seen on the Rec. when, three minutes from the end, he run through what seemed a heap of obstructions, by sheer rugby craft, and scored an outstanding try between the posts.” Sullivan added the extras and Bristol’s fate was sealed.

 

28/10/1950

v Exeter, Home, Lost 12-14. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K Wilcox, W Donnelly, G Hawkes, M Hanna, T Smith, J Francis, J Roberts, L Harter, G Brown, J Vassiere, W Todd, J Dingle. Bath were weakened by County calls.

After trailing 6-9 at the interval, Bath pulled back to 12-14, but two missed conversion cost them the match. Sullivan had shown early kicking form, when he landed a magnificent penalty from wide out. It was arguably, his best kick of the season. He repeated the act with a second penalty five minutes later.

Donnelly was hurt in a dash for the line and Francis was also close to scoring. Nine minutes into the second half and Hanna scored an opportunist try from the base of the scrum. Sullivan could not convert.

Then Hambly scored in the 29th minute of the second half, with a dramatic leap over the full-back near the corner flag. Unfortunately it was too far out for Sullivan and just fell short of saving the game.

 

4/11/1950

v United Services, Away, Won 15-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, G John, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, L Harter, G Brown, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis.

After only eight minutes of play, Paddy Sullivan was carried off with concussion and took no further part in the proceedings. Alec Lewis had a field day with the boot, with a personal tally of 2 penalty goals and a remarkable drop goal off the left foot. Bill Donnelly featured in a brilliant interception of a lobbed pass. He then sped away until hemmed in at the touch line. He punted ahead, and outran the two defenders for a sensational corner try. Veteran hooker, Fred Hill then concluded proceedings with a final try.

 

11/11/1950

v London Irish, Away. Won 11-0. M Bailey, R Hambly, K Wilcox, C Bowell, W Donnelly, R Self, M Hanna, J Roberts, L Harter, G Brown, W Todd, P Sheppard, K Newburn, J Bailey. Bill Donnelly scored Bath’s two tries and Charlie Bowell converted one and kicked a drop goal.

The Irish forwards revived mightily in the second half but: “Bath held on grimly, and kept their line intact.”

UNCLE AND NEPHEW!

A good away win against London Irish, with young Maurice Bailey’s debut at fullback, and his Uncle Joe Bailey (by now a veteran Bath centre), playing his first and last game in the pack! The team was short of a player, so Joe stepped in!

 

18/11/1950

v Neath, Home, Lost 3-6. M Bailey, R Hambly, C Bowell, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, G John, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, J Dingle, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis.

Donnelly featured in exciting forays, Bath most of the play was confined to the forwards. They: “continued to indulge in a wearing-out process, but there was life and determination in both of them. As a matter of fact, the game brought out the best in the Bath eight.” Neath excelled in their lengthy touch-finding kicks, frequently returning play to the Bath half. Shaw scored a first half try for Neath after pouncing on a loose ball. Neath went further ahead when Evans landed a penalty four minutes into the second half. Bath fought back manfully, but Neath gained ascendancy in the scrums. Their late rally brought a try for Trevor Lewis in the 34th minute, but Alec Lewis could not convert.

 

Match Programme 18th November 1950: “And here, the first chance I have had let me congratulate Tom Smith on his selection for Somerset. They tell me his father was delighted but no more than Bath club members who have watched him this season.”

Tom Smith became one of the stalwarts of Bath and Somerset, a long serving player, he was to become part of the famous Smith, Hill and Roberts front row, and continued to serve Club Management and County in non playing days.

 

25/11/1950

v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Drawn 5-5. M Bailey, R Hambly, R (Bob) Todd, (R.A.F. Compton Bassett), C Bowell, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, P Sheppard, J Francis, J Roberts, L Harter, G Brown, M Webb, A Todd, J Vassiere. There was only a handful of spectators.

Due to County calls the Bath side contained a number of youngsters. M Webb (Cambridge University), Wilcox and Hambly were 19, and Bob Todd 18. The packs were well matched and the game developed into a stirring and unyielding duel. Honours remained even at one goal each. Bath’s try was scored by Robin Hambly and converted by Charlie Bowell. Fog descended and the spectators could see but fleeting spectacles of play.

FOGGY FOGGY DEW

“The ball was no longer visible. One followed its movements by a series of dull thuds.”

“It was an interesting game as far as we could see.

Comment of the Bath President, Arnold Ridley: “We can’t see you up there we want you down here.”

The game of fogball moved to the other side of the field and oblivion.”

 

2/12/1950

v London Scottish, Away, Won 16-9. M Bailey, R Hambly, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, G John, M Hanna, P Sheppard, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, L Harter, J Vassiere, A Todd, M Webb.

There was no sign of the fog of the previous week and the ground was in excellent condition after Friday’s downpour. Addenbrooke skippered and Allan Todd, who had played for the Exciles the previous season, led the pack. Hambly opened Bath’s scoring with a brilliant try after winning a race with Ogilvy He converted his own try. Shortly afterwards, Hambly was knocked out in a tackle and Vassiere took his place on the wing. Bath’s seven forwards took the play forward and Glyn John intercepted on the Scot’s 25 for Bath’s second, but unconverted try. The Bath forwards carried all before them and this time, the 19 year old Maurice Webb got the try.

Next, Ballingall of the Scottish followed Hambly to hospital with a gash over the eye. It was their team’s chance to rise to the occasion and they scored a try through Hart.

The highlight of the afternoon saw Hanna pass to John, who ran straight and clean through the home defenders like a knife through butter. It was easily the best try of the season. Addenbrooke added the extras. Clark and Turnbull kicked penalties for the Scottish.

“John was acclaimed as “an international of the future.”” (How true as it turned out!)

 

TRIAL HONOURS

2nd December 1950. In the England Trial at Otley, Alec Lewis appeared for the WHITES. John Roberts was on the bench.

 

9/12/1950

v Clifton, Away, Won 11-3. L Moores, W Williams, K Wilcox, C Bowell, W Donnelly, G Hawkes, M Hanna, J Roberts, J Francis, P Sheppard, L Harter, G Brown, J Vassiere, A Todd, M Webb. Bath proved too good for Clifton. Allan Todd got two tries and Vassiere one. John Roberts kicked a conversion. Bath held the upper hand throughout, but Clifton’s young and enthusiastic side fought back bravely, making sure Bath did not have everything their own way.

 

THE GREAT FREEZE UP – BUT THE GAME’S ON IF YOU CLEAR THE PITCH!

A Friday night appeal for loan of the City Engineers snowploughs was regretfully turned down. Not to be outdone, Harry Slade, the Grounds committee and some of the players, rigged up a plough pulled by his lorry. His merry band of men, including John Roberts, Joe Bailey, Bob Ball, Bill Donnelly, Alec Lewis and Thomas, started to turn up at 8 a.m., and by 10.30, Mr Eddie Simpkins was able to telephone the Weston-super-Mare secretary – that the game was on!

 

16/12/1950

v Weston Super Mare, Home, Won 11-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Todd, W Donnelly, G John, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, J Dingle, G Brown, T Lewis, A Todd, L Harter. It was ‘all hands to the (frozen) pump,’ to get this game under way. The players and ground staff turned up early to clear tons of snow from the pitch. The pitch was then marked out in red ochre. Bath dominated, but were unable to score in the first half. Then in the 9th minute of the second half, Trevor Lewis scored a try after bursting through from a ruck, for Sullivan to convert. John made a number of half-breaks and continued pressure brought two penalties for Sullivan. Though all but three points came from Sullivan’s boot, Bath thoroughly deserved their win, although Weston deserved the plaudits for their stout defence.

 

23/12/1950

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-27. P Sullivan, W Donnelly, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, G John, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, L Harter, G Brown, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Todd.

Bath lost the contest at Gloucester to the tune of 3 goals, a drop goal, a penalty and 2 tries to a single try scored by Len Harter. It was an exceptional cold day and the small crowd was evidence that many of the Gloucester ‘faithful’ had either opted to stay by their firesides, or were engaged in Christmas shopping. “Play never reached a high standard, but how often does that happen in these local Derby’s. The tackling at times was splendid.” Hanna was hurt in stopping a raid and Bob Todd was another casualty, damaging s shoulder.

“Gloucester played better in the second half than at any time this season. In fact they were in an unstoppable mood.”

26/12/1950

v Old Blues, Home, Won 11-0. P Sullivan, W Donnelly, R Todd, K Wilcox, R Hambly, R Self, K Watts, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, L Harter, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis. This was ‘nuts and wine’ after Saturdays ‘cold turkey,’ as Bath acquitted themselves in this traditional Boxing Day fixture. Alec Lewis went over in the first half. After lemons: “the home side “put fresh jerk into it” and first Roy Self and then Trevor Lewis completed the scoring, with Robin Hambly converting three of the scores.” Bath tries:- Self, A Lewis and T Lewis. Hambly conversion.

 

6/1/1951

v Old Cranleighans, Away, Won 6-3. P Sullivan, W Donnelly, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, P Sheppard, G Brown, L Harter, J Vassiere, A Todd, D Mattingley.

It really doesn’t say much for a game, when a drop goal is recorded as the highlight. Sullivan scored a penalty 12 minutes into the first half. The kick was right in front of the posts; it nevertheless, struck the cross bar before tipping over. “The game was not very thrilling and the few spectators who shivered on the line could find little about which to enthuse.” Bob Todd landed the drop goal, with a fine kick in the teeth of a strong wind. Ten minutes from the end, the O.C.’s narrowed the gap with a nicely taken penalty goal. Everybody was glad when the end came.

 

13/1/1951

v London Welsh, Away, Won 8-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Todd, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, L Harter, G Brown, D Mattingley, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis.

Bath continued their excellent record against London based teams with a goal and a penalty goal without reply from the Exciles.

Bob Todd was challenged by the full-back and sent out a beautiful pass to Trevor Lewis. His speed got him through the cover and Sullivan converted. “It was a grand tonic for Bath, who had been warned to get away to a flying start and never let up.” “Hotfoot Bath seemed always bang on the home defence, harrying it, bustling, thrusting.” Sullivan landed a penalty when the Exciles were adjudged to be offside. “And so Bath triumphed; maybe it was those steaks they had for lunch!”

 

20/1/1951

v Cardiff, Home, Lost 11-25. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, G John, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, G Brown, D Mattingley, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis. Cardiff fielded Internationals Frank Trott, Bill Tamplin and Des O’ Brien. They submerged Bath with 2 goals, 4 tries and a drop goal to a goal, a try and a penalty.

Bath experienced a devastating opening spell in which Cardiff touched down twice within twelve minutes. “Glyn John was notable for one of his unorthodox breaks-through and by way of compensation in the 17th minute Sullivan landed a penalty goal from in front of the posts.”

Cardiff piled on the points: “but Bath struck back in blood-warming fashion. Amid terrific cheers the Cardiff line fell at last, and it was Addenbrooke who was responsible for a try that will live long in the memory. Three times they tried to tackle him and once to hurl him into touch, but an amazing fast, and determined run took him in at the corner to help redeem the ineffectiveness of the backs today.”

Next, Trevor Lewis stormed over for Sullivan to convert. Although Bath lost, it was somehow fitting that their Welsh contingent of Addenbrooke John and Trevor Lewis, should have particularly good games.

 

26/1/1951

v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 6-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, R Self, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, M Sutton, D Mattingley, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis. Bath won by 2 tries to one, but it was another disappointing home performance. Late arrivals would have missed the high point in the game. Alec Lewis made a clever interception in his own 25 and his fellow forwards took the ball on. Trevor Lewis handled twice before sending in hooker, Fred Hill, who touched down. There was a lack of thrust in midfield and a couple of chances went begging. Bath picked up in the second half when Donnelly broke away at speed to touch down in the corner.

There were some lively three-quarter movements, but the way to the line was barred.

 

3/2/1951

v Newport, Away, Lost 9-39. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G John, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, J Francis, J Roberts, M Sutton, G Brown, T Lewis, W Todd, A Lewis. Newport won by 6 goals and 3 tries to 3 penalty goals by Sullivan.

Bath played in white and for the first time had letters instead of numbers.

Newport were without Ken Jones and R T Evans, who were playing for Wales. Once again, Burnett was a constant thorn in the Bath flesh.

“This was the biggest score of the season, but some consolation, nine was the highest number of points scored against them this season. Newport are a wonderful side and it is no disgrace to be beaten either by Newport or by Cardiff.”

 

10/2/1951

v Gloucester, Home, Won 8-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Todd, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, M Sutton, D Mattingley, T Lewis, A Todd, A Lewis.

Bath won a rather dull encounter with a first-half penalty by Sullivan, quickly followed by a try from Bill Donnelly, converted by Sullivan, to a second-half Gloucester penalty by Hook. It was just as well that Hook had missed with two previous attempts. In the second half, Alec Lewis was knocked out, but after attention, came up smiling. “Keynote of the game was spoiling rather than sparkle.”

There was a late revival involving Alec Lewis, Hill and Tom Smith and finally Donnelly, who was just checked with an ankle grip.

“It was do or die in these closing minutes, Bath exploiting the old truism that attack is the best form of defence.”

 

17/2/1951

v Leicester, Home Lost 3-15. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, K Willcox, W Williams, D Evans, K Watts, J Roberts, F Carey, T Smith, D Mattingley, L Harter, J Dingle, A Todd, A Lewis. All the scoring was confined to the first half, Leicester crossing the Bath line on no less than five occasions. Former Welsh international Danny Evans (1933-34) turned out for Bath at approximately age 43. Evans had played some rugby for Cheltenham the previous season and after leaving Bath, had played for Gloucester.

Bath scored their one and only try in the eighth minute – and it was a corker! Sullivan fielded a punt ahead by Morris, cut through Gloucester’s first line of defence and raced away at top speed down the wing. “It was odds on that he would score, but a strong challenge and the threat of a devastating tackle caused him to give a beautiful pass to Addenbrooke, who went over amid cheers.”

Leicester were a great side and a procession of fine tries was to follow.

 

24/2/1951

v Wasps, Home. Won 8-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Self, B French, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, W Todd, J Dingle, T Lewis, A Lewis. It was a first team debut for winger, 20 year old Brian French a former City of Bath schoolboy, then with R.A.O.C. on military training.

Wasps tried to open up their game, but Bath’s tackling was to quick and sure. The home forwards were in good form and were quite a handful to deal with when in full cry. Constant pressure brought its reward and Sullivan made no mistake with a penalty from an oblique angle.

There followed a sequence of four heaving scrums towards the Wasps line. At the fourth attempt, the ball was whipped out to French, who celebrated his birthday and debut, by diving over two opponents for his first club try. Sullivan converted for an 8-0 lead. In the sixth minute of the second half, Wasps narrowed the gap with an unconverted try by the strong-running J Woodward.

The game was exciting to the end, although extremely muddy conditions saw most of the play delegated to the forwards.

 

3/3/1951

v Bristol, Away. Won 9-6. Team:- P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Todd, B French, K Wilcox, N Halse, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, D Mattingley, Dr. Allan Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle and A Lewis. Attendance 5000.

Alec Lewis crashed his way over in the fifth minute, but Sullivan failed to convert. “Bath heeled beautifully and Hill beat his successor as hooker to Bristol every time.”

Both sides came close to scoring. Firstly, a grand thrust by Trevor Lewis ended with Addenbrooke knocking on. Next, Gregory broke away and his characteristic speed and side-step got him to the half-way line, only to be tackled from behind, by the equally speedy Addenbrooke. Soon afterwards, both French for Bath and Storkey for Bristol, knocked on with the opposing line beckoning. Then Bristol had an inspired spell and tries followed from Scott and Gregory, but neither were converted. Bath equalised when Sullivan kicked a magnificent penalty goal. (6-6)

Then, 30 seconds from no-side, Sullivan was again the saviour. From 30 yards out, his beautiful crowning effort – a drop goal sailed between the posts. Paddy was cheered all the way to the dressing room.

 

10/3/1951

v Swansea, Home. Won 8-6. Team:- L Moores, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Todd, B French, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Carey, T Smith, Dr. A Todd, D Mattingley, T Lewis, J Dingle and A Lewis. The ever faithful Leslie Moores deputised for Sullivan, who had injured an ankle in the Bristol game. Alec Lewis’s penalty put Bath ahead 16 minutes after the start. Swansea went ahead with tries by R Thomas and B Evans. Lewis missed with a penalty attempt, but shortly afterwards, a forward shove, permitted a try to be credited to hooker, John Roberts and Bath took back the lead 10 minutes from the end of the game. Swansea pressed for all they were worth, and the final whistle brought a huge ovation from the Bath support. The first win against Swansea for many a long day.

There was an amusing incident when the tension was at its peak:

“To add to the excitement, a dog rushed out on to the field and joined in a set scrum by entering the tunnel between the two packs. The owner had to dash on to the field to retrieve it.”

 

17/3/1951

v London Irish, Home. Won 5-0. Team:- P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, J Syme (Edinburgh Wanderers), R Self, K Wilcox, N Halse, T Smith, F Carey, J Roberts, Dr. Allan Todd, D Mattingley, T Lewis, J Dingle and A Lewis.

“BATH WIN MUD BATTLE

St. Patrick’s Men Bogged Down” thus ran the headlines. Perhaps the weather was more appropriate to St. Swithan’s! “Rain was sweeping across the field and there was hardly a spectator out in the open.” It was something of a glue-pot pitch, with a series of hectic scrambles in the mud. The players quickly became unrecognisable and there were stoppages while mud was removed from players’ eyes. After 20 minutes, Alec Lewis broke away on the blind side, handed off a would be tackler and planted the soapy ball on the profitable side of the try line. Groups of the sheltering crowd emerged to give him a cheer. “This was renewed when Sullivan converted with one of the best kicks of his career. The conditions made place-kicking a sheer hazard, but he was able to succeed from a patch of mire and at a sharp angle.” Bath won their fourth match in a row, but they had never had to fight harder to gain this particular verdict.

 

24/3/1951

v Headingley, Home. Won 16-3. Team:- P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, R Self, B French, K Wilcox, N Halse, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, D Mattingley, Dr. A Todd, T Lewis, M Sutton and A Lewis. This was quite a handsome win by 2 goals and 2 tries to Headingley’s single try. It was the Yorkshire club’s first visit in 13 tears. One of the Headingley players was their captain W Lossock, who assisted Bath during the War years, when he was a local Army major.

LEWIS HAT TRICK

Trevor Lewis scored nine minute from the start, for Sullivan to add the extras. Soon afterwards, he secured, after a juggling act with the ball and with literally, only the referee between him and the line; he set off at great speed for a repeat try performance, which Sullivan again converted. Trevor Lewis was at the top of his form. Thirty minutes into the second half and Headingley scored when winger Thompson forced his way over in the corner. Four minutes later Trevor Lewis completed his hat trick with an unconverted try. Almost directly afterwards, Lewis – Alec helped himself to a spectacular try, which was also unconverted. Thirteen years previously, Headingley had amassed four tries against Bath.

 

26/3/1951

v Old Merchant Taylors, Home. Won 3-0. Team:- P Sullivan, H Wenyon, R Todd, K Watts, B French, R Self, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, A Todd, T Lewis, M Sutton and A Lewis.

Bath won their sixth match in a row at the Rec., and it was Sullivan’s trusty boot which again saw them through. In a repeat of the previous week’s conditions, Sullivan hoisted a heavy, muddy ball between the uprights 11 minutes into the second half. “There was not much that the backs could do except kick or tackle. Sullivan kicked as coolly as ever, in the teeth of rushes and Halse proved his worth throughout. Watts tackled extremely well.”

 

31/3/1951

v Saracens, Away, Won 11-0. P Sullivan, B French, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, N Halse, P Sheppard, F Hill, J Roberts, D Mattingley, A Todd, T Lewis, M Sutton, A Lewis.

“The rain poured down and the ground was soft, saturated and deep in mud in front of the stand, which is unfinished and roofless.” Nevertheless, Saracens were fielding nine teams that afternoon. Alec Lewis’s try gave Bath an early lead three minutes from kick-off. Conditions, especially the wind, were far too wild for Sullivan’s conversion attempt.

“The loose mauls were tremendous. French was “in the wars,” a Saracen had a finger put out and quickly out in again.” It was noticeable that French was suffering from concussion: “and did not know much about the first half.”

By half time, there were areas that were ankle deep in mud. Then, another casualty, as one of the home forwards departed for hospital with a cut eyelid. As sometimes happens, this signalled a Saracens revival which was only stemmed by stout defence. Later, it was the turn of Trevor Lewis to touch down and again Sullivan could not lift the ball. Then Bath lost Bob Todd with an injured eye.

There was extra time, in view of several stoppages through injury and Allan Todd scored a final try, which Sullivan was able to convert.

“Bath were unbeaten in London with five wins and a draw to their credit, their seventh win off the reel and the 24th of the season.”

 

7/4/1951

v London Scottish, Home, Drawn 0-0. P Sullivan, R Self, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, J Dingle, A Todd, T Lewis, M Sutton, A Lewis. The Exciles fielded two of their internationals. Despite heavy conditions Bath were very lively in the loose, with Hill, Alec Lewis and Allan Todd prominent in the early stages. However, play seemed to get bogged down in that well remembered patch of oozy mud in front of the West stand.

“Though the conditions were bad it was refreshing to see how both sets of backs used every opportunity to handle.” Conditions deteriorated, and in something akin to trench warfare, the game was played out, with a series of slithering foot-rushes, near heroism in the manner of falling on the ball and ending, somewhat predictably – in a blank score-sheet.

 

12/4/1951

v Bridgwater, Away, Drawn 0-0. P Sullivan, A Polson, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, P Sheppard, T Lewis, R Douglas, A Lewis. Another pointless draw. This time it was a Thursday evening game with approximately 2000 in attendance. Near the end, it was almost impossible to see the ball. It was typical, old time Somerset football and the bustling and terrier like play kept both sets of backs in check. Some thought that Bath should have been credited with a win. The shades of night were falling fast, when Norman Halse whipped the ball back to Sullivan, who essayed a drop goal. Some argued that it passed about a foot above the cross bar, but the referee ruled otherwise.

There were debut games for Alec Polson and R Douglas, a secondary school international

 

14/4/1951

v Moseley, Home, Won 23-5. P Sullivan, A Polson, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, M Sutton, T Lewis, A Lewis, J Dingle.

Bath won by a goal, 4 tries and 2 penalties to Moseley’s single goal.

Bath tries by Alec Lewis, Halse, Trevor Lewis, (2) and Mattingley, with Sullivan converting one and landing 2 penalties.

“Bath were certainly in the mood this afternoon and celebrated the bringing down of the home curtain in right royal fashion.” Bath always kept a tight grip on the game, mainly through the supremacy of their forwards.

 

19/4/1951

v Taunton, Away. Won 11-6. L Moores, R Hambly, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, A Polson, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, M Sutton, T Lewis, G Brown, A Lewis. Attendance 1500.

This game actually broke the record of 25 wins in one season. Much of the credit for this achievement, was attributed to the Club Captain, Alec Lewis. Every member of his side had shown a fine team spirit and discipline had been outstanding.

Bath tries by Addenbrooke and Sutton, with Alec Lewis converting one and kicking a penalty.

The Bath pack excelled, and John Roberts and Dennis Mattingley figured in much of the action. Michael Sutton was seen in some smart break-aways, and Hambly and Addenbrooke gave exceptional performances. ‘Curly’ Halse never gave a bad pass and Ken Wilcox dealt admirably with anything that came his way.

 

21/4/1951

v Moseley, Away, Won 9-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, R Hancock, A Polson, N Halse, K Wilcox, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis. Bath completed a double over Moseley, with three straight tries to Moseley’s drop goal. Tries were scored by Alec Lewis, Polson and the final ‘push-over’ try was awarded to John Dingle. Eighteen year old Hancock had a fine debut game at centre.

This win established a new record of 27 wins in a season, exceeding the previous number of 25, which had stood for 30 years. It was their 12th match without defeat.

 

 

26/4/1951

OLD CROCKS XV v EXILES

The Rec. had been specially watered by the Fire Brigade, to soften the turf for this epic struggle. It would be fair to say, that the referee was a trifle indulgent, as he ignored the odd knock-on or forward pass. Actually, this had the effect of quickening things up. It was said that although nobody ended up on his knees, some fell down without the necessity of being pushed!

The former stalwarts played 15 minutes each way, providing rich and rare entertainment. There were the usual flashes of humour and brilliance, as when Powles tackled Les Matthews and brought the touch judge (Bevan Jones), down as well. Norman Matthews ‘ran,’ or rather ‘walked,’ the other line and the crowd rounded proceedings off with a chorus of “Old Soldiers Never Die.”

 

28/4/1951

v Newbridge, Away, Lost 3-16. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Todd, J Syme, B French, A Polson, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, A Meek, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Attendance 300. Bath were well and truly eclipsed at Newbridge. Perhaps they were suffering from end of season blues, but their application to defence, was at best, half-hearted, and at worst – completely disinterested. They were but a shadow of their real self. Having said that, Robin Hambly’s try, the last of the season was a ‘cracker.’

FOR THE RECORD

Tries:- A Lewis 12, T Lewis 11, R Hambly 8, W Donnelly 7, G Addenbrooke 5, G John 3, A Todd 3, M Hanna and F Hill 2, T Smith, K O’Shaughnessy, M Webb, J Vassiere, L Harter, R Self, B French, J Roberts, D Mattingley, N Halse, M Sutton, A Polson and J Dingle 1 each. Total 66.

Goals:- P Sullivan 13, R Self, C Bowell, A Lewis, and R Hambly 2, L Moores, G Addenbrooke, and J Roberts 1 each. Total 24.

Penalty Goals:- P Sullivan 17, A Lewis 4 and R Self-1. Total 22.

Dropped Goals:- A Lewis, C Bowell, R Todd and P Sullivan, Total 4.

P Sullivan, with 13 goals, 17 penalty goals and 1 dropped goal. Collected 80 points.

ATTENDANCES:- R Hambly 39, J Roberts 37, T Smith 35, A Todd 34, A Lewis 31, P Sullivan 30, K Wilcox and T Lewis 29, F Hill 28, G Addenbrooke 27, G Brown and M Hanna 25, R Todd 22, W Donnelly and L Harter 21, J Dingle 20, D Mattingley 17, N Halse 14, R Self and J Vassiere 11, J Francis and M Sutton 9, P Sheppard and G John 8, L Moores and B French 7, M Webb 6, W Williams, A Polson, K Watts and G Eglinton all 5, C Bowell, M Bailey and K O’Shaughnessy 4, F Carey and G Hawkes 3, K Newburn, A Burnett and J Syme all 2, A Meek, R Douglas, R Hancock, A Wenyon, D Evans, M Bailey, J Bailey, J Arnold, R Ball, G Cottell, G Price and K Box all 1 each.

 

This page was added on 16/06/2014.

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