v Chippenham, Away, Won 54-8 P Sullivan (6c, 1dg&1pg), R Leonard (Tx3), C Weston, D Curtis (T), R Collins, D Hart (Tx5), G Sidoli (T), J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley (Tx2).
It was more of a trial than a match, as Bath crossed the Chippenham line 12 times, converting 6, adding a penalty goal and a drop goal. David Hart scored 5 tries.
v Yeovil, Away, Won 22-0. M Bailey, R Leonard, C Weston, D Curtis, D Hart, R Collins, R Plummer, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, Bingham, B Peasley.
In a scrappy affair, Bath barely bestirred themselves for this win – which was no compliment to the Yeovil club. Faced with an obvious difference in experience and all-round ability, the home side resorted to spoiling tactics from the start. What followed was a poor spectacle, as the Yeovil forwards stuck grimly to their task, gaining an equal share of line out and succeeding in slowing Bath’s possession from the scrums. Consequently, Geo Sidoli suffered from the close attentions of the Yeovil back row forwards and his service suffered accordingly. However, Bath gradually wore down the opposition and produced tries by Leonard, Curtis, Hart (2), Collins and Smith, with Curtis converting two.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-5. P Sullivan, R Bassett, C Weston, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, R Plummer, B Peasley.
Bath led at the interval, with Paddy Sullivan’s penalty goal, and commenced the second spell in good spirits. Unfortunately, continuous rain negated attempts at open play. Bath forwards defended well as the Tiger’s forwards became lively in the loose. Play swung from end to end, then the Leicester backs put short punts ahead to good effect. Most of Leicester’s moves emanated from Mike Channer at outside half and Bath struggled to keep their line intact. “Plucky Bath succumbed at last, however, when a brilliant Channer move ended in a try near the posts. He swerved through brilliantly before passing inside to back row forward Konig, who touched down. Much depended on the goal kick and Hazell coolly kicked the goal to give Leicester the lead.” “Bath were still trying their hardest when the whistle went and they went off the field perhaps a little unlucky not to have won, for they had as much, if not more of the play than Leicester.”
v Alec Lewis XV, Home, Lost 9-14. P Sullivan (1pg), D Hart, L Hughes, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Collins, G Sidoli (T), J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter (1dg), B Peasley.
“Bath put up a terrific fight against stiff opposition, and if only they had had the finish of the visitors they might well have pulled off their first win.
Talking point of the match was John Kendall-Carpenter’s gigantic drop goal. It was quite a fantastic piece of work, but exactly what one can expect from the former England captain.
For Bath, Len Hughes made a most promising show, and he seems a much better player than last year. Curtis also did well , as did David Hart, but Roy Leonard had his work cut out to hold the speedy Holman.
Bath’s backs performed most steadily. They were well served by their forwards, who continued to show the form of last week.
Altogether a promising performance by Bath, which augurs well.”
v Exeter, Home, Won 17-10. P Sullivan, R Bassett, L Hughes, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Collins, R Plummer, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, P Sheppard, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Paddy Sullivan chalked up a hat trick of penalties, starting with a beautiful kick from 40 yards in the seventh minute. However, the outcome was by no means certain, as Exeter had scored two goals in the first half, and actually led by 10 points to 6. That was the end of their scoring contribution and in the second half Bassett fielded the ball from a drop out, and after a diagonal run, fed to Collins who won a kick and chase to the corner. Sullivan converted from wide out. “Before the end Bath scored again. A scrum right under the posts was won by Exeter, but Vaissiere collared Keogh before he could clear.
The ball went loose, Collins picked up, and Curtis sent Bassett over in the corner. Sullivan failed to convert and with that the final whistle went.”
v Devonport Services, Away, Won 14-6. P Sullivan (1g), R Bassett (T), C Weston, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, R A Douglas, T Smith, F Thomas, P Sheppard (T), J Vaissiere (T), E G Hopton, and R Berry (T).
A good start to the Devon and Cornwall Tour. Bath had the better of the opening exchanges and tries by Vaissiere and Bassett secured a 6-3 half time lead. The second half was two minutes old when Peter Sheppard battered his way over under the posts. Surprisingly, Sullivan missed the conversion attempt. Bath applied more pressure and first Collins, and then Sidoli were nearly over. Then Vaissiere went close, but was bundled into touch. The home side’s three-quarters revived briefly, but Sullivan was there to clear to touch.
“Wild kicking by players of both sides spoilt the play and this ended when one by Hopton went over the dead ball line. Weston attempted to cut through from the drop out but he was quickly floored.”
Then a poor clearance was charged down by Collins, enabling Roger Berry to run in under the posts. This time Sullivan converted. At the finish, Service’s Shears dropped “a cheeky” goal, but Bath had the game in the bag.
v Penzance, Away, Lost 3-11. Team:- P Sullivan, L Hughes, C Weston, D Curtis, R Bassett, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, T Smith, P Sheppard, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, R Blackmore, R Berry. Sides were level, at a penalty each, ten minutes from no side. Then ‘Pirates’ scored twice in succession, to chalk up a rather flattering margin. There were bright three-quarter movements from the start, with promise of a fast open game. However, the game never fulfilled its early promise. Penzance had a monopoly of possession but determined tackling prevented an early score. Much of the play revolved around speculative ‘kick and chase,’ but the wingmen had little chance to shine. Collins had a fine game in defence, and Vaissiere, Thomas and Roberts were outstanding in the loose. After no score in the first half, Sullivan put Bath ahead with a penalty, which was immediately countered by Penzance’s Jenkin. Hosking, the Penzance hooker scored a try nine minutes from the end; Jenkin converted and added a second penalty.
v St Ives, Away, Won 5-3. P Sullivan (1g), L Hughes, C Weston, D Curtis, R Bassett, B Weston, G Sidoli, J Roberts, R Douglas, T Smith, F Thomas (T), E Bethell, E Hopton, R Blackmore, R Berry. Eric Bethell’s and Brian Weston’s 1st XV debuts.
Bath’s Richard Bassett dislocated his shoulder soon after the start, but his teammates responded to the challenge and came off worthy winners. Roger Berry moved to the vacant wing spot and performed creditably. At one point, he was very unlucky to have a try disallowed. Next, winger, Len Hughes was also bundled into touch with the line in sight. More heavy pressure allowed Frank Thomas to crash over from a line-out and Paddy Sullivan gaoled with an excellent kick. St. Ives got a consolation try near the end Brian Weston, Cliff’s younger brother was playing his first game at First XV level, but he and Sidoli did not combine well. Brother, Cliff and Dave Curtis did sterling work in defence. Hopton and Thomas were always in the thick of the action.
Douglas hooked well.
v Llanelly, Home, Lost 9-24. M Bailey, R Leonard, C Weston, D Curtis, L Hughes, G Sidoli, R Collins, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Vaissiere, B Peasley. Llanelly’s final tally was 3 goals, s drop goals and a try to Bath’s 2 drop goal and two penalties. Bath kept in the picture until half time, and then the visitors’ superior speed and craft ensured that the Rag Doll returned to the Principality. Bath’s contribution consisted of a drop goal by Welsh born, Collins and two penalties from former Usksider, John Roberts. David Naylor and Jim Vaissiere showed well in forward forays. Bath kept up their effort, but Llanelly always seemed to have things well in hand. Two more of Bath’s Welshmen, Sidoli and Peasley livened up proceedings. Caerwyn James was ever the master in Llanelly’s outside half spot.
v Clifton, Away, Won 13-8. M Bailey, R Leonard, A Guest, J Rees, R Beer, Barber (St. Ives), G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, W Law, E Bethell, D Naylor, A Lewis, J Kendall-Carpenter, R Berry.
Bath lost Naylor and Roberts for the final twenty minutes and were concerned to see their 13-0 lead whittled away by a Clifton revival. Hooker Brian Lane still secured scrummage ball, despite reduced support and Kendall-Carpenter lived up to his title of ‘master of covering.’ Additionally, Maurice Bailey was heroic in defence. “Tony Guest was the most thoughtful of the Bath threequarters, while, before he was injured, Naylor had done a lot of work, as also had Lane and Berry.” John Kendall-Carpenter and Richard Beer scored Bath’s tries and John Roberts converted two. Alec Lewis had come out of retirement to help Bath, and celebrated his return with a splendid drop goal. It was John Rees’s first game for Bath.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Drawn 6-6. M Bailey, D Curtis, C Weston (1dg), G Addenbrooke, G Sidoli, R Collins, W Law, B Lane, T Smith, E Bethell, F Thomas, A Lewis (1pg), D Naylor, B Peasley.
It was Alec Lewis’s last appearance for Bath, and he signed out with a penalty goal. It was the only game that skipper John Roberts missed during the whole of that season. St Mary’s great servant and England centre Louis Cannell played at centre.
v Bristol, Home, Won 5-3. P D Sullivan, D Curtis, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, E Bethell, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, D Naylor, B Peasley.
A win, and all the more pleasing, as it was the 125th Bath v Bristol encounter.
Bath got off to a cracking start, as Lane, Kendall-Carpenter, Hopton and Curtis took play to the Bristol 25. After ten minutes, Addenbrooke fielded a Bristol punt ahead and set off at great speed: “When challenged he cross-kicked to the middle and although Peasley overran the ball, Lane the Bath hooker, was on hand to crash over and score.” Sullivan, a former Bristol player, gratefully added the extras. Bath had some awkward moments, particularly when Sullivan was unable to clear from front of posts: “but a Bristolian knocked on and Bath survived.” Bristol gradually got more of the play, and in the thirtieth minute, Bain kicked a towering penalty from the right hand touchline. In the second half, play deteriorated into a somewhat patchy nature, with hold-ups as both sets of players took some heavy knocks. At last: “the final whistle sounded, and Bath had won a hard, if not brilliant game.”
v Taunton, Home, Won 16-0. B J Mallett, D Curtis, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, E Bethell, F Thomas,
P Sheppard, R Berry, R Blackmore, B Peasley.
“Bath’s three-quarter line was always more compact and thrustful than the visitors, and their forwards were much livelier in the loose.” “After 25 minutes Bath took the lead with a rather unusual try. Addenbrooke cross-kicked from the left, and Weston fly-kicked the ball through the surprised Taunton defence, and narrowly won a race for the touch down.” Addenbrooke scored just on half time, and this time Roberts added extras.
Into the second half, and Lane smashed over for a third try. Near the end, Peasley made ground with a dribble, and Weston again won with a kick and chase. Roberts converted.
v Harlequins, Home, Lost 3-8. P Sullivan, B Curtis, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke (T), R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, E Bethell, F Thomas, G Brown, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
“Towards the interval the Harlequins took the lead with a rather dubious looking try.
A Bath three-quarter movement ended when Barker intercepted a pass to Curtis.
Although it seemed quite obvious to the people in the West Stand that the Harlequins winger had knocked on, the referee allowed Barker to continue and he raced through a surprised Bath defence to score a try which Bartlett converted.
This gained the disapproval of the crowd who voiced their opinion loudly for several minutes afterwards and there were some rugged exchanges between the teams.” However, Bath reduced the arrears almost immediately, with Addenbrooke scoring from Weston’s breakthrough. (3-5 at half-time) Bath tried desperately to take Quin’s unbeaten record, but the Londoners finally clinched matters, when Barker scored his second try.
Curly Halse turned out for the United, two years after his retirement: “After 10 minutes I felt as if I’d never given up.”
v United Services, Away, Won 11-8. P Sullivan (T1g&2pg), R Beer, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins (T), M Hanna, J Roberts, G Clements, E Bethell, G Brown, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, F Thorne, B Peasley.
Bath took an early lead with Sullivan’s penalty goal and right on half time Carne put the Services ahead
With a try converted by Fenner. John Roberts had been absent for some of the first half, after falling at the feet of the lively Services pack. Re-starting at full-strength, Bath were soon on the offensive: “After a scrum Collins gained possession, dummied his way through, and crashed over with several opponents clinging to him. Sullivan kicked a sound goal. After 10 minutes Roberts had to go off owing to the injury he had suffered in the first half.” A penalty was awarded for an off-side, and Sullivan put Bath in the lead, with a well-placed kick.
“When Bath were penalised Fenner made good use of the new law by kicking only a few yards ahead. Several Services forwards handled before Stephenson went over in the corner for a try which Fenner could not convert.”
v Saracens, Home, Lost 0-5. P Sullivan, R Beer, A Guest, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, M Hanna, T Smith, B Lane, E Bethell. G Brown, F Thomas,J Vaissiere, R Blackmore, B Peasley. Heavy ground made the going difficult, and handling was kept to a minimum, as both sides locked horns in a dour forward encounter. There was no score at half time, and Saracens try came when a Bath handling attempt broke down. “Walton their right winger, gathered a loose ball and, with a neat body swerved, flashed past Sullivan after racing from halfway to score a great try which Tilley converted.” In the gathering gloom, Bath tried hard, but could make little progress towards the opponents’ line.
v Cheltenham, Away, Drawn 3-3. P Sullivan (1pg), A Guest, Rees, C Weston, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, M Hanna, J Roberts, B Lane, E Bethell, G Brown, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Cheltenham were more lively than Bath in the battle of the Spas. Beamish scored a try after 10 minutes. “The game had been spoilt by frequent touch and penalty kicks, and the fast home pack had so far broken up all Bath’s attempts to open up the game.” Sullivan had missed with a couple of penalty attempts. Cheltenham’s Terry Deavall, ex R.A.F. Box, Nr. Bath, was having a useful game at outside half. For Bath, Guest, Rees and Brown figured in a movement which gained half the length of the field. Kendall-Carpenter added more pressure, with an exceptionally fine touch kick from an oblique angle, while Paddy Sullivan was outstanding in defence. Deavall again threatened as the second half opened, but all players were hampered by a rapidly descending fog. Bath then survived a couple of penalty attempts by Harvey, then Beamish was penalised for lying on the ball – and Sullivan kicked the equalising penalty.
v London Scottish, Away, Lost 6-22. P Hardy, A Guest, J Rees, C Weston, G Addenbrooke (T), R Collins (T), M Hanna, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts, G Brown, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley. A wild and wintry day at Richmond, and Bath failed to adapt to the conditions, or take any advantage from playing with the wind in the first half. They were 0-3 down at half time. In near gale force conditions: “One Scottish player kicked ahead to find the ball in touch three yards behind him!” Addenbrooke and Collins scored Bath tries, but their own line had been crossed six times, and four of these converted.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-11. P Hardy, D Curtis, R Collins, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley. Having lost nine games in a row, the Kingsholm faithful demanded improved performance. Bath certainly did well in the early stages and were rewarded when Curtis gathered from a cross kick by Weston. Phil Hardy ‘muffed’ his conversion attempt. Kendall-Carpenter and Vaissiere had figured in attack and defence, but egged on by their ardent support, it was Gloucester who gained ascendancy. Their final tally was 2 tries, one converted and a penalty. Of the individual performances, Hardy did not falter at full back, and K-Carpenter figured prominently with clearance kicks and tireless covering.
It is recalled that Kendall-Carpenter did not relish playing in this game, and by half-time he told the skipper he had had enough. He actually asked John Roberts to call it off; the skipper was unable to accede to his request!
TOUCH JUDGE GETS A BLACK EYE
Team Secretary and touch-judge, Jack Arnold suffered a ‘shiner’ at the Gloucester match. No, it wasn’t an irate
‘Shed’ supporter: “Jack, watching the flight of the ball into touch, bumped into Roy Collins, hence the injury. Jack considers Kingsholm must be his unlucky ground. The last time he played there he was kicked in the eye.”
v Weston Super Mare, Home, Won 19-5. P Sullivan, J Rees, A Guest, R Collins, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, G Sidoli, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts,
F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath won by conquering muddy conditions with fine handling. Tries by Vaissiere, Collins, Sidoli and Bethell, with two conversions and a penalty by Paddy Sullivan. Tony Guest and John Rees put in some strong runs from the wings.
v Old Blues, Home, Won 19-9. P Sullivan (2g&1pg), R Beer (T), G Trenchard (1dg), A Guest (T), C Weston, G Sidoli, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Jones, E Hopton, G Brown (T), J Vaissiere. Geoff Trenchard was a former Newbridge, Abertillery and Weston player, who added sparkle to an improving back division.
v Leicester, Home, Lost 6-12. P Sullivan, D Curtis, A Guest, G Trenchard, D Hart, R Collins, G Sidoli, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts, G Jones, F Thomas, E Hopton, G Brown, J Vaissiere. Leicester crossed the Bath line for four unconverted tries, but despite early promise, Bath’s final tally was a Sullivan penalty goal in the first half, and a smart try by Vaissiere in the second.
Leicester were short of six of their first choice players, winger George Cullen was in fine form and scored two of their tries. Bath were dangerous in small breaks, as typified by the build up to Vaissiere’s try: “Bath’s forwards worked hard to keep the ball in the Leicester 25 and a smart heel in the loose enabled Trenchard to get away. His pass went out to Guest, who was bundled into touch on the corner flag.
A line-out on the visitors’ line brought no result and two set scrums also brought no advantage to either side. Then Bath equalised; Leicester heeled from a scrum, but wing forward Jim Vaissiere, flashing round the scrum, beat two defenders to the touch-down. Sullivan could not kick the goal which would have given Bath the lead again.”
Football Chronicle 1st January 1955.
TEAM TROPHY GOES WALKABOUT
“A large stuffed wolf with bared fangs, looking surprisingly lifelike, has startled more than one person entering Bath’s new clubhouse on the Recreation Ground. But now it has disappeared. Rugby players are notorious for their souvenir hunts, and now the animal probably rests among other club’s souvenirs. The wolf was ‘introduced’ to the clubhouse by Gio Sidoli and Eric Hopton.”
There was considerable conjecture as to the final resting-place of our friend the wolf. Unfortunately, we can no longer ask dear old Geo Sidoli!
v London Welsh, Home, Won 13-11. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, G Trenchard, A Guest, D Hart (Old Sulians, Durham Uni.), R Collins, G Sidoli, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, G Brown, J Vaissiere, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Bath held on to a two points difference at half time (8-6), and maintained the winning margin, despite stiff resistance, from an under strength Exciles side. Both Glyn Davies and Trevor Brewer were rested prior to the Wales v England clash the following Saturday. Sullivan kicked a penalty and Bath’s tries were scored by Welshman, Peasley and Welsh/Italian/Bristolian Gio Sidoli. Sullivan converted both.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Won 6-0. P Sullivan, A Guest, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, B Lane, E Bethell, F Thomas, G Brown, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley. A recent snowfall reduced the spectators to around 40 people. It was slippery under foot and the ball was hard to handle. Collins contrived to advance the team, by way of touchline kicks. There were some fine forward rushes in which Kendall-Carpenter and Peasley featured strongly in the forwards, while Trenchard and Addenbrooke were a constant threat in the back division. Collins scored a try ten minutes into the second half, and seven minutes from the end, Collins again secured from a set scrum and dropped a neat goal to consolidate Bath’s win.
v Weston Super Mare, Away, Won 11-10. P Sullivan, A Guest, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, J Roberts, G Clements, E Bethell, G Brown, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath just made it by scoring a goal a try and a drop goal, to Weston’s 2 goals. The seasiders started the second half 5 points up after a converted try by R.A.F. wing forward Jim Collard. Curtis’s fine drop goal snatched victory in the last seconds of a typically ‘ding-dong’ struggle between these local rivals. Bath tries from Guy Addenbrooke and George Brown, with Sullivan converting the last try.
v Newbridge, Away- Won 3-0. Team:- P Sullivan, A Guest, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, G Clements, E Bethell, G Brown, E Hopton, I Smart, R Blackmore, B Peasley.
It was the first win in Wales that season and John Robert’s (Club Captain’s) birthday. It was reported as Bath’s third success in Wales since the war.
Paddy Sullivan kicked a brilliant penalty from the touchline to secure victory. Bath were without several first choice players. Geoff Trenchard was playing against his old club. In the back row Bryan Peasley played his usual sound game, well supported by youngsters Robin Blackmore and Ian Smart. (1st senior game) This win made it four in a row, and Bath were settling down into a solid – if not brilliant team.
v Gloucester, Home, Lost 0-21. P Sullivan, A Guest, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, E Bethell, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, I Smart, G Brown, B Peasley. Gloucester were deserving winners by 3 goals and 2 tries to nil.
Conditions were very bad and the onlookers shuffled from one foot to the other to stamp out the cold. At one stage, the spectators were invited to move up into the Stand seats to get out of the weather. One of Gloucester’s cars got caught in the snow, and they arrived three or four men short. The teams eventually took the field at 3-37pm with Gloucester still two men short. Bath sportingly agreed to provide forward Angus Meek and winger Brian French. Bath’s generosity was to rebound on them, as both had fine games, and Angus Meek added a try for Gloucester for good measure!
“Gloucester were adapting themselves well to the conditions, playing rugby without frills, while Bath were inclined to fiddle.”
Brian French had been a highly successful winger and was a former captain of City of Bath School XV.
Angus Meek’s roots were through the Midsomer Norton Club. He was obviously keen to continue his career with Bath, but was currently contemplating his spell of National Service.
v Wasps, Home, Won 5-3. P Sullivan (1g), J Rees, D Curtis, G Trenchard, A Guest (T), C Weston, R Shuttleworth, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley, D Naylor.
A stirring struggle and remembered as the match in which they toiled to keep Wasp’s “bulldozing” winger Ted Woodward from scoring. It generally took two men to bring him down. He only managed it once after thundering down the touchline, beating the diminutive Rees and other defenders. Wasps failed with the kick. But, in Tony Guest, Bath had their own danger man, and he managed to beat the Wasps full-back and crash over wide out for Sullivan to convert.
Scrum-half Ron Shuttleworth played well throughout.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 3-9. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, D Curtis, G Trenchard, A Guest, C Weston, P Dart (ex Combe Down), T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, Ian Smart, J Kendall-Carpenter, D Naylor. In a tense derby struggle, Trenchard scored a try for Bath with a 70-yard run.
In a penalty-riddled game, Bristol managed a try and succeeded with two penalties.
“A poor game which would have given little pleasure either to the players or the 3000 crowd.”
Thus wrote Tony Reed of the Bristol Evening Post.
The Match Programme commentator observed that some of these encounters could descend into: “A sequence of potentially stunning dullness,” but there were memorable moments:
“The conditions were not good. This game took place before extensive drainage work had been done and that area in front of the grandstand on the halfway line was a most notable quagmire. How many can recall dear old Fred Hill’s empty eye socket filled up with mud as he looked up from being flattened on the ground to the selectors’ box.”
Also, rugby connoisseurs’ attention would have been drawn to the on-going line-out exchanges between the two ‘Macs’ in the line-out. Bristol’s Bert Macdonald and Bath’s John McG K Kendall-Carpenter were observed swapping gratuitous advice and ‘pleasantries’ throughout!
Contemporary comment – A GRAND OLD MAN OF RUGBY
Mr Tommy Davis who is now 83, has long been connected with Rugby at Bath, and he holds a record which few, if any, can emulate.
Last Saturday’s game at Bristol was the 126th official encounter between the two clubs, and Mr. Davis who is still as keen as ever about the game, has seen 125 of them.
The only one he missed was in the middle 20’s, when he was ill in bed, he told me at the Memorial Ground last week. When he heard that Bath had won that match, he said, he felt like getting up and celebrating immediately.
v Exeter, Away, Lost 0-6. P Hardy, J Vaissiere, R Collins, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Standing (Bristol and Somerset), R Shuttleworth, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, A Meek, E Hopton, R Blackmore, J Kendall-Carpenter, I Smart.
It was Robin Standing’s one and only appearance for Bath. He married a Bath girl the following Monday and on the Thursday, they sailed away to their new home in South Africa.
v Swansea, Home, Won 8-0. P Sullivan (1g&1pg), R Leonard, G Trenchard, D Curtis, J Vaissiere, R Collins (T), G Sidoli, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley. “The opening half of the Bath-Swansea game on the Recreation Ground this afternoon was a lively, exciting affair with play swinging from end to end, giving the spectators plenty to shout about.” Guy Addenbrooke would have relished playing against his old Club, but was sidelined with a carbuncle on his neck. Wing forward Vaissiere was an able, if makeshift deputy. In the first half there was a procession of penalties, and at one time the referee had to call both packs together for ‘counselling.’ However, no score ensued until nine minutes into the second half, when ‘old hand’ Paddy Sullivan put over a beautiful penalty. Fly-half Collins was having one of his best games of the season, and using the touch-line to advantage. Near the end, Peasley harassed the Swansea full-back and Collins was there to pick up and score. Sullivan converted. “As the final whistle blew, Bath were still piling on the pressure and thus gained a deserved victory after a hard fought battle against opposition who never gave up.”
v Metropolitan. Police, Away, Won 13-6. P Hardy, R Leonard, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, R Collins, G Sidoli, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath were in good form at Imber Court. Leonard and Thomas scored tries and the in-form, Phil Hardy converted both and also kicked a penalty. The home side were without Tug Wilson, who was on England duty against Scotland. Kendall-Carpenter tried a tremendous drop at goal from the half way line, but it veered wide of the posts. Naylor and Thomas were prominent in the forwards.
v Devonport Services, Home, Won 14-3. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, G Trenchard, D Curtis, R Leonard, R Collins, G Sidoli, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Tries by Kendall-Carpenter, Trenchard, Leonard, conversion and penalty goal Phil Hardy. Kendall-Carpenter figured frequently in open play despite heavy conditions. The weather deteriorated rapidly, and both teams resorted to advancement via touchline.
Angus Meek (destined to eventually be a Club Captain and President) played his last game before joining the army for National Service. To commemorate the occasion, United skipper Bob Ball invited Angus to take the kick-off.
v Llanelly, Away, Lost 8-9. P Hardy, R Leonard, G Trenchard , D Curtis, A Guest, C Weston, R Shuttleworth, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley. Just one point separated these teams, after an exciting game at Stradey Park, played in pouring rain. Twice Bath were in arrears and twice they fought back magnificently to score in their quest to regain ‘the Rag Doll’ from the Scarlets. Llanelli went ahead with a try after seven minutes, but Bath were not long in catching up, when Phil Hardy landed a penalty from wide out. Bath were tackling and covering well, to restrict the home backs’ activity. However, Llanelli pulled ahead when Evans dropped a neat goal. “Bath fought hard to score again. They took only a few minutes to do so, for a wild handling movement by the home backs enabled Trenchard to intercept, ‘sell a dummy’ to the full-back and score. Hardy converted to give Bath the lead.” “Under the leadership of John Roberts they seemed inspired.”
Just two minutes from the end, and against the run of play, Daniels scored the winning try for Llanelly.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 8-0. P Hardy, R Leonard, G Trenchard, D Curtis, G Addenbrooke, C Weston, R Shuttleworth, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, B Peasley. Try by Trenchard, converted Hardy. Shuttleworth kicked a drop goal.
Bath were producing something like the form of which they were capable. “One man who has made the greatest difference to the team is Ron Shuttleworth, the R.A.F. scrum- half and younger of two rugby playing brothers and national fame. He has about his play a class touch which has not been seen in Bath for many years -since the war at least.”
v Northampton, Home, Won 3-0. P Sullivan, R Leonard, G Trenchard, D Curtis, A Guest (T). C Weston, G Sidoli, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, R Blackmore, B Peasley.
“The first half was rather scrappy but the Bath pack performed well against the experienced Midlanders’ eight and their spoiling kept the visitors from having very much scope outside.” Bath’s slender lead came a minute from half-time, when Cliff Weston initiated a move which left Tony Guest to race past Northampton International Sykes for a great try wide out. The Bath crowd roared their approval! Sullivan was unable to convert. So the score stayed, as Bath held out against the incursions of Butterfield, Williams, Sykes, Jeeps, Taylor and company. It had been a fine, hard, sporting game.
v OMT, Home, Won 11-6. P Sullivan, D Curtis, R Collins, G Trenchard, A Guest, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, P Hill, J Roberts, E Hopton, G Brown, J Vaissiere, W Law, R Blackmore.
For much of the second half, Bath were without Paddy Sullivan, who was forced to withdraw with a knee injury. It was good Easter fare and tries flowed from Collins, Guest and notably, Pat Hill (Oldfield) in his debut game. Sullivan converted one. Hopton, Blackmore and Vaissiere were outstanding and frequently harassed O.M.T.’s into making mistakes. Gordon Drewett played his first game of the season and emerged with credit.
Weston, Curtis, Guest and Trenchard all had fine runs.
Bath released details their squad for the end of season French Tour: P Sullivan, P Hardy, A Guest, R Collins, D Curtis, R Leonard, C Weston, R Shuttleworth, G Sidoli, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, G Clements, F Thomas, E Hopton, G Brown, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, J. Kendall-Carpenter and B Peasley. Mr Alf Ball asked to be baggage man on tour.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Lost 3-8. P Sullivan, A Guest, R Collins, G Trenchard, D Curtis, C Weston, G Sidoli, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, R Blackmore, B Peasley.
Bath put on a disappointing display. A late try by Curtis was Bath’s only consolation. The team that had beaten Northampton, Harlequins and OMT’s over Easter looked tired and jaded at this encounter. Gio Sidoli made a number of useful breaks, but failed to give a consistent service to Cliff Weston. Consequently, the Bath back division had an off day. Thomas, Roberts and Blackmore played well in the pack.
“The game was hard and several times it was held up while players recovered from knocks.”
‘OFF-FIXTURE LIST’ GAME WITH BRISTOL. BATH WON 3-0
v Bridgwater, Home, Won 14-3. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, D Curtis, G Trenchard, R Leonard, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, G Brown, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, R Blackmore, I Smart.
It was a comfortable enough win, in a generally scrappy game, interspersed with touches of entertaining rugby.
Irish International S J McDermott made his only mistake of the day, and his dropped pass allowed Bath to touch down. For the rest of the game, he was’ a real live-wire, constantly searching for openings.
Bath tries by Roberts, after a twenty yards run, Thomas and Smart. Hardy converted one and landed a penalty.
v Bedford, Away, Lost 5-16. P Hardy, R Leonard, G Trenchard, A Guest, A Polson, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, D Naylor, R Blackmore.
Bedford crossed the Bath line three times, converting twice and adding a penalty. Cliff Weston got Bath’s only try which was converted by Trenchard. David Naylor and Robin Blackmore were prominent in the loose.
v Neath, Home, Won 11-0. P Hardy, G Addenbrooke, I Smart, R Collins, A Guest, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.
Bath succeeded in holding off Neath’s early challenge, to stage a magnificent revival for one of the most exciting games seen on the Rec. for many a day! Bath’s own Robin Blackmore played for Neath ‘on loan.’
J Kendall-Carpenter was a tower of strength in defence and snuffed out several scoring attempts. Bath made better use of their chances in attack, despite continual harassing from Internationals Roy John and Rees Stephens. “Smart and Collins showed enterprise in the centre, and, on the wing, both Addenbrooke and Guest occasionally showed fine bursts.” Peasley got Bath’s try, with Drewett converting. “About 13 minutes from the end, with the game still in the balance, Bath made another great effort. They stormed the line, and a quick heel enabled Smart to drop a brilliant goal from an oblique angle.” Drewett wrapped things up with a penalty goal. Bath were only the third English side to beat Neath that season.
v Moseley, Home, Won 18-6. P Sullivan, G Addenbrooke, G Trenchard, R Collins, A Guest, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, F Thomas, J Vaissiere, B Peasley, R Blackmore.
Bath finished the season in fine style and won “at a canter” with tries from Addenbrooke, Peasley, Vaissiere, Trenchard; Paddy Sullivan converted three. The Midlanders’ reply was a goal and a drop goal. Scrum-half Gordon Drewett was a major influence on the game, combining well with Cliff Weston and utilising deft kicks towards lively wingers – Addenbrooke and Guest.
It was an open and entertaining finale, in which the Bath pack dominated: “Bath were well served in the line-out, where Thomas and Blackmore were prominent.”
That week, Guy Addenbrooke (formerly Swansea and a Welsh Trialist) and Jim Vaissiere had signified their intention to retire.
Later, Addenbrooke “sportingly” agreed to Captain the United XV during the following season.
In May 1955 Bath staged a repeat French Tour. We have a Bath team list but are not certain whether it relates to the 1954 or 1955 tour.
P Hardy, R Bassett, A Guest, C Weston, J Vaissiere, R Collins, G Sidoli, T H Smith, P G Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, A Lewis, D H Naylor and RB Peasley.