1955 to 1956

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1955 – 1956

Training started at Norwood Playing Fields August 2nd.

10/9/1955

v Leicester, Away. Lost 11-24. Team:- P Sullivan, R Woodward, A Asquith (Sale), G Trenchard, A Guest, J Wilson, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, E Hopton, F Thomas, I Smart, J Kendall-Carpenter, P Peasley. Tries by Guest, Shuttleworth, Conversion Sullivan and drop goal Trenchard.

Bath found it hard going against a lively Leicester side, who established their first half lead, with a converted try, from the 21st minute. Trenchard narrowed the gap with a drop goal. (Half-time 3-5)

In the second spell, Leicester and R.A.F. fly-half Channer, and scrum-half O’Connor initiated much of the brilliant play. However, a good re-start by Bath saw Trenchard set off on a dazzling run, to feed Guest, who was halted just short of the line. From the ensuing scramble, Shuttleworth grabbed possession and crashed over. Unfortunately, Bath’s lead was short lived, as the Tigers came back when Cullen beat Bath’s Woodward to the touchdown. This heralded Leicester’s ‘purple patch,’ and Channer scored two tries in succession, both converted by Cullen. He rounded off a virtuoso performance with a fine drop goal ten minutes from time. Bath replied with spirit. Guest kicked ahead for Lane to touch down under the posts and Sullivan converted. Just before no-side – it was Channer again, who broke through, handing on to Ashurst, and with the Bath defence at sixes and sevens, Elders went over for an unconverted try.

 

17/9/1955

v Devonport Services, Home. Won 20-0. Team:- P Sullivan, Roy Woodward, A Asquith, G Trenchard, A Guest, J Thomas, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, Gerald Clements, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, K Box, J Kendall-Carpenter, R Blackmore.

Tries by Woodward (2), Box, Shuttleworth, with Sullivan kicking 4 conversions.

The half-back combination of Shuttleworth and Thomas worked well and the speed of new winger Woodward was brought into play. Bath won the first line-out enabling Shuttleworth to force his way over, for Sullivan to convert. Guest and Trenchard worked well on the right, Box was well placed to take a pass. In turn, he fed Woodward for the first of his two tries. Paddy Sullivan had no difficulty in converting. At the re-start, Bath’s back row were soon on the offensive, and continued harrying allowed Woodward to race up and score, with Sullivan again successful. At the end, Woodward broke through, Ken Box touched down – and Sullivan completed a 4 out of 4 conversion effort.

 

22/9/1955

v International XV Drawn 11-11. Team: -: – P Sullivan, R Woodward, A Asquith, G Trenchard, A Guest, J Thomas, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, I Smart, J Kendall-Carpenter, R Blackmore.

Tries by Kendall-Carpenter, Asquith and Trenchard. Conversion by Sullivan.

This was the seventh game in the International XV series and Bath had yet to win one. Bath managed a draw against a talented side captained by our own 1950-52 captain, Alec Lewis.

 

24/9/1955

v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home. Won 6-3. Team:- P Sullivan, R Woodward, A Asquith, G Trenchard, A Guest, J Thomas, G Drewett,, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, E Hopton, I Smart, J Kendall-Carpenter, R Blackmore. Try by Guest. Penalty Sullivan.

St. Mary’s included their evergreen Louis Cannell at centre. The first of his 14 caps was in 1948 and he always took a lot of holding.

1/10/1955

v Llanelly, Away. Lost 8-17. Team:- P Sullivan, J Rees, A Asquith, G Trenchard, J Wilson, C Dawe, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, B Lane, T Smith, F Thomas, I Van Heerden (Sale), I Smart, R Blackmore, B Peasley. Try by Trenchard, converted Sullivan. Penalty Sullivan.

Llanelly held a distinct advantage in open play, whilst there was near parity in the forwards, where the Bath outfit were well led by Blackmore. Giant South African Van Heerden, came into the second row.

The first half witnessed a number of penalties as Bath fell repeatedly off-side. Fortunately, Cambridge Blue Davies, was not on best kicking form. Eventually he was on target, when Wynford Phillips scored the first try and again later, with a straight-forward penalty opportunity. (half-time 0-8)

Shuttleworth and Cornishman C Dawe, struck up an early understanding, and the second half opened with Sullivan stopped just short of the Llanelly line. Next, it was the Scarlets’ turn to break away, and only Wilson’s brilliant covering saved a certain try.

However, Llanelly’s innovation was rewarded with tries by Phillips (2) and Thomas. A typical jinking run provided a try for Geoff Trenchard. Paddy Sullivan, playing an exceptionally competent game, added a late penalty. Lane had a fine game at hooker and van Heerden used his not inconsiderable weight to good effect. Wingers Rees and Wilson gave of their best.

 

6/10/1955

v Clifton, Away. Won 9-8. Team:- P Hardy, J Rees, I Smart, C Dawe, R Woodward, C Packard, P Dart, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Bethell, I Van Heerden, J Kendall-Carpenter, K Box. Tries by Rees, Van Heerden and Smart.

A greatly changed selection scraped home in an uninspiring win against Clifton. Pickard was the most penetrative of the Bath outside men, but: “Rees on the left wing, ran with great speed and determination on several occasions, and was unlucky not to go over more than once.” Phil Hardy, at full-back, was sound and accurate. Kendall-Carpenter kept the forwards going and it was his break-out which earned Bath their best try. Collectively, the forwards were not up to their usual standard in the line-outs and loose. Rees scored the first try, picking up a loose ball and rounding his man wide out. Hardy failed with the kick. Roberts gained possession to send in the giant Van Heerden. Another loose ball enabled Ian Smart to touch down for his try.

Clifton’s strong run at the end, was abruptly halted by that ‘Prince of Cornerflaggers’ – John McG K Kendall-Carpenter.

 

8/10/1955

v Taunton, Away. Lost 0-14. Team:- P Sullivan, P Hinckley, G Trenchard, C Dawe, J Rees, C Weston, G Drewett, T Smith, G Clements, F Thomas, J Roberts, E Bethell, K McCrindle and B Peasley. Little went right for Bath. After attacking for two thirds of the first half, they found themselves 0-3 down at the interval. Taunton’s passing had been poor, and their defence uncertain. Bath had just missed a try in the opening minute when winger Rees, split the Taunton defence, and was just stopped a few yards short of the Taunton line. Notwithstanding this, it was Bath who blundered in defence, and Taunton – who scored a goal and three tries. John Rees was the pick of the Bath outsides.

15/10/1955

v  Bristol, Away. Lost 0-14. Team:- P Sullivan, A Guest, C Pickard, G Trenchard, J Rees, J Thomas, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley.

PROGRAMME COMMENT:

“The game was very good, with Bristol the more balanced side. Their three-quarter play was much superior to ours, thanks to their stand-off half, who played exceptionally well compared with young Thomas, who evidently had an off day. Drewett played well and gave out a good service, but Thomas handled very poorly. I thought Guest was our best three-quarter and looked well after his wing opponent. He should have scored easily, but waited for someone to take his final pass when he should have gone through on his own. All the forwards played well, but Kendall Carpenter, after he was injured, could not do his usual covering up. I hope (as we all do) that his injury will not keep him out of the game long, as he is the greatest asset to our side.”……..

“Of Saturday’s game, Tony Reed of the Bristol Green ‘Un says: ‘This was the best game between the two old rivals for many years, and should do a lot to encourage attendances.”

Bath lost the services of Kendall- Carpenter for several games, as he had the misfortune to have his nose broken.

 

22/10/1955

v Ebbw Vale. Ebbw Vale’s first game at Bath. Won 6-3. . Team:- P Sullivan, J O Rees, G Trenchard, A Asquith, A H Guest, C Pickard, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, F Thomas, G Jones, M Smith (R.A.F. Netheravon), D Naylor, B Peasley.                                                                                 Two successful kicks by Paddy Sullivan secured this penalty-riddled encounter against this ‘heads of the valley side,’ appearing at Bath for the first time. Although fast moving, much of the play was of a generally scrappy nature. Referee G P Williams handed out penalties with monotonous regularity. Forward, Glyn Jones was in good form. Gordon Drewett played a plucky game at scrum-half and his partner, Pickard, always had an eye for an opening.

 

29/10/1955

v Harlequins, Away. Lost 3-11 Team:- P Sullivan, J O Rees, G Trenchard, A Asquith, M Harding (ex Prior Park), J Thomas, R Shuttleworth, T Smith, G Clements, J Roberts, G Jones, J Stoddart, Malcolm Smith, E Hopton, B Peasley.                                                                                                         Bath put on a courageous show at the cavernous White City ground, overlooked by a sparsely spaced few hundred people. They went down by a goal, a try and a penalty to a solitary penalty by Paddy Sullivan. Thomas, at fly half, showed some useful early touches and Rees nearly got away. Quins were a lively lot, but their early efforts were quickly snuffed out by Asquith, Peasley, Malcolm Smith and J Stoddart. Harlequin’s Ian Beer, nearly got over, but Bath survived the onslaught until just before half time. Grant avoided the attentions of Peasley and burst through the centre. The ball travelled to Barker, who scored wide out and Mainwaring converted. This last named had no difficulty in putting the Quins further ahead, when a Bath forward strayed off-side. Sullivan then contributed a penalty when Quins were penalised for ‘foot up.’ In the closing stages, Bath monopolised play within the opposition half, but very much against the run of play, it was Harlequin’s Whyte who added an unconverted try

 

5/11/1955

v United Services, Home. Lost 6-11. Team:- P Hardy, A Guest, A Asquith, M Harding, J O Rees, J Wilson, G Drewett, T Smith, B Lane, J Roberts, E Hopton, J D O Ramsey, M Smith, D Naylor, B Peasley. 2 tries by Guest.                                                                                                                            The match was pre-ceded by a short wreath laying ceremony in memory of those players who had lost their lives in the Wars.

Bath relinquished their hold on an unbeaten home record to lively opposition. The visitors soon built up a six point lead, Tony Guest’s try reducing the margin just before the interval. Against the odds, Bath continued to throw the ball about, but could make little progress against a fast moving, quick-tackling side, which had only succumbed to Oxford University that season. At times Bath looked bereft of ideas, as the Services threw the ball about in gay abandon. Paradoxically, Guest’s first half try was their best move of the match.

“In the closing minutes Asquith broke through again for Bath. Rees carried on, and Guest went over for his second try.” Gordon Drewett missed with the kick, and the late score brought little consolation to a well beaten side.

Pearey, destined to become President of the R.F.U., and Protheroe, scored the Services’ tries, and Middleton dropped a goal. Claydon converted Pearey’s try.

 

12/11/1955

v Saracens, Away. Won 17-6. Team:- P Hardy, A Guest, G Trenchard, A Asquith, J Rees, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, J Ramsey, D Naylor, G Jones and M Smith.                                                                                                                                                                  It was Bath’s first away win against a sluggish Saracens side. Penalty and conversion by Drewett, Tries from J Thomas, Rees, and Guest (2). In the first half, Saracens were simply, dazzled, by a Bath side in top form. “John Roberts kept them hard at it from the start, Clements working tirelessly, as did Frank Thomas and John Ramsey, while the back row of Naylor, Jones and M Smith did a most effective job of bottling the Saracens’ halves out of the game. Smith was one of the outstanding forwards.”

Gordon Drewett played one of his best games at scrum-half and his partner Thomas had a superb game throughout. “Asquith played well in the centre but, as last week, the chief danger was Guest on the left wing, who used his weight to batter the Saracen’s defence. One of the most successful Bath moves-when play was on the left-was to bring the Somerset wing in as an ‘extra’ man and this manoeuvre brought more than one try and nearly made several more.”

 

19/11/1955

v Cheltenham. Draw 3-3 at Cheltenham. Team:- P Sullivan, A H Guest, E Asquith, G Trenchard, J O Rees, J H Thomas, G Drewett, J W P Roberts, G Clements, W Law, J D Ramsey, F J Thomas, G Jones, E Hopton and P J Hill.

Bath were 3 points down until five minutes from no-side, then John Rees burst through the centre at speed and cross kicked to put the full-back under pressure. Beamish prevented release and Paddy Sullivan stepped forward to land an easy penalty.

“Except near the end, Bath threes had few chances in attack, but what they did, they did quite well. Mick Hanna at scrum-half was hampered by the slow heel but he supplied Roy Collins quite well and the young fly-half played sensibly.

John Rees gave a most encouraging display in the centre showing a fine turn of speed and had rather a better game than the other centre, Cliff Weston, opposed to Walter. Tony Guest was more prominent on the wing than Guy Addenbrooke, the latter hardly having a real chance all afternoon.”

Paddy Sullivan was his usual self at full-back and once he made a brilliant break, dummying and side-stepping through a bemused Cheltenham defence.

“Brian Lane, Frank Thomas and George Brown were especially good in rushes, while Brian Peasley’s tackling of Deavall was first-class and John Kendall-Carpenter was always there.”

CHELTENHAM TALENT

In later years, the Cheltenham full-back Gerry Crosby, did sterling work for Bath and was for many years ‘the voice’ on all the public address announcements. Accomplished outside-half Terry Deavall, could so easily have been a Bath player, as he did his National Service at R.A.F. Box.

 

26/11/1955

v Exeter, Away. Won 12-0. . Team:- P Sullivan, J O Rees, G Trenchard, A Asquith, R Leonard, J Thomas, G Drewett, W Law, G Clements, J Roberts, J Stoddart, F Thomas, D Naylor, E Hopton, M Smith. Reserve to travel – Robin Buchanan. (Later Sir Robin Buchanan)

Bath finally broke a chain of losses at the Exeter ground, after taking a six-point interval lead. Drewett and Thomas formed a good combination, but initially, the back five had difficulty in piercing the opposing defence. Eventually, Smith opened the scoring with a drop goal. Then, John Rees dummied his way past several defenders for his first try. Eric Hopton scored following a loose maul, and again, Rees completed a good afternoon’s work with a late try.

 

3/12/1955

v London Scottish, Home. Lost 6-11. Team:- P Sullivan, J O Rees, G Trenchard, A Asquith, A H Guest, J Thomas, G Drewett, W Law, G Clements, J Roberts, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter and M Smith. Kendall-Carpenter returned after two month’s absence.

A penalty in each half by Paddy Sullivan, was Bath’s counter to a goal, a try and a drop goal by the Scottish Exciles. There was good work by Thomas (J), Thomas (F) and Smith (M). David Naylor was absent for the greater part of the first half, with a head injury. John Rees made a particularly dazzling run, kicked ahead, with Tony Guest in hot pursuit – only to see the ball run into touch. In the second half, the visitors gradually established superiority and Bath were hard pressed. Sullivan’s second success served only to narrow the margin.

8/12/1955

v R.AF. Trial XV, Home. Lost 8-12. :- F Granger, R Leonard, T Walsh, J O Rees, W Holmes, B Weston, P Dart, T Smith, P Hill, W Law, J Stoddart, A Meek, M Smith, E Hopton, Kendall-Carpenter. Tries from Rees and Walsh. Conversion by M Smith.

A weakened home side held their own for the first 40 minutes, but were comprehensively outplayed in the second half. Brian Weston turned in a good performance at outside-half, but he had little support in attack. “Bath were the first to score when Rees, receiving the ball from a tight scrum on the right, dashed round the blind side to touch down for an unconverted try.” Bath’s goal came soon after the interval when centre, Walsh went in for a try and Smith (M) converted.

In essence, this was all that was seen of the Bath attack for the rest of the game.

 

10/12/1955

v Gloucester, Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- P Sullivan, R Leonard, A Asquith, G Trenchard, J Rees, J Thomas, G Drewett, E Hopton, G Clements, J Roberts, E Bethell, M Smith, J Kendall-Carpenter, D Naylor, F Thomas.

Bath found themselves 0-8 down at the interval. The home side enjoyed a monopoly of possession and were therefore in a position to dictate play. Having said that, it did not generate an exciting game, the opening stages being particularly scrappy. Much of the time, play was confined of the forwards. There was some relief from the tedium, when the Bath threes combined well, only for Leonard to be hauled down a few yards short of the line. Overall, the game was evenly contested – but the action never rose to any great heights.

 

17/12/1955

v Neath, Away. Lost 5-11. Team:- P Sullivan, R Leonard, W Holmes, G Trenchard, J Rees, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, L Davis, M Smith, D Naylor and B Peasley. Bath put up a creditable performance against a strong ‘Welsh All-Blacks’ side at ‘Fortress Gnoll.’ A first half try by Roberts converted by Sullivan, matched Neath’s first half effort, but a second half try and a drop goal put paid to any dreams of an away victory. Nevertheless, it was a fine game, which was appreciated by a knowledgeable crowd. L (Patchy) Davis was brought into the second row, for his first senior outing since joining the Club in 1947. Roy John, the Welsh International forward, played in the centre in place of Denzil Thomas. They fielded five other internationals. Amazingly, Bath took the lead after 15 minutes. A defender fumbled on the Neath line and John Roberts was on hand to touch down. Sullivan converted and Bath seemed to be ‘in with a chance.’ Despite wet conditions, play was remarkably open, with Bath excelling in the foot rushes, in which Peasley, Naylor and Smith (M), were prominent. It is as well to record that the Neath eight, included four players who had represented Wales in the previous season’s internationals.

Rees Stevens was ever the driving force and it was appropriate that he scored a break-away try, converted by Evans, followed after by Weaver’s snap drop-goal and a final ‘clincher, when Roberts picked up and scored starting from 35 yards out.

 

24/12/1955

v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 12-5. Team:- P Sullivan, R Leonard, W Holmes, G Trenchard, M McCarthy, B Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, E Hopton, G Jones, D Naylor and M Smith. Tries by McCarthy (2) and Leonard. Penalty Sullivan.

An astonishing start as Bath broke away from the first line out. Smith (M) passed to newcomer McCarthy, who slipped a couple of tackles, kicked over the full-back’s head and beat defenders to the touch down. Bath were 3 points up within 30 seconds of actual play! The seasiders secured most possession from the set scrums, but were unable to get their backs going. Bath continued to impress, and again McCarthy had the visitors in trouble with another determined run. Against the run of play, Weston countered with a converted try and held a tenuous hold on the game. It was shortly before the interval before Sullivan nudged Bath ahead with a simple penalty goal.

In the second half, Bath substantiated their narrow lead: “Eventually, however, Bath scored. Trenchard made one of his clever jinking runs through the defence, passed on to Weston in the visitors’ 25 and although he was collared almost immediately, the latter managed to slip the ball out to Leonard who raced the few yards necessary to score wide out. Sullivan could not convert. McCarthy scored another try for Bath.” (W-S-M’s Heal was carried off with a broken leg and later, Wooding limped off, supported by ambulance men)

 

26/12/1955

v Old Blues, Home. Won 3-0. Team:- P Hardy, A Guest, W Holmes, G Trenchard, R Leonard, B Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, E Hopton, L Davis, R Buchanan, G Jones and M Smith. The Old Boys provided traditionally lively opposition; it was nonetheless, a tough encounter: “and they had most of the misfortune that was going.” Hooker Glare, went before half-time with a shoulder injury, and 2nd row forward S C Freeman was taken to hospital, possibly to join the previous day’s casualty – with a broken leg!

The game was played in atrocious conditions. It is questionable whether those intrepid supporters who had quit their fireside comforts, enjoyed the experience. There was certainly, lively forward play a-plenty, as they slip-slopped around on a pitch diluted to a ‘mud heap.’ Youngsters, Buchanan, Jones and Davis figured in several promising moves, and Brian Weston, Trenchard, Leonard and Guest kept up the momentum. Eventually the Old Blues ‘eight’ were reduced to ‘six,’ and Bath pressed home their advantage. “Smith, breaking past several men, put Leonard away down the right. He made ground swiftly, and put in a well judged cross-kick, which rolled dangerously over the Old Blue’s line. Two defenders converged on the ball, but both slipped, and it was left to Bath’s other wing, Guest, who was lying on the ground, to put a hand on the ball.”

 

These were satisfactory Christmas results, but the euphoria of success should be tempered by the fact that both visiting teams finished with only 13 men on the field!

 

31/12/1955

v London Irish, Away. Lost 9-13. Team:- P Sullivan M McCarthy, G Trenchard, J Thomas, A Guest, B Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, F Carey, W Law, F Thomas, J Ramsey, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, M Smith. Fred Carey, skipper of the ‘A’s came in to hook, in place of the injured Clements.

The Irish pack was on top form, and it was hard going at the Rectory Road, Blackheath. The home side scored two first half goals, Trenchard had been injured and Bath struggled on with 14 men. He had pulled a thigh muscle and was to miss out for several games.

In the second half, Kendall Carpenter pounced on a dropped pass, slipped on to Weston, who sent McCarthy over for Bath’s try. Twenty-three minutes into the second half, the Irish re-established their 10-point lead, with a penalty goal by Murphy-O’Connor. Sullivan made the score a bit more respectable with two well taken penalties.

 

7/1/1956

v Leicester, Home. Won 11-0. Team:- P Sullivan, M McCarthy, W Holmes, A Guest, M Smith, B Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, P Hill, W Law, F Thomas, J Ramsey, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, B Peasley. Tries by Guest, McCarthy and Brian Weston and conversion by Sullivan.

Bath were happy to confront a weakened Leicester back division, and amass three tries, one converted without reply. Both Elders and Cullen were on the injured list. Bath’s scores stemmed from Brian Weston, Tony Guest (converted by Sullivan), and McCarthy. “The pack was in storming form in the loose and although the Tigers tried to throw the ball about attractively they did not get very far.”

 

14/1/1956

v London Welsh, Away. Won 15-3. Team:-P Sullivan, J Rees, W Holmes, A Guest, M McCarthy, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, T Smith, W Law, E Hopton, F Thomas, G Jones, D Naylor and B Peasley.

“Champagne” rugby to win this one at Herne Hill. London Welsh fielded three internationals in Edwards, Brewer and Davies and the final score of two penalties and three tries to a try was an excellent performance. Tom Smith did a grand job as a makeshift hooker. Winger Rees was a “high-voltage” live wire, who knew the way to the line. Bath tries from McCarthy, Rees and Hopton. Sullivan obliged with two penalties. Tony Guest had another excellent game, with determined running and useful tactical kicks-ahead.

 

News that centre, Ted Asquith was likely to be out for the rest of the season. Injured before Christmas, he was still in hospital with cartilage trouble.

 

21/1/1956

v Cardiff, Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- P Sullivan, J Rees, W Holmes, A Guest, M McCarthy, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, E Hopton, F Thomas, M Smith, J Kendall-Carpenter and B Peasley.

Cardiff were able to field an exceptionally strong side, as only Cliff Morgan and C L Davies were on duty with the national side. It was the first occasion that there was no Cardiff man in the Welsh pack.

Cardiff Team:- A Priday, G Rowlands, G John, H Nicholls, D C Murphy, K Richards, B Mark, J D Evans, G Beckingham, C Howe, E Thomas, M Collins, J Crothers, P Goodfellow and E Lewis.

“Bath’s hopes of recording their first win at Arms Park, against Cardiff, were rudely shattered this afternoon by two early Cardiff scores. The visitors played by no means badly but on a rain-affected pitch the Welshmen seemed quicker at taking their opportunities and handled the ball better.” Bath stuck manfully to their defensive tasks, with Kendall-Carpenter saving a certain try> There was a fine all round performance from Sullivan. Bath had the misfortune of losing Drewett near the end of the first half and Peasley had to deputise. “Bath’s plight worsened mid-way through the half when, in stopping an attack, Rees was injured and was escorted limping, from the field. Smith (M) had to come out to fill the second vacancy and it meant that Bath had only six forwards.” “The plucky 13 defended stubbornly….” Cardiff threatened to score, but still, Bath kept them out: “and Bath came out of the game with credit considering all things.”

 

In The Bath Football Herald on 21st January, ‘W.J.S.’ shared Club concern at falling attendances. His view on the reduction in support was encapsulated in the headline:-

 

28/1/1956

v St. Mary’s Hospital, Away. Won 3-0. Team:- M Granger, R Leonard, A Guest, J Dolman, M McCarthy, C Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, E Hopton,

Malcolm Smith, G Jones and B Peasley. Drewett was heavily bandaged following damage sustained at Cardiff the previous Saturday.

A double over St. Mary’s. Tony Guest slipped past Cannell for the solitary try. Fine work from Bill Law, Glyn Jones, Brian Peasley and Gerald Clements, and the team was well led by John Roberts.

 

4/2/1956

v Rosslyn Park cancelled due to frost.

 

11/2/1956

v Gloucester similarly cancelled.

 

18/2/1956

v Newbridge, Home. Won 6-3. Team:- M J Granger, M Macarthy, A H Guest, J Dolman,

J O Rees, J H T Thomas, G D Drewett, J W P Roberts, G H Clements, W R Law, E G Hopton, F J Thomas, M Smith, J MacG Kendall-Carpenter, B J Peasley. Winger J Dolman, (6′ 4″) featured well in this match, and in the 10th minute he chalked up his first points for the Club. This was a gigantic penalty kick from wide out. There were some lively moments towards the end of the first half:

“It was now end to end, and following a scramble in the Newbridge twenty-five, Rees was nearly over and Kendall-Carpenter was bundled into the corner flag.

Before the interval however, Bath scored an excellent try.

Guest gathered a loose ball near half way, and crashed his way deep into the visitors’ twentyfive on the left. He timed his pass well to winger McCarthy, who was only partially stopped.

He stumbled forward a few paces before managing to slip in a pass to Thomas (J) who went racing over.”

 

25/2/1956

v Wasps cancelled due to frost.

 

3/3/1956

v Bristol. Home. Lost 3-9. Team:- M Granger, J Rees, A Guest, D Silk, M McCarthy, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, E Hopton, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter, D Ellacott. First game for Dennis Silk, Cambridge Double Blue. McCarthy got the try.

In this 128th official match, Bristol carried off their first win at the Recreation ground since 1937.

They took an interval lead with a try and a penalty goal, and later added another penalty..

Bath’s response was spirited enough, but McCarthy’s try did not come until the second half.

“Guest fought like a tiger to get through but he was not successful and the game was held up once again when he had to receive attention for a cut over the ear.

He waved attention aside but the referee ordered ambulance men to look at the cut and the Bath centre had to go off for attention. Ellacott moving to the wing and Rees coming into the centre.

It was not Bath struggling with fourteen men in a game which contained all the usual ‘derby’ atmosphere. But they did not surrender easily and Bristol could not score again before Guest returned.

Following a scrum the Bath threequarters came away with the ball and it was Silk who, shaking aside a tackle made the opening which enabled McCarthy, the former Bristol player, to go over wide out. Silk could not cap his fine effort by kicking the goal.”

“Shortly after this the referee gave a warning to the two packs, who appeared to be playing over-robustly.”

Kendall-Carpenter again suffered an injury in the second leg of this Derby encounter.

Same Opponents, playing in same position – same nose broken!

 

10/3/1956

v Swansea, Away. Lost 5-22. Team:- M Granger, J Rees, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, M McCarthy, C Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, J Ramsey, J Stoddart, G Jones, M Smith and L Davis. Try by McCarthy, converted by Drewett.

Bath took a weakened side to the breezy but sunny St. Helens ground. Their valiant efforts could not stop the ‘All-Whites’ crossing the Bath line 4 times, converting twice and adding two penalties for good measure. Swansea threw the ball about, with an excellent interplay between backs and forwards.

Granger and former Swansea player, Addenbrooke did stalwart work in defence. Towards the interval Rees made a strong run to test the opposition. Meanwhile Swansea embarked on their scoring spree, and it was near the end before McCarthy scored for Bath and Drewett converted.

 

17/3/1956

v Llanelly, Home. Lost 8-13. Team:- P Sullivan, M Smith, A Guest, D Silk, M McCarthy, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, G Jones, D Naylor, E Hopton and B Peasley.

“The first half produced some of the best rugby on the ground this season, and although both defences were sorely tested the sides were all square at the interval.” Llanelly were the first to register a goal, and Bath followed three minutes later, when Guest received the ball, following a set scrum, and with a determined burst, penetrated 20 yards through the opposing players, to smash down near the posts. Sullivan was left with an easy conversion. (Half-time 5-5)

FOOTEY

“Bath nearly scored when Drewett dribbled soccer fashion on the right and centred for McCarthy and Smith to rush up. Williams touched down just in time to save Llanelly.”

Bath were playing well, until Guest fumbled and Sendell was able to touch down, with Sullivan out of position. Davies converted. Bath were again sluggish with a clearance and Sendell was over again for an unconverted try. There was a late consolation, when Malcolm Smith scored Bath’s second try, but the Scarlets had enjoyed the best of the encounter. The Doll kept its red jersey!

 

Football Herald 17th March 1956

Plans for an end of season French Tour shelved, owing to fixture congestion, following bad weather on the Continent.

News that Fred Carey was planning to ‘hang up his boots.’ After a long and industrious playing career, latterly in fostering young players through the Third XV ‘nursery.1

 

24/3/1956

v Devonport Services, Away. Drawn 3-3. Team:- P Sullivan, M McCarthy, A Guest, J Dolman, M Smith, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, L Davis, Dennis Ellacot, Robin Blackmore and Brian Peasley.

A LAME EXCUSE!

Honours even at the Rectory Field. Bath had taken the lead with Gordon Drewett’s finely taken penalty, only for advantage to be nullified two minutes later with a Services try by Bland. Guest, playing at centre was the chief danger to the Devonport side, but the Bath backs were too orthodox and did not get far. Dolman and Guest threatened in the second half, but there was a general lack of support.

Ellacott was injured in a loose scrummage and eventually resumed – limping.

He was followed by Bland, who similarly returned after treatment – limping.

 

29/3/1956

v Harlequins, Home. Lost 0-14. Selected Team:- P D Sullivan, M Macarthy, A H Guest, Strange, M Smith, C Weston, G D Drewett, J W P Roberts, G H Clements, W R Law, F Thomas, G Jones, R Blackmore, E G Hopton and B J Peasley.

A heavy loss, but supporters, enjoying perfect conditions, were treated to a superb exhibition of running rugby by Harlequins’ star-studded side, to launch the Easter holiday programme. Bath were outclassed, and hastened their own downfall, by a marked reluctance to tackle. Consequently it was ‘open house,’ as the Quins crossed the Bath line four times, with a single conversion. It was, nevertheless, wonderfully entertaining. “Wingers Barker and Woodruff showed speed off the mark which quite amazed the Bath players. The Quins pack was very fast and backed up their outsides in the best fashion. Often outstanding in this capacity were England forward Sanders and former Clifton player Whyte.”

 

31/3/1956

v Bridgend, Home. Won 13-3. Team:- P Sullivan, M McCarthy, A Guest, M Smith, R Leonard, C Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, F Thomas, E Hopton, G Jones, J Kendall-Carpenter, R Blackmore. Tries by Blackmore, Weston and Kendall-Carpenter. Two conversions from Sullivan.

It was the first game with Bridgend since pre-war days. (25th March 1939)

The visitors were a lively lot, but Bath were playing well, except for a tendency for their forwards to stray off-side. The home side were fortunate that Bridgend’s Hodgson was off target with his kicking.

Bath gradually got on top and Drewett and Leonard combined well to take play into the opposing 25. “In the 34th minute Bath took the lead following a scrum near the Bridgend line. The visitors won possession but Greenslade was slow in getting the ball away. Robin Blackmore picked up the ball and stumbled the few feet necessary to score. Sullivan was unable to convert.”

The second half opened with a superb try by Cliff Weston following a storming burst by Guest. Sullivan added extras. Bridgend replied with an unconverted try by Williams.

Despite the loss of Leonard, with a head injury, Bath continued to press, and their combined effort was rewarded: Then Bath scored again. Roberts snapped up the ball near halfway and stormed through into the Bridgend 25. There was only the full-back to beat and he timed his pass well to Kendall-Carpenter who sped away to touch down.” Sullivan converted and the game was well won.

Roy Leonard was home on leave and recalls: “I did not finish the match and still have the head scar to prove it.”

 

2/4/1956

v Bradford. Home. Won 22-5. Team:- P Sullivan, M McCarthy, A Guest, Fale, M Smith, C Weston, P Dart, J Roberts, G Clements, J M Head, A J Meek, E Hopton, R Buchanan, J Kendall- Carpenter and B J Peasley. Tries by Smith, Guest (2), Fale (2), and Kendall-Carpenter. Sullivan kicked two conversions.

“Bath again showed remarkably inconsistent form over the Easter holiday, for only four days after the side had taken a drubbing from a brilliant Harlequins side, they were making easy meat of Bradford.

On the whole, however, the holiday did much to show the weaknesses of the local side and also to emphasis its strong points, as well as giving supporters a chance of seeing a number of relative newcomers getting some experience in top class football which might stand them in good stead for the future.

The Bath forward play for the most part of this season has not had the ‘devil’ and sparkle for which the club has been so famous in post-war years.”

 

It was John Robert’s 268th game for Bath. “This is really a splendid record and one which he must be heartily congratulated. How many scrums he has got down in cannot be recorded but as yet there is no sign of a ‘cauliflower’ ear. Well done John!” (Programme Notes)

1948-49 11

1949-50 37

1950-51 37

1951-52 37

1952-53 34

1953-54 40

1954-55 40

1955-56 32

—————

268

 

7/4/1956

v Northampton, Away. Lost 0-24. Team:- P Sullivan, P Fale, A Guest, C Pickard, M Smith, C Weston, G Drewett, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, E Hopton, F Thomas, G Jones, Kendall-Carpenter and B Peasley. Paddy Sullivan was injured in this game and was considering retirement.

Northampton rocked Bath, who were overwhelmed by the Saints’ brilliant three-quarter play, allowing the home side to cross the Bath line 6 times and convert 3 of them.

John Roberts led the pack well, but outside there was little to commend in team performance against a side containing six internationals. The whole of the Saints’ three-quarter line demonstrated dash and penetration and Bath were left to defend frantically. Guest and Smith were prominent with individual forays, but the Bath side were generally outclassed. Kendall-Carpenter demonstrated his experience in defensive anticipation, and he also reclaimed valuable ground, with his touch kicking.

 

14/4/1956

v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 9-3. Team:- M Bailey, E J Dasent, A Guest, P Fale, M Smith, C Weston, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, E Hopton, F Thomas, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter and J Ramsay.

After four minutes, M Smith put Bath ahead with a 35 yard penalty. The three-quarter line were making some enterprising forays, being well supplied from the scrum, profiting from Ron Shuttleworth’s speedy distribution. Trenchard was playing well against his former club, and Guest was prominent at centre. With the wind in their favour and the rain at their backs, Weston came into the game in the second half. However, Bath consolidated their position when Smith kicked a second penalty, and when Kendall-Carpenter was presented with a gift try from a charge down. Weston’s Collard countered with a penalty, but Bath were home – if not dry.

 

14/4/1956

v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 9-3. Team:- M Bailey, E J Dasent, A Guest, P Fale, M Smith, C Weston, R Shuttleworth, J Roberts, G Clements, W Law, E Hopton, F Thomas, D Naylor, J Kendall-Carpenter and J Ramsay.

After four minutes, M Smith put Bath ahead with a 35 yard penalty. The three-quarter line were making some enterprising forays, being well supplied from the scrum, profiting from Ron Shuttleworth’s speedy distribution. Trenchard was playing well against his former club, and Guest was prominent at centre. With the wind in their favour and the rain at their backs, Weston came into the game in the second half. However, Bath consolidated their position when Smith kicked a second penalty, and when Kendall-Carpenter was presented with a gift try from a charge down. Weston’s Collard countered with a penalty, but Bath were home – if not dry.

16/4/1956

v Bridgwater, Away. Won 9-0. Team:- M Baker, E Dasent, A Guest, G Addenbrooke, D Wilkins, J Thomas, G Drewett, J Roberts, T Smith, W Law, F Thomas, J Stoddart, D Naylor, E Hopton and M Smith. Tries by Guest, M Smith and Stoddart.

“The pack has brought criticism from many quarters mainly, it is said, because the ‘fire’ – a reputed hallmark of the play in former years-was rarely seen.

If more supporters had travelled to Bridgwater for the forward battle there, such critics would have been silenced; it was a stirring performance.”

 

21/4/1956

v Bedford. Home. Won 19-8. Team:- M Bailey, D J Wilkins, A H Guest, M H Smith, E J Dasent, J T H Thomas, G D Drewett, J W P Roberts, G H Clements, W R Law, F J Thomas, A J Meek, D G Naylor, J MacG Kendall-Carpenter, E G Hopton.

Two goals and three tries in a confident performance in front of an appreciative home crowd, enjoying ‘cricket-like’ weather.

Tries by Kendall-Carpenter, Law, Malcolm Smith, Guest and Marshall. Smith converted two.

“The Bath forwards were again in good form and they gave their ‘new look’ back division plenty of opportunities.” Despite their dominance, Bath tended to waste scoring chances by aimless kicks ahead.

 

28/4/1956

v Moseley. Home. Lost 8-23. Team:- M Bailey, M Macarthy, A H Guest, M H Smith, E J Dasent, J T H Thomas, G D Drewett, J W P Roberts, G H Clements, W R Law, A J Meek, F J Thomas, E G Hopton, J MacG Kendall-Carpenter, D G Naylor.

Tries by Kendall-Carpenter and McCarthy. Conversion Smith. Tony Guest, playing at centre, had little room to influence play and although the forwards held there own, Moseley effectively took charge of events for a comfortable win. The home side demonstrated remarkable speed and agility in attack.

“Shortly before the close a dazzling run by outside-half Thomas, led to a very fine Bath try. The young Cornish player received the ball from a scrummage inside the Bath half and using a side step and a dummy ran to within 20 yards of the Moseley line before giving a scoring pass to McCarthy. Smith converted.”

 

Thus, Bath wound up a bit of a ‘run of the mill’ season in performance terms, having Lost 18, Won 17 and Drawn 3. There was also an in-balance on points at 289 For and 332 Against.

In contrast, it had been a very fine season for Bath United under the captaincy of Guy Addenbrooke. They had lost only 2 games out of 27, and did not lose a single match on an away ground. The ‘A’ XV could also look back on a successful performance:-

 

BATH UNITED. Played 27, Won 24, Drawn 1, Lost 2. Points For 389 Against 94.

BATH ‘A’s. Played 30, Won 20, Drawn 1, Lost 9. Points For 514 Against 146.

 

Blazer badges (qualification 15 games that season) to: B Lane, A Guest, G Drewett, J Thomas, G Trenchard, G Clements, W Law, M Smith, R Leonard, J Rees and D Naylor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POINTS SCORERS

 

Tries: -A Guest 14, M McCarthy 8, J Kendall-Carpenter and J Rees 6, M Smith 4, R Shuttleworth, J Thomas, E Hopton, R Woodward, G Trenchard, P Fale 2, K Box, E Asquith, I Van Heerden, I Smart, T Walsh, J Roberts, R Leonard, B Weston, J Stoddart, E Dasent, W Law 1 each.

Total tries scored 63.

 

Goals:- P Sullivan 14, M Smith 4, G Drewett 2.

 

Drop Goals:- G Trenchard and M Smith 1 each.

 

Penalty goals:- P Sullivan 12, G Drewett 3, M Smith 2, J Dolman 1.

 

APPEARANCES:- J Roberts 37, F Thomas 32, E Hopton, A Guest and G Drewett 29, M Smith 27, G Clements, W Law and P Sullivan 25, J Thomas 21, J Kendall-Carpenter 20, J Rees 19, D Naylor, B Peasley, G Trenchard 18, M McCarthy 15, T Smith 14, A Asquith, G Jones 13, C Weston, R Leonard, B Lane 8, R Blackmore, W Holmes 7, R Shuttleworth, J Ramsey 6, J Stoddart, M Granger, B Weston, I Smart, R Woodward 5, A Meek, E Dasent, C Pickard, L Davis, P Hardy 4, P Fale, P Dart, J Dolman, P Hill, G Dawe, E Bethell, J Wilson, I Van Heerden 3, D Wilkins, G Addenbrooke, R Buchanan, D Ellacott, D Silk, M Harding, K Box 2, M Baker, J Hedge, G Strange, F Carey, T Walsh, P Hinckley, K McCrindle once each.

 

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