The season started with a tour of the delights of Liverpool, more accurately with visits to New Brighton, Birkenhead Park and Sale R.F.C.’s. The results included a bit of everything There was a loss to New Brighton by 5-26, the only try being scored by Geoff Frankcom, later to go on to Cambridge University and achieve England fame. Against Birkenhead Park things improved with a win by 17-8, and the final game against Sale ended in a nil-nil draw. Included in the Bath side were Ian Balding, later to become trainer of many of the Queen’s horses, and Ian Beer who years later became Top Man at the Rugby Football Union. The games took place on Sept 3/5/6 with 9 players taking part in all three games – and today’s players think they have it hard! Only Bath and Sale still play at the highest level.
v New Brighton, Away. Lost 5-26. Team:- I A Balding, R Farnham, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, F E D Harrison, G F Drewett, R E Ford (Capt.), P J K Parfitt, J Jacobsen, D G Robson, N Spinks, A J Jacob, P E McGovan, L Clark and L I Rimmer. Skipper Angus Meek was unable to travel. Bath’s first game opened in pouring rain, and the tourists were soon in arrears following a penalty for offside. Bath forwards fought back vigorously, but the backs’ finishing was poor. In the second half, there was an opportunist try from Frankcom, after he charged down a clearance kick. Drewett converted. Sadly, Bath then fell away, under a succession of New Brighton scores. Club Secretary, Jack Simpkins, called the game a “disaster,” where “absolutely everything went wrong. All the team were most disappointed, but after a pep talk on Sunday they bucked up a lot and they played really well to defeat Birkenhead Park.”
On the lighter side, legend has it that prop David Robson had a huge catch at a seaside diversion.
It appears that the fish got larger at every re-telling of the tale!
v Birkenhead Park, Away. Won 17-8. Team:- I A Balding, A J Howard-Baker (T), R Farnham, G Frankcom, F E D Harrison (T), R E Ford, G F Drewett (2P, C), R Brown, J Jacobsen, P J K Parfitt, J A Jacob, R Clark, L I Rimmer, I D S Beer and P E McGovan (T).
v Sale, Away. Drawn 0-0. Team:- I A Balding, A J Howard-Baker, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, F E D Harrison, R E Ford, D Peters, R Brown, J Jacobsen, P J K Parfitt, J A Jacob, R Clark, L I Rimmer, I D S Beer and P E McGovan. It was Sale’s Centenary Season. It was unfortunate, that this was another game played in incessant rain, and Bath did well to hold their hosts to a draw. The post match hospitality soon made up for the dampness outside.
Most of the team excelled at some time or other during one of the three games; back row forwards, Rimmer, Beer and McGovan were outstanding. Pete Parfitt and Tony Jacob were in fine fettle.
THE CHESHIRE TOUR
“A tired but happy Bath party returned to the Spa early on Wednesday morning well satisfied with their efforts to fly the Bath Rugger Flag in Cheshire. Saturday’s game against New Brighton is best forgotten. It was a game where nothing went right for Bath and no player could have felt happy about his performance after the game. However, it speaks well for our boys that they were able to profit by their mistakes and discuss ways and means of doing much better in the remaining games.
On the Monday a changed Bath side defeated a strong Birkenhead Park team and showed the Cheshire crowd that West Country Rugger can be fine entertainment. Tuesday’s game against a strong Sale side was equally exciting and although Bath had a distinct territorial advantage a draw was probably a just result.
Local Grammar schoolboy Geoffrey Frankcom played in all three games and proved to be a most promising player. We look forward to seeing much from him this season.”
v Leicester, Home. Lost 11-19. Team:- I A Balding, A J Howard-Baker, R Farnham, G Frankcom, F E D Harrison, R E Ford, G F Drewett, J Jacobsen, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, J A Jacob, R Clark, M Lambert, J Evans and P E McGovan. Just three mistakes – and it cost us thirteen points! Bath were rocked back on their heels, when Horrocks-Taylor scored a simple try from Frankcom’s miss-kick. Leicester were over again, when winger, Senior, was able to speed past Balding, as Bath continued generally lethargic in their play. Drewett reduced the arrears with a penalty just on half time, and a similar success levelled the scores early in the second half. Leicester came back almost immediately with a converted try. (6-11) “The margin closed once again, however, following a lightening break through the centre and kick ahead by Harrison. Gavins was caught in possession on the line by several Bath players, the ball came loose, and Frankcom whipped the ball out to Howard-Baker, who crashed over in the corner.
All now depended on the conversion, and to tremendous applause, from the crowd, Drewett landed his third goal of the afternoon – a mighty kick from the left to take his own tally to eight.”
Somewhat unwisely, Bath attempted a move from their 25, with Balding as the extra man. Unfortunately, he timed his pass badly; Senior intercepted and raced in unopposed. Gavins converted.
To compound Bath’s misery, Senior had chalked up a personal ‘hat-trick’ by the final minute.
The Chronicle’s John Stevens called it a “slipshod and careless performance.” John knew his rugby!
v Clifton, Away. Won 13-5. Team:- I Balding, A Howard-Baker, G Frankcom, R Farnham, R Ford, G F Drewett, R Brown, B Davis, P J K Parfitt, A Meek, R Clark, M J Lambert, P Venn and P McGovan. Despite the win, it was a disappointing display. Ian Beer sportingly stood down, to allow the selectors to look at a less experienced player.
Tries:- Howard-Baker and Frankcom, two conversions by Drewett and a drop goal from Roger Ford.
Roy Farnham sustained a nasty ankle injury.
v Llanelly, Away. Lost 3-6. Team:- P Masters, J Cousins, M Greensides, B O’Mara, F E D Harrison, P Margesson, G Drewett, J Jacobsen, P Hill, P J K Parfitt, R Clark, A Meek, P Venn, J Evans and M Lambert. Llanelly were fortunate to clinch the game in the last minute. Well led by Angus Meek, Bath forwards had contained the Llanelly eight in line-outs and loose play, and scrummaged strongly throughout. Llanelly played without Brace and it was left to outside half Ken Jones to initiate attacks. Bath backs stood up well to their forays, in particular with the first time tackling of Greensides and O’Mara. On his 1st XV debut., John Cousin’s made a 50 yard run to send in Frank Harrison for Bath’s solitary try. (One of the best of the season) Llanelly soon levelled, but it was Ray William’s last minute try which finally wrenched the game from Bath’s grasp. Gordon Drewett had a storming game at the base of the scrum, frequently moving his side forward with touchline kicks. The Rag Doll stayed at Stradey. Attendance 7000. John Cousins looked to be a match-winner of the future, and was taking tips from Cheshire wing, Frank Harrison.
v Bridgwater, Home. Won 17-5. Team:- I A Balding, J Cousins, G F Frankcom, B J O’Mara, F E D Harrison, R E Ford, G F Drewett, R L Brown, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, P E Venn, A J Meek, I D S Beer, J Evans and P E McGovan. Skipper Meek, felt that Bath did not play to their full potential. Both Harrison and Cousins had the beating on their opposition, but they did not get good quality possession to utilise their undoubted talents. Peter Parfitt turned in another sterling performance. Try by Cousins. 3 penalties, a drop goal and a conversion by Drewett.
Referee:- Mr. Dennis Easby.
v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home. Lost 6-9. Team:- R E Ford, A Howard-Baker, B J O’Mara, M Greensides, F E D Harrison, P Margesson, G F Drewett (P), J Jacobsen, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, R A Clark, A J Meek, P Venn, J Evans (T), M Lambert. Club Captain Angus Meek found it incredible that a team could play so well against Bridgwater and so badly the following week.
The hard tackling Medicals knocked Bath out of their stride. “St. Mary’s took their chances, and Bath had only themselves to blame for their slip-shod display.” Points were level at half time, with
Drewett’s penalty countered by a towering drop goal from winger, Leete. Dwyer then outpaced Ford for a Hospital’s try. Next, Bath’s back row forward, J Evans gave a fair imitation of a threequarter, when he raced in for his score. With very few minutes remaining, Medics back row forward Craven, secured from a line out and speeded past Bath’s despairing attempts to tackle for the Medics’ winning try.
v Devonport Services, Home. Won 22-13. Team:- R Randall (R.A.F.) (2C), A J Howard-Baker (T), G Frankcom (2T), B J O’Mara, F E D Harrison, R E Ford (DG), G F Drewett, D G Robson, P J Hill (T), J Jacobsen, A J Meek, R A Clark, P E Venn, J Evans (T), L I Rimmer. Rimmer returned after a Wolfhounds tour of Ireland. It was Randall’s debut game at full-back. “He missed two penalty shots, but later atoned by kicking two conversions and also impressed as a sound player in defence.”
It was a comfortable win. Tries by Frankcom (2), Howard-Baker, Hill and Evans, with 2 conversions by Randall and a drop goal from Ford.
Congratulations extended to the Club’s oldest Old Player – Mr. L R Donoghue, who was 96 that week.
v Aberavon, Home. Lost 3-11. Team:- R Randall, J E Cousins, A J Howard-Baker, B J O’Mara, F E D Harrison, R E Ford, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, J Jacobsen, A J Meek, R A Clark, M Jones, P E Venn and M J Lambert. Drewett landed a 35 yard penalty, after 25 minutes of frustration. The ground conditions were appalling, and Bath failed to adapt – on what was their own – if rain sodden, turf.
Skipper’s comment was that the ‘Wizards’ were one of the best prepared teams Bath had encountered. Much of the credit was attributed to the excellent coaching of Cliff Ashton. Their Tony O’Connor was one of the best scrum-halves in Wales, although he did have a propensity to run too much with the ball.
Their degree of pre-match preparation was signalled by attendance of two Committeemen at Bath’s game with Llanelly five games earlier!
Roger Brown would be out for a week or two, having crushed his fingers in a hanger door!
Mike Jones returned to the 1st XV after some consistent performances in the United.
Mike Lambert played his first game as a married man!
There were four schoolmasters in this day’s side.
There was also – a soldier, a sailor and an airman!
Three Rugby Footballs – LOST – “presumably kicked over the West Stand. Footballs are an expensive item these days, the Secretary will be glad on any news about these lost balls.”
FOUND – In the Clubhouse – a pair of Rugger boots.
v Bristol, Home. Lost 8-16. Team:- R Randall, J E Cousins, A J Howard-Baker, R Farnham, F E D Harrison, R Fieldgate, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, R A Clark, A J Meek, P Heindorff, P Venn, J Evans and M J Lambert. Bristol utilised superior handling skills, but a weakened Bath side made them fight hard for their victory. The try count was 2:1 in Bristol’s favour, but many of Bristol’s forays came to nothing, with a combination of stout Bath defence and Bristol’s lack of finishing. The Bath pack stood up well and Pat Hill enjoyed the best of the hooking duel. Bath did not attempt any fancy movements, preferring to gain forward momentum through the kicking of Drewett and Fieldgate. Bath were not particularly well served at centre. However, wingers Cousins and Harrison were strong in the tackle. Bristol led at half time with Ridewood’s penalty, and Hazell added another penalty goal three minutes after the re-start. Bath’s try came when Fieldgate cut through, handing to Howard-Baker, who wrong footed the defence with a powerful diagonal run. Drewett converted. In turn, this stirred Bristol to greater efforts and tries by Watts and Neate followed, both converted by Hazell. Bath managed to contain their visitors into the closing stages, and there was some good possession. However, their only reward was a final Gordon Drewett penalty. The pack was well led by Angus Meek, and an intense game lived up to its usual Derby status.
v Metropolitan Police, Away. Lost 3-6. Team:- R Randall, F Harrison, R Farnham, B O’Mara, J Cousins, R Fieldgate (T), G F Drewett, D G Robson, B Davis, R Shuck, A Meek, P Heindorff, P Venn, J Evans and M Lambert.
Both sides were progressing via touch kicks, but it was Bath’s second row combination of Meek and Heindorff that were dominating in the line-outs. However, the Policemen scored the first try, when O’Mara just failed to hold off right wing Waddington, with a despairing tackle. Farnham and O’Mara tried to make the best of their chances, when opposition handling broke down. However, Waddington scored a second try after handing off his opposite number, Harrison.
Bath replied with a try by Fieldgate in the 70th minute.
v Harlequins, Away. Lost 0-3. Team:- R J Randall, F Harrison, R Farnham, J D Wardle, A J Howard-Baker, R Fieldgate, D Peters, R A Clark, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, M J Jones, A J Meek, P E McGovan, P Venn and M J Lambert. In heavy rain, Harlequins did most of the pressing and their first half try held good for the whole of the game. Quins generally dominated play, and Bath seemed to spend the greater part of the game defending. Peters worked hard at the base of the scrum, and on this performance earned his selection at the expense of the long serving Drewett.
EXTRACT FROM PLYMOUTH MATCH PROGRAMME
“The Captain’s Retort”
“With only one win in October I feel as though I am sitting in the office and writing to a client explaining away a £10,000 extra on a building contract- not very pleasant, but a task which must be faced.
When we lost to St. Mary’s Hospital we tended to dismiss our poor performance as ‘one of those days,’ but we can’t do that again and must do something about it.
Unfortunately the games against Metropolitan Police and the Harlequins were each lost through our error of judgement and which you have probably read about, but apart from this we have no excuses and will be going all out today to put matters right, it will be nice to taste victory again and not just sniff at it.”
A.M. (Angus Meek)
AT A LOW EBB
v Plymouth Albion, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- R J Randall, P Harrison, R Farnham, D J Wardle, A J Howard-Baker, R E Fieldgate, D J Peters, R A Clark, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, A J Meek, M Jones, P Venn, J Evans and B Davies. Harrison got the solitary try. It was considered to be a dismal performance, and was Bath’s fifth successive defeat. There were numerous ‘inquests’ into the reason for the slump – official and unofficial, including………..
THE SKIPPER’S POST PLYMOUTH COMMENT
“The Captain’s Retort”
“Perhaps the least said the better, but a good dose of Castor Oil may do the trick.”
v Saracens, Home. Won 8-3. Team:- R J Randall, A J Howard-Baker, B J O’Mara, R Farnham, J E Cousins, R E Fieldgate, D J Peters, R A Clark, P J Hill, A J Meek, M Jones, P E Venn, L I Rimmer, J Evans and B Davies. A scrappy, muddy game, but Bath pulled off a win. The record shows that the visitors were first to score, when Frazer kicked a penalty from the easiest of positions. Bath revived and Howard-Baker ran strongly and O’Mara’s cross-kick troubled the defending side, who conceded a five yards scrum. From the resulting maul, Jones picked up smartly and dummied himself over to level the score. Randall converted and Bath led after 30 minutes play. In the second half, O’Mara outstripped the defence for an unconverted try, after a spectacular burst by back-row forward Evans.
v Cheltenham, Away. Won 11-3. Team:- R Randall, R Farnham, G Frankcom, B J O’Mara, A J Howard-Baker, R Fieldgate, D J Peters, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, P B H Heindorff, M J Jones, B Davies, J Evans and P E McGovan.
Cheltenham were having mixed fortunes with only five wins and one draw from 15 games. Points For 119, Against 136. Another much needed win for Bath and gratifying to see several players’ return to form. Farnham and O’Mara showed well in a pleasing all round improvement.
Bath’s playing membership, of course, included Paul Venn; he had previously turned out for Cheltenham as a National Serviceman. Farnham scored two tries and Frankcom one. Randall converted Farnham’s second try. Diminutive David Peters had developed new found confidence, and the whole of the back division was benefiting from a speedier service. His partnership with Fieldgate was settling down nicely, and Bath could approach the coming games with fresh vigour.
v United Services played at Norwood due to flooding on the Rec. Won 8-3.
G Drewett, J Cousins, R Farnham, B O’Mara, A Howard-Baker, R Fieldgate, D Peters, R Clark, P Hill, A Meek, M Jones, P Heindorff, B Davies, J Evans and Phil Beck.
Parfitt, Frankcom and Rimmer were all on County duty, and McGovan was in Ireland playing for Combined Services. A third win in a row, was an encouraging spectacle for Bath supporters, transported to Norwood by coach. Services were the first to score, with a penalty award, following a rare Drewett fumble. Howard-Baker scored a try, which was converted by Drewett, recalled as a stand-in full-back. This conversion consolidated Drewett as leading points scorer, even though he was no longer an automatic choice for the senior side. A series of line-outs eventually brought reward, when debut forward Beck crowned a promising performance with a fine try. Announcement regarding Laurie Rimmer in England Trial and Peter Parfitt standing by as Reserve.
v London Scottish, Away. Lost 3-9. Team:- I A Balding, J Cousins, B J O’Mara, R Farnham, A J Howard-Baker, R Fieldgate, D Peters, P J K Parfitt, P Hill, A Meek, P Heindorff, M J Jones, B Davies, J Evans and P Beck. Bath failed to make the most of their opportunities at Richmond, and suffered a disappointing reverse. The Scots took the lead after 10 minutes with the first of two penalties by Law. Hopes were raised when Howard-Baker crashed over in the corner, but the Exciles switched play from right to left and Boyle touched down from a line-out.
Peter Parfitt was to be Bath’s sole representative in a combined Somerset and Gloucestershire side to play the Springboks. However, he would be the fifth Bath player to run out against the tourists that season:- Ian Beer and Derek Wardle played in the opening game for Southern Counties. Laurie Rimmer was due to appeared for North Western Counties the following Wednesday, and Paddy McGovan was selected to play for Western Counties in his native Cornwall.
The South Africans subsequently ran riot at Kingsholm, beating Western Counties by 42-0.
On successive days, Dec 4th, 5th, and 6th saw the highest flood in living memory at Bath. The papers reported this to be the worst flood since 1882.
The level of the water was just to the bottom of the George Robert’s clock on the North Stand.
The Club’s amplifying equipment was ruined and there was a membership appeal for contributions towards replacement.
Legend has it, that a couple of former players actually rowed a small boat above the North end cross bar!
The Club later acknowledged the tremendous effort by Mr. Fred Daw and his staff in restoring the Rec. to playing condition. Bath were singularly fortunate that its ‘green sward’ had tremendous powers of recovery. It could be awash one day – and clear to play the next! However, older players will always remember the great muddy patch and dip in level, right in front of the West Stand.
v Gloucester postponed due to severe flooding.
v London Irish, Home. Lost 6-11. Team:- J Millman, R Farnham, G Frankcom, B O’Mara, J Cousins, R Fieldgate, D Peters, R Clark, P Hill, A Meek, P Heindorff, M J Jones, B Davies, J Evans and P McGovan.
After two weeks inactivity, Bath succumbed to a rugged Exciles side. The Bath eight could not counter the visitors’ traditional fervour and robust play, and on the day, the opposing hooker got the better of Bath’s Pat Hill. Geoff Frankcom came through the game with great credit, showing speed, distribution skills and tactical awareness that belied his tender years. A late revival, producing tries from McGovan and Heindorff, was too late to save the game
v Torquay, Home. Won 17-3. Team:- I Balding, R Farnham, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, J Cousins, R Fieldgate, D Peters, P Parfitt, P Hill, A J Meek, M Jones, K Andrews, J Evans, L Clark and P Hall. Young Phil Hall had worked his way up through junior rugby and was, at last, given his 1st team chance. He certainly took it!
Kevin Andrews was welcomed back to the side, having held a regular place in the North Midlands side.
Try scorers:- Farnham, O’Mara, Cousins, Evans and Hall. Angus Meek got Bath’s only conversion from five tries. Even then, there was an element of luck, as the ball bounced on the crossbar, and rolled over. They also asked Pete Parfitt to have a penalty pot at goal: “With true Christmas spirit, the prop forward missed the kick, but the ball rebounded from an upright, and he threw out a long pass which enabled Evans to score Bath’s third unconverted try.”
v Old Blues, Home. Won 21-3. Team:- G F Drewett, R Farnham, B J O’Mara, G Frankcom, J Cousins, R E Fieldgate, J Millman, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, P B H Heindorff, K Anders, J Evans, L Clark and P Hall.
Young Phil Hall had scored a try in his debut appearance against Torquay, and was pleased to repeat the process in his second game. Another double success – Skipper Angus Meek, possibly spurred on by his 1 from 1 conversion performance against Torquay, scored a try against Old Blues. Such was his determination, that he injured himself in the process! Other try scores stemmed from Farnham, O’Mara and Heindorff, with Drewett converting three of them.
v Northampton, Away. Lost 5-32. Team:- G F Drewett, A J Howard-Baker, B J O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, R E Fieldgate, D Peters, P J K Parfitt, J Jacobsen, D G Robson, K Andrews, M J Jones, J Evans, L Clark and P Hall. Once again Bath fell under the hammer of mighty Northampton. A try by Farnham, converted by Drewett, was the only counter to the onslaught.
Informed journalistic comment thought that Bath did well to restrict Northampton to their 27-point margin! The Saints had the usual massive pack, and on one occasion, Peters is recorded as trying to duck his way through! For the Franklin Gardens faithful, it was a tremendous display of open rugby. For Bath – it was something akin to disaster!
v Leicester, Away. Lost 3-16. Team:- I Balding, R Farnham, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, F E D Harrison, R Fieldgate, D Peters, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, K Andrews, M J Jones, J Evans, L Clark, and P Beck. Referee H A G Halfacre, covered the ground well.
“Bath’s efforts were eventually rewarded. Fieldgate made the break of the afternoon and linked up well with his threequarters, who, at long last, clicked into top gear, and O’Mara crossed for a good try. Frankcom failed to convert.”
Although the game produced another disappointing result, the score of 16 points to 3 points did not do the Bath boys justice. One thing however was evident, some Bath players were not fully match fit, regular attendance and training sessions would produce that extra yard – which is vital if we are to win matches. H.J.F.S. (Jack Simpkins)
v London Welsh, Home. Won 11-3. Team:- G Drewett, R Farnham, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, J E Cousins, R Margesson, D J Peters, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, P B H Heindorff, K Andrews, L I Rimmer, I D S Beer and B Davies.
Paddy McGovan was playing for the R.A.F. v London Irish.
Bath played with enthusiasm and determination to beat a powerful Exciles side. They were eight points up at half time, following a 40 yard try by John Cousins, and Ian Beer’s ‘pick up and score,’ which Drewett converted. In the second half, Bath forwards rekindled their enthusiasm and a long kick ahead by Drewett, left Exciles winger Chilton floundering after the ball. Bath’s wing forward, Davies pulled the ball loose, allowing O’Mara to dribble through for an unconverted try.
v Llanelly, Home. Won 15-3. Team:- G F Drewett, R Farnham, G Frankcom, B J O’Mara, J E Cousins, P Margesson, D J Peters, A J Meek, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, K Andrews, P B H Heindorff, P E McGovan, J Evans and B Davies. Laurie Rimmer was with the England side, so Paddy McGovan returned to reinforce the back row.
Brace was the master technician behind a lively Llanelly pack, but even he succumbed to the heavy conditions as the Rec. surface began to cut up. He initiated an orthodox movement which allowed Elliott to slip Cousin’s tackle for a corner try. Bath continued to be bewildered by some of his incursions, but heavy rain commenced in the 20th minute, which blunted Llanelly’s free-flowing style. Bath’s fortunes changed when Drewett landed a penalty, after a Welsh scrummaging misdemeanour. (Half-time 3-3)
From the re-start, Llanelly resorted to progress via touchline kicks. McGovan was unlucky to be called back after grounding the ball, from a touchline rush. “Bath were rewarded shortly afterwards when Farnham broke away following his short penalty and in turn passed inside to Peters, and the scrum half enabled McGovan to almost bulldoze his way over.
Back-row forward Evans was on hand to gain the vital touch-down for an unconverted try.” Bath were now in control, and Parfitt was the next to score, from a scrum wheel on their opponents’ line. Kevin Andrews then showed in a bright move from a lineout. Next, Farnham scored in the corner, following a well executed foot rush, and Frankcom topped things off, by dribbling through for Bath’s fourth try.
Mike Jones played for the Army this day.
News that Alec Lewis had been refereeing in Cheshire.
It was Roy Farnham’s 95th and Frank Harrison’s 85th game.
Confirmation – Rag Doll originated 40 years previously. Donated by the then Llanelly President
Mr. Mills and to be retained by the winners of Llanelly v Bath games in perpetuity.
v St. Mary’s Hospital, Away. Won 16-0. Team:- G F Drewett, R Farnham, G Frankcom, B J O’Mara, J E Cousins, P Margesson, D J Peters, A J Meek, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, K Andrews, P B H Heindorff, J Evans, P Venn. Bath played with 14 men, as B Davies did not attend. St. Mary’s were similarly short-handed.
The captains agreed to play the game with 14 men, unless both the missing players turned up.
Bath seem to have the better of this deal, as the Medics were missing their star winger, and their back division found Farnham to hot to hold. Bath were also well organised defensively, whilst ‘up-front’ their forwards held sway against lighter opposition. Tries flowed from Farnham (2), and Evans (2), with Drewett improving his season tally with two more conversions. Roy Farnham had a cracking game!
v Rosslyn Park, Away. Lost 9-22. Team:- G F Drewett, J E Cousins, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, R Wilcox, D Peters, P J K Parfitt, B Davis, A J Meek, K Andrews, P B H Heindorff, I D S Beer, J Evans, B Davies. Bath’s up and down performance continued, with a reverse at Roehampton. The two Johns – Cousins and Evans got the tries and Drewett a penalty.
Evans’s try brought him second only to Roy Farnham, in the table of try scorers. He was to be temporarily absent for a while on an engineering course.
Ian Beer demonstrated his keenness to play. At 12-30 he was still teaching at Marlborough; two hours later he took the field. Without stopping for the post match tea, he was off back to Marlborough in time to take Prep!
v Gloucester, Away. Lost 8-17. Team:- G F Drewett, A J Howard-Baker, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, P Margesson, D J Peters, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, K Andrews, P B H Heindorff, I D S Beer, P E Venn and J L B Davies.
Bath held an 8-3 lead at half time, but in the second half, Gloucester adapted better in blustery conditions: “to pile on the pressure and the points.” Playing with the wind, Frankcom was the first try scorer, after intercepting Hopson’s pass and swerving past full back Hillier. Drewett converted. Despite a monopoly of the ball in the set scrums, Gloucester lacked Bath’s three-quarter originality; Howard-Baker sent in Margesson in the corner. However, Gloucester were able to counter with a try by Simmonds near half time. Bath turned round to face the elements, and the error of a high kick ahead, was immediately apparent, as the ball swirled back towards them. The home side used the wind to advantage, with touchline advancements. Bath’s lead was then whittled away with tries by Townsend, (converted Hillier) Hopson, Dick Smith and Timms.
v Cheltenham, Home. Won 22-11. Team:- G F Drewett, A J Howard-Baker, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, P Margesson, D Peters, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, K J Andrews, P B H Heindorff, I D S Beer, L I Rimmer and P E McGovan.
The best try of the match was scored by Geoff Frankcom, following a swerving run from Brendon O’Mara. He actually crossed the try line, before handing on to Frankcom. In all, Frankcom scored two tries, Meek one; Drewett converted both, and kicked three penalties.
Angus Meek played his 104th game. Cheltenham’s form had improved considerably since Bath inflicted a home defeat by 11points to 3 on November 19th last.
v Wasps, Home. Lost 3-6. Team:- J Hawgood (Northampton and Hampshire), R Farnham, G Frankcom, B D O’Mara, A J Howard-Baker, P Margesson, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, K J Andrews, J A Jacob, I D S Beer, P Beck, P Hall.
It was John Hawgood’s 1st XV debut and Roy Farnham’s 100th. Appearance.
Tony Jacob returned to the side for his 96th game, after a long lay off through injury. Bath could do little to revenge last season’s 26-0 defeat. All that they can say, is that they narrowed the margin!
Bath were one man short from the 10th minute when Ian Beer withdrew with a badly cut lip. Pressure from the heavy visiting pack, secured a steady flow of possession for the Wasps. Hawgood stood up well to sustained attacks, with long relieving kicks and faultless positioning. There was no score at half time, but Wasps’ numerical and avoirdupois superiority eventually took its toll. Following a loose maul, Wasps’ centre Keith spread-eagled Bath’s defence, allowing Hurst to shrug off Hawgood’s tackle and score the first try in the corner. Bath staged a spirited revival, and while stemming one of these attacks, Wasps’ left wing Mettler sustained a gashed head, and former England winger Woodward moved out to replace him. He had obviously lost little of his speed, and soon caught O’Mara in possession on the Bath line. Following a failed penalty attempt, Woodward made a tremendous burst on the right, and was stopped just short of the line. The supporting forwards gained a quick heel, sending the unmarked Gerry in for an unconverted try. In the closing stages, Hall led a footrace, which almost brought a try, but further effort was rewarded when Margesson broke on the blind side and sent Farnham over in the corner.
v Bristol, Away. Lost 11-29. Team:- J Hawgood, A J Howard-Baker, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, P Margesson, G F Drewett, A J Meek, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, P Heindorff, A J Jacob, L I Rimmer, K Andrews, P Hall. Bath tries by Howard-Baker and O’Mara. Drewett converted one and kicked a penalty. “Although Bath scored first, they were unable to keep up the good work…
In fact they took one of their worst beatings of the season against a high powered side, who showed just how to play rugby football, and went on to win.”
“The Captain’s Retort”
Both the first team and the United apologise for causing you any palpitations, loss of hair, or encouraging any form of ill-mannered language during last Saturday’s games against the Bristol teams. We are offering no excuses, but we must learn from our mistakes and Bristol’s enterprising play. We did have our chances and had they been accepted the result would still have been a high scoring game but very much closer. We did have ill luck when John Hawgood attempted a drop goal from fully 40 yards out, which bounced off the top of the post back into play and Bristol taking the advantage to set off in attack whilst our players were in an offside position and instead of our being a further 3 points up, Bristol had reduced their arrears at that stage.
v Swansea, Away. Won 13-3. Team:- J Hawgood, A J Howard-Baker, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, D Wardle, G F Drewett, A J Meek , P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, K Andrews, A J Jacob, P Beck, I D S Beer, P Hall.
This was a surprise win, brought about by excellent team work in defence and attack. Bath tries from Howard-Baker and Angus Meek, two conversions, and a 40 yard penalty by Gordon Drewett to settle the issue.
“Ian Beer, back after injury, was as so often before, the inspiration behind many of their best attacking moves, Peter Parfitt by sheer strength alone, carved out a place for himself in the record books; Kevin Andrews and Tony Jacobs never let up in the second row, and flank forwards Phil Beck and Phil Hall commended themselves to the spectators by their ability to be up with the ball in all stages of the game.”
ONE FOR THE REFEREE
Referee A E R Cotterill (North Midlands) gained praise from both Club’s Officials, for the outstanding manner in which he handled this match.
5th March and 12th March 1961 OXFORDSHIRE SEVENS
Congratulations were extended to the Bath seven, R Farnham, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, G Drewett, P Hall and K Andrews, who, captained by Gordon Drewett, did so well in the Oxfordshire Sevens.
They reached the semi-final stage, but were knocked out by 13 points to 5, by the eventual Tournament winners Wasps.
v Neath, Home. Lost 0-9. Team:- I A Balding, J Cousins, G Frankcom, B D O’Mara, A J Howard-Baker, D J Wardle, G F Drewett, A J Meek, P J Hill, PJ K Parfitt, K J Andrews, A Jacob, P Hall, I D S Beer and S Thomas. Bath: “were convincingly beaten by an impressive and hard working Neath side, whose forward dominance completely blotted out Bath’s efforts, and also scored the three tries.” Irishman, Stan Thomas, was promoted from the ‘A’s team to take the wing forward spot in place of Paddy McGovan, who was on R.A.F. duty. Neath were also forced to make changes, and included Bristol’s Roy Dash, as a guest scrum-half. In the early stages, both sets of backs looked somewhat insecure and resorted to excessive kicking. However, Bath continually failed to impress, whereas Neath picked up their game and eventually ran in three tries. Drewett had a rare off day, with his penalty attempts.
v Weston-super-Mare, Away. Lost 3-16. Team:- R Trounson (‘A’xv), J Cousins, G Frankcom, I A Balding, A J Howard-Baker, P Margesson, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A J Meek, K J Andrews, A Jacob, P Hall, L Clark, P E McGovan.
A solitary penalty from Drewett. A sorry display at the seaside!
v Devonport Services, Away. Drawn 11-11. Team:- I A Balding, A J Howard-Baker, B O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Farnham, P Margesson, G Drewett, P Mulligan, P J Hill, A J Meek, K Andrews, A Jacob, J Evans, L Clark and P Hall. Bath finally revived in the last quarter and showed how well they could perform. Sadly, it was to play out for the draw.
Bath tries from Frankcom, Margesson and Evans, with one converted by Drewett.
Veteran, Joe Bailey met a number of former shipmates, but they failed to persuade him to join up again!
Tony Jacob completed 101 games for the 1st XV and Gordon Drewett reached 101 points for the season.
(Tuesday) v Gloucester, Home. Lost 3-8. Team:- I A Balding, J Cousins, R Farnham, A J Howard-Baker, R Andrew, R J Dash, G F Drewett (P), P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, A Jacob, I D S Beer, J Evans and P E McGovan.
Selection was disrupted by injuries: ” with Gordon Drewett as captain and Pat Hill leading the pack the whole team rallied together to bring us close to victory.” ( Extract from ‘Captain’s Retort’)
This time Roy Dash ‘guested’ for Bath at extremely short notice, having previously played in a hockey game that afternoon. Bath were grateful to Gloucester, who were fulfilling a fixture postponed from December 10th last. Former Bath player, Terry Hopson was at outside half for Gloucester. He made close re-acquaintance with Bath’s Paddy McGovan! Gloucester prop, Alan Townsend had also previously played for Bath.
v Harlequins, Home. Lost 12-62. Team:- I Balding, J Cousins, R Fieldgate, P Margesson, R Andrew, R Dash, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A Meek, M Jones, J A Jacob, I D S Beer, L Clark and J Evans.
Records to Date were very similar:-
Harlequins Played 36, Won 15, Drawn 2, Lost 19. For 291 Against 273.
Bath Played 36, Won 14, Drawn 2, Lost 20. For 315 Against 330.
There was plenty of soul searching after this debacle. A game on the nearby croquet pitch would have been more uplifting!
“I am still wondering whether Harlequins did beat Bath by the above score on the Recreation Ground on Thursday evening or was it just a nightmarish part of a dream. On second thoughts, however, the painful truth is still vivid in the memory.” (writes W.J.S.)
“I hope I never again have to witness the sort of humiliation which a club of Bath’s standing had to undergo on what must be the blackest day in their near 100 years of rugby history.”
“Not even the most pessimistic, however, could have foreseen this heart-breaking and morale-shattering debacle.”
Bath’s troubles stemmed from dreadfully weak and uncommitted covering and tackling, especially in mid-field. Revelling in the dry conditions, Quins backs and forwards made it look like a practice spree.
Bath held their own in set piece forward play, but abject weaknesses outside the scrum worked against them. For the record, Harlequins scored 13 tries, converted 10 of them and kicked a penalty.
There were ‘consolation’ tries by Dash and Jacob. Drewett bagged a drop goal and a penalty.
v Otley, Home. Won 17-0. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, B D O’Mara, G Frankcom, R Andrew, P Margesson, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, A Meek, K Andrews, J A Jacob, J Evans, L Clark, P Hall.
The return of O’Mara and Frankcom heralded a convincing win against the Yorkshire Club’s Easter tourists. Drewett opened up proceedings with a 35 yard penalty in the 20th minute; this prompted some sparkling play in which Frankcom impressed. Drewett kept Bath in touch with two further penalties, and at last, an amazing sprint by Bath’s lanky winger, brought a well deserved try for Cousins, when Otley’s midfield handling broke down. Drewett converted to give Bath a 14-0 lead at half-time.
Richard Andrew concluded the scoring, with a 30 yard run after the opposing defence was caught out of position.
TEN ON THE SICK LIST
Easter games proved to be disappointing. Bath had listed 10 players with injuries and with other non-availability, Team Secretary Jack Arnold had many selection headaches.
Derek Wardle, ankle injury. Roy Farnham, pulled muscle. Geoff Frankcom, back injury.
Phil Beck, hand injury. Bob Hedges, hand injury. Laurie Rimmer, hand injury.
Frank Harrison, arm injury. Brendon O’Mara, pulled muscle. Roger Ford, leg injury.
Angus Meek, pulled muscle.
v Old Merchant Taylors, Home. Won 6-5. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, G Frankcom, B D O’Mara, R Andrew, P Margesson, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, M J Jones, J Evans, L Clark and P Hall.
Gordon Drewett led a weakened Bath selection. There was an early score, when following a scrum, smart three-quarter handling set up Frankcom for a break and he in turn handed to O’Mara. The speedy Andrews was at his side. He received a perfectly timed pass enabling him to touch down in the corner.
Their second try was also worthy of note: “Receiving the ball from Parfitt, who gained possession in a loose maul, the scrum half put in a high diagonal kick to the left-hand corner, and Cousins, coming up at speed snatched the ball and rounded Ducat for a try in the corner.”
For O.M.T.’s Griffin slipped several tackles for an excellent try which Baker converted.
v Exeter, Home. Won 20-0. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, G Frankcom, B D O’Mara (T), R Farnham, P Margesson, G F Drewett (DG,C,2P), P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, A J Jacob, J Evans, L Clark (2T) and P Hall. It was a good win as Exeter were enjoying an excellent season, having won 27, Drawn 3 and lost 4. Points For 514, Against 202.
Both sides were depleted with County calls. A Drewett drop-goal was the only first half score. Then persistent pressure brought second half tries for O’Mara, a fine solo effort, and L Clark (2). Drewett converted one and added two penalties for good measure.
v Moseley, Home. Won 11-3. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, B D O’Mara, R Farnham, R Andrew, G Frankcom (T), G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, P Heindorff, P Hall, L Clark and P E McGovan.
Moseley were captained by Peter Robbins, of England and Oxford University. He was remembered from the days when he played for R.A.F. Compton Bassett in the Bath District Seven-a-Sides.
Bath took advantage of their visitor’s mistakes, although both sides tended to lob their passes, and therefore, invite interception. Cousins took advantage of a fumbled pass, to send away Farnham for a try which Drewett converted. By way of exchange, it was Farnham’s second half pass, which sent Cousins speeding away for a try in the corner. Moseley narrowed the gap when Asquith landed a 40 yard penalty. Finally, Frankcom wrapped things up, when Drewett gave a smart service, enabling him to find a gap and shoot through for a fine, but unconverted try.
v Taunton, Home. Won 8-3. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, B D O’Mara, R Farnham, F E D Harrison, G Frankcom, G F Drewett, P Mulligan, P J Hill, P J K Parfitt, K J Andrews, A Jacob, P Hall, L Clark and P E McGovan.
News that skipper Meek had been out training, but was unlikely to be match fit that season.
Gordon Drewett had stood in as Captain, doing a grand job: “despite his half pint size.”
Played out in drizzling rain, the game degenerated into a relentless struggle between two fired-up packs of forwards, when decisive passing movements were at a premium. Taunton full-back Wilkins was cool under pressure, giving a faultless display of fielding and kicking. Hawgood matched Wilkin’s performance, when faced with high ‘up and unders.’ McGovan, Parfitt and Clark ‘caught the eye’ in the forwards. Mildon’s penalty put the visitors ahead by half-time, but Bath came back with a try by Frankcom, converted by Drewett. Drewett was again successful, this time with a penalty, which negated a late revival by the Taunton forwards.
v Bedford, Away. Won 6-5. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, B D O’Mara, R Farnham, F Harrison, G Frankcom, G F Drewett, P J K Parfitt, P J Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, P Heindorff, L Clark, M J Jones and P Hall. Bedford had a strong team and had recently beaten Coventry and the Territorial Army side. Bedford had scored and converted within ten minutes of the start. Then Hall was in the van of a lively Bath forward rush, Frankcom kicked for territory, and Bath began to pile on the pressure. However, he was frequently harassed by the attentions of fellow England player, ‘Budge’ Rogers. Further forward pressure eventually created space, but at first attempt, Frankcom had a drop-goal attempt charged down. Seconds later, he took another shot from virtually the same spot – and was successful, so Bath trailed 3-5 at half time. ‘Commeth the hour – commeth the man’ – and Frankcom popped over another drop-goal in the second half to clinch the game.
Bath v Bristol Old Players. The old firm of Tom Smith, Fred Hill and John Roberts in the front row!
v Weston-super-Mare, Home. Won 20-5. Team:- J Hawgood, J Cousins, B D O’Mara, R Farnham, F Harrison, G Frankcom, G Drewett, P Parfitt, P Hill, P Mulligan, K Andrews, M J Jones, P Hall, L Clark, P McGovan.
Bath ended an indifferent season in grand style with seven successive wins. Bath had a six point lead at half-time, courtesy of penalties from acting captain Drewett. The Seasiders had narrowed the gap to
6-5, before tries flowed from McGovan, Hall, Harrison and Clark. Drewett had the last word, and appropriately, the last points of the season, by converting Harrison’s try.
Try scorers (82 tries): Geoff Frankcom 12, Roy Farnham 10, John Evans, Alan Howard-Baker and Brendan O’Mara 8, John Cousins 7, Frank Harrison 4, Lance Clark, Phil Hall, Angus Meek and Paddy McGovan 3, Richard Andrew and Phil Margesson 2, Phil Beck, Ian Beer, Roy Dash, Richard Fieldgate, Peter Heindorff, Pat Hill, Tony Jacob, Mike Jones and Peter Parfitt one each.
Conversions (32):- Drewett 27, Randall 4, Meek 1.
Penalties (29):- Drewett 28, Heindorff 1.
Dropped Goals (7):- Drewett 3, Ford and Frankcom 2 each.
Appearances: P Parfitt 38, P Hill 37, B O’Mara 36, G Drewett 35, R Farnham 33, G Frankcom and A Meek 32, J Cousins 26, J Evans 25, K P Andrews and A J Howard-Baker 24, P Hall, F Harrison and D Peters 17, P Heindorff and P McGovan 16, L Clark, A Jacob, M J Jones and P Margesson 15, A Balding, R Clark and R Fieldgate 14, P Venn 13, I Beer 12, B Davies and J Hawgood 10, R Ford and J Jacobsen 9, M Lambert, P Mulligan, R Randall and L Rimmer 8, R Andrew and P Beck 5, R Brown, D Wardle and D Robson 4, B Davis 3, R Dash, M Greensides and J Millman 2, and P Masters, R Shuck, N Spinks, S Thomas, R Trounson and R Wilcox once each.