1977 to 1978

Match Reports by Peter hall and Colin Gale

1977-1978

 

1/9/1977

v Newbury, Away, Won 37-3. J Palmer, G Townsend (T), M C Beese (T), A Smith, J Davies (5c), J P Horton (1dg), R Nichols (T), D R Spaven, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, Roger Hill (T), R J Wheeler (T), G Pillinger (T). Ref – A J Ridley (BERKS)

Newbury welcomed the Bath XV, as part of their Jubilee Celebrations. It was a useful ‘pipe opener,’ although some of the players looked decidedly ‘rusty.’ The three-quarters were hampered by the narrowness of the pitch. Carter pulled a calf muscle in the pre-match warm up, and Spaven was a hurried prop replacement.

 

3/9/1977

v Pontypool, Home, Won 27-9. J Palmer, C Bird, M C Beese, A Smith, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nichols, R Millar, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, R Hill, R J Wheeler, G Pillinger. Norman replaced Hill 2nd half.

A good yardstick for the season’s fortunes, and despite trailing 6-9 at half time, Bath came off with a fine win against a dour Pontypool side. The Welshmen were late arriving, and Bath were soon up and ready to go, with some enterprising handling play. There were tries from Beese and Smith in the second half, converted by Davies, supplemented by a steady flow of penalties – five in all, from the last mentioned gentleman’s ‘golden’ boot. Pillinger returned for his first senior game since October and reminded Bath what they had been missing. He still had his quickness to the breakdown, and it was hoped that he could carry on in this form.

 

Notwithstanding these wins, Bath commenced the season with a number of selection problems. The difficulty was finding a ball-winning pack who could function efficiently against top opposition. Alan Parfitt and Geoff Pudney had returned to Junior rugby, and there were fitness question marks against Nial Carter and County flanker Geoff Pillinger. Adam Litowczyk had put on weight and was now estimated to tip the scales at 20 stone. Coaches Jack Rowell and Dave Robson were looking to him to shed some of his excess! A young forward from Old Redcliffians was given a run out in the United – name of Chilcott.

 

7/9/1977

v Newport, Away, Lost 6-19. J Palmer, C Bird, M C Beese (Capt), A Smith, J Davies, J P Horton, R Nichols, R Millar, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, R J Wheeler, C Harry, R Lye, G Pillinger.                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bath were brought down to earth at Rodney Parade. The Newport pack’s ball winning skills were too much for the Bath eight, although it was not until the last 15 minutes that the two match tries were scored. Bath had fought tenaciously, and held their hosts to 6-6 at the interval. Bath got off to a good start when Davies kicked the first of his two penalties after just two minutes play. Davies’s second penalty was a particularly fine effort from a long way out.

Bath fortunes had been reversed in having to replace Nichols after 17 mins. (Broken collar-bone) H Cleaton, a former Bristol player, took his place at scrum-half and put in a gritty performance. Despite the efforts of Jenkins, Meddick, Mason and Pillinger, the home pack gradually took command and their late tries put them in an unassailable position.

 

10/9/1977

v Leicester, Away, Lost 26-39. J Palmer, C Bird, M C Beese, A Smith, J Davies, J P Horton, H Cleaton, R Millar, C Legg, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, C Harry, R Lye, J Roberts.

Replacements – R J Wheeler and A Cole. John Davies’s personal contribution of 4 penalties, a try and a conversion (18 points), did much to keep Bath in the game. Other try scorers were Beese and Smith.

Dusty Hare also had a good afternoon with the boot and a succession of well- taken tries kept Leicester in the lead. John Palmer was prominent in several handling moves. At one stage the home lead was reduced to two points; Davies and Beese sent Smith over for a fine try in the right corner, and then Beese scored under the posts for Davies to convert.

 

14/9/1977

v Clifton, Away, Won 27-7. M RIchardson, G Townsend, M C Beese (Capt), A Smith, J Davies, J Palmer, H Cleaton, R Millar, C Legg, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Lye, J Roberts.

Replacements –A Cole and G Chilcott.

Bath gave an untidy, uncoordinated display which would have spelt disaster against stronger opposition. However, there were tries by Palmer (2), Lye, Townsend and a first try for wing forward Jonathan Roberts. Davies converted two and landed a penalty. In the forwards, Pillinger, Meddick and Barry strove bravely throughout, and Palmer showed some deft touches at fly-half. Smith provided penetration at centre and Townsend was able to show his paces on the left wing. Richardson added some spirited runs out of defence: “…but a lot was left undone and frequent penalty awards, some for inexcusable wild kicking at opponents in the open, would have been severely punished against a steadier place-kicker than Kevin Davies.”

 

17/9/1977

v Moseley, Home, Lost 19-25. J Palmer, J Davies, M C Beese (Capt), A Smith, C Bird, J Horton, H Cleaton, R Millar, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Lye, J Roberts.

Replacements –C Shelley and G Norman – not used

Moseley were much better organised and sat on a 15-0 lead by half-time. They generally dictated terms up front and looked extremely sharp in the back division. It took a stubborn Bath effort to keep the score within bounds. Moseley’s Cusworth had a particularly sound game and Cooper led his side and kicked well.

Bath opened their scoring effort 10 minutes from the restart, when Davies landed the first of his three penalties. Horton narrowed the gap with two smartly taken drop goals and Beese added a try just before no side.

 

24/9/1977

v Exeter, Away, Won 25-16. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend J Horton, H Cleaton, R Millar, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, A Cole, G Pillinger, R Lye. Replacements –C Bird and G Norman.

In dismal weather, Bath conceded a try within six minutes. However, it was Exeter’s sole first half success. Bath immediately countered with two Horton drop goals within a period of 13 minutes. Lye scored a try and Davies converted, establishing a 12- 4 lead by half-time.

Davies reopened proceedings with a penalty and Pillinger touched down for Davies to convert. Bath faltered slightly and let Exeter captain Jenkins in for a converted try quickly countered by an unconverted try by Bath’s Davies. “The Exeter pack continued to give Bath all sorts of problems and though Bath held on for a comfortable enough victory the home pack had the final word when they drove through for Hartley to score their third try which Kift converted.”

 

28/9/1977

v Leonard Cheshire’s International XV, Home, Lost 18-24. J S Waterman, J Davies (T), M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, H Cleaton, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, A Cole, G Pillinger, R Lye.

The occasion was a Charity match in aid of the Cheshire Home at Timsbury.

It was Gareth Chilcott’s first senior game. George Norman replaced Lye and D Murphy (T), another debutant, replaced J Davies. Attendance 4000.

Referee:- Air Vice Marshall G C ‘Larry’ Lamb. Touch judges:- Air Marshall Sir Augustus Walker and Michael Titcombe (Gloucestershire)

International selection:- P Butler (Glouc. And England), S Maisey (Coventry and England Under 23), J Bayliss (Glos. And England Trials), J P A G Janion (Bedford and England), D J Duckham ( Coventry and England), I Wright (Northampton and England), P Kingston (Glouc. and England), M A Burton (Glouc. and England), P Wheeler (Leicester and England), D L Powell (Northampton and England), C W Ralston (Richmond and England), R Wilkinson (Bedford and England), J A Watkins (Glouc. and England), M Rafter (Bristol and England), D M Rollitt (Richmond and England).

Replacements:- D Tyler (Bristol and Somerset), D Watt (Bristol and England), D J Gay (Bath and England), A Pearn (Bristol and Devon), S Luxmoore (Clifton and Somerset).

It was a wonderfully entertaining encounter, as the celebrity side spun the ball about in dazzling fashion. For the International XV, Wilkinson dominated in the line-out, while Burton and Rollitt excelled in the rucks; Rafter, Wheeler and Watkins were devastating in the loose. Winger Simon Maisey scored 3 tries and played a part in one more of the Internationals five tries. Duckham and Janion added some classy touches. Janion and Rollitt bagged the remaining tries. Waterman, Horton, Beese and Smith, had their moments, but could not impact upon the overall quality of the visitors.

Bath tries by Davies, Beese, Smith and Murphy, with Horton converting one.

 

1/10/1977

v Aberavon, Away, Lost 12-29. J S Waterman, C Bird, C Perry, A Smith, G Townsend, J Horton, H Cleaton, R Millar, A Mason, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, A Cole, R Wheeler, G Pillinger.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bath had a poor record in Wales in the last couple of seasons and Aberavon were rated one of the leading sides. The corresponding game the previous season, was a 12-9 win for Bath on the Rec.

Bath’s weakened side fought bravely enough, but after trailing 12-13 at half-time, the home side took advantage of weak tackling to substantially widen the margin. Horton tried to keep Bath in touch, with a personal contribution of a try, which he converted, and 2 penalties.

 

4/10/1977

v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 15-3. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, C Perry, A Smith, C Shelley, J Horton, D Murphy, R Millar, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, G Pillinger, D Barry, C Harry.

Replacements –A Cole and G Townsend – not used.

In a generally untidy match, Bath redeemed themselves with two cracking tries in the last quarter.

“It was with considerable relief” when Waterman made a perfectly-timed incursion into the line to send in debut winger Shelley on the left. Horton then extinguished all hope for the Albion, gliding in for Bath’s second try. It had ended a long period of stalemate. Bath won, but had made extremely hard work of it. Litowczyk had returned to partner Brian Jenkins, which generated more drive in the rucks, but Barry looked inexperienced at No.8. “Horton, with useful touch kicking, and Waterman with inspired running out of defence did their best to lift the performance, but somehow it never clicked.”

Horton dropped a goal and converted both tries.

 

8/10/1977

v London Irish, Away, Lost 6-18. M Richardson, I Dunbar, A Smith, C Bird, C Shelley, J Palmer, D Murphy, C Legg, A Litowczyk, C Chappell, G Pillinger, D Barry, C Harry.

Replacements –P Ford and A Maynard.

John Palmer captained the side for the first time. Playing against a stiff breeze, his first-half generalship and tactical kicking did much to contain the score within reasonable bounds. He was unlucky to miss a couple of long range penalty attempts. However, his side was handicapped by knee injuries to Pillinger and Murphy. Both struggled throughout, but Murphy did manage a neat drop goal near the end. Earlier, Mike Richardson kicked a fine, long distance penalty.

 

15/10/1977

v Bristol, Home, Lost 10-16. J S Waterman, C Shelley, A Smith, C Perry, I Dunbar, J Davies, H Cleaton, G Chilcott, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, A Litowczyk, G Pillinger, D Barry, C Harry. Try by Pillinger and Davies kicked two penalties.

Replacements –A Cole and P Fay

J P Horton played for an England XV v U.S. John Palmer was reserve.

PLAYING POLICY

Coach Dave Robson was disappointed with Bath’s home loss to Bristol, but there were good prospects for the future. The pack certainly put on a fighting display but, with the exception of Waterman, there was not the same incisiveness in the backs. However, it was significant that the pack were not just winners of the ball, but had the ability to win possession and use it themselves. Given time, Bath would reap the benefits, with introduction of youngsters such as Gareth Chilcott and Derrick Barry.

 

22/10/1977

v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Won 28-13. M Richardson, I Dunbar, C Bird, A Smith, J Davies, J Palmer (Capt), D Murphy, R Millar, A Mason, G Chilcott, A Litowczyk, N Spencer, C Harry, G Pillinger, R Hill.

Replacements – C Shelley and J Roberts.

Bath eventually managed a comfortable win, despite an early set-back, when Young dropped a goal in the sixth minute. This was closely followed by a penalty to give the Medics a 6-0 lead. However, Bath soon got organised and John Palmer ran in a try in the 20th minute, which Davies converted, and Damian Murphy kicked a neat drop goal. Greenhalgh kicked a second penalty for St. Mary’s and the sides were level 9-9 at half time.

Bath had hitherto wasted chances with poor finishing, but came back mightily at the re-start. So much so, that the referee found fit to calm them all down, when a ruck degenerated into a free-for-all. Davies put Bath in the lead with a penalty and Palmer improved matters with a drop goal. Davies scored his side’s second try, and then it was Murphy’s turn to wriggle over, for a try converted by Davies. Palmer clinched matters with a 40-yard drop goal. Having done enough to win, Bath relented slightly and, in consequence, there was a late consolation try for the St. Mary’s winger.

 

26/10/1977

v Kingswood School, Home, Won 30-7. J S Waterman, I Dunbar (T), A Jenkins, N Wride (T), S Gregory, J Davies (1g and T), R Gunning, N Carter, I Blackburn (T), G Bees, C Chappell, D Pearce (T), R Lye, S Hall, R Hookway

Replacements – P Simmons (Tx2 – replaced J S Waterman) and A Cole.

 

29/10/1977

v Neath, Home, Won 25-9. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Smith, I Dunbar, J Palmer, D Murphy, G Chilcott, C Legg, G Bees, A Litowczyk, N Spencer, R Hill, G Pillinger, C Harry.

R Wheeler replaced Litowczyk after ten minutes and G Townsend replaced J Davies 5 mins from end.

This was undoubtedly one of the best results of the season. Bath’s convincing victory was largely due to Mike Beese and the manner in which he ran in two opportunist tries, plus the trusty boot of John Davies, who converted two tries and landed three penalties. Bath took the lead in the ninth minute. A clearance kick was charged down and the ball picked up by Palmer. He raced to the half-way line before transferring to Dunbar, who sprinted the final 50 yards for a fine try, which Davies converted.

The heavy Neath forwards gave the Bath eight a torrid afternoon in the tight, and the home eight frequently found themselves being pushed backwards. Throughout Bath played with commendable spirit and made better use of the possession that came their way. Beese, with his two fine tries, did the rest. Both Beese and Waterman had opted to play for Bath, rather than Somerset. Beese had additionally turned down County Captaincy in order to turn out for his Club.

 

5/11/1977

v Harlequins (at Twickenham), Away, Lost 6-14. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, M C Beese, A Smith, G Townsend, J Palmer, D Murphy, G Chilcott, C Legg, G Bees, B J Jenkins, N Spencer, G Pillinger, R Hill, C Harry. Replacements – C Bird and R Lye.

Two penalty goals by John Palmer was all that Bath could muster in a lack-lustre performance. The game was played out in an astonishingly eerie environment, as no more than 200 spectators found their way to Twickenham’s cavernous stands.

Quins were soon winning possession in almost every phase and although Palmer and Waterman tried to get things going, they were unable to settle into any sort of rhythm. Beese did manage to liven things up in combination with Townsend, but all forays were cut short by the Harlequins cover.

 

12/11/1977

v St Lukes College, Home, Won 18-9. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese, A Smith, I Dunbar, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, N Spencer, G Pillinger, S Jones, R Lye.                                                                                                                                                                                               The students made a fight of it and the early stages featured some spirited attacks by their forwards, but play was generally untidy, with a blustery wind making handling difficult. However, Bath clinched the match with tries by Smith and Murphy. Palmer converted both and had previously landed two penalties.

 

19/11/1977

v Coventry, Away, Lost 4-42. J S Waterman (T), I Dunbar, M C Beese, J A Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, H Cleaton, J M Meddick, K Phelps, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, R Hill, G Pillinger, R Lye. A Jenkins replaced Beese, 10 minutes from the end.

VANQUISHED!

This can best be described as a hiding! “Coventry had just reached their peak form and on the day would probably have well beaten most sides.” Bath’s problems started with the pack: “Coventry’s forwards, who are rated the weakest for years, won so much possession from every phase that the talented if aging back division behind them could not help but score a hat full of points.”

Waterman scored Bath’s try and strove manfully to get the backs moving, but was soon bogged down with defensive duties. The ‘powderpuff’ pack was shoved back yards and blotted out in the line-out. The whole team became thoroughly disheartened and eventually collapsed under pressure. By contrast, it was a personal triumph for home captain Rossborough, who scored their final try, converted all five tries, landed 2 penalties and dropped a goal!

 

26/11/1977

v United Services, Away, Won 26-0. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, A Jenkins, C Perry, J Davies, J Horton, H Cleaton, P Ford, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye.

Replacements – S Jones and C Shelley – not used.

The Services side fielded several reserves and were overcome by a late surge of Bath tries.

Bath had tended to over-elaborate behind the scrum, and there were repeated frustrations involving an exchange of punches. Eventually, the game settled down and Bath found their touch.

“Much of the success of Bath’s grandstand finish however, stemmed not so much from attack, but from flanker Hill, who was undoubtedly the personality of the match.

Wherever Bath attacked, Hill was there, scoring one try himself, when he picked up at the back of a set scrum, 20 metres out, to slice through Services defence, or when he set up a try for Pillinger, with another strong decisive run, which split the Services cover, before he put the ball back inside to his back row colleague.”

Bath tries by Hill, Pillinger, Ford, Davies and Perry. Davies converted three.

 

3/12/1977

v London Scottish, Home, Lost 16-25. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, C Perry, C Bird, G Townsend, J Davies, H Cleaton, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, Roger Hill, R Lye.

BRAMALL DEATH

A few moments silence was observed to commemorate the untimely death of Jonathan Bramall, aged just 22. The ex Downside lad, was widely known as an all round athlete; a talented rugby player – he carried high hopes of further success in rugby circles, but he had been tragically killed in a car accident.

 

LAWSON VERSUS BATH

Chief architect of Bath’s downfall was Scottish scrum-half, Alan Lawson. He scored three first half tries, spent most of the second half off the field injured, but returned to score a fourth try to terminate any thoughts of a Bath victory. “Bath’s spirits must have been in their boots following these early set-backs, but they responded with some useful handling of their own, mainly stemming from Waterman, who made one marvellous run out of defence which was spoilt when Bird kicked away good possession.”

“Bath continued to play with considerable spirit at the start of the second half without having much luck….”

Bath tries from Roger Hill (2), with Davies converting one, dropping a goal and adding a penalty.

 

10/12/1977

v Gloucester, Away, Lost 13-24. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, C Bird, A Smith, J Davies, J Horton, H Cleaton, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye. Replacements – G Townsend and N Freeth

A virtuoso kicking performance by Gloucester’s Peter Butler provided all Gloucester’s first half points. In this spell he kicked four penalties, scored a try and converted, to put Gloucester 18-0 ahead. Bath’s repeated infringements in rucks and set pieces provided him with ample opportunity for target practice -starting from the second minute of play. By way of contrast, John Davies was off target with a penalty attempt from just 20 yards out. The second half brought a resurgence of Bath effort and they were rewarded with a try by Ian Dunbar and another variously attributed to Robbie Lye or Roger Hill. Davies converted one and had kicked an earlier penalty.

 

17/12/1977

v Harlequins, Home, Lost 12-19. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, C Bird, A Smith, S Gregory, J Davies, H Cleaton, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye. Townsend replaced J Davies for final 10 mins.                                                                                                                                                   This was Bath’s first home defeat at the hands of Harlequins since 1967. The visitors were sharper finishers and scored some fine tries to compete ‘the double’ over their old rivals. The game was marred by the sending-off of Bath’s Brian Jenkins and Quins’ Stefan Purdy, following separate incidents. On the stroke of half-time, Davies landed his second penalty and the sides turned around with Quins leading 9-6. Tempers frayed at the end, with Harlequins leading 19 -6. Amid the sendings-off, Roger Hill scored a consolation try for Bath, which Waterman converted.

 

SICK LIST

Bath had been handicapped with an inordinate number of injuries and many key players had been nursing injuries; John Davies, Michael Beese, Tony Mason, Derek Barry, Robbie Lye, Adam Litowczyk, D Murphy, Neil Spencer, Gareth Chilcott, G Bees, Roger Hill, Radley Wheeler, and skipper Jim Waterman had all appeared on the ‘not available’ list at some time.

 

24/12/1977

v Rugby, Home, Won 58-13. J S Waterman, J Davies, J Palmer, M C Beese, I Dunbar, J Horton, H Cleaton, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacement – R Hill – not used.

DAVIES RECORD

Bath ran up the highest score in their history, as Rugby were outclassed in all departments. The Christmas Fare was served up with four tries for Davies, four from Beese, Palmer 2, Dunbar and Brain Jenkins. Davies converted five. John Davies established a record of 26 points in one match. He was also the first player to score a 1000 points in his career. Bath made light of the opposition, despite a very heavy pitch. Horton, Beese and Palmer had a field day. Horton, in particular, put on a vintage display. Debut forward Gerry Parsons impressed with his aggressive running and support work. Waterman was at his enterprising best, initiating remarkable moves from deep inside the Bath half.

 

26/12/1977

v Clifton, Home, Won 37-12. A Janes, G Townsend, A Smith, C Bird, J Davies, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, P Ford, L Gemmell, R J Wheeler, G Parsons, R Hill, R Lye. Radley Wheeler skippered the side for a comfortable Boxing Day win.

Replacements – J Roberts and A Jenkins.

Tries scored by Roger Hill (3), John Horton (2), and Damian Murphy, with John Davies converting all but one, and adding a penalty.

 

27/12/1977

v Llanelli, Away, Lost 7-10. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, I Dunbar, J Horton, H Cleaton, P Davies, C Legg, P Ford, D Barry, B J Jenkins, R Hill, R Lye G Parsons.

A Janes replaced Palmer after 25 mins.

Peter Morgan had scored for the Scarlets after just three minutes but overall it was mediocre performance by Llanelli standards. By far the best try of the match was scored by Jim Waterman, after a scintillating display of passing, which saw the ball switch across the field three times. This second half effort put Bath level at 4-4. John Horton slotted a neat drop goal and Bath were ahead of Phil Bennett’s men 7-4. Geoff Pillinger, on his 100th appearance, had replaced Davies for the second half, and demonstrated his usual: “pace, purpose and pugnacity.” Llanelli re-organised and a dazzling converted try by full-back Clive Griffiths saved their day.

 

31/12/1977

v Northampton, Home, Won 16-3. J S Waterman, J Davies (T, 2pg and 1g), M C Beese, J Palmer (T), I Dunbar, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye. It was John Palmer’s 50th game.

Bath finished the year in grand style with spirited effort against Northampton. Bath’s win was the first in the last five encounters. John Davies’s successful kicking was, once again, a significant factor. The Saints were stubborn in defence, and in the early stages, their pack won most of the ball. Parsons figured in some bulldozing forays and gradually the midfield partnership of Horton Palmer and Beese gained the ascendancy. Waterman featured in a number of runs from his full-back position, and there were touches of brilliance from Horton. Bath’s final try came in injury time, with Waterman and Horton combining to send in Palmer. Davies added the extras.

Bath 16 Northampton 3 by Donald Steel

“There was neither the time nor the inclination for the eye to wander towards the Recreation Ground’s elegant surroundings or the neighbouring hockey players.

Bath, unlucky from all accounts not to beat Llanelli at Stradey Park on Tuesday, were in lively mood, running, probing and inventing whether the promise of success was good, or thin.

With their pack working splendidly to gain possession and Murphy, a latecomer to the side, giving a quick, long service, Horton was able to display his full complement of tricks as a fly half.

Whether dummying, jinking, catching his own little kicks ahead, raising his sights to gain valuable ground, or linking with Beese and Palmer, he was always dictating the kind of Rugby which Bath like to play and at which they are best.

With a little less resolution and organisation in the defence of a Northampton side forced to make four changes, Bath could easily have gone on the rampage. However, Northampton’s resistance happily prolonged the contest, without threatening to distort the result, and there was an entirely happy and fitting ending when Bath scored a brilliant try in the final minute.

Page’s absence from the heels of the Northampton forwards is always a blow to them.

His tactical sense has saved many an awkward situation but it is doubtful whether even his scheming could have unsettled Bath who, after a few minutes to find their hands and feet, made few of the mistakes which so often hamper their ambition.

Jenkins and Barry jumped well in the line-out, a rearranged front row looked solid in the tight, the back row were quick to the breakdowns and the backs sure-fingered enough to have Northampton doing all the chasing.

Northampton took the lead inside ten minutes with a well-worked drop goal from Surguv from a free-kick under Bath’s posts, but though Bath had only two easy first-half penalties by John Davies to show for their enterprise, the groundwork had been laid.

Adept in attack and counter-attack, they eventually set up a try for John Davies following a long run out of defence by Horton and an ensuing scrum, but it wasn’t as spectacular as some of their near misses, or indeed, their final act of the year.

The ever-adventurous and skilful Waterman started a move from his own half which Horton carried on, Palmer completed and Davies converted.

It banished any sense of frustration Bath may have felt for not having more to show for their efforts and left them with something to live up to in 1978.”

 

Bath: J. S. Waterman (Capt), J. Davies, M. C. Beese, J. Palmer, I. Dunbar, J. P. Horton, D. Murphy. J. Meddick, C. Legg, P. Davies, B. J. Jenkins, D. Barry, G. Pillinger, G. Parsons, R. Lye

Northampton: P. Carter, K. Parker, J. Cubitt, D. Pinches, P. Bignell, J. Surguv, D. Adams, R. Smith, P. Johnson, R. Cox, V. Cannon, S. Green, A. Kent, S. Russell, R. B. Taylor (Capt)

Referee: I. L. M. Thomas (Lancs. Soc.)

 

John Davies rewrites the record books

Bath this week must have decided to tear up their book of club records and publish a new one entitled The Life and Times of John Davies.

For the darkened haired little Welshman, by his exploits over Christmas, has now made a clean sweep of every scoring record in the club’s history.

The one that finally fell on Christmas Eve was Vaughan Williams’ proud performance of scoring 24 points in a match against Bedford in April 1966.

That until Saturday was the record for the number of points by one player in a first class match.

But, almost predictably, up popped Davies with 26 points to help Bath to a record 58-13 win over luckless and bemused Rugby.

Davies, naturally, was delighted but perhaps what pleased him even more was that during the game he became the first player since Bath was formed in 1865, to achieve a career aggregate of 1,000 points – in just three and a half seasons.

What is perhaps even more unusual is that every single one of them has come for Bath, Davies’ only first – class club.

On moving to the West Country, he in fact first joined Bristol but never made his mark or scored any points for them. It was only when he moved to Bath, after almost having given up the idea of playing top – class rugby that the points flood began in 1974. Oddly even that was almost by accident.

He was originally recruited as the fly-half cover for John Horton and it was more than half the way through that season that he began to take place kicks because other members of the side were injured.

He finished with a modest 118 points but in 1975-76 he really went to town with 425 points in the season, almost trebling Bath’s previous best.

Last year he missed more games through injuries but still managed 297 points, and broke the club try record by touching down 25 times.

His progress to his first 1,000 points, in fact, has been little short of remarkable and should be recorded in details as follows:

 

Season Games Tries Cons PGS Drops Total

1974-75 36 0 17 21 7 118

1975-76 50 7 53 97 0 425

1976-77 33 25 46 34 1 297

1977-78 15 10 21 26 1 163

134 42 137 178 9 1003

 

2/1/1978

v Nuneaton, Home, Won 57-3. J S Waterman, G Townsend, A Smith, J Palmer, M Robinson, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, P Davies, B Jenkins, R J Wheeler, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – C Bird and J Hickey

Bath crossed for eleven tries against a demoralised Midlands side. It was a superb display of the handling game, with every member of the side committed to running and clever inter-passing.

Tries by Waterman (2), Smith (3), Palmer (2), M Robinson (debut game), Horton, and Pillinger (2). Palmer converted two, Waterman one, and Horton dropped a goal for good measure.

 

7/1/1978

v Leicester, Home, Won 28-16. J S Waterman, M Robinson, M C Beese, A Smith, C Bird, J Palmer, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye.

Clive Harry replaced A Smith for final 10 mins. Palmer’s personal tally was a try from an interception, three conversions and a drop goal, in a revenge win over the Tigers. Overall, Bath played the more adventurous rugby, in which Lye, Beese and Palmer were prominent. Other tries scored by Beese, Bird and Lye, with Beese adding a drop goal. It was Robbie Lye’s 300th 1st XV game for the Club.

 

14/1/1978

v London Welsh, Away, Lost 0-46. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese, C Perry, I Dunbar, J Palmer, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye. Ref – R C Quittenton (LONDON)

Replacements- M Robinson and J Roberts – not used. Bath crashed to a heavy defeat at Old Deer Park:

“Inept handling, woeful tackling and poor tactical appreciation, not to mention some fluent Welsh handling and passing produced a scoreline which was quite ridiculous on the run of play.”

(WROTE JOHN STEVENS) The Bath backs were in a “shambles” and only Palmer survived with any credit. The whole side succumbed to the superior speed and skills of the Exiles.

 

19/1/1978

v RAF, Home, Won 17-12. N Hopkins, P Simmonds, M C Beese, T Gray, M Robinson, J S Waterman, H Cleaton, R Millar, C Legg, P Davies, D Barry, R J Wheeler, J Hickey, J Roberts, R Lye. Replacements – D Murphy and D J Gay

“With Barry and Wheeler dominating the line-out, Legg hooking expertly and Lye, Roberts and Hickey roving around to good effect, the R.A.F. were made to look vulnerable” There were a number of enforced changes and Waterman took up the unusual role at outside-half. His performance was described as varying from good, bad and indifferent.

N Hopkins, Millfield School, marked his debut with a fine 45-yard penalty after five minutes. Simmons, another debutante, scored a good corner try. Later: “A superb switch of direction by Cleaton enabled Robinson to stride down the left and Hickey was up to take the inside pass and score against the team he nearly played for.” Hopkins followed up with two further penalties.

DOUBLE SELECTION!

Mention of back-row forward John Hickey, brings to mind this unique situation, where the serviceman was actually selected for Bath and the R.A.F. and the match programme records his name in both sides!!

 

21/1/1978

v Metropolitan Police, Home, Won 11-10. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, T Gray, I Dunbar, J Palmer, H Cleaton, J M Meddick, C Legg, P Ford, B Jenkins, D Barry, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye. Replacements – G Townsend and D J Gay. D J Gay made a first appearance of the season, replacing Pillinger for final 15 mins

A small crowd witnessed two fine tries by winger, Paul Simmons and a penalty by Palmer, which was enough to pip the Police by just one point. The beefy Met men gave a good account of themselves, dictating terms in muddy conditions – one of their concerted efforts giving a try to Hoskin. Two penalties added to Bath’s discomfort, but they held on to their narrowest of margins..

 

28/1/1978

v Exeter, Away, Lost 6-20 First Round John Player Cup. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, I Dunbar, J Horton, H Cleaton, R Millar, A Mason, P Davies, B J Jenkins, R Barry, C Harry, R Hill, R Lye. G Townsend replaced Dunbar for final 10 mins.

Knocked out of the Knock out!

Bath were comprehensively outplayed by a great home pack; their only contribution to the score-board – two penalties by John Davies. “Bath, lifeless up front, were struggling both for possession and territory and could find no source of inspiration as Exeter’s pack, relishing the mud, drove forward relentlessly.” Exeter hammered home their superiority with two tries in the last five minutes.

Uncharacteristically, Davies missed with a number of penalty attempts.

In the closing minutes, Bath “caved in miserably.”

 

3/2/1978

v Rosslyn Park, Away, Lost 10-31. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Perry, P Simmons, J Palmer, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, B J Jenkins, D Barry, R Hill, R Lye, G Parsons.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mike Beese scored two tries, Davies converting one, but it was not enough counter the speed and guile of the powerful London side. Rosslyn Park demonstrated their superiority with a six-try bonanza. Bath in fact, fell apart under pressure and once the Londoner’s had gained control, they never let it slip. Bath were unable to stem a constant stream of possession to the fast and penetrative, opposing backs.

 

17/2/1978

v Bridgend, Home, Drawn 0-0. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, D J Gay, R J Wheeler, R Hill, G Parsons, R Lye

C Perry replaced J Palmer 15 mins from the end.

Bath called up near-veteran, Radley Wheeler to replace Derrick Barry and partner David Gay in the second row. Wheeler was also expected to skipper the United in the following day’s fixture with Cleve.

“It was a score which, frankly, always seemed likely on a snow-covered pitch which became more like a skating rink as it froze hard as the temperature dropped.” Nevertheless, there was plenty of action for the hardy spectators, as both teams showed a surprising willingness to run the ball at the opposition, but as fingers numbed, so errors increased. Horton saved Bath with some splendid kicking and made a number of jinking runs. Bridgend stormed back in the closing minutes, and there was brave defensive work by Beese and replacement Chris Perry.

 

24/2/1978

v Birkenhead, Home, Won 34-4. J S Waterman, J Davies, J Palmer, M C Beese, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, D Barry, D J Gay, G Parsons, R Hill, R Lye. Bath tries by Davies, Beese (3), Horton, Hill and Palmer, with Davies converting three.

It was a damp, miserable afternoon, as the small crowd saw Bath exert initial pressure. Beese and Hill were prominent in the early exchanges, but a succession of penalties enabled the visitors to work their way upfield. This led to an unconverted try by Elkerton after ten minutes. At this stage, Bath’s play was untidy and uninspiring. “Bath eventually showed slightly more urgency, with Parsons producing a couple of good drives, he was involved in an unseemly incident after Simmons had been tackled.

It erupted into a touch-line brawl which the referee stopped only in the nick of time.” Birkenhead lost John Whitehead, who withdrew with a broken nose. Just before half-time, Bath clicked into gear when a fine piece of acceleration by Horton, gave John Davies room to land his 14th try of the season, which also completed his 200 points. At this point, Birkenhead’s number eight quit the field in some discomfort and they played out the game with 13 men.

 

3/3/1978

v Bristol, Away, Won 17-11. J S Waterman, J Davies (1g and 1pg), M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Palmer (T), D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, D Barry, D J Gay (T), G Pillinger, G Parsons (T), R Lye

Ref – L Prideaux (N. MIDS). Bath revelled in the dry conditions and chalked up a deserved, though somewhat unexpected triumph over their local rivals. John Palmer played a key roll, with a magnificent display at outside-half. David Gay scored the deciding try three minutes from the end. R Hill replaced Pillinger after 10 minutes and figured with Parsons in driving attacks from the loose. Waterman made a number of exciting forays from his back position. Revenge was sweet!

 

8/3/1978

v Cheltenham, Home, Won 10-6. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, T Gray, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, P Davies, D Barry, D J Gay, G Parsons, R Hill, R Lye

Bath were made to work hard for their win, finding it difficult to find the necessary motivation after their supreme effort five days earlier. The Cheltenham pack secured most of the ball, but their backs did very little with it. It was solely forward pressure that kept Bath penned in their own half for much of the game. Their front five caused no end of trouble and Maurice Hamlin hooked particularly well. Bath backs looked dangerous when they had the ball, but became frustrated by poor possession and over officious refereeing. Horton had levelled with a drop goal after 21 minutes, and Davies’s penalty put Bath in front at the re-start. Their solitary try came after 22 minutes; Waterman came into the line, to send John Davies sprinting away up the right wing. Roger Hill was on hand to take his pass and touch down. There was little else of urgency, but Cheltenham deservedly reduced the arears with Hamlin’s second penalty.

 

11/3/1978

v Swansea, Away, Lost 7-45. J S Waterman, N Robinson, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Davies, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, R Hill, R Lye.

N Freeth replaced Parsons, T Gray replaced Legg.

Beset with injuries, Bath took a greatly weakened side to St. Helens and paid the penalty. Both Palmer and Horton were absent and John Davies was switched to fly-half. There were five changes from the original selection. Swansea went ahead with a converted try after just two minutes and piled on the points thereafter. Bath pulled back with a penalty by Davies and managed a try after clever work by Roger Hill, which sent in Robinson. However, Swansea dominated at forward and Bath were outclassed, going down under a deluge of tries. Swansea scrum-half Davies scored a hat-trick of tries.

Bath’s only consolation was that Swansea’s score could have been higher – they missed with five or six conversion attempts.

 

17/3/1978

v Ebbw Vale, Home, Won 19-14. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Palmer, D Murphy, P Ford, A Mason, J M Meddick, D Barry, B J Jenkins, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye

Palmer switched to full-back, when Waterman left the field with rib injuries. He certainly took a leaf out of the ‘Waterman book, ’ as he executed some “breathtaking” runs out of defence, two of which led directly to Bath tries. Previously Ebbw Vale had monopolised play, but Palmer turned the whole game in Bath’s favour. Mike Beese re-organised the back line, with John Davies switching to outside-half and Leon Wilson substituting on the wing. The win was a rare tonic, after a trouncing at Swansea. Jim Waterman suffered severe bruising.

“Hill, Pillinger, Barry and Jenkins began to win at least a share of possession. Bird used his power in mid-field, and Palmer began to take on the Welshmen almost single handed.”

Bath tries by Simmons and Brian Jenkins. Murphy dropped a goal. Davies converted one and landed two penalties.

 

21/3/1978

v Coventry, Home, Won 21-13. J R Palmer, J Davies, M C Beese (Capt), C Bird, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, P Ford, A Mason, J M Meddick, A J Wheeler, B Jenkins, G Pillinger, R Hill, R Lye. D J Gay replaced Wheeler for final 5 minutes and played a crucial role in keeping Coventry at bay.

“Palmer at full-back had another marvellous game, alongside Beese and Bird, and the excellent support of flank forward Hill helped Bath keep the ball moving. It was Hill, in fact, who put Bath on the right track only 90 seconds after the start by seizing on a Coventry tap-back from a line-out in their own 25 and forcing his way over for a try which Davies converted.” A second marvellous try came 25 minutes later; Horton found Palmer with a long pass. Beese was in support to carry it on. Beese sent a somewhat wayward pass back to Horton, which he hoofed ahead and won the race to the touch-down. Davies added the extras. Coventry pulled back with a corner try just before the interval. Eight minutes into the second half, Lye picked up from a scrum and fed his backs; Palmer came up like an express train and touched down for Bath’s third try, which Davies again converted. Coventry did well to narrow the gap, but with the help of Horton’s drop goal – Bath were home and dry.

 

24/3/1978

v South Wales Police, Home, Won 32-11. A Janes, J Davies, M C Beese (Capt), C Bird, P Simmons, J Palmer, D Murphy, R R Speed, A Mason, J M Meddick, R J Wheeler, D J Gay, R Hill, G Pillinger, G Parsons

It was a debut 1st XV appearance for Rod Speed the Somerset, Oxford Blue and former Bristol prop.

A rush of 16 points in the first quarter virtually settled the issue.

“While Bath were at their best they produced some marvellous handling and running which stemmed not only from Palmer at fly-half but young student Janes who came into the side at full-back.”

Beese was at his incisive best, while Hill and Parsons “supported in the grand manner.”

Tries by Davies (2), Beese, Murphy and Hill, with Davies converting three and adding two penalties.

 

25/3/1978

v Morley, Home, Won 8-0. J S Waterman, N Smith, M C Beese, I Dunbar, P Simmons, J Davies, D Murphy, P Ford, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, D J Gay, G Parsons, R Lye, C Harry.

The match was ruined as a spectacle by a muddy pitch and heavy rain. Bath were without several first choice players but tries by Beese and Dunbar settled the issue.

“As conditions deteriorated the solid Morley pack continued to pose problems for Bath and began to dictate terms, but more sensible kicking by Murphy held them at bay.

The kicking out of defence by other members of the Bath side, however, left much to be desired and Morley were allowed a free supply of precious possession by Bath’s waywardness.”

 

27/3/1978

v Bradford, Home, Won 27-9. J S Waterman, I Dunbar, J Davies, C Bird, P Simmons, J Palmer, D Murphy, P Ford, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye

Bath completed a ‘holiday hat-trick,’ with a comfortable win over Yorkshire visitors. Bath went ahead with a drop goal by Palmer, followed with a Davies penalty. There was a solid performance by the forwards, particularly Parsons, Lye and Pillinger, who were able to exert considerable pressure around the scrums. Parsons linked with Bird to set up an opening try for Davies, and then Davies made it 16-0 at the interval, when his controlled dribble from the half-way line gave him a second try, which he converted. Murphy combined well with Palmer, and eventually Bird made the break which sent in Simmons on the left. Murphy was again in the action with a cheeky drop goal, and Parsons put the issue beyond all doubt, when he crashed over from a maul.

 

1/4/1978

v Falmouth, Away, Won 35-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, I Dunbar, J Palmer, D Murphy, R R Speed, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye.

Replacements P Simmons and J Roberts – not used.

PALMER AT HIS BEST

A feature of this game was a magnificent solo scoring effort from John Palmer, playing at outside-half. He set off on a beautiful diagonal run, which left the Cornishmen flat-footed. He then swerved his way through to crash over the try line. Later, he intercepted and ran the length of the field, for Bath’s fifth try. This England Under 23 player produced a ‘vintage’ performance, of which the absent John Horton would have been proud.

Bath secured a place in next season’s John Player Cup with this Merit Table victory. They were only seven points up at the interval, but the second half brought a magnificent display of running and handling. The Bath pack took a tighter grip on affairs and, as a result, the whole team grew in confidence. Murphy combined well with Davies, Beese and Bird for some fine moves. Lye ranged all over the field in a superb loose forward display. The final score count was:- Davies 2 conversions and a penalty, tries by Beese, Bird, Palmer (2), Pillinger and Lye (2).

8/4/1978

v Richmond, Away, Won 38-9. J S Waterman, J Davies (2T, 2 conversions and 2pg), M C Beese, J Palmer (Tx2), I Dunbar, J Horton (T), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Pillinger, G Parsons (T), R Lye (T)                                                                                                                The Bath side were in great form and thoroughly deserved their victory. Chris Bird replaced J Palmer (ankle injury) 25 mins from the end.

Horton and co completely demoralised a bewildered Richmond side, running in 2 goals, five tries and slotting two penalties to Richmond’s goal and a penalty goal. Parsons was the best forward on the field, but it was the silky skills of John Palmer which brought gasps of appreciation. In fact, Richmond only seemed to come into the game, upon Palmer’s second half departure through injury.

 

John Davies – A REMARKABLE PLAYER RECORD

John Davies had amassed 1111 points in 150 games, made up of 48 tries, 158 conversions, 192 penalties and 9 drop goals.

 

15/4/1978

v Llanelli, Home, Lost 10-19.  J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, I Dunbar, J Horton (2dg), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Pillinger (T), G Parsons, R Lye Replacements P Simmons for Bird and C Harry for Beese.

Llanelli:- Clive Griffiths, John J Williams and Ray Gravell (Wales), Julian Bracey, David Nicholas, Phil Bennett (Wales), Vernon Richards, Charles Thomas, John Lugg, Lawrence Delaney, Roger Powell Derek Quinnell (Wales), Gareth Jenkins, Steve Thomas and Alan Davies.

The selection of Phil Bennett was enough to attract the biggest crowd of the season. He was first on the scoreboard. In the 2nd minute Bath were penalised for offside and Bennett made no mistake from outside the Bath 25. Llanelli’s tight marking kept Bath in check for the opening exchanges, then slick handling enabled Gravell to find a gap and hooker Lugg accepted his well-timed pass for the first of their tries, which Bennett converted. Again, Gravell tore through a yawning gap, Bennett was up in support and his pass enabled J J Williams to speed over in the right hand corner. Horton reduced the margin with a well taken drop goal, and minutes later his twinkling run evaded the defence. His pass to Beese was fed on to Dunbar who, halted just short of the line, served to Pillinger who forced his way over for an unconverted try. Horton continued to give the visitors some anxious moments, and another move initiated by him, just failed, when Chris Bird knocked on. The second half was equally intense and Gravell was spoken to and penalised for dangerous use of the boot and elbow. After half an hour, Horton dropped his second goal of the match. In the closing moments Bath were reduced to 14 men, with both their replacements on the field. Llanelli clinched the match when Gravell brushed aside a defender and sent a long pass for Nicholas to touch down. Bennett converted with a magnificent touch line kick.

 

17/4/1978

v Newbridge, Away, Lost 14-25. G Townsend, J Davies, N Smith, M Robinson, P Simmons, S Roberts, R Nicholls, P Ford, R Gay, R R Speed, C Chappell, R J Wheeler (Capt), J Roberts, R Hill, C Harry. There were debut appearances for S Roberts and Bob Gay.

A very young Bath side acquitted themselves well against a purposeful valley side. Tries scored by Simmons and Davies, who also kicked two penalty goals.

They nevertheless contributed to an entertaining match and their free-running style and courageous defensive work were appreciated by a knowledgeable Welsh crowd. John Davies gave them the best of starts with two penalties from near the left hand touchline, but Newbridge forged ahead with two solo tries by Diamond. Browning converted both and added a straightforward penalty. Bath responded with spirit. Simmons scored Bath’s first try after a 50 yard run in and fine work by Harry, led to Nichols on the blind side, who put Davies away. Playing at ring wing, he followed up his kick ahead to touch down to narrow the gap to 14 – 15 at the interval. Bath turned around to face a strong wind and were pinned mainly to their own half. Newbridge gained the lion’s share of possession and a try followed from flanker Jones, Browning converting. Davis scored a late try for Newbridge.

 

19/4/1978

v Gloucester, Home, Lost 10-12. J S Waterman, J Davies, J Palmer, A Smith, I Dunbar, J P Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, R Gay, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, R Hill, R Lye . Replacements – P Simmons and R Wheeler

Gloucester were welcomed as the R.F.U. Club Competition and John Player Cup winners.

After being outplayed for most of the game by Gloucester’s rampaging forwards, Bath’s brave rally came too late to save the game. Bath were trailing 3-12 as they entered the final quarter, then Horton sparked a storming finish, engineering a try for left winger Dunbar, and added his second drop goal of the match. “Then in the very last minute, Horton was badly body-checked after he had kicked ahead – not, regrettably for the first time – to give John Davies a chance to win the game with the penalty. But it was not to be Davies or Bath’s night for his kick from 40 yards went wide, as had two earlier chances, and Gloucester survived to complete the double.”

22/4/1978

v Newport, Home, Won 15-9. J S Waterman, J Davies (3pg and 1g), J Palmer, A Smith (T), I Dunbar, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye. D Ford (Newport Hooker sent off)

‘BATH SMASH NEWPORT’

The Bath Chronicle generated this rare headline for a comparatively rare event. Despite being under pressure for most of the match, Bath secured victory over a Welsh club by making better use of the chances presented. It was a tale of frustration for the visitors, who dominated territorially, were 3-12 down at half time and despite winning the ball with ominous consistency, made little headway in a hard fought second half. Davies initiated the first try of the game, running with great determination down the right wing. Palmer fielded his inside pass and fellow centre Smith did the honours. Davies slotted the conversion for his 300th point of the season. Leighton Davies kicked a penalty when Bath were adjudged to have late tackled. A minute later Bath’s John Davies put the homesters six points ahead again with a 40 yard penalty for the same offence. Just before half time Ford incurred the referee’s wrath and Davies made no mistake with the penalty.

Newport looked even more menacing at the restart, but heroic tackling kept them out. Following heavy exchanges, both Pillinger and Horton needed treatment. Powerful rucking led to Leighton Davies to drop a finely judged goal, but there was no denying Bath and three minutes later John Davies kicked his third penalty after a line-out infringement. Newport again stepped up the pace, and it took stout tackling from Palmer and Co. to keep them away from the try line. Newport pulled back three points with another Leighton Davies penalty. The final Bath tally was a try to Smith, converted by Davies and Davies kicked three penalty goals.

Newport ended with 14 men, when hooker Ford got his marching orders.

 

25/4/1978

v Taunton, Away, Won 56-0. J S Waterman, J Davies, A Smith, J Palmer, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, K Cox, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, J Roberts, G Pillinger, R Lye.

This was Bath’s biggest victory away from home. The ten tries were scored by Davies (2), Smith, Simmons (3), Horton, Murphy (2), and Lye Davies converted 5 and scored a penalty. Horton dropped a goal. Combe Down’s Kelvin Cox made a significant contribution, with the forwards dictating terms in every phase, and pushed the once proud Taunton yards backwards in the scrums.

It took the Bath backs a while to cash in on their ball in abundance, but once they got going, there was little to stop them, as the Taunton tackling and covering ceased to exist.

 

27/4/1978

v Bedford, Home, Won 45-28. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, T Gray, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Pillinger, G Parsons, R Lye.

Roger Hill replaced T Gray seven minutes into the 2nd half.

Bath ended on a high note, with a feast of open rugby and some glorious tries. Play was end-to-end, with neither side showing any marked enthusiasm for tackling or covering. Jenkins did some magnificent work in the line-out, Speed and Meddick were at the heart of the rucking duel and Parsons, Lye and Pillinger rampaged into the Bedford defence. Waterman was in his element; Horton directed operations, allowing the likes of Beese to punch holes through despairing opposition. Tries flowed from Beese, Simmons, Horton, Murphy, Meddick and Pillinger, and Davies converted the lot! Horton also contributed a drop goal. Bedford’s fight back was led by England International, Derek Wyatt, destined to join Bath the following season.

 

FOR THE RECORD

TRIES:- (146) Beese and J Davies 21, Palmer 16, Hill 12, Simmons 10, Murphy and A Smith 9, Horton 8, Lye and Pillinger 7, Dunbar 5, Waterman 4, Parsons 3, Bird, B Jenkins and Robinson 2, Ford, D Gay, Hickey, Meddick, Perry, J Roberts, Shelley and Townsend 1 each.

CONVERSIONS:- (71) J Davies 56, Palmer 9, Horton 4, Waterman2.

PENALTIES:- (61) J Davies 50, Palmer 5, Hopkins 3, Horton 2, Richardson 1.

DROPPED GOALS:- (25) Horton 15, Murphy and Palmer 4, Beese and J Davies 1 each.

POINTS:- J Davies 349, Palmer 109, Horton 91, Beese 87.

58 players were utilised – 33 forwards and 25 backs.

ATTENDANCES:- Lye 39, J Davies, B Jenkins, Waterman 38, Pillinger 37, Beese 33, Palmer 31, Murphy 30, Barry 29, Horton 27, Meddick 26, Dunbar and R Hill 25, A Smith 24, Mason, Legg and Parsons 22, Bird and Ford 21, Cleaton 18, Simmons 17, P Davies 16, Harry and Townsend 15, Miller 12, Speed and Wheeler 11, Chappell 10, Chilcott, Shelley, D Gay and Perry 8, J Roberts7, Gray, Litowczyk and Robinson 5, Spencer 4, Cole, Janes, Nichols and Richardson 3, Bees, R Gay, A Jenkins, Norman, and N Smith 2, Cox, Freeth, Gemmell, Gregory, Hickey, Hopkins, Jones, Mason, Elliott, Phelps, S Roberts, Shaw and Wilson once each.

 

 

 

 

 

This page was added on 22/07/2014.

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