1951 to 1952

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1951 -1952

 

8/9/1951

v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-6. J Payne, R Hambly, R Todd, R Self, B French, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

What scoring there was, it was over and done with in the first half! Bath’s skipper scored the first penalty after eight minutes, but faintly held aspirations that they might beat the 1919 bogey were soon cast asunder, when J P Morris levelled with a penalty just four minutes later. A scrummaging misdemeanour was similarly punished by Morris with a fine kick. Play was largely confined to the Bath half and any trespassers were quickly covered by the Leicester defence.

 

IT’S QUICKER BY TRAIN!

There was news that the team would no longer travel by road for the London fixtures. There was the advantage that the players could return home independently from a selection of at least three train times. On the outward journey, there was a move to avoid the hiring of private transport from Paddington to the London grounds.

15/9/1951

v Weston Super Mare, Home, Won 10-3. P Sullivan, E Horlick, A Polson, R Todd, B French, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis. The Club had received early warning that Bob Todd would be leaving Bath at the end of the season, when his National Service at R.A.F. Compton Bassett was completed.

Bath attacked vigorously from the start, and confined their efforts to attempts to ‘soften-up’ the opposing forwards. The game was of a scrambling nature and attempts towards a more open game were quickly stifled. With no score at half time, there was little to interest the Somerset selectors. Alec Lewis eventually secured the first try of the season and Sullivan showed that he had lost none of his place kicking skills. Five minutes later, Sainsbury kicked a fine penalty for the seasiders. Then, Alec Lewis showed his class, in lunging over for a second try, which Sullivan converted. Weston came fighting back – but Bath had their measure.

 

20/9/1951

v TOFT’S INTERNATIONAL XV. P Sullivan, B French, R Todd, G Addenbrooke, E Horlick, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Lost 9-17. Upward of 7000 people saw Bath put in a fine performance against an ‘All Star’ side. Reduced to 14 men, Bath were defeated by a goal, a penalty goal and three tries to two penalty goals and one try. Bath were unfortunate to lose R Todd in the 18th minute with a broken shoulder bone. It was his last game before moving on to Edinburgh University. Added to this, their powerful right winger, E A Horlick, carried a shoulder injury for much of the game.

Guy Addenbrooke had an outstanding game at centre, at one stage, riding two tackles before forcing his way over the try line. J Mc G Kendall-Carpenter (Oxford University) scored a brilliant try for the Internationals while Todd was off the field. Hook of Gloucester took the conversion attempt. The touch judges kept their flags down, but were overruled by referee Trevor Jones. Just on the interval, Bath took the lead again, with a remarkable penalty kicked by Alec Lewis. (Half-time 6-5)

In the second half, Trevor Lewis moved out to centre, leaving a magnificent seven to battle it out with some of the game’s best players. But the odds were too great and gradually Toft’s fast moving three-quarters took over. J A Gregory (Bristol and England) and C G Woodruff (Harlequins and England) scored spectacular tries. B A Neale (Army and England) was gifted another, and the scoring spree was concluded when Oliver and Alec Lewis swapped penalties.

For Bath, K Wilcox was outstanding at fly-half, and John Dingle had a fine game in the line-out, but it was Alec Lewis who really caught the eye. He was one of the best forwards on the field. His covering was impeccable, and his leadership qualities shone through throughout.

This splendid game was followed by a grand dance at the prestigious Pump Room, graced by the presence of Mr. Arnold Ridley, the Club President.

 

22/9/1951

v Devonport Services, Home, Won 25-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Self, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis. The half back pairing of Wilcox and Hanna provided Bath’s inspiration. They ensured that their fellow backs had a goodly share of the ball and tries by Addenbrooke, Hambly and Hanna resulted. Alec Lewis bagged another. His pre-match instruction was: “let em have it.”

 

29/9/1951

v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 24-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Self, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, G Brown, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

It was a decisive win after a dour and uneventful first half. Conditions were ideal, so it was all the more surprising that the first score did not materialise until the 14th minute of the second half. It was not for want of effort, as good distribution from Wilcox had frequently brought the Bath three-quarters into play. Trevor and Alec Lewis were magnificent in the loose and it was Alec who provided the opening try, after Todd had drawn his man and found Lewis in attendance. Sullivan brought his season tally up to eight conversions from nine tries. Both Lewis and Sullivan then missed penalty attempts. In the 25th minute Willcox spread-eagled the defence, to feed on to Lewis, who found Tom Smith at his side for the touch-down. Bath were now well on top and a pushover try was credited to Todd, with Paddy Sullivan converting. Wilcox quickly followed with a drop kick and ‘Curly’ Halse provided the pass for Willcox to score a try. Finally, a cross-kick by Robin Hambly and handling by Roberts and Smith, sent in Alec Lewis for another try, which Sullivan converted.

 

6/10/1951

v Llanelly, Away, Lost 6-13. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Self, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, A Meek, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis..

Llanelly included the fabulous Lewis Jones at centre, later to move to Rugby League. However, they were handicapped in losing hooker Graham Jeffreys 20 minutes into the game. They nevertheless defeated Bath by 2 goals and a penalty to 1 try and a penalty. Bath found it well neigh impossible to pierce the Scarlets’ defence and several promising three-quarter movements were frittered away, when Self resorted to kicking on. The Bath pack played admirably, with John Dingle and Alec and Trevor Lewis most prominent. The front row of Tom Smith, Fred Hill and John Roberts stood up well, and it was a fine debut game for Angus Meek. Wilcox was outstanding and Hambly and Donnelly did well with the few opportunities offered. Llanelly opened the scoring with an outstanding penalty kick from the half-way line. Ray Williams was the next in, and Lewis Jones added the extras. Bath came back strongly in the second half and Alec Lewis opened the Bath score sheet with a finely taken penalty. Then it was Llanelly again, who secured from a line out. Ray Williams handed to Morgan, who went over in the corner and Lewis Jones again converted. Undaunted, Bath came back, and it was the turn of Trevor Lewis to intercept a wayward pass and run unopposed for the Llanelly line.

 

13/10/1951

v Bridgwater, Home, Won 19-8. P Sullivan, R Hambly, R Self, L Hughes (Combe Down), W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, P Sheppard, A Todd, T Lewis, G Jones, S Francis. It was 1st XV debuts for Len Hughes (Combe Down) and Glyn Jones. Bath were too hot for the ‘brick town’ men and were 11-0 up by half time.

Bath were quick to attack and slick passing brought speedy winger Donnelly close to a try. Next, Hughes took his turn with an incisive move, only to be hauled down by excellent covering.

Bath were monopolising scrums and line out, and Trevor Lewis was the next to make a try scoring effort. Eventually, Bridgwater cracked, and Wilcox opened Bath’s scoring in the 10th minute. Although Sullivan missed the conversion, he was quick to follow with a successful penalty kick from a difficult angle.

LEN HUGHES

“Then came one of the brightest “stabs” of the first half. It was executed at a cracking pace, with Hughes handling no fewer than three times in partnership with Self and Hambly. That was twice the newcomer had all but scored in his first match for Bath. This tall, strong speedy centre was certainly shining in good company.”

Hambly and Hughes continued to throw the ball about with gusto until, on the 32nd minute the referee Thompson blew for half time. This obvious error generated howls of protest from the crowd, and referee Thompson obligingly re-commenced play. In this period, Hughes drew the defence and transferred for Hambly to dash over in the corner. Sullivan converted in style. In the second half, the visitors came back briefly, with Andrews kicking a penalty. More smart work by Bath and Hambly’s cross-kick allowed Trevor Lewis to beat the opposing full-back to touch down and for Sullivan to convert. Five minutes later Sullivan added a penalty. Bridgwater’s Guerrero provided, arguably, the most spectacular try of the afternoon, with Gregory converting.

 

20/10/1951

v Bristol, Away, lost 3-12. P Sullivan, R Hambly, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, W Donnelly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis. John Dingle played, despite having been in a car crash en route to the match. His mother and sister were also slightly injured and were taken to hospital. The crowd was augmented by two trainloads of spectators from Bath. With much of the play confined to forward rushes, there was a long trail of penalties. The heavy ball did not permit success. Three minutes from the interval, Bristol’s John Scott scored an unconverted try. Increased pressure yielded a number of penalty opportunities and eventually, Griffin put Bristol further ahead with, at last – a successful penalty. His next penalty attempt rolled along the crossbar, before finally rolling over. Then Donnelly missed his tackle and Rowsell sped on to ground under the Bath posts for a fine try, which Griffin failed to convert. Late on, Sullivan kicked a consolation penalty.

 

27/10/1951

v Exeter, Away, Lost 0-6. P Sullivan, W Donnelly, L Hughes, T Thorne, R Hambly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, P Sheppard, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, G Jones, S Francis.

Bath arrived without Trevor Lewis (flu), John Roberts (knee injury) and Allan Todd (knee operation). Exeter had the game wrapped up by half time. Their penalty goal and drop goal were enough to contain Bath, who showed little inventive play, and with the exception of Sullivan, were generally weak in defence.

 

3/11/1951

v United Services, Home, Won 11-6. P Sullivan, A Polson, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Two tries by Alec Lewis, one by Len Hughes and Paddy Sullivan’s conversion, prevailed against the Service’s two unconverted tries. Both sides played an open game and there was plenty of action for the Bath back division, in which Hanna often linked with a very mobile Sullivan. Hughes, Alec Polson, Hambly and Wilcox featured in much of the constructive play. In the late stages, Addenbrooke, Hambly and Hughes inter-passed in a sweeping movement, which was halted, just 10 yards from the visitors’ line.

 

17/11/1951

v Metro. Police, Home, Won 8-3. P Sullivan, A Polson, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, G Brown, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Headline – Bath Arrest Met. Police Progress. It was a somewhat predictable comment for the Met’s second visit to Bath. However, it did serve to encapsulate this ‘heavy going’ game. Wilcox scored a first half try, converted by Sullivan. It was Sullivan who featured in stout defence, with prodigious kicks to touch to save the Bath line and hold the half-time score to 5-0. Heavy rain heralded the start of the second spell and police scrum half E Davies touched down for an unconverted try. Bath missed a great scoring chance when Addenbrooke kicked deep into the opposing half. He recovered the soap-like ball, only to slip and fall two yards from the line. Late on, Sullivan kicked a fine penalty from a wide angle. After this, it was a case of holding the visitors out for the dying minutes. Bath defence worked overtime, and its persistent harassing frequently forced a breakdown between the visiting centres.

 

The Metropolitan Police last visited Bath on the 23rd March 1940 when they defeated a combined Bath & Admiralty side 11-6.

 

24/11/1951

v Old Paulines, Away, Lost 5-8. S Porter, A Polson, G Addenbrooke, L Hughes, R Hambly, K Wilcox, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, G Brown, A Todd, T Lewis, G Jones. It was full-back Syd Porter’s debut game for Bath and he converted Len Hughes late try.

“Addenbrooke featured in several down-field runs by the Bath threes, and a fine handling movement on the left was foiled when Polson was tackled 10 yards out.” Allan Todd, Trevor Lewis and George Brown featured in a number of forward rushes. At one point Bath had won nine out of ten scrums, but the backs could gain little ground in the face of heavy tackling.

It was Bath’s first defeat in London for more than a year.

 

1/12/1951

v London Scottish, Home, Lost 6-8. P Sullivan, B French, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, R Hambly, R Self, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, J Dingle, T Lewis, J Vassiere. Paddy Sullivan had a fine game, but it was not enough to keep out the marauding Scots, and Bath went down for their first home defeat of the season. Roy Self ‘s drop goal had given Bath a first half lead. After the interval, the Exciles came back with a converted try. Then Paterson was penalised for a blatant off-side and Sullivan’s penalty kick hit the cross-bar and bounced over. Bath made a desperate attempt to save the game but the Scottish ramparts held out. The Exciles included four internationals, whist Bath’s Alec Lewis was away with the England Trial at Leicester. Notably, he scored a try for the Rest. The Rest beat ‘England’ by 17 points to 14 points.

 

8/12/1951

v Clifton, Home, Won 9-0. S Porter, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, K Wilcox, L Hughes, J Arnold, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, G Brown, J Vassiere, G Jones, P Dingle.

Roy Self was injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to the match, and retired veteran, team Secretary Jack Arnold stepped in to take his place.

Heavy conditions and pouring rain hampered open play, but tries by Allan Todd, Robin Hambly and George Brown, were enough to carry the day. Jack Arnold featured in a couple of useful dribbling movements.

 

15/12/1951

v Weston Super Mare, Lost 10-14. P Sullivan, B French, L Hughes, K Wilcox, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, J Dingle, T Lewis. Uncharacteristically, Sullivan missed five penalties. Bath were 0-8 down at the interval and it was 15 minutes from the end, when Roberts intercepted a pass and sent in Allan Todd for a try which Sullivan converted. Weston replied in kind, with a brilliant try by Sainsbury, and in the last minute Addenbrooke went over for Sullivan to again convert. Weston took their chances and deserved to win, but oh! those missed penalties!

 

22/12/1951

v Gloucester, Home, Won 3-0. P Sullivan, B French, K Wilcox, L Hughes, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, P Sheppard, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis. Bath’s solitary try separated these two rivals at the end of this stern encounter. Bath were buoyed up by the return of newly selected international Alec Lewis, but it was schoolmaster, Trevor Lewis who secured the winning try in the 13th minute of the second half. He crashed over amid great excitement. Sullivan was unable to convert. Gloucester came back strongly: “Then in the excitement Crabtree lost the ball near the corner flag, amidst a chorus of “Oh’s.” That was a near shave, and Bath held on and won their best victory of the season.”

 

26/12/1951

v Old Blues, Home, Drawn 0-0. S Porter, A Polson, A Wenyon, L Hughes, R Hambly, K Wilcox, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, J Dingle, A Lewis.

The Bath fans accepted a ‘pointless’ afternoon in true festive spirit. Old Blues had been coming to Bath for some 40 years, and were usually the whipping boys, as Bath worked off their Christmas excesses.

On this occasion, Bath’s weakened three-quarter line put in a poor performance and never looked like scoring. Kenneth Wilcox alone, stood out as employing any sort of constructive play. Bath were masters in the scrum, where Fred Hill reigned supreme, and also held a monopoly in the set and loose scrums. John Dingle did good work in the forwards, but the team effort petered out as much of their possession was wasted.

 

29/12/1951

v Harlequins, Home, Lost 8-14. P Sullivan, A Wenyon, L Hughes, K Wilcox, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, P Sheppard, F Hill, J Roberts, G Brown, A Todd, J Vassiere, J Dingle, T Lewis.

Bath tries from Hughes and Todd, with Sullivan converting the first try. (Half time lead 8-3)

In the first half, Wenyon had been brought down by Barker and tried to carry on gamely. However, he did not improve and an ambulance was called to take him to hospital.

Paddy Sullivan was a casualty after bravely falling on the ball in front of a Quins onslaught and was sidelined with concussion.

 

Half time, and the game had barely recommenced, before Vassiere was carried off and Bath faced the rest of the game with 12 men. The in-balance of players began to take its toll and Quins overhauled Bath with a final total of 4 tries, one of which was converted. Trevor Lewis, Addenbrooke and many others figured in a last ditch fight back:

. “Fate could hardly have been more cruel than it was to Bath.”

 

PROGRAMME NOTES following Quins game:- It was good to hear on Monday that Bath’s injured were going on well and might be available this week. It was all very unfortunate and probably no one remembers so many injuries in one match. Wenyon especially unlucky for he was only called on to play in the morning when Brian French cried off and came to the ground highly delighted with the chance to do so, and he was doing remarkably well! Of course no one knows what the result would have been had these misfortunes not overtaken us, but many keen supporters will tell you they do. Anyhow, we must congratulate those who were left on the splendid manner in which they stuck to it to the end, especially the six forwards who were led by John Roberts. The pity was that Bath did not score in the last quarter of an hour. They certainly deserved to.

 

5/1/1952

v Leicester, Home, Lost 0-6. S Porter, R Hambly, K Wilcox, L Hughes, B French, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, A Meek, P Sheppard, A Todd, T Lewis.

Bath suffered the ignominy of a double loss to the more mobile and inventive Tigers. Both sides were short of three key players. Bath had defended strongly, but a breakaway try by Cullen caught Bath napping. Five minutes on and Nicholas’s cross-kick found Lawrence for another. Again Ashurst failed to convert. Bath resorted to short passing movements amongst the forwards, where Trevor Lewis, Allan Todd, John Roberts and veteran Fred Hill were prominent. George Brown saved a near certain try, Angus Meek did fine in the line-out and Tom Smith and Peter Sheppard were in the thick of the action. Norman ‘Curly’ Halse brought his experience to bear, while Guy Addenbrooke worked for openings. Wingers, Brian French and Robin Hambly covered effectively and got through a prodigious amount of tackling.

All in all, it was an heroic performance, but Leicester had the edge throughout.

“The going was heavy, and the play was too tough to be of a high standard, but Bath went down “with colours flying.””

 

Club President, Arnold Ridley once quoted W S Gilbert on another matter. It was nevertheless, particularly apropos to one’s feelings after loosing again to Leicester. The passage from ‘The Mikado:’ “All must taste the cup of sorrow; I today, and thou tomorrow!”

 

12/1/1952

v London Welsh, Away, Drawn 3-3. T Thorne, R Hambly, K Wilcox, L Hughes, E Horlick, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, P Sheppard, J Dingle, A Todd, T Lewis. Wing man Thorne played his first game at full-back and acquitted himself well, whilst Allan Todd was in his very best form However, the backs were not very effective and they owed much to their forwards who held out for the draw. Bath’s points came from John Robert’s penalty in the 17th minute. The Exciles levelled with a magnificent try early in the second half and a draw was the fairest of results. One golden chance went begging after Addenbrooke had broken away and passed to Hughes. Unfortunately, Hughes chose to pass inside, with Horlick ‘champing at the bit’ on his wing. Alas, the chance was forever lost.

 

19/1/1952

v Cardiff, Home, Lost 0-5. Bath:- S Porter, R Hambly, L Hughes, K Wilcox, T Thorne, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, G Brown, A Meek, A Todd, J Dingle, T Lewis.

Cardiff Team :- J Llewellyn, D Murphy, Dr. J Matthews, G Griffiths, H Morris, P Ash, B Mark, C Davies, G Beckenham, J D Evans, W E Tamplin, M Collins, C D O’Brien and S Judd.

 

A sparkling try in the first five minutes gave Cardiff an edge, which they kept to the end of an extremely hard fought game. Forwards and backs had joined in a passing movement, with frequent changes in direction, and prop Cliff Davies was eventually free to touch down. Bill Tamplin converted with a well-taken kick. Bath backs made a number of forays, but were cut down by stout defence. In turn, Tim Thorne brought of a thumping tackle when Cardiff’s Murphy looked certain to score.

Welshman, Trevor Lewis was in the van of Bath’s fight back and Cardiff were contained for long periods. “Bath forwards were good in the mauls and often came out on top. This was a stirring game, full of excitement.” Lewis again featured in fierce and spectacular rushes which took them to the Cardiff line. There had been a few near misses with Porter’s penalty attempts, but in terms of team effort, perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result.

“How Cardiff held out was one of the surprises of the season, for they took a tremendous battering and yet kept their line inviolate.”

Bath’s last victory at Cardiff had been on January 18th 1947

 

26/1/1952

v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Won 6-0. S Porter (2pg), R Hambly, L Hughes, K Wilcox, T Thorne, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Todd, D Mattingley, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

GOOD RUGBY ON ICE!

Played out in bitterly cold weather, on a snow-covered pitch, it was difficult to string together any sort of quality rugby. Added to this misery, there was a plethora of penalties – 18 in the first half and 11 after the interval, with a ratio of 2:1 against St. Mary’s. Bath played to their forwards and Fred Hill easily won the hooking duel. However, when the ball occasionally reached the backs, it was covered in a film of ice, and dropped passes were inevitable.

MAN OF THE MATCH

“Alec and Trevor Lewis were well to the fore, leading the pack in fine dribbling runs in attack, and covering up excellently in defence. In the loose, Allan Todd and D M Mattingley were prominent – the latter played a grand game- and John Dingle worked hard in the line-outs. And of course, John Roberts and Tom Smith played their steady best.

But the man-of-the-match as far as Bath were concerned was undoubtedly full-back Porter.

Never have I seen him give a better performance, His touch-finding, catching and tackling were excellent, and he capped all this with two brilliant penalty goals.”

 

THE COST OF CRIME

Fred Hill played ‘policeman’ on the 6-30 out of Paddington. The players had quit their reserved compartments and gone to the Restaurant Car. While they were away scarves and gloves belonging to Norman ‘Curly’ Halse, and Robin Hambly were stolen by two Bristol youths. Fred then searched the train and found the two lads, took them back to the compartment and questioned them as to ‘what the were about.’ The police were contacted at the station and all but one pair of gloves were eventually recovered on the railway lines near Chippenham. It was a petty offence, which ended in fines of £3 each, plus £2 18s 9d costs.

 

2/2/1952

v Newport, Home, Lost 5-17. T Thorne, R B Owen, R Hambly, L Hughes, R Beer, E Stevens, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, A Todd, T Lewis, G Brown, P Dingle. Bath were shorn of many of their first choice players, but this provided 1st XV debuts for Peter Stevens from Port Talbot (R.A.F. Colerne), Robin Owen (ex Moseley. Warminster School of Infantry), and R ‘Dicky’ Beer (London University) All three distinguished themselves in this tough initiation. Peter Dingle, John’s younger brother, shared the ‘engine-house’ work with Angus Meek and along with Smith, Hill, Roberts, Brown, Trevor Lewis and Todd, did their share in some determined raids by the fired up pack. It was fitting that Tom Smith was credited with Bath’s push-over try, and that fellow front row stalwart, John Roberts should add the conversion.

Newport’s Roy Burnett was easily, the most dangerous player on the pitch. Newport eventually scored five tries and converted one. Burnett & Co. were just a bit too good for Bath’s makeshift side.

 

FIRE IN THE STAND – REF’s ENFORCED SHOWER

On the 9th February 1952, the Bath Chronicle reported on another small fire in the North Stand.

The blitzed relic had been restored by using timber from the ‘flower-pot’ stands, and there were gaps in the planking. Repeated warnings, failed to stop careless spectators throwing down cigarette ends that had not been stubbed out. Not for the first time, the flooring caught fire. Groundsman Helps, extinguished the blaze with several buckets of water.

“There was a humorous side to this. The water went through into the referee’s dressing-room, and swamped the referee. Fortunately, at the time, he was not dressed. Actually he had just got out of his bath! He got back into the bath to remove the results of this shower!

16/2/1952

v London Irish, Away, Lost 0-6. S Porter, L Hughes, E Stevens, R Owen, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, G Brown, A Lewis, A Todd, T Lewis. Cliff Weston had a successful first game at outside half. (Elder brother of England Schools Captain Brian Weston)

Bath fielded an experimental three-quarters combination, but succumbed to the Irish by a penalty goal and a try without reply.

“But for all that, despite the mud and the greasy ball, the newcomers outside the scrum showed more life and ideas than we have seen for some time.”

Bath missed the usual line-out service from Messrs. Dingle and Mattingley, but Fred Hill supplied adequate ball from the set scrums. There was obviously a good deal of talent amongst the backs on view, and given time and practice together, they were capable of giving good individual and collective performances.

 

FRED HILL – HERE’S MUD IN YER EYE!

23/2/1952 News that Fred Hill, Bath’s Victory International hooker, had been called up to do a fortnight’s ‘Z’ Reserve Army service.

“Fred Hill first tried to join the Navy before enlisting in the Army. He went before a recruiting officer, who told him “We can’t take a man with one eye” (he lost an eye in an accident). Fred, however, was equal to the occasion, replying: “The greatest sailor who ever lived lost an eye.” He referred of course to Nelson!

The recruiting officer was, however, completely devoid of any sense of humour, rang a bell, and asked a petty officer to show Fred out. That is how Fred came to join the Army – and they cannot boast of a Nelson.

All footballers have their idiosyncrasies. He cleans his teeth before a match. John Roberts and Tom Smith shave afterwards!”

Skulduggery in the front row was not unknown. In the more ungentlemanly encounters, opponents were not averse to slapping a chunk of mud in Fred’s face. He would rise up in high dudgeon with something like: “Ere you bugger- thees got my good eye!”

Fred was a great character, and very helpful to the younger players. (The editor writes from experience – as a room mate on Tour)

 

23/2/1952

v Wasps, Away, Drawn 8-8. P Sullivan, T Thorne, E Stevens, R Owen, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Carey, T Smith, A Meek, D Mattingley, A Todd, J Dingle, A Lewis. Following their successful debut games, Bath selected Peter Stevens and Robin Owen in the centre: “Stevens in particular, played a grand game and contributed a dazzling 40-yards run down the middle, selling three dummies in succession, in the second half.

Owen also played well and Addenbrooke, on the left wing, provided another surprise by his eclipse of J E Woodward, the England International and Wasps’ right wing threequarter. Time and again Addenbrooke beat his opponent by brilliant running.” Cliff Weston was thoroughly dependable at fly-half. Dingle and Mattingley were again outstanding in the line out. The returning Paddy Sullivan, put in a faultless performance. After two fine attempts up the left wing, by Addenbrooke, Alec Lewis broke from a line out and passed to Todd, who scored under the posts. Sullivan goaled. Wasps pulled back and within a minute of no-side, Sullivan saved the game with a brilliant 40 yard penalty success.

1/3/1952

v Bristol, Home, Won 6-3. P Sullivan, T Thorne, L Hughes, E P Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, A Todd, T Lewis, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Bristol:- J Holt, D Golledge, B W Rowsell, R T Moule, W P Donnelly, R Standing, G Lovell, J Woodward, M J Howell, J A Scott, A M Bain, R H Muller, D G Pratten, A Macdonald and D Gunson. Attendance 6000 for this 120th ‘Derby’ fixture.

W (Bill) Donnelly was on the wing for Bristol. His last game for Bath had been against Exeter on 27th October 1951. Len Hughes was a welcome selection at centre, and was showing promise in attack and defence. At this time, Hughes was the only back to have scored a try since the Harlequins game on December 29th. Bath’s fortune’s changed for the good when Bristol were unfortunate enough to lose Gordon Lovell with concussion. Bath winger, Thorne’s try was a give away: “A minute later Thorne took an outside pass from Hughes and beating off a Donnelly tackle turned inwards and plunged over for a good try. Sullivan failed with the kick.

This try was in the nature of a gift; the Bristol defence was very weak and duly paid the penalty.” (Bristol GREEN’UN)

Bristol equalised when Rowsell went over in the left-hand corner. Next Alec Lewis was in the van of an assault on the Bristol line, but Donnelly, playing against his old Club, saved the day with a kick over the dead ball line. Alec Lewis went over from loose play but was brought back for a scrum. Determined to advance Bath’s position, Lewis was wide with a penalty attempt. Next Hughes made a spirited dart for the line and Thorne just missed as he dived to touch down. “Bath hammered away with life and method, the players rising above themselves, as they can in their greatest encounters.”

In the 27th minute, the irrepressible Alec Lewis broke away for Bath’s winning try which Sullivan failed to convert. However, Sullivan was impeccable in defence and his touch finding regularly advanced Bath’s cause. In an intense forward battle, Bath did very well in the line-out, thanks to good performances by John Dingle and Dennis Mattingley.

8/3/1952

v Swansea, Away, Lost 3-6. P Sullivan, E Horlick, L Hughes, E Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, A Todd, J Dingle, T Lewis, A Lewis.

Horace Phillips, the old Swansea winger long remembered this one. The Bath story is that Phillips was seen to run outside the touch flag and outside the corner flag before he grounded. To Bath’s astonishment, the referee awarded a try. The referee’s comment was reported to have been: “Well, they like to score down yer man” Many years later Bath’s John Roberts encountered Phillips, to be greeted something like this: “Don’t you start on to me about that try you bugger!”

It was felt that Bath could well have won this one. Trevor Lewis and Allan Todd got through a prodigious amount of covering work. The Alec Lewis penalty was a long soaring shot from some 40 yards. Guy Addenbrooke would have dearly loved a win against his old Club. Bath’s best chance was late in the second half, when following a quick heel the ball moved swiftly along the three-quarters. Stevens had Addenbrooke outside him waiting for the pass that never came. Stevens, unfortunately, ran into a defender.

15/3/1952

v London Irish, Home, Won 15-3. P Sullivan, E Horlick, L Hughes, E P Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, D Mattingley, A Todd, J Dingle, T Lewis.

Bath were 5 points up in as many minutes: “John Roberts joined in the fray before the ball went to the three-quarters line. Peter Stevens and Len Hughes carried on the sparkling exchanges at top pace and with art of running and astute change of direction they eventually put Guy Addenbrooke on possession. He simply raced through a spread-eagled defence to run round and ground the ball.” Sullivan supplied the extras. Later, Horlick, making his 5th appearance of the season, was tackled after one of his determined runs. An Irish revival brought a try to Whittaker, but Bath soon increased their lead with a try by Meek, converted by Sullivan. Peter Stevens from R.A.F. Colerne was having a fine game.

“Then came a most exciting attack by Bath in which the ball swept from one flank to another and in which backs and forwards co-operated. Only the most tenacious defence could have withstood such shock tactics, with the point of danger moving swiftly along the complete front. In this effort, Todd did tremendous work to win possession from a ruck of players. Twenty-one minutes into the second half, Tom Smith was rewarded with a try, after smart following up. Again Sullivan converted.

“Another storming raid by Bath roused the crowd, again with the forwards joining in the handling. So much thrust and aggressiveness from outside the scrum has not been seen for a long time.”

19/3/1952

v St John’s College, Cambridge, Home, Won 13-8. P Sullivan, D Little, A Polson, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, T Smith, G Clements, F Carey, J Dingle, P G Hall, J Vassiere. A number of senior absentees permitted an entertaining run out for their replacements. Bath gave a trial to two young R.A.F. players, who had been turning out for Chippenham – Bob Little a right wing three-quarter and Peter Hall a back-row forward. Bath tries flowed from Vassiere, Hughes and Polson, with Sullivan converted two of them. “George Clements showed his consistency as a hooker and Tom Smith, Peter Dingle and Peter Sheppard gave a good account of themselves.”

 

22/3/1952

v Newbridge, Home, Won 8-6. P Sullivan, E Horlick, L Hughes, E Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Smith, F Hill, D Mattingley, A Meek, J Dingle, A Todd, A Lewis.

Horlick dived over for Bath’s try in the 13th minute and Sullivan converted. Following a jersey changing session, including the referee, Richards scored a corner try for the visitors. They repeated the medicine three minutes later with a try by J Lewis. Again, it was not converted, but Newbridge were ahead. There were fine individual efforts from Hughes and Stevens, but it was ‘extra time’ before Sullivan saved the game with a penalty. It was Bath’s fourth home win in a row – but by a whisker!

 

Team Secretary Jack Arnold travelled with the United to Salisbury as a selector. As they were short, he was persuaded to play. Apart from his selecting, his personal contribution was a dropped goal and a penalty goal.

29/3/1952

v Taunton, Home, Won 3-0. P Sullivan, E Horlick, R Owen, E Stevens, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, P Sheppard, D Mattingley, A Meek, P G Hall, A Todd, T Lewis. In the absence of Alec Lewis, P Hall was given another chance in the back row. “His fine display against St. John’s College Cambridge will be readily recalled.”

“Only a handful of spectators braved the snow and the biting wind….” Was it any wonder, that the broadcasting of the England v Ireland game and the Boat Race claimed the attention of normally ardent supporters? The ground was certainly playable, but it was snowing and cold hands made handling exceedingly difficult. “It was a bleak scene and it was hard to whip up interest in the game though the [players were doing their best.” The solitary try arrived in the 27th minute, when John Roberts seized on a mistake, scooped up the ball and dived over. The interval was cut down, enabling the players to hear the result of the Boat Race. In such adverse conditions, the experience of Hill, Mattingley, Roberts and Trevor Lewis was invaluable.

 

Bath ‘A’s were visiting Old Elizabethans at Bristol. Roger Berry was singled out as the best forward: “Looks as if promotion will soon come his way.”

 

5/4/1952

v London Scottish, Away, Won 13-6. P Sullivan, T Thorne, R Owen, P Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, A Meek, P G Hall, J Dingle, A Todd. Roberts crashed over in the third minute, Sullivan converting. The Exciles were quick to counter when Craig scored in the corner. L Bruce Lockhart directed operations and they were again rewarded when their captain, D Smith went over in the corner.

Then Addenbrooke put Bath ahead after a fine 30 yard run. “Under intense Bath pressure Scottish kicked to touch in goal and there were five-yards scrums before Hall touched down from a push over try by the Bath forwards. Sullivan converted just before the final whistle blew.”

 

12/4/1952

v Old Cranleighans, Home, Won 9-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, P Stevens, R (Bob) Todd, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, G Brown, T Lewis, Allan Todd, A Lewis. Bath’s first try was a combined effort by the Lewis’s. Trevor made the decisive break, and Alec was at his side to send out a long pass for Peter Stevens to ground under the posts. Sullivan hit the cross-bar with the conversion attempt. Trevor Lewis again featured in a break through the centre, but his pass to Todd was disrupted. Soon afterwards, Weston and Addenbrooke combined to send in Alec Lewis for a fine try to put Bath in the lead. Further pressure led to a try by Bob Todd after handling by Fred Hill, Peter Stevens, Bob Todd, Addenbrooke and finally Todd again.

 

14/4/1952

v OMT’s, Home, Won 9-3. P Sullivan, A Polson, R Owen, L Hughes, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, A Meek, J Dingle, A Todd, A Lewis.

“After Sullivan had kicked two penalty goals, one a superb effort from an acute angle, writes ‘The Captain,’ it was a pity he could not convert Alec Lewis’s try because that would have enabled him to complete his third century of points since he joined Bath as full-back from the Bristol Club. He has now totalled 299 from 92 games.

The wet and greasy conditions reduced the game to something of a mudlark. Despite this, there were impressive performances from forwards Dennis Mattingley, Allan Todd, Fred Hill and the in-form Alec Lewis.

 

15/4/1952

v Durham University, Home, Won 21-8. P Sullivan (3g), E Horlick, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke (T), B French, C Weston, N Halse (T), J Roberts, G Clements, T Smith, D Mattingley, P Sheppard, A Todd (T), P G Hall (T), A Lewis (T). It was Durham University’s first visit to the Rec.

Bath won all three holiday games with a number of selection combinations. “Cliff Weston well served by Halse, played with no end of artistry! Bath have found a real fly-half at last!”

“Addenbrooke ran with splendid determination, while Hall’s try – his second for Bath since he came from R.A.F. Rudloe and Chippenham – was scored while he was on the right-wing after Horlick’s departure. He played with fine promise in the pack and on the flank and, when he scored, he certainly showed he knew the shortest way to the line.”

Other tries flowed from Alec Lewis, Alan Todd, Guy Addenbrooke and Curly Halse. Paddy Sullivan converted three.

 

19/4/1952

v Moseley, Home, Lost 5-17. P Sullivan, R Hambly, L Hughes, P Stevens, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, J Dingle, A Todd, P G Hall, A Lewis.

“After a markedly good game on Tuesday night, Norman Halse retains his place at the base of the scrum; Hambly takes the place of the injured Horlick. Deservedly too, Hall, who did so well against Durham University, both in the pack and on the wing (when Horlick retired) and crowning the occasion with a fleet-footed try, keeps his role as lock forward.”

One of Bath’s few good efforts followed a quick heel and the ball was moved through several hands to Addenbrooke. It took an exceptional tackle by Edge, to stop him careering over the line. The point of attack switched to the opposite wing, by Stevens slipped as he dodged a couple of defenders. Again Stevens nearly scored, but was bundled into touch. Further laudable efforts stemmed from Todd, Weston and Hughes. John Roberts crowned Bath’s fight-back with a 23rd minute try, which Sullivan converted. Unfortunately, this was the best of it, and Bath could not raise their game in the second half.

 

24/4/1952

v Somerset Police, Away, Won 8-0. P Sullivan, A Polson, G Addenbrooke, R Self, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, G Clements, T Smith, A Meek, P Sheppard, J Vassiere, P G Hall, A Lewis. This was a well earned victory, with Addenbrooke off the field for most of the game. Determined to throw the ball about, Bath proved superior in all departments. Forwards, Peter Sheppard and Alec Lewis featured among fluent passages of open play. “Meek, Sheppard and Hall were working well in the lines-out, and Weston, in fine fettle, kept his threes constantly on the move.”

“All Bath’s points were scored after Addenbrooke was injured. And it was Hambly who scored crashing over by the corner flag after an excellent run. Sullivan kicked a magnificent goal from the 25 right on the touch-line.” Alec Lewis scored the second try, after Halse had made an opening from a line-out.

 

26/4/1952

v Devonport Services, Away, Won 8-6. T Lewis, R Beer, L Hughes, P Stevens, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, P Sheppard, P G Hall, J Vassiere, A Todd. Trevor Lewis turned out at full-back in place of R Owen. Vaissiere came in at wing-forward.

Following a Services drop goal, Bath were 0-3 down at half-time. However, a second-half revival produced a goal and a try, which was enough to return home happy.

Bath came near when winger, Beer made an excellent run, only to put a foot in touch. Later, Norman Halse got away, but dropped the ball a foot from the line. After a number of five yard scrums, there was finally a pushover and Fred Hill was, at first credited with touching down. Later Press comment credited the try to Dennis Mattingley. Roberts added the extras with an excellent conversion kick. Play continued fairly evenly until Gray scored a fine try for the host side after a 50 yard run. Bath fought hard to regain the lead and Hall went over for an unconverted try

“In the pack, John Roberts and Allan Todd were outstanding and they received grand support from Fred Hill, Mattingley and Hall.”

 

28/4/1952

v Combination, Home, Won 19-5. P Sullivan, A Polson, L Hughes, P Stevens, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, P Sheppard, A Meek, D Mattingley, P G Hall, R Berry.

It was a grand finale for Paddy Sullivan – he completed his 100 points for the season, including a magnificent, left-footed drop goal. His conversions brought his final tally up to 104. (Previous best 91)

The Combination players were drawn from eight clubs and there were some fine individual performances against the Senior Club. “Stevens and Len Hughes went over from near-in scrums, following quick heels and clever darts by Weston. Hughes in particular showed a fine turn of speed.” Sullivan’s drop goal concluded the first half. “After the interval nice work by Stevens and Hughes paved the way for a good run and a try by Alec Polson and with Sullivan adding the extra points, Bath were already 14 points ahead. Cliff Weston added to Bath’s try count. R Hodges, from Combe Down scored a smart try for the Combination. Polson wound up proceedings with a well executed try, which Sullivan converted.

FOR THE RECORD

GOALS: P Sullivan33, J Roberts 2, S Porter 1.

DROPPED GOALS:- K Wilcox, R Self and P Sullivan 1 each.

PENALTY GOALS:- P Sullivan 9, A Lewis 5, S Porter 2, J Roberts 1.

TRIES:- A Lewis 12, G Addenbrooke 7, A Todd 6, L Hughes 5, R Hambly 4, T Smith, K Wilcox, T Lewis and J Roberts 3, A Polson, P Stevens, and P Hall 2, M Hanna, T Thorne, J Vassiere, G Brown, A Meek, E Horlick, R Todd, N Halse, F Hill, D Mattingley and C Weston 1 each.

APPEARANCES:- J Roberts and T Smith 37, A Todd 35, F Hill 34, G Addenbrooke 31, P Sullivan, R Hambly, and L Hughes 28, T Lewis 27, J Dingle 26, A Lewis and G Brown 22, N Halse 21, K Wilcox 20, M Hanna 18, C Weston 16, A Meek 15, P Stevens and D Mattingley 13, P Sheppard 12, A Polson and J Vassiere 9, P G Hall, E Horlick and B French 8, T Thorne, R Self, and S Porter 7, R Owen and W Donnelly 6, G Jones, G Clements and R Todd 4, P Dingle 3, F Carey, R Beer, S Francis and A Wenyon 2, J Arnold, J Payne, D Little and R Berry 1. Total 585.

 

 

 

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