v Pontypool, Away, Won 26-10. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, R R Speed, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, Colin Chappell (ex Weston-s-M), G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye.
The famed Eddie Butler was at Number 8 for Pontypool. Graham Price was at prop.
Replacements – T Gray and R Hill not used.
Derek Wyatt (England and Bedford) had commenced teaching at Dauntsey’s School and was to be regularly available. It was a debut for flanker Simon Jones (Hants), who was taking up a teaching post at Bath Technical College.
In ideal conditions, Bath made the best possible start. With a smaller share of possession, their inventive back-division took advantage of their opportunities. In the first minute, John Horton dropped a goal from 35 yards. There was then a temporary lull in Bath’s fortune, as the ‘Ponty’ pack, led by British Lion Graham Price, dominated possession. Despite this, Bath increased their lead after 27 minutes, with a John Davies penalty. Furthermore, Bath got the first try of the game when Murphy fed Davies. He raced down the right wing, kicked ahead and re-gathered his own kick to score. Waterman was performing heroics in defence and at one stage, suffered a severe trampling for his efforts. Then Murphy was dispossessed allowing Young in for a try. For a while it looked as if Bath might lose their grip, but astonishingly, they hit back with another superb try by Waterman. Pontypool narrowed the gap with a try by Geoff Davies, which Lewis converted from the touchline.
Next, John Davies fly-kicked upfield, re-gathered and gave Beese a try-scoring pass. Beese fed the ball back to Davies to complete the conversion. At the very end, Horton scored another try and Davies added the extras.
v Newport, Away, Drawn 4-4. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, R R Speed, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye Replacements – C Bird and N Freeth.
“Bath produced some thrilling running, followed by spirited tenacious defence to earn a fine draw with mighty Newport at Rodney Parade…..”
Bath had never won at Newport, this draw was the next best result! Arguably, Newport were lucky to be credited with their try, as the ball appeared to be knocked on as flank forward Barrell touched down. There was little doubt over Bath’s equaliser, which followed in the 31st minute. The movement was started in the Bath 25 by Murphy and Davies. Lock forward Chappell then careered on, perilously near to the right touchline. The ubiquitous Horton was on hand to take the inside pass and squeeze over in the corner. Unfortunately, Davies could not convert.
Bath were forced to hang on grimly through the second half and the back row of Jones, Lye and Parsons tackled like demons in support of Murphy and Horton. The remainder of the back division were rock-solid against Lions’ centres Gareth Evans and Burcher.
There were forward flare-ups, as Bath saw out the last frantic minutes of this intense struggle.
Battle honours ended even.
v Leicester, Home, Lost 6-25. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, R R Speed, A Mason, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – C Perry and C Harry – not used.
Bath took three early shots at goal. Horton missed a drop in the seventh minute; Davies was wide from a comparatively easy penalty position, but on target with a harder penalty chance. Leicester quickly responded, Hare – first with a drop goal then with a penalty. Bath were generally given ‘the run-around’ and several leaden-footed defenders were unable to halt flanker Smith’s progress to the line. Hare converted to put Leicester 12-3 ahead at the interval.
Davies had missed with a third penalty attempt, and then Tigers’ forthright forward play forced Bath to yield another penalty to Hare. The Bath backs were given little chance to shine; the only advancement came from Davies’s second successful penalty 20 minutes into the second half. Bath’s hopes disappeared in ‘a welter of mistakes.’ Leicester hammered home their superiority with tries by Joyce and Duggan, the last being converted by Hare.
v Clifton, Away, Won 18-3. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Hill. Replacements – R Lye and T Gray
Bath were generally outplayed at forward, particularly in the line-out where Nick Williams dominated. Additionally, the clean striking of Luxmoore gave Clifton a distinct advantage.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Bath’s back division, but Waterman kept Bath in touch with his running from deep positions. Parsons scored the first forward try of the season; other scorers were Simmons, Beese and Steve Lewis. This last mentioned had something of a nightmare game; his service was erratic he missed four penalties and three conversions. He did convert the try by Beese.
However, the main problem was in the pack, where the rucking and mauling was appalling.
v Moseley, Away, Won 10-6. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, D Wyatt, J Horton, S Lewis, J M Meddick, A Mason, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye. S Jones replaced Mason and G Townsend replaced Palmer.
Newcomer Steve Lewis assumed a more decisive role.
Davies had provided a lead, with a penalty in the first five minutes, and added a second 17 minutes on.
Bath hooker Mason, quit with a rib injury after 20 minutes, but they held on to their 6-0 lead to the interval.
Cusworth levelled with two quick penalties in the second half, as Bath fought desperately to hold their line. Then Wyatt got away, only to be brought down short of the line. A resulting scrum set up a cross-field attack, which ended in Steve Lewis scoring an unconverted try. Bath held on bravely to the end, despite losing Palmer with a shoulder injury. Townsend deputised for the closing minutes. Waterman brought off a match-saving tackle in the dying seconds.
v Cheltenham, Home, Won 26-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Horton, S Lewis, R R Speed, C Legg, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, G Pillinger. Replacements – R Lye and C Perry
Bath built up a 22-3 interval lead, which virtually settled the match. Cheltenham showed some spirit, but their difficulties were compounded by the loss of hooker Chris Legg, with a rib cartilage injury.
In contrast with recent performances, the Bath pack won almost constant possession. Bath tries by Horton (2), Wyatt and Brian Jenkins. Davies converted two led 2 penalties.
v Exeter, Home, Won 15-9. J Palmer, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Horton, S Lewis, R R Speed, R Gould, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, G Pillinger
Replacements – J S Waterman and C Harry – Harry replaced Pillinger 5 mins from end.
The visitors provided stiff opposition in this South West Merit Table encounter. In fact, they took an early lead, when Webb stroke over a penalty after five minutes. A number of chances went begging for Bath, but consistent pressure was rewarded, when Horton landed the first of his two drop goals.
John Davies countered a spirited Exeter effort with a penalty and a late converted try.
v Neath, Away, Won 12-8. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, R R Speed, R McCarthy, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, G Pillinger
Replacements – A Smith and P Turner – not used.
This was Bath’s first ever win at ‘Fortress Gnoll,’ and came on top of their win at Pontypool and draw away to Newport. It was certainly a ‘battle royal,’ with no quarter given or asked up front.
“Bath stunned Neath by romping into a 12 point lead in the first half but were literally rocking themselves as the Welshmen hit back with everything, including fists and boots, in the second half.”
Bath fought on bravely in a decidedly alien environment. “Legg’s quick striking gave Bath good first phase possession, Jones, Parsons and Pillinger hunted so quickly for the second that Neath were quickly in disarray.” Despite a slippery ball, Horton was well in control of operations and Waterman was able to employ his attacking flare. It was one of Waterman’s high speed incursions that sent Beese in for Davies to convert. Bath’s adventurous play also generated a Horton drop goal from 45 yards out. Neath narrowed the gap before half time. “There was one more initial flourish of combined handling at the start of the second half from Bath, but then came Neath’s switch to physical confrontation.
There were several ugly incidents, with fighting between the front rows, some woeful incidents of trampling for which Neath looked mainly responsible in which Bath’s Jones was particularly roughly treated on one occasion..” The referee took little or no action. Only four points separated the sides and Bath were grateful for Murphy’s shrewd kicking from the base of the scrum, to keep them out of trouble to the end.
v Bucharest Select XV, Home, Won 18-6. J S Waterman, J Davies (4pg and 1g), M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, M Sutton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, G Pillinger. Replacements – P Simmons and R McCarthy – not used.
Bath secured a comfortable victory over the Rumanian tourists, who had previously beaten Aberavon and drawn with Swansea.
“For their first game in England, they showed very little handling flair and were taught a firm lesson in the finer arts of rucking and mauling by the Bath forwards.”
Much of their play incurred the wrath of referee Peter Hughes, and a stream of awards enabled Davies to capitalise, with four penalty successes. Wyatt, Beese and Waterman were involved in some thrilling dashes. Full-back Falcusanu dealt efficiently with all but one of Bath’s speculative forays, then a mis-kick in the 22nd minute went straight to Chris Bird, who shot through from 40 yards for the only try of the game. Davies converted.
v Aberavon, Home, Won 30-15. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, R R Speed, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, R Hill, G Pillinger, C Harry. Replacements – S Jarvis and D Barry – not used.
Bath’s astonishing success against Welsh clubs continued, with a superb display of running and handling, which produced a try count of 4 to nil. Aberavon’s points, all penalties, came from the boot of Coslett. Palmer took the fly-half spot with a classic display, whilst Waterman weighed in with more adventures out of deep defence. John Davies cashed in with a personal tally of 19 points from 2 tries, a conversion and 3 penalties. Other tries from Wyatt and Harry. Murphy dropped a neat goal.
v Plymouth Albion, Away, Won 13-12. J S Waterman, J Davies (T and 3pg), M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Palmer, D Murphy, R R Speed, C Legg, J M Meddick, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, S Jones, C Harry, G Pillinger
Replacements – P Simmons and D Butcher – Butcher replaced Harry 10 mins from end.
“A third penalty by John Davies five minutes from the end enabled Bath to continue their winning sequence….” in a South West Merit Table confrontation.
JONES v SPURRELL
This match was a ‘shocker!’ Neither side emerged blameless, after a spectacle of late tackles, flailing boots, diverse fistfights and stampings. “Several players could have been sent off and two were – opposing flank forwards Jones of Bath and Spurrell of Albion – for fighting one another.”
If anything, the game degenerated further from this point. Two Plymouth forwards had to be replaced and then Bath’s Harry was off to hospital, with a badly gashed head.
“Rugby seemed to be a secondary consideration at times…….”
Fortunately, Bath managed a first penalty and a try by Davies, before hostilities really set in. Victory went to Bath , but the match did little to enhance either club’s reputation.
v London Irish, Home, Lost 9-15. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, M Sutton, D Murphy, P Ford, C Legg, R Sparey, C Chappell, R McCarthy, R Hill, G Pillinger, G Parsons. Replacements – D Smith and G Norman – not used.
Bath ended their winning ways and were well beaten by a strong Exciles side, in which the forwards were particularly formidable. They were on the back-foot from the start, and the visitors’ first of two tries by Casalaspro came after six minutes. Five minutes on, Barry and Murphy broke on the blindside to set up another simple try. Bath struggled thereon, although Davies kept them just about in touch with 3 penalties, a try count of 3 to nil summed up the difference between the two sides.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 16-24. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Palmer, S Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, P Ford, B J Jenkins, C Chappell, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye Replacements – P Miller and G Townsend – Townsend replaced Davies after 30mins
Bath matched Bristol’s four tries, with three magnificent touchdowns by Derek Wyatt, who also set up a fourth for skipper Beese.
“After 20 marvellous opening minutes when Bath exposed the limitations of Bristol’s inexperienced back division to build an eight nil lead, they were systematically torn apart up front. Bristol led by a point at the interval, and a devastating burst of three tries in eight minutes put them almost out of reach and Bath’s glorious late rally merely emphasised what might have been.
Skipper Mike Beese summed it up afterwards: ‘We only got good possession six times, scored four tries and nearly scored from the others as well.
That was the sad story for Bath who thus had to admit defeat after threatening to run Bristol ragged in the early stages.”
“Bath’s forward problems became almost catastrophic in the early stages of the second half despite a lot of brave tackling, the dam suddenly burst.”
v St Mary’s Hospital, Home, Won 44-4. J S Waterman, T Gray, M C Beese, M Sutton, G Townsend, N Hopkins, S M Lewis, D Butcher, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, D Barry, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye
Replacements – J Roberts and I Dunbar – not used
Bath fielded six of their first choice players and still hammered the Medical Students, who were out-jumped, out-scrummaged and out-thought. A procession of tries by Gray (2), Sutton, Townsend (2), Hopkins, Lewis (2) and Parsons, with Lewis converting 2 and landing 2 penalties. Most significant was the performance of young Gareth Chilcott in the scrums. In a one-sided affair, the biggest cheer came when St. Mary’s centre, Sweeney scored a consolation try.
v Harlequins (at a near empty Twickenham) Won 15-4. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Palmer, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, D Barry, C Chappell, G Pillinger, G Parsons, S Jones
Replacements – R Lye and M Sutton – Lye replaced Pillinger (head injury) for final 15 mins.
An inspired 15 minutes of running rugby, early in the second half, brought Bath a rare away victory against Quins. It eclipsed the frustrations of a scrappy encounter, in which the referee was thought to have made a number of inappropriate decisions. An aside from Bath touch judge, David Jenkins, resulted in him being relieved of his flag five minutes from the end.
Bath had started by gifting a soft try to Harlequins, as they struggled to put any sort of shape into their game. The Bath forwards made a good job of fragmenting Quins’ possession; it was an untidy spectacle, but it served its purpose. Fortune favoured Bath from the restart, when Jones drove strongly into Harlequins’ territory. Waterman provided the link and Lewis dashed down the touchline for a fine try. Soon after, Lewis dropped a neat goal from front of posts. “Barry took control in the line-out, Chilcott, a late replacement, played an important part in improving scrummaging, and the visiting backs slipped into gear to tear Harlequins’ defence to pieces.” Tries followed from Simmons and Palmer.
v Newbridge, Home, Lost 3-6. J S Waterman, G Townsend, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, M Sutton, S M Lewis, D Butcher, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, D Barry, G Parsons, R Hill and Lye. Replacements – T Gray and P Turner – not used
“It was a game they could easily have won, but having wasted their chances, and particularly missed penalties by scrum half Steve Lewis, they could have no real complaints about losing.”
Parry James scored the Newbridge try, which Mike Grey converted. Bath’s sole reply was Mark Sutton’s penalty five minutes from the finish.
v Coventry, Home, Won 23-3. J S Waterman (Capt), P Simmons, M Sutton, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Palmer, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, D Barry, C Chappell, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry. Hopkins replaced Bird.
R McCarthy – the other replacement was not used.
This was a handsome victory and achieved by a fine exhibition of running and handling. John Palmer had an outstanding game, which bode fair for his international aspirations. Coventry’s full-strength pack made Bath work hard for possession, but their effort subsided as Barry dictated terms in the line-out, whilst Parsons, Jones and Harry cut loose in open play. Palmer and Lewis maximised on their visitors’ increasing discomfort and manifest deficiencies. Wyatt thundered over for the first of his two tries in the first minute. Palmer added a first half penalty. Bath’s second try by Lewis came in the 50th minute. Next, Lewis sent out a long pass to Waterman to send Wyatt away. From an ensuing ruck, Palmer cut through midfield, and Hopkins, subbing for Bird, sent Waterman across the line.
“Coventry, who lost skipper Darnell with a leg injury, were clearly out of their depth and before the end conceded another try to Wyatt finishing off more good work by Waterman and Palmer, who also converted twice.
Lewis gave a much improved display, wearing down the opposition with long raking touch kicks.
v United Services (Portsmouth), Home, Won 25-10. J S Waterman (Capt), P Simmons, A Smith, M Sutton, G Townsend, N Hopkins, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, D Barry, C Chappell, C Harry, G Parsons, S Jones.
Replacements – R Hill and T Gray – Hill replaced Jones
LEWIS AT HIS BEST
Steve Lewis scored a remarkable solo try and landed three long distance penalties for a personal points tally of 13. His thrilling 50 yard run gained one of Bath’s four tries. The other scorers being Hopkins (2) and Harry. “Lewis, going through his full repertoire of tantalising breaks, reverse passes and neat kicks, dominated an enterprising Bath display which lacked only finishing power.”
Hopkins, as well as scoring two good tries, played his part in some purposeful back play.
v Llanelli, Away, Drawn 7-7. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Harry, D Barry, G Pillinger, G Parsons, S Jones. Replacements – N Hopkins and G Norman – not used
Bath continued to astound with another fine performance against one of Wales’s best. They battled through for a draw at Stradey Park. Gerry Parsons engineered the last quarter try; his diagonal kick allowed winger Wyatt to scoop up the ball and cross at the corner flag. Palmer missed with the long distance conversion attempt and was also off target with a much easier penalty opportunity.
Neither side was at full strength, but the confrontation included an intriguing sub-contest between rival internationals Wyatt and J J Williams. Parsons was outstanding, with Simon Jones a very good second. Palmer had kicked a penalty in the opening minutes. The Scarlets scored through Andy Hill’s penalty and Steve Thomas’s try. Llanelli’s star-studded back division was knocked out of its stride by fine Bath tackling. Bath took the honours to hold the mighty Llanelli on their own patch.
v London Scottish, Away, Lost 12-18. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Palmer, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry. Replacements – D Smith and P Turner
Bath got off to a poor start and the Exciles edged home by a goal and four penalties to a goal and two penalties. With the score at 0-15, Palmer opened Bath’s account with a penalty after 25 minutes. He added another two minutes into the second half. Two further opportunities were missed, but Bath further bestirred themselves and with a move started by Simmons on his own 25; Sutton received and ran round under the posts, for Palmer to add the extras.
Regrettably, Bath had left themselves far too much to do because of their early indiscretions.
v Gloucester, Home, Won 20-10. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry. Replacements – G Pillinger and T Gray
Two opportunist tries at the opening of the second half, paved the way for Bath’s victory.
Kicks ahead by Steve Lewis led to Gloucester’s undoing. First, Bert Meddick took advantage of an awkward bounce. The second eluded a defender and Paul Simmons took possession, sending away Simon Jones for Palmer to convert. Another defensive lapse allowed Derek Wyatt to pick up and race 60 yards for the most spectacular try of the evening. By his own standards, Horton had a less impressive game, but he did succeed with one drop goal from four attempts. Palmer converted one try and added a penalty.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 21-10. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry
Bath achieved the double over Harlequins, but it was a distinctly muddled affair. “They began and ended well but the middle of the match lapsed into lethargic disorganisation and if Harlequins had taken the chances they created it might easily have been a very different story. Bath varied between the sublime and the ridiculous. At their best with Parsons and Jones leading the forward charge, they bristled with menace despite a slip-shod display by scrum half Lewis and surprising hesitancy by Horton who hardly looked England’s current fly-half.”
A high-class match looked in prospect when Jones crossed for Palmer to convert. Later, Waterman ran out of defence to create a try by Palmer on the half-hour. The Quins began to give the Bath forwards a bad time, but the side’s finishing was generally poor. Bath led 10-7 at the interval.
Lewis and Quin’s Macauly exchanged penalties, and then Bath clinched the match with well-taken tries by Legg and Lewis.
v Rugby, Away, Won 13-3. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Palmer, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg , G Chilcott, B J Jenkins, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry. Replacements – C Perry and P Turner.
Bath mastered adverse conditions as well as their opponents for their 16th win of the season. The Bath backs played in their track suites as some protection against the hard-packed snow. The forwards, ably backed by Palmer, saw Bath home. Tries were scored by Mark Sutton and hooker Chris Legg, while Palmer converted one and added a penalty. Phil Turner made a promising debut as a late replacement.
v Clifton, Home, Won 35-6. N Hopkins, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, A Parfitt, G Chilcott, D Butcher, C Chappell, G Pillinger, S Jones.
Replacements – M Sutton and P Turner – Turner replaced S Jones
Christmas sentiments were set aside as Bath rattled up seven tries by Wyatt (3), Horton (2), Simmons and Meddick. Lewis converted two and added a penalty.
Wyatt’s hat trick followed successive cross-kicks from Palmer, Lewis and Horton.
Prop forward Meddick was happy to score his second try in a month, and his success was greeted with suitably appreciative applause.
v Northampton, Away, Drawn 10-10. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, B J Jenkins, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry
Replacements – N Timbrell replaced Beese after 15 mins and P Miller replaced Palmer 15 mins from end. (face injury) B Jenkins limped off 5 mins from end.
Bath suffered three injuries and ended the game one player short. Most serious were the injuries sustained by skipper Beese. Apart from needing stitches in a gashed mouth, his collarbone slipped out of place and had to be re-aligned. His departure severely disrupted the Bath effort.
Wyatt had scored a try in the fourth minute and Lewis had dropped a goal. Wyatt was obliged to spend the rest of the game at centre, with the inexperienced Nick Timbrell on the wing in replacement.
Northampton, ably marshalled by Jacko Page, whittled away at Bath’s lead and the score stood at 7-7 at the interval. In the second half Surguy kicked another penalty, but Bath clawed back for a deserved draw, when John Horton dropped a goal. Gerry Parsons played on with a broken nose. Flanker, Simon Jones ended up as a centre!
v Royal Navy, Home, Won 13-6. J S Waterman, P Simmons, J Palmer, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, D Barry, R McCarthy, R Lye, P Turner, C Harry. Replacements – G Townsend and J Roberts
A muddy pitch did not suite Bath’s open style of play. Palmer opened with a penalty and a mistake by Rees, allowed Horton to sprint in for the touchdown. After this, the Navy side had more of the play and caused Bath a few problems. However, Wyatt was able to break away and Palmer converted. The Navy pack kept driving forward and they were rewarded when centre Fabian made a break for his partner Hopkins to touch down and convert.
v Metropolitan Police, Home, Won 16-7. J S Waterman, P Simmons, C Bird, M Sutton, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, D Barry, G Parsons, G Pillinger, C Harry. Replacements – D Smith and R McCarthy.
Bath provided the more enterprising play and eventually managed to wear down tough Police defence. They rucked and mauled well and Barry dominated in the line-out. Hopkins, Sutton and Bird all had their moments. Tries flowed from Sutton and Bird, with Lewis converting one and landing two penalties. Previously, the ‘Met’ had only lost five games in 22 outings.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Lost 14-25. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, S M Lewis, D Butcher, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, D Barry, G Parsons, G Pillinger, C Harry. Replacements – C Bird and P Turner – Bird replaced Hopkins (concussion) after 20 minutes.
Midway through the second half and a score line at 14 points to 6. Bath had this game in their pockets, but a storming forward revival turned the match upside down, as the Park scored 19 points in the final 20 minutes. International forward Neil Mantell scored two quick tries and Andy Ripley one. The transformation was completed by Charlie Ralston (later to join Bath), who converted two and dropped a goal. Bath simply lost their way, and spent too much of their time questioning referee Quittenton’s decisions. Bath tries by Wyatt, Harry and Simmons, with Lewis converting one.
A Bath XV v RAF, Home, Won 16-4. C Perry, G Townsend, S Jarvis, C Bird, P Bird, J Horton, D Murphy, J Cunningham, B Kenny, R Sparey, R J Wheeler, R McCarthy, R Lye, G Pillinger, P Turner. L Wilson replaced Townsend.
A largely reserve side had no difficulty in despatching an R.A.F. selection lined up for the Inter-Services tournament. Bath were well led by Radley Wheeler, with good support from Pillinger, Turner and Cunningham. Horton’s drop goal opened the scoring after ten minutes and provided a steadying influence as the pack drove forward. Scotland’s Billy Steele engineered a fine R.A.F. try, but Bath came back strongly. Paul Bird marked his debut with a good penalty and converted the first of Murphy’s two tries.
v London Welsh, Away, Lost 18-28 First Round John Player Cup. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J A Palmer, D Wyatt, J P Horton, S M Lewis, D Butcher, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, D Barry, G Pillinger, S Jones, C Harry
Replacements – M Sutton and R Lye –Sutton replaced Waterman (damaged hand)
Bath held a 11-10 interval lead, but in the second spell, Horton missed a drop goal from an easy position and Lewis hooked a penalty chance from just 20 yards out. The game seemed to turn on these events and Bath were overtaken. England fly-half Neil Bennett scored 16 points for the Exciles, and his tactical kicking, from ample possession, was a dominant feature of the match. His performance eclipsed Horton, who suffered from poor service from the pack, which lacked Parsons, Jenkins and Meddick. With the exception of the back row, Bath forwards were outclassed in all phases of play. Notwithstanding, the dearth of good ball, Messrs. Waterman, Wyatt and Horton, took part in some marvellous handling movements. Bath try scorers were Simmons (2) and Lewis, with Lewis kicking 2 penalties.
v Exeter University, Home, Won 68-4. J S Waterman, P Simmons (Tx2), M C Beese (Tx3), J A Palmer (8g), D Wyatt (Tx2), J P Horton, S M Lewis (Tx2), J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons (T), S Jones (Tx3), C Harry. Replacements – J Davies and R Lye
This was a 13 try run-out against students, with John Palmer slotting 8 conversions.
It was a further improvement on the Club’s highest score record, and certainly a fluent running and handling display – but little else. At the end, the sympathy was with the students.
v Bristol, Home, Lost 7-23. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J A Palmer, D Wyatt, J P Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, C Harry. Replacements – M Sutton and P Turner – Sutton replaced Waterman for final 25 mins.
Bath’s early forays were curtailed by the close attentions of Bristol’s back row of Baker (England B), Hesford and Rafter (England). Newly arrived Hesford had an impressive game, and the trio put on a masterly display of ball hunting which laid the foundation for Bristol’s victory.
Bath did manage a 12th minute try, when an inch-perfect chip by Horton, allowed Wyatt to thunder over. However, Bristol’s four tries made it an unhappy afternoon for their Bath hosts, again hampered by lack of forward control. Barry did well in the line out, but they failed miserably in the rucks and mauls. Bath were gradually worn down by the Bristol back row, ably supported by Troughton, Pomphrey and Doubleday, and backed up with the tactical expertise of Richard Harding and David Sorrell.
“Palmer’s penalty goal on the hour after good work by Lewis, kept Bath briefly in contention, but Bristol’s superiority was confirmed in the final quarter as the home defence tired.”
v Bridgend, Away, Lost 6-15. C Perry, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J P Horton, S M Lewis, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, P Turner, C Harry.
It began raining as they crossed the Severn Bridge; it bucketed down throughout the game, and it was still raining until they were back in England!
Conditions could not have been less suited to Bath’s running and handling style of play, and they simply got bogged down in Brewery Field mud. It was the first defeat in five visits to the Principality.
Bath again struggled for possession and their only reward came from two penalty goals by Sutton.
J P R Williams kicked well for position, and Bridgend’s full-strength pack covered any possible weaknesses among some of their reserve backs.
v Cross Keys, Away, Won 22-0. J Palmer, P Simmons, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, M Sutton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – J Davies and P Turner
Cross Keys ended two men short – but not through injury!
This was a niggling, thoroughly unpleasant affair, where all out warfare, was never far from the surface. Centre Lyn Jones (punch), and flanker Peter Sparkes (alleged kick), were both ushered to the dressing room in the 60th and 70th minute respectively. “It was the almost predictable, unsavoury climax after the unacceptable face of rugby had reared its ugly head just before the interval. A scrum broke into a pitched fist fight between the forwards.”
While the referee dispensed his admonishments, a wag in the crowd called: “Don’t spoil it ref. It’s the best we’ve seen so far.” This quip, failed to sweeten the temperament of the scowling front row men, and a thoroughly surly and unsportsman-like encounter continued, with a goodly share of late tackles, obstructions, general niggle and off-the-ball incidents.
“A few mad moments, certainly, will be remembered rather longer than the rest of a sub-standard, frustrating match which Bath eventually won at a canter.”
Bath took 40 boring minutes before they managed to break down stubborn defence and Simon Jones bored through from Murphy’s tap penalty. Other tries came from Palmer and Wyatt, with Palmer converting 2, dropping a goal and adding a penalty. Near the end, Simmons was stretchered off with suspected concussion, and John Davies made a welcome re-appearance as sub.
v Swansea, Home, Won 18-6. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – C Bird and G Pillinger.
The Bath pack showed a distinct improvement, generating warm praise from skipper Beese: “It was one of their best performances for a long time. They really stuck at it, controlled the ball they got and came round to spoil Swansea’s as well.” Murphy snapped away at their heels, scoring a try himself, plus touchdowns for Simmons and Wyatt, and two penalty goals by Sutton.
“….Bath took everything that was thrown at them with tigerish back row covering from Jones, Lye and Parsons, and important defensive kicking by Murphy and Horton, and some first-rate tackling throughout the team.” Again, Waterman was the master of timely intervention.
v Tiverton, Home, Won 69-3. J S Waterman, P Simmons (Tx3), M C Beese (Tx2), J Palmer (Tx2, 9 conversions and 1dg), D Wyatt (Tx4), J Horton (T), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton and C Chappell.
Tiverton came in as a replacement fixture and were unlucky to be exposed to Bath at their entertaining best. It was the highest score of the season. Interestingly, the spectators were treated to exactly the same aggregate scoring as in the previous try bonanza against Exeter University in February. Their record score was advanced by one point. In this statistical mis-match, Bath ran as they liked and cut through at will. The backs had a field day – but poor Tiverton should have been matched against Bath United.
John Palmer bagged 29 points.
A Bath XV v English Students. Home. Lost 0-6. (Game abandoned after 50 minutes)
A Janes, B Trevaskis, M Sutton, C Bird, Townsend, J Davies, J Curtis, D Butcher, A Mason, J Cunningham, R McCarthy, C Butcher, C Harry, J Roberts and M Stringer.
Referee Maurice Longney, mercifully brought this game to a close after 50 minutes. Torrential rain made conditions impossible. Five minutes earlier, Bath had stripped off their yellow jerseys for bright green ones, but it was all to no avail, as colours merged in a sea of mud. Skill counted for little and it all came to an end in an untidy slog. New winger Trevaskis had little chance to shine.
v Nottingham, Away, Won 11-6. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, A Smith, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Butcher, R J Wheeler, D Barry, P Turner, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – G Townsend and B Jenkins
Bath chalked up their 25th victory of the season, with some good performances behind the scrum. Conditions were far from ideal, but Bath’s talented backs adapted to the slippery conditions.
Horton kicked a first half penalty goal and unconverted tries came from Simmons in the fifth minute and Wyatt after 75 minutes.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-11. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – J Roberts and A Smith – not used
Gloucester’s physical style of play knocked the spirit out of Bath and they “went down without a whimper of defiance.” It was an untidy, passionless sort of a match, further degraded by questionable refereeing decisions and the ever-worsening conditions.
“The issue was virtually settled during the first 15 minutes during which Gloucester scored all their points. After that, both sides seemed content to go through the motions. Bath, sadly, seemed to have a psychological black about this fixture and never managed to lift themselves after giving away four soft points after only three minutes.” Much of the match was described as “a yawning bore.” Palmer kicked a penalty.
v Newport, Home, Won 15-6. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. C Chappell replaced S Jones after 20 mins
Derek Wyatt scored his 26th try of the season, in muddy conditions, to take another Welsh scalp. Palmer converted and contributed two penalties, whilst Horton dropped, his almost customary goal.
Newport’s heavy pack secured a majority of possession, but Bath made better use of their chances.
v Pontypridd, Home, Won 20-18. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. This was Bath’s first fixture with Pontypridd.
“With little more than two minutes left and Pontypridd leading 18-16, Bath launched one last, desperate attack with fly-half John Horton producing one of those delicate chips through and behind the defence.
Sutton saw his chance and swept the ball off his boots before accelerating over to provide probably the most dramatic finish of the season after certainly one of the most gripping matches. The lead changed hands no less than four times….” Wyatt had scored an earlier try, Horton dropped a goal and Sutton kicked 3 penalties.
v West Hartlepool, Home, Won 26-12. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, G Townsend, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, G Pillinger, R Lye.
This was another new fixture for Bath. Derek Wyatt was away on a Barbarians tour, but Bath picked the strongest side available, as the Durham side were very much an unknown quantity. However, Bath were able to dominate the game throughout, although they missed a number of try scoring opportunities, and gave away points with petty infringements. “Horton, Beese and Palmer in midfield, dominated the match with excellent support coming from scrum half Murphy and flankers Parsons and Pillinger.” Townsend scored two tries and the others came from Beese, Murphy and Palmer.
Palmer missed every conversion, but was successful with two penalties.
v South Wales Police, Home, Won 36-16. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, J Davies, J Horton, D Murphy, D Butcher, C Legg, G Chilcott, C Chappell, B Jenkins, G Parsons, P Turner, R Lye
TRICK SPEEDS IN
Replacements – G Townsend and C Harry – Townsend replaced Palmer for the final 50 minutes.
It was England 19 group international, and Bryanston schoolboy, David Trick’s first game; he had a spectacular introduction to senior club rugby and scored three tries. He had the crowd on their feet by his third: “Full-back Jim Waterman gave him the ball inside his own 25 and Trick set off on a breathtaking 80 yard run, beating three defenders en route before touching down.”
Overall, the home possession tended to be sluggish and slipshod, but Trick made up for all of that, with so much promise for his future at Bath. Other tries were scored by Waterman (2) and Davies (2), with Davies converting three and Palmer one.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 22-6. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, J M Meddick, C Legg, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton and C Harry
ONE OF THE BEST
Bath put on a great performance and the coveted Rag Doll returned to the Rec. after an absence of four years.
“Their first half display must surely rank as one of their best ever during which they produced some quite glorious running and handling against the very club that has made such dazzling play almost their own bi-word.” (Bath Chronicle)
Notably, David Wyatt scored a hat trick, equalling George Haydon’s 48-year-old record.
Horton combined well with Paul Smith (ex Combe Down). Beese and Palmer provided the midfield thrust and Waterman, playing his 350th game, provided the inventiveness when running from deep.
It was Bath’s ninth win against Welsh opposition, and a particular triumph against a superb Llanelli side.
Llanelli: Phil Bennett, K Hughes, Ray Gravell, R Bergiers, P Haymer, Morgan, V Richards, C Thomas, H Thomas, J Williams, P May, A Davies, Paul Ringer, P Price and Derek Quinnell.
Three great tries by Derek Wyatt, with Davies converting two and landing a penalty. Horton dropped a goal.
“Llanelli never quite knew what hit them as Bath pulled out all the stops with a marvellous all-round team performance featuring superb midfield running by Beese and Palmer, great interventions by Waterman in his 350th game; a surprisingly mature display from Combe Down’s Paul Smith at scrum half and Barry’s line-out dominance stealing the pack’s thunder.”
“And Bath’s superiority was finally confirmed near the end when Waterman’s well-timed pass again enabled Wyatt to gallop over to cap Bath’s ninth victory of the season against top Welsh opposition and send their biggest crowd away happy.”
v Bedford, Away, Won 21-13. J Davies, D Trick, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, R Gould, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – C Bird and J Roberts
The season ended on a high note, with a first ever win at Bedford, after 16 visits. David Trick ensured a grandstand finish with two magnificent tries, Bert Meddick scored a try and John Davies landed three penalties. The only regret was that Derek Wyatt was unable to get amongst the tries against his old club. He needed just one try to exceed the 29 try scoring record of forward George Haydon in the 1930-31 season. Wyatt had scored a total of 145 tries in 152 games. In Bedford’s 1975-76 season, he had scored 35 tries in 36 games. However, it was Trick’s tries that were the high spots in an otherwise ragged match in which the side, as a whole, and were well below their fluent best.
Perhaps it should be noted that Waterman and Palmer were absent.
Bath won the Somerset Sevens.
Squad:- G Norman, J Roberts, R Lye, J Davies, D Wyatt, M Beese, G Townsend.
FOR THE RECORD
Bath came second to Bridgend in the Daily Mail Anglo-Welsh Pennant.
Top attendances by :- Beese 39. Waterman and Wyatt 38, Parsons 37, Meddick 36, Jones 30, Chilcott and Palmer 29, and Horton 28.
131 Tries, 49 Conversions, 62 penalties and 15 Dropped Goals were scored, with top points; Davies 133, Palmer 128, Wyatt 116, Lewis 99 and Horton 65.
Tries from Wyatt 29, Simmons 14, Lewis 11, Beese 10, Horton 8, Davies 7, Jones 6, Palmer 6, Murphy, Sutton and Trick 5, Townsend and Waterman 4, Harry, Hopkins, Meddick and Parsons 3, Legg 2, C Bird, Gray and Jenkins 1.
John Davies was the highest points scorer for the fourth season in succession. Remarkably, he achieved this season’s feat playing in just over a third of the matches. In the last five seasons Davies had scored 1322 points in 174 games. Three players topped the 100 points mark.