17th August 1957. News that John Dingle was re-joining Bath from Bristol. His impact on line-out play was to be immediate. Unfortunately, his playing career was cut short through injury.
Announcements that David Bogie, Cambridge, had joined Bath. Pat Hill was back from National Service, Brian Davis had stepped up from Old Edwardians. Full-back Barry Richards had re-joined and was in training. Roy Farnham had joined from Avonvale. Fred Book was again available, and was unquestionably the most improved forward of the previous season. John Wood had left to join Cheltenham Club.
v North and West Wilts, Home, Won 26-14. B Richards, F Harrison (T), A Guest, R Farnham, J Dolman (T & 4g & 1pg), B Weston, P Dart, J Roberts, D Bogie, F Thomas, J Dingle, J Tomlinson, R Blackmore (T), B Peasley (Tx2). Be-sporting their new jerseys and shorts, it was largely a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the new season.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-26. B Richards, M Blackmore, A Guest, R Farnham, D Ogden, B Weston, G Drewett, F Book, D Bogie, J Roberts, F Thomas, J Dingle, J Tomlinson, R Blackmore, B Peasley. A magnificent 40 yards drop goal by Richards put Bath on level terms for the first half at Welford Road. From then on, the parity ended. The Tigers piled on 4 gaols and a second penalty for a decisive victory. Both sides played excellent attacking football, but come the end, it was all a bit one sided. The margin of defeat was exacerbated by the injuries to Robin Blackmore and Barry Richards.
v Public Schools Wanderers, Home, Lost 13-14. C Weston, D Ogden, J Clark, R Farnham (T), J Dolman (T&2g & 1pg), B Weston, G Drewett, F Book, D Bogie, J Roberts, F Thomas, J Dingle, G Jones, E Hopton, B Peasley. The result was reported as: “so inconclusive as to be of no great consequence.” However, it was one of three 1st XV losses, since their jaunt against North & West Wilts. All three of the Club’s XV’s lost their Saturday games.
v Devonport Services, Home, Lost 8-11. C Weston, M Blackmore (T&1g), J Clark, A Guest, J Dolman (T), R Farnham, G Drewett, F Book, D Bogie, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, G Jones, E Hopton, B Peasley.
BACK ROW PROWESS?
“The ease with which the Services outside-half Jones was allowed to dictate the pattern of play cannot be wholly attributed to his brilliance.
His tactical brain worked overtime and his elusive running on the day in a class of its own, but still the Bath defence must be blamed for not making every effort to curb the man who can almost be said to have beaten Bath single handed.
The principle reason in the past why Bath have been able to hold and very often eclipse sides very much more superior on paper has been the excellence of the side’s back-row players.
Alec Lewis, Kendall-Carpenter and Ian Beer are better known examples of this Bath speciality-a speciality which has more bearing than any other aspect of modern football, many believe.
The back row can obliterate half-back pairings, starve penetrating centres of possession and virtually prevent wingers from taking an active part in the game.
That had often been the Bath secret of success; it is not a criticism of play, but more a commendation of the correct tactics with limited resources in attacking departments.”
(Ian Todd – Football Herald & Chronicle 28th September 1957)
ON THE TELLY
A B.B.C. West televised film was the first to be taken by a Regional cameraman. The honour fell to Bath’s own Bill Morris, and would run for half of the five minutes TV coverage, with commentary by Tom Salmon.
v St. Mary’s. Won 8-6 Away. I Balding, F Harrison, B Weston, A Guest, J Dolman, J Clark, G Drewett, J Roberts, P Hill, F Book, F Thomas, A Meek, J Dingle, E Hopton, B Peasley.
Tries by Dolman and Guest, one converted by Dolman. Eric Hopton was a tower of strength in the loose, and Frank Thomas and John Dingle ruled the line-outs. Bath’s heavy forwards gradually gained the upper hand, to deprive St. Mary’s of attacking opportunities.
The side possibly benefited from playwright Arnold Ridley’s detailed pre-match briefing – a service he was pleased to provide for any Bath visit to a London Club. “And when it was all over there are usually ‘a few notes on the game’ for Mr. Jack Arnold, the team secretary.”
Add to this the availability of centre stall seats for ‘The Ghost Train, ‘ Arnold Ridley never wavered in his loyalty and support in the Bath Club’s affairs.
Following this, his last game, long serving forward John Dingle announced that on medical advice, he was forced to retire from rugby. He first played for Bath in the 1946-47 season and had played 130 games for the 1st XV. John had suffered two head injuries, leaving him concussed and with split vision, which had kept him out of the game for nearly 18 months.
v Clifton, Home, Won 26-0. I Balding, D Ogden, F Harrison (Tx3), R Farnham (T), J Dolman (T&4g), J Clark, P Dart, J Roberts, B Davis, F Book, F Thomas (T), A Jacob, Butt, A Meek, E Hopton. Bath were justly please with their hard fought win the previous week, and approached the Clifton game “with a little light abandon.” Bath ran in six tries without reply.
NEWS CHRONICLE 5th October 1957
Club stalwart John Roberts had moved to live in Box. His Wiltshire qualification was immediately recognised, and at the age of 36, he gained his first County Cap for Dorset & Wilts, under the captaincy of Ian Beer.
Ian Balding was in a bit of a rush, getting to this Thursday evening game. At 4 p.m. he had been riding ‘The Quiet Man’ at Wincanton. Ian wasted no time, and brought his mount in, for a winner at 100-8! The previous year, Ian had been successful with the same horse at Aintree.
v Llanelly, Away, Lost 5-34. I Balding, D Ogden, B Weston, A Guest, J Dolman, J Clark, G Drewett, J Roberts, M Whyte, F Book, F Thomas, A Jacob, A Meek, B Peasley, E Hopton.
The famed Carwyn James was at outside half for Llanelly, and Bath were baffled by the Scarlets’ handling skills and pace. Twenty points down at half time, Bath’s only reply was a try by David Ogden, which Dolman converted. Llanelly crossed the Bath line 8 times, converting 5. Llanelly fielded four, in-form, Internationals. “The pack, which had held its own in this debacle, was weakened when Peasley left the field. The wing forward later returned with his head bandaged, but collapsed soon afterwards.”
It was fitting that Lanelly’s final try was scored by James, who dived for the corner, with Ogden clinging doggedly to his legs.
v Ebbw Vale, Home, Drawn 3-3. I Balding, D Ogden, D S Williams (Army at Larkhill), R Farnham, F Harrison, J W Clark, P J Dart, Mike Stephens (Bristol University), P J Hill, J W P Roberts, G Jones, J A Jacob, J Tomlinson, J M Jones (Sandhurst and Army at Larkhill), Peter H Butts (Army ex Moseley). Bath did well to hold the previous season’s Welsh Champions to a draw. The defence had some anxious moments, but wAS generally able to disrupt the visitors’ powerful running back division, and established parity in the forward exchanges. M Stephens (in for Book), kicked Bath’s penalty, when Ebbw Vale were adjudged off-side. Clark and Farnham combined well.
Bath had been hit by a Flu bug, and there were several fresh faces in the final line up.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 9-12. I R Balding, M J Blackmore (T&1pg), D Silk, A H Guest, F E D Harrison, J D Clark, G H Drewett, F J Book, P J Hill, J W P Roberts, F J Thomas, A Jacob, B Peasley, J M Jones (T), P Butts. In a typically keen game, Bath could be considered a little unfortunate in losing, having scored 2 tries and a penalty, to Bristol’s 1 try, 2 penalties and a very late drop goal.
Bristol’s Blake opened the scoring after ten minutes, when a change of direction confused Harrison and Balding; Wynne Jones side-stepped Blackmore, allowing Blake to take the scoring pass.
“The kicking of Cripps was again to be a vital factor, for just before the interval he sent over another penalty from a full 50 yards, and only three yards in from touch.” His earlier penalty had been from, at least 40 yards out. Bath’s scores came from a fine first half penalty by Devon wing Blackmore, and a try by J M Jones, following a Bristol fumble. Blackmore scored an opportunist try at the start of the second half, but Blake clinched the game with the winning drop kick.
v Newbridge, Home, Won 11-5. D Williams, D Ogden, A Guest (T), J Dolman (T & 1g), F Harrison, J D Clark, P Dart, M Stephens, P Hill, J W P Roberts, F Thomas (T), A Jacob, E Hopton, J M Jones, J Tomlinson. Bath were fortunate to build on an 8-5 interval lead, against lively opposition.
A push-over try was credited to Jones, which Dolman converted. At this stage the sides were equal; later Guest gathered the ball in midfield, beat several defenders and passed on to Dolman, who raced 40 yards to take the lead. In the second spell: “Bath hemmed Newbridge in their own half, and, from a line-out near the visitors’ line, Guest made a dazzling burst through the Newbridge back division to score an unconverted try.” Midway through the second half, Ogden was forced to leave the field, after a ‘double’ tackle by the Newbridge full-back and their right-winger. Ogden had been somewhat unfortunate with injuries, and had also suffered from lack of good ball in attacking positions.
News that Gio Sidoli, “the India rubber” scrum-half, who would normally turn out at any time -anywhere, was finding it difficult to get away from work in time for Bath games. “Gio, the man with an ever ready supply of practical jokes up his sleeve and a wisecrack for every occasion will be missed as a great clubman.” He was joining Bristol district club, Old Redcliffians.
Fred Book and Gordon Drewett gained their first County caps against Cornwall.
v United Services, Home, Lost 6-11. P Sullivan (1pg), J Dolman, R Farnham, A Guest, F Harrison (T), J Clark, G Drewett, F Book, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, P Butts, J Jones, B Peasley. Sullivan contributed Bath’s first half points with a penalty, and at one stage, ran up, brilliantly integrating with the three-quarter line, with all his old class. In the second half, he made a brilliant clearance, when the Services threatened. This signalled another upsurge in fortunes: “With the Services side completely bemused the ball travelled smartly along the line to Harrison who ran hard down his wing and when challenged by Gardiner after rounding his opposite number, he kicked ahead. The ball was perfectly placed and Harrison raced away to score an unconverted try and so put Bath on equal terms.” However, the Services final tally was 1goal and 2 penalties, to Bath’s 1 try and 1 penalty.
Paddy Sullivan, making a one match ‘come-back’ appearance, reduced the arrears with a penalty.
Sullivan had, to all intents and purposes, retired from first class rugby after an injury against Northampton in 1956.
Paddy started his rugby with St. Mary’s O.B., and migrated to Bath when he failed to secure a regular place with the Bristol Club. Our gain was their substantial loss, as Sullivan was to remain a long serving, loyal servant to the Bath Club, and make the full-back spot virtually his own.
“Always an exceptional positional player, and fearless at the feet of the forwards, he was always popular with the crowd on the Rec., and he seemed to have the happy knack of dodging oncoming opponents with ease, and sending a long screw-kick into touch. He seldom missed.
But he was not, by any means, merely a defensive player, for he never neglected an opportunity to come up with his three-quarters or to dash up to take a snap drop kick at goal.” He was, perhaps, ahead of his time in this respect.
His main asset, however, was his prodigious goal kicking ability. Over nine seasons, he played 185 games for the 1st XV and amassed 612 points (147 conversions, 98 penalties, 3 tries and 5 drop goals)
He was as popular off the field, as he was successful on the field. His was a Rugby career to be proud of.
v Saracens, Away, Lost 11-16. J Clark, F Harrison, R Farnham, A Guest, D Ogden, Keith Jones, P Dart, M Stephens, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, L Davis, E Hopton, J Jones, J Clark.
“Before the start a minute’s silence was observed in honour of the Saracens’ hooker Lieut. Alec Rennie, a jet fighter pilot, who was killed on Thursday. Rennie was due to hook for Saracens in today’s match.”
Old Sulian Keith Jones had a “dream debut” at outside-half, showing sparkling form and scoring a brilliant try. Almost immediately afterwards, he suffered a heavy tackle and was taken to hospital for an x-ray. Stephens had converted Jones’s try. After Jones had been carried off, Hopton moved to full-back and Clark took the outside-half spot. Soon it was Farnham’s turn to present his side with a delightful try, but the conversion kick was disallowed as the ball had previously touched the ground.
Bath’s final score was a penalty by Stephens, in a final session that featured hard gruelling football.
Saracens carried the day.
v Cheltenham, Home, Won 14-0. B Richards, M Blackmore, A Guest, R Farnham, F Harrison, J Clark, G Drewett, M Stephens, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, J Clark, M Jones, B Peasley. Bath subdued Cheltenham, scoring 1 gaol and 3 tries without reply. Try scorers:- Blackmore, Farnham, M Jones and Clark. Blackmore converted Clark’s try. It was an excellent all-round performance, in which forwards and backs combined to good effect. Devon County winger Blackmore, was outstanding on Bath’s right flank.
v London Welsh, Away, Lost 3-6. B Richards, F Harrison, R Farnham, A Guest, D Ogden, C Weston, G Drewett, M Stephens, D Bogie, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, J Clark, J M Jones, B Peasley.
“A last minute try gave London Welsh a six points to three victory over Bath at Old Deer Park this afternoon. It was just reward for a side which showed much penetration in midfield and greater enthusiasm among the forwards. The game never reached great heights due principally to Bath’s limitations in attack under stern attentions from the home side’s back row forwards, and because the Welsh were guilty of poor finishing, after intelligent approach work.” Stephen’s penalty brought Bath level eight minutes from time, but Exciles scrum-half Thomas was able to break round on the blind-side for a last ditch decider.
v Harlequins, Away, Lost 0-16. Team:- I Balding, D Ogden, B Richards, R Farnham, J Thomas, C Weston, G Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, D Robson, M Jones, P Lewis.
Despite the scoreline, Bath put up a great fight: “Bath’s tackling was often ruthlessly sure, and the covering so fast that opponents were made to look no better than ordinary on many occasions.”
Vice President Arnold Ridley was moved to write and congratulate the 1st XV on a fine performance.
This game was coupled with commemoration of the death of Adrian Stoop, former Quins Honorary Secretary and President, who had passed away on the previous Wednesday, aged 74.
It was played at the White City Stadium.
A MURKY MATCH
v London Scottish, Home, Lost 3-8. Team:- J Clark, J Tomlinson, B Richards, R Farnham, D Ogden, J Thomas, G Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J Roberts, F Thomas (T), A Jacob, D Robson, J Jones, P Lewis. There was diminishing interest in this encounter – especially the last quarter-hour. It had been a murky day from the start, and as darkness fell, spectators could not follow the play, and many left the ground. Frank Thomas was seen to score a try for Bath, but few in the West Stand could hazard a guess as to how the Exciles wining try was scored, and only enquiries after the game revealed the scorer.
v Gloucester, Home, Lost 6-9. I Balding, A Guest, R Farnham, F Harrison, J Ogden, J Thomas, G Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J Roberts, F Thomas (T), A Jacob, D Robson, J M Jones, P Lewis (T).
A late try in the second half secured a win for Gloucester in a hard but unspectacular battle on the Rec. “Bath took the lead within two minutes. A diagonal kick by outside-half J Thomas gained good ground after the Gloucester right wing Smith, had failed to gather. Bath stormed upfield on the left flank, and Ogden gained possession.
The left-wing passed inside and Thomas, only a few yards from the line, took the ball and forced his way over with several red shirted defenders clinging round his waist. Drewett failed with the conversion kick.” In all, Gloucester ran in three tries. Lewis got Bath’s second try, wide out following a dribble.
Play was held up for a while, as John Roberts received treatment for an injury; there had been some ‘robust play’ on the Bath left wing. He returned with a bandaged head.
In the closing minutes, Bath tried desperately to level the match – but this was one up for Gloucester!
Programme included a note that “Stitch” (Should be Titch) Drewett had been selected for Western Counties v Wallabies.
v Neath, Away, Lost 8-11. J F Clark, J Tomlinson, R Farnham, F Harrison, J Ogden, K Jones, G Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J Roberts (1g 7 1pg), F Thomas, A Jacob, R Blackmore, J M Jones (T), P Lewis. Neath were five points up within three minutes of the kick-off. Their final score was a goal, a try and a drop goal, to Bath’s goal and a penalty. Neath were the faster and more balanced side, whilst Bath were slow in gaining possession and lacked the sophistication of the Welsh outfit. Arguably against the run of play, Bath levelled the score 10 minutes into the second half, when Harrison fielded a high ball, shook off his opposite number and punted on, for M Jones to come up in support to touch down. Skipper, Roberts was successful with a difficult kick. Still in the action, John Roberts landed a magnificent penalty to put Bath in the lead midway through the second half. Neath hit back strongly and levelled when wing forward Thomas crowned a forward rush. The try was not converted, but in the last frantic minutes, Neath out-side, Weaver landed a brilliant drop-gaol for a Welsh win.
v Old Blues, Home, Won 15-6. J Clark, A Guest, J Dolman, R Farnham, J Ogden, I Reid, G Drewett, M Stephens, D Bogie, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, G Jones, R Blackmore, P Lewis.
At last, a good team performance brought a welcome win in front of a 2000 plus Boxing Day crowd.
The game included a superb debut performance from 18 year-old Prior Park schoolboy Ian Reid.
Winger David Ogden, also staked a claim for regular inclusion. Bath tries from Blackmore (2), Dolman and Farnham. J Roberts had an off-day with the boot, but did contribute a penalty. John Clark played a sound game at full-back.
v London Irish, Home, Lost 6-9. I Balding, A Guest, J Clark, R Farnham, J Ogden, B Weston, G Drewett, M Stephens, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, G Jones, M Jones, R Blackmore. A bit of a penalty shoot-out, with Bath loosing the duel 3 to 2. John Roberts first success came after 10 minutes play. Bath found it tough going to contain the fiery Irish forwards and equally difficult to break into their opponents’ half, due to the intensity of defence. “Seldom had Bath met a side with such a virile pack as the Irish, who swept back into the home half with the ball at their feet.” The Irish made one final surge, and only a magnificent crash tackle by Balding prevented a try. Murphy kicked the Exciles’ penalties.
v Leicester, Home, Drawn 8-8. I Balding, A Guest, R Farnham, F Harrison, D Ogden, B Weston, P Dart, M Stephens, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, R Blackmore, M Jones, B Peasley. Bath began impressively with a try by Ogden, converted by Roberts after five minutes play. Then a give-away try and conversion to the Tigers, when Balding’s clearance kick was charged down. Later, Elders won a race against Harrison for a Leicester touch-down, but soon afterwards Roberts levelled the game with a 40 yards’ penalty. Guest just missed a scoring chance, losing the ball as he was almost clear, and Thomas, Peasley, Dart and Brian Weston featured in enterprising play. Play was held up for several minutes when Bryan Peasley was involved in a collision, and eventually left the field on a stretcher. On resumption, Bath were awarded a penalty, but Roberts was well wide with his kick.
v Weston-super-Mare, Away. Lost 8-13. Team:- I Balding, A Guest (Tx2), R Farnham, F Harrison, D Ogden, B Weston, P Dart, M Stephens, P Hill, J Roberts (1g), F Thomas, A Jacob, I Beer, M Jones, B Peasley.
A bad start to the second half of the season, with a defeat by eight points to thirteen.
CHRONICLE COMMENT: “Bath’s main trouble still lays in attack, were orthodoxy and hesitation-both characteristics of an undrilled combination-have crumbled against most defences. Centres receiving the ball almost standing still; passes going too deep to make midfield openings and a general slowness among the three-quarters to straighten up in crossfield movements have brought negative results.
These problems cannot be solved if there are to be wholesale changes in line-up almost from week to week.”
The writer instanced Brian Weston, Cliff Weston, John Clark, Keith Jones, Ian Reid and Trelevan Thomas, all having occupied the outside-half position during the season.
v Old Alleynians, Away. Won 19-0. Team: I Balding, D Ogden, R Farnham, F Harrison , A Guest, J Thomas, P Dart, N Brown, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, P Lewis, M Jones and B Peasley.
Tries by Guest 2, Harrison 2, and Ogden. John Roberts converted two.
Bath backs had a memorable run-out. In score-line terms, it was Bath’s best win of the season.
They had arrived at the Old Boys ground already changed and played 30 minutes each way.
A bit of a romp really!
v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 5-3. I Balding, A Guest, R Farnham, F Harrison, J Ogden, J Thomas, G Drewett, N Brown, P Hill, J Roberts, F Thomas, A Jacob, I Beer, M Jones, N Peasley. Tony Jacob was responsible for some good line-out work. Roy Farnham got Bath’s try, which was converted by John Roberts.
Walcot advised that they were quite willing to release C Hemmings to play for Bath, under the terms of the Bath Combination agreement.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Lost 0-6. I Balding, D Ogden, R Farnham, F Harrison, A Guest, J Thomas, G Drewett, N Brown, D Bogie, J Roberts (Capt.), A Jacob, F Thomas, P Lewis, M Jones, B Peasley. “Bath were often out-hooked in the tight and out-jumped in the lines-out by one of the strongest eights met this season. However, they compensated for their deficiencies by strong work in the loose, where Jacob, Lewis, and the captain, John Roberts excelled.” “Drewett and Thomas featured in good general play, but sadly, the closest Bath came to scoring, was in the final minute of the game when Farnham put Guest away. However, the winger delayed his pass to Harrison a fraction too long and Tooth tackled him.”
BEFORE THE GLOUCESTER GAME, both teams lined up in the centre of the field, in memory of EDDIE SIMPKINS, the Bath Honorary Secretary, who had died the previous Saturday, and also in memory of those killed in the MANCHESTER UNITED air disaster.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-15. I Balding, D Ogden, D R W Silk, J Dolman, A Guest, J Thomas, G Drewett, F Book, P Hill, J Roberts, A Jacob, F Thomas, I D S Beer, E Hopton, B Peasley. Bath’s response to a fifteen point deluge, was a second half penalty kicked by John Roberts.
Although at full strength, Bath were dominated up front, and Gloucester were able to give their free running three-quarters ample opportunities to test out the Bath defence. Bath did defend stubbornly, but Gloucester were just too good on the day.
v Bridgend, Home, Won 6-3. B Richards, D Ogden (Tx2), A Guest, J Dolman, F Harrison, J Thomas, G Drewett, F Book, P Hill, J Roberts, A Meek, L (Patchy) Davis, I D S Beer, G Jones, B Peasley. Bridgend had taken a dramatic lead with a penalty in the third minute, and held this position through the first half. In fact it proved to be their first and final score. Bridgend’s loose forwards were effective throughout, but their backs failed to exploit opportunities presented to them. At last, Bath struck back with a vengeance. Peasley, who was playing a first class game at open side, broke away in midfield, passed to Dolman, who fed on to David Ogden. It was just the sort of pass he had been waiting for, and he touched down in the corner. The conversion kick failed. However, Bath were doing well in the line-outs where Davis was particularly successful. The three-quarters ran with renewed determination. After near misses by Guest and Dolman, Thomas’s cross-kick found Ogden in just the right spot, for his second try of the game. Bath were still attacking at the finish, Guest was almost clear, but his inside pass to Harrison was not gathered.
BEER IN THE VAN
v Wasps, Away, Lost 0-3. B Richards, D Ogden, J Dolman, F Harrison, A Guest, J Thomas, G Drewett, D Robson, P Hill, J Roberts (Capt.), A Jacob, L J Davis, I D S Beer, G Jones, B Peasley.
Wasps secured a narrow victory after a point less first half. Bath’s rampaging forwards, though outweighed in the tight, kept up relentless pressure in the loose with Beer very much in the van. In turn, Wasps stepped up their game, but could not press home their advantage. Drewett took a nasty knock when making a desperate clearance. He stayed on the field, but was compelled to seek the comparative shelter of blind-side wing forward, while Beer improvised at scrum-half! Bath were forced into a series of five yard scrums, and K Searle scored an almost inevitable try.
v Bristol, Home, Lost 0-11. I Balding, D Ogden, J Dolman, F Harrison, A Guest, J T Thomas, P Dart, F Book, P Hill, J W P Roberts (Capt.), A Jacob, F Thomas, I D S Beer, G Jones, B Peasley. Bristol scored a goal a try and a penalty goal without reply, to register a third successive double. A succession of missed penalties spoilt the early proceedings, but after a Bristol success, kicked by Cripps, the game improved markedly from the 30th minute. Bristol were the more objective and determined side and Radford scored their first try just before half-time, which Cripps converted.
“The Bath pack was the more efficient and quicker heeling eight, but the halves afforded few opportunities to the threequarters under exceptionally stringent marking. Penalties continued to mar the play, as Bristol pressed the Bath 25 with renewed enthusiasm. A strong tackle by Guest on winger Hull stopped one try, but immediately afterwards Base forced his way over from a line-out just short of the line. Cripps could not convert.”
v Swansea, Away, Lost 0-6. B R Richards, D G Ogden, I R Dolman, R F Farnham, A H Guest, J T Thomas, P Dart, D G Robson, P J Hill, J W P Roberts, A Jacob, G Jones, L Walker, M Jones, B Peasley. Bath sides played hard attacking football. Welsh captain, Clem Thomas, was unlucky not to score, after initiating a combined forward movement, which wrong-footed the Bath defence. His misfortune, was Bath’s luck, as the ball bobbed away just as he was to touch it down. Then there was another sweeping attack, as the ball was transferred through half the Swansea side. Bath were able to clear to touch. When Bath were able to get going, Ogden and Dolman worked exceptionally well. Bath stood their ground magnificently, but in trying to clear, Peasley’s kick was charged down, and John Faul got Swansea’s first unconverted try. Next, Harding outstripped the Bath cover for another, spectacular, try.
“Bath successfully halted a series of crossfield movements by the Swansea backs, but the visitors’ line was in real danger when Lloyd, Faull and Thomas swept down the left flank in a 60 yards movement, which finally fizzled out in touch.”
v Llanelly, Home, Won 10-6. I Balding, D G Ogden, J R Dolman, R F Farnham, F E D Harrison, J T Thomas, P J Dart, D G Robson, P J Hill, J W P Roberts (2g), A Jacob (T), F J Thomas, Leslie Walker R.A.F), I D S Beer, B Peasley.
Llanelly were shorn of seven internationals, but were nevertheless, formidable opposition. Bath had a ten point cushion by half time, but the Scarlets’ fight back made for a memorable match. Peasley and Jacob got the first half tries, with Roberts adding the extras. The Llanelly youngsters started the second spell in dramatic style. First, David Evans dropped a magnificent goal, then B Roberts pounced on the ball for an unconverted try.
Beer was outstanding in the Bath pack, forcing his way through several tackles, before passing to Harrison. The winger made off at speed, but Dolman was unable to hold the final pass. The excitement was intense, as Ogden made a 50 yard dash down the left wing. Similarly, Dart, Thomas, Dolman and Farnham all made strong runs, but could not cross the Llanelly line. Beer and Walker were brilliant in support play. The Rag Doll stayed in Bath after an absence of four seasons.
v Moseley, Home, Lost 9-11. J D Clark, A H Guest, R Farnham, D Lavery, D G Ogden, J T Thomas, P J Dart, D G Robson, P J Hill, J W P Roberts (2pg), F J Thomas, A Jacob, I Bright, M J Jones (T), P H Lewis. Moseley scored a penalty within five minutes of the start, but Bath soon levelled when P H Lewis gathered and sent his back-row partner M J Jones in for a try. (Half-time 3-3)
Moseley secured a goal at the re-start, but the home team responded manfully, with Tony Guest featuring in at least three blistering runs as Bath hammered the Moseley line. The non stop pressure forced the midlanders to yield two penalties in a row, and John Roberts was successful with both for a Bath lead. In a dramatic finish, Moseley were awarded a penalty in front of the Bath posts, and Asquith made no mistake in the dying seconds.
v Devonport Services, Away, Lost 3-6. I Balding, D Ogden, D Lavery, R Farnham (T), A Guest, T Hopson, P Dart, D Robson, P Hill, J W P Roberts (Capt.), F Thomas, A Jacob, R Blackmore, M Jones, L Walker. Bath gained early superiority in the lines-out, and from one of these, Walker fed Roy Farnham, who raced away for a splendid try. Shortly after the interval Annadale levelled with a penalty and the Services stepped up their game. Annadale kicked the match winner, when Bath gave away another penalty 35 yards out. The second row forward’s kicking was remarkable, given the muddy conditions. Another fine performance from Tony Guest is worthy of note, and Hopson and Dart combined well at half back.
v Harlequins, Home, Lost 6-14. I Balding, D Ogden, R Ford, R Farnham, D Lavery, B A G Weston, G Drewett, D Robson, P Hill, J W P Roberts (Capt.), F Thomas, A Jacob, R Blackmore, M Jones, B Peasley. Harlequins scored a goal, a drop goal and two tries, to Bath’s try and a penalty goal, in a game described as: “enthralling but generally ordinary.”
Bath were hampered by the withdrawal of blind-side wing-forward Peasley after 25 minutes. Whilst acknowledging the endeavour of the Bath forwards and their eager backs behind them, the Quins were a markedly superior outfit in all phases of play. Bartlett, at out-half, was the springboard for many Harlequins’ attacks, closely supported by loose forwards Hancock, Thompson, Whyte and Marriot. Bath’s Pat Hill performed his hooking duties, against heavy odds.
Frank Thomas crashed over for Bath’s try and John Roberts contributed a penalty.
v Birkenhead Park, Home, Drawn 3-3. B Richards, D Ogden, T Stones, R Farnham, A Guest, T Hopson, P Dart, D Robson, P Hill, J W P Roberts (1pg), F Thomas, A Jacob, N Taylor, M Jones, B Peasley. Bath withstood a first 15 minute onslaught on a muddy, rain swept Recreation Ground. Then Roberts led a rush up to the Birkenhead 25, and was rewarded with a penalty goal, kicked from in front of the posts. (Half-time 3-0)
Bath resumed with renewed zest, but their scrummagers were matched by solid and tight binding opposition. It was from one of these scrums, that the visitors obtained quick ball, allowing Elphick to race over for an unconverted try to draw the game. It was, perhaps, the best of Bath’s Easter performances, as non-availability and mounting injuries made selection difficult.
v OMT’s, Home, Lost 3-6. B Richards, A Guest, T Stones, D Lavery, D G Ogden, T Hopson, G Drewett, D Robson, B Davis, J W P Roberts, A Jacob, G Jones, N Taylor, M J Jones, B J Peasley. Bath were edged out by O.M.T.’s, but Tony Guest got a consolation try.
Bath started well, with Drewett providing a smooth service from the base of the scrum. Brian Davis, standing in for Hill, was performing well in the hooking duel. Unfortunately, the backs’ handling left a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, their play was more positive than the visitors,’ who tended to bide their time waiting for Bath mistakes. On one such occasion, the Old Boys launched a dangerous move, but the Bath defence was equal to the occasion. The Bath backs made some promising moves and Ogden, on the wing, came close to scoring. Roberts made a penalty attempt, but the ball rebounded off the upright. Tony Guest was quickly up to accept the rebound and score near the posts. Roberts compounded his bad luck when the conversion attempt again found the uprights. O.M.T.’s equalised with an easy penalty and once again pulled ahead for a narrow win.
v Sheffield, Home, Won 6-0. B Richards, A Guest, R Ford , D Lavery, D G Ogden, B A G Weston, D G Drewett, N Brown, D Bogie, J W P Roberts (Capt.), A Jacob, F J Thomas, J Simpson, L Davis, J Clark. Try by Ford and a penalty by Roberts, was enough to subdue the ‘steel’ men on a very heavy pitch. Frank Thomas worked well, amidst an under-strength selection.
v Exeter, Away, Lost 0-8. B Richards, D Lavery, A Guest, R Ford, R Farnham, R Wade, G Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J W P Roberts, A Jacob, F Thomas, N Taylor, L Davis, B Peasley.
R Wade had an excellent debut game, but Bath backs were smothered before they could get into their stride. Exeter opened their score with a first half penalty goal, followed by a well taken try by England Trialist Manley, in the fifth minute of the second half. Atkins converted. Exeter’s loose forwards held the upper hand. It was John Robert’s 350th first XV game for Bath..
v Cardiff, Away, Lost 0-17. B Richards, D Lavery, J Dolman, R Farnham, A Guest, R Ford, G D Drewett, N Brown, B Davis, J W P Roberts, A Jacob, F Thomas, J Clark, J Simpson, B Peasley.
Bath did their best to contain a powerful Cardiff side in front of a large and appreciative Arms Park crowd. However, the Welshmen were able to cross the Bath line 3 times, converting once and added 2 penalty goals for good measure. Against the normal practice, Bath, the visiting side, changed to white jerseys to avoid a colour clash. “The visiting forwards stood up to their mammoth task well, and although they could not do much about Cardiff’s supremacy in the tight, John Robert’s eight kept up the pace in the loose.” Drewett had a fine game at the base of the scrum and had one fine diagonal run, before slipping the ball to Lavery. Unfortunately, the Bath winger was stopped by the brawny Cardiff cover.
v Taunton, Away, Lost 3-6. I Balding, J Wheeler, J Dolman, R Farnham, J Tomlinson, R Ford, G Drewett, D Robson, B Davis, J Roberts (Capt.), A Jacob, F Thomas, J Clark, A Meek, J Simpson.
Bath were beaten by a try and a penalty goal to a late try by Tomlinson in one of their poorest games of the season. They had bounced into the attack with great aplomb, but thereafter the forward effort subsided and the back division frittered away opportunities with poor handling. Taunton were hardly the better side – Bath made a series of tactical blunders, especially in mid-field, and paid the penalty.
Hooker Brian Davis had a particularly unhappy evening, being penalised for ‘twisting’ over ten times during this lack-lustre game. Clearly discouraged, the Bath scrummaging became ragged and unsuccessful. Taunton went ahead with a penalty, when Simpson was adjudged off-side. Ford was demonstratively the best of the backs. The home team went further ahead when second row man Phillips touched down for a try. The referee did not take to Bath’s quickly taken penalties, but one such effort nearly brought a try. “Roberts took the kick well inside his own half and the ball flashed across field via Drewett, Clark and Farnham to Tomlinson, who was forced into touch only two yards out. The ball had travelled the entire length of the field.”
v Bridgwater, Away, Lost 0-3. D Lavery, J Wheeler, J Dolman, R Farnham, J Tomlinson, R Ford, J Clark, D Robson, C Smith, J Roberts (Capt.), E Hopton, A Jacob, J Clark, M Jones, P Lewis.
A BIT ROUGH UP-FRONT
“Front-row friction is more often than not to expected between two powerful packs, but when an unpleasant attitude creeps in and spreads not only throughout the forwards but among the backs, as was the case at Bridgwater on Thursday, it is time for the clubs to take stern action.”
v Bedford, Home, Drawn 6-6. B Richards, J Wheeler, J Dolman, R Farnham, A Guest, R Ford, G Drewett, F Book, B Davis, J Roberts (Capt.), F Thomas, A Jacob, J Clark, J Simpson, B Peasley. “Bath took the early initiative through hard controlled work by their pack, and consistent, if orthodox, running by the backs. First Roberts kicked a penalty goal, and then a break by Peasley led to Book putting second-row man Thomas over for a fine try.” Bedford matched Bath’s tally, and despite a late, and ambitious penalty attempts by, first Roberts and then Dolman, the game ended with honours even.
Bath United won Somerset Sevens at Weston-super-Mare, beating Yeovil in the Final. Team: J Tomlinson, P Dart, J Clark, P Lewis, I Bright, N Taylor and Dave Robson (Captain)
Bath ‘A’ lost to Bath United. Team: J Bogie, Geoff Hancock, O Robinson, J Lewis, G Jones, C Smith, R Berry (Captain).
Leading appearances: John Roberts 42, Tony Jacob and Frank Thomas 36, Tony Guest and Roy Farnham 32, Brian Peasley and Gordon Drewett 27, Mike Jones 24, John Dolman 18.
Top points scorer was John Dolman who, in 18 matches scored seven tries, converted 13 and kicked two penalty goals, to give him a personal tally of 53.
John Roberts chalked up 8 conversions and 12 penalties, totalling 52 points.
Frank Harrison, Roy Farnham and Tony Guest equalled John Dolman’s try count with 7 tries each to score a total of 21 points. Barry Richards produced the only drop goal.
In their 42 matches-the most games played in a season since the war- Bath scored 34 tries, 24 being converted, one drop goal and 19 penalty goals.
Of the 54 players who represented the club, only 19 scored points and only 12 of them more than once.
THE POINTS SCORERS:- J Dolman 53 points, J Roberts 52, F Harrison, R Farnham, A Guest 21, F Thomas 18, M Blackmore 16, D Ogden and M Jones 15, M Stephens 11, B Peasley and R Blackmore 9, K Jones, J Clark, A Jacob, P Lewis, R Ford, B Richards, and P Sullivan 3 points each.