v Chippenham, Away, Won 23-3. P Hardy, W S B Jones, R Pinder, P Stevens, H Adams, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, J Wride, T Smith, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Dingle, T Lewis, J Vaissiere.
From Bath’s perspective, this was something in the nature of a second trial match, although Chippenham had re-inforced, in order to improve on the previous season’s 40-3 drubbing. Notable additions were Vallis of Salisbury, and Bill Donnelly and Robin Standing (Bristol). Play was held up after 20 minutes for John Dingle who withdrew with an eye injury. Just after this, Bath’s W S B Jones scored a try after Sidoli, Trevor Lewis and Tom Smith had handled. Frank Thomas attempted to convert, but the touch judges were unable to agree, so a ‘drop-out 25’ was ordered. Eight minutes later and Bath went further ahead when H Adams went over in the corner, following a powerful run by Pinder. Both sides were reduced to 14 men for the second half. Tom Smith and Pinder scored further tries for Bath. The final score count was:- Tries by Jones, Pinder, Stevens, Adams, Sidoli, Smith and Vaissiere, with one conversion by Frank Thomas.
Game commemorated Newbury Club’s 25th Anniversary.
v Newbury, Away, Won 10-3. P Hardy, Richard Bassett (17 year old -Hereford School), R Surman and
D McDonald (both ex Bristol), B French, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, J Wride, T Smith, F Thomas, A Lewis, G Brown, A Meek, J Vaissiere.
It was a gala type game, which never reached the heights expected: “there was individualism but little cohesion.” Geo Sidoli made a typical scrum-half break in the 32nd minutes, allowing McDonald to speed over. Alec Lewis converted from an easy position. (Half-time 5-0)
Things brightened up from the re-start, after Brian French was moved into the centre position. Young Richard Bassett showed his speed on the wing and was sound in defence. He paved the way for Bath’s second try, after a 30 yard breakaway, he passed to French, who in turn found the fast moving Weston and then, it was back to Alec Lewis for the touch down. John Roberts converted. Phil Hardy had a faultless game at full back. Weston and Sidoli were a promising partnership. John Wride hooked well after an uncertain start, and Gorge Brown showed well in loose play.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 6-24. P Hardy, H Adams, R Pinder, P Stevens, B French, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, T Lewis, J Dingle, J Vaissiere.
The ‘Tigers’ were just too good for Bath and finally amassed 3 goals, 2 tries and a penalty to Bath’s penalty goal and a try. Bath were without their internationals Alec Lewis and John Kendall-Carpenter. Leicester’s international scrum-half Black thwarted Sidoli’s efforts to get the back line moving. Behind him, Channer controlled operations, and his long kicks frequently brought the ball into the Bath 25. John Roberts continued to lead his forwards manfully, and they were successful in stifling Leicester’s early attacks. It was John Roberts who put Bath in the lead with a first half penalty, but the advantage was short lived, as Channer dived over for Leicester’s first try to level. Again Channer was the danger man, and after a race down the right wing, it was left to wing-forward Pete Konig to beat Phil Hardy to the line. Hazell converted with ease. There was an exciting passage of play when Peter Stevens fed to Adams. He cross-kicked towards Trevor Lewis, who was just beaten to the touch-down by a Leicester forward. Somewhat against the run of play, Adams got Bath’s try. It was the end of their scoring contribution, as Leicester improved their situation, to run out worthy winners.
v Nim Halls XV, Home, Lost 10-19. P Hardy, H Adams, R Pinder, G Addenbrooke, B French, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, J Dingle, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere.
A delightful spectacle for a crowd of around 4000 and all the more creditable that there was only a margin of nine points at the finish. Despite a wet and greasy ball, both sides attempted to play a handling game at every opportunity. In fact, all the tries came from handling movements: “and never from mere foot slogging.” Guy Addenbrooke was the first to touch down eighteen minutes from the start and Alec Lewis converted.
Alec Lewis and Kendall-Carpenter were on fine form throughout. John Roberts led by example, and Geo Sidoli provided swift service to outside-half Cliff Weston. Veteran hooker, Fred Hill fared well against his opposite number, Nick Labuschangne. First half scores for Nim Hall’s XV were tries by C E Winn and D Barker and second half successes were registered with tries by R Green, Wilson and J Williams, with Ian King converting the first and last of these. Two minutes from time, Alec Lewis touched down between the posts and converted his own try.
v Weston Super Mare, Home, Won 15-3. P Hardy, H Adams, R Pinder, G Addenbrooke, B French, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, G Brown, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, A Lewis.
John Dingle came in for Kendall-Carpenter, who was occupied with Clifton College duties. Weston surprised Bath with an early try by Sainsbury. Alec Lewis came back in the 11th minutes with a superbly taken penalty from wide out, and was again successful with another penalty in the 18th minute. In the second half, tries flowed from Frank Thomas (2), and Cliff Weston.
v Devonport Services, Home, Won 14-0. P Hardy, H Adams, R Pinder, G Addenbrooke, B Jones, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, G Brown, J Dingle, A Lewis, D J Naylor, J Vaissiere.
Bath scored a goal 2 tries and a penalty without reply. David Naylor scored a try in his debut game.
“It was not until the 29th minute that we saw any scoring and this rounded off the brightest movement of the first half. It began in mid-field when Sidoli and Weston co-operated smartly and sent Addenbrooke hurtling through the middle.
He passed out to Jones who, remembering the tackling ability of Shears, crosskicked. There was a thrust and a tackle and the ball went loose.
In a trice that master of a vital rugby situation, Alec Lewis, was over the line, seemingly to dribble over before touching down. The kick was not very difficult and John Roberts added the points for a lead well deserved on the run of play.
After that, the game became somewhat colourless again. It was more strenuous than spectacular.”
Bath went further ahead when Roberts tried a huge penalty kick from the touchline, which struck the far post, before dropping over the bar. Two minutes later, Adams ran in a try with great style and walked back amid cries of: “Do it again!” He did, in fact, follow up with a similar spirited run, but this time he was well covered. David Naylor, then the Warwickshire captain, was the next player to enjoy the crowd’s applause, after a cross-field dash of at least 40 yards, for a brilliant individual try.
v Bridgwater, Away, Lost 0-13. P Hardy, H Adams, R Pinder, G Addenbrooke, R Jones, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, J Dingle, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, E Hopton.
Bath forwards secured adequate line out possession: “but they could certainly take lessons from Bridgwater in effective tackling and in hard and fast following up and backing up.” (Programme Notes)
v Llanelly, Away, Lost 3-6. P Hardy, H Adams, B Pinder, G Addenbrooke (T), B Jones, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, J Dingle, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, A Lewis.
This was a creditable performance, away from home, against an unbeaten side. Bath withstood heavy pressure, with fine tackling and covering, but were eventually nudged out of the game by two unconverted tries. Guy Addenbrooke scored a try for Bath, but the conversion kick was disallowed, as it was touched in flight.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 10-6. P Sullivan, W S B Jones, G Addenbrooke, R Pinder, L Hughes, R Evans, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, J Dingle, J Vaissiere, A Lewis.
Bath took a half time lead of a goal to a try, only to fall behind twice after the interval.
Both sides were prepared to move the ball about. The new fly-half Evans, benefited from Sidoli’s “cannon ball” service, but was frequently harassed by the opposing loose forwards. Sidoli initiated a series of forays, but lively covering, frequently forced the three-quarters into touch.
Somewhat against the run of play, Hospital’s Richardson seized the ball in the air and went over for a lucky try. In turn, this stimulated the Bath effort and Addenbrooke broke through, and with a fine dash to touch down. Sullivan, making his first appearance of the season, added the extras. Next, St. Mary’s crept ahead when full-back N L Jones kicked a long range penalty. Bath’s response came 6 minutes later: “It was a cross-kick by Jones, the left wing threequarter, dropped well in front of the posts.
Vaissiere was up to take it, but was brought down, and it was left for Alec Lewis, always in the right place at the right moment, to pick up in the loose and crash over, Sullivan again converting.”
Programme commented that Lt. Col. R W Owen had written to say his son Robin was due to arrive in Korea 8th October 1953. Comment included because Robin Owen had been an extremely popular and talented Bath three-quarter and serviceman.
News that Bill Donnelly was rejoining the Club as a playing member.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 11-17. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, David Hancock, R Pinder, L Hughes, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere, A Lewis. Attendance 7000.
Alec Lewis scored Bath’s try. Sullivan converted and kicked two penalties. It might be worthy of note that Fred Hill, Eric Hopton and Paddy Sullivan were ex Bristol Club, and Geo Sidoli was a Bristol lad.
Bath had started with an amazing burst of scoring, and were eight points up in the first five minutes. This featured a glorious penalty success by Paddy Sullivan from way out, on the 25 yard line. “Straight from the re-start, Bath scored again. It was almost unbelievable. David Hancock passed out to Guy Addenbrooke and the latter, like a rapier through the defence, brushed aside Gregory and cross-kicked.
Alec Lewis was there and he scraped up the ball with one hand at top stretch and went over by the posts. Sullivan was called up again by skipper Roberts and he obliged by adding the extra points.
“It is the general opinion that we were just a little bit unfortunate last week in that we were 8 points up and going strong, Fred Hill had to go off. This no doubt had its effect on both sides. It gave Bristol hopes of being able to pull back the lead and it must have been just a little bit disappointing to our men. Again when Fred came back we were playing at a disadvantage. We do not however complain and everyone who saw the game must have enjoyed it and Bath were by no means disgraced. There is another day-here at Bath on March 6th when it is hoped we may again have delightful weather.” (Programme Notes re Bristol Derby)
v Richmond, Home, Lost 0-3. P Hardy, L Hughes, R Pinder, D Hancock, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, S Pattison, T Smith, A Meek, G Brown, J Dingle, D Naylor, J Vaissiere.
Bath influenced their own downfall by a making series of infringements which yielded one penalty success – enough to give Richmond their home win. Nim Hall, as usual, controlled events from outside half, but was uncharacteristically off target with a number of kicking attempts, and neither side looked likely to produce a try.
v Harlequins, Away, Won 11-0. P Hardy, R Bassett, R Pinder, D Hancock, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B J Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, G Brown, J Dingle, A Meek, J Vaissiere. Twickenham’s ground was unfit, so the match was switched to Fairfax Road, Teddington. Bath were without David Naylor, who had broken a wrist in an R.A.F. game. Quins included internationals Woodruff and Labuschagne, and they soon had the measure of Bath, when Bartlett scored a try in the seventh minute. After 20 minutes Gunson scored their second, but Grimsdell again failed to convert. Steady rain fell throughout, and in the absence of any cover, the small band of spectators became disinterested. Play livened up momentarily when scrum-half Jones went over, and from an easy position Grimsdell converted. The Bath backs lacked speed and resource and were thoroughly beaten, not only by their opponents, but also by the dreadful weather conditions.
v United Services, Home, Won 6-0. P Hardy, H Adams, L Hughes, D Hancock, R Bassett, G Addenbrooke, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, J Vaissiere.
Jim Vaissiere lifted Bath’s spirits with a fine try – their first in three matches! Alec Lewis had started with a well-taken penalty in gusty conditions, and there was good work by 17 year old centre, Richard Bassett.
Kendall-Carpenter was prominent in defence and Sidoli and Addenbrooke combined well, to get the Bath threes moving. Throughout, the sides were evenly matched, but for Vaissiere’s try – which was worthy enough to win any match.
v Saracens, Away, Drawn 3-3. P Hardy, H Adams, L Hughes, D J Hancock, R Bassett, G Addenbrooke, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, D Mattingley, J Vaissiere, G Brown, J Dingle. A tame draw, with Bruce scoring a try for Saracens and John Roberts landing a penalty to save the game. All scoring was concluded in the eleventh minute.
Dennis Mattingley was a big asset in the loose and Addenbrooke fielded the ball well and kicked soundly under pressure. Sidoli was a constant worry to the opposition. However, Bath could not quite get a grip on the game and Saracens generally had the upper hand.
v Cheltenham, Home, Drawn 6-6. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, D Hancock, L Hughes, R Bassett, M Hanna, C Weston, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, A Lewis.
Alec Lewis landed Bath’s first penalty after missing with two previous attempts. Cheltenham levelled with a penalty after 21 minutes and six minutes on, Alec Lewis again obliged with a superb long range success to put Bath ahead.
The marking on both sides was close and the tackling unfailing, so both sets of middlemen had little room to manoeuvre. Eventually, Cheltenham drew level, when Pugh touched down following a kick and chase.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Won 3-0. P Hardy, H Adams, L Hughes, M Terry, R Bassett, M Hanna, C Weston, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, D Mattingley, J Dingle, G Brown, A Peasley.
This was Bath’s first visit to Rosslyn Park. The previous three games, starting in December 1894, had all been at Bath.
Addenbrooke and Hopton were on Somerset duty, Naylor was captaining Warwickshire and Kendall-Carpenter was not available.
A second half penalty by John Roberts secured a narrow win, after a pointless first period.
“The win over Rosslyn Park must be classed as one of the best of the season and our men must be congratulated thereon. True, there was only a penalty goal in it, but the Park were distinctly lucky that a penalty was the only score Bath were allowed. With Michael Terry leading the backs there was a distinct improvement among them. Cliff Weston and Len Hughes both bringing off excellent moves. When Terry comes regularly with us next month it will be more like old times- we shall get tries.” (Programme Notes)
v London Scottish, Home, Lost 6-8. P Hardy, R Bassett, L Hughes, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, A Lewis.
The Scots brought five internationals to the Rec. and carried off the honours with a goal and a try to Bath’s try by Len Hughes and John Robert’s penalty goal.
There was some good early play, when Wilcox linked with Hughes and again took the return pass to feed the normally, speedy Addenbrooke. Unfortunately, he was tackled before he could show the opposition a clean pair of heels. This was followed by another piece of thrusting play in which Weston, Hughes, Wilcox and Addenbrooke combined. Following a cross-kick, Coyle rode Alec Lewis’s tackle, to touch down under the Bath posts for Sloan to convert. Lewis was knocked out in his defensive effort. John Roberts reduced the arrears with a penalty. “Bath threw themselves into the fray again with new zest and life and after resolute attempts to break through by Hanna and Kendall-Carpenter, Hughes, taking a pass beautifully, ran and dived over with an opponent hanging on to one leg.”
Hart scored the Scot’s winning try near the end.
v RAF XV, Home Won 14-3. P Hardy, W S Jones, L Hughes, R Surman, R Bassett, Roy Collins (R.A.F.Innsworth, Cardiff), G Sidoli, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, E Hopton, F Thorne, B Peasley (Maesteg), D Naylor, A Lewis.
For the visiting servicemen, this was a trial leading to final selection for the full R.A.F. side. With seventeen players in the squad, there was little encouragement from this disappointing display. Despite some good individual performances, the airmen lacked cohesion in their performance. This played into the hands of Bath, who mounted a flattering margin through tries by Bassett (a magnificent effort), Roberts, and Hughes, with Alec Lewis converting one and landing a penalty.
v Gloucester, Home, Lost 6-9. P Hardy, B J Headley, L Hughes, D Hancock, R Bassett, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley, A Lewis.
This was a game in which Alec Lewis was injured and David Hancock withdrew with torn ligaments. Shortly after Alec’s departure, John Roberts levelled with a magnificent penalty goal, but this was countered by two Gloucester tries. Next, Hancock was taken to hospital, but with thirteen players, Bath narrowed the margin when Cliff Weston dropped a beautiful goal.
“We were indeed unlucky, but it will be agreed that ours was an exceptionally good performance to hold Gloucester as we did. Admitted Gloucester were superior outside, but our forwards saw to it that-at any rate before Alec left-they were not allowed much of the ball. Even when Alec had gone our seven were still on top and even when six were by no means vanquished. It was real bad luck for Alec but it’s good to know the damage is not so bad as it looked when he was helped off.” (Programme Notes)
v London Irish, Home, Won 9-3. P Hardy, W S B Jones, K Wilcox, G Addenbrooke, R Bassett, C Weston, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley.
Many of the Bath faithful had apparently deserted to watch Wales v All Blacks on the ‘telly,’ and many others seemed to have been collared for the pre Christmas shopping!
John Roberts responded to an Exciles’ try with a well taken penalty and Hopton scored a hard earned try. Despite two men off with injury, the Irish were fiery competitors, but Bath went all out for victory. Jim Vaissiere advanced the cause with an expert and prolonged dribble: “It was from this huge gain of ground that Bath scored again through Addenbrooke, who ran in unstoppable fashion to go over as the full-back tackled him.”
Just before the end, young Bassett was just stopped at the corner flag.
v Old Blues, Home, Won 15-5. P Hardy, L Hughes, K Wilcox, R Bassett, R Collins, M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Book, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, A Meek.
With exception of the War Years, Old Blues had been regular Festive Season visitors since 1920. Described in the programme as “welcome as the flowers in May.” The writer seems to have been a bit out with his seasons!
Three of Bath’s tries were scored in the final five minutes, which provided a fitting climax to an entertaining holiday game. “A very heartening feature was that three of the tries were scored by backs, and that the fourth registered by that lively forward, Frank Thomas, was ‘made’ by Clifford Weston who, operating in the centre, cut through splendidly on a number of occasions. He was moved there to provide a place for Royston Collins, the 19-years old fly half from Cardiff, now in the R.A.F. in Gloucestershire, who scored two tries, the other coming from wing three-quarter Leonard Hughes, who ran really well.” Collins had been capped five times for Wales at Schoolboy level. Bath’s home-grown youngster, Richard Bassett was often prominent. John Roberts helped himself to his ‘usual’ penalty goal.
Tom Smith received a kick on the thigh bone, went off, came back, but again had to retire. Phil Hardly was steady at full-back and Fred Book of Walcot made a creditable debut. Angus Meek was always in the picture, also Eric Hopton and ‘big hearted’ Jim Vaissiere.
PRESENTATION TO CHRONICLE SPORTS REPORTER
“There was a pleasing little ceremony in the dressing room before Bath went out. John Roberts, in a happy little speech, handed to ‘The Captain’ (Mr. A S Matthews) a handsome pipe and tobacco pouch (well filled) from the players as a tribute of appreciation of his long journalistic association with the club.
‘Caught on the wrong foot’ by this delightful surprise, he warmly thanked John and all the players for their forethought and kindness and said that, though he will be no longer writing his ‘Notebook,’ his connection with the Club will continue.”
In an off-fixture list game, Bristol and Bath XV’s met with Cliff Weston at outside half, and his Schoolboy International brother, Brian Weston at Centre. Another instance of the many brothers who have appeared in the Bath colours over the years.
“It could only happen to Gio… With but a few minutes left before the kick-off between Bath and Bristol on Monday, Gio Sidoli and Royston Collins, Bath’s half-backs were at Bristol Centre with no means of getting to the Memorial Ground. There were no buses or taxis in sight.
However, resourceful as ever, Sidoli tapped the window of a large green car and explained his predicament to the driver, who immediately took them to the ground and the kick off was only a couple of minutes late.
The driver? Mr. Alan O. Wills Sheriff of Bristol who once at the Memorial Ground, decided to stay and watch the match!
“I thought his face seemed familiar.” Gio told me after the game. (Football Herald & Chronicle 2nd January 1954)
v Leicester, Home, Drawn 3-3. P Sullivan, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, K Wilcox, R Bassett, C Weston (T), M Hanna, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, E Hopton, B Peasley, J Vaissiere.
Cliff Weston gave Bath an interval lead with his second try of the season.
Leicester had temporarily lost their centre Elders, with an injury. Following some smart following up, Cliff Weston was free to speed through for the opening score. Sullivan hit the post with his conversion attempt. Coming on the half hour, this spurred Bath to greater efforts and it was only dour tackling by the Leicester defence that kept them at bay. An enthusiastic crowd of around 3000, saw Bath take three successive line-outs near the Leicester line. However, twenty minutes into the send half and Leicester were awarded one of the very few penalty opportunities, and Baker put the Tigers on level terms. It was then Bath’s turn to defend stoutly, as their visitors contemplated a ‘double.’ Peasley relieved pressure, when his interception brought Bath back into attack. Addenbrooke got away on one powerful run, but the effort broke down and honours remained even.
v London Welsh, Away, Won 8-6. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, M Terry, C Weston, R Bassett, R Collins, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, D Mattingley, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Young was the first to score for the Exciles, but Bath retook the lead after eight minutes, when R.A.F. Serviceman, Royston Collins profited from a quick heel and broke through for a good try. John Roberts added the extras. Bath were particularly well served in the back division, despite heavy conditions. It took the guile of 12 times capped, Gerwyn Williams to keep Bath from scoring.
“The solid tackling of Mike Terry was conspicuous and Weston, with a cross-kick to Bassett, set Bath on the move again. Roberts went near with another penalty and Hardy, who was not having a happy match, redeemed himself with a long raking kick into the home half.”
London Welsh nudged ahead with a Len Davies penalty. With less than ten minutes remaining, Mike Terry received
the ball at top speed and rounded Williams for a magnificent winning try. Unfortunately, Terry damaged his thigh muscle and it was to be his last game. “Without doubt, Terry was the finest centre to wear a Bath jersey since the war and he leaves many fine memories with those who saw him at his best.”
Brian Weston still in R.U.H. following cartilage operation.
David Hancock had just had his leg plaster removed.
Brian Fear was ‘in’ for an appendix operation.
Sid Porter and Angus Meek had flu.
Hudson Adams had a back injury and
Maurice Bailey had a dog bite.
Former President and well known author, Arnold Ridley, was out of hospital after a hand operation.
In his words, the surgery: “was more successful than I had dared hope.” To a prolific writer, this was the best of news.
v Cardiff, Home, Lost 0-29. P Sullivan, R Bassett, K Wilcox, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, A Lewis, D Naylor, B Peasley.
Despite contributing four players to the Wales v England international, Cardiff comfortably amassed 4 goals and 3 tries without reply from Bath. The homesters were without Kendall-Carpenter and the injured Mike Terry. The pitch was in perfect condition for open Rugby, and the visiting backs had a field day. The Bath pack put in a fine performance, but were not able to provide Royston Collins with the necessary quick ball. In consequence, good attacking opportunities were lost. Individual efforts by Addenbrooke and Lewis towards the finish, did not bring the rewards they deserved. Cardiff remained well and truly on top.
THUMBS DOWN v CARDIFF
There was a flood of ‘Letters to the Editor’ following this encounter and we have included a few ‘cuttings.’
“It was indeed disappointing to see such a puerile display by our Bath side.” “Having seen the game between
Cardiff II and Bath, it was a treat to see rugby football as it should be played-but by the Welshmen. I only wish Bath could play more like it. Do the Bath players practice in the week, for practice makes perfect?”
“This disastrous defeat may stand Bath in good stead if they can learn from it the necessity of quick heeling, the art of always being in position, both to check an opposition attack and to initiate their own.”
“I wonder how well advised the Club is in giving regular games to the young R.A.F. players who are in the neighbourhood for a very limited period.” Several letters were in this vein, calling for the fostering of local talent.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Won 9-3. P Sullivan, R Bassett, L Hughes, G Addenbrooke, J Vaissiere, C Weston (T), M Hanna, T Smith, B Lane (T), J Roberts (1pg), F Thomas, D Mattingley, E Hopton,
J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath had to make some dramatic late changes when Terry and Collins cried off. In consequence, Jim Vaissiere found himself listed as wing three-quarter instead of his usual wing forward position. Following some promising Bath forays, it was 29 minutes into the game before Cliff Weston dropped a magnificent goal from 30 yards out.
“The referee then blew for half-time but after consultation with Jack Arnold the Bath touch judge, he restarted the game for another five minutes.” Right on half time, Vaissiere came close to scoring, but Kendall-Carpenter’s pass was ruled forward. Twenty minutes after restart, John Roberts kicked a penalty. St. Mary’s rallied temporarily when Hopton failed to make a mark, and winger Evans dived over in the corner. In the last minutes Lane went over for a try to Bath.
It was an eventful week in Bath rugby:-
Forward John Dingle had departed to throw in his lot with the Bristol Club. Spirits were raised with the announcement of a forthcoming French Tour. There was an outline agreement for greater co-operation with the Combination Clubs to foster local talent. The ‘A’ team was to remain as the club ‘nursery.’ Under the system, local clubs would know well in advance, which of their players were going to have four games with the Bath Club: “Handled diplomatically, and with goodwill all round, the system is one which can put Bath rugby back in a strong position.”
Efforts would be made to increase membership for the following season, and also improve on an average attendance of 2000. The Supporters’ Club were 300 strong, and active in raising funds for the Club and District Rugby generally.
David Naylor had received a ‘stand-by Reserve’ card for England.
The ‘A’ XV found themselves a man short, when they arrived to play Imperial seconds. Committeeman and Veteran scrum-half ‘Curly’ Halse, stepped forward and played at centre.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 5-14. P Sullivan, R Bassett, L Hughes, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, M Hanna, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Peasley, D Naylor.
Gloucester swamped Bath with a goal, a try and 2 penalties in front of their ‘faithful’ followers at Kingsholm. Bath’s belated response came in the 59th minute of the game: “Naylor was proving an inspiration with his tireless work, while Collins made few errors.” “Peasley began the move with a clever dribble. Brian Lane scored the try. “With a brilliant kick from near the touch line, Sullivan added the extra points.”
“Addenbrooke was hurt as he tried to force his way to the line. In the few last hectic minutes there were several slight injuries and more penalties than in the rest of the match.”
v London Irish, Away, at Rectory Field, Blackheath. Lost 9-14. P Sullivan, R Bassett, A D Guest, C J Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins (1dg), M Hanna, T Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, D Mattingley (T), F Thomas, A Lewis (1pg), E Hopton, and B Peasley.
Bath could have won this one, but gave the Irish too many chances. It was Fred Hill’s second appearance that season, and he monopolised the scrummaging chances. A first game for burly wing Tony Guest, who looked a good prospect. Guy Addenbrooke was forced off with a foot injury, Eric Hopton went to the wing and John Roberts rallied his men for a fighting finish: “The forward battle became robust to say the least, and several players took hard knocks.
On two occasions when members of the home side were laid out, the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade men dashed across the field but didn’t have time to open their haversacks. ‘The sight of an ambulance man is the best tonic for an Irishman,’ a home committee man told me.”
v Wasps, Away, Lost 6-8. P Sullivan, R Bassett, C Weston, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, J
Smith (ex London Scottish), W Law, F Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, D Mattingley, A Lewis, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Bath found themselves 6 points up within 10 minutes, as Paddy Sullivan slotted two penalties. Wasps were slow to get into their stride, but tries eventually stemmed from Bendon and Wills, with Sykes adding points to Wills’s effort. Wasp’s fleet-footed, fifteen stone J E Woodward nearly added another near the end, but was brought back for a forward pass. Wasps were too fast for the Bath outsides, although Addenbrooke and Bassett brought off some fine tackles to prevent further scores.
v Bristol, Home, Won 16-6. P Sullivan, J Vaissiere, C Weston, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, J Smith, J Roberts, F Hill, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
A truly great win, in the 124th game versus a strong Bristol side on the Rec. Weston and Guest (his first Club try), had outstanding games at centre, and there was a first class display from Jim Smith (first Club try) at scrum-half. The Bath back row of Peasley, Kendall-Carpenter and A Lewis, attacked from the start and disrupted the Bristol pattern of play. Other scorers were Alec Lewis, try, Paddy Sullivan 2 Conversions and 1 Penalty. Bath had won in fine style.
v Swansea, Away, Lost 0-10. J Wilson, J Vaissiere, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, J (Jim) W Smith, T H Smith, F Hill, J Roberts, E Hopton, F J Thomas, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath essayed to hold back the tide at St. Helens in a hard fought struggle. A strong off-shore wind played havoc with the ball, but both sides produced some attractive handling. Royston Collins certainly made the most of Bath’s possession. Jimmy Wilson, an ‘A’ XV player enjoyed a fair performance at full-back. Guy Addenbrooke had a fine game against his former club, which he had left in 1948.
It was noticeable that there were several small groups clustered around radios, listening to affairs in Dublin, where Wales were taking on Ireland. Attention was then focused on a series of strong drives from Bath, but there was still no score at the interval. At the restart, Bath continued to press forward, but full-back Terry Davies, sent them back with long raking kicks. Then a loose ball was gathered by Jones, who fed to international winger Phillips, and he touched down for Davies to convert. Next, Rees followed up a loose ball for Swansea’s second try, which he was happy to convert.
v Newbridge. Home. Won 5-3. Team:- P D Sullivan, R H Beer, A H Guest, A Polson, G Addenbrooke, R D Collins, J W Smith, T H Smith, F C Hill, J W P Roberts, E G Hopton, F J Thomas, J F Vaissiere, J McG Kendall-Carpenter, B J Peasley.
Another spectacular try under the posts by Tony Guest, crowning a high speed run from Guy Addenbrooke. Paddy Sullivan converted. John Kendall-Carpenter and Eric Hopton were superb in defence, but the Bath backs generally outshone the forwards. Jim Smith and Royston Collins did well behind sluggish heeling. Bath were awarded 16 penalties, but Paddy Sullivan had an off day with his boot and was reported to have changed his boots at half time!
v Devonport Services, Away, Won 9-0. P Hardy, R Leonard (T), R Beer,A Polson, R Bassett, R Collins (1dg), J Smith (T), S Patterson, J Roberts, G Brown, E Hopton, F Book, J Vaissiere, B Peasley.
Supporter, Mr. A E Ley sent in the following report:
“Make no mistake, our boys certainly played a ‘blinder’ – not one or two of them, but the whole lot. A very good show, when you think that at least seven or eight of them were reserves, promoted to take the place of the talented array of unavailable players left behind.
‘Our lads really had a go, and even the ambulance men joined in. No quarter was asked or given, and the spectators were loud in their praises for a fine pack of forwards.
I should like to see them again in action as a team. With the Bristol match on the Rec., I consider this the Club’s best performance of the season. It was well worth my 8 1/2 hours train travel.”
“Roy Leonard scored the try of a lifetime on his debut.”
v Weston Super Mare, Away, Drawn 3-3. P Sullivan, R Bassett (T), A Guest, G Addenbrooke, A Polson, R Collins, G Drewett, T Smith, S Patterson, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath fielded a strong side, and were surprisingly held to a draw at W-S-M. Bath went ahead in the 39th minutes.
“It was almost the first attack of the second half and Collins, from a loose heel, cross-kicked. The ball ran right for Guest who gathered it in his stride for Bassett to score in the corner.” Unfortunately, Sullivan could not convert. Then a Weston revival produced a drop goal for Collett, and on the run of play, the seasiders certainly deserved to be level. Paddy Sullivan was then carried off with a leg injury, and Kendall-Carpenter moved to full-back. Weston were still pressing to the end, and Bath were left to rue missed opportunities in the first half.
v Clifton, Home, Won 20-6. P Hardy, R Hambly, A Polson, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, S Patterson, T Smith, F Thomas, F Book, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Bath ran in tries by Addenbrooke, Collins, Vaissiere and Peasley, with, in form, Phil Hardy, converting four of them.
Clifton had triumphed over Bristol the previous week, but there was no such joy at Bath, where a reshuffled back-row of Vaissiere, Hopton and Peasley were a constant thorn in the Clifton side.
v Llanelly, Home, Lost 6-11. P Sullivan, R Bassett, A Polson, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, S Patterson, T Smith, F Thomas, F Book, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Paddy Sullivan’s penalty in the first two minutes gave Bath reason for hope against this fine West Wales side, but these were soon dashed as their full-back, Les Phillips, landed two penalties and converted a try to give the Scarlets a 11 points to 3 lead at the interval. Played out largely as a forward battle, the Bath backs were given little chance to shine, whereas the Llanelly back line made the most of their opportunities. “The applause for Sullivan had hardly subsided when Llanelly’s pack caught the Bath full-back in possession, charged down his hurried pass to Hopton, and dribbled through for G Hughes to gain the touch-down. Les Phillips converted to put his side ahead.
International centre, Denzil Thomas, soon showed his pace as he sped down the right. Alec Polson pulled him down with a fine tackle.”
The taller Llanelly forwards were winning most of the line-out ball; Bath were penalised for off-side and Les Phillips landed a glorious 45 yard penalty, followed by another of similar quality. John Roberts kicked his eighth penalty of the season, encouraging Bath to come back strongly. As if relishing a game against his fellow countrymen, Roy Collins’s relieving kicks sent Llanelly back again and again. As the final whistle went, Bath were still struggling valiantly to get on terms.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 13-10. P Hardy, R Bassett, C Weston, D Naylor, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, Sam Patterson, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, A Lewis.
Frank Thomas played his usual solid game, despite an early morning accident in which his new car was severely damaged. Frank had several bruises before the match, but it is not recorded – how many after!
Astonishingly, Alec Lewis was the only player in the Bath team to have tasted victory against the Quins! He had played in the 1948 match on the Rec. when Bath won 18-13.
“It was a great game and one which Bath deservedly won. The ‘Quins played their traditional open rugby, and threw the ball about in fine style, but they found Bath’s defence at its best.” The back row combination of Lewis, Kendall-Carpenter and the tireless Jim Vaissiere were at their superb best! There was a ‘Quins edge in the second row, where Grimsdell and Marques were the ‘king-pins.’ Bath’s Sam Paterson out-hooked his London opponent. Fly-half Collins did not have the best of games, but his tactical kicking was a frequent discomfort to England full-back Nigel Gibbs.
Bath went ahead after 20 minutes when Alec Lewis fielded a cross-kick to score, for Hardy to convert. Five minutes later, Sidoli started a break which left the Lewis and Hardy combination to repeat their five point effort. Bath preserved their 10 point lead to the interval and remarkably, added a yet another, when skipper Roberts intercepted a wayward pass and kicked on intending a touch-finder. Out of the blue, raced Richard Bassett to catch the ball and run like a deer to touch down under the posts. Harlequins came back with a try by D A Barker, after international centre W P C Davies had made the running. In the 62nd minute Davies burst through for his own touch down. Gibbs converted both tries. At the end, Weston and Addenbrooke were pressing hard and Hardy burst through spectacularly. It was a win of which Bath could be justly proud.
v Moseley, Home, Won 5-0. P Sullivan, R Bassett, A Polson, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, B Peasley, D Naylor.
Sides were evenly matched and the first major incursion came just before the interval. David Genders made a 50 yard break down centre-field, but Tony Guest was on hand with a try saving tackle. On the wing, Bassett was equally effective in defence.
“At this stage a large boxer dog went on to the pitch, stopping the game and defying all efforts by its owner and players to remove it. Eventually Gio Sidoli caught the dog with a flying tackle and dragged him to the touch-line, play resuming after a five-minute interval.”
“After nearly 20 minutes of the second half Collins punted out to the right on the Moseley 25 and Richard Bassett chased the ball over the line. Though he stumbled and fell he was credited with a try. Paddy Sullivan converted with a brilliant kick from the touchline.” “The last ten minutes held as much interest as the rest of the game.”
v OMT, Home, Lost 8-15. A Lewis, R Bassett, A Polson, A Guest, R Hambly, Mike Corbett (Somerset and Clifton), G Sidoli, J Roberts, S Patterson, T Smith, A Meek, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley. Bath’s hopes of an Easter trio of wins in front of a crowd of 2000, were dashed by the Old Boys. Alec Lewis played at full-back and Robin Hambly was brought in at wing threequarter. Mike Corbett of Clifton guested for Bath at outside-half, and was nearly over in the first minute. OMT’s took an early lead when wing-forward, Gardiner scored in the corner, and Prodger enhanced their position with a 30 yard penalty. Corbett again showed well and passed to Polson. He was closely marked by Prodger and his pass to Guest was adjudged forward. Despite a lively raid by Bassett and Vaissiere, a dropped pass enabled J Dupre to glide through unopposed.
Again, Corbett set up chances for Hambly and Polson, but they could not get through. Then, fifteen minutes into the second half, Corbett was again the architect of a try scored by Brian Peasley, but Lewis failed with the kick Jim Vaissiere scored a further try for Bath, which Roberts converted.
v Bedford, Home, Won 21-5. P Sullivan, R Bassett, C Weston, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley.
A grandstand finish to the home fixtures, notwithstanding the absence of their internationals. This was to be Alec Lewis’s last match before retirement, but he was forced to withdraw with a heavy cold. Tries by Addenbrooke, Brian Lane (R.A.F. Hooker), Guest, Vaissiere and Peasley. Sullivan 3 conversions. A good performance from the Bath pack, where Frank Thomas and Eric Hopton worked tirelessly. Sidoli demonstrated his resilience, when several forwards descended upon him. After a minute’s incapacity, he was up and running as chirpy as ever!
v Taunton, Away, Won 15-5. P Hardy, J Vaissiere, R Hambly, G Addenbrooke, R Leonard, R Collins, R Plummer (R.A.F.Innsworth), J Roberts, S Patterson, T Smith, A Meek, P Sheppard, J Kendall-Carpenter, E Hopton. Skipper John Roberts played a full captain’s part in the final game of the season, scoring a try and a penalty. It was Ray Plummer’s first game, and “he played a blinder.” Other tries by Addenbrooke, Collins, and Kendall-Carpenter. Plummer and Collins combined well and a number of promising breaks were initiated.
Early in the second half, both sides were reduced to 14 men- Phil Hardy with concussion and Taunton’s fly-half Wilkins with a broken leg. Evidently, Wilkins was making his first appearance for Taunton after recovering from a broken arm! Jim Vaissiere deputised on Bath’s wing. In the forwards, Roberts, Paterson, Smith, Hopton and Kendall-Carpenter featured in much of the enterprising play. Hardy was playing well up to the time of his injury.
At the end of the season, John Roberts took his team on the Clubs first ever foreign tour – winning all three games! Their 50 points stemmed from 14 tries and 4 conversions.
At St. Claude, near Lake Geneva a Jura-Lyonnaise selection 3 – Bath 24
Givors 6 – Bath 9 (An estimated crowd of 10,000!)
Tour Du Pin – 0 Bath 17
The Chronicle’s P.J.M. wrote:
“Bath has a rugby team to be proud of. They returned from France on Wednesday after the first foreign tour in the club’s long history, having won all three matches, scored 50 points, and gained the admiration of the French sportsmen.”
Dick Smith and Jack Arnold had collected Kendall-Carpenter from Geneva. However, John was a bit miffed after the game, complaining he had only had a touch of the ball six times!
John Roberts played in every game and Vice Captain Tom Smith missed just one match. What is more, Smith did not miss the game because of a rugby injury – evidently, he had collided with cyclist. There is no record as to what happened to the cyclist!
Veteran ‘Victory’ International, Fred Hill, announced his retirement. Alec Lewis was the leading points and tries scorer.
Brian Peasley was the most improved player