1976 to 1977

Match Reports by Peter Hall and Colin Gale

1976-1977

 

1/9/1976

v Taunton, Home, Won 33-3. J S Waterman, J Davies (M Richardson), C Bird, M C Beese, R Wyatt, J P Horton, P Smith, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, J Roberts.

Jonathan Roberts was given his second 1st XV outing, deputising for Geoff Pillinger. He had performed with credit in Bath’s junior sides and what he lacked in experience he made up with enthusiasm. He was the son of former Captain and Club Chairman John Roberts.

It was an encouraging start to the new season against stern opposition. Some of the handling left a lot to be desired, and it became quite difficult after a second-half rain shower.

However, there were more plusses than minuses, and new skipper, Horton, kept the side together. Alan Parfitt gained a plentiful supply of set-piece ball and Brian Jenkins added considerable forward impetus. It was Paul Smith’s first game at scrum-half, and he celebrated with a try. The now bearded Waterman was prominent in opening up gaps, which his fellow backs were keen to exploit.

Tries flowed from Wyatt, Horton, Smith and Richardson, with Davies kicking two penalties and a conversion, with Richardson landing 1 penalty and 3 conversions.

 

4/9/1976

v Pontypool, Away, Lost 6-46. J S Waterman, R Wyatt, C Bird, M C Beese, M Richardson, J P Horton, P Smith, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, G Pillinger. Richardson kicked two penalties in a one-sided onslaught. It was Alan Parfitt’s 300th game.

TALKING RUGBY by John Stevens: “That humiliation at Pontypool was particularly distressing in view of all the hard work the players have been putting in during the lengthy summer build-up. True, Pontypool have probably the best pack in Wales and one which is a tribute to their coach Ray Prosser, the former British Lion.

Yet Bath’s utter failure to combat them in any shape or form came as a big blow to local pride.

The answer was simple enough – a complete lack of aggression in the front five from whom Pontypool took the ball as easily as snatching candy from a baby.”

 

8/9/1976

v Newport, Away, Lost 3-22. J S Waterman, J Palmer, M C Beese, C Bird, R Wyatt, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, K M Plummer, A Litowczyk, G Pillinger, R Lye, C Harry.

P Boyle & M Richardson replaced Lloyd & Pillinger. Bath called up John Palmer, last season’s Prior Park College skipper, in place of Mike Richardson. Malcolm Lloyd made a welcome reappearance after prolonged injury problems and his fitness was soon put to the test. He was eventually substituted by P Boyle. Kenny Plummer came in for Brian Jenkins who was on holiday. Newport were captained by former Bath player, David Burcher. They were enjoying a good season and Bath were generally outplayed. John Palmer’s penalty was Bath’s only reward for a hard afternoon’s work.

 

Appearances to date

Jim Waterman 241, Geoff Pudney 106, Michael Beese 131 John Horton 111, Brian Jenkins 169, Philip Hall 580, David Gay 231.

 

11/9/1976

v Leicester, (New Anglo-Welsh Merit table) Home. Won 19-10. Team:- J Waterman, M Richardson, M C Beese, C Bird, R Wyatt, J P Horton, M C Lloyd, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, G Pillinger.

Tries by Horton and Wyatt. Drop goal Horton. Conversion and 2 penalties from Richardson.

John Horton was at his bewildering best, whilst Leicester’s eighteen-year-old Paul Dodge was already looking like an England prospect.

LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY

As the players walked off, the public address played Land of Hope and Glory.

The Times reported that the record got stuck in a groove and the “repetitive groove” mirrored the manner of Leicester’s stultified performance that afternoon.

 

15/9/1976

v Clifton, Away – first game at new Cribbs Causeway ground, Won 44-7.

Team:- J S Waterman, R Wyatt, M C Beese, J Palmer, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nichols, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, D J Gay, P Boyle, R Lye.

CLIFTON CRUNCHED

Bath were in a free-scoring mood: “Even allowing for Clifton’s limitations they turned on a fascinating demonstration of forward power and support to supplement some imaginative running from their backs.”

In common parlance – it was something of a massacre! “The comment of the chagrined Clifton supporters near by: “The Little Big Horn had nothing on this” was perhaps a slight overstatement.”

Bath tries by Wyatt, Davies (4), Horton, Plummer (2) and Gay, with 4 conversions by Davies.

 

18/9/1976

v Moseley, Away, Lost 3-14. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, C Harry, J Lynch, R Lye.

Bath were below their normal strength for this Anglo-Welsh Merit Table encounter. Pillinger, Gay and Boyle were all injured, which necessitated a new back-row combination.

It was a first senior game for local R.A.F. man – J Lynch. Moseley were a fast-moving side and gave Bath some awkward moments. However, it was 35 minutes before Thomas made a 50-yard break. When checked, R Smith was up in support for their hosts’ first unconverted try. Near half time, Davies narrowed the gap to a single point, with a long distance penalty. The Moseley pack was well led by Nigel Horton, who also dominated proceedings in the line-out. Mid-way through the second half, Moseley consolidated their lead with tries by Greaves and Hill, the second of which Akenhead converted.

 

21/9/1976

v Weston Super Mare, Away, Won 32-0. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, M Richardson, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, K M Plummer, B J Jenkins, D J Gay, R Lye, P Boyle.

In a rather untidy game, Bath demonstrated that this fixture was now something of a miss-match.

Centre, Chris Bird, showed considerable speed and determination to cut clean through for the first try, which Davies converted. By half time, Davies scored and converted his own try after driving work by Meddick and Plummer. Then it was Davies again, by courtesy of Beese and Horton, and Richardson added a fourth, after Bird had again punched through the centre. Weston lost Price with a cut eye and were now being pushed off the ball in the set pieces and loosing possession in the loose. Two more tries were to follow. Plummer peeled away from a line-out and seemed to prise apart all opposition before touching down. Then a final ‘team try’ taking up the whole length of the field. Bath won a loose ball and Brian Jenkins commenced to drive upfield. He sent Richardson speeding away on the left, Beese accepted his inside pass and fed on to David Gay, who passed on for Davies to speed on and put to ground for his third try and second conversion within a minute.

Replacements not used – R Gunning & J Roberts.

 

25/9/1976

v Exeter, Home, Won 14-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, M Richardson, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, K M Plummer, B J Jenkins, D J Gay, P Boyle, R Lye.

Bath overcame spirited Exeter and a near tropical downpour, to emerge as worthy winners. Owing to the conditions, the game was littered with elementary handling errors and descended into an untidy scramble in the second half. Horton opened the scoring with a drop goal and Exeter countered with a penalty. Bath piled on the points with a try by Beese, a penalty by Davies and a final try from John Horton ten minutes from the end.

 

30/9/1976

v Plymouth Albion, Away, Won 20-13. J S Waterman, J Davies, J Norton, C Bird, R Wyatt, J P Horton, R Nicholls. D Spaven, A Parfitt, G Pudney, K M Plummer, B J Jenkins, D J Gay, P Boyle, R Lye.                                                                                                                                                                                               Played under floodlights, Bath gave the Albion a lesson in taking chances as they were presented. “Albion had much more of the second half and should have added to their half time 13 points.

Yet Bath scored the crucial last try when their pack pushed Albion back and David Gay broke from the base of the scrum with Ken Plummer in support, for Plummer to get the try under the Albion posts.

It was Bath’s fifth win against West Country clubs and their second win in the new South West League after success against Exeter recently.”

First half tries by Davies (2) and Wyatt, with Davies converting both.

“Albion could never master the Bath scrum technique which got them in all sorts of trouble, even on their own ball.”

 

2/10/1976

v Aberavon, Home, Won 12-9. J Palmer, I Dunbar, M C Beese, C Bird, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, K M Plummer, B J Jenkins, G Pillinger, P Boyle, R Lye. Davies kicked 3 penalties and Horton dropped a goal.

Bath were the first side to beat Aberavon that season.

Davies – Horton – Palmer

“Yet again the boot of John Davies proved important, once more skipper John Horton dropped a crucial goal but it was young John Palmer who sent the crowd home bubbling. Last season’s Prior Park College captain came in as a last minute full back replacement and turned on a second half performance which was reminiscent of J.P.R.Williams himself.”

“His sudden change of pace and power in the thighs bemused the Welshmen at times and with only a shade more luck he could have created at least two tries.

Three superb runs out of defence however, will remain vividly in the memory for a long time to come, as for that matter will a rip-roaring game which developed from very tentative beginnings.”

(BATH CHRONICLE)

 

9/10/1976

v London Irish, Away, Lost 15-26. D Alred (5pg), J Davies (Capt), C Bird, J Norton, I Dunbar, J Palmer, P Smith, J Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, K Plummer, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, P Boyle.

DAVE ALRED SCORES ALL BATH’S POINTS

A re-appearance for Dave Alred. Less than a year previously, he played for Bristol against Bath. He had also played for Bath’s premier side on Tour in Germany. He was formerly a place kicker in American Football, and with this expertise, was destined to become a specialist coach and acknowledged kicking ‘Guru’ for Bath and England and the Lions.

Bath lost, but Alred’s ‘exhibition’ of kicking prowess, amply demonstrated the importance of utilising a specialist kicker. Future games, at all levels, were to profit from similar kicking expertise. He succeeded in putting over five penalties, from nine attempts. The Exciles backs exploited Bath’s weaknesses, running in five tries: ” – which was a rather clearer indication of the game than the result.”

 

16/10/1976

v Bristol, Away, Lost 10-35. J Palmer, I Dunbar, C Bird, M C Beese, J Davies, J P Horton, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, J Roberts, R Lye, C Harry.

Replacement – P Boyle – not used.

Bath were well and truly annihilated, trailing 3-13 at the interval, they gave further points away by slipshod defence. Davies kicked two penalties, and Horton’s chip provided an opportunist try for the ever alert Bird. Otherwise, Bristol kept up the pressure in the pack, and their backs dominated in open play. “Horton’s kicking alone kept Bath in the game at this stage, but there was little real co-ordination about their play.”

 

23/10/1976

v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 18-0. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, C Bird, J Palmer, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nicholls, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, K M Plummer, A Litowczyk, R Lye, R J Wheeler, J Roberts. Replacement – A Mulvihill – not used.

Bath maintained their unbeaten home record, but the medical students made them work hard for the victory. Handling became difficult on a rain sodden pitch. The Bath pack were slow to get into their stride, and it was only Horton’s touchline kicking which maintained forward momentum.

Davies kicked two penalties and two conversions. Horton and Litowczyk got the tires.

 

30/10/1976

v Neath, Away, Lost 19-35. J S Waterman, C Bird, J Palmer, M C Beese (Capt), I Dunbar, J Davies, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins,

A Litowczyk, R Lye, R J Wheeler, C Harry. Replacements – G Pudney & J Roberts – not used.

Bath put in a spirited performance, but gifted away some soft points before the interval, and were faced with an uphill struggle in the second spell. (Half-time Bath 13- Neath 25)

Try by Beese, converted by Davies, who also kicked three penalties. Clive Harry got the other try.

It was Bath’s third defeat in the Principality.

 

6/11/1976

v Bridgend, Away, Won 9-7. J S Waterman, C Bird, J Palmer, M C Beese (Capt), I Dunbar, J Davies, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, R Wheeler, B J Jenkins.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Michael Beese led the side by example and every one of the team gave of their best. Bath won a tense struggle, on a muddy pitch, in which the lead changed several times. Bridgend were weakened by the withdrawal of J P R Williams, while Bath were without Alan Parfitt and Ken Plummer. Mason came into the front row and Litowczyk filled the other vacant spot.

Bath snatched an early lead when Davies kicked a 40-yard penalty. Shortly afterwards, Ian Dunbar was just beaten to a touchdown by Edwards. Again, it was Dunbar and Waterman who combined for another incursion into Bridgend territory. Bird fought manfully to cross the line, but was held up by several defenders. Next it was Bridgend’s turn to attack, and Fenwick was tackled into touch just short of the line. In the second half, Bath continued to put their limited possession to good effect, with Waterman excelling from his full-back position. At last, Fenwick levelled with a simple penalty and when Bath lost possession, Walters pounced forward for an unconverted try.

Later, John Palmer kicked Bath out of trouble and from the ensuing line-out, Lye dispossessed Walters, Spaven picked up the loose ball and Brian Jenkins crashed over for a try, which Davies converted.

“Bath bravely held out in the closing stages and their efforts were rewarded with their first win in Wales since 1973.”

 

13/11/1976

v Streatham & Croydon, Home, Won 10-6. J S Waterman (Capt), D Alred, G Townsend, J Palmer, C Bird, J Davies, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, A Litowczyk, C Chappell, J Roberts, R J Wheeler, C Harry. Replacement C Lilley – not used.

A depleted side just managed to hold on to their unbeaten home record, against a spirited London side.

United full-back Dave Alred came in for Ian Dunbar, who had a heavy cold.

“Both teams matched a bright afternoon with some equally entertaining running….” Davies opened Bath’s score with a penalty for a scrum infringement and Harry forced his way over for an unconverted try. Prop forward Montgomery scored a try for S & C, which was converted by Mitchelmore.

Bird and Waterman continued to test the visitors’ defence, and on one occasion, Bird was put clear, only to stumble and lose possession in the process. Bath held on to their one point lead until 15 minutes from the end, when Davies landed a 40-yard penalty.

 

22/11/1976

v Newbridge, Home, Won 6-3. J S Waterman, C Bird, G Townsend, J Palmer, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, A Litowczyk, B J Jenkins, R Lye, C Harry, R J Wheeler. Ref – M J Titcombe (GLOS)

It was a close run thing, as Bath’s precious home record was just saved by Horton’s second half drop goal. It had been a poor match, in which Bath’s forward limitations had been exposed by a tough ‘valley’ pack, from which their lively back row spoiled effectively, giving Bath few chances to develop attacks. Once again, Waterman provided flashes of brilliance, as he ran forward into the line, linking with left-wing Bird. John Davies, playing in his 100th game, gave Bath an early lead with a superbly struck, 55-yard penalty. Horton, Palmer and Townsend, all made try-saving tackles. Howard Evans dropped a goal for Newbridge.

 

27/11/1976

v United Services Portsmouth, Home, Won 20-4. J S Waterman (Capt), I Dunbar, J Palmer, J Davies, C Bird, N Williams, R Nicholls, J Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Wheeler, R Lye. Replacement – G Newman.

“For Bath, it was the same old, none too happy story of a comparatively inexperienced back division having to play rugby with indifferent possession. For their pack failed to make any lasting impression on a hard working and tenacious Services eight who refused to give up trying.”

It began well enough, with Waterman setting up Ian Dunbar for his first try of the season. Debutante, Nigel Williams, normally a full-back, had the unenviable task of filling in at outside-half. Services were hit by injuries to their scrum-half and a winger. Bath profited from their misfortune and came more into the game. Davies charged down a clearance kick for an opportunist try. Services smuggled a Newport try amid forward confusion. A final try stemmed from the silky skills of John Palmer, who showed considerable determination as he fought through the last 15 yards. Davies converted and later added a penalty for a personal tally of 12 points

 

Bath United suffered their worst ever defeat going down to Newport United 91 points to 6.

Newport ran in 18 tries in the first half and 6 in the second. Eight were converted and they added a penalty for good measure.

“The highlights of Bath’s performance were two well-taken penalty goals by Dave Alred, both from about 40 yards.”

 

30/11/1976

v Llanelli, Away. Lost 0-36. J S Waterman, C Bird, J Palmer, M C Beese, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R J Wheeler, R Lye. Clive Norling, Referee. (Swansea)

Bath were trounced, and in fact, 17 years had elapsed since Bath had won at Stradey Park.

They failed to develop any significant pattern of play, as the Scarlets: “gradually, but relentlessly destroyed the Bath defences.” Bert Meddick, Brian Jenkins and Adam Litowczyk performed heroics up-front, while John Horton, Chris Bird and Gary Townsend got through a prodigious amount of covering in a hard pressed defence.

“Jim Waterman, too, survived an exacting time at full-back with great credit but the Llanelli attack, with outside-half Phil Bennett in his most brilliant mood, could not be contained and seven storming tries were scored – three in the opening half and four after the break.”

 

4/12/1976

The Bath team and 200 supporters travelled to Old Deer Park for the London Welsh fixture, in the first round of John Player Cup

The Bath team ran on to the pitch, but London Welsh refused to play, saying the ground was too hard; Exile’s Jim Shanklin led his side back to the dressing room!

“Bath’s players had their own way of expressing their disappointment about the Welsh decision. Long after their opponents had disappeared into the dressing room they were still out on the adjoining second team pitch playing touch-rugby in their track suites.”

The game was re-scheduled for December 11th

 

11/12/1976

v London Welsh postponed again, due to Frost.

 

18/12/1976

v Harlequins, Home, Won 10-4. J S Waterman, C Bird, J Palmer, M C Beese (Capt), I Dunbar, J Davies, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, R J Wheeler.

“Bath retained their proud unbeaten home record by just getting the better of Harlequins in a mud-lark of a match on the Recreation Ground this afternoon. They built up a useful seven point lead with a try by Chris Bird and a drop goal by John Davies, who then settled the match with a late penalty after Harlequins had fought back with a try by Gordon Wood.” (BATH CHRONICLE)

Robbie Lye was prominent, in frequently taking advantage of Quins’ sluggish heeling. Just before half-time, the forwards initiated a fine handling movement, which eventually led to Chris Bird hurtling over in the corner. Davies’s kicking expertise was decisive in a tensely fought encounter.

 

27/12/1976

v Clifton, Home, Won 25-4. J Palmer (1pg & 3g), C Bird, G Townsend, M C Beese, I Dunbar (Tx2), J P Horton, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Lowczyk (Tx2), R Lye, C Harry, R J Wheeler.

Typical Boxing Day rugby – the players appeared to need the first half, to run off the effects of their Christmas excesses. Bath were decidedly ‘stodgy’ up front. Litowczyk led a forward revival, and eventually, they scored 22 points in the last 20 minutes.

 

1/1/1977

v Leicester, Away, Lost 4-20. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese, J Palmer, I Dunbar, J Davies, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, R J Wheeler.

A miserable game for Bath, played out in near arctic conditions. Jim Waterman’s try was their only contribution to the score board. Leicester crossed the Bath line four times. Brain Jenkins and Adam Litowczyk worked hard throughout and took most of the line-out ball. Robbie Lye and Clive Harry were effective in the loose. Leicester had lost half their pack to the England trial, but their star-studded back division, was intact. Their excellent handling brought about Bath’s downfall. Beese and Waterman, again demonstrated a willingness to run with the ball, but Davies, deputising at fly-half, was uncomfortable with the wet and greasy ball.

 

8/1/1977

v London Welsh, Away, Lost 3-18. John Player Cup 1st Round. J S Waterman, G Townsend, J Palmer, M C Beese, I Dunbar, J Horton, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, A Litowczyk, R Lye, C Harry, R J Wheeler, B J Jenkins.

Replacement – A G Parfitt – on for Mason 15 minutes from end.

Bath bowed out of the J P Cup with a poor performance at Richmond.

“They spent much of a scrappy, rather niggly match pinned on defence, still denied their opponents a try, but were destroyed by an English wolf in Welsh sheep’s clothing.

Neil Bennett, formerly of Bedford and England scored all the home points with five long penalties and a dropped goal.”

Bath were ‘outgunned in the tight and did not have the back-row pace to get amongst the opposition.

John Palmer’s early penalty was only a temporary salve to Bath’s cruelly exposed frailties.

 

12/1/1977

v Royal Navy, Home, Won 15-11. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, C J Perry, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, R Cunningham, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, R Lye, G Norman, C Harry

Bath just managed to keep in front for this hard fought victory. A determined Navy pack gave the Bath forwards all sorts of trouble. Robbie Lye and newcomer George Norman combined for some effective loose play. Parfitt’s hooking was consistently good and Jenkins turned in some strong line-out play. There were brave counter attacks from deep, by Waterman, Dunbar and Townsend. Chris Perry scored two tries, which Horton converted – also adding a penalty.

 

15/1/1977

v Metropolitan Police, Away, Won 42-10. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, J Palmer, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, C J Perry, D Spaven, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, R Lye, R Wheeler, C Harry.

It was an inspired performance by the whole of the Bath team. Notably, prop forward Dougal Spaven scored two tries and Radley Wheeler, Clive Harry and Robbie Lye, were here there and everywhere in support. The weakened Police side collapsed in the face of Bath’s dominant possession.

Bath’s tries by Spaven (2), Smith (2), Townsend, Horton and Dunbar, with Palmer converting four and kicking a penalty. Horton added a drop goal.

 

22/1/1977

v Saracens, Home, Won 21-19. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese (Capt), J Palmer, I Dunbar, J Davies (3pg & 2g), C J Perry, D Spaven, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R Wheeler.

A. Key of Saracens was sent off by referee K Pattison (N. MIDS.)

A thrilling match, despite a quagmire of a pitch. Playing in extra time the visitors were 13-18 down, and following a last despairing Saracens attack, Waterman failed to secure a mark. The visitors’ winger Cadle, was able to kick on and touch down. Phillips slotted the conversion and Saracens led 19 –18. But Bath were not down and out. Immediately following the restart, a penalty award brought up John Davies, who struck a match-winning goal. A passage of play in the second half was worthy of note: “One of those unsung prop heroes, Meddick began the revival with a thundering counter-attacking run up the touchline from his own half. Several forwards supported him, Dunbar popped up in midfield and his long pass enabled Palmer to race away for as good a try as Bath have scored this season.”

 

29/1/1977

v Rugby, Away, Won 27-24. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, M C Beese, J Palmer, J Davies, J Horton, C Perry, D Spaven, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R J Wheeler, R Lye. This was the 200th game for the 29 year old Bert Meddick.

There was some delightful rugby: “The score at half time was 23 points to 9 in our favour. In the second half we appeared to lose all form and oh dear! Those penalties!! Is it ignorance of the laws, or over-eagerness – our Coaches will surely have something to say about it.” (Programme Notes)

Bath certainly came close to throwing this game away; allowing a spirited Rugby side to pile on fifteen points in the second half. Horton scored a blind side try and Bath were comfortably in the lead 27-15. In the closing minutes Rugby scored a converted try and a penalty to come within three points of Bath.

Bath tries by Dunbar (2), Davies and Horton. Davies converted two and Horton dropped a goal.

 

2/2/1977

v RAF, Home, Won 12-6. Team:- J S Waterman, G Townsend, C Perry, A Smith, J Davies, J Horton, R Nicholls, D Spaven, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, K M Plummer, R Northcott, R J Wheeler, R Lye.

G Pudney replaced Meddick (68 minutes) & J Norton replaced Davies (muscle injury 50 minutes). Both Meddick and later, Geoff Pudney’s, injuries required stitches. Bath were again grateful for the ministrations of Dr. David Protheroe. Roger Northcott (Oldfield Old Boys) got his first premier XV outing and contributed fully, alongside Spaven and Wheeler.

John Davies played well until withdrawal through injury, scoring a try and a conversion. Kenny Plummer was gifted a wide-open space, after stopping dead in his tracks. He lunged through the gap ‘like a knife through butter!’ Horton added the extras.

R.A.F.’s John Orwin kicked two penalties, but later went off with a rib injury.

 

4/2/1977

v Rosslyn Park, Home, Drawn 6-6. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, M C Beese, J Palmer (2pg), B Townsend, J Horton, C J Perry, D Spaven, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler.

Replacements J Norton & R Northcott – not used.

In appallingly muddy conditions, referee Alan Stevens called a merciful halt to the proceedings nine minutes before normal no-side. Palmer for Bath, and Ralston for the visitors, had exchanged penalties. There was little promise of a try throughout, with the bedraggled, unrecognisable combatants kicking and rushing in a wet world of their own. Thankfully, it was a generally good-natured game:

“On the night drowning was a graver danger than injury.”

At the final whistle, the speed of the players’ headlong rush to baths was impressive!

 

12/2/1977

v St Lukes College, Home, Won 38-9. J S Waterman (T), J Davies (Tx2 & 5g), M C Beese (Tx2), A Smith, I Dunbar (T), J Horton (T), C J Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler. Replacements – R Bird & C Chappell.

Bath retained their unbeaten home record, albeit in a match staged at Lambridge. The College were unlucky to lose Flanker, Smith with a gashed head, but nevertheless, had kicked a penalty within three minutes, after an indiscretion by Jenkins. Bath responded vigorously and built up an unassailable raft of points, with some entertaining high-speed rugby.

 

18/2/1977

v Cheltenham, Away, Won 35-6. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, I Dunbar, J Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler. Replacements R Northcott & A Smith – not used

Bath gave a stuttering performance against, sometimes, token opposition. “With the amount of possession they won they ought to have been able to run in tries almost at will against a creaking defence which tackled only with reluctance.” There were long periods of frustrating immobility.

Both wings were neglected for most of the game. Tries eventually arrived, courtesy of Litowczyk, Davies (2), Beese, Horton, and Lye. Davies converted two and kicked a penalty.

 

23/2/1977

v Coventry, Away, Lost 0-4. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese (Capt), A Smith, I Dunbar, J Palmer, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler Ref – L Prideaux (N. MIDS.) J Norton replaced Waterman 15 minutes from end.

“It was difficult to realise how we came to lose at Coventry last Wednesday by 4pts. to Nil. Bath had much more of the game and might well have turned round at half-time with a commanding lead. It was not to be, however, and it proved to be one of those days when the better side lost.” (Programme Notes)

 

26/2/1977

v Wasps, Home, Won 24-18. J S Waterman, J Davies (Tx3 & 2g), M C Beese, A Smith, I Dunbar, J Palmer, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt (T), D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Northcott, R Lye (T)

John Davies touched down three times to take his season total to twenty.

Both sides were slipshod in their defensive effort, in a nevertheless exciting match, wherein the lead changed hands four times in the first half. Despite some good combination between Waterman, Palmer and Beese, Bath were seldom able to put their overall team game together to any sort of cohesive effect. All scoring was confined to the first sixty minutes, with both defences experienced a torrid time in the last quarter

 

4/3/1977

v Bristol, Home, Drawn 3-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer (1pg), G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler. Ref – D O Hughes. A Smith replaced J Davies.

It was a fine crowd for a thrilling, close fought game, and Bath’s unbeaten home record remained intact!

Bath had their opportunities in the first half-hour, and then it was Bristol’s turn to threaten to break the deadlock in the closing stages. In the end, the 4000 crowd saw the contest resolved with penalties for Bath’s John Palmer, and Bristol’s Pearn.

Wheeler, Lye and Jenkins were prominent, particularly in winning second phase ball, and Bath had their chances: “Yet despite all the cunning of Horton, the clever interventions of Waterman and fine running by Beese and Palmer, they were always just denied.”

Clever interplay between Davies and Waterman allowed Palmer to almost stroll over for what looked like ‘the try of the season.’ There was rapturous applause from the Bath fans, only to subside into absolute silence as the referee brought them back for a forward pass. It just about summed up Bath’s luck at this particular encounter. Earlier, John Horton’s drop goal attempt had hit a post and Davies was just wide with an early penalty attempt. Davies was forced to retire with a hamstring problem in the 33rd minute and was replaced by Smith.

 

12/3/1977

v Swansea, Home, Lost 6-12. J S Waterman, J Norton, M C Beese, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, C Harry, R Lye, R J Wheeler.

Bath lost their home ground record to the ‘in-form’ Lilywhites,

Swansea squared up to Bath, following a mid-week 27-12 victory over Bridgend. They certainly exerted all the early pressure, forcing Bath to make eliminatory handling errors and only Horton’s boot rescued them from dangerous situations. Swansea took the lead after 12 minutes with an unconverted try by Jenkins. Next, Beese intercepted a wayward pass and raced unopposed for half the length of the field for a fine try, which Palmer converted. Gay came on for Litowczyk, who sustained a shoulder injury.

In the 32nd minute, a chip ahead by Horton was gathered by Swansea’s Richards, who exchanged passes with Dick for a second unconverted try. Swansea’s pack were winning the better part of the possession and eventually, slipshod covering enabled Woodward to race over to consolidate a Swansea win.

 

18/3/1977

v Ebbw Vale, Away, Lost 12-24. J S Waterman, A Smith, M C Beese, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, G Pudney, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, R J Wheeler, C Harry, R Lye and R Hill.

Nicholls was replaced by D Spaven (3 mins.), Palmer replaced by C Bird (37 mins.). Mason and Pudney went off injured.

THREE VERSUS EIGHT IN THE SCRUM.

“A Bath side ravaged by an extraordinary crop of injuries, produced one of the bravest displays I have ever seen on a rugby field last night at Ebbw Vale.” (John Stevens- Bath Chronicle)

“They lost no fewer than five players, had to play for more than half the game with 13 and sometimes only 12 men despite using both their replacements, but still managed to score three splendid tries in the last quarter.

No wonder they were given a standing ovation by a generous Welsh crowd. Seldom can any side have suffered quite so cruelly but responded so courageously.

They were on a hiding to nothing from the third minute when scrum-half Nicholls was carried off on a stretcher with a pinched spinal nerve and Lye had to switch from back row to replace him.

Prop forward Spaven came on as substitute flanker and could not have dreamed that before half-time he would have to hook instead!

For in the course of ten minutes before the interval, Palmer suffered a pulled hamstring and Mason went off to hospital to have stitches in a badly gashed head.

Chris Bird came on as the second sub but with Pudney also pulling a thigh muscle and going off just after the restart and young Smith also with a gashed head, going on and off the field at intervals, Bath’s well-laid plans were in a shambles

If they had given up the ghost completely, one could hardly have blamed them; in fact they went down in a blaze of glory against a Vale side who were also affected by the Bath injuries, though in a very different way.

What in the early stages had looked a razor-sharp outfit capable of cutting the best to pieces, lost their appetite and organisation and one was witness to the remarkable sight of Bath packing with only three forwards, winning set scrum ball from a full eight.”

Roger Hill had a remarkable debut game and other pack heroes were Meddick, Spaven, Jenkins, Wheeler and Harry. Lye did well as a makeshift scrum half and kept Horton well supplied with good ball. The makeshift three-quarter line, particularly Waterman, responded magnificently.

There were three good tries from Horton, Smith, and Townsend.

 

23/3/1977

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 7-51. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, G Pudney, A G Parfitt, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, B J Jenkins, R Hill, R Lye, C Harry. (Half time 3-31)

Chronicle Headline:- FEEBLE BATH ARE HUMILIATED BY GLOUCESTER

Indeed, it was Bath’s heaviest defeat of the season, and quite a shock after the heroics of the previous week. John Stevens described the performance as little short of pathetic, half-hearted, fifth rate etc., where soft tries were gifted away by a non-existent defence. “Seldom, in fact, have I ever seen a Bath side so utterly lacking in any sort of fighting spirit. They gave up at the slightest obstacle and at times looked almost disinterested.”

“Gloucester were certainly not dirty this time. They didn’t have to be. Their forthright aggression driving forward was more than enough for a dispirited Bath side who wouldn’t even tackle properly.”

Bath were reported to have ‘shirked’ tackle after tackle as men ran at them.

Gloucester had a hay day, as even the inexperienced Howell, at scrum-half, was able to slice through half the Bath side on more than one occasion. Davies scored a first half penalty and an unconverted try. In contrast, Gloucester ran in no less than nine tries, with Peter Butler converting six and landing a penalty for good measure.

 

26/3/1977

v Richmond, Home, Won 25-4. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, J M Meddick, A G Parfitt, G Pudney, R J Wheeler, B J Jenkins, R Hill, C Harry, R Lye.

Bath recovered from their mid-week dusting at the hands of Gloucester, and performed creditably against the London side. There was a rush of points in the first half and the sides turned around with Bath leading by 22-4. The second half was disappointing and the scoreboard was inactive until ten minutes from the end, when Davies kicked a penalty from an awkward angle. Tries by Beese, Smith, Nicholls, Horton and Wheeler, with Davies kicking the penalty and converting 2 tries.

Ralston and Parfitt needed treatment for injuries, as play became untidy, with both sides making handling errors.

 

2/4/1977

v Newport, Home, Lost 7-32. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, R Nicholls, G Pudney, A Parfitt, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, R J Wheeler, R Hill, C Harry, D J Gay. (Half-time 3-14)

Bath took a tumble at the hands of Newport. For the Usksiders, it was sweet revenge for their last two defeats on the Rec. The visitors’ heavyweight pack laid the foundations, and Bath’s defensive stratagems were soon in tatters. A large crowd witnessed Newport’s Webber landing a penalty, for a crooked feed, within the first minute. By contrast, two penalty awards to Bath within the space of 60 seconds were well wide of the mark. Davies was eventually successful with a fine kick from fully 45 yards. As the game developed, the Bath backs were totally occupied with trying to repel attack after attack: “Newport were now the complete masters, doing almost as they liked against an outplayed Bath side.” Palmer’s last minute try was poor consolation in the face of Newport’s dominating performance.

 

“Newport looked a competent side last Saturday, but let us be honest – we looked a poor side – especially up front. We know of course that most of our pack can play much better than that.”

(Programme Notes)

 

8/4/1977

v Oxford, Home, Won 32-0. J S Waterman, J Davies, C Bird, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, R Lye, D J Gay, R J Wheeler.

“A YAWN OF A GAME”

Bath’s roller-coaster performance continued with a comfortable win, in a rather: “lifeless match which hardly had the holiday crowd bubbling with excitement.”

There was passing interest in that John Davies established a Club record, contributing 20 points in all, including three tries which took his season’s total to 24, thus passing the previous best by Terry Norris six years previously. Tries by Davies (3), Waterman, Palmer and Horton, with Davies converting four.

 

9/4/1977

v Roundhay, (Leeds) Home, Won 22-9. J S Waterman, J Davies, S Bird, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, C Harry, D J Gay, R Lye.

Bath ran the Yorkshire men into the ground in the first half, with a fine display of running rugby, forwards and backs combining. Amazingly, Bath lapsed into mediocrity after the change around. This was hardly satisfactory against very mediocre opposition.

Score count:- Davies a try, 2 conversions and 2 penalties, Palmer and Gay tries.

 

11/4/1977

v Cheltenham, Home, Won 50-7. J S Waterman (T), I Dunbar (T), J Davies (5g), J Horton, G Townsend, J Palmer, A Nicholls (T), G Pudney (T), A G Parfitt, R Millar, C Harry, B J Jenkins (T), R Hill (T), R Northcott (T), R Lye.

BATH CHRONICLE 12TH APRIL headlined: 100 POINT EASTER ROMP BY BATH

Fair to say, the opposition had been modest. In the Roundhay game, Bath had their visitors on their knees by half-time, but relaxed into: “careless indifference.” The first 40 minutes had been dazzling, with Waterman’s repeated runs from full-back, Roundhay were completely bemused. Palmer, Townsend and Davies featured in some fine runs. Astonishingly, Bath’s forwards subsided into the second half, and despite exciting runs by the backs, there was no further Bath score. In fact, it was Roundhay who improved their position with three penalties. On a chilly afternoon, a frustrated Easter crowd turned for home.

Luckless Cheltenham allowed Bath their biggest victory of the season. The visitors were going through a bad patch, and had not had a win in 33 matches.

“John Palmer at fly-half, launched many telling attacks along with John Horton, playing in the centre, while Waterman was again in his element and with more pace on the wings would have set up even more tries.”

 

11/4/1977

Newport United won a devastating double over Bath United. They beat the second string by 58 points to 12 on Lambridge. They ran in 11 tries and converted 5 of them. Dave Alred scored all Bath’s points with 4 well taken penalties. Newport’s previous win had been 91-6 at Newport!

 

15/4/1977

v Llanelli, Home, Lost 3-21. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Smith, I Dunbar, J Horton, C J Perry, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, R J Wheeler, D J Gay, R Hill, R Lye. (Half-time nil – 10)

Chronicle Headline:- BATH CRUSHED BY LLANELLI STEAMROLLER

Llanelli were soon into their fluent style, in front of the season’s biggest crowd. The pitch was bone hard and almost devoid of grass.

Sufficient to record that the Scarlets dominated from start to finish. For Bath, Davies kicked a penalty mid-way through the second half.

Llanelli had previously beaten the likes of :- Aberavon, Harlequins, Bridgend, Bedford, Newport, Richmond, Swansea, Northampton and Coventry.

The Llanelli side was:- C Griffiths, A Hill, R Bergiers, R Gravell, W Evans, G Ashby, S Williams, J Williams, H Thomas, B Llewelyn, R Powell, H Jenkins, A Davies, S Thomas and A James.

 

23/4/1977

v Northampton, Away, Lost 12-14. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, A Townsend, J Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, D Barry, R Lye, R J Wheeler, D J Gay. It was D Barry’s first game for the Senior side.

Northampton just made it, with a last minute penalty. Bath had looked ‘set fair’ for their first win in 45 years at Franklin Gardens. John Davies had landed three penalties and Horton had scored a drop goal from 35 yards.

‘Commeth the Day Commeth the Man,’ in the shape of Saint’s full-back Phil Raybould, to secure a narrow victory. Strangely, the usually reliable Raybould had had an off day with his kicking. As a matter of fact, he was handed another opportunity shortly after his ‘match-winner,’ and his final attempt went ‘miserably wide.’

 

30/4/1977

v Bedford, Away, Lost 15-44. J S Waterman, Roy Holman, J Palmer, M C Beese, G Townsend, J Horton, C Perry, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Miller, D Barry, B J Jenkins, R Lye, R Hill, R J Wheeler.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Roy Holman replaced John Davies, who had suffered a chipped jawbone. Bedford’s Tony Jorden was injured and the side was led by Bob Wilkinson.

(Half-time Bedford 16 – Bath 12)

Bath took a beating, although the margin was a touch flattering to Bedford. Beese and Horton had scored early tries, which were converted by Palmer. Bedford answered the challenge with a string of scores. Palmer added a second half penalty, but by now the Bedford crowd were braying for a ‘fifty.’

 

7/5/1977

v Libourne, Away. Won 19-10. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese, C Perry, S Bird, J Horton, R Nicholls, J Cunningham, A G Parfitt, D Spaven, C Chappell, B J Jenkins, R Lye, R J Wheeler, N Freeth.

Miller replaced Cunningham. Jim Waterman withdrew with a pulled muscle, 15 minutes from the start, and was replaced by Dave Alred. Bath took an early lead with Gary Townsend’s try, converted by Horton. Libourne countered with a first half try.

In the second spell, Horton contributed a drop goal, but Libourne pulled up for a 10-9 lead. Bath then rallied and two tries by Beese, one converted by Alred, was enough to secure victory.

 

“Bath won the first match of their French tour but were heavily beaten in the second after their limited resources had been hit by injury.”

.

8/5/1977

v Begles, Away, Lost 6-52. D Alred, G Townsend, M C Beese, C Perry, S Bird, J Horton, R Nicholls, R Miller, A Mason, D Spaven, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, R Lye, R J Wheeler, N Freeth.

No replacements used by Bath, Begles used three.

Bath’s greatly depleted resources were fully stretched. A Beese try, converted by Alred, was the only counter to a 52-point thrashing. Bath struggled from start to finish against a well-organised French side, which proved to be too strong in every phase of play.

Nice Tour – Shame about the Game!

 

FOR THE RECORD

Schoolmaster, John Davies again topped the scorers, with 297 points in 33 games, which included 25 tries.

Excluding the French games, the Club Won 26 and Drew 2 and Lost 17, scoring 749 points, with 659 Against.

TRIES (110):- Davies 25, Horton 13, Beese 9, Dunbar 8, Palmer 5, Plummer 5, Litowczyk, A Smith, Townsend, Waterman and Wyatt 4, C Bird 3, Gay, Harry, Jenkins, Lye, Nicholls, Perry, Spaven and Richardson 2, Hill, Northcott, Parfitt, Pudney, P Smith and Wheeler 1 each.

PENALTIES (53):- Davies 34, Palmer 8, Alred 5, Richardson 5, Horton 1.

CONVERSIONS (63):- Davies 46, Palmer 10, Richardson 4 and Horton 3.

DROPPED GOALS (8):- Horton 7, Davies 1.

Excluding the French Tour, BATH UTILISED 43 players, with 18 making their 1st XV debut.

Full List:- Lye 43, Meddick 42, Jenkins and Waterman 41, Horton 35, Beese and Harry 34, Davies and Palmer 33, Parfitt 31, Wheeler 30, Nicholls 28, Spaven 27, Litowczyk 25, Dunbar and Townsend 22, Pudney 20, Mason 15, Perry and Plummer 13, A Smith 11, Gay 10, Hill 8, Boyle and Wyatt 7, Richardson 6, Norton 5, Pillinger and Roberts 4, Northcott and P Smith 3, Alred , Barry, Chappell, Lloyd and Millar 2, S Bird , Cunningham, Holman, Lynch, Norman and Williams 1 each.

 

 

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