v Pontypool, Away. Lost 6-16. P Fryatt, R Foulkes, M C Beese, V Gaiger, A Hicks, J R Horton, C J Perry (Capt), G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, B Jenkins, R J Walkey, A Mills, R Lye. P Fryatt & R Foulkes – first 1st XV game
In this case they left Bath at 12noon and arrived at Pontypool at 4.10pm, after gales forced the closure
of the Severn Bridge. Hardly conducive to playing a game of rugby!
Coach John Cousins was not at all happy with Bath’s performance, particularly the pack: “They did the exact opposite of what they had been told in training and learned a lesson the hard way.” Bath had been unable to maintain possession. “On the evidence of Bath’s first outing however, the problems are even more basic than that. Their problem was not of retaining second-phase possession but winning first phase.” Full-back Peter Fryatt kicked two penalties.
Bath won the Cheltenham Sevens, beating Bridgend 18-16 in the Final.
Team: C Perry (Capt.), David Gay, Mike Beese, Tony Hicks, Alan Parfitt, Robbie Lye and John Horton. Skipper Perry was delighted, particularly as the Bridgend side went on to win the Harlequins invitation sevens tournament.
Bath also won the Bath Combination 7’s. It was subsequently reported that the Combination was not very happy because Bath had fielded such a strong team.
v Leicester, Home, Won 15-9. P Fryatt, T Hicks, M C Beese, C J Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, J R Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenki ns, C Harry, R Lye, D J Gay, G Pillinger.
Bath forwards showed vastly improved form and contributed to a lively match in which points from the boot won the day. Fryatt’s personal contribution was a conversion and two penalties, and Horton produced a fine tactical display with a first-half drop goal. Geoff Pillinger scored the try following a throw to the back of the line-out. Late on, Hall scored a try for Leicester and Peter Wheeler added a conversion to his earlier penalty. Pillinger continued to press his claim to a regular first team place. Phil Hall had cast a long shadow over the open-side spot, and in three seasons Geoff had made just 28 appearances. Phil Hall’s farming commitments had given Pillinger his chance and he put in a fine performance. He impressed the Somerset selectors, who picked him for the next County game.
v Clifton, Away, Won 41-8. P Fryatt, N Hudson, C J Perry (Capt), M C Beese, V Gaiger, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, A Mills, G Pillinger.
“A fine display of attacking rugby brought Bath one of their biggest victories for many years over Clifton at Eastfield Road….” “It featured some high-speed running and passing which was made possible by a Bath pack which handed out a real lesson in the latest techniques of rucking and retaining possession.” Behind such a dominant pack, John Horton was brimming with ideas and confidence and dropped two goals and scored a try. Among the scorers were – Tries by Beese (2), Gaiger (2), Horton, and Harry, with Horton’s two drop goals and 4 conversions and a penalty by Fryatt.
v Moseley, Away, Lost 13-31. R Fryatt, A Hicks, C J Perry (Capt), M C Beese, V Gaiger, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, C Harry, B Jenkins, R Lye, A Mills, G Pillinger
Bath put up a game fight but were outplayed by a heavier pack, allowing the midland club to coast to a comparatively easy victory. Bath were the first to score in the 17th minute, when Fryatt landed a well taken penalty. It was the only stage when Bath were ahead, as five minutes later, Sam Doble had levelled. Shortly afterwards, skipper Nigel Horton touched down, on the rebound from a failed drop kick attempt. Doble added the extras to put Moseley 9-3 in the lead at half time.
The match gradually slipped away from Bath, although we did see two tries by Hicks and a conversion by Fryatt. It was too little, too late as Moseley stormed on, with left wing Thomas providing the grande finale with a 40 yard sprint to the line, for Doble to add to the agony with another fine conversion kick.
v Falmouth, Home. Won 13-11. (National Club competition 1st Round*)
Team:-P Fryatt, A Hicks, N Hudson, C J Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Owen, B Jenkins, C Harry, R J Walkey, D J Gay, A Mills.
This was the decider to earn Bath a place in the National Knock out competition, and the homesters moved on with a none too impressive victory. They certainly showed a willingness to throw the ball about in positive fashion, but were constrained by Falmouth’s uncompromising tackling.
Horton’s silky skills and tactical nowse advanced Bath’s cause via touchline clearance kicks and despite the Cornishmen’s spirited efforts with a late second try by the up and coming Trevaskis, Bath were the victors by just two points. Horton had conjured up a magical try, breaking away in his own half, dummying towards the right wing, then passing inside to David Gay, and accepting his return pass to touch down in fine style. Fryatt failed with the conversion kick, but compensated with 3 successful penalties.
v Taunton, Away, Won 7-0. P Fryatt, A Hicks, M C Beese, C J Perry, V Gaiger, J Davies, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, C Harry, R J Walkey, A Mills, G Pillinger.
Bath were faced with a selection dilemma at full-back. Peter Fryatt, the Hampshire full back, had kicked 39 points in his first five games – an average of eight per game! His was not particularly fast, and his positional play sometimes left a lot to be desired, he was vulnerable in defence, but he was promising to be a very consistent goal kicker. In this game, Walkey kicked the penalty – and Fryatt scored his first try for the Club.
There was encouraging news that Phil Hall was on the come-back trail, turning out for the Spartans on Saturday. Also good news on Niall Carter who began his come back this day after a knee injury in March 1973.
v Aberavon, Home, Lost 4-16. C Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, N Hudson, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, D Owen, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Walkey, D Gay, A Mills.
Nick Hudson salvaged a little of Bath’s pride at the end of this one-sided encounter. Andy Mills and David Gay had broken from the back of a line-out and Hicks and Hudson inter-passed for the late touch down. Aberavon continued their winning run to seven matches. There was a sour note at the end, when Aberavon prop, Jim Owen, was sent off for punching.
Bath were none to pleased to learn that they had to travel to Falmouth in the first round proper of the National Knock-out Cup. Bath had already beaten them on the 28th September, in the preliminary qualifying round. Honorary Secretary Jack Simpkins commented: “It is absolutely ridiculous. Is this a knock-out cup or isn’t it?” He considered that Falmouth were getting “two bites of the cherry.”
v London Irish, Home, Won 18-3. C J Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M C Beese, N Hudson, P Fryatt, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B Jenkins, K M Plummer, R J Walkey, R Lye, A Mills. In the early stages, Bath were made to struggle against the Exciles. The first half produced an early and a late penalty success from the accurate boot of Peter Fryatt, without reply. Into the second half and the finishing of both sides was poor, but eventually a failed drop goal attempt by Horton produced points. His attempt was short of target, but the ball stood up obligingly and Hicks was there to dribble on and score. Fryatt converted. This stimulated an Irish revival and Heal contributed the visitors’ only score – a penalty. In the closing minutes Hudson cut through for Bath’s second try, again converted by Fryatt. For a second week running, the game ended on a sour note, as the Exciles’ prop Newberry was sent from the field, following a flare-up.
News that prop Dave Owen was joining Plymouth Albion and Billy Lye was off to Norway.
v Bristol, Away, Won 10-9. C J Perry, P Fryatt, N Hudson, M C Beese, A Hicks, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, R J Walkey, R Lye, A Mills.
A memorable double, as the United also chalked up a win against our old rivals!
Malcolm Lloyd answered a few critics with a virtuoso performance against local rivals. Lloyd had come back a second time after long absences with injury and critics thought he was losing a little of his sharpness. Mick Jones was a strong contender for the scrum-half position, but at the Memorial Ground, Lloyd’s old sharpness had returned. This, despite a nasty kick in the back, which at one stage, threatened his withdrawal from the game. He scored Bath’s try and Fryatt contributed 2 penalties.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 30-12. B Thompson, P Fryatt, C J Perry, N Hudson, V Gaiger, J Davies, M Jones, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, R Elliott, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, R J Walkey, A Mills, P R Hall.
Bath enjoyed a monopoly of possession and were generally on top throughout the game. However, they sometimes made hard work of it. The final score count was 2 penalties, a try and a conversion to Fryatt, 2 drop goals by John Davies, tries by M Jones and A Mills (2).
News that skipper Chris Perry had declined selection as a County XV substitute, in favour of leading the side against St. Mary’s Hospital this day. Somerset had already called on the services of six Bath players, for their match with Gloucestershire. “Ironically it is Perry’s very versatility which had brought about the problem he hoped to avoid.
He has played in virtually every position outside the scrum for his club in the past couple of seasons – and with almost equal effectiveness.”
Chairman of Somerset selectors, Curly Gunter commented: “He’s three players in one and would have been an ideal replacement for anyone who was injured during the game, especially as we have decided to limit ourselves to two subs in order not to denude our clubs any more than we have to.”
v Bridgend, Away, Lost 10-23. C Perry (Capt), P Fryatt, N Hudson, M Beese, A Hicks, J Davies, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Walkey, R Lye, A Mills.
Bath took a drubbing at the hands of Bridgend. While their hosts scored the tries, Full-back Fryatt kept them in touch, with two penalties. He also initiated a late break away on the right wing. Hicks ran across to join him and accept the pass for the touch down. Fryatt failed to convert. Fenwick and Thomas had continually exposed Bath’s weakness in defence, and the result was inevitable.
v Nottingham, Away, Lost 6-17. B Thompson, P Fryatt, H Archer, C Perry, V Gaiger, J Davies, M Jones, G Pudney, A Parfitt, N Carter, P Heindorff, R Wheeler, R Walkey, P Hall, A Mills.
Another reverse, this time at Beeston Road, where W ‘Dusty’ Hare landed three penalties to put Nottingham in an unassailable position. The first half ended with the hosts leading 7-6, following two penalties by Bath’s Fryatt, a try by Nottingham’s, Irons and the first of Hare’s penalties. He was on target again just after the restart and again successful in the 60th minute of play. Again, in common with two other games, there was an almighty punch-up in which at least eight players from each side were strenuously committed. A minute after this bit of nonsense, Cooper intercepted a loose pass and had a simple 12 yard race to the touchdown. Hare’s kick rattled the upright, but the score stayed at 17-6
v Falmouth, Away. Drawn 9-9. (National Cup competition 1st Round*) C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, N Hudson, M C Beese, P Fryatt, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, N Carter, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, P Heindorff, R J Wheeler, R Lye, A Mills, P Hall. Attendance 800.
A battle of penalties produced a draw, and Bath assumed they would move forward on the Away team rule. However, “A touch of KO farce,” was introduced into the proceedings as Bath were obliged to play Falmouth ‘home and away’ in order to qualify for the second round.
Peter Fryatt for Bath, and Dwain Taylor for Bridgend, tied the penalty dual at three all! (Half-time 6-0 to Bath) A proportion of the Bath effort was wasted by kicking straight into the arms of the in-form, fullback and captain, G Bate. On another occasion Hicks got away, but was halted by Trevaskis bringing off a try-saving tackle.
The closing stages became heated, several forwards incurred the referee’s wrath: “One particularly nasty incident in front of the stands saw fists thrown freely and Bath touch judge John Cousins went on to the field to pull a Falmouth player away.
Several other spectators were dragged away by officials. Then only a few minutes from the end Taylor made it all square with his third goal.”
v United Services Portsmouth, Home. Won 12-4. Team:- C Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, H Archer, N Hudson, P Fryatt, J Davies, M Jones, N Carter, A Parfitt, G Pudney, R Wheeler, P Heindorff, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall. “On a heavy pitch, the early play was as grey as the day…..”
Peter Fryatt was steadily accumulating points. He took his tally to 101 with the three penalties. In fact he had accounted for more than half of the First XV’s total season score to date which was standing at 194. Bath’s lack of finishing power was somewhat alarming. The last time a try was scored was by Tony Hicks on November 2nd at Bridgend.
Bath’s forward weight eventually paid off, and a quick heel allowed John Davies time to drop a neat goal from in front of the posts.
v Neath, Away, Lost 6-11. C Perry (Capt), P Fryatt, N Hudson, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, N Carter, P Heindorff, K Plummer, R Walkey, R Lye, P Hall. Referee – M Joseph (SWANSEA)
Neath’s renowned forward power had Bath on the retreat for much of this game, but the visitors did well to hold the ‘All Blacks’ to 6-7 at half time. It took a brilliant solo run by Horton to reduce the arrears and Fryatt again proved his worth with a tidy conversion. Neath continued to dominate in the loose and secured most of the possession in set-piece play. Bath, or should we say Horton, still managed to look dangerous, with far less opportunities. Beese shouldered much of the midfield tackling responsibilities, while Lye and Hall got through some useful back row work. Walkey took a knock on the thigh and was one of several walking wounded as the game moved into the closing stages.
v London Scottish, Away, Lost 4-49. B Thompson, P Fryatt, C Perry (Capt), N Hudson, A P T Hicks, J Davies, M Lloyd, N Carter, A Parfitt, J Meddick, P Heindorff, K Plummer, R Walkey, C Harry, P Hall.
Bath had everything but a haggis thrown at them as they were annihilated by 49 points to 4. The make-shift selection was further depleted when Niall Carter was forced to quit the field after just 12 minutes, and John Davies was off for part of the second half. This did not explain a feeble display. The Scots started with 14 men, as Alistair Biggar was late arriving, but the visitors still managed a try within eight minutes. “Bath had few chances to handle, but even when they did, they made mistakes galore.” After Davies’s withdrawal with a leg injury, the Exciles simply queued up to score. Bath’s 13 rallied briefly and Hicks forced his way over for a try. Off-form Fryatt missed the conversion, and incidentally, a number of penalty kicks.
An unhappy result and an unhappy ending, as following flare-ups, first Fowlie for Scottish, and then Lloyd for Bath, were sent packing by the referee. Malcolm Lloyd’s dismissal was certainly a talking point in the post match ‘watering holes.’ It was the first occasion in his 11-year rugby career. Referee Derek Head was understood to have sent him off for dissension.
v RAF, Home, Won 26-6. M Richardson, A Hicks, M C Beese, C Perry (Capt) (Tx2), M Jones, B Perry, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, K Plummer, B Jenkins, C Harry, R Walkey, R Lye, P Hall. Referee – M Titcombe (GLOS)
Bath came back after last week’s drubbing with a comfortable win against the Services’ side.
“It did much to restore the players’ faith in themselves that they can play the fluent sort of rugby which will tax even top sides.”
Skipper Chris Perry, hoped the team would put memories of Richmond behind them, and showed commendable optimism regarding oncoming games. Mike Beese looked to be returning to his old form. Brendan Perry still had much to offer and Mike Jones played with real spirit in an unaccustomed wing position. The priority was finding the right balance between mobility and scrummaging power.
It would have been nice if they could have achieved both!
v Gloucester, Home, Won 12-7. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, N Hudson, M Richardson (T, 1g & 2pg), J Davies, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, K Plummer, B Jenkins, R Walkey, C Harry, G Pillinger.
Mike Richardson scored all Bath’s points for a rare victory over local rivals Gloucester. Admittedly, the visitors were reduced to 14 men after the first quarter hour, but as is so often the case, the remaining seven forwards pulled out that extra effort, contributing to a tension packed encounter – to the very end.
“As the game entered its last 10 minutes, Gloucester came storming back and it was the Bath defence which had to be on its toes against sweeping handling involving both forwards and backs.”
Right winger, Crabbe scored Gloucester’s try and Butler kicked a penalty.
v Llanelli, Away, Lost 0-30. C Perry (Capt), M Richardson, N Hudson, M Beese, A Hicks, J Davies, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, B Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Walkey, C Harry, G Pillinger. BBC2’s Rugby Special featured this Anglo-Welsh encounter.
Llanelli proved to be too fast and too clever for Bath, and although reduced to fourteen men before half-time, they ran off easy winners, with Andy Hill orchestrating much of the play. His first try was his 182nd for the Club, and a suitable way to celebrate his 300th appearance in a scarlet jersey.
Llanelli tries from David, Hill (3), Williams, Gravell and Jenkins. Bennett converted one.
With Llanelli at their brilliant best, it is appropriate to record the team names of these exponents of free running rugby:- R Davies, A Hill, R Gravell, B Thomas, J J Williams, P Bennett (Captain), S Williams, R Owen, R Thomas, T Crocker, P May, D Quinnell, G Jenkins and T David.
v Clifton, Home, Won 15-6. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, N Hudson, M Richardson, J Davies, M Lloyd, K Plummer, A Parfitt, R Elliott, R Wheeler, B Jenkins, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall. (Half-time 12-6)
The Club launched their new floodlights with a lack-lustre performance in front of a large holiday crowd. Bath won most possession, dominated territorially, but had great difficulty in breaking down Clifton’s defence. Bath try by Hudson, with Richardson converting and adding three penalties.
“Bath, apparently preoccupied with trying to please their supporters, were instead infuriatingly inefficient, with slow-motion passing and having apparently forgotten that tactical kicking is a justifiable and effective policy especially on a heavy pitch.”
The second half : “turned into a dreary anticlimax of scrambling forward play, dull-witted handling and passing and few possibilities of a further score.”
v South Wales Police, Home, Won 25-6. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, K Plummer, B Jenkins, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall.
A good team performance produced a well-deserved victory and a good start to the New Year.
Richardson was the main architect of Bath’s success, scoring and converting two tries and kicking three penalties. The Police were reduced to 14 men, when Alan Davies was sent off on the half-hour, for kicking an opponent. Bath’s second try was the highpoint of the game: “Horton, breaking away from half-way, interpassed with Beese before switching the direction again for Hicks to race over from 35 yards.”
v Leicester, Away, Lost 3-14. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, J Davies, M Beese, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall. Leicester forged a commanding 14-0 lead by half time. Tries flowed from French, Reeve and Duggan, with Hall converting their third try. Lively play by the Bath forwards gave initial promise, but their only points came when Richardson landed a penalty goal, after previously hitting the cross bar.
Beese made one enterprising run, but the attack fizzled out for lack of support. Harry, Perry, Beese and Hicks featured in further incursions, but all attempts were smothered by Leicester’s stout defence.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 13-8. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson (T, 1pg & 1g), J Horton (T), M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall.
A particularly good performance against a side containing eight internationals. The Exciles were reduced to 13 men for the last 20 minutes, but they continued to strive manfully to pull back on Bath’s lead. It was nevertheless, a magnificent victory for Bath, who had not come off best for nearly 20 years. Richardson opened Bath’s scoring with a penalty, when Hullin was penalised for a crooked feed. After a previous attempt was disallowed, Rees gained a try for London Welsh, following fluent handling and changes in direction. Bath stormed back and Perry provided the extra man, to send in Richardson for an unconverted try. A few minutes on and Horton hoodwinked the opposition with a superb blind side run for a brilliant solo try, which Richardson converted. Undeterred, the Welsh launched one attack after another, and a tap penalty brought just reward, when prop forward Jones squeezed over for a consolation try for the Exciles.
v Royal Navy, Home, Won 10-6. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, A Mills, C Harry, P Hall.
Another home success, in heavy conditions, for the first time – under floodlights. Mike Richardson collected all Bath’s points, with a first half try and two penalties. Bath benefited from strong forward work by Hall, Harry and Mills, and astute play from Horton and Beese. Horton provided delicate chips and swerving runs, while the Beese method of attack was a more straightforward thrust through midfield. The Navy yielded a try in the 27th minute. Parfitt secured two vital heels against the head and Perry and Horton put in valuable defensive work. Near the end, mud was the great leveller, and penalty attempts were doomed to failure, either skidding off sideways, or refusing to leave the ground.
v Metropolitan Police, Home, Won 15-3. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall. Mike Beese scored 2 tries, Richardson converting both and kicking a penalty. Bath continued to show good form, having won 12 out of 13 home games. Skipper Perry commented: “The lads are really playing for one another now and I’m sure we shall do even better on dry grounds which surely must come at some stage.”
v Saracens, Home, Won 16-10. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall. Perry’s hopes of drier grounds were not fulfilled on this muddy afternoon. Nevertheless, Bath confirmed their good home form in overcoming Saracens, who had not lost a game since November. The Londoners held a 6-3 lead at half time, fought back twice to draw level, but were pipped at the post at the end. Richardson was successful with his second penalty attempt, then fortunes changed, when Hawkins raced through non-existent cover, for Phillips to convert. The second half saw a classic try by Beese, who cut through from 30 yards out, after a quick heel. Richardson muffed the conversion. Saracens had their moments, but Bath made the most of good possession for the talented Davies to drop a neat goal. More pressure from Saracens and Perry’s kick was charged down. The ball went loose and Cadle kicked on to touch down. Tension was rising in the closing minutes, as Horton shot away on one of his darting runs, fed to Hall, who found Lye for a try under the posts. This time Richarson made no mistake with the kick.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Lost 0-21. C Perry (Capt), M Richardson, J Davies, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Bath were certainly out of sorts, but it was possible that some of the decisions by the referee affected their demeanour. On another heavy pitch, the visitors could seemingly, do little right in the eyes of the official. “Lloyd launched the move from deep inside his own half, Perry carried on and Richardson kicked over the full-back’s head before dribbling over the line and falling on the ball.
To everyone’s surprise, the referee awarded a five-yard scrum to Bath.”
In contrast, Rosslyn Park’s kicker, Codd, must have enjoyed the game immensely. Granted, he had missed two penalty chances in the opening exchanges, but he was happy to succeed when Bath were penalised for a front row infringement. He then converted after the referee awarded a dubious penalty try. He next put over his second penalty and another conversion, when Saville scored under the posts. In a rather strange match, and after so many early upsets, Bath never got into their stride.
v Liverpool, Away, Won 12-6. 2nd Round John Player Cup. Team:-C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall. Liverpool were 16 games undefeated up to this game.
Bath won through to the Quarter Finals for the first time in their history, and they did it without crossing the Liverpool line. Progress was gained by a margin of four Richardson penalty goals to two by Liverpool’s Killen. Each side had five shots at goal, and Bath were obviously more successful. Bath had greater weight in the pack and the home side were frequently pushed backwards. Bath’s experience enabled them to hustle Liverpool out of their normal game pattern. John Horton had a fine game with his tactical kicking, and his deft touches in attack.
v Newport, Home, Won 12-4. C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
This was Newport’s first defeat in 21 games. Bath forwards and Horton magic, served to outplay the Usksiders for a memorable victory, by two goals to a try. Bath’s first try came when Chris Perry came up in support, to speed over for Richardson to convert. Clive Jenkins reduced the arrears with an unconverted try. The match winning situation owed much to Malcolm Lloyd, who robbed Newport of a heel, allowing Hall and Brian Jenkins to handle and onwards to Horton and the touch-down. Richardson completed a simple conversion to bring his season’s points tally to 100. Bath came close to a third score, as Horton continued to torment the Welshmen, with his clever runs and pinpoint kicking.
Bath held out to the end, with Davies and Beese producing some splendid mid-field tackling and Chris Perry tidying up any loose ends.
v Cheltenham, Away, Won 4-0. C Perry (Capt), M Richardson, J Davies, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye (T), C Harry, A Mills.
A WET ONE!
JOHN STEVEN’S COMMENT in Saturday’s SPORTS CHRONICLE: “Bath came closer to death by drowning or freezing than they did to defeat in what could have passed for unarmed arctic warfare at Cheltenham last night.
Somewhere along the line, they must have included a survival course in their training schedule, for they lasted the full 80 minutes before going to the beckoning comfort of the dressing rooms warmed by a richly deserved winning try just before the end, it was, needless to say, not so much a rugby match more a rather ungainly mud ballet in the worst possible conditions.
Rain and sleet lashed down on to a waterlogged pitch throughout and as the players splashed about it quickly came to resemble a paddy field.”
All 30 players, referee, touch-judges, bucket boys and spectators, not to mention reporters, deserved highest praise for ‘sticking it out ‘ to the bitter end.
Not so bitter for Bath, as two minutes from time, Lye seized on a loose ball, hacked on and pounced – to secure the precious four points.
v Newbridge, Home, Lost 14-15. J Waterman, A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, J Kimberley, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Newbridge put an end to Bath’s run of home wins, as they scored twice in the last ten minutes to pip them at the post. Bath had frittered away a number of scoring opportunities, and had gained enough possession to have left Newbridge trailing. The main disappointment was in the kicking form of Richardson, who scored two of Bath’s three tries, converted one, but was off course with five penalty chances. Horton had utilised his considerable portfolio of skills and Waterman had come up into attacks with some fine running.
“Richardson’s penalty failings hardly helped the cause, a lot of near misses brought no little frustration and it took a superbly placed diagonal punt by Horton to set up a left wing try by Hicks to keep Bath in anything like control.” Newbridge remained highly organised and struck back in the second half, culminating in a match-winning try by Edwards.
v Wasps, Home, Won 12-6. Team:- C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Bath were made to work hard for this victory, particularly in the forwards; they gained adequate possession, but indifferent passing negated any constructive moves. In Wasp’s first incursion into the Bath 25, they were awarded a penalty and Richards put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute, and they held this advantage through to the half-time whistle. Soon after the restart, Horton made one of his typical breaks to force a line-out near the Wasps 25. A quick feed by Lloyd and Horton dropped a fine goal from an oblique angle. Richardson contributed 3 second-half penalties, including one at the very end.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-28. J S Waterman, A P T Hicks, M C Beese, J Davies, M Richardson, M Sutton, C Perry (Capt), G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, A Mills, C Harry, P R Hall.
This was revenge indeed for Gloucester, erasing memories of their earlier defeat with something to spare! The hosts had the game ‘buttoned-up’ within the first 40 minutes, chalking up 22 points without reply, against a lethargic Bath defence.
A second half clash of heads between Perry and Gloucester’s Bayliss, sent them both off for stitching and they missed the rest of the match. Phil Hall stood in at scrum half, but the loss of fluency was inevitable. Bath looked a mere shadow of their normal selves as their play sank to a low ebb, and the pack was ‘taken apart’ by Gloucester’s relentless driving play. Their plight was exacerbated by the giving away of numerous penalties, a good proportion of which were punished by the trusty boot of Peter Butler. Richardson landed a consolation penalty near the finish.
v Bristol, Home, Won 13-4. J Waterman, A Hicks, J Davies, M Beese, V Gaiger, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry.
This was Bath’s first double over Bristol since the 1967-68 season, achieved by some fine half-back play, battling work in the forwards and committed tackling. At times, it degenerated into unsightly, bruising punch-ups as old rivalries surfaced. There were inevitable casualties, principally Bath’s Phil Hall with concussion, and Bristol’s Phillips with a badly gashed leg. Bristol led 4-3 at the interval, but their confidence had taken a dent after Sorrell had missed with five penalty attempts. Rollitt was working tirelessly in the pack, and Watt dictated terms in the line-out. Nevertheless, their possession was limited and slow, allowing Lloyd to be at his destructive best. He and Horton gradually took control, skilfully supporting the pack, backed up with tactical or saving kicks from hand. It was Horton who charged down Sorrell’s clearance kick for Bath’s try. Waterman had kicked two penalties.
“Then right at the end Lloyd, Lye, Meddick and lock Plummer drove through in a raid which typified Bath’s boundless energy before Horton finally dropped the goal which had eluded him by a whisker twice before.”
v Morpeth, Home. Lost 9-13. (Quarter Final National Knock-Out Cup)
Played on the Kingswood School ground, as the Rec was flooded.
Team:- C Perry (Capt), A Hicks, J Davies, M Beese, V Gaiger, J Horton, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall. Referee– R Quittenton (SUSSEX)
Tom Smith, Club Treasurer, reported that Bar takings exceeded £1000 for the first time for one match. It did not quite make up for losing! It was the first time Bath had reached the quarter final stage in a national cup competition, and it was to be the 1979/80 season before Bath could equal this success.
The weather conditions promised to be ideal for Bath’s expansive game, but unfortunately the heavens opened up two hours before the kick-off, leaving the pitch flooded. Bath missed a number of chances and excellent penalty kicking by the visiting full-back, Brian Keenleyside, gave Morpeth a lead which they held to the end. John Davies scored three penalties for Bath. Although they tried desperately, Bath could not penetrate the northerners’ rock hard defence.
“It was a bitter blow to club pride not to mention to their hopes and everyone, players, officials and supporters feel a sickening sense of anti-climax.” The Club looked to salvage some pride in the Somerset Cup Semi Final.
v Weston Super Mare, Away, Won 15-7. Somerset Cup Semi Final Team:- C Perry, V Gaiger, M Beese, N Hudson, A Hicks, J Davies, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, K Plummer, B Jenkins, A Mills, R Lye, P Hall.
In a penalty riddled match, Bath did just enough to see themselves through to the Somerset Cup Final.
Vince Gaiger scored the try and John Davies had a dominating influence, weighing in with a conversion, a penalty and two drop goals.
v Richmond, Home, Lost 9-10. C Perry (Capt), J Waterman, N Hudson, M Beese, V Gaiger, J Davies, M Lloyd, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, K Plummer, B Jenkins, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Bath ‘fizzled out,’ to be pipped by one point, as Richmond scored the only tries of the game. Bath led 6-0 at the interval from two Davies penalties and added a third in the second spell. Then Hegarty jinked past Perry for their opening try. A heavy downpour failed to discourage Richmond, who continued with some crisp handling movements which threatened the Bath line, and soon Hegerty forced his way over for a second touch-down which Whibley converted. By now, Waterman was a virtual passenger out on the wing, and Bath were disrupted further, when Malcolm Lloyd was led off limping badly.
Richmond ‘closed the shutters’ and held on to their one point advantage.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 10-0. C Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, J Davies, M Beese, N Hudson, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, K Plummer, R Lye, C Harry, G Pillinger. Referee – Air Vice Marshall Lamb.
Quipped as Bath’s contribution to the Winter Olympics, this game was played out in a raging blizzard. The ever faithful supporters encouraged one and all with impromptu Christmas carols. Bath players’ response was an unconverted try by Hudson and two penalties by John Davies without reply from the Quins. “Conditions, to be sure, were little short of farcical, but every credit went to all the players for producing as much entertainment as they did.”
v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 34-4. J Waterman, N Hudson , J Davies, M Beese, D Michael, J Horton, C Perry (Capt), J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, R Lye, C Harry, D Gay. Roger Elliott captained Plymouth Albion against his old club, but his presence was not enough to stem a spate of tries by Beese, Pudney, Hudson (2), Parfitt and C Perry, with Davies converting five of them. Plymouth’s Bowden scored a consolation try near the end.
v Rugby, Home, Won 19-6. C Perry (Capt), V Gaiger, J Davies, M Beese, A Hicks, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, G Pillinger, C Harry, P Hall.
For most of the game, Bath were forced to work hard for a successful end to their Easter programme. They were indeed fortunate, that visiting full-back Pebody, was off target with all five penalty attempts. In contrast, John Davies notched up three successes from his five attempts. Bath’s efforts were often stultified by the ball carrier running into the densest point of opposition, and losing possession as a consequence. “Despite their limitations however, Bath had rather more attacking flair with Horton varying his tactics well and Hudson putting in some lively work on the left wing.” Pillinger, Lye and Harry did a lot of useful backing up. Bath tries followed from Beese and Hudson, with Davies converting from the latter. Rugby had wasted their few chances, and Bath were finally allowed to cruise home in some comfort.
v Sale, Away, lost 13-15. C Perry (Capt), V Gaiger , M Beese, J Davies, N Hudson, J Horton, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Two tries by Gaiger, a conversion and a penalty by Davies were not enough to win this game against Horton’s old club. Wayne Isherwood had countered with five successful penalties and almost scored a try. In the closing minutes, Horton just beat him in his frantic race for the touchdown and managed to kick the ball away and into touch.
v Northampton, Away. Lost 3-15. C Perry (Capt), J Davies, S Donovan, N Hudson, V Gaiger, J Palmer, M Lloyd, J Meddick, A Parfitt, G Pudney, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, R Lye, C Harry, G Pillinger.
LLOYD’S LEG BREAK
Malcolm Lloyd returned after a long absence – only to fracture his leg five minutes from time. It was a sad repeat of a previous break, same leg, against the same team some fifteen months previously.
It was a major setback for this plucky player. He had given Jacko Page a tough afternoon at the base of the scrum and it was a scant ‘reward’ for his effort.
The first half had been scoreless and then two mistakes were gratefully snapped up by Northampton’s right winger, Peter Bignell. Chris Perry had the misfortune to misjudge the flight of an ‘up and under,’ and the tiny Saint’s winger leapt high in the air, took the ball one-handed and sprinted 35 yards to the line. Twenty minutes later, Bath were in process of a counter attack, when John Davies’s punt went straight to Bignell, who once again showed the Bath defence a clean pair of heels. Paul Carter converted both. Davies kicked a consolation penalty, and Carter wound up the scoring with a gigantic 48 yard penalty in the 66th minute.
It was Prior Park Schoolboy, John Palmer’s and also Steve Donovan’s first game.
v Armagh, Home, Won 29-19. Team:- C Perry, V Gaiger, M Beese, J Davies, N Hudson, J Palmer, P Evans, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, R Lye, C Harry and P Hall.
Both sides demonstrated a willingness to throw the ball about, but some of the passes were off target and many opportunities were wasted. Bath went ahead in the seventh minute, Davies slotting a penalty when Armagh were adjudged off-side. The Dubliners levelled when Barnes snapped a neatly taken drop goal. Bath were soon back on the attack and an obstruction on Beese, allowed Davies to add a second penalty. Then came Bath’s try when Hudson picked up a rolling ball and Davies converted. Armagh cut the arrears when Taylor forced his way over and Barnes added the extras. Just before half-time, Gaiger withdrew with an ankle injury. From the resumption, the Irishmen took the lead, sending a scoring pas to Scott and enhanced their position with a penalty by Macdonagh. Davies reduced the arrears with another penalty shot, only to be matched by another from Macdonagh. Bath pressed on for a comfortable win.
v Cardiff, Away, Lost 12-30. J Waterman, A Hicks, M Beese, J Davies, N Hudson, J Palmer, C Perry (Capt), G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, B Jenkins, R Wheeler, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
Bath were leading up to the final 15 minutes and looked to have the Welshmen rattled. Then came a dramatic turnaround. The defence capitulated and Cardiff piled on a further 20 points.
Cardiff had enjoyed most of the possession and moved ominously forward, Scrum half Brymor Williams and fly half Gareth Davies threatening a procession of scoring. Bath were missing their first tackles, but Hall, Harry and Lye quickly reinforced heroics from Waterman and the young John Palmer. They kept Cardiff in check until a rucked ball allowed Camilleri to send in centre Jeff Jones for the opening try. Within three minutes Davies countered with a penalty. The first half closed with Davies landing a penalty after Hudson’s alleged stiff-arm tackle.
Palmer came increasingly into the play and his dummy and long range pass enabled Waterman to speed away, exchange passes with Hicks, before sending Beese over, for John Davies to convert. Cardiff went ahead with another penalty. Next, a splendid run by Palmer led to a ruck and John Davies was on hand to plant a fine drop goal for Bath to lead 12-10.
Bath’s dream of an Arms Park win looked at last in sight. However, a bruising run by English excile, Barry Nelmes enabled him to force his way over, for Davies to convert.
It was the beginning of the end!
A dazzling run by Davies saw Camilleri touch down on the right and the last straw came when Llyn Jones’s punt ahead was misfielded by Hudson and Camilleri had but to pick up and score. Gareth Davies converted. The ‘death knell’ struck as Cardiff full back John Davies cut through the Bath cover to set up a final try from Lyn Jones.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 16-9. J Waterman, N Hudson, M Beese (T), J Davies (2pg & 1g), A Hicks, J Horton, C Perry (Capt), G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick (T), R Wheeler, B Jenkins, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
In a dramatic turn around from the Cardiff experience, Bath won their penultimate game, with a triumph over the ‘Scarlets.’
Llanelli had brought a weakened side, but it did not detract from the euphoria created by Bath’s winning effort.
Davies kicked an early penalty, registering his 100 points for the season. This followed a Llanelli line-out infringement and Bath went further ahead after 17 minutes: “Hall gathered a long line-out throw just outside the 25 and though he sent out an indifferent pass Lye gathered it well, stumbled through the surprised cover and then sent in his scoring pass to Beese who went over near the posts for Davies to convert.” Davies established a 12 point gap with a magnificent 45-yard effort, after Bert Meddick had been obstructed. Llanelli looked ‘all at sea’ for several minutes and then struck back, as Phil Davies and Hefin Jenkins bullocked through, May cut back in-field to set up a ruck, from which Selwyn Williams dived through for Llanelli’s try, which Thomas converted.
Llanelli’s forwards dominated the opening stages of the second half and further pressure yielded an easy penalty shot for Bernard Thomas. Just when Llanelli looked to be taking hold on the game, Chris Perry got away, linked with Hicks, who made progress along the right touchline. A kick ahead bounced awkwardly, and the defender was dispossessed and prop-forward Meddick crashed over for the final unconverted try.
v Old Redcliffians, Home. Won 41-3. SOMERSET CUP FINAL. J Waterman, N Hudson, M Beese, J Davies, A Hicks, J Horton, C Perry, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J Meddick, R Wheeler, B Jenkins, R Lye, C Harry, P Hall.
This was the biggest points win in the history of the competition, since it had been started in 1971.
Bath swamped and outclassed the Junior Bristol club side. “If anything the match was too one-sided to be really enjoyable and there were times when Bath became rather irritating by being too selfish and over-elaborate.” (John Stevens)
Skipper Chris Perry missed just one game. This was after a head-on collision with Gloucester centre John Bayliss. In a post season summing-up he admitted that he felt worn out after a “terribly long and drawn-out season.”
It was announced that he was not available to carry on as captain, and J S Waterman would be nominated as his successor.
Top attendances from:- C Perry 46, Parfitt 45, B Jenkins 42, Meddick and Pudney 41, Beese 40, Harry and Lloyd 37, Davies and J Hicks 36.
Congratulations were extended upon beating Old Redcliffians in the Final of the Somerset R.F.U. Knock Out Cup. Bath finished 6th in the English Club table.
John Horton’s presence in 31 games, proved a wonderful asset to the Club.
The Try count was lower at 75. Beese 12, Hicks 9, Horton and Hudson 8, Richardson 7, Gaiger 6, C Perry 5, Lloyd 3, Fryatt, Hall, Jones Lye, Meddick, and Mills 2, Harry, Parfitt, Pillinger, Pudney and Waterman 1. There were 43 Conversions, 74 Penalties and 13 Drop Goals.
Bath finished 6th in English Club table.
SUMMING UP BY JOHN STEVENS, SPORTS EDITOR, BATH CHRONICLE
“A season of considerable achievement with a notable double over Bristol and victories over Gloucester, Leicester, Saracens, Wasps, Harlequins and Llanelli. However, the two of the most memorable games were the marvellous encounters with London Welsh and the equally pulsating match with Newport both of which Bath won. Newport will not want to recall how their much vaunted pack was systematically torn apart by the Bath forwards and their defence torn apart by John Horton. Horton’s inability to impress English selectors reminded one of the mysteries of the season. Bath’s away win over Liverpool in John Player Cup was a great tactical success, but was overshadowed by the shock defeat by Morpeth in the Quarter Finals.”
EPITAPH ON A SEASON
“At their best they were very good;
at their worst they were very bad indeed
with their fortunes reaching rock bottom
with a 49-4 defeat at London Scottish in December.”