1958 to 1959

Match reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1958-1959

CHRONICLE & HERALD 16th August 1958

Tom Smith had agreed to Captain the United XV, and Austin Thomas the ‘A’s. This meant that the 1st XV and the ‘A’ XV were captained by former pupils of King Edward’s School.

Among the newcomers were Navel Officer John Jacobson stationed with the Admiralty at Bath, Philip Hall, a 15 year old farming lad from Tormarton, already an England Schoolboy International, and Tony Short, wing forward, who had played the odd game for Oxford University Greyhounds.

Confirmation that the former Horse Show Ground at Lambridge, formerly used by Bath City AFC before their move to Twerton Park, had been purchased for some £4000. The intended use was for the ‘A’ XV and for training purposes. Flooding was the main problem, and controlled tipping was envisaged.

6/9/1958

v Llanelly, Away, Lost 11-25. Team:- I A Balding, J R Dolman (T), R Ford, R Farnham (T), A H Guest, T Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.) (1g), F J Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, L Davis, A Jacob, B J Peasley, G Jones, M Martin (T). Fred Book led the pack for the first time.

M Martin & Pete Parfitt – first games for Club

Bath were reduced to 14 men before half-time, L (Patchy) Davis having to leave the field, after trying to cope with Llanelly’s 34 stone of second row brawn. The visitors worked manfully to reduce the arrears after the interval. There was a relatively quiet start to the game, although Carwyn James was a constant threat to the Bath line. Bath spoilt many of their moves by falling off-side, and conceded eight penalties in the first 20 minutes. Llanelly took the lead after 25 minutes, when after a frantic scramble for possession, Ray Williams touch down wide out. Next Keith Rowland bowled over for another unconverted try, then G Jenkins, for Cyril Davies to convert. Carwyn James piled on the agony with a smart drop goal on half time. At re-commencement, Llanelly continued to pound the beleaguered Bath defenders. Numbers were evened up when K Rowlands left the field, but the Welshmen remained in complete control. Bath were forced to bow to the inevitable, as James brought the Scarlets’ total to 17; winger Ray Williams was next on the score sheet.

Perhaps it was Llanelly’s overconfidence, but Bath at last, came into the game, when Dolman picked up a loose ball and scored in the corner. Then a foot rush led by Book produced another unconverted try by Hopson. The knowledgeable home crowd were brought to their feet when Bath scored another fine try, this time by Roy Farnham, converted by Drewett. Thus Bath, after languishing at 0-20, had pulled up to 11-20, with all Bath’s scoring confined to a ‘purple patch’ of 12 minutes!

Llanelly then steadied, and Denis Evans concluded a high scoring romp with a superb 60 yard run, to touch down, for Davies to convert.

 

13/9/1958

v Leicester, Away, Lost 6-25. I A Balding, D G Ogden, R Ford, R Farnham, F Harrison, Keith Jones, G F Drewett (Capt.) (1pg), F J Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, J Jacobsen, A Jacob, B J Peasley, I D S Beer, M Martin. J Jacobsen’s first game for 1st XV.

Leicester scored 5 tries, converted 2 and kicked 2 penalty goals, against Bath’s try and a penalty.

Drewett got the first half penalty, and Harrison got Bath’s try after Farnham and Ford had made ground. The powerful winger “defied tackles,” to reduce the margin to 6-14. Shortly afterwards, Harrison took a blow to the face, and departed for hospital with a suspected fracture of the cheekbone.

In the closing stages, Tigers were in complete command, as the Bath defence took a considerable hammering.

 

18/9/1958

v Ian Beer’s XV, Home, Won 18-10. I A Balding, D G Ogden, R Ford, R Farnham (T), J Dolman (T & 1g), J Colford, G Drewett (Capt.) (2g), F J Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, A Jacob, J Jacobsen (T), B J Peasley, Ray Woolford, M Martin (T).

Bath provided a glimpse of their potential form for the season. There was a heavy start-of-the-season injury list, including Harrison, Guest, Silk and Tomlinson. It was encouraging to see some all-round improvement in Bath’s play, against, albeit, a weakened, scratch side. There were some ‘walking wounded’ near the end. Typically, Pete Parfitt shrugged his injury off with a: “I’ll be O.K.”

Ray Woolford, from Combe Down, shaped up usefully.

 

20/9/1958

v Devonport Services, Home, Won 9-3. I A Balding, D G Ogden, R Ford, R Farnham, J Dolman (T), J Colford, G Drewett (Capt.) (2g), F Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, A Jacob, J Jacobsen, B J Peasley, R Woolford, M Martin.

This was a dour, unattractive struggle with no score at half-time. “The second phase continued in equally dour fashion, and neither side could make an impression. Jacob caused play to be held up for a long while after receiving a finger injury, but he was treated by one of his opponents-back row forward Gill, who is a Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Navy.”

Both teams put in lusty efforts up front, but there was little to chose between the two sides. At last, there was a flurry of action in the Bath camp, Services were penalised after an attempted wheel, and Drewett kicked the first of his two penalties. Dolman at last got a chance, and went flying over in the corner. It was all too late to get excited!

This was the day that a Vulcan bomber crashed at the Battle of Britain Air display. Servicemen would soon forget the rugby.

 

News that former Bath centre, Peter Fearis had transferred from Blackpool Rugby League to St. Helens at a reported sum of £3500. In his first game for St. Helens, Peter landed nine goals.

 

27/9/1958

v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Lost 9-19. I A Balding, J R Dolman, T Watts, R Farnham, D G Ogden, J Colford, G F Drewett (Capt.), F J Book, P Hill, P Parfitt, A Jacob, J Jacobsen, B J Peasley, R Woolford, M Martin. This was an unfortunate “trouncing” on home ground. Bath tries by Dolman and Ogden and a penalty from Drewett.

1/10/1958

v Clifton, Away, Drawn 6-6. B R Richards, R Woolford, P J Fale, R Farnham, R Gazard, R Ford, D Peters (ex Bishopston), A Meek, B Davis, P Parfitt, F J Thomas (Capt.), D Wyatt, J Clark, C Hemmings, P Lewis.

Substitute, Ray Gazard was the star of this match. He had only taken up Rugby that season. He had represented Wales in the Empire Games, at Long jump, and was an Army sprinter. It was a pity that University student Peter Fale, tended to run too far on his own. Otherwise, we would have seen much more of this speedy winger. There was a successful half-back partnership for debut scrum-half David Peters and Roger Ford. Full-back Barry Richards had a faultless game. The pack was well led by Frank Thomas and fellow second row David Wyatt improved the line-out work. Clifton opened their scoring with a try by Blake, quickly countered with a try from forward Ray Woolford, playing a competent game out on the wing. Ford completed Bath’s scoring with a somewhat fortuitous drop-goal.

 

4/10/1958

v Llanelly, Home, Won 8-6. B R Richards, D G Ogden, R Farnham, J R Dolman, R Gazard, H Colford, G F Drewett (Capt.), R C Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, F J Thomas, A J Jacob, P H Lewis, J Jacobsen, B J Peasley. A truly sensational and unexpected win against the Scarlets – the Rag Doll was retrieved. “Already Drewett’s men were finding weak links in two vital positions-the back row and the centres. With this match came a new name over which the home crowd could enthuse. International class sprinter, Ray Gazard, burst his way into the headlines with two great tries. But Tom Watts was injured and doomed to be out of the game for an embarrassingly long time.” Dolman was successful with one conversion.

11/10/1958

v Bridgend, Away, Lost 0-21. Team:- B R Richards, D G Ogden, R Farnham, D Lavery, R Gazard, J Colford, D Peters, F C Book (Capt.), B Davis, P Parfitt, F J Thomas, J Jacobsen, R Woolford, D Wyatt, P Lewis.                                                                                                                                         Erratic as ever! A brilliant performance against Llanelly, and down with a crash against Bridgend. Bath’s makeshift side found their hosts too hot to handle. It was Bath’s first visit to the Brewery Field since the War, and Bridgend were in good form, having won five of their last seven games. Things went wrong before the start! The train was late and a fleet of taxis rushed them to the ground. A Welsh selector was in attendance to watch Ray Gazard, but he was given little opportunity to show his paces. On the two occasions he did get the ball, he was soon checked by Bridgend’s efficient defence. The Bath forwards were given a rough time by the sturdy Bridgend eight.

“The grim Brewery field became shrouded in rain, and in these less pleasant conditions, Bath’s chances of victory were slithering away.” Bath played out the game in almost perpetual defence, but it was inevitable that Bridgend’s more cohesive play would pile up the points.

 

18/10/1958

v Bristol, Home, Lost 16-18. B R Richards, D Lavery, R Farnham (T), J R Dolman (T), R Gazard, J Colford, G Drewett (2pg & 2g), F C Book, P J Hill, P Parfitt, F J Thomas, A J Jacob, I D S Beer, D Wyatt, P H Lewis. Bath tries by Farnham and Dolman, converted by Drewett. Drewett also kicked two penalty goals.

BRILLIANT IN DEFEAT

Bristol’s Roy Dash scored a drop goal in the dying seconds, for a dramatic win by two points.

There was, and doubtless, always will be, something very special about Bath – Bristol ‘Derbies.’

Against mediocre clubs, Bath would often be dragged down into mediocrity. Against Bristol – they were inspired. There was much honour in defeat. Bath had matched Bristol in attack: “My heart still beats a little faster when I think of the way the Bath three-quarters, with their forwards covering like demons, held out brilliantly fit and ready Bristolians as they hammered desperately in those last 20 minutes.”

Amidst this intensity, roared on by partisan supporters, there was only one fitting climax to further elevate this game of games. Dash it!

25/10/1958

v Bridgwater, Home, Won 3-0. B R Richards (1pg), Morton Evans, R Farnham, D Lavery, R Gazard, R Fieldgate, D Peters, F C Book, B Davis, P Parfitt, F J Thomas, D Wyatt, J Clarke, D Thorpe, P H Lewis.                                                                                                                                                       It was gruelling, unattractive fare. Notwithstanding territorial advantage, Bath could only muster a penalty by Richards, and this score was posted for three-quarters of the game. There was little to enthuse the 2000 crowd. Back row forward John Clarke was helped from the field after two bangs on the head.

Somerset were playing Gloucestershire this day, so it was very much a makeshift selection. Best of the Bath backs, was newcomer Fieldgate.

 

1/11/1958

v United Services Portsmouth, Away, Won 10-3. B R Richards, D Lavery, R Farnham, F Harrison, R Gazard, R Fieldgate, G Drewett, J Jacobsen, P Hill, D Robson, F Thomas, A Jacob, R Woolford, D Wyatt, P Lewis.

Bath chalked up their first away victory of the season with all points scored in the second half. Farnham commenced with a deceptive sprint down the middle and Fieldgate positioned himself to take the scoring pass. Drewett was happy to convert. Lavery put Bath further ahead after a spectacular break by Harrison. Drewett added extras. Finally, former Bath player Laney, scrambled over for a try, but Services could not convert.

8/11/1958

v Saracens, Home, Won 29-8. B R Richards (1pg & 4g), D Lavery, R Farnham (T), F Harrison (T), M Evans (T), R Fieldgate, D Peters (T), J Jacobsen (T), B Davis, D Robson, F Thomas, D Wyatt, R Woolford (T), D Thorpe, P Lewis.

It was also Somerset versus Devon this day, and Bath were shorn of Drewett, Dolman, Hill and Reserve – Tony Jacob.

Three wins in a row, including luckless Saracens. The key to this decisive victory lay with Bath’s centres. Previously suspect through injury, Harrison had established himself as one of Bath’s outstanding three-quarters. It was his ‘tackle-defying dashes’ which paved the way for all to follow.

Young David Peters had shown his undoubted talent during his three games for the firsts. It prompted one Saracen to remark: “If Peters is your reserve, your first team man must be dynamite.”

15/11/1958

v Cheltenham, Away, Lost 3-11. B R Richards, D Lavery, R Farnham, J Dolman, F E D Harrison, R Fieldgate, G Drewett (Capt.), P Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, D Wyatt, C Hemmings, R Woolford, D Thorpe, P Lewis.

Bath were not at their best, against a young side at the peak of fitness. Their backs handled the ball from their own 25, and they were a very tough proposition up-front. Bath were soon five points in arrears, when Porter, the best forward on the field, crashed his way through a wilting Bath defence. Walker’s superb conversion kick hit an upright, and dropped over the bar. Dickie Bassett, an ex Bath player, scored another Cheltenham try 11 minutes into the second half, but Drewett reduced the deficit with a 30 yard penalty. Bath were being run off their feet by the Cheltenham pace. Next, Jones found Townsend for Cheltenham’s third try, which was not converted. Of the Bath players, only Doug Thorne was seen to tackle with any sort of conviction. Bath simply faded out of the picture.

 

ERRATIC, ERRATIC!

It was hard to explain Bath’s varying fortunes. It seemed that the team was not capable of sustaining the necessary level of commitment. Erratic performance must have been difficult to report. One week, a journalist would be eulogising on the heroics against Bristol, and on another, seeking platitudes to explain away, dreadful performances against lesser sides.

 

YOU CAN’T KEEP GOOD MEN DOWN!

L. ‘Patchy’ Davis was injured in the Llanelly game and specialists told him that he would not play again this season. He had just informed the Club that he intended to start light training after Christmas, and play some rugby soon after.

Veteran, Tommy Hicks and John Roberts (retired) turned out for the ‘A’s against Prior Park College on Thursday. Their presence was not enough to ensure victory!

Morton Evans and Ray Gazard turned out together for the United. They were old friends, and appeared in the Welsh Athletic squad the previous year. Primarily an athlete, Morton Evans became the Great Britain Pole Vault Coach in later years.

22/11/1958

v Taunton, Home, Won 9-6. B R Richards, D Lavery (T), F Harrison, T Hopson, J Dolman (1pg), R Fieldgate, G Drewett (Capt.) (1pg), P Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, D Wyatt, A Jacob, D Thorpe, F Thomas, C Ward.

Somerset scrum-half Mildon, gave a penalty lead to the visitors and Drewett levelled in like form, a few minutes later. Bath were deprived of the services of Dave Wyatt, who went off with an apparent, heavy kick on the head after 23 minutes “Suddenly, as though by magic, Bath came to life. The ball flashed across the three-quarter line to stocky Dave Lavery, who took it cleanly, bowled the full-back over and dived to touch down in the corner.” Bath led 6-3. The end game degenerated into an exchange of uninteresting penalty kicks, with eventual success, first for Mildon of Taunton, and finally Dolman of Bath.

 

29/11/1958

v Harlequins, Away, Lost 13-22. R Box, D Lavery, J Dolman, T Hopson, R Gazard, R Fieldgate, G Drewett (Capt.), P Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, F Thomas, A Jacob, J Clark, C Hemmings, C Ward.                                                                                                                                                                          A tremendous battle on the hallowed Twickenham turf. Bath’s scratch side eventually slumped to defeat, after holding a half-time lead. Tries by Hopson and Fieldgate, both converted by Drewett, who also contributed a penalty. Bath were beset with injuries, but youngsters Terry Hopson and Richard Fieldgate combined well against: “England’s most fashionable club.”

 

6/12/1958

v London Scottish, Away, Lost 0-30. B Richards, D Lavery, J Dolman, T Hopson, R Gazard, R Fieldgate, G Drewett (Capt.), P Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, F Thomas, A Jacob, D Thorpe, C Hemmings, C Ward.                                                                                                                                          Bath took a ruthless hiding. To add to their troubles, Hemmings broke his collarbone after 30 minutes.

 

13/12/1958

v Gloucester, Away, Drawn 8-8. B R Richards, D Ogden, P Fale, T Hopson, R Gazard, J Colford, D Peters, P Parfitt, B Davis, J Jacobsen, F Book (Capt.), F J Thomas, D Thorpe, D Wyatt, C Ward.                                                                                                                                                                   Both sides were depleted with County calls at Weston-super-Mare, but some of the understudies did particularly well. Joe Colford had a “classic” game at outside-half. The Bath tries were scored by Hopson and Jacobson, and Coleford slotted one conversion. It was a fair performance to hold Gloucester to a draw at Kingsholm.

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER

20/12/1958

v Neath, Home, Drawn 0-0. B Richards, F Harrison, J Dolman, P Fale, D Lavery, T Hopson, G Drewett, P Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, F Book, J A Jacob, F J Thomas, D Wyatt, P Winchcombe.                                                                                                                                                                          Bath and Neath battled it out in ankle deed mud. There were renewed cries that something would have to be done about the Rec.

 

26/12/1958

v Old Blues, Home, Lost 3-6. B Richards, D Lavery (T), J R Dolman, P Fale, D G Ogden, T Hopson, G Drewett, P Parfitt, B Davis, F J Book, A J Jacob, J Jacobsen, P Winchcombe, D Wyatt, J Clark.                                                                                                                                                                         Normally an entertaining holiday romp, it levelled into yet another disappointing performance.

 

27/12/1958

v London Irish, Home, Drawn 3-3. B Richards, D Lavery, J R Dolman, P Fale (T), D G Ogden, T Hopson, G Drewett, P Parfitt, B Davis, J Jacobsen, A J Jacob, F J Thomas, P Winchcombe, D Wyatt, J Clark.                                                                                                                                                              Pretty dull Christmas fare.

 

3/1/1959

v Leicester – cancelled at 8.30pm on 2/1 (Friday) owing to state of ground after slight flooding. The referee W C E Thomas, Redruth, turned up and his expenses were £3/19/6 – the Club had been unable to contact him

NB. Leicester sent Bath £35 in lieu of gate.

 

10/1/1959

v London Welsh, Home, Lost 0-13. B Richards, D Lavery, J R Dolman, T R Hopson, F E D Harrison, J R Colford, G Drewett, F J Book, B Davis, P Parfitt, A J Jacob, F J Thomas, P Winchcombe, D Wyatt, M Martin.

BATH TOOK TO THE HILLS

The Recreation Ground was not fit owing to snow and frozen floodwater. The game was transferred to the Norwood Playing Fields, 700 foot above sea level. At least, the snow – was deep and crisp and even!

Approximately 1000 loyal supporters turned out to watch. It was another disappointing result for Bath – seven games without a win! “Bath’s pack was beaten for the first obvious time this season and, as a result, the inability of the backs was spotlighted.

Until they learn to run and handle under all conditions, and until they show as much determination in attack as they do in dogged defence, then repeatedly they are going to find themselves in trouble.”

24/1/1959

v Northampton, Away, Lost 3-14. B Richards, D Ogden, J R Dolman, T Hopson, R Gazard, R Ford, G Drewett, F Book, B Davis, P Parfitt, A Jacob, A Meek, C Ward, D Wyatt, M Martin.                                                                                                                                                                                             There was little surprise in defeat. Northampton were one of the country’s strongest sides, and Bath were going through a ‘muddy patch. Tony Jacob contributed Bath’s solitary try.

 

31/1/1959

v Moseley, Away, Lost 6-8. B Richards, D Lavery, J R Dolman, F E D Harrison, D Ogden, T Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.), D G Robson, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, F J Thomas, A Jacob, P Winchcombe, D Wyatt, C Ward.                                                                                                                                         Try by Harrison and penalty from Dolman.

Bath were glad to see the end of January! Could things get worse?

“Bath began a campaign for drainage on the Rec. and sportingly offered the use of Lambridge to the organisers of the Tattoo, the Service vehicles at which had damaged the Recreation Ground.”

 

7/2/1959

v Rosslyn Park, Home, Lost 6-9. G B Richards, D L Lavery, J R Dolman, I A Balding, F E D Harrison, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, P Parfitt, P J Hill, F J Book, A J Jacob, F J Thomas, I D S Beer, P Winchcombe, C Ward.

Bath played their first match on the Rec. since Boxing Day. Due to a frosted ground, they had been obliged to play on Norwood on the 10th January. Their 6-9 deficit was a tenth game without a win. They were outplayed at forward and the threes seemed to be bereft of ideas. Having stated thus, they did get off to an extraordinary good start. Army officer, Lavery, seized on a loose ball, kicked down the middle of the field, recovered the ball, ran a few yards – then neatly dropped a goal. Despite this shock, the visitors had the better of the early exchanges which yielded a try for Quinsee. Shortly after, the former Bath winger Leonard, picked up a loose ball and dived over, but the conversion attempt failed. Bath were temporarily level when Drewett kicked a penalty, but Hardham put the visitors in a winning position with a fine penalty from 35 yards. Bath were in all sorts of trouble in the closing stages. It was only the individual brilliance of outside-half Hopson which kept them in the game to the end.

 

14/2/1959

v Gloucester, Home, Drawn 3-3. G B Richards, D Lavery, J R Dolman, F E D Harrison, D Ogden, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, P Parfitt, P J Hill, D J Robson, A Jacob, F J Thomas, I D S Beer, P Winchcombe, M Martin.

Bath’s marginal change in fortune was largely due to intelligent play by scrum-half Drewett. Responding to previous criticisms, he kicked less often, and varied his play with the occasional break and excellent service. It was brighter Rugby which promised better times ahead. However, a plethora of good ball tended to expose Dolman’s lack of agility, playing at centre. Similarly, Harrison found it difficult to adapt as his partner; Bath were fielding four natural wingers. One success was David Lavery, who showed real penetration. The pack was well led by Ian Beer, and Pat Hill put in a superb hooking performance. Prop Pete Parfitt looked fit, strong and showed a remarkable turn of speed in loose play. Ricketts scored for Gloucester, then Bath’s reply was a corker: “David Lavery scored Bath’s only try-and what a fantastic try it was. Only Lavery, with a complete disregard for his own welfare, could possibly have landed it. Time after time we watched him, straw hair flapping wildly, try to burst through Gloucester’s rocking defence, but on each occasion he was hauled down, just when the points seemed to be within reach.

Then he took the ball some ten yards from the line. Without as much as a glance at the opposition he dived for the try, and pure guts, determination and power ensured that he got it.”

Bath’s ‘throw-it-about’ policy nearly paid off.

21/2/1959

v Devonport Services, Away, Won 23-11. G B Richards, J R Dolman, J Colford, D Lavery, W White, T Hopson, G F Drewett, D G Robson, P J Hill, P Parfitt, A Jacob, A Meek, G Robins, P Winchcombe, M Martin.

Bath fielded their youngest team for 10 years. Welshman Gwyn Robins scored on his debut. Other tries from Lavery (2), White, and Hill. Drewett converted one and kicked two penalties. With the continuing absence of Farnham, Coleford was proving to be a useful centre.

It was a gratifying end to a run of 12 games without a win!

28/2/1959

v Wasps, Home, Won 19-0. G Richards, D Lavery, T Watts, J Colford, J R Dolman, T Hopson , G F Drewett (Capt.), D G Robson, P J Hill, P K Parfitt, A Jacob, A Meek, I D S Beer, P Winchcombe, M Martin. Referee – G P Williams. (N. MIDS.)

This was arguably the best win of the season to defeat Wasps by 2 goals, a drop goal and 2 tries, without reply. I D S Beer cracked a rib, but struggled on for much of the game. Giant wing John Dolman stormed over for two, first half unconverted tries. More second half pressure produced a drop goal for Hopson and tries by Meek and Martin. Dolman converted both. Bath were at last showing the benefit of a coaching programme.

 

7/3/1959

v Bristol, Away, Lost 6-13. G B Richards, D Lavery, G E Watts (ex Blackheath), J Colford, J R Dolman, T R Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.), F J Book, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, F J Thomas, A Meek, G Robins, P Winchcombe, M Martin.                                                                                                                  Hopson scored Bath’s try and Drewett got the penalty goal. Up and coming, ex Walcot, Pete Parfitt played a quietly heroic game at prop. His hand was heavily strapped before the game, having had an accident at work. Bristol notched up their ‘double.’

TV THREAT

There was general alarm at diminishing attendances. Bath were having a poor run of results, they were generally, not playing attractive football and the pitch was in poor condition as a result of wet weather and over-use. Added to this, came the introduction of Televised Sport, with the opportunity to watch top grade events from one’s armchair.

By way of contrast – neighbouring Bristol were doing well:

“Over at Bristol last week a first class crowd braved unpleasant elements, and ignored a televised sporting afternoon to watch their ‘own’ side.

And what a terrific feeling there was in the stands and on the touch-lines of the Memorial Ground.

Bristolians know when they are on to a good thing, and they fully realise that, when they watch their XV, they are going to see them win, and almost certain to see good football.

Television for them holds no pull what-so-ever. It might as well not exist.

If Bath can build up an attacking and winning side, as Bristol have done through sound planning and intelligent training, then the missing hundreds will clamour to come back.”

14/3/1959

v Swansea, Home, Drawn 6-6. G B Richards, D Lavery, G E Watts, J Colford, T H Watts, T R Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.), F J Book, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, A Jacobsen, A J Meek, G Robins, P Winchcombe, M Martin. Swansea were forced to make late changes, and took the field in front of: “the smallest crowd to have watched a first XV game for seasons.” “The weather was at its wicked worst, and the denuded popular side may have been misleading in calculations, because many spectators hugged the wall in the enclosure in an effort to keep warm and dry.”

“Bath were awarded a scrum after Drewett had been obstructed, and then the 25 people on the popular side saw both packs wallow in a grandstand mud-bath.”

Bath got the better of some decidedly mud-splattered and scrappy exchanges. Try by Watts and drop goal by Hopson. Bath tried late kick-offs on International days – but this time the weather beat them.

 

21/3/1959

v Weston Super Mare, Home, Lost 11-14. G B Richards, D Lavery, G E Watts, P Fale, F Harrison, T R Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.), F J Book, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, A Jacobsen, A J Meek, G Robins, P Winchcombe, I D S Beer.                                                                                                                  Despite Harrison’s converted try and two Drewett penalties, Bath were reported to have “thrown away” this encounter with the seasiders.

 

26/3/1959

v Harlequins, Home, Lost 0-17. G B Richards, J R Dolman, D Lavery, G E Watts, M Evans, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, D G Robson, P J Hill, P K Parfitt, F J Thomas, J A Jacobsen, I D S Beer, P Winchcombe, G Robins. The Easter programme was marginally more successful than the Christmas fare, but a 0-17 trouncing by the Quins did not put Spring in the Bath step.

 

28/3/1959

v London Hospital, Home, Won 10-3. P Masters, J R Dolman, D Lavery, G E Watts, M Evans, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, D G Robson, P J Hill, P K Parfitt, F J Thomas, J A Jacobsen, I D S Beer, P Winchcombe, G Robins. Tries by veteran Frank Thomas, and young Robins were high-spots in this win. Both efforts were converted by Gordon Drewett. Terry Hopson showed good form.

 

30/3/1959

v Old Merchant Taylor’s, Home, Lost 0-6. C P Masters, J R Dolman, G E Watts, D L Lavery, D G Ogden, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, D G Robson, B Davis, P Parfitt, A J Meek, J A Jacobsen, I D S Beer, P J Winchcombe, G Robins.

‘Back to square One!’ just about summed up this dreary performance: “Something must be done to instil life into a back division which is not up to first class standards.”

Only David Lavery and Dave Ogden matched the competitive spirit of the visiting backs. Ian Beer’s forwards became discouraged as the Bath three-quarters threw away their chances. Griffin and Cordwell collected O.M.T.’s unconverted tries. There was promising play from Paul Masters at full-back and Gwyn Robins at open-side wing forward.

 

4/4/1959

v Torquay, Away, Won 12-11. C P Masters, D Lavery, M Evans, B O’Mara, D G Ogden, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, D G Robson, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, A J Meek, F J Thomas, P Winchcombe, R Robinson, G Robins.                                                                                                                                               Bath returned to this seaside town after an absence of 30 years. It generated the biggest crowd of the season and was a thrilling exhibition of Rugby. It was a young Bath side, with Brendan O’Mara making his 1st XV debut at centre. Drewett’s drop goal was a brilliant effort, from 35 yards out, at an acute angle. Bath tries flowed from Ogden (2) and Masters.

11/4/1959

v Exeter, Home Won 6-3. G B Richards, T H Watts (T), J R Colford, B O’Mara, D G Ogden, T R Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.) (1pg), P Parfitt, P J Hill, D G Robson, F J Thomas, J A Jacobsen, P Robinson, P J Winchcombe, G Robins.

It was remarkable rugby, considering the heavy conditions and driving rain. Pools of water were accumulating as Exeter kicked off – and the surface deteriorated thereon! Scrums became prolonged affairs, as the protagonists slip-slopped into a quagmire. The visitors were strong in the loose, and Hopson was victim to their close attention. Despite this, winger Ogden demonstrated his eagerness to get away, but had difficulty in traversing the notorious bog-like patch* in front of the West Stand. Exeter took the lead with a penalty. Then sustained pressure brought Bath to the Exeter line, allowing Watts to hurtle over for a spectacular try. It was the best moment in an otherwise damped-down encounter. In form Watts, was nearly over again, but crashed against the corner flag. Drewett wound up proceedings with an easy penalty.

(* Editor’s note. It is suspected that this ‘depression’ was a relic from the Bath Blitz. In wet weather, this morass was precisely where the H.E. bomb dropped in 1942, devastating both the North and West Stands.)

15/4/1959

v Somerset Wanderers, Home, Drawn 6-6. G B Richards, R Ford, G E Watts, B O’Mara, F E D Harrison, T R Hopson, G F Drewett, P Parfitt, P J Hill, D G Robson, R Marson, F J Thomas, P Robinson, P J Winchcombe, G Robins.

This was a sub-standard spectacle against Somerset Reserve team. Nevertheless, there were good performances from Peter Parfitt, Pat Hill, Gwyn Robins and newcomer, the 6′ 5″ forward Dick Marson. Gordon Drewett landed two penalties to match Somerset’s penalty and try. Hopson and Gerald Watts were below their usual form.

 

18/4/1959

v Bedford, Home, Drawn 6-6. G B Richards, D G Ogden, J R Colford, T H Watts, F E D Harrison, T R Hopson, G H D Drewett, P Parfitt, P J Hill, D G Robson, F J Thomas, J A Jacobsen, I D S Beer, P J Winchcombe, M Martin.

It was an exciting battle between Bedford forward power, and Bath’s, sometimes brilliant three-quarter play. Bath scored in the opening seconds. Drewett got the ball away to Hopson, who zigzagged through the opposition before sending in Ogden for a great opening try. Bedford were soon to equalise, and indeed, get ahead, as successive penalties were notched up by Johnson. Shortly after the re-start Terry Hopson showed considerable coolness, neatly dropping a goal. A good deal of quality Rugby followed, with neither side gaining overall superiority. All things considered, it was a fair result and all present had enjoyed a fine game.

 

20/4/1959

v Newbridge, Away, Lost 3-11. G B Richards, I A Balding, T H Watts, J R Colford, D G Ogden, R Ford, G F Drewett (Capt.), N Brown, B Davis, J A Jacobsen, A Jacob, R Marson, P Robinson, P J Winchcombe, M Martin.

A side that had beaten Bristol and Newport, was a tough proposition for this makeshift selection. Nevertheless, the West Countrymen stuck to their task, and earned applause from the knowledgeable valley fans for a creditable performance. Tony Jacob, Phil Winchcombe and Malcolm Martin hammered away, and eventually, an enormous shove by Jacobs, left Winchcombe to bag a try. “This was Bath’s one moment of glory. For the rest it was bruises and bumps as they covered and tackled without respite, as the all action home team launched offensive after offensive.”

 

24/4/1959

Bristol Old Players 5 pts., Bath Old Players nil, at Bristol. The average age was over 40. Bath fielded such stalwarts as Fred Hill, Ralph Banks (aged 51), ‘Curly’ Halse, Jim Messer, and a balding – Charlie Bowell. About 300 watched, including several of the Bath team, who came along: “to see how it is done!”

 

25/4/1959

v Plymouth Albion, Home, Lost 0-14. G B Richards, D G Ogden, J R Colford, T H Watts, F E D Harrison, T R Hopson, G F Drewett (Capt.), P Parfitt, P J Hill, J A Jacobsen, F J Thomas, A Jacob, I D S Beer, P J Winchcombe, M Martin. Whether it was the incessant rain, or end of season staleness, Bath put in a poor performance. There was little to enthuse the small crowd:

“It was an occasion when Bath succeeded in wallowing out of their own half, and at times exchanges sank to a slow motion pace. Line-out followed scrum, and scrum followed line-out, and soon the pack were mud coated and weary.” What a way to end a season!

 

FAREWELL TO FRANK

It was Frank Thomas’s final game. This Crewkerne farmer had given sterling service to the Bath Club, and he was deeply respected for his Rugby prowess. He was a solid scrummager and a formidable contestant in the line-outs. His off-field gentle nature, and soft Somerset accent, belied his formidable competitive edge on the field. Most probably, he would have preferred to be ‘down on the farm,’ instead of sloshing around at this one!

 

 

 

AMONG THE POINTS

Gordon Drewett led the points scoring, but did not score one try!

Gordon Drewett 82 points, John Dolman 35, David Lavery 21, Terry Hopson 18, Roy Farnham 15, Barrie Richards 14, Malcolm Martin, John Jacobson, David Ogden, Frank Harrison and Tom Watts 9, Gwyn Robbins, Ray Woolford, Ray Gazard and Richard Fieldgate 6, Pat Hill, Mike White, Paul Masters, Frank Harrison, Morton Evans, Phil Winchcombe, David Peters, Peter Fale, Tony Jacob, Angus Meek and Roger Ford 3, and Joe Coleford 2.

(Roy Farnham and Frank Harrison were out for much of the season with injury)

 

APPEARANCES

Drewett and Parfitt 34 games, Richards 30, Hill 28, Jacobson 27, Hopson 26, Lavery and F Thomas 25, Dolman 24, Jacob 23, Winchcombe 21, Book and Ogden 18, Colford 16, Martin and David Wyatt 15, Harrison 14, Farnham and Robson 13, Beer and Brain Davis 11, Robins and Gazard 10, Meek, Peter Lewis, Woolford and Ford 8, Balding, Gerry Watts, Fieldgate, Ward and Tom Watts 7, Fale, Peasley and Thorpe 6, Morton Evans and Peters 5, Robinson, John Clark and Hemmings 4, Masters and O’Mara 3, Dick Marson 2, Norman Brown, ‘Patchy’ Davis, Glyn Jones, Keith Jones, Ron Box, and Mike White once each.

 

This page was added on 04/07/2014.

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