Bath’s domestic season was preceded by a five match tour of California, including Paloato, where Bath enjoyed a 40-9 win. Wyatt scored three of the seven tries.
Bath took the honours in the San Jose Sevens Tournament. They entered two teams and won all their matches. Seahawk’s and ex Bath player Bill Marks, guested for Bath ‘B’.
Bath ‘A’ 7 scored an aggregate 74 points to 32 in their four games. A Squad: Simon Jones, Robbie Lye, George Norman, John Davies, John Palmer, Mark Sutton and Derek Wyatt.
Bath ‘B’ 7: Bill Marks, Mark Hayes, Jon Roberts, Chris Bird, Paul Smith, Gary Townsend and Jim Waterman. Points For 102, Against 60.
v Pontypool, Home, Won 16-9. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton (Capt), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – N Hopkins and C Harry.
This was quite a struggle for a first match of the season, but they started anew, as they finished the old – by beating a top-ranked Welsh side. They had been nine points down at the interval and had taken quite a drubbing from Pontypool’s formidable pack. Bath seemed to have no answer to the combined onslaught of Squire, Windsor and Butler. However, a dramatic second half recovery, spearheaded by Damian Murphy, saw them home – but only just! Horton commented: It was a very satisfying match to win considering the mess we had got ourselves into. It showed our strength of character.”
Bath’s fortunes were transformed by two tries within ten minutes: “Simmons, sprinting down the right, found himself well supported by Lye, Jones and Wheeler who handled before Murphy scored; then the tiny scrum half launched Wyatt on the blind-side from a scrum and was up again to take the inside pass and dart to the line.” Palmer converted both, and later set up a try for Simmons, with a well-placed punt ahead. It promised well for the rest of the season.
John Davies scored 24 of Bath’s 32 points in their three pool matches in the Harlequins Sevens. They beat Harlequins 10-8, Drew 16-16 with Blackrock, but crashed 6-30 against Heriot’s. The Scottish Sevens specialists, went on to beat Bridgend in the Final.
v Newport, Away, Won 6-3. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton (Capt), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – H Thomas and C Bird – not used
History was made with Bath’s first-ever victory at Rodney Parade. Derek Wyatt’s drop goal and a penalty by John Palmer inside twelve minutes tipped the scales against a Leighton Davies’ penalty. In fact, Davies had a dreadful afternoon ‘with the boot,’ including missing a ‘sitter,’ in the last minute, from right under the posts. Bath deserved their win, if only for their tenacity. In contrast, Newport were sometimes utterly lacking in fire, in a game watched by Wales and England selectors. British Lions, Burcher and Gareth Evans were almost anonymous and never looked like scoring a try.
“For this Bath must take credit. They scrummaged much better than against Pontypool, disrupted Newport’s ball at the line-out, and contested well in the loose where Parsons, Jones and Lye worked well together.” Barry won vital line-out ball and Murphy, despite injury, tidied up from the base of the scrum. The defensive cover was exceptional.
Radley Wheeler had the excruciating experience of having his dislocated finger ‘put back,’ on the field!
v Leicester, Away, Won 10-9. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton (Capt), D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, D Barry, H Thomas, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye, G Parsons. Replacements – S Jeffries and J Norton.
New arrival, Howard Thomas, 17 stone, 6ft 5ins., a Welshman from Loughborough College, was forced to withdraw in his debut match for 12 stitches. (22 minute) It gave Simon Jeffries, ex Combe Down, a First XV debut.
A superb performance by the forwards led to Bath’s second win at Welford Road since the war.
Uncharacteristically, the Tigers made a number of mistakes, which Bath were able to convert into tries by Lye and Wyatt, with Palmer converting one. Parsons, Lye and Jones impressed in both constructive and destructive play. Leicester missed the steadying influence of Peter Wheeler and stand-in Ian Bridgwood was given a torrid time by Messrs. Meddick, Mason and Chilcott.
v Moseley, Home, Won 22-11. 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 – B J Jenkins, D Trick and G Townsend – not used.
Chairman of the England Selectors Budge Roger’s post match comment: “They just don’t know when to stop attacking – even when things aren’t going right for them – and they’re a very exciting side to watch.” They certainly ‘plucked victory from the jaws of defeat,’ as they were trailing 4-11, 15 minutes from no-side. In the final breathtaking minutes, the pack surged forward and Robbie Lye drove for the line, creating a try for scrum-half Murphy. “Waterman, who had been trying all the afternoon with a minimum of success, produced a burst through the middle to open up the tigerish Moseley defence. Wyatt took a difficult inside pass and battered his way 25 yards to the line as opponents bounced off.
It took Bath ahead again and when, within two minutes, Waterman had attacked out of defence again, sent Simmons down the right wing and watched Beese race away from his pass to provide Palmer with his third conversion, Moseley were sunk without trace.” Murphy scored the first half try.
For Moseley, former England half, Martin Cooper had some good moments, but the mainstay of the defence was at centre, where Barry Corless and Swain did much to disrupt Bath’s first half effort.
v Seahawks (California), Home, Won 58-0. N Hopkins, B Trevaskis, J Palmer, J Davies, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, D Butcher, B Kenny, G Chilcott, D Barry, S Jeffries, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and G Pillinger – Pillinger replaced Spurrell for final 20 mins
It was Barry Trevaskis and Roger Spurrell’s first game. It turned out to be a mismatch against these American tourists. They had performed moderately well when Bath visited them in California in August, but on this damp autumnal evening, Bath’s try-hungry troops reduced them to shadows.
Bath did almost as they liked and, with forward dominance, Bath’s talented backs had a field day.
Tries flowed from Wyatt (5), Trevaskis (2), Murphy, Chilcott (first senior try), Jones and Lye, with Davies converting seven.
v Llanelli, Away, Lost 6-14. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese (Capt), J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Davies, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, G Chilcott, R J Wheeler, D Barry, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – G Townsend and C Harry – Harry replaced Chilcott for final 30 mins.
The Scarlets cut short Bath’s winning run, monopolising possession and eventually overcoming their visitors’ stubborn defence. Bath actually held the lead at 6-4 until five minutes from no-side, then Llanelli pulled two tries out of the hat, converting one. Murphy had performed heroics, and it was extremely unfortunate that his attempted clearance kick was charged down by Ray Gravell. This reverse knocked the stuffing out of Bath, and Gravell next broke a tackle to set up the second try in injury time for right wing Lyndon Jones. Bath’s points came from two penalties by Davies.
The Bath pack were outplayed by their opposite numbers and, with Davies missing penalties, a Llanelli resurgence was inevitable. Chilcott and Meddick sustained injuries.
v Clifton, Away, Won 33-13. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, G Page, D Butcher, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, D Barry, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – S Jones and A Janes – not used
It was ex Wellington prop Richard Lee’s first senior game and Cornish forward Roger Spurrell got his second outing, but at the expense of his close friend, Simon Jones.
Wyatt’s second half ‘hat-trick’ of tries lifted this game out of mediocrity. Bath had led by just one point at the interval; there were many new faces and teamwork was not of a high order. Schoolboy international Graham Page had an impressive debut at scrum-half. Within five minutes he made a superb open side break, handing to the supporting Spurrell for the opening try.
Other tries by Trevaskis and Bird, with Neil Hopkins converting three and adding a penalty.
Clifton’s spoiling tactics were negative, but none the less effective.
v Neath, Home, Drawn 22-22. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Butcher, D Barry, S Jeffries, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – R Wheeler and P Simmons
A sizeable crowd was relieved to see John Davies slot an injury time penalty to earn Bath a draw with Neath. However, the Bath players were far from happy with the result, as they felt they had thrown away a match which they could have won with some comfort. John Horton commented: “We were the only side really to create try-scoring chances. We scored three and should have scored six. They only got one which we gave them but I suppose if you give away as many stupid penalties as we did, you don’t deserve to win.” Bath’s indiscretions cost them 18 points, courtesy of Neath full-back John Pritchard. It was, nevertheless, a marvellously entertaining match, with the lead changing hands six times, until the final nail-biting finish. Bath tries from Wyatt (2), and Beese, with Davies converting two and adding two penalties.
v South Wales Police (played at Bridgend), Away, Won 13-4. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, A Janes, G Townsend, N Hopkins, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, S Jeffries, B J Jenkins, G Pillinger, G Parsons, H Thomas. It was Geoff Pillinger’s last game. Bath’s injury list lengthened – Lye replaced Parsons after 20 minutes and Robinson replaced Waterman after 55. Hopkins came off with a shoulder injury 10 mins from the end, so they finished with 14 men. The Police also lost two players with injuries, which added to disruption in this particularly scrappy match. As expected, the Police pack was big and abrasive, but their fate was sealed in the first minute, when Beese worked a scissors with his partner Janes and sliced through to score in the corner. Davies converted. Later, Murphy found a gap in defence, and provided just enough room for Davies to touch down. Davies added a penalty just before the interval. The Police revived briefly and an error, by the otherwise reliable Janes, allowed right winger Morris to score for the Police side. Murphy did a lot of tidying up behind hard-grafting Bath forwards.
v Aberavon, Away, lost 15-17. A Janes, J Davies, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, S Jeffries, H Thomas, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – P Simmons and P Turner –after 10 mins D Barry suffered a damaging punch to the eye and went off, to be replaced by P Turner.
Bath had this game firmly within their grasp, but allowed the Wizards two decisive tries in the closing minutes. They were leading 15-7 five minutes from the finish and such was their commitment that the Welshmen were already contemplating their first home defeat of the season. Then a three-quarter fumble allowed flanker, Alexander, to pick up and drive forward. He fed to full-back Lewis, who scored far out on the left wing. Aberavon found new energy and pressured Bath under their own posts. Lye picked up from the base of the scrum, but passed straight into the hands of Alexander, who dived over, to give Coslett the easiest of conversions. It was a tragic ending to a high speed match in which Bath had held the lead for some 70+ minutes.
Mike Beese scored Bath’s try, which was converted by Davies, who also landed two penalties. Murphy dropped a goal.
A Bath XV v R.A..F. 21 Group. A Janes, B Trevaskis, N Holmes, M Sutton, D R Wyatt (Capt.), D Johns, P Smith, C Lilley, G Bess, S Jefferies, A Litowczyk, R S Spurrell, C Bromige, H Thomas. Replacements: P Turner and G Howell.
v Bristol, Home, Won 38-17. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lye, S Jeffries, H Thomas, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. The match was refereed by Monsieur Chevrier (French Federation of Referees.)
Replacements – G Townsend and C Harry – not used
Eighteen year old David Trick contributed three tries, Wyatt two and Waterman one, in a comprehensive rout of arch rivals Bristol. John Palmer converted four and landed two penalties.
It was Trick’s third game in first class rugby, but he treated the crowd to a remarkable display of pace and attacking skill, which would surely make the selectors sit up and take notice. Trick and Wyatt in combination were just too much for Bristol to handle, and the whole back division contributed to a blistering display of handling, which tore into the opposition. In one purple spell, Bath ran up 23 points in 14 minutes.
Bristol’s Kevin Bogira, was sent off after 30 mins for, allegedly, kneeing an opponent. Bristol fought on doggedly without their hooker. The forward confrontation contained many unsavoury incidents, including flare-ups following accusations of finger gouging and similar acts of skulduggery.
Bristol were left somewhat breathless, although Morley did steal a try at the end.
v St Mary’s Hospital, Away, Won 28-6. A Janes, B Trevaskis, J Davies, M C Beese, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, J Cunningham, A Mason, C Lilley, S Jeffries, H Thomas, R Spurrell, P Turner, C Harry. Replacements – N Jones and I Wakeling – not used.
This was the last in a line of annual fixtures, which renowned playwright Arnold Ridley had established nearly 50 years previously. The 84 year old, former fixture secretary was disappointed at the end of the association, which had witnessed games by great players, such as Nim Hall, Louis Cannell and Wintle. The game, though scrappy, lacked nothing in enthusiasm, as the young students made life uncomfortable for the more seasoned Bath forwards. Bath found it difficult to match their motivation and their make-shift selection were hardly “brimful of team-work.”
Tries by Wyatt, Paul Smith and Horton, with two conversions, three penalties by Davies, and a Horton drop goal, finally settled the issue.
v Cheltenham, Away, Won 16-9. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, H Thomas, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and G Norman
John Davies, by his own admission, gave one of his worst kicking performances, but all was forgiven when he landed the vital late goal, which saved the side. It was five minutes from no-side, with Bath trailing 7-9, when Davies squared up for his sixth penalty chance from an easy position:
“Again Davies hooked the ball badly – but it struck a post and rebounded almost sideways before falling just over the bar to put Bath in front.” “I was never so glad to see the ball go over in all my life,” said Davies afterwards. Bath were then flattered when Cheltenham gave away a try to Beese, converted by Davies, at the very end. Cheltenham had led 9-4 at the interval; Bath’s score coming from a solo try by Parsons. Davies succeeded with two penalties from several attempts.
v Harlequins, Away, Won 41-17. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, H Thomas, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton & P Turner – not used.
Bath overwhelmed the Quins as Bryanston scholar Trick bagged two tries. He was matched by Derek Wyatt on the other wing, but it was Trick’s acceleration and breaks which left defenders grasping at air. He made a tremendous impact in his early matches, scoring 10 tries in his first four appearances. ‘Tricky’ soon became a favourite with the crowds. In his idle moments, and there were many, he had the disarming habit of having little chats with spectators while the game went on. In tight matches, when he was neglected or cold, he sometimes looked a picture of misery, as he lounged around, hands in pockets, way out on the wing.
He was reported to enjoy a glass of sherry before matches, and he probably needed it, if he was not brought into play. He was a potential match winner in every game he played. You could always tell when he was in good form – when he took his man on the outside! Trick’s second try came from a 60 yard run, in which he rounded his opposite winger and his cut inside, left the Quins full-back floundering.
Indeed, Bath “finally produced the sort of rugby which the London public has often read about but so seldom seen, in a devastating 25 minute period at the end when they scored five of their seven tries.”
Bath tries by Trick (2), Wyatt (2), Horton, Murphy and Meddick, with Palmer converting five and landing a penalty goal.
This is the fixture when Bert Meddick was looking after his baby. Jack demanded Bert’s attendance – so the baby came to – nappie changes, feeding – the lot!
v Newbridge, Home, Won 21-16. H Hopkins, D Trick, M C Beese, J Davies, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, S Eeley, C Lilley, S Jeffries, D Barry, R Spurrell, P Turner, H Thomas. Replacements – B Trevaskis and G Pillinger
Bath were short of ten first choice players due to County calls. They invited Bristol Captain Mike Fry to guest for them against Newbridge. Mike was “very flattered”, but the approach was overruled by the Bath Emergency Committee and after discussions between Bristol and Bath officials. The approach had come from Bath Coach Dave Robson.
Bath preserved their home record, thanks to a match saving try by John Horton. With less than ten minutes to go the match was poised at 12-12, then Horton followed up his own kick, pounced on a lucky bounce and fly-kicked on to win a race to the touch-down. Newbridge’s rough- and–tough side had given them plenty of problems up-front. There were several niggling encounters in which fists were thrown and which the referee failed to control. Fly-half Paul Turner masterminded the visitors’ effort, which gave them a try count of three to two. Tries by Trick and Horton and converted by Davies saw Bath home. Davies also landed three penalties, the third awarded for a blatant late tackle on Hopkins.
News that five Bath players had been selected to play for South and South West versus the All Blacks at Exeter on Tuesday 20th November. Mike Beese was to skipper the side.
v Coventry, Away, Won 3-0. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, H Thomas, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye.
Replacements – A Janes and S Jeffries – not used.
Derek Wyatt’s magnificent 12th minute drop goal for Bath’s first victory at Coventry for 40 years.
He fielded Huw Davies’s faulty clearance and put the ball straight between the uprights from 45 yards out. For the rest of the game they stood up manfully to a relentless pounding from the powerful Coventry pack, facing cold and driving rain throughout the second half.
A FAULTLESS BASTION
“To hold on to that early lead was little short of heroic, though, to be fair, they needed the help of Huw Davies who missed four kickable penalties and generally had a poor game.”
“…..Waterman, the model of coolness and sure fielding, was the faultless bastion of Bath’s great backs-to-the-wall effort.” Spurrell also had an outstanding game.
On this Saturday Bath United, captained by John Davies, beat Nuneaton Extras 106 – 0 !
v United Services (Portsmouth), Away, Won 29-12. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M Sutton, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, R Lee, A Mason, J M Meddick, S Jeffries G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones. Replacements –R Lye and I Dunbar – not used.
Bath took the Services ground record, but in front of a mere handful of spectators. The try count was five to one, but the hosts were a tough lot up front and it took outstanding work by Parsons, Jones and Spurrell to keep them in check. Bath were superior behind the scrum, with repeated interventions by Waterman and Wyatt showing great pace on the wing. Horton showed glimpses of his best form, while Palmer and Sutton probed for gaps through the middle. Tries scored by Wyatt (2), Horton (2), and Jones, with Palmer converting three and kicking a penalty.
A Bath Xv v Ministry of Defence . A Janes Trevaskis, N Holmes, C Bird, P Simmons, N Hopkins, P Smith, R Roe, C Legg, R Hibbian Cox, van der Loos, S Jefferies, J Roberts, R Stead, H Thomas.
v London Scottish, Home, Won 36-7. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and S Jones.
Bath tore into the Exiles with a breathtaking display of all round skills, which eclipsed their talented visitors. Barry dominated the line-out, with outstandingly mobile support from Parsons and Lye, plus newcomer, Dutchman, van der Loos. John Horton set the scene with a drop goal in about 30 seconds of the start. Tries followed from Wyatt (2), Parsons (2), Waterman, and Van der Loos, with Palmer converting three and adding a penalty goal.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 3-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye.
Bad weather hindered any attempts at Bath’s preferred style of open play and Gloucester ended Bath’s run of eight games without defeat. The home side took the lion’s share of possession and their well-drilled forwards possessed the skills to hamper any Bath second phase play. They exerted an iron grip from which Bath never escaped. On an increasingly slippery pitch, only Horton’s elusive skills and ability to kick under pressure, saved Bath from an even wider margin. Waterman did not perform to his usual high standards and it was his uncertainty after twenty minutes which yielded the only try of the match.
Palmer clawed back three points with a penalty, but Bath never looked remotely like pulling the game out of the fire. It was their first defeat by an English club that season.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 27-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones.
Replacements – A Janes and R Lye – Lye replaced Murphy final 15 mins.
The Quins were soundly beaten, but contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable game. Bath were fast developing a reputation as having one of the best back divisions in the country and, in front of England selector, John Young, they did not disappoint. Conditions were far from ideal, but, in one ten minute spell before half-time, they scored three of their four tries, to virtually settle the match and ensure a double over their illustrious opponents. Horton’s dazzling breaks, supported by slick handling, left the Quins bewildered. He set up the first try for Trevaskis by wriggling out of the back row cover and linking with the speedy left winger. “His first darting break from deep in his own half launched probably the best move of the match in which Parsons and Trevaskis were also involved before No. 8 Jones touched down.
His second, from much closer range, also caught cover defence all at sea and Palmer took his pass to knife over for what was, surprisingly, his first try of the season. And if that was not enough Quins were then shattered again by the blistering pace on the right wing of young Trick who sprinted away from his own half being put clear.”
The final score card read:- Tries by Trick, Palmer, Trevaskis and Jones, with Palmer converting one and adding a hat trick of penalties.
v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 16-12. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, M Sutton, P Smith, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M Van Der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones. Replacements – P Turner and P Simmons.
Bath matched a stern challenge, overcoming a typically dour Plymouth side in this John Player Cup qualifier. Bath were without their regular half-backs and the match was played out in cold, snowy conditions, on a bone hard pitch – against largely negative opponents. Stand-in scrum-half, Paul Smith, found it particularly difficult to get the ball away from a spoiling defence. Palmer broke the deadlock, generating two tries within five minutes of each other on either side of the interval. His first break gave Trick ample space to touch down with ease. Then a side-stepping run from the full-back position sent Sutton in for his score. Palmer was then standing in for the injured Waterman: “Earlier, in an extraordinary incident, Waterman sustained facial cuts after a pummelling from Triggs who sat on him after a tackle.” He eventually returned from his pre-interval beating.
Bath tries by Trick, and Sutton, with Palmer converting one and kicking a penalty. Sutton also contributed a drop goal. Spurrell’s speed to the loose ball earned him ‘man of the match.’
v Clifton, Home, Won 15-4. N Hopkins, B Trevaskis, M Sutton, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Davies (Capt), P Smith, D Butcher, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, H Thomas, R Lye, R Spurrell, S Jones. Replacements – S Jeffries and G Townsend.
Bath won comfortably, but disappointed. It was their 18th win in 22 games – but perhaps a game too many. The players looked jaded in front of an expectant holiday crowd. Bath became more and more muddled and Clifton secured plenty of ball, but did not have the confidence to turn possession to any advantage. There were tries by Spurrell and Trevaskis, converted by Davies, who also kicked a penalty: “But the second half drifted back into the depression which had the crowd yawning with frustration and admiring only the energetic work of the Clifton forwards in the loose.”
v Cardiff, Away, Lost 4-16. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones.
A weakened Bath side were gallant losers at Arms Park and were warmly applauded by an appreciative crowd. Referee – Clive Norling (WELSH RFU)
Replacements – C Bird and R Lye – not used. Attendance 10,000.
The New Year started on a disappointing note, as Bath failed to take their chances at Cardiff Arms Park. The Bath back row held sway for much of the first period, but goal kicking failures proved significant in this intense, but untidy match. In the second half, Cardiff’s heavier pack wore down Bath’s stubborn defence. Webber gave Cardiff the lead just before the interval, and his second penalty, 11 minutes after re-start, signalled the start of Bath’s decline. Cardiff monopolised possession and the powerful lock Souto gave the Bath defence all sorts of problems. Cardiff took a 12- point lead which Bath could not match. They did score a fine try which Waterman began and ended with Beese sending in Waterman. Terry Holmes sealed Bath’s fate, when his blind-side break enabled Thomas to speed through to the corner. It was not the classic Anglo-Welsh encounter that many had expected – but Bath- Cardiff games were often disappointing.
v Leicester, Home, Lost 12-22. J S Waterman (Capt), M Sutton, C Bird, B Trevaskis, J Davies, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, P Turner, R Lye
Replacements – D Barry and R Janes – Janes replaced Trevaskis and Barry replaced Murphy.
This was another set-back against strong opposition. The Bath pack played well enough, but the hugely disappointed crowd witnessed a plethora of fumbles, mistimed and misdirected passes, which cost Bath their home record, not to mention a sizeable dent in their reputation. By way of mitigation, Bath were without players on England Trial duty and also Beese, who was indisposed with flu. Leicester had a similar number of Trialists, but were able to field more seasoned replacements. Sutton and Bird, in the centre, had games they would want to forget, with Trick alone posing any real threat to the Tigers.
Davies kept Bath in contention with two early penalties and he converted Murphy’s try ten minutes from the end. Bath had staggered from one disaster to another, despite the unflagging efforts of their forwards.
v Royal Navy, Home, Won 22-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, C Bird, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, C Legg, D Butcher, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones . Replacements – J Davies and B J Jenkins – not used.
Bath were forced to work hard for their victory, and in fact, trailed 9-10 up to the final quarter. However, the homesters ended with a 13 points flourish for a somewhat flattering margin of victory.
Bath tries by Parsons, Horton and van de Loos, with Palmer converting both and adding two penalties, to complete his 100 points for the season.
v London Welsh, Away, Lost 7-37. J S Waterman, D Trick, M Sutton, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Davies, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Butcher, H Thomas, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – N Hopkins and C Harry. Hopkins replaced Sutton for final 25 minutes.
WHAT A SHOCKER!
Head Coach Jack Rowell was away sizing up the oncoming Marlow, Cup opposition. It was just as well, as he would have found a few harsh words to describe Bath’s abysmal performance against the Welsh Exiles. It was Bath’s heaviest defeat to date, for that season, and they were made to look like second- grade novices. London Welsh were allowed to run in six tries, half of them stemming from Bath mistakes. Bath missed the talents of Horton, Beese, Parsons and Lee, but this was one of their poorest efforts. “It was not so much that Bath lost. It was the way they lost. Hardly a gesture of defiance was shown to a Welsh side made to look like world beaters by Bath’s non-tackling, dispirited rabble who were unrecognisable as the side that has swept virtually all before them this season.
The crowd shrugged with disbelief as Bath missed tackle after tackle, were eclipsed up front and compounded it all with woeful errors in their own handling which at times almost completely disintegrated.”
The Chronicle correspondent finished with the comment that their lack-lustre performance had to be seen to be believed! Wyatt gave a faint reminder of better days with a drop goal from way out. It was well into the second half, before Bath provided a glimpse of their potential talent. Waterman fed to Trick, who raced 90 yards for a try, outstripping both Rees and Titley in the process.
v Metropolitan Police, Away, Won 20-12. G Townsend, D Trick, M C Beese (Capt), J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Davies, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, D Butcher, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye.
Replacements – S Jeffries and B Trevaskis – not used
“Bath tried their hardest to throw away a game which they should have won by 30 points against the Police at Imber Court on Saturday but, fortunately, in the end they failed.”
The win served to boost Bath’s flagging confidence before the following Saturday’s Cup tie with Marlow. Bath tries stemmed from Palmer, Wyatt and Parson, with Davies converting one and kicking two penalties. This was a game best forgotten, as the Bath players became more and more muddled and started arguing amongst themselves.
v Marlow, Home, Won 30-6 First Round John Player Cup. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones.
Replacements – R Lye and N Hopkins
Bath gained their expected victory against the visiting Buckinghamshire side. Marlow’s negative style of play inhibited Bath for most of the first half. The visitors suffered the misfortune of losing their prop forward Moore with a fractured ankle. Wyatt’s try just on half-time was the turning point. Palmer converted and adding to his two early penalties, Bath went ahead by 12 points to 6. The driving play of Jones, Spurrell and Parsons, gradually wore Marlow down. Prop Richard Lee scored two tries in succession, his first and second for the Club. Waterman scored the final try and with Palmer’s four penalties the margin was widened into respectability.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Lost 9-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese (Capt), J Palmer, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones
Replacements – B Jenkins and M Sutton not used
Much of Bath’s pre-Christmas confidence had melted away. There was precious little fluency in the three- quarter movements, and match -winners Trick and Wyatt were left, literally – waiting in the wings.
Trick was finally given his chance 15 minutes from time, and he set off on one of his dazzling 50 yard runs, which left one wondering why Bath had so badly lost their way. Palmer converted.
Hopkins was ill at ease, standing in for Horton, and Beese and Palmer went awry with their preoccupation with complex switching movements. For the visitors, forwards Ackford, Rodgers and Ripley were conspicuous in driving play. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but it paid dividends against a slipshod Bath defence.
v RAF, Home, Won 21-0. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, M C Beese (Capt), D Trick, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, H Thoms, R Spurrell, S Jones. Replacements – D Barry and G Townsend
Bath found a modicum of their old form to ‘shoot down the R.A.F.’ It was a far more disciplined performance and the result was a fair reflection of the relative ability of the contestants. Bath tries were registered by Jones and Murphy, with Hopkins converting both and adding three penalties.
v Cheltenham, Home, Won 25-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese (Capt), J Palmer, N Hopkins, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, R Lye, R Spurrell, S Jones. Replacements – C Lewington (Swindon) for Jones and P Simmons for Trevaskis.
This game was switched to the Civil Service ground, as the Rec was considered to be unplayable at time of inspection. Many who looked at the Rec. turf thought it was playable. Perhaps the inspecting referee was not aware of the Rec ground’s ability to drain and recover over a remarkably short time-scale. Those that trecked up to the Civil Service ground were treated to some excellent open rugby, despite the loss of Jones and Trevaskis with injuries. Bath tries by Trick, Trevaskis and Palmer, with Palmer converting two and landing two penalties.
v Bridgend, Home, Won 22-10. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese (Capt), D Trick, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, R Lye, R Spurrell, G Parsons. Replacements – C Lewington (ex Swindon, debut) and G Townsend
Mike Beese scored a beautiful opportunist try mid way through the second half to tip the scales in Bath’s favour. Bath tries came from Wyatt and Beese, with Hopkins converting one and adding four penalties. The game was brutally hard and much of the tactics seemed more in tune with an all- out war of attrition, than a ‘friendly’ rugby match! Billy Howe, a Bridgend lock was sent off, allegedly for gouging. In reality, he was but one sinner amongst many. There were penalties a’plenty, but Bridgend virtually threw the game away with some dreadful misses. Spurrell led Bath’s forward effort with distinction.
v Liverpool, Away, Won 19-12. 2nd Round John Player Cup. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones.
Replacements – R Lye and N Hopkins – not used
Bath were made to fight to the very end and, appropriately, it was David Trick who provided the final try. For much of the game, Bath were held in check by the boot of Killen, who scored all Liverpool’s points with penalties. Bath began to win good possession with, notably, Simon Jones everywhere in support. It was his effort that enabled Wyatt to score his 25th try of the season after just four minutes. Palmer converted and in no time at all, Horton had added a drop goal. At this stage a comfortable win looked in prospect. Bath’s effort wavered momentarily, as Trick dropped a scoring pass, and they then suffered from a ten minutes absence of Simon Jones, while his gashed eye received attention. Liverpool took advantage and made a number of successful forays. However, they placed too much reliance on winger Slemen, who was well covered. Next, Palmer put Bath in command with two excellent penalties within six minutes of the re-start. However, they failed to drive home their advantage and Killen kicked two more excellent goals to bring Liverpool back into contention. Liverpool needed to score a try if they were to have any hope of winning, but Bath’s defence held firm. Finally, Horton’s clearance kick put them under pressure and from the resulting ruck Palmer was able to send in Trick for the final try.
v Exeter University, Home, Won 27-0. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, D Trick, D Wyatt, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, M van der Loos, B Jenkins, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye . Replacements – D Barry and J Davies were not used.
Bath’s extra weight and experience, and the rampaging of Parsons, Lye and Spurrell wore down the Exeter students as Bath chalked up their 26th victory of the season. Simmons scored the opening try, when Waterman sent him away on a 70 yards run in. Hooker Mason scored a rare try, and although Hopkins missed the conversion, he soon followed with a well-taken penalty. Next, the forwards combined to send in veteran lock Brian Jenkins and Hopkins converted. Trick, playing at centre, was next to cross the line and again Hopkins added the extras. Finally, it was the turn of flyer, Derek Wyatt to race over, following an amazing diagonal sprint by his fellow winger Simmons.
v London Irish, Home, Lost 3-6 Quarter Final John Player Cup. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, H Thomas, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, S Jones. Attendance 5000.
Replacements – R Lye and N Hopkins – not used. It was Bath’s exit from the John Player Cup!
Irish scrum-half Barry Murphy scored the try, converted by Meanwell, that put paid to Bath’s Cup aspirations. This was the only bright spot, if you were Irish, in a typically dour encounter.
It was, in fact, the only score until ten minutes from no-side, when John Palmer succeeded with his final penalty kick, from four attempts. Bath’s back division could never come to terms with the heavy conditions and the Exiles’ fiery forwards. “O’Driscoll’s forwards not only outplayed Bath in the line-outs but their power in the rucks and mauls had a telling effect, leaving Bath with the sort of possession they didn’t want.”
It was the first time that Bath had failed to score a try in 35 games.
v Nuneaton, Away, Won 6-3. G Townsend, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, D Murphy, D Butcher, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – P Simmons and J Roberts
This was believed to be Bath’s first game at Nuneaton. In the previous home fixture, Bath had enjoyed a runaway victory by 57 points to 3. This match proved to be a frustrating and untidy affair. However, Robbie Lye did score Bath’s 100th try of the season seven minutes from the end. Mark Sutton converted to clinch a narrow win. They had trailed for ten minutes, when Nuneaton winger, Savage, had his first success from six penalty attempts. Bath put in a thoroughly disjointed and jaded performance and would have wanted to forget this encounter. Perhaps they were deflated by their loss in the Cup match; they lost all sense of order and the game descended to the level of an Extra B fixture.
v Ebbw Vale, Home, Won 24-6. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese (Capt), M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Davies, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye . Replacements – P Simmons and P Turner
Tries by Beese, Davies, Murphy, Sutton, and Trick and two conversions by Davies, served to demolish the Welsh visitors. Bath scored 10 points in ten minutes and did not look back.
Trick’s try was a beauty! “Two minutes from the end he gathered a difficult pass from full-back Jim Waterman on halfway, went round his opposite number Mike Grindle, beat two more defenders for pace and then cut inside the full-back before running round behind the posts for Davies to convert.”
v Richmond, Away, Won 27-15. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye . Replacements – S Jones and M Sutton
David Trick scored three good tries, but was denied one by an unsighted referee. Bath took a quick line-out and Trick raced through from his own half, beating first Shackleton and then full-back Dick. Unfortunately it was all too quick for the referee!
His fellow winger, Wyatt, pitched in with a try of his own and with Palmer in immaculate kicking form, it became a somewhat one-sided contest. Palmer converted all three tries and added three penalties for good measure.
v Gloucester, Home, Won 24-9. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, D Butcher, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, S Jones, G Parsons, R Lye
Replacements – P Turner and G Townsend
Bath put in an impressive performance in dreadful conditions. The forwards seemed to revel in the mud and driving rain. The game was controlled by Bath’s rampaging back row and the half-back combination of Murphy and Horton. The opposing halves, Price and Baker, were hustled out of the game. Gloucester’s No. 8, Mike Teague was sent off for an alleged kicking incident six minutes into the second half. Bath tries from Trick, Beese, and Jones, with Palmer converting and adding a penalty. Horton dropped two goals.
v Exeter, Away, Won 19-4. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, N Hopkins, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, C Lilley, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M Van der Loos, S Jones, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – P Richardson and P Turner
HORTON’S SILKY SKILLS
Horton steered Bath to a comfortable victory with a highly-polished, silky performance: “Exeter hardly laid a hand on him all afternoon, as he masterminded Bath’s latest triumph with some effervescent running and slide-rule tactical kicking.” His solo try was particularly memorable, as he sliced through the heart of the Exeter defence, with opponents clutching at air. In further testimony as to his elusive play, he finally left the pitch, with his jersey, almost as clean as when he ran on for the start.
Bath tries from Wyatt, Jones and Horton, with Hopkins converting two and adding a penalty.
van der Loos led the pack with considerable gusto, enabling them to dominate in all phases.
v Glamorgan Wanderers, Home, Won 28-15. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, D Butcher, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye.
It was a useful Thursday evening fixture against the Cardiff district side. They were of similar standing as Bath’s Clifton neighbours – never in the top echelon-, but always ready to provide stiff opposition, particularly among the forwards. Bath persisted with their open style of play, which brought rewards in tries for Waterman, Beese, Parsons and Lye. Hopkins converted three and added a penalty. Horton dropped a goal.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 6-44. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese (Capt), M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Lye, S Jones.
Damian Murphy was forced to retire before half time and prop Chris Lilley came on as replacement.
Derek Wyatt was another casualty, which brought on Neil Hopkins.
This was another hard fought derby match, but Bristol were in top form. Bath missed the brilliance of Horton, and Beese captained the side in his absence. Bath had to be content with a solitary try by Dutchman Michele van der Loos, which was converted by John Palmer. It was the second highest defeat of the season.
v Wilmslow, Home, Won 46-7. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M Sutton, P Simmons, N Hopkins, P Smith, J M Meddick, C Legg, R Lee, B J Jenkins, M van der Loos, G Parsons, S Jones, P Turner.
Wing-forward, Jonathan Roberts, the son of John Roberts, the 1950’s stalwart replaced Bert Meddick and scored a try.
Bath cut loose against the Cheshire side and tries flowed from Trick (3), Palmer, Sutton, Smith, Parsons, Roberts and Jones (2), with Palmer adding three conversions.
v Birkenhead Park, Away, Won 22-3. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, P Simmons, J Horton, P Smith, R Lee, C Legg, K Neale, M van der Loos, B J Jenkins, S Jones, G Parsons, P Turner.
Replacements – M Sutton and J Roberts
Bath tries by Trick, Beese, Simmons and Jones, with Palmer converting three.
v Newport, Home, Won 17-7. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese (Capt), M Sutton, D Wyatt, N Hopkins, P Smith, K Neale, C Legg, R Lee, M Van der Loos, B J Jenkins, S Jones, G Parsons, R Spurrell.
Bath achieved their first ever double over Newport. The Uskside club had experienced the worst season in their long history. This was their 32nd defeat of the season.
Bath enjoyed much of the possession, and might have rattled up a cricket score, were it not for mediocre performances at half -back. Consequently, the three-quarter line rarely got into top gear. Newport scored the first try, when No. 8 Geoff Evans made an early break, but Bath quickly equalised when Gerry Parsons crossed the line. Newport’s constant infringements gifted Bath ten penalty opportunities, but apart from a single success by Sutton – all were missed! Newport’s kicking was little better, but fly-half Keith James did level the scores by drop-kicking a penalty.
Eventually, Bath clicked into gear. Waterman came up into the line, allowing Paul Simmons to skate over with considerable ease. Towards the end, Newport threw the ball about with abandon. A wayward pass allowed Wyatt to intercept and leave Hopkins with an easy conversion.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 13-6. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, A Mason, R Lee, M van der Loos, B J Jenkins, S Jones, G Parsons, R Spurrell. Replacements – C Harry and N Hopkins – not used.
TRICK AT HIS BEST
The Llanelli forwards secured ample possession throughout, but all they had to show for it were two penalties by Martin Gravelle. Much credit was due to the stout Bath defence, but the visitors had something of an off day, with several handling mistakes. Bath, whilst similarly tired after a long season, still summoned up enough enthusiasm to complete an unbeaten home season against Welsh opposition. David Trick scored his 22nd try of the season – and arguably his best. In the 35th minute he took a pass on the home 25 from Waterman and accelerated past two visiting three-quarters. He slowed slightly as more defenders closed on him, then accelerated into overdrive past the lot! His run had covered all of 80 yards and no-one laid a finger on him!
Bath rounded off the game in fine style. Mike Beese breached the Llanelli defence and gave a perfectly- timed pass to Mark Sutton, who sped over in the corner. He added the conversion points and had earlier kicked a penalty.
v Bedford, Home, Won 22-16. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, R Lee, A Mason, K Neale, D Barry, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, S Jones. Referee – R Quittenton (LONDON SOC)
Replacement – R Lye.
Bath tries from Trick, Horton and Spurrell, with Sutton converting two and adding two penalties.
Bath ended their home fixtures on a high note with 22 wins out of 26. There was the drawn game with Neath and home losses to Leicester, Rosslyn Park and London Irish. By any standards, the spectators had a good return for their admission money!
v Pontypridd, Away, Lost 3-49. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, N Hopkins, D Wyatt, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, A Mason, R Lee, M Van der Loos, B J Jenkins, S Jones, R Lye, R Spurrell. George Norman substituted for Spurrell and later Janes came on for Norman.
Bath flopped on their final game of the season, going down to their heaviest defeat at the hands of a rampant Pontypridd side. It was their second- ever encounter and for ‘Ponty,’ sweet revenge for their 20-18 defeat at the hands of Bath in April of the previous season. Bath’s contribution to the scoreboard was a solitary penalty by Neil Hopkins.
Bath won the South West Sevens. Final, Bath 28 Gloucester 18
For the second successive season, Bath were the top English club, finishing fourth in the overall table, behind Swansea, Pontypool and Cardiff.