1952 to 1953

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1952-1953

 

SERVICEMEN SELECTION

In 1952-1953, R.A.F. Rudloe Manor/Box had won the R.A.F. Shield knock-out competition, and the side included Roger Hosen (later of Northampton and England fame), Terry Deavall (later Cheltenham), and Bob Little (later St. Helens) and Peter Hall, who both joined Bath. One or two others played for Chippenham.

There was an on going debate, over Bath’s selection policy of including National Service players. The main criticism was that it ignored local talent. However, few can argue that it provided for an influx of a long succession of players, many of whom continued to associate with the Bath Club. Few, who remember the superb R.A.F. Yatesbury and Compton Bassett Seven-a-Side teams, would argue against their upgrading influence of local Rugby generally.

These were all very fit young men, just out of the rugby playing Grammar, County Schools etc., brimming over with testosterone, that even the ‘alleged’ bromide in the tea, could not suppress!

 

6/9/1952

v Chippenham, Away, Won 40-3. P Sullivan, P Stevens, R Owen, P Fearis, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, F J Thomas, P G Hall, J Dingle, A Lewis. Long serving prop Tom Smith, played for Bath on his Wedding Day. He scored!

Bath inflicted 5 goals, 4 tries and a drop goal on Chippenham and District, who managed a second half try.

Owen started the best move of the afternoon, racing down the right wing, he fed to Hambly, for what looked like a certain try. Chippenham’s Ibbotson cut him down with a spectacular tackle, forcing him into touch. Bath secured in the line-out and Vice Captain Tom Smith leading a group of forwards, forced himself over for the first try. Further scores flowed from Stevens, Owen, Hambly (3), Roberts (2) and Mattingley. Sullivan converted 2 and second row – Frank Thomas converted 3. Hambly dropped a goal.

Bath’s own Trevor Lewis scored a try, playing for Chippenham. It was an easy romp for Bath, but a necessary ‘pipe opener’ for sterner games ahead.

“Peter Fearis, of R.A.F. Yatesbury, seems to fill a long-felt want in the centre. He is fast and clever and covers up most effectively. He can kick goals too. He needs no introduction to the crowds who saw the Bath Seven-a-Side Tournament – he was in the winning team.”

“Peter Stevens is probably a better centre than a three-quarter.”

 

13/9/1952

v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-9. P Hardy, P Stevens, R Owen, P Fearis, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Carey, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, P G Hall, J Dingle, A Lewis. Attendance was in the region of 5000.

A stern test in the Tigers’ den. Bath managed a solitary penalty kicked by Peter Fearis, while the home side scored 2 tries and a penalty. Fearis’s penalty merited a prolonged round of applause. It was his first major game, and he slotted a sweetly taken kick from fully 45 yards.

Leicester’s Channer – always the master technician, dictated play from outside-half and had opened the scoring with a drop goal.

Bath’s front row stalwarts Roberts, Hill and Smith did well against Bolesworth, Pratt and

England’s Bob Stirling. Bath did not perform well in the lines-out or scrums, but defended stoutly in open play. “In the second half, with the wind at their backs, Bath at once took up the initiative and by using the touch line cleverly, especially through Hall and Fearis, they kept the ‘Tigers’ penned in their cage for some time without, however producing that thrust which alone brings the downfall of the line.”

 

18/9/1952

v Kendall Carpenters XV, Home, Lost 9-10. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, P Stevens, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, J Dingle, P G Hall, D Mattingley, A Lewis.

News that Kendall-Carpenter was joining Bath. At the pre-match pep talk, skipper John Roberts relayed ‘Carps’ message that he did not wish to displace any Bath regular.

This was a highly commendable performance, in a tense and thrilling match, against a side brimming with high quality players. If only Bath could have converted their tries! There were fine performances from young backs – Peter Fearis, aged 20, Peter Stevens, aged 19, Phil Hardy, aged 20 and Cliff Weston. Allied to this the determination and experience of Guy Addenbrooke, the guile of Norman Halse and the: “pluck and resource of Robin Hambly.”

J V Smith scored for the Internationals after four minutes and Harlequin’s Grimsdell converted. Fearis responded with a 35 yard penalty in the 23rd minute. Then it was Fearis again, with Bath’s first try of the season. Next, a cross-kick from Hambly, John Roberts and Tom Smith were up in support and John Dingle crashed over. It was well into the second half when C G Woodruff made a spectacular break and was brought down after covering 45 to 50 yards. Cornwall’s Oliver scored for the Internationals and Grimsdell provided the conversion. Fred Hill had an epic duel with Welsh Hooker Dai Davies, but Grimsdell dominated in the line-out. Alec Lewis was in fine form. Popular referee, Gwyn Walters (Wales) commented: “I have never seen a more exhilarating spectacle.”

 

20/9/1952

v Weston Super Mare, Home, Won 8-3. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, R Owen, P Fearis, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, R Dart, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, P G Hall, J Dingle, A Lewis.

John Roberts was forced to cry off due to a poisoned arm and R Dart stepped up from the United. Peter Stevens was on R.A.F. duties. England selector H B Toft was present. Weston were the first to score, when Barrett put over a penalty in the third minute, and following the first scrum of the afternoon. This seemed to stimulate Bath into action: “Following a fine piece of touch kicking by Fearis, Addenbrooke tried to ginger things up with one of his resolute bursts and devastating accompanying hand-off.” Then Frank Thomas led a forward break-away, only for Hambly to knock-on at the final pass. However, a spectacular 40 yards penalty by Fearis, in the 22nd minute levelled matters. Fearis again featured, forcing a gap in the Weston defence, passing out for Hambly to score wide out, in the 32nd minute. Again, Fearis demonstrated his kicking prowess, with a notable conversion from near the touch-line.

In the second half Lewis and Hall figured in a promising burst from the half-way line, but the forwards did not combine effectively for a score. Cliff Weston showed well in Bath’s thrusting movements, and at the end, Hambly was almost over after two “spear-like” attacks on the left flank.

 

24/9/1952

v Clifton, Away, Drawn 3-3. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, P Stevens, Shellabeare (ex Weston-s-Mare), C Weston, G Drewett, R Dart, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, G Brown, P G Hall, J Vaissiere, A Lewis. Somerset scrum-half Ben Tuttiett was at his tactical best: “Keeping the ball close in the wind and the rain, kicking repeatedly to touch, to gain a few yards or to checkmate the opposition rushes, and exploiting the short line-out, they successfully held Bath till the end.”

A wild Clifton pass enabled Peter Stevens to intercept, and win a close race for Bath’s try. It was a debut appearance for diminutive scrum-half Gordon Drewett. B C Bendall bagged an equalising try for Clifton. Fred Hill enjoyed himself in the mud and the rain.

 

THE DEVON AND CORNWALL TOUR

27/9/1952

v Devonport Services, Away, Won 11-3. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, R Owen, R Hambly, C Weston, N Halse, T Smith, F Hill, R Dart, F Thomas, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, P G Hall, A Lewis.

Services were the first to score, when Davies landed a 35 yard penalty on the quarter hour. “Bath reacted strongly and were not slow to score. Addenbrooke made a glorious pick-up on the left wing before cross-kicking. Alec Lewis gathered and scored a try beneath the posts which Sullivan converted.”

Sullivan was injured and Hall filled in at fullback. The home side were more forceful in the second half and a certain score was brilliantly intercepted by Addenbrooke. The sides were evenly matched, but with Fred Hill’s steady service generating a slight edge in the scrums. Peter Fearis made no mistake with a 35 yard penalty, and Lewis was credited with a try after one of Bath’s famed ‘push-over’ tries.

 

29/9/1952

v Penzance & Newlyn, Away, Lost 8-9. P Sullivan, B French, P Fearis, R Owen, R Hambly, C Weston (T), N Halse, T Smith, F Hill, R Douglas, F Thomas, G Brown, J Vaissiere, P G Hall, A Lewis. Attendance 2500.

Reported as a great game, and one of the best seen at Penzance for a long time:

“Within five minutes Bath were five points up. This is how it came about. Fearis, tearing away from the half-way line, veered to the left, and covered 30 yards before cross-kicking. The ball landed in front of the posts, Alec Lewis kicked over the line, and Hill scored under the posts. Sullivan converted. He was in splendid form, finding long touches with coolness and accuracy.” Penzance responded with a penalty when Hall picked up out of a scrum and an unconverted try saw the teams change ends with Bath trailing 5-6. Weston soon scored after selling “the cheekiest of dummies” but Fearis’s conversion attempt hit the upright and bounced back. In a frantic finish, Penzance snatched victory, when former Bath player Mike Terry ran down the right touch-line, beat one or two of his old clubmates and passed inside for winger B Ward to score in the corner. Bath piled on the pressure, but it was too late to save the game.

 

H.M.S. Wave – There was a particularly memorable end to the Tour, but not for rugby reasons.

HEADLINE – Late at Dance Then

Early To Rescue: Bath Old Players Rugby Tour Adventure

On the Saturday night, the team had attended a dance at the Penzance – Hotel Royale, and after arriving back at their St. Ives Hotel at 3-30am, there were some thick heads and late risers on the Sunday morning. Whether in bed or at breakfast, all of them were shattered by deep double bang, as the Coastguard Maroons went up. They joined the locals on the quay to see Fishery protection Vessel (a former deep sea minesweeper) HMS Wave, broadside on, after her anchor cable had parted, and wallowing about 100 Feet from St. Ive’s Westcott’s Quay.

Strong winds were throwing up 40 foot waves; rocks had ripped a fair size hole and oil was pouring out.

A breeches buoy was strung from the stern to the slip-way and the local men women were holding on desperately as the ship pitched and rolled. The first off had a particularly bad passage, as at one point the line was taut and dragging the folk down the slippery stonework, only for the ship to whip over and leave the line slack. As a result, the unfortunate mariner was dashed on rocks and came in wet and bloody. Despite this effort, only two thirds of the crew were off by 3.30pm that afternoon.

All this was quite an amazing experience for the Tour Party, but they were not allowed to spectate for long. Obviously, help was needed and spontaneously, they were all in there hanging on to the 100 yard-long ropes slithering up and down like a tug-of-war team!

The reporter for this article remembers that he was wearing a brand new overcoat, which was covered in thick dirty brown oil in the struggle. Committee members Jack Arnold, Eddie Simpkins, Arthur Foster, Stan Bailey, Harry Slade, Charles Burrough and Jack Beazer joined the players to add weight.

It was still: “ blowing great guns” when the team were due to leave, and the Admiralty still had : a ticklish job on their hands!” There was local comment that the skipper should have set out to sea to ride out the storm, but we did not learn of the final outcome.

To add to the drama, the team witnessed a Greek ship breaking up on the cliffs at Pendeen.

After all this excitement, the match venue at Camborne had become a morass and so the game against St. Ives was called off.

A memorable tour – but a wet one’

 

4/10/1952

v Llanelly, Home, Lost 3-25. P Sullivan, R Hambly, P Fearis, B French, T Thorne, G Addenbrooke, N Halse, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere. The Scarlets amassed 2 goals, 4 penalties and a try. Sullivan’s first half penalty was all that Bath could muster. It was the first appearance for John Kendall-Carpenter in the Bath colours. He could now renew his acquaintance with his England colleague Alec Lewis. Neither side fielded their regular out-halves, but the presence of prodigious kicker, Lewis Jones augured well for the Scarlets. Bath were 9 points down at half-time and despite good defensive work by Kendall-Carpenter and Lewis, the smooth running Llanelly side took complete control.

“The end came with Bath suffering their biggest home defeat for a long while. But Llanelly are a great side, and Lewis Jones’ kicking was a big factor in the Welshmen’s success.”

11/10/1952

v Bridgwater, Away, Won 10-8. P Sullivan, B French, P Fearis, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thorne, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, P G Hall, A Lewis. Try counts were even at two all, but Sullivan converted from Addenbrooke’s and Vaissiere’s efforts and it was enough to send Bath home happy. Addenbrooke’s try was just reward for a good team effort: “From a scrum about 25 yards out, after 28 minutes’ play, Bath won the award of their striving with a brilliant try by Addenbrooke. It was one of those typical efforts, fast, determined, grim-faced. Breaking through from the right towards the left, he handed off two would-be tackles to score by the post.”

“Addenbrooke’s clever kicking was a feature. Then when Trenchard tried to dart through the pressed Bath defence, Hall brought him down in first-class style. Andrews and Trenchard pressed Bath again, but the defence was on its mettle.” Vaissiere’s try came in the 13th minute, after slick handling by Hanna, Addenbrooke, Fearis and Hambly. Play was intensely exciting to the end and a Bridgwater revival allowed the burly Scott to score. Fortunately for Bath – it was not converted.

 

18/10/1952

v Bristol, Home, Won 9-3. P Sullivan (3pg), G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, J Dingle, J Kendall-Carpenter, P G Hall, A Lewis.

Kevin O’Shaughnessy had returned from a two-year’s posting to Nigeria with the Government Survey Department. “The ‘Man from Nigeria’ ran most thrustfully.” An injury in this game was to keep him out of the action until late November.

A win on the Rec. in front of a large crowd. Bath back row forwards tore into the Bristol team and disrupted their backs. Statistically, it was something of a penalty shoot-out, and thankfully, Paddy Sullivan won the kicking contest 3-1!

“Following tradition the packs had more than their fair share of the play, lively, unsparing and unbending. Bath did very well in the tight, thanks to the old Bristol player, Fred Hill, and a convincing co-partnership of Hanna and Weston.”

The second half opened with a delightful break by Weston with O’Shaughnessy getting within a few yards of the opposing line. Attacks were exciting, end to end, and sustained: “Bristol replied strongly, Glyn Davies, Lovell and Donnelly, proving fast and elusive in a well conceived foray until the ever-vigilant Hall whipped the wing three-quarter from his feet.” O’Shaughnessy attempted a drop-goal, and amid loud cheers, the ball went between the posts. Unfortunately, he was adjudged to have knocked on. Thus the game ended with a meritorious win for Bath, although it was a pity that no tries were scored.

 

25/10/1952

v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 10-3. P Sullivan, B French, R Owen, P Fearis, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, D Mattingley, J Vaissiere, P G Hall, T Lewis.

There were no points in the first half, but Bath eventually scored tries through Hambly (a dash to the corner) and Vaissiere, which were both converted by Sullivan. St. Mary’s replied with a penalty. Vaissiere was a great ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles,’ as seeing a loose ball slither away off an opponent’s boot, he dribbled it away, and with his characteristic speed off the mark, won a race to the line.

1/11/1952

v United Services, Away, Drawn 13-13. P D Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P R Ferris, R B Owen, R H Hambly, C J Weston, M Hanna, T Smith, F C Hill, J W P Roberts, F J Thomas, D Mattingley, A O Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J K Vaissiere.

An Away draw on an exceedingly heavy ground. “In the 21st minute, Bath scored one of their most brilliant tries for some time.

The movement covered nearly threequarters of the length of the field, and was began by Weston, who took a pass on the run from Hanna, shook off a tackle by the burly Vaughan, side-stepped another player, and then cross-kicked.

Hambly took the ball on the bounce in his stride, and raced ahead, then kicked into the middle, where Smith ran on before passing outside to Alec Lewis who scored not far from the posts.”

Kendall-Carpenter was credited with touching down a push-over try. Bath’s third try stemmed from a line-out, from where the ball flashed across the home goal, Fearis giving a well-judged pass to Robin Owen, who’s cut inside opened up a gap in defence, allowing him to cross over in some style. Paddy Sullivan converted two of the tries. Bath’s three try scoring effort was matched by Service’s 2 tries, conversion, and a penalty goal. For their last try, the Services actually had two attempts at conversion. After Jones failed at the first attempt, the Referee blew for an infringement, and the Serviceman succeeded at the second time of asking. The game concluded with Bath hammering at their opponent’s line. It had been a great game and a fine display by Bath.

 

8/11/1952

v Old Paulines, Home, Won 26-5. P Sullivan, B French, P Fearis, P Stevens, R Owen, C Weston, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, D Mattingley, T Lewis, P G Hall, J Vaissiere. Bath won by 4 goals, a try and a penalty goal to 1 goal. Bath tries by Stevens, Owen, Weston, Fearis and Vaissiere, with Sullivan converting 4 and landing a penalty goal. A particularly bright passage of play led to a try for Peter Stevens. Cliff Weston had broken through following a set scrum and passed out to Robin Owen. He ran on beautifully, with little room in which to operate. He swerved inwards, made to swerve out again and cross-kicked for Stevens to fasten on to the ball at speed. He avoided a tackle to score under the posts. The Army and Air Force partnership, in the shape of Robin Owen and Peter Stevens was working particularly well. Second Row forward Frank Thomas also wanted a piece of the action and ran strongly before being felled. Robin Owen’s try, near the finish, was more akin to an Air Force job: “Yet another try followed this time a sparkling effort by Owen, who took a dive into the air and over the line to score near the corner flag.”

 

15/11/1952

v London Irish, Home, Won 5-0. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, E Stevens, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, D Mattingley, J Kendall-Carpenter, P G Hall, A Lewis. The weather was grim, foggy and overcast: “The wearers of the green were the first to press, which they did with life and snap, and in the first two minutes, they had a long wide-out kick at goal which Ritchie put somewhat wide.”

The London Irish relieved the afternoon’s climatic gloom with pressure which continued for some time, hotly exciting and strenuously fought out in Bath’s 25 until Sullivan brought relief from the touch line.”

After further exciting passages of play, Frank Thomas finally fought his way into the record books with a well deserved try. Sullivan converted from a difficult angle. Bath had been made to fight every inch of the way.

 

22/11/1952

v Exeter, Home, Drawn 3-3. P Sullivan, E Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, P Fearis, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna (T), T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, G Brown, T Lewis, P G Hall, J Vaissiere.

Hanna scored the try for Bath and Exeter’s full-back Jones responded with a well taken penalty.

Bath’s backs had a tendency to hang on to the ball too long and consequently, could not engineer a scoring gap. Exeter’s covering was of a high order, there always seemed to be a player in the right place at the right moment. Sullivan made a last ditch attempt with a late penalty, but the ball was well off target.

 

29/11/1952

v Harlequins, Away, Lost 6-13. P Sullivan (1pg), G Addenbrooke, P Ferris, K O’Shaughnessy, R Owen, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts (T), F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, P G Hall, J Kendall-Carpenter.

“Conditions were cheerless — murky, cold, damp, with a little sleet falling,” telephoned ‘The Captain.’

A small group of ardent fans clapped politely as Bath entered Twickenham’s cavernous arena.

A welcome from Harlequins ? More likely, they were just trying to keep warm in the miserable conditions!

The residents, sporting five internationals, took an early lead and held on to their advantage to the end, despite Bath’s spirited revival after the interval. John Roberts dived over for Bath’s try in the 9th minute of the second half. Sullivan narrowed the gap with a penalty in the 18th minute. Otherwise, play was largely dictated by the speed and guile of Harlequin’s talented back division and supporting forwards, with the score-line enhanced by Grimsdell’s power with the boot. Bath visibly improved in the second half, as backs and forwards got to grips in defence.

 

John Kendall-Carpenter had a memorable altercation with Alan Grimsdell. Allegedly, Grimsdell had ‘tripped’ over the prone, Kevin O’Shaughnessy. A number of ‘f’ words reverberated around the near empty National Stadium.

Both of these gentlemen were destined to become R.F.U. Presidents.

 

The Bath Chronicle 29/11/1952 bemoaned the continuing absence of a clubhouse. “The idea of a clubhouse has long been exercising the minds of the Committee. Few clubs of any note are without one. I doubt if there is a club which Bath visit which has not some place to entertain visitors to tea and a drink afterwards.” At an estimated cost of £3000, the suggestion was that funds could be raised by issue of Debentures.

“What a boon it would be! What a meeting place for present and past players, visiting sides, and members of the club generally.”

 

13/12/1952

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-11. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, E Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, G Brown, P G Hall, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere.

There was a blank score sheet at half-time, but Gloucester came on strong in the second spell, scoring a goal and 2 tries to a solitary try to Bath.

In fact, Bath’s hopes were kept alive by K-C’s consistently good work in the line-out and covering in the loose. Fearis made a particularly good break away, which beat one man, only to be downed by another. Bath certainly gave a good account of themselves in the first half. At the re-commencement, Gloucester launched ‘a mass attack’ and only stout tackling kept them in check. But Bath finally buckled and a bout of intense pressure yielded tries to Parry, Baker and Crabtree, with Baker converting one of them. Kendall-Carpenter scored Bath’s try after dribbling through.

 

20/12/1952

v Saracens, Home, Won 6-0. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P Fearis, E Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, G Brown, P G Hall, J Dingle, J Vaissiere. It was Saracens first visit for some 50 years. Bath started with 14 men, as Peter Hall was late arriving from Cardiff. As on previous occasions, he was obliged to change in the train and dash out to a taxi. Some preparation for a Rugby match! However, Saracen’s Meade had gone off with a split lip – so the sides were even in the early stages. Within 8 minutes of the start Peter Fearis finished off a rush along the right wing by streaking through a gap for the first try. Sullivan missed the kick. Vaissiere featured in pressurising the visiting full-back and he was caught by Weston. Hanna dribbled strongly to gain a good touch. Then Addenbrooke was sent away for a second score after just 13 minutes play. By now, rain was bucketing down and spectators on the popular side were invited to move to shelter in the North Stand.

“Everything was wrong with the weather, but there was nothing wrong with the game.”

Saracens more or less held their own in the second half, but with failing light and mud-bespattered jerseys, it was almost impossible to follow the play. Inevitably, the surface deteriorated into a muddy morass, where handling movements were at a premium. Cries of Feet Bath! were the most appropriate.

“It was a good enough game on a bad day – it would have been a great game on a good day.”

 

26/12/1952

v Old Blues, Home, Won 8-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, P Fearis (T), K Ibbotson, K O’Shaughnessy, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, E Hopton, A Meek, A Lewis, P G Hall, J Vaissiere. Played in the usual Christmas spirit, Bath ran in tries by Fearis and Hambly, with Sullivan converting one of them. “The only ‘casualty’ was to the trousers of a boy found by a policeman to be climbing a fence into the Recreation Ground.” Cliff Weston had an outstanding match, displaying all the skills, with straight running, swerving and selling the dummy. It was a debut game for Eric Hopton (ex Bristol), and K Ibbotson. (a centre)

 

27/12/1952

v Weston Super Mare, Away, Won 6-0. P Sullivan, R Hambly, P Fearis, E Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, D Mattingley, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere.

It was bitterly cold and wet afternoon, but Bath were buoyed up in taking their strongest available team to the seaside town. Stevens and O’Shaughnessy combined well from the onset, but Weston managed to keep them in check. Hambly ran stout-heartedly, but his final pass to Fearis was forward. Bath soon scored, and what a good try it was: “Vaissiere picked up when the ball seemed to be going astray, took a barging without loss of balance and passed to Hambly. The latter ran well, and when challenged passed inside to Alec Lewis, who ran round into a good position to score. Sullivan missed the kick through a puff of wind.”

A terrific dribble in the 16th minute allowed O’Shaughnessy to score Bath’s second try, but it was too wide out for Sullivan to convert. “Bath were the better side, but the backs, judged by the opportunities they had, should have added more to their account.”

 

3/1/1953

v Leicester, Home. Lost 5-8. Team: P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, P R Fearis, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, C J Weston, M Hanna, J W P Roberts, F C H Hill, T H Smith, F J Thomas, D W Mattingley, P G Hall, J Dingle, T Lewis. Try by Weston, converted by Sullivan.

Tigers’ wing forward Pete Konig was the architect of Bath’s defeat. He scored one try and set up the other. Despite strong running by O’Shaughnessy, the Bath backs could not match a classy performance by their Leicester visitors. John Roberts and Dennis Mattingley came close to scoring. A personal score would have been an additional wedding present for Mattingley; before the game he was presented with a clock on behalf of his fellow players. Cliff Weston scored Bath’s try and Paddy Sullivan converted.

 

10/1/1953

v London Welsh, Home. Won 6-5.Team: P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, E P Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, C J Weston, M Hanna, J W P Roberts, F C H Hill, R Dart, F J Thomas, D W Mattingley, P G Hall, J Dingle, A O Lewis.

In the thirteenth minute of the second half, a try by A Lewis converted by P Sullivan.

“It is noteworthy that in three games, Alec Lewis at wing forward and Hambly, on the wing, have ‘engineered’ a try on each occasion by their superb understanding and collaboration.”

 

17/1/1953

v Cardiff, Home. Lost 3-16. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, E Stevens, K O’Shaughnessy, R Hambly, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, E Hopton, F Thomas, D Mattingley, P G Hall, J Dingle, T Lewis.

Briefly ignoring the general run of play, Bath’s Peter Hall concentrated on downing his former schoolmate, Cardiff centre Alan Barter and finally caught him in possession – but only once! The whole of Bath’s back row had similar trouble with Cliff Morgan, who enjoyed a comparatively quiet game, until he decided to ‘Go’ – and as was usually the case – no one could lay a hand on him! Ten of Cardiff’s points came from kicks, but with two electrifying tries from Haydn Morris. Bath pack did well to hold the Cardiff eight, and John Dingle scored Bath’s try. A good game, with some brilliant passages of play.

 

24/1/1953

v St. Mary’s Hospital, Away. Drawn 8-8. Team: P D Sullivan, R H Beer, G Addenbrooke, E P Stevens, R H Hambly, C J Weston, M Hanna, P J Dart, F C H Hill, T H Smith (Capt.), E Hopton, J F Thomas, P G Hall, D W Mattingley, A O Lewis.

A fine try by Eric Hopton converted by Paddy Sullivan. Penalty Sullivan.

On a sloping pitch, Bath held St. Mary’s Hospital to a hard earned draw in a gruelling and hectic game. The heeling was sluggish and Hanna took a hammering from marauding forwards. Hopton and Thomas worked like tigers in the loose and line-outs. All the back row were in first rate trim. Tom Smith led the side with gusto. There were absentees, as John Roberts was off with flu, O’Shaughnessy was nursing a broken thumb, and Fearis had a gashed knee. Louis Cannell was again the inspiration for the St. Mary’s backs, but he was well shepherded by Alec Lewis throughout this exciting game.

 

31/1/1953

v Cheltenham, away. Lost 6-11. Team: P D Sullivan, R H Beer, G Addenbrooke, E P Stevens, R H Hambly, C J Weston, G Sidoli, R J Dart, F C H Hill, T H Smith (Capt.), F J Thomas, E Hopton, P G Hall, J Kendall-Carpenter, A O Lewis.

Two penalties by Sullivan. Cheltenham adapted to near gale force winds, which wrought havoc with open play. Lewis and Kendall-Carpenter covered well and tried to instil some fire into the pack in the second half. Unusually, Fred Hill was out-hooked and Sidoli had some rough treatment as he struggled to get the ball away to a largely ‘unemployed’ back division. Hopton and Thomas worked hard throughout.

 

7/2/1953

v Newbridge, away. Lost 5-9. Team: S Porter, R H beer, G Addenbrooke, E P Stevens, R H Hambly, C J Weston, M Hanna, R J Dart, F C H Hill, J W P Roberts, F J Thomas, E G Hopton, P G Hall, J Kendall-Carpenter, A O Lewis.

Pushover try by Kendall-Carpenter converted by Porter.

“The Bath pack, without Alec Lewis, Tom Smith and Dennis Mattingley, all did their part well, and could not be blamed for the defeat. Newbridge were much more lively behind the scrum, exploited Bath’s mistakes, and had a fast constructive centre in J P Aldron, who was always a source of trouble, and made the second try………”

“They claim that M Gough and D Cheshire are two of the biggest and most intelligent second-row men in Monmouthshire rugby, but they had nothing on Frank Thomas and Eric Hopton in all-round ability; yet it must be confessed that Bath did not shine in the lines-out. Cardiff-born Peter Hall had a good game.”

Kendall-Carpenter was outstanding: “His cornering and general coverage were the work of a master…….”

 

21/2/1953

v London Irish, Away. Drawn 3-3. Team: R Owen, R H Hambly, E P Stevens, P R Fearis, G Addenbrooke, C J Weston, G Sidoli, J W P Roberts, F C Hill, T H Smith, F J Thomas, D Mattingley, A O Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J F Vaissiere.

A 50 yard penalty goal from Alec Lewis, saved the day for Bath and brought a roar which must have been heard in the Old Kent Road! It also ended a London Irish run of six wins. Bath had more of the ball, but were too limited in their style of play.

 

28/2/1953

v Wasps, Home. Lost 8-19. Team: R Owen, R H Hambly, P R Fearis, E P Stevens, G Addenbrooke, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, D W Mattingley, F J Thomas, J Dingle, P G Hall, J Vaissiere.

Try Addenbrooke converted by Fearis. Drop goal Fearis. Bath sadly missed Alec Lewis, John Kendall-Carpenter and Paddy Sullivan and a poor performance did not augur well for the oncoming Bristol derby.

 

7/3/1953

v Bristol, Away. Lost 0-17. P Sullivan, R Owen, E Stevens, P Fearis, G Addenbrooke, K Wilcox, M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, D Mattingley, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, A Lewis.

A clear cut win for Bristol who dominated play with little response from Bath. Scrum-half Mick Hannah had played on with a knee injury which hampered his effectiveness. Only R.A.F. serviceman Peter Fearis showed in the Bath backs, as Bristol’s Welsh International, Glyn Davies hit top form. This gave Corbett at centre a field day and set their flying wing Gregory away on a number of runs. Bath forwards, Vaissiere, Mattingley and Dingle played well, but Lewis and Kendall Carpenter looked tired after their International efforts on the previous Saturday. Bath had struck a bad patch.

 

14/3/1953

v Swansea, Home. Drawn 6-6. Team: R Owen, R H Hambly, E P Stevens, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, C J Weston, G Sidoli, T H Smith, G Clements, J W P Roberts, D W Mattingley, J Dingle, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, A O Lewis.

Try by Addenbrooke, Penalty by Lewis.

Guy Addenbrooke was Bath’s most dangerous back. He must have been well satisfied with a grand performance against his former club.

 

21/3/1953

v Neath, Away, Lost 14-15. R Owen, R Hambly, E Stevens, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, P G Hall.

A GAME TO DREAM ABOUT!

This was a truly memorable game at the Gnoll, with Bath just losing 14-15. Bath found Welsh Internationals Roy John, Rees Stephens, hard to handle in the line-out, but the team put on a great show of open play, combined with a stirring forward effort. Eddie Simpkins described it as the best display ever given by Bath in Wales, during his forty years as General Secretary. “True, they lost by the odd point in 29 – three goals to a goal, a penalty goal and two tries – but it was the sort of rugby we dream about, but all too seldom witness. Rarely was the ball kicked to touch, there were no more than half a dozen loose mauls; for the rest the ball was flung about in great style, forwards joining in as exhilarating an exhibition of passing as one could wish.” Bath scores:-Tries by Wilcox, Stevens and Hill, a conversion by Roberts and a Hambly penalty. A John Robert’s penalty attempt rebounded off the upright. Nevertheless, Bath’s team effort was rightly acknowledged with “three cheers” from the appreciative spectators.

28/3/1953

v Taunton, Away. Won 6-0. Team: R Owen, R H Hambly, E P Stevens, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, A Lewis. Tries by Weston and Lewis.

Billed as the ‘tit-bit’ of the season, but played in storming rain, this game did not come up to expectations. Fred Hill was in good form and John Dingle was a ‘tower of strength’ in the line-out. However, spirited forward efforts, seemed to peter out in the second half as bad weather reduced the pitch to a quagmire.

It was a very disappointing affair. “There were only about 10 minutes of bright rugby in it.” (Programme Notes)

 

2/4/1953

v Harlequins, Home, Lost 3-14. R Owen, R Hambly, E Stevens, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, A Lewis.

Poor weather kept some of the usual Easter support away.

A cheeky try from the irrepressible Geo Sidoli. Quins brought a strong Easter touring side and Bath were unable to avenge their previous defeat at Twickenham. The Bath line was crossed four times.

 

4/4/1953

v London Scottish, Home, Won 16-3. R Owen, R Hambly, P Stevens, P Fearis, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, P Sheppard, F Thomas, A Meek, J Vaissiere, J Dingle, A Lewis.

This was a good start to the Easter programme, with Bath showing their best form. The presence of the two Peters – Stevens and Fearis improving Bath’s attacking options. In the first half, the Scots took inspiration from L Bruce Lockhart, mounting a series of good moves in greasy conditions. Alec Lewis scored the only first half try, which Fearis failed to convert. Bath livened up at the re-start and Vaissiere touched down a loose ball. John Roberts took on the kicking mantle, was successful and Bath were eight points up. The Exciles responded with a fine try by W Kerr, after a magnificent break by D W C Smith. In a storming finish, Bath tries followed from Addenbrooke and Fearis, with Fearis converting his own try. Robin Owen and Peter Fearis were outstanding in the backs and the forwards were well served by Angus Meek, Alec Lewis and John Dingle.

Final score list was:- Tries by Addenbrooke, Alec Lewis, Vaissiere and Fearis, with conversions from Roberts and Fearis.

 

6/4/1953

v OMT’s, Home, Won 3-0. P Hardy, R Hambly, R Owen, L Hughes, W Jones, R Self, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, P Sheppard, A Meek, G Brown, D Mattingley, J Dingle, J Vaissiere. Bath faced one of the Old Boys’ strongest ever sides, without the services of Alec Lewis, Kendall-Carpenter, Addenbrooke, Fearis, Cliff Weston and Smith. The Bath forwards, however, were in excellent form and there were fine performances from Hill, John Dingle and Vaissiere. Robin Owen was the most effective threequarter and Sidoli made a number of elusive breaks. Phil Hardy, from St. Luke’s College, Exeter, put in a fine performance and was retained for the Llanelly match.

It was 18 minutes from the end, before Dennis Mattingley secured Bath’s win.

 

11/4/1953

v Llanelly, Away, Lost 5-6. P Hardy, R Hambly, R Owen, P Fearis (T&1g), G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, J Vaissiere.

The start of the match was delayed by an Archery competition.

“The final effort was to burst balloons, and as one refused to be hit by an arrow, Hopton of Bath, amid laughter from the crowd ran out and burst it with his hand – and so the football started…”

Along with Vaissiere, Hopton lost no time in pressurising the Llanelly defence, and as Sidoli broke away, Bath were doing all the early attacking. It took the home side 10 minutes before they emerged from their own half. Then Sidoli, Vaissiere and Owen drove them back again! Almost inevitably, Llanelly got into their stride and Hughes crossed in the 16th minute. After this reverse, Bath pressed with fresh life and vigour and scored a well-deserved try in the 27th minute. Cliff Weston made a break and sent in Fearis, who converted his own try. Into the second half and Bath had much of the exciting play, including a 50 yard run by Addenbrooke, which was only just extinguished. Seven minutes from the end, Llanelly found a winner in Ray Williams, who clinched the game with a penalty goal. Attendance 5000.

 

14/4/1953

v Midsomer Norton, Away, Won 43-13. P Hardy, R Hambly, P Stevens, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Owen, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, G Brown, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, A Lewis. Bath took a strong side in order to lend support to their local club, but perhaps took the game a bit too seriously. Try scorers:- Addenbrooke (3), C Weston (2), Owen, Stevens, Hambly, Alec Lewis, Smith and Vaissiere one each. Conversions by Hardy (3), Lewis and Roberts.

Nevertheless, it was a lively game, with a bright and entertaining display of handling, infused with some electrifying bursts from the likes of Peter Stevens and Guy Addenbrooke.

 

18/4/1953

v Devonport Services, Home, Won 10-8. P Hardy, B French, P Stevens, P Fearis, G Addenbrooke, R Owen, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, A Lewis. It was a perfect day for Cricket! Services brought a strong side and defended successfully in the early stages. Fearis seemed the most likely player “to start something,” but his repeated attempts to send somebody away were thwarted. The visitors did the early scoring. Eventually Sidoli sent Vassiere through for a “dramatic” try which Fearis converted. Bath went all out at the finish and were rewarded, when a fine movement wound up by Stevens touching down for Fearis to convert.

23/4/1953

v Gloucester, Home, Won 11-0. P Hardy, R Owen, E Stevens, P Fearis, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, A Lewis.

“Magnificent rugby and a real thriller, as well as a great victory, brought the end with a flourish and a finish that could hardly have been bettered.

Watched by one of the biggest crowds of the season: “Old and honoured opponents Gloucester, might have been beaten by much more than a goal and two tries to nil. Bath have licked their neighbours here by more, but never so decisively. They won 75 per cent of the scrums, and had 75 per cent of the play.”

“Sidoli, crowd favourite, gave Clifford Weston a perfect stream of passes and Weston, never dropping one, distributed then in a fashion that was as effective as it was varied.” Chief honours went to Guy Addenbrooke, who scored two of the three tries. Alec Lewis bagged the other and Fearis got one conversion.

“A last word – Well played John Roberts. A proud skipper you must have been.”

 

25/4/1953

v Moseley, Away, Won 8-6. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, R Owen, E Stevens, B French, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, G Clements, T Smith, F Thomas, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, J Vaissiere.

In the second half, Bath turned a deficit of two penalties into a win by a goal and a penalty. Eric Hopton was the try scorer and John Roberts did the rest with his boot! His conversion success was with a long low kick from a wide angle. Hopton had featured in much of the enterprising play.

It was a fine win with which to conclude the season.

 

SEASON SCORERS

GOALS:- P Sullivan 18, P Fearis 7, J Roberts 4, P Hardy and F Thomas 3, S Porter, and A Lewis 1.

DROPPED GOALS:- R Hambly and P Fearis 1 each.

PENALTY GOALS:- P Sullivan 10, P Fearis 4, A Lewis 2, J Roberts and R Hambly 1.

TRIES:- G Addenbrooke 10, A Lewis 9, R Hambly 7, C Weston, R Owen, and J Vaissiere 6, P Fearis and P Stevens 5, J Roberts, and J Kendall-Carpenter 3, J Dingle, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, E Hopton 2, M Hanna, F Thomas, K O’Shaughnessy, K Wilcox and G Sidoli 1 each.

ATTENDANCES

F Hill 37, T Smith 35, J Roberts and C Weston 34, F Thomas 33, R Hambly and G Addenbrooke 31, P Fearis 28, P Stevens 27, A Lewis 26, P Hall and J Vaissiere 25, P Sullivan, J Dingle and R Owen 23, D Mattingley 20, M Hanna 19, G Sidoli 13, A Meek, J Kendall-Carpenter, and E Hopton 12, K O’Shaughnessy 11, P Hardy 9, G Brown 8, N Halse, B French and R Dart 7, K Wilcox 6, T Lewis 5, R Beer 3, P Sheppard, and G Clements 2, T Thorne, F Carey, G Drewett, R Douglas, S Porter, R Ibbotson, L Hughes, W Jones, R Self and K Shellabeare one each.

 

United XV record:- Played 31, Won 15, Drawn 2, Lost 14. Points For 259. Points Against 195.

 

 

 

This page was added on 16/06/2014.

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