At age 27, Tom Martland was appointed as Vice Captain of the Club. As well as earning numerous County caps, Tom had already played 164 1st XV games. His main obstacle to progress had been a niggling knee injury. A multi-talented player, he had already turned out at full-back, centre and wing.
v Roma (Italy), Home. Won 13-9. Team:- H J Hiles, P C Sibley, M C Bull, V Williams, I F Duckworth, B K Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, M Hannell, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, K Richardson, P R Hall.
Bath were uncertain as to the standard of a club billed as near to their country’s national side. They had to wait and observe their form against Llanelly.
Tries by Bull and Hannell, conversions by Hiles and Williams, and a penalty by Hiles, eliminated any uncertainty. A fine performance from Alan Parfitt, propped by his brother Peter. “Like so many of Bath’s ‘home-grown’ players he hails from Oldfield School and graduated to the city’s senior club from his successful Old Boys side.” It was as well to reflect that he had just turned 18.
v Pontypool, Away. Lost 15-25. Team:- H J Hiles, H Barstow, D Wilce (2T), M James (3C), I F Duckworth, J A Thomas, M C Lloyd (T), P J K Parfitt, D Vivian, M Hannell, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, T D Martland (Capt.), K Richardson and P R Hall.
“An unfamiliar looking and much depleted Bath side had a fair share of the first half play this afternoon at Pontypool, but missed several good opportunities, whereas the Welshmen snapped up two of theirs and led by eight points after only half an hour and then steadily forged ahead.” (BATH CHRONICLE) Half time 0-8. Duckworth played a significant roll in several of Bath’s good movements, but for the final pass to go astray. Hiles went off after the interval, with suspected cartilage trouble. Bath made a late rally, but again, Pontypool piled on the points.
Bath also sent nine players to the first Harlequin Sevens Tournament at the Stoop Memorial Ground, Twickenham. They lost to Llanelli 5-10, in the first round. Team:- P C Sibley, M C Bull, V Williams, B K Perry, R J Orledge, D J Gay and A Parfitt. Reserves:- I Holmes and M Beese.
v Leicester, Home. Lost 6-12. Team:- H J Hiles, P C Sibley, M James, D Wilce, I F Duckworth, B K Perry, M C Lloyd, M Hannell, A Parfitt, P J K Parfitt, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
Injuries took their toll in this one; Sibley went off with concussion after 25 minutes and Peter Parfitt was off for 20 minutes with an ankle injury. Effectively, Bath played half the match with 13 men. Notwithstanding this, there were some exciting moments, particularly from Duckworth, with his touchline bursts, one of which brought the first try. A Bath revival in the second half, saw Martland break away on the right wing and he kicked ahead for Gay. In the ensuing chase, Gay appeared to be impeded, but howls for a penalty try award were ignored. Bath fought on courageously in the closing minutes, and Phil Hall just made it with a 35 yard drop goal. Then Perry burst away, with Hiles in support, and only a last ditch tackle by Berry kept Bath out.
In the last minute, a breakaway dribble by Matthews, ended in a try for former Bath forward Kevin Andrews. The Tigers were home and dry.
v Ebbw Vale, Away. Lost 14-16. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, V Williams, M James, I F Duckworth, B K Perry, M C Lloyd, G Squires, A Parfitt, M Hannell, P B H Hannell, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
Scores were level at half-time, with Williams scoring two penalties and Ebbw Vale securing a penalty and a try. In the second half, the Welshmen scored two converted tries, which had the advantage over Bath’s tries by Perry and Williams, with one converted by Williams. Territorially, Ebbw Vale always had the best of this game, and it was a credit to Bath’s determination in defence, that the final margin was so close.
Jim Waterman’s 1st XV debut. He was soon capitalising on the Law discouraging direct kicks to touch from 25. His electrifying burst from deep full-back positions, allowed him to align with his three-quarters in superbly timed exchanges, switches of direction, and well timed passing movements. This exciting development was seen as the precursor of much of Bath’s sophisticated running game, which was to heap success on the Club in later seasons.
News that scrum half, Jim Galley was expected to re-join the club from Bristol.
v Clifton, Home. Won 14-9. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M James, I F Duckworth, M Beese, B K Perry, J M Galley, M Haskins, A Parfitt, G Squires, D Lewis, P B H Heindorff, T D Martland, D J Gay, and P R Hall. David Gay was carrying an injured ankle for 3 parts of the game.
1st XV debut and a try for Mike Beese. Formerly of Keynsham Grammar School, he had shown early promise with Keynsham Colts. Tries by Waterman, Beese and Gay, with a conversion and penalty by James.
Tour Party:- A Gay, B Fry, J Waterman, M Beese, M James, M C Lloyd, N Carter, A Parfitt, D Robson, P Heindorff, R Orledge, D Lewis, T Martland (Capt.), P R Hall, W Lye, J Cousins, P Williams, J Donovan, C Perry and K Price.
v Old Wesley, Away. Lost 8-22. Team:- A F Gay, J Cousins, M Beese, T Martland (C), J Donovan, J Waterman, M C Lloyd, N Carter, A Parfitt, D H G Robson, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, W Lye (T), R J Orledge (T), P R Hall. A mixture of 1st XV, United and Spartans made the trip, and there were some strange selection combinations. All were intent on – first enjoying themselves, and second – getting a game! The heavy reversal at the first game, was largely in consequence of the tourists sorting themselves out. Certainly, most of the damage was done in the first 30 minutes. Then, acting on Tom Martland’s instruction to “throw it about,” Bath put up a good performance, which belied the final score.
v Blackrock College, Away. Won 9-5. Team:- A F Gay, J R Donovan (T), T D Martland, M James (P), B Fry (T), J Waterman, C Perry, N Carter, A Parfitt, D G Robson, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, P R Hall, R J Orledge, W K C Lye.
Again, predisposed to play open rugby, Bath’s scratch side outplayed an outfit containing two Irish Internationals. It was Chris Perry’s first senior game in the unaccustomed position of scrum-half. He was later to develop well in that, as well as his normal wing forward position.
“Alan Parfitt’s hooking, apparently much impressed the Irish, so did David Lewis’ all-out effort while Nial Carter was very much a success at prop.”
v Armagh, Away. Won 10-3. Team:- A F Gay, T D Martland (T), B Fry, M James (2C), M Lloyd (T), J Waterman, C Perry, N Carter, A Parfitt, D G Robson, D Lewis, P Williams, W Lye, K Price and P Hall.
BATH CHRONICLE commented on Bath’s post tour injury list: “One player in hospital seriously injured, two more with four or five stitches in cut heads, and others with leg injuries seems a pretty high price to pay for a three match rugby tour.”
Spartan’s skipper, John Cousins had collapsed after the Old Wesley game, and spent the rest of the tour in a Dublin Hospital, with bruised kidneys. Billy Lye played steady and reliable tour games. Jim Waterman, Barry Fry, Malcolm Lloyd, Bob Orledge and Tom Martland acquitted themselves well – even when playing out of position.
v Bridgwater, Won 12-6. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R Elliott, I F Duckworth (T), B K Perry (T), J M Galley, G Squires, A Parfitt, M Hannell, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland (2P), M Haskins and P R Hall. Roger Elliott debut.
v Aberavon, Home. Won 14-9. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M James, R Elliott (T), I F Duckworth, J Thomas, M Lloyd, G Squires, A Parfitt (T), M Hannell, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland (C,P), D J Gay (T), and P R Hall.
Despite enforced selection changes, Bath played some fine open rugby. They were encouraged by Martland’s 40 yard penalty two minutes from the start. Jones forced his way over for Aberavon. Later, Thomas spread-eagled the defence, and following a long pass to Duckworth, it was Elliott who raced on, to dive over in the corner. Bath kept up the forward pressure, when Orledge and Gay combined to send in Peter Parfitt. Into the second half: “Hall took a quick throw-in from touch to James and the ball was sent neatly across the field at speed. Elliott made a decisive break and Gay was up to finish things off. Then a magnificent touch line conversion by Martland widened the gap.” Wheeler kicked two penalties for Aberavon.
v Cheltenham, Away. Won 10-8. Team:- A F Gay, J Donovan, R Elliott, M James, I F Duckworth, J Waterman, M C Lloyd, G Squires, A Parfitt, M Hannell, R J Orledge, D Lewis, C Perry, D J Gay and I Holmes.
Played under Floodlight. It was good away win, with tries by Roger Elliott and Ian Holmes. Elliott and James supplied the conversions. Cheltenham were awarded a penalty try for an in-goal offence
The absence of Tom Martland and Phil Hall meant that the last of that season’s 100% attendance records had fallen. The two back-row forwards had appeared in 10 previous 1st XV encounters, including the short tour of Ireland. Up to this time, Bath had utilised 39 players in 11 games. Phil Hall, Martland and Alan Parfitt had played in ten.
v London Irish, Home. Won 17-9. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M James (3P, C), R Elliott, I F Duckworth (T), J A Thomas, M C Lloyd, M Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland (P), D J Gay and P R Hall.
Peter Sibley’s penchant for positive, open rugby, was paying off. This was the sixth win in a row. They did exceptionally well to counter the combative Excile forwards. “For much of the first half despite the boost of a 30-second lead from a penalty by Martland, Bath were on the receiving end of some spirited Irish attacks, stemming from fast, determined spoiling and chasing.”
“As Parfitt won back some of the earlier lost ground in the tight, Orledge and Heindorff came into their own in the line-out and Hall, with admirable help from Lloyd smothered loose ball on the opposite side. Irish enthusiasm slackened.” Ian Duckworth scored the only try of the match: “And if only three out of 26 points didn’t come from the boot, the home crowd still went away satisfied with a game which spasmodically, at least, rose out of mediocrity.”
v Bristol, Away. Won 14-9. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M James, R Elliott, I F Duckworth, B K Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, G Squires, P B Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
Bath ran up an early eleven point lead, following a penalty by James, Tries from Sibley and Perry, with James converting Sibley’s try. Gabitass reduced Bath’s lead, just before the interval, with an unconverted try. (Half-time 11-3) There were two further penalties from Bristol’s Ainge, and twelve minutes from the end, came the match clinching try. “They got possession from a line-out on the left touchline and a cruising run by James cut open Bristol’s defence. He timed his pass well to enable Sibley to gallop over for his second try of the match.”
v St. Mary’s Hospital, Away. Won 31-6. Team:- J Waterman, J Stevens, M James, R Elliott, M C Beese, B Perry, T Keene, M Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, P Williams, T D Martland, W K C Lye, P R Hall.
After 15 minutes of sustained pressure, Hall sent Bill Lye over for his first try. St. Mary’s countered strongly, when Beese was carrying a leg injury. However, their revival was short lived when John Stevens scored in the far right corner. Martland converted from a difficult angle. Almost immediately, Hall broke through the centre defence and Martland converted his try. Martland again obliged with a penalty, and Lye got his second try. “Bath swept back into the attack, and the Hospital were forced to defend desperately, but after 22 minutes Berry made a good break to split St. Mary’s defence and send Martland over for an unconverted try.
Three minutes later Bath struck again when full-back Waterman came up into the attack to score a fine try beneath the posts. Elliott converted.”
M Lloyd, R J Orledge, P J K Parfitt, I F Duckworth and D J Gay played for Somerset (6pts) v Gloucestershire (17 pts), this day.
v Neath, Home. Won 10-8. Team:- J Waterman, P Sibley, M James, R Elliott, I Duckworth, B Perry, M Lloyd, P Parfitt, A Parfitt, G Squires, P Heindorff, R Orledge, T Martland, W Lye and P Hall.
This intense match was Bath’s ninth consecutive victory. Waterman for Bath, and Hodgson for Neath, played outstanding games as respective full backs, both running from deep at any opportunity. Bath were without Waterman in the final stages, but battled heroically to keep Neath at bay. Duckworth and Lye got the tries, one converted by Martland from the touchline, and the other from a fine kick by James
v Saracens, Home. Drawn 8-8. Team:- J Waterman, J Stevens, M James, R Elliott, P C Sibley, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, W K C Lye, D J Gay, P R Hall.
“Saracens dramatically levelled the score to finish all square in the closing minutes on the Recreation ground this afternoon after it seemed that Bath had made certain of victory.
Conditions even at the start were unpleasant. On a bitterly cold afternoon fog enveloped the ground and it was only just possible to see the length of the pitch.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
Despite the dismal weather, Saracens started brightly, and Bath were 0-3 down at the interval, with Alder’s penalty.
Brendan Perry figured in both of Bath’s tries: “Perry picked up the loose ball just inside the Saracen’s 25 and went through a gap. He was boxed in by defenders, but kicked ahead and Heindorff got a vital touchdown for James to convert.”
“With only about ten minutes remaining and the gloom thickening Saracens were reduced to 13 men.
Gay broke away and cross-kicked. Hannell nailed a defender, and from the loose heel Perry stormed over for an unconverted try.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
Disaster struck at the end, when Sheriff took advantage of a fumble, to burst through for a try, which Alder converted.
v Pontypool, Home. Won 21-6. Team:- J Waterman (T), P C Sibley, M James (C, P), R Elliott (T), I F Duckworth (T), B Perry (T), M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland (2C), D J Gay and P R Hall.
“Bath took heavy revenge on Pontypool, one of only four sides to beat them so far this season, by going on a scoring spree on the Recreation Ground this afternoon.
Bath were soon into their stride, bustling upfield and causing full back Hearn to get his blood circulating early.”
“On several occasions the Welsh defence was split wide open by crisp handling….”
It was a thoroughly entertaining game, despite several flare-ups in the forwards. Pontypool included the redoubtable Terry Cobner.
v United Services (Portsmouth), Home. Lost 20-21. Team:-J Waterman, P C Sibley, M James (C, T), R Elliott (P), H Barstow (T), B Perry,, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, W K C Lye (T), D J Gay (T), P R Hall. Plus Penalty try.
“Bath, unbeaten in the last 11 matches, suffered shock after shock against United Services on the Recreation Ground this afternoon in a thrilling match full of points, which was in doubt until the final whistle.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
Malcolm Lloyd limped off injured with 35 minutes to go, and Phil Hall deputised at scrum-half.
Bath kept plugging away, for that elusive late score, and in the last minute Sibley sent in Harry Barstow in the corner. Sadly, Roger Elliott was unable to improve upon the points.
Orledge, Martland, and Duckworth were playing for Somerset v Cornwall. Drawn 6-6.
v Bridgend, Away. Lost 3-17. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R Elliott, I F Duckworth, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
“Bath were again a mere shadow of the resourceful, exciting side which has swept all before them in the past two months and suffered their second successive defeat on Saturday at Bridgend.
Once more they looked ill at ease in the mud and rain which largely ruined the game as a spectacle and on the day the Welshmen were well worthy of their success.
Tactics wise and otherwise were the difference between success and failure. Conditions were so treacherous that handling was always fraught with danger and the best, and most dangerous method of gaining ground, was undoubtedly to kick high and follow swiftly.
Bridgend did just that – with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of efficiency and reaped the rewards; Bath in contrast paid the penalty for attempted ploys as far from reality as a dinosaur in the 20th century.
They have, it seems, almost become brainwashed by recent successes brought about by an open handling game and their rigid refusal to adapt their style of play to the conditions cost them dearly.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
Bath’s only response to a 17 point drubbing, was a well kicked penalty by Martland.
v London Scottish, Away. Lost 6-19. Team:- J Waterman, H Barstow, M C Beese, R Elliott, I F Duckworth, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, P Heindorff, D Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall. Bath foundered to their third successive defeat, despite playing some excellent rugby. Harry Barstow came in on the right wing in place of Sibley. Martland and Gay provided early possession, but neither Barstow nor Duckworth took advantage of the space provided, although Barstow had some success later, when he had got into his stride. In contrast, London Scottish took their chance, and Wallace scored in the sixth minute. After a further 30 minutes Bath were at last rewarded by a splendid try. David Gay broke from the back of the scrum, Phil Hall carried on and after a probing run by Brendan Perry, Roger Elliott was able to crash over in the corner for an unconverted try. (Bath’s 50th of the season) Before half-time, Macdonald put the Exciles ahead with a penalty when the Bath backs were caught offside. Further Scott’s tries and a drop goal were to follow and finally, Elliott narrowed the gap with a well taken penalty goal.
News that at age 26, full-back Allen Gay had decided to join Bristol. A gritty and determined tackler, he had rendered exceptional service to the Bath club. His departure was regretted.
News that scrum-half, Simon Clarke’s business trip to Japan had been highly successful and his employers had asked him to stay on there for a while.
v Gloucester called off due to heavy frost.
Bob Orledge selected for the 1st England Trial at Falmouth on 21st December.
v Llanelli. Away. Lost 8-10. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R Elliott, I F Duckworth, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, P Parfitt, G Squires, P B H Heindorff, D Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
An exciting away encounter in muddy conditions. Despite the weather, both sides displayed skills in the running and handling game. Llanelli’s Hill scored and converted. Then Phil Bennett scored one of the most spectacular tries seen at Stradey; starting from his 25 line, he sold a series of outrageous dummies, to race away and touch down under the posts. Hill converted. Bath Hooker. Parfitt was injured and moved out to the wing. Bath then struck their purple patch with a 35 yard Martland penalty. Bath prop Hannell thumped over for Martland to convert. Bath then took the honours in the late forward encounters, but it was Llanelli’s game – just.
v Public Schools Wanderers. Played at Combe Down, as Rec. flooded. Won 20-9.
Team:- R Elliott, H Barstow (T), M C Beese, J Donovan, P C Sibley (T), B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, B Collins, P J K Parfitt, R J Orledge (T), D Lewis (T), T D Martland (2P,C), D J Gay and P R Hall.
Public School Wanderers had to borrow Bath’s John Cousins and Pete Heindorff to make up their numbers. “If nothing else, however, it was suitable carefree game for a holiday crowd which thronged the touch-lines on a bright but distinctly chilly afternoon.”
The Public Schools were largely outplayed, and the back row of Hall, Gay and Martland were adept at starting up second phase attacks.
v Leicester, Away. Lost 13-14. Team:- D P Jones, H Barstow (T), R Elliott, M C Beese, P C Sibley (T), B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, R J Orledge, D J Lewis, T D Martland (T, 2C), D J Gay and P R Hall. It was Phil Hall’s 300th game.
Bath scored three tries to Leicester’s two in front of the Welford Road faithful, but fell short of a win.
“For once again they left themselves just too much to do in the last 20 minutes and even a period of exhilarating handling which brought them two superb scores left them a point short at the end.
It was a desperately close thing however, and Leicester finally run ragged in a match which they seem to have won comfortably, must have been relieved to hear the closing whistle.
That Bath could have won there is no doubt. On reflection, though, a draw would have been a fairer result to a game in which both sides had their moments of brilliance, and both missed chances.”
Bath made effective use of a three man line-out, and with the rest of the pack spreading out across the field, Orledge, Hall, Lewis, Gay and Martland were able to display their handling and defensive skills.
Bath’s best try came when D P Jones set off on a dummying run, starting from deep in his own half. He passed to Elliott, who sped up the touch-line to link with Perry and Beese. A perfectly timed pass, allowed Barstow to cap his already fine performance, with a spectacular try, which Martland converted.
v London Welsh, Home. Lost 14-23. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese (T), R Elliott, J R Donovan (T), B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, A Parfitt, G Squires, R J Orledge, D Lewis, T D Martland (T,C,P), D J Gay, and P R Hall.
“Bath and London Welsh fought out a magnificent match under difficult conditions on the Recreation Ground on Saturday which fully justified all the superlatives heaped upon it by friend and foe alike.
It simply bubbled with vintage, sophisticated football and with the result in doubt almost to the final whistle, lived up to the classic hopes everyone had before it started.
In the end the Welsh triumphed – and who can deny that they deserved to on the strength of their superb team-work and touches of individual genius – but what inspired opposition this up-and-coming young Bath side provided.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
It is appropriate to record the London Welsh side, containing many players approaching the peak of their illustrious playing careers:- J P R Williams (2P,T), A K Morgan, W H Raybould (T), S J Dawes (Capt.), J Shanklin, G W James (T,DG), R J Davies, F J Williams, A P Baker, D Langley, T G Evans, G H Johnson, J Taylor (T,C), T M Davies and A J Gray.
“Here was a contest, an entertainment, an exercise of ability in which London Welsh’s eager willingness to turn a defensive situation into an attacking one finally meant defeat for Bath. But they did not fall easily.” (John Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 13th January 1969.)
v Metropolitan Police, Home. Won 14-3. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley (2T), R Elliott, M C Beese, H Barstow (T), J A Thomas, T Keene, P J K Parfitt, R J Collins, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, D J Lewis, T D Martland (T,C), and P R Hall.
“Bath and Metropolitan Police fought out a hard and uncompromising battle in difficult conditions on the Recreation Ground this afternoon and after a first half of mixed chances and surprisingly good football the home side had established, not without difficulty, a six point lead.” (BATH CHRONICLE)
Jim Waterman fielded kicks ahead with his usual expertise, and turned defence into attack, running from deep. Outside-half, Thomas displayed a similar positive attitude and Barstow, on the wing, was given an early opportunity to show his pace. However, it was Sibley who wriggled over for the first of Bath’s tries. The Police played with some spirit, but Bath were more adept at mastering the heavy conditions.
v St. Mary’s Hospital, Home. Won 44-6. Team:- J Waterman (3T), P C Sibley (T), R Elliott (T), M C Beese (T), H B W Barstow (2T), B Perry (T), T Keene, M R Hannell, B J Collins (T), G H Squires, R J Orledge, D J Lewis (T), T D Martland (4C), D J Gay, P R Hall (T).
In a one-sided affair, Bath chalked up 12 tries, with Waterman scoring three times from his full-back position. However, goal kicking shortcomings were exposed, as only four were converted. The feature of this game was the free flowing manner of Bath’s movements, frequently generated from deep positions.
THE OPEN GAME
“St Mary’s, in fact, just didn’t know which way to turn as Bath produced a whole series of sweeping moves in which forwards and backs alike indulged, and often covering the whole length of the field.”
v Rosslyn Park, Away. Won 11-3. Team:- J Waterman (T), T Baker, M C Beese, R Elliott, J Donovan, B Perry, T Keane, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M Hannell, D Lewis, R Orledge, T D Martland (T,C), D J Gay (T) and P R Hall.
Bath were made to work hard for a win, although Rosslyn Park were depleted by County calls. Winger, Billy Steele scored first for the home side, but this was quickly countered by Waterman, who dummied over for an equaliser. David Gay, having an outstanding game, put Bath in the lead with his try. Rosslyn Park staged a spirited revival in the second half, but at the very end, Martland pounced on a loose ball, and converted his own try. Collins took eight heels against the head.
Matches scheduled for 7th, 15th and 22nd February, cancelled, due to snow and ice.
v Bristol, Home. Drawn 9-9. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R S Elliott, J R Donovan, B Perry, T Keene, M R Hannell, B J Collins, P J K Parfitt, R L Orledge, D J Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall.
Bath 1try and 2 Penalties. Bristol 2 tries and 1 penalty. “Action packed, tense and mistake ridden,” was the over all verdict on this local Derby.
A quick loose heal sent Bristol’s Nicholls away on the blind side, who slipped to Parkin for the first score. Soon after, Martland levelled with a penalty. Bath looked a little rusty at this stage. The Rec. had been unplayable for a month. Sustained pressure yielded a penalty for Roger Hosen and Bristol were in the ascendancy. The forwards battled away with uncompromising commitment, leading to one spectacular punch-up in front of the West Stand. Penalties were exchanged, then Orledge withdrew for ‘patch-up’ treatment. Down to 14 men, Waterman then raced up into the line, and burst through for a superb try. Unfortunately the conversion attempt failed. Orledge returned, bedecked with bandage and one eye completely covered. Two minutes into the second half, and Brendan Perry was tackled without the ball in front of the Bristol posts. Martland kicked wide.
“Next it was Bristol’s turn, as Bath were penalised for putting the ball in crookedly at the set scrum, but from only five yards inside the Bath half Hosen was wide.”
“At this stage Bath were in the ascendancy, grinding on remorselessly up front, and a Hosen penalty must have brought relief, taking Bristol almost back to the half-way line.
Bath came storming back again when Collins won his third heel against the head off Pullin, and a kick ahead had Bristol struggling again.”
After 20 minutes of Bath pressure, Rollitt featured in a Bristol revival. Then, with just 5 minutes remaining Martland kicked a superb penalty from 45 yards.
Bristol made a final storming effort which yielded Dave Tyler the equalising try. Fortunately for Bath, Hosen missed the conversion. It had been quite a game!
v Gloucester, Away. Lost 6-8. Team:- J Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R Elliott, I F Duckworth, B Perry, T P Keene, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, D J Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall. Bath missed their several chances, and paid the penalty accordingly. In turn, Gloucester were presented with a rather lucky win. In a tricky-cross-wind, Tom Martland had a sad, off day with his place kicking, missing four penalties and two conversions, sometimes by a whisker. “Two tries, one in each half, were certainly poor return for the huge outlay of energy and ideas.” Keane set up Bath’s first try by pouncing on an untidy heel and kicking on for Martland to pick up and score. Within two minutes Gloucester’s Stephens levelled with a penalty, and soon, a bulldozing run by Pegler, enabled Smith to touch down and Stephens to convert. Hall and Gay did well up front and Perry, Beese and Elliott, certainly had the measure of their opposite numbers. Somehow or other, all contrived to drop vital passes, just as the Gloucester defence was opened up. 14 minutes into the second half, Perry’s break and diagonal punt, enabled Sibley to close the gap to two points, but that was Bath’s last decisive effort.
v Swansea, Home. Lost 8-24. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, R S Elliott , M C Beese, I F Duckworth, B Perry, T P Keene, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, D J Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and W K C Lye.
The teams took to the field in ideal conditions, but Bath’s careless handling forfeited any early advantage. Both teams were committed to playing open rugby, but it was Swansea who gained the ascendancy, and were 16-0 up at half time. Bath restarted more purposefully and good work between Keane, Duckworth and Gay forced a penalty on the Swansea 25. Elliott made no mistake from an easy angle. “It was not the start of a Bath revival, for almost immediately their previous faults of slack marking and untidy defensive work let in Swansea for another simple try.” Ferguson converted Owen’s try, and added a penalty for a personal tally of fifteen.
“During the next five minutes the home side created two more opportunities, but frittered them away.
But they did score, thanks to a poor cross-kick from Lewis deep inside his own half. He kicked straight to the Bath threequarters who outnumbered the defence three to one, and Beese timed his pass well to send Duckwoth out on a fine run out to the corner flag and then round behind the posts for Elliott to convert.”
v Cheltenham, Home. Won 18-14. Team:- J Waterman (T), P C Sibley, M C Beese (T), R Elliott (P), J R Donovan, B Perry (T), T Keene, P J K Parfitt, B Collins, M R Hannell, P B Heindorff (T), R J Orledge, T D Martland, P R Hall and D J Gay (T).
Bath ran in five tries in the battle of the Spas, to make it the ‘double’ over Cheltenham. Jim Waterman was in fine form and instigated many counter-attacks, by racing up behind his team mates to join in the three-quarter line. Notably, Heindorff’s try was the culmination of swift handling by at least six players, again involving Waterman. After a race for the line, Waterman was tackled ten yards short, but got in his pass to Heindorff, for a superbly worked try just before half time. In the second half, a 20 yard burst, saw Waterman score again, but hurt his leg in the process. He remained on the field however, and somehow managed to make a gallant contribution towards repelling Cheltenham’s late forays.
v R.A.F., Home. Won 18-13. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese (2T), R S Elliott, I F Duckworth, B Perry, T P Keene, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, (T), P M B Heindorff, T D Martland (T), D J Gay (T), P R Hall (T).
Bath won by 6 tries, not one converted – to 2 goals and a try. Of the 15 tries in the last 5 games, Bath had converted – just one!
The R.A.F. had England’s Peter Glover on one wing, and Scotland’s Billy Steele on the other.
“It was a game of bewildering changes of fortune, in which the unexpected was always likely to happen and the football was spasmodically brilliant and never lacking in interest.”
“The first quarter was very much Bath’s and was punctuated by a series of thrilling passing movements, three deserved tries and a trail of casualties to the first aid man on the touchline.”
“A collision between Hall and Hannell who both gashed their heads temporarily reduced Bath to 13 and though they immediately returned Gay limped off with a barked shin…………”
Bath threw away far too many opportunities, were careless in their handling, missed all their kicks, and all in all – almost drove their supported to distraction!
v Richmond, Home. Drawn 6-6. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley (T), M C Beese, R Elliott, H Barstow, B Perry (DG), T Keene, P J K Parfitt, R J Collins, M R Hannell, P B Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, I Holmes and P R Hall.
Two first half penalties had Bath on the back foot, one scored in the second minute, and a second, some twenty minutes on. Waterman’s penalty attempt had drifted just wide of the right hand posts. In these earlier exchanges, the Bath’s midfield players seemed to lack confidence in themselves, whilst Richmond played simple ‘cut and thrust’ rugby and kept up a constant threat to the Bath line. Their defence was particularly effective and was described as being : “solid as a brick wall,” whilst Ralston and Harvey were superior in the line-out.
After a frustrating first half, Bath at last rallied for the closing stages. Waterman came into the line, to create an overlap, and Sibley burst away for an excellent try. Crucially, Sibley missed with his conversion attempt. Eight minutes from time, the ball was moved from a line-out and Brendan Perry kicked a smart drop goal. As the minutes ticked away, it was left for Bath to survive a period of intense Richmond pressure to hold out for the draw.
A Bath XV v Combination. Won 35-9. Team:- P Hillyard, M S Bull, P Binham, D Wilce, P C Sibley, V Williams, T P Keane, N Carter, A Parfitt, G H Squires, P Williams, D Lewis, T D Martland, D J Gay and C Perry.
v Sale, Away. Lost 8-12. Team:- J S Waterman, P Hillyard, V Williams, R Elliott, H B W Barstow, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, G H Squires, P Heindorff, R J Orledge, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall. Steady pressure ensured that Sale were 9-0 up at the interval. The home side was constantly on the offensive and Bath tacklers were frequently involved in last ditch efforts to defend their line. From what there was of constructive play, Bath produced second half tries by Hillyard and Elliott with Waterman converting one of them.
v Harlequins, Home. Won 15-5. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, R Elliott, D Wilce, H B W Barstow, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, P M B Heindorff, T D Martland, D J Gay and P R Hall. Bath made a successful start to the Easter programme by outplaying their more ‘fashionable’ opponents with a fine open game. In a ‘purple patch’ of about 20 minutes, the visitors were completely outplayed by superb second phase football, backing up and switches in direction. It was the Bath’s back row’s ability to commit the Quins cover and then switch direction, which was the visitors’ undoing.
For the home support, there was a humorous side the Quin’s misfortunes in that Hiller: “Having complained before the match that the balls were too hard, he had them deflated to his liking – and then hooked two penalty chances which are normally within the range of his capabilities.”
Bath tries flowed from Waterman, Perry (Club’s 100th try of the season) and Martland, with Martland adding two penalties.
Martland’s try was a breathtaking affair: “Perry’s wriggling run began it, Barstow carried on and Wilce came inside to take the pass and cross-kick on the half-way line.
Sibley, surprising everyone including himself, gathered cleanly to feed Orledge, and after Heindorff had handled, Martland spurted 35 yards for a fine try.”
v London Hospital, Home. Won 26-8. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, M C Beese, R S Elliott, H B W Barstow, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M R Hannell, R J Orledge, P M B Heindorff, T D Martland, I Holmes, and P R Hall.
“Bath made harder work than expected of their victory over London Hospital on the Recreation Ground this afternoon, for though they dominated play territorially they did not score until five minutes before half-time. By then they had lost Martland with torn ligaments but, despite the handicap, points then came more easily.” In the early exchanges, Bath secured near total possession, but made surprisingly poor use of their monopoly of play. It was neigh on half-time before two successive tries by Lloyd, gave Bath a meaningful hold on the game. Waterman converted both. Later, Holmes pounced on a loose ball for his try. Then from five yards out, Sibley fielded a tap down from a line out and made a lunge for the line. He was held up, but managed to slip the ball to Orledge, whose not inconsiderable bulk, got him over the try line carrying two defenders. Some of the Hospital students were visibly wilting under the strain and it was then Roger Elliott’s turn to cut through would-be tacklers from 30 yards out. Waterman converted. Sibley chalked up the sixth try as all semblance of defence disintegrated. In form, Waterman added the extras. Bath were reduced to 13 men when a head injury saw Waterman join Martland in the clubhouse.
Allen Gay had returned to the Club after a spell at Bristol and Clifton. He turned out for the United on the following Monday.
His brother David, still only 21, was selected for the Barbarians’ Easter Tour. This came as some compensation in a frustrating season, which had seen him dropped out of the England and Somerset selection.
v Old Merchant Taylors, Home. Won 28-12. Team:- D P Jones, H Barstow, I Vinter, G P Frankcom, M S Bull, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, B J Collins, N Carter, R J Orledge, Paul Williams, C Perry, I Holmes, P R Hall.
The visitors, particularly their pack, contributed greatly towards an exciting, end to end, encounter, but they lacked Bath’s finishing ability. Bath’s spate of tries came from Barstow (2), Bull and Hall, with Carter converting 5 and scoring a penalty.
“Perry and Lloyd worked well together at half-back and in the centre Geoff Frankcom and Ian Vinter both drafted in at short notice, were full of strong running and clever touches.”
UNLUCKY 13 ?
” – Flame haired prop forward Niall Carter will have every reason to think it is his favourite number and certainly he won’t forget Easter Monday’s game with OMT’s in a hurry.
Carter may still be learning his job as a front row man – he played in the back row until a few months ago – but his goal kicking is a revelation.
His five successful conversions out of five – and a penalty as well – was of a standard of consistency which will make Bath look at him in a new light in future.”
v Llanelli, Away. Lost 0-11. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, I Vinter, D Wilce, P B Glover, B Perry, T P Keane, P J K Parfitt, A Parfitt, M R Hannell, P M B Heindorff, R J Orledge, I Holmes, D J Gay and P R Hall. It was Peter Glover’s debut game.
Bath took stern action after a bout of indiscipline at this match. Actually, the selectors’ decision to exclude Bob Orledge from the Exeter game was largely academic, as he had sustained a knee injury, which was to keep him out for the rest of the season.
JOHN STEVENS REPORTED: “For, far too often in my recollection, there have been incidents when players have argued with or made comments to the referee which can have done their cause no good at all. Stiffer action by the selectors earlier might have prevented the present incident which was unfortunate both for the club and Orledge
Such niggling and pettiness has been particularly evident when things have not been going well and undoubtedly they have done nothing to further the good name of Bath rugby”
“Orledge, one of the most promising young players Bath have had for years and with prospects of international honours in future, has been made the example.” He hoped it would be a warning to others.
v Exeter, Away. Won 31-14. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, D Wilce, R S Elliott, M S Bull, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, B J Collins, N Carter, P M B Heindorff, P Williams, W K C Lye, I Holmes and P R Hall. Tries by Sibley (3), Perry, Carter and Hall (2). Carter converted five.
“Exeter must wish they had never heard the name Niall Carter – and my guess is that several more sides will be thinking the same before many years are out.
The 24 year old former Avon player who Bath have converted into a prop certainly can’t put a foot wrong and in his last three matches he has scored no less than 43 points.” His tally against Exeter was another 13 points. However, he does take an inordinate amount of time over his kicks. At one stage an Exeter supporter was heard to shout: “Come on Hiller! Hurry up!” (Harlequins’ Hiller was another slow and successful one!)
v Newbridge, Away. Lost 6-26. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, R S Elliott, J R Donovan, M Bull, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, M R Hannell, P B M Heindorff, P Williams, W K C Lye, I Holmes, P R Hall. Newbridge had reeled off 11 successive victories, including Bristol. Martland, Orledge, Beese and Wilce were on the injury list. Although forced to defend for much of the game, Bath made Newbridge work hard for their success and were actually three points to nil in the lead at half time. Waterman had kicked a 40 yard penalty on the half-hour.
Bath managed a break-out 17 minutes into the second half: “Perry shot across the field diagonally to make a half break, Donovan carried on well and Bull powered over in the corner – too far out for Waterman to convert.” The rest was all Newbridge. B Anthony’s personal tally was a try, 4 conversions and a penalty. Further tries by L Hewer, David Evans (2) and Cyril Evans.
v Gloucester, Home. Lost 13-19. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, R S Elliott, J R Donovan, T Baker, B Perry, M C Lloyd, N Carter, B J Collins, M R Hannell, P M B Heindorff, P Williams, I Holmes, D J Gay and P R Hall. Gloucester completed their double, while Bath’s depleted selection were left to rue a series of defensive errors, which gifted the game to their local rivals. They came just before and after the interval when Gay and Waterman missed an ‘up and under, and White was quickly up to touch down. Waterman caused the next set-back when he attempted to run the ball from his own line, was caught by Smith and hooker Kocerhan launched himself across the line for an easy try. The first quarter had started well enough, with Hall in particular, disrupting the Gloucester backs, and good second phase ball, enabled Lloyd to wriggle over and Carter to convert. Gloucester came back, Bayliss getting the better of a touch line juggle. More hard work by forwards, Heindorff, Hall and Holmes saw Bath camped in the Gloucester 25, and a quick strike by Collins enabled Sibley to score on the blind side. Soon, Stevens landed a simple penalty….”and Bath’s generosity did the rest.” For Gloucester, Peart scored a debut try. Bath were still competing mightily, and Heindorff picked up and scored for Waterman to convert.
v Taunton, Home. Won 33-3. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, P B Glover, J R Donovan, H B W Barstow, B Perry, T P Keane, M R Hannell, B J Collins, P M B Heindorff, P Williams, C Perry, D J Gay, and P R Hall.
Bath overwhelmed lowly Taunton for their 23rd victory of the season, their fast handling and backing up, cutting the Taunton defence to pieces. In doing so, they topped 600 points for the season.
Bath tries from Sibley (2), Glover, Barstow, Brendan Perry, Hannell, Chris Perry and David Gay, with Waterman converting 3.
v Bedford, Away. Lost 12-31. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, P B Glover, J R Donovan, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M R Hannell, B J Collins, N Carter, M Hannell, J Quin, P Williams, C Perry, D J Gay and P R Hall. A half-hour delay as Mr. Tehaney (Leicester Society) was late arriving. It was a debut game for John Quin. Both sides were considerably under-strength as scoring commenced at quite a pace. Carter was gifted with an early penalty and ten minutes in Sibley picked up a wild pass raced up to side-step the full-back for a fine try. Carter missed the conversion. Then Bedford got a lucky try when Perry’s kick went straight to Small, who ran for the posts. Briggs converted.
“Hall, the Bath flanker, went off injured, and the visitors’ troubles increased when Briggs landed another penalty for offside.
Then, on half-time, Arthur went over for a try from a short penalty, converted by Briggs.
Bedford scored another try.”
v Rugby, Home. Won 29-11. Team:- J S Waterman, P C Sibley, P B Glover, J R Donovan, I F Duckworth, J A Thomas, M C Lloyd, P J K Parfitt, B J Collins, N Carter, P M B Heindorff, P Williams, C Perry, I Holmes, and P R Hall.
Bath tries from Glover (2), Donovan, Duckworth and Ian Holmes, with Waterman kicking 4 conversions and 2 penalties. A grandstand end to a generally successful season. There were certainly periods of Bath lethargy and wasted chances, but increasingly, the game was lifted out of mediocrity, with Bath’s back division showing their best form.
Pete Glover’s try was a corker! “A good heel from the loose, however, enabled Bath to launch another attack to the opposite flank, and it was Glover with an amazing diagonal run, who shot right through the Rugby defence for a sensational try, which Waterman just failed to convert.”
Bath had been beset with injuries. A good season nevertheless and only 49 players were utilised, compared with 53 in the previous season.
Principle attendance’s were:- Hall 42, Waterman 33, Perry 35, Sibley 34, Hannell and Martland 33, Elliott and Heindorff 31, David Gay 30, Orledge 29, and Lloyd 28.
138 tries were scored, 60 conversions, 2 drop goals and 35 penalties.
Principle try scorers :- Sibley 17, Waterman 12, B Perry 10, Barstow and Martland 9, D Gay 8, Duckworth 7, Beese, Hall, Lloyd and Lye 5.
645 POINTS SCORED
Peter Sibley ended a three season term of captaincy on a high note. At that time, with 645 points his was the highest scoring Bath side in Club history. Although the statistics were to be surpassed in later years, his term marked a significant upgrading in Bath Club performances. However, he did not exceed the record number of 27 wins in a season, achieved by Alec Lewis’s sides in the 1950-51 season.
THE RUNNING GAME
“A short, but highly significant and revolutionary era of Bath rugby came to an end on the Recreation Ground this afternoon when Peter Sibley captained the club for the last time.
His three years in command have been among the happiest and most successful Bath have known in recent years.” (John Stevens – Sports Chronicle)
Full back Jim Waterman took full advantage of the law change relating to kicking direct to touch within ones own 25. He developed an exciting attacking role which became a significant feature of Bath’s playing style.
The International Board decided to continue the law into the following season – it was very good news for Bath.
Waterman also developed his place kicking talents, and with 77 points, he was second only to Tom Martland 103, and followed by Mike James 50, Roger Elliott 37, Brendan Perry 33, Niall Carter 31, Harry Barstow 27, David Gay 24 and Ian Duckworth 21.
Continuity of selection has been mentioned previously. Career appearances at this stage stood at :- Peter Parfitt 383, Phil Hall 320, Pete Heindorff 255, Tom Martland 197, John Donovan 190, Brendan Perry 156, Peter Sibley 140, Bob Orledge 132, John Cousins 121, Geoff Frankcom 114, David Gay 95, Allen Gay 93, Collins 78, Paddy Hillyard 74, Ian Duckworth 71, Jack Thomas 66, Malcolm Lloyd 56 and Robby Lye 50.
CAREER APPEARANCES TO END OF 1968-69 SEASON:-
Peter Parfitt 383, Phil Hall 320, Pete Heindorff 255, Tom Martland 197, John Donovan 190, Brendan Perry 156, Peter Sibley 140, Bob Orledge 132, John Cousins 121, Geoff Frankcom 114, David Gay 95, Allen Gay 93,Brian Collins 78, Paddy Hillyard 74,Ian Duckworth 71, Jack Thomas 66, Malcolm Lloyd 56, Billy Lye 50