1973 to 1974

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1973-1974

 

1/9/1973

v Pontypool, Home, Lost 0-7. B Thompson, A Hicks, A Sparkes, C Perry, P Burrowes, B Perry, M C Lloyd, R Elliott, M Gould, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, K M Plummer, D J Gay, P R Hall (Capt), R Lye.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bath frittered away any chances in a generally scrappy performance. There was a penalty from Perry’s kick-off, when Pontypool were penalised for a punch in the ensuing ruck – but Thompson miss-kicked. Their early escape prompted a strong Pontypool attack led by Terry Cobner, and in turn, Perry, Hicks and Thompson cleared the line under considerable pressure. The visitors were then presented with a simple penalty, when Bath threes were adjudged off-side. As things got tough up front, Bert Meddick was off for a while receiving treatment for a gashed head, briefly followed by Martin Gould.

Andy Sparkes missed with a penalty attempt from 35 yards. Bath could make little progress and were 0-3 down at the turn-around.

Bath began purposefully at the re-start, but were still frustrated by stout defence. Just as they were pressing hard, a wayward pass was intercepted by Young, who raced away, kicking over Thompson’s head. Burrows raced to cover, but Cobner picked up to send in Waters for the only try of a disappointing match.

MENTAL ATTITUDE

This tough ‘opener’ served to highlight Bath’s selection problems. A number of key players had moved on and there were others with long-term injuries. The players generally, looked reasonably fit, but there were doubts that they were mentally attuned to the demands of top class rugby.

“A tough Welsh front row gave them considerable food for thought.” “More than anything, though, Bath’s main weakness to date seems to be their lack of faith in their own ability.”

 

8/9/1973

v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-16. B Thompson, A Hicks, A Sparkes, C Perry, P Burrowes, B Perry, M C Lloyd, M Gould, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, K M Plummer, D J Gay, P R Hall (Capt.), R Lye.

Bath struggled from the start. Conditions underfoot were ideal, but in extremely hot weather, it became a contest as to which team could survive a severe endurance test. The temperature at centre-pitch was reported to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Centre Andy Sparkes succeeded with his second penalty attempt, but Inglby soon levelled and Barker scored an unconverted try to put Leicester 7-3 ahead at the turn-around.

Despite the tropical conditions, the forwards still found the energy for a ‘punch-up,’ prompting a severe warning from referee John Burgum. The greatest heat was generated in the front row, where Bert Meddick and Leicester’s Mortimer all too frequent contact took a fiery turn. At one stage, play moved on, leaving Meddick flat on his back, oblivious to everything and everyone around him!

Shortly after restart, Inglby added another penalty, but the second phase was very much a stop-start affair, punctuated by penalty attempts and injuries. Late on, powerful play by Jones and Bann, allowed Jones to take a return pass and speed through for a try in front of the posts, which Inglby converted with ease. The Bath pack gave a pretty dismal performance, and skipper Phil Hall’s was reported to have given them an appropriate lambasting.

 

13/9/1973

v Taunton, Home, Won 34-16. B Thompson, P Burrowes, A Sparkes, V Gaiger, A Hicks, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J Meddick, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, A Mills, R Lye, P R Hall (Capt).

This was a much needed confidence booster, which hinted at better times ahead. Wingers Burrowes and Hicks acted in strike rolls and the team effort was greatly enhanced by the support play of back row, Mills, Lye and Hall. Wheeler and Plummer monopolised the line-outs and a plethora of possession permitted full vent to back division talents. Andy Sparkes touched down for Bath’s first try of the season. The full points count stemmed from tries by Sparkes, Burrowes (3), Gaiger and Lye, with Thompson converting two and adding two penalties.

 

15/9/1973

v Moseley, Home, Won 43-7. J S Waterman, P Burrowes, A Sparkes, V Gaiger, A Hicks, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J Meddick, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, A Mills, P R Hall (Capt), R Lye.

Jim Waterman played a major roll, in a match that served to avenge the previous season’s 4-59 annihilation! Bath had succumbed to Doble’s boot in the first minute, but a series of strong forward rushes unsettled Moseley, and ended in Meddick touching down for Bath’s first try

Later, Waterman gathered Finlan’s high kick-ahead and carved through the middle of the Moseley defence, linking with Perry and Sparkes. Burrowes then took possession and Lye was on hand to take the scoring pass. Waterman converted with ease. Waterman made no mistake with his next penalty attempt. A penalty try soon followed and Waterman put Bath 16-3 ahead.

Moseley’s efforts were eventually rewarded, when McFadyean made the half-break, which paved the way for Milner to touch down for an unconverted try. Next, Burrowes got away and was stopped just short of the line, but Perry and Meddick were up in support and finally, Sparkes forced his way over for Waterman to convert. Waterman added a penalty from 40 yards out and Bath were brimming with confidence. Next, Plummer broke from a line-out, Lye received the scoring pass and Waterman added to his kicking tally. Moseley began to fall apart and soon Hicks was in for a try for Waterman to add the extras. To complete Waterman’s enjoyment, he ran the length of the field for a grand solo try, which he also converted. Phil Hall was rich in his praise for the team’s performance.

The score count was:- Tries by Sparkes, Hicks, Meddick, Lye (2) and Waterman, with Waterman converting five and landing three penalties.

 

19/9/1973

v Newport, Away, Lost 4-10. B Thompson, P Burrowes, C Perry, V Gaiger, A Hicks, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, K M Plummer, B Jenkins, R Lye, R Wheeler, P R Hall (Capt).

The Bath pack lapsed into mediocrity when confronted by a fiery Newport eight. Things went awry from the first scrum, when the Bath front row were lifted and shoved backwards off the ball. Jones and Watkins were barely challenged in the line-out, and with adequate possession, Newport could attack at will. Fortunately for Bath, Newport made poor use of ample possession in an untidy and sub-standard match. Burrowes secured Bath’s try.

Malcolm Lloyd showed considerable resource and courage, constantly cleaning up behind a beaten pack. Lloyd was now a seasoned campaigner, and this was his 200th appearance for the 1st XV. He had experienced a long hard road to success, acting as understudy to several other scrum-halves. He had suffered a major set-back two years previously, with a snapped Achilles tendon. Many a lesser player would have given up, and it was greatly to his credit, that he had come bouncing back after 12 months enforced rest.

 

22/9/73

v Exeter, Away. Lost 4-22. B Thompson, P Burrowes, C Perry, V Gaiger, A Hicks, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, R Elliott, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, A Mills, P R Hall (Capt), R Lye.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bath went down to their fourth defeat in six matches. They never looked to have a chance, after conceding 19 points in just over the half hour. Errors abounded on a muddy pitch, but Exeter adapted and had the better of the territorial exchanges. They went ahead after ten minutes, when Lee scored from a good handling movement. When Bath got possession, the centres tended to hang on to the ball too long, and both wingers were wasted. Exeter led 19-4 at the interval and things did not improve for Bath. Burrowes had stormed over on the right wing, after good handling by Hicks and Wheeler.

 

Philip Hall was sent off and later suspended for the next two games after consideration by the Bath FC Committee. Bath were increasingly concerned about a number of incidents that had occurred in various matches this season and several matches had erupted into mass brawls. The Committee was mindful of the R.F.U.’s instruction that Clubs should take a hand in stamping out un-gentlemanly conduct on the field. Bath had been given ‘a bad Press,’ after a number of incidents in earlier matches, and it was felt that Hall should take more responsibility for controlling the side on the field. Ironically, in this latest incident, some suggested that there was an element of Hall being more sinned against, than sinning, but perhaps his reputation had, at last, caught up with him. If there was one mitigating factor relating to Phil Hall’s demeanour, it was his ability to absorb severe punishment, as well as dish it out!

Off the field – he was a gentle man.

 

26/9/1973

v Bristol, Home, Lost 9-18. J S Waterman, P Burrowes, N Hudson, V Gaiger, A Hicks, B Perry, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, A Mills, G Pillinger, R Lye (Capt). Robbie Lye was asked to skipper the side, in the absence of the suspended Phil Hall.

Two late Bristol tries were the highlights of this intense encounter, played out in muddy conditions and a greasy ball. Lye and Lloyd did their best to disrupt Bristol on the scrum fringes. Brendan Perry kicked sensibly and Waterman and Gaiger were solid in defence. Waterman kept Bath in contention with a total of three penalties. The crunch came in the final quarter and Bath’s heroic defenders had held out until nine minutes from time, when Plummer scored a somewhat controversial try after some slick handling. The score was hotly disputed as several Bath players were involved in, allegedly, bundling him into the corner flag before he touched down.

However, Plummer soon made another break and this time Williams touched down for a perfectly good try, and despite Waterman’s late penalty, Bath out of contention.

 

Extract from Club programme 26th September 1973

OURSELVES

Apart from the convincing win against Moseley, we have not enjoyed much success so far this season. Early season injuries have certainly handicapped the Coach and Selectors.

With several new players recently joining the Club however things now look much better for the future and a win this evening will of course, do a power of good.

Local boy from Stothert’s Bert Meddick has improved tremendously and despite his unfortunate injury he has been tipped for a County Cap and perhaps higher honours.

Radley Wheeler, another local player who joined from Frome has proved a very able player and a good Club man. Ken Plummer from Midsomer Norton Club has also fitted in well – he and Radley have established their second row places.

Congratulations to young Geoff Pillinger-he had a very good first game for Somerset at Bridgwater last Monday. And welcome back to Jim Waterman-he showed his best form in the Moseley match. Tony Hicks from Walcot Old Boys improves every match. He could well follow in his father’s footsteps and play for his County in the near future.

 

29/9/1973

v Terenure, Home. Lost 9-12. J S Waterman, V Gaiger, P Burrowes, N Hudson, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A Parfitt, P S Jenkins, R J Wheeler, K M Plummer, A Mills, G Pillinger, R Lye.

Waterman kicked three penalties, but the bustling Irish played with fire and determination and four penalties by Cronin were enough to keep the tourists in control.

It was England Under 23 international, John Horton’s first game for Bath. He might have wondered what he had stepped into! Their display against the touring Irishmen was the worst performance for a very long time. To some extent they may have been suffering from Phil Hall’s two match suspension after the Exeter match. David Dolman summed things up: “We’ve got to get back our will to win. There was absolutely no fire and fighting spirit in the pack.” Injuries were depriving Bath of the services of Beese, David Gay and Niall Carter, but it was essential that the squad ‘knuckle down’ to re-establish some of their fire and team spirit, for which they were renowned.

 

3/10/1973

v Clifton, Away, Won 15-6. Team:- B Thompson, P Burrowes, N Hudson, V Gaiger, A Hicks, J Horton, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, J Kimberley, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, G Pillinger, R Lye and P R Hall.

John Horton played a dominant role, dropping two goals and setting up the only try of the match. Bath’s victory was hard earned in competition with Clifton’s bustling, spoiling tactics. A particular excess, led to the enforced departure of Clifton’s Elvin on the half-hour. It was somewhat ironic that Elvin’s target was none other than Phil Hall, who had just returned from suspension!

Spectators were given an early taste of Horton magic, when he made a short kick ahead and retrieving his own ball, fed to Hudson who touched own beneath the posts for Thompson to convert.

Horton kicked two drop goals and Thompson one. Clifton managed two penalties by Barclay.

 

5/10/1973

v Aberavon, Away, Lost 7-17. Team:- B Thompson, P Burrowes, C Perry, V Gaiger, A Hicks, J Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, J Kimberley, P S Jenkins, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, G Pillinger, R Lye and P R Hall.

“Bath failed to live up to a promising start last night at Aberavon, where their lack of forward power was again painfully obvious in the second half.” They actually led 7-0 after half an hour, with a touch-line penalty from Thompson and a try started and finished by the Bath scrum-half . Lloyd’s kick ahead and touch down was somewhat indicative of the lack of penetrative power elsewhere in the backs. Bath were outplayed in the line-out, but new hooker Kimberley had an excellent strike rate against his opposite number Mallett from French club Pau. Bath’s resolve was gradually eroded by Bridgend’s forthright driving tactics and near half time, the game turned on a Bridgend penalty and a fine solo try by John Bevan. Thereon they could only defend grimly as the Welshmen took control. It was a tribute to tenacious Bath tackling, that Bridgend were restricted to a second half penalty and a try by centre Ian Hall.

 

13/10/1973

v London Irish, Away, Lost 6-14. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, V Gaiger, A Hicks, J Horton, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A Parfitt, J Meddick, K M Plummer, R J Wheeler, G Pillinger, R Lye and P R Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                  In a sub-standard encounter, Bath frittered away their chances and lost by a goal and two tries to two penalty goals by Waterman. Lye and Meddick were the pick of the Bath forwards. The Exciles’ tries by Lavery (2) and Bresnihan, with Bell converting one.

Bath picked up in the closing minutes, but it was too late to make much impression; Waterman’s late penalty merely narrowing the margin.

 

20/10/1973

v St Lukes College, Home, Lost 12-15. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, N K Hudson, V Gaiger, P Jenkins, J P Horton, C Perry, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, R Hawkesley, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, G Pillinger, A Mills and P R Hall. St. Lukes were captained by former Bath player, David Burcher.

Both sides were hit by County calls and it was Bath who trailed for much of the game. There had been encouraging signs as the Bath pack appeared to take control and Chris Perry settled down to his normal position at scrum half. Resolute play brought a try for prop Peter Jenkins, which Waterman converted. Soon afterwards, the students came driving forward and drew level with a try by Burcher, converted by Webb in the 25th minute. They continued in similar manner, forcing Bath to concede a penalty in front of their posts, which Webb accepted gratefully. Bath began to snatch at their passes and good work by the forwards was wasted. Bath drew level in the 65th minute when Waterman landed a 40 yard penalty.

The game concluded with two more penalties to the visitors and one to Bath, thus completing a memorable win for the students.

 

25/10/1973

v Cheltenham, Away, Won 4-3. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, V Gaiger, P Jenkins, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, A Mills, R Lye and P R Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                        In a far from impressive performance, Bath scrambled a narrow victory to restore much needed morale. Bath’s try came in the 33rd minute after Horton and Peter Jenkins had done the preliminaries and handed on to Burrowes, who served up a perfect pass to Waterman, enabling him to cross in the corner. The forwards did their bit – ample strikes from Parfitt, line-out ball from Jenkins and Wheeler and reclaimed ball from the marauding Hall and Lye. In contrast, the whole back division looked to be ‘out-of sorts’ – out of ideas. They could be thankful that Cheltenham’s handling was worse than theirs! Akenhurst narrowed the gap with a penalty 11 minutes into the second half. Otherwise, it was all frustration, for players and spectators.

 

28/10/ 1973

v Midsomer Norton, Away. Won 33-0. 1st Round Somerset Cup.

Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, V Gaiger, C Perry, A Hicks, P Jenkins, M Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, A Mills, P R Hall and R Lye.

Bath had an easy passage into the next round of the Cup, as Bath’s all-round skills were pitted against the Junior Club’s enthusiasm. Indeed, Midsomer Norton battled to the very end, despite loosing flank forward Willcox after 20 minutes. Burrowes scored in the second minute and further tries followed from Waterman, Lloyd, P Jenkins, Burrowes again, Meddick and Hicks. Perry dropped a goal and Waterman, who had an off-day with the boot, converted his own try.

 

3/11/1973

v Bridgend, Home, Lost 13-23. B Thompson, P Burrowes, P R Jenkins, C Perry, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, P S Jenkins, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, N J Jenkins, R J Wheeler, A Mills, R Lye, P R Hall (Capt).

Bath led 7-4 at half-time and were 13-13 all less than ten minutes from the end, but Bridgend were the better finishers, scoring two converted tries.

Thompson had put Bath ahead with a 40-yard penalty on the quarter hour. However, Bridgend came more into the game when Fenwick carved a way through Bath’s forwards, to leave ample room for Schick to race in for a corner try. Next, a dazzling break by Horton, enabled him to link with Perry and after Hicks had handled Peter Jenkins went over wide out.

The second half opened with equal aggression, then Bridgend sent Bath 50 yards backwards, enabling Fenwick to land a penalty for a line-out infringement. Horton got Bath into contention with a long touchline kick, and was fed from the ensuing line-out. He suddenly stopped dead and dropped a beautiful goal from 35 yards out. Then Perry was penalised for allegedly, kneeing an opponent and Fenwick kicked another fine goal from 40 yards and yet another after a scrummaging offence. It was indeed, unfortunate that Bath were conceding so many penalties, after their earlier good work. Bath got back on terms when Thompson landed a penalty from 45 yards. Then Bridgend put their seal on the game with quick tries from Fenwick and Stamp. Fenwick converted the final try.

 

10/11/1973

v Streatham & Croydon, Away, Lost 16-28. B Thompson, T Norris, C Perry, J Waterman, J P Horton, D Burkey, R Elliott, A Parfitt, R Hawkesley, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, A Mills, D Gay, P Hall.

Bath fielded a depleted side because of County calls, with their problems exacerbated by a car breakdown in transit to London. They started two men short and tried to cope with a two-man front row. Problems abounded and Roger Crisp’s penalty put Streatham ahead after just three minutes. Wing-forward Andy Mills reinforced the pack after nine minutes and a tap-back enabled Waterman to drop a fine goal from outside the 25. Unfortunately, this was Bath’s only first half success and they crossed over 3-15 down. Bath scored almost from the restart, when Horton put lock Brian Jenkins over for a well deserved try. They also added a try through Perry 26 minutes on, which Horton converted. Horton had kicked an earlier penalty, but they were unable to pull back from their early handicaps.

 

17/11/1973

v Newbridge, Home, Won 20-3. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, P R Jenkins, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, R J Elliott, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, D J Gay, R Lye and P R Hall.

It was Bath’s first win over a Welsh side that season. They held on to a 9-3 half-time lead and while Newbridge stood still, progressed to a very respectable scoreline. Horton scored an early try for Waterman to convert, and later added a penalty. Bath infringed under their posts and Hawkins pulled back three points, but Bath led at the interval.

Newbridge stormed into the second half: “As fast as Bath repulsed one attack, Newbridge had thrown in another and the home defence creaked ominously at times.” Somehow, Bath kept them at bay, soaking up all sorts of punishment. Suddenly, Horton’s long kick ahead, put them back on the attack and Lloyd broke through strongly. Soon, Brian Jenkins forced his way through a ruck and prop forward Elliott, was up to take the scoring pass for an unconverted try. Newbridge came storming back again and had the Bath defence in all sorts of trouble. Miraculously, Bath again broke the stranglehold when Lloyd and Waterman led a counter-attack. Increased Bath pressure brought a penalty for Waterman.

In the final frenzied stages, Elliott touched down from a line-out.

 

18/11/1973

v Stotherts & Pitt, 2nd Round Somerset Cup. Won 23-3.

“For this scrambling, penalty-ridden apology for a game did nothing to advertise rugby football or to persuade spectators to leave the comfort of their homes on another Sunday.”

“In the second period frustrations boiled to the surface every so often; the stream of penalties became a virtual flood…”

Tries by Hall, P Jenkins and Hicks, with Waterman converting one and adding two penalties. Horton dropped a goal.

HALL- SENT OFF AGAIN

18/11/1973 The Bath skipper was sent-off the field for the second time that season. It was a niggling sort of a match in which unbridled aggression was always simmering. Phil Hall was in an unenviable position. His aggressive style of play in over 500 first class games had earned him top rating. On the other hand, he was of fiery temperament and there was little doubt that some opponents had set out to bait him. In contrast it must be said, that off the field, Phil Hall was most likeable and mild of manner. He received a two week suspension.

Recent Somerset Cup matches called into question Bath’s continuance in the competition. No Bath player had enjoyed the two games that season. It seemed that whenever Junior Clubs were pitted against the Senior side the encounters degenerated into: “man-to-man warfare rather than any attempt to play rugby.” Some Committeemen were asking whether the competition was doing a disservice to the game in general. At a subsequent hearing, Hall was given another two week suspension.

 

24/11/1973

v U.S. Portsmouth, Away, Won 19-7. J S Waterman, A Hicks, C Perry, N Hudson, T Norris, P Jenkins, B Burkey, R Elliott, A Parfitt, R Hawkesley, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, P R Hall, D J Gay, G Pillinger.

Bath were depleted with County calls and injuries, but improving form, saw them win a scrappy match in ideal conditions against the Services. There was little to enthuse the small crowd after first half tries were exchanged between Peter Jenkins and Portsmouth’s A Vaughan.

In the second spell Waterman landed a 30 yard penalty, but Services stepped up their game and Lowndes kicked them level with a penalty. At last, Bath stamped some authority on the game, with late tries by Perry and Hall, both converted by Waterman.

 

1/12/1973

v London Scottish, Home, Lost 0-6. Team: J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, N Hudson, A Hicks, P Jenkins, M C Lloyd, R J Elliott, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, D J Gay, R Lye and P R Hall. Bath gifted this to the Scots in a game of missed opportunities. The match was just 20 minutes old when a line out was called. Parfitt threw long and the ball was fumbled by Nick Hudson. Flank forward McKenzie pounced on the ball to score and Stevenson converted. Bath retaliated vigorously, but sustained pressure brought no reward

 

5/12/1973

v RMCS Shrivenham, Home. Won 27-6. 1st Round R.F.U. National K.O. Competition.

Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes,C Perry, P Jenkins, A Hicks, J Horton, M C Lloyd, R J Elliott, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, D J Gay, R Lye, P R Hall.

Bath ran in some good tries to finally outclass their opponents. Hall and Lye were prominent in broken play and Lloyd and Horton were able to dictate terms. A feature of the match was the number of failed kicking attempts. No fewer than five players attempted set-piece kicking, but the only points from the boot came from John Horton’s second half drop goal. Bath tries by Burrowes (3), Hicks, Lloyd and Waterman.

 

8/12/1973

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 8-18. Team:- J Waterman, P Burrowes, N Hudson, C Perry, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, R Elliott, R Wheeler, D Gay (Capt.), R Lye, J Herniman (loaned from Gloucester) and G Pillinger.                                                                                                                                         Bath’s re-organised side put in a reasonable performance at Kingsholm, but rued the absence of a reliable goal-kicker. Bath arrived minus Brian Jenkins and were fortunate that Gloucester loaned them Jerry Herniman, a British Police forward.

It was a pretty close affair in the early stages, with Bath scoring the first try, from a long line-out, where Lye’s effort set up a ruck, from which Hudson gained possession to score. Horton missed with the conversion attempt. Gloucester came back at Bath and they turned around with the home side leading by 7 points to 4. Burrowes scored for Bath in the second half, after a superb break through by Horton. However, Gloucester then took a firm hold and successive scores played Bath out of the game.

 

15/12/1973

v Llanelly, Home, Lost 3-12. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, N Hudson, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, A Mills, D J Gay (Capt.) and G Pillinger.                                                                                                                                                                Strange to relate, but Bath took a dramatic lead in an eventually one-sided game. Two minutes in, early forward pressure, the ball was released to Elliott, and John Horton landed a neat drop kick. Regrettably, this was the end of Bath’s involvement with the score board, as Llanelli’s superior forward work denied Bath possession, and set up a variety of scoring options for their talented back division. First full-back Davies came into the line and fed Hill. He kicked ahead, won the chase to the line, and converted his own try. Hill and Davies featured in the next attack, which ended with Heffilin Jenkins riding Waterman’s despairing tackle, for the next try, and again Hill added the extras. Creditably, Alan Parfitt won a couple of heels against the head, Horton showed some nice touches, but both he and Waterman missed penalty chances. Bath stuck to their task, but bravery was not enough against this fast moving side.

 

22/12/1973

v South Wales Police, Home, Won 17-10. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, N Hudson, A Hicks, P Jenkins, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.

Bath let the Police off with a caution, ending with a modest seven point margin over their unimpressive visitors, who played one man short for the whole of the second half. Tony Hicks planted the first try in a matter of seconds and Hudson made it 8-0 within 10 minutes. The Police rallied briefly to send in Stephenson and Pengilley added a penalty. Waterman made no mistake, with a front of post penalty and the half ended with Bath 11-7 in the lead.

Spectators rubbed their hands in expectation of more excitement, but as a spectacle, their hopes were never realised. The Police commenced with some spirited play and were eventually rewarded with a penalty from veteran fly-half Ron Evans.

“The one point margin made a mockery of the game as Bath dropped a gear or two and played at half pace against mediocre opposition.”

It was the 80th minute before Bath finally put their stamp on the game, when Lloyd scored under the posts and Jenkins converted.

 

26/12/1973

v Clifton, Home, Won 19-4. Team:- J S Waterman, P Burrowes, C Perry, N Hudson, A Hicks, P Jenkins, M C Lloyd, R J Elliott, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, R Wheeler, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.                                                                                 Late in a scrappy game, Bath scored two tries to settle the issue. Up until then, Bath had made little impression on Clifton’s close marking defenders. It was a debut for Clive Harry, who teamed up well with Radley Wheeler. Clifton had scored a try after charging down Lloyd’s attempted clearance kick and continued to threaten. Bath managed to hold them off and scored two good tries in the last few minutes. First, Hudson hacked on for Perry to touch down. Next, before Clifton could recover, Gay stormed through a ruck of players and transferred to Hudson, who touched down under the posts for Jenkins to add a simple conversion.

 

29/12/1973 v Northampton, Home. Lost 3-10. Team:- C Perry, P Burrowes, M C Beese, N Hudson, A Hicks, P Jenkins, M C Lloyd, J Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, C Harry, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, A Mills, R Lye and P R Hall.

Bath held mighty Northampton to a 3-3 draw at half time following penalties by Northampton’s Taylor in the 10th minute, and an equaliser from Peter Jenkins just before the interval. The second half brought further rewards for the Saints, as first Bignell stepped out of a tackle to touch down, and with Northampton in firm control, Taylor stepped up for a second penalty. Bath revived briefly, but were cut short when Lloyd was in collision with George and stretchered from the field after cracking a leg bone. This was Lloyd’s second serious injury of his career and his playing prospects looked slim. He was to be badly missed, both for his scrum-half prowess, but also in his defensive role, as a fourth ‘back-row’ forward.

A disrupted Bath continued with their effort, and a fine move by Perry and Hudson was deserving of a try, only for the final pass to be fumbled at the line. Radley Wheeler relinquished his 100% attendance record, when he was not selected for this game.

 

1/1/1974

v Cheddar Valley, Home, Won 53-6. Somerset Cup Match. Team:- J S Waterman, P B Burrowes, C Perry, N Hudson, A Hicks, P Jenkins, B Burkey, J M Meddick, C Silver, R Elliott, R J Wheeler, B Jenkins, G Pillinger, R Lye and P R Hall.

Cheddar could put up but token resistance and were eventually run off their feet. Not that Bath played well; at times they were glaringly inefficient, exposing problems in all departments.

The final count was tries:- Hicks (3), Burrowes (3), Burkey, Silver, Perry and Pillinger, with Jenkins converting 3 and Wheeler 2. Jenkins also kicked a penalty.

 

5/1/1974

v Leicester, Home, Won 20-3. Away. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, N Hudson, M C Beese, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, J Kimberley, R J Elliott, C Harry, B Jenkins, D J Gay, R Lye and P R Hall.

On a wet pitch and after a dour first half stalemate, Bath eventually engineered tries by Beese, Hudson and Norris, with Waterman kicking 2 penalties and converting one. Barker responded with a late penalty for the visitors. It remained a generally untidy match, but Bath did well to capitalise on their minor share of possession.

 

12/1/1974

v London Welsh, Away, Lost 9-21. Team:- J S Waterman, P B Burrowes, N Hudson, M C Beese, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, C Harry, B Jenkins, D J Gay, R Lye and P R Hall.

Bath held the Exciles to 3-3 at the interval, but folded in the final quarter hour. Waterman had put Bath in the lead with a third minute penalty, but the Welsh levelled after ten minutes when Bath twice failed to retreat the requisite ten yards. Taylor kicked an easy penalty. In the second half, the host’s more ambitious handling brought tries for Fullwood and Rees, with Lewis converting both. Taylor had kicked three penalties. Bath narrowed the gap in the closing minutes, when the referee awarded a penalty try for an obstruction on Hicks, which Waterman converted.

 

16/1/1974

v Royal Navy, Home, Won 6-4. Team:- J S Waterman, P D Burrowes, M C Beese, N Hudson, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, C Harry, B Jenkins, G Pillinger, R Lye and P R Hall.

“Bath slithered to a narrow win over the Royal Navy in a mud bath of a match fought out in almost farcical conditions.

The pitch, saturated at the start, churned up into a quagmire as the players battled against further heavy rain and gale force winds.” A dour afternoon resulted in a battle of the forwards, with play curiously attracted to the most churned up parts of the field, in an exchange of ‘kick and run,’ interspersed with ‘slither-in-the-mud’ set scrums. Phillips R.N., found a way through after 20 minutes to give the Navy a 4-0 half-time advantage. Bath missed a few opportunities in the second half, but eventually, Robbie Lye’s foot-rush ended with Peter Burrowes touching down near the posts. Waterman managed to lift the ball and Bath were home – if not dry!

 

19/1/1974

v Metropolitan Police, Away, Lost 3-13. J S Waterman, P Burrowes, M C Beese, N Hudson, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, R J Elliott, C Harry, B Jenkins, D J Gay, R Lye, P R Hall ( Capt).

Bath turned in a poor performance and ended well beaten in a bad-tempered game. Waterman’s fourth minute penalty was their meagre reward for a torrid afternoon’s rugby. Following a flare-up, both sets of players were lectured by referee G W Fenn. Again, five minutes from half-time the captains were called together and told to quieten things down. Bath made something of a ‘fighting’ comeback, but all attempts to pull their game together went awry. Not much of a friendly!

 

26/1/1974

v Saracens, Away, Lost 3-4. J Waterman, P Burrowes, N Hudson, M Beese, V Gaiger, J Horton, C Perry, R Elliott, A Parfitt, J Meddick, C Harry, R Wheeler, D Gay, R Lye, P Hall (Capt).                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bath frittered away their chances, to be edged out at Southgate. It was a scrappy match, hampered by a strong wind, which effected handling. Hall incurred the referee’s wrath for a late tackle and from broken play Hanson crossed for an unconverted try in the corner. Waterman was put under pressure from a succession of high up-and-unders. In the second half Horton reduced the arrears to a single point with his sixth drop-goal of the season.

 

2/2/1974

v Rosslyn Park, Home, Won 19-3. J Waterman, P Burrowes, N Hudson, M Beese, T Norris, J Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A Parfitt, R Elliott, C Harry, R J Wheeler, D J Gay, A Mills, P Hall (Capt).

The visitors were first to score from their third penalty attempt. Meanwhile, Bath seemed bereft of inspiration, until a break by Beese allowed Burrowes to cruise through unopposed for a corner try.

(half-time 4-3)

Bath livened up in the second spell, Wheeler forcing his way over from a line-out for Waterman to convert. Waterman kicked a penalty after a line-out infringement and finally, chased a loose ball over the line for a third try and Waterman converted with a fine touchline kick.

 

5/2/1974

v RAF, Away, Won 10-4. Team:- J S Waterman, T Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, B Burkey, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, R Hawksley, S Horton, R J Wheeler, A Mills, R Lye and P R Hall.

Bath fought a magnificent rearguard action, after losing Waterman before half time (gashed head), and later, Beese, with a cut knee. They held on grimly to a 7-4 lead and even managed to improve their position with a second penalty by John Bramall. “Waterman was off target with three early penalty chances before a flaying boot ended his participation in the match after 25 minutes.” Bramall moved to full-back and Hall improvised at centre. Hawksley, Parfitt and Pudney were an excellent front row, while Wheeler and Steve Horton played their hearts out in the ‘engine room,’ whilst Lye and Mills did the work of three men. Bath reaped reward for their heroics ten minutes into the second half, when Hicks sped over for a corner try. When Beese departed, the crowd rose to the to their feet in appreciation, with particular regard to the six remaining forwards, who did not let up for one second. Burkey and Horton did valuable work in taking the game forward. Ten minutes from time, Bramall kicked his second penalty which first hit the upright and then bounced over the crossbar.

 

9/2/1974

v Wilmslow, Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, N Hudson, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, R J Elliott, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, R J Wheeler, R Lye, A Mills and P R Hall. (Second round of the Rugby Union Cup), played on the Kingswood School pitch on Lansdown, as the Rec. was declared unfit. Lost 6-17.

Bath led 6-0 at half time, but literally ‘blew’ the game, as the gusting wind played havoc with any handling movement. With the exception of Mills and Lye, the Bath pack played with little authority, and Wilmslow were winning all the loose balls and impressed with their solid scrummaging. Bath kicked two ‘wind-assisted’ penalties in the first half, but were forced to defend desperately as the game developed. After Hall departed with injury, all semblance of fight was blown away. Wilmslow’s Rogers scored a try, and then Bath suffered the ignominy of being shunted back over their own line, with a try credited to Hitch, which Green converted. The second half was all Wilmslow, as Shingles kicked an easy penalty goal and Rogers forced his way over for another try.

 

17/2/1974

(Sunday) v Cheltenham, Home, Won 6-4. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, N Hudson, A H Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, R Hawksley, S Horton, R Wheeler, R Lye, A Mills and P R Hall.

“An inevitably tacky pitch, a heavy ball and two effective, spoiling back rows combined to make it a scrambling affair of missed opportunities and mistakes.”

It was the sort of game to erase from the memory as soon as found practicable. From Bath’s point of view, the Sunday experiment was a financial success and also allowed them to achieve their second ‘double’ of the season. Allan Parfitt took several heels against the head and Wheeler had a particularly good first half. Just before half-time, Perry took Bath into the visitors’ 25, only for Cheltenham to win the loose ball, but a hurried pass went astray and Beese was able to nip through, pick up, and score, with Waterman converting. Lye, Mills and Hall increased the pressure in the second period, but it was Cheltenham who secured a try, after Pearce won a 60-yard chase.

 

23/2/1974

v Wasps, Away, Won 16-15. Team:- B Thompson, T D Norris, J Bramall, B Perry, A Hicks, J P Horton, R Burkey, R Hawksley, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, R Wheeler, S Horton, R Lye, D Gay and P R Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                         Bath trailed 3-15 at the halfway mark, but came back strongly, largely due to the individual brilliance of John Horton. Bath were without, Chris Perry, Andy Mills and Mike Beese.

Wasps’ penalty attempt rebounded off the upright into the hands of centre French, who crossed for an early try, which Richards converted. Bramall kicked Bath’s penalty following an obstruction, but Richards, the Wasps’ full-back replied two minutes later to increase the home side’s lead. Wasps concluded their first-half scoring when forward Peters crossed after running in from halfway, and selling a dummy to full-back Thompson. Richards again converted.

Immediately after the restart, Horton kicked a well taken drop-goal, quickly followed by a try from winger Norris, converted by Bramall. Horton was now enjoying a fine game, with some elusive running and probing kicks. Allan Parfitt got away, but was called back for a forward pass. Soon afterwards, Hall scored from a tap penalty.

HALL IN STITCHES AGAIN

Phil Hall was lucky to be on hand as he had only just returned to the field after stitches to a badly gashed head. It was typical of Hall’s attitude that he should soldier on: “The win was just what we wanted and really showed the lads could fight back.”

 

3/3/1974

v Bristol, Away. Lost 7-18. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, R Hawksley, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, R J Wheeler, S Horton, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall. Attendance 4000+

Philip Hall completed 500th appearance for the Bath 1st XV; he would have preferred to celebrate with a win, and Bath came closer than the final score suggested. Bath looked to continue early progress, were it not for the devastating pace of Bristol’s international wingers A G Morley and P M Knight. Horton kicked one of his characteristic drop goals and Bath had one ‘purple patch’ when Hall crashed through two defenders to touch down, after handling by Horton, Bramall, Waterman, Norris and Beese.

The second half added up to 40 minutes of endless frustration for Bath, who could not convert their effort into points. It was Bristol who scored, while Bath amassed the near misses.

Bristol were undoubtedly superior in line-out and scrummaging techniques. Bristol’s White won the hooking duel by a 5-0 margin. For Bath, Waterman attacked at every opportunity, and Hall, Gay and Lye disrupted manfully.

 

9/3/1974

v Swansea, Away. Lost 10-36. Team:- J Waterman, T Norris, J Bramall, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, T Harrison, R Hawksley, A Parfitt, G Pudney, R Wheeler, S Horton, R Lye, D Gay and P Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       It was a debut appearance for Terry Harrison. (Aretians, Bristol), who came in for the injured Chris Perry. From the start the big Swansea forwards drove through the Bath ranks, painfully exposing their weaknesses. A poorly directed kick from Harrison went straight to Blyth, who cut through flimsy tackling to link with Protheroe; Yandle and Cole handled, before Jones ran in under the posts for Dyer to convert. It was but a foretaste of things to come. Next, Mervin Davies picked up at the back of the scrum and circumnavigated all attempting tacklers with ease, for an unconverted try. At this stage, the Bath forwards were being pushed back yards from every set scrum, and Swansea spent almost the entire game on the attack. Bath fell further behind when Higgins went over for an opportunist try, which Dyer converted. “Bath’s forwards were being annihilated and their non-existent tackling brought them all sorts of trouble., Swansea, turning it almost into an exhibition soon took their lead beyond 20pts. Another strong drive left the defence wide open and Cole scored a simple try, again converted by Dyer. (Half-time 0-22)

In the second half, Swansea went slightly off the boil and Bramall kicked two penalties. However, Swansea’s back row continued to dominate and their forward mastery was never seriously questioned. Full back Blyth came into the line and made a try on the blind side for right wing Jones. Next Jones scored his third try of the game, which Dyer converted, and soon another try was conceded to Cole. Bath responded with a good run by Bramall, which brought a try for Phil Hall.

 

10/3/1974

v St. Brendan’s, Home. Won 18-3. 4th Round of Somerset Cup. This was another frustrating Cup encounter against typically spoiling and bustling opposition. Tempers were severely frayed by the second half, and at one stage a spectator was struck in the face, as the ball was hurled in the general direction of an opponent. Again, Bath were forced to think strongly regarding continuance in the competition.

Bath tries by Bramall, Norris, Beese and Gay, with Bramall converting one.

Phil Hall’s comment: As far as I’m concerned it’s a complete waste of time and does far more harm than good.” “We haven’t enjoyed a single county cup match this season because all of our opponents have set out to spoil and do nothing else. As far as I’m concerned we should pull out at the end of the season – even if it puts our place in the national competition in danger.”

 

15/3/1974

v Ebbw Vale, Home. Lost 6-13. Team:- J Waterman, S V Gaiger, N Hudson, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, D Gay and P Hall.

Ebbw Vale made the best of two second half chances to turn the tables on Bath. The real turning point came when Bath were leading 6-3, six minutes into the second half. Then, a wayward pass was intercepted by Turner, who kicked ahead to out-sprint the defence and add his own conversion. Bath never recovered and soon permitted another high speed incursion, when international Arthur Lewis cut through flimsy tackling, to set up a try for right-wing Fowler. Bath rallied bravely in semi-darkness, but it was a loosing battle against the valley side’s disciplined performance. Bramall tried to keep Bath in touch with two successful penalties.

 

23/3/1974

v Richmond, Away, Drawn 14-14. Team:- J Waterman, T D Norris, M Beese, C Perry, A Hicks, P Jenkins, B Burkey, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, C Harry, B J Jenkins, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.

Bath showed improved form, despite travelling with a depleted selection. Richmond scored a penalty goal in the 5th minute. “In the 7th minute Bath went ahead, Tony Hicks held a high pass back in front of the posts and ran diagonally to the left for a try. Peter Jenkins failed to convert from wide out.”

Next, Mike Beese found his way to the line from a ruck in front of the posts. Later, Bath were penalised 20 yards out. Tony Bucknall took the tap penalty; Peter Philip linked with Janion, who drove through for a try, despite the attentions of several defenders. Tempers began to fray. Janion intercepted a pass and sent Davies on a 40 yard run in. Whibley’s conversion attempt hit the upright. Ten minutes from time, Waterman restored Bath’s lead with a try and a conversion and Bath appeared to be home and dry. Three minutes later, Whibley equalised following a line-out infringement, and although Bath had territorial advantage, they were unable to respond effectively.

 

28/3/1974

v Neath, Home. Won 21-18. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, C Perry, A Hicks, P R Jenkins, B Burkey, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.                                                                                                                                                                                           Both sides were short of some first choice players. It was nevertheless a very gratifying result. The game was improved by the excellent attitude of referee Mr. N P Jones, who entered into the true spirit of the game and kept it flowing as much as he was able.

Mistakes and good play were interspersed and Bath were unable to convert their play into points. This allowed an under-strength Neath into the game, but Bath staged a magnificent recovery to turn the tables. Gay, Lye and Pudney played a major part in Bath’s revival. Peter Jenkins opened Bath’s scoring with a simple penalty. Hicks demonstrated his return to form, chasing his kick-ahead to send in Beese, and speeding in later for two more tries, to add to a first half success. Waterman converted one.

Harry and Brian Jenkins provided a good service from the line-out.

 

30/3/1974

v Bridgend, Away. Lost 22-33. Team:- J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, P R Jenkins, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, A Mills and T Gunning.

Bath opened in determined mood against the former Welsh Champions. There were several first choice absentees, but they nevertheless, put up a brave fight against a slick, fast-moving team.

The whole three-quarter line were soon involved in a sweeping movement, but a final wayward pass let them down. Bridgend registered a converted try in the 16th minute, but Bramall reduced the deficit with a penalty and Waterman completed Bath’s first half scoring with a try. Meanwhile Bridgend had built up a useful lead, with two tries, one converted. Then Waterman made a bad error in dropping the ball over his own line. Flank forward Alan Faul was quick to capitalise on his mistake and the sides crossed over with Bath 7-20 down. Bath fought bravely after the interval, Waterman came into the line, passing to Beese, who ran in for a fine try, which Bramall converted. Ian Lewis kicked a penalty for Bridgend to bring his personal points tally to 7, and Bramall retaliated with a penalty for Bath. The game reached a climax as Bath threw everything into attack. However, they were immediately thwarted by Lyndon Thomas who touched down for a Bridgend try, which Lewis converted. Bath countered with a try by Norris, which Bramall converted. In the last move of the match, Griffiths snatched another Bridgend try.

 

1/4/1974

v Hawick, Home. Lost 3-16. Team:- M Richardson, P B Burrowes, N K Hudson, J Bramall, V Gaiger, P Jenkins, B Burkey, R Elliott, J Kimberley, R Hawkesley, S Horton, R J Wheeler, W Lye, D J Gay (Capt.) and G Pillinger. Bath fielded only four first team regulars, but the Reserves made the Hawick tourists work hard for their victory. Playing largely on the retreat, they covered and tackled relentlessly. Lye, Gay and Pillinger worked tirelessly to snuff out many attacks close to the scrum. It was greatly to their credit that Hawick scored only two tries. Bramall kicked a first-half penalty.

There was some brave hooking by Kimberley and Lye, Perry and Gaiger worked tirelessly.

 

2/4/1974

v Gloucester, Home. Lost 15-19. J S Waterman, T D Norris, M C Beese, C Perry, A Hicks, J P Horton, B Burkey (Oldfield O.B.’s), J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.

It was a tense and exciting match after which, Bath were left to rue their missed penalty chances and succession of handling errors. Waterman had a distinctly off day with the boot and Horton was called up: “When he took over the role, with considerable success, he not only converted his own brilliant try but kicked two penalties, one of them from nearly 50 yards.” Waterman had kicked one penalty from four attempts. Missed opportunities allowed Gloucester to battle their way back into the game, with Burkey suffering greatly from the attentions of the Gloucester back-row. Through all this, Bath continued to throw the ball about and Horton’s try was a particularly memorable solo effort. “Receiving the ball almost alone on the blind-side, he wrong- footed the cover defence with a magnificent sidestep and his acceleration took him clean through to the posts from where he also converted.”

“Lye, Gay and Hall gave the Gloucester halves some of their own medicine and determined running and handling, involving Beese, Hicks and Waterman in particular had the visiting defence gasping.”

 

6/4/1974

v Sale, Home, Won 26-6. M Richardson, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, D J Gay, B Jenkins, R Lye, A Mills, P R Hall (Capt)

Bath went ahead after seven minutes, when Norris made a dazzling run from the half-way line. He cut across the field to link with Beese, who in turn, supplied the return pass for Norris to touch down. Toone cut the deficit with a fine angled penalty kick. Bath continued to throw the ball about, much to Sale’s discomfort. More good handling left Richardson to force his way over and Horton converted. Toone kept in touch with another penalty. Shortly afterwards, Hall drew the defence before sending Hicks over in the left corner, for Bramall to add a fine conversion. Tries by Hicks and Lye were to follow, and Bramall converted the former. Lye’s try had been preceded by an ill-tempered brawl, but the referee was on hand to cool the situation.

 

8/4/1974

v Bridgwater. Home. Semi Final of the Somerset Cup. Won 31-0. M Richardson, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, D J Gay, B Jenkins, R Lye, A Mills and P R Hall.

Bath beat the previous Cup holders in some style, with some sparkling running and handling epitomised by Horton and Beese. Bath forwards had been conspicuous in the softening-up process and the home side led 10-0 at half time, following Bramall’s penalty, Horton’s drop goal and a try by Alan Parfitt. In the second half, Bath cleaned up any loose ball and tries followed from Horton (2) and Beese (2), with Bramall converting one and adding a penalty.

 

12/4/1974

v Harlequins, Home, Won 20-6. Team:- M Richardson, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, J P Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.

Bath enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, with Parfitt taking several heels against the head, and Brian Jenkins enjoying superiority in the line-out. Horton and Beese opened up play, only for the final passes to be fumbled. In consequence, it was 25 minutes before Bath got on the scoreboard: “Norris, cutting in from the right wing was twice involved in the move which produced two switches of direction before Gay strode though and Perry sent in Bramall for a try which he also converted from the touchline.” However, Bramall missed four kickable penalties. Quins levelled with a converted try just after half time. Bath hit back to retain the lead, when Harlequins were unceremoniously pushed back over their own line, for Perry to claim the try. Horton converted. He was the inspiration for further tries by Norris and Beese.

 

13/4/1974

v Broughton Park, Home, Won 15-12. M Richardson, T D Norris, M C Beese, J Bramall, A Hicks, P R Jenkins, C Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, A Mills, P R Hall (Capt).

A depleted Bath selection found Broughton Park a tough nut to crack, but were kept in touch with 4 Bramall penalties and a rare drop kick from skipper, Phil Hall. Hall’s opportunity arrived when an intended scissors movement between Peter Jenkins and Bramall came unstuck. Bramall managed to slip the ball to Hall, who, amid cheers, dropped a goal from in front of the posts. Bramall kicked a first half penalty, whilst the visitors scored two unconverted tries. (Half-time 6-8)

At re-commencement, the visitors could sense victory and when Perry lost possession, their back row snapped up possession to send the unmarked Mainwaring in for a third try. The visitors then paid the penalty for a succession of infringements, and Bramall was able to pull Bath through with three successful penalties. “In the closing stages the forward exchanges became heated and several ugly forward incidents with fists being thrown ended in Broughton Park’s lock forward Brown being sent off the field.” Sadly, the unpleasantness was still simmering at the final whistle.

 

15/4/1974

v OMT’s, Home, Won. 42-9. M Richardson, T D Norris, J Bramall, M C Beese, P Burrowes, P Jenkins, R Gunning, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay, P R Hall (Capt)

All-round teamwork carried the day, as Bath scored seven tries and Bramall contributed 22 of the points. The home pack soon took control. Burrowes second try was the best of the afternoon, as he ran the length of the field after intercepting. Norris and Bramall also got two tries and Lye one. Bramall converted four and kicked two penalty goals. Bath produced some thrilling runs, in which wingers, Burrowes and Norris were in their element.

 

20/4/1974

v Llanelly, Away, Lost 19-43. J S Waterman, T D Norris, J Bramall, M C Beese, P Burrowes, J P Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay, P R Hall (Capt)

Llanelli’s experience and power proved too much for Bath, although they did manage two tries and a drop goal by Horton. Waterman bagged another and Bramall converted two.

Scarlet’s winger, Andy Hill figured largely in Bath’s downfall. He landed a penalty, whilst his first of two tries, brought his season’s total to 300 points. He added five conversions for good measure.

 

25//4/1974

v Weston-super-Mare, Away. Won 22-3 in the Final of the Somerset Cup.

Team:- M Richardson, T D Norris, M C Beese, P R Jenkins, P B Burrowes, J P Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, D J Gay and P R Hall.

Bath cruised to a comparatively easy victory. Weston played with 14 men for all but three minutes. Weston full-back Tracey, was in collision with Lye and quit the field with a damaged shoulder. He returned after ten minutes, but within seconds, flank forward Burgess gashed a knee tackling Burrowes, and departed for hospital. Bath forwards then commenced to dominate. Tries came from Beese (2), and Norris, with Richardson converting two and adding a penalty. Horton dropped a goal in the first half. Gay, Lye and Hall wrought havoc in the home ranks, but the game did not rise to expectations, as too many individuals were involved in “man to man warfare.”

 

27/4/1974

v Bedford, Home, Lost 19-32. M Richardson, T D Norris, J Bramall, M C Beese, P Burrowes, P Jenkins, R Gunning, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay, P R Hall (Capt)

Bedford took early advantage of weak Bath tackling; Budge Rogers was involved in a sweeping movement, which ended with Jackson’s try, which Bennett converted. Bath missed two penalties, but in the 10th minute they won a scrum under the Bedford posts. Horton tried a drop at goal, which was touched in flight, and as the ball rolled loose, Burrowes charged up to score, and Richardson’s conversion levelled the score. Burrowes scored a second try, again converted by Richardson. Next to touch down was Bedford’s Wyatt and Bennett converted. In the second half Bennett scored and converted another try to put the home side in the lead and give himself a record of 303 points for the season. Bramall reduced the arrears with a penalty, but poor tackling allowed Jackson to break away and send in Hollins, and again Bennett added points. As Bath’s defensive effort crumbled, Wyatt profited from Horton’s poor clearance kick, and squeezed over in the corner. “Bath’s tackling had virtually ceased to exist and Bedford, piling on the agony, added a further try when Rogers carried out the finishing touches to a high speed move.” Near the end, Gay made a break to send in Richardson, which served to make the score a bit more respectable.

 

29/4/1974

v Stroud, Away, Lost 11-15. Team:- M Richardson, T Norris, M Beese, V Gaiger, P Burrowes, J P Horton, C Perry, J Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, C Harry, B Jenkins, A Mills, D J Gay and C Silver.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bath finished with a lethargic, depressing performance: “For more than half the match, in fact, as they strolled disinterestedly around the field, they seemed determined only to ensure that Stroud wound up their centenary on a celebratory note with a record-equalling 25th win.

Only when they had virtually presented Stroud with a 12-point lead by soon after half-time, did Bath display any urgency and in double quick time they cut arrears to a single point.

In the process, they scored the only two tries of the match, but with twenty minutes remaining Bath allowed themselves to be involved in dreary forward spoiling instead of switching the ball about quickly – and paid the penalty.” Bath did not help themselves by arguing with the referee. Stroud kicked three penalties in the first half and one in the second. They spent the whole game employing spoiling tactics, and in consequence the Bath side were entirely lacking in any sort of rhythm. In the second half, Parsloe put Stroud 12-0 ahead with a drop goal, and only then did Bath show any positive reaction: “Horton and Gay, breaking strongly, set up a quick try for Silver; Perry finished off good smuggling by his pack for a second and Richardson landed an angled penalty.” Following a rare Stroud breakaway, Harrison kicked his third penalty. “Gay was unlucky not to be awarded a try in the dying seconds.”

FOR THE RECORD

The 1st XV experienced a very disappointing season and the United, Spartans and Youth XV’s could only register 21 wins between them.

Bath played a record number of 55 First XV games. This was a heavy burden on the players and 43 individuals appeared in various selections.

Player attendances:- R Lye 48, Parfitt 47, Hall 46 (523 over all), C Perry 45, Hicks and Meddick 43, Horton 36, Burrowes, B Jenkins, Waterman and Wheeler 35, Gay 34, Norris 26, Beese 25, Elliott 24, Lloyd and Mills 23, Harry 22, Hudson and Pudney 20, P R Jenkins 19, Gaiger 18, Bramall 15, P S Jenkins 13, Pillinger 12, Thompson 11, Hawksley 10, Burkey, Plummer and Richardson 9, B Perry 8, S Horton 7, Kimberley 5, Sparkes 4, Gould, Harrison and Silver 2, R Gunning, T Gunning, Herniman, Hones, W Lye and Walworth 1 each.

Current career appearance totals were:- B Perry 246, Parfitt 231, Lloyd 221, Gay 205, R Lye 181, Waterman 179, Meddick 106, Wheeler 99, C Perry 93, Norris 87 and B Jenkins 85.

Blazer Badges were awarded to Mike Beese and J M (Bert) Meddick.

TRIES (121):- Burrowes 20, Hicks 15, Beese 11, Norris 10, Waterman 7, J Horton and C Perry 6, Lye, Hall and Hudson 5, Bramall, P R Jenkins and Lloyd 4, Elliott, Meddick, Richardson, Sparkes and Silver 2, Burkey, Gaiger, Gay, B Jenkins, P S Jenkins, Parfitt, Pillinger and Wheeler 1 each. One penalty try (London Welsh)

CONVERSIONS (51):- Waterman 19, Bramall 14, P R Jenkins 5, J Horton and Richardson 4, Thompson and Wheeler 3.

PENALTIES (63):- Waterman 27, Bramall 19, P R Jenkins 6, Thompson 5, J Horton 3, Richardson 2 and Sparkes 1.

DROP GOALS (16):- J Horton 12, Hall, C Perry, Thompson and Waterman 1 each.

 

BATH UNITED

There is little doubt that the second string season was one of the worst on record. There were constant calls on players for the 1st XV, and they were obliged to make use of 85 players in their selections. Injuries were also a contributory factor. There were also problems with the Christmas departure of ‘skipper’ Peter Jenkins, and Billy Lye returned from South Devon to take over.

The final record was: Played 36, Won 7, Lost 25, Drawn 4. Points For 382. Points Against 809.

 

The following players took part in Somerset’s May Tour of Canada:-

M Beese, J Meddick, C Perry, D J Gay, P Burrowes, J P Horton and R Lye.

President George Brown was in the party, along with Coach Tom Martland.

 

This page was added on 14/07/2014.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *