1980 to 1981
v Bridgwater, Home, Won 39-0. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, J M Meddick, M Van der Loos, S Jeffries, S Jones, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – C Ralston and A Marriott
Simon Luxmoore returned after a long spell with Clifton. Simon Jefferies from Combe Down was given his chance in senior rugby. On the Replacements bench were Charles Ralston from Rosslyn Park and Andrew Marriott from Swansea.
Bath ran in eight tries, but were sadly lacking in the place-kicking department. John Palmer converted one and, after a leg injury, handed over to Ralston – who had no success. To some extent he compensated with a fine display, coming on as centre replacement for Palmer and dropping a smart goal. Derek Wyatt showed a welcome return to form, scoring two tries. Michel van der Loos and Simon Jefferies, benefited from Luxmoore’s accurate throwing-in, and dominated the line-out. Simon Jones was conspicuous in his all-round support in open play. It was all a bit too much for Bridgwater, as they were spectators to tries by Gerry Parsons, John Palmer, Derek Wyatt (2), Simon Jones (2), John Horton and Paul Simmons. Palmer converted one. Waterman ran from deep to good effect.
v Pontypool, Away, Lost 13-23. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M Sutton, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, J M Meddick, M Van der Loos, S Jeffries, S Jones, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – N Hopkins and R Spurrell
Bath’s revival came too late to rescue this game. Pontypool’s powerful pack was instrumental in giving them a 15-0 lead at the interval. Matters would have been considerably worse, were it not for the coolness of Waterman under the high ball and some brave tackling, notably by Paul Simmons.
Van der Loos had increasing success in the line-out, and possession enabled Horton, Palmer and Sutton to contribute some deft touches, with forwards Simon Jones and Gerry Parsons in close support. Unfortunately, Palmer had just one kicking success, including a blank period of fifteen minutes in which four penalty awards were given in kickable positions. Robbie Lye was unlucky to have a good try denied him by the referee. At 63 minutes, Pontypool were 19-3 in the lead, but Bath came back with tries by Bert Meddick, (converted by Palmer), and Parsons – within the space of five minutes. Then Terry Cobner exploited loose line-out play to send Phil Blight in for the decisive try. Bath were then aggrieved when the referee ruled that Simmons had not touched down, after chasing John Palmer’s chip ahead.
v Newport, Away, Lost 7-13. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M Sutton, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, J M Meddick, M Van der Loos, S Jeffries, S Jones, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – C Ralston and P Turner
This was a generally poor team performance and somewhat invidious to single out John Palmer’s kicking problems, but he landed just one penalty from four chances. Newport’s full-back Alun Watkins kicked three penalties from six chances, and with both sides scoring a try apiece, it was enough to win a rather drab game. Strong defensive kicking by Murphy and Horton had kept Bath in contention. John Churchill had rounded Waterman for Newport’s try and then a fine move, initiated by van der Loos, moved the ball to Horton, who gave Paul Simmons ample room to run in for Bath’s try. In the final minutes, Bath failed to play the ball after a tackle and Watkins third penalty set the seal on a Newport win.
v Leicester, Home, Won 13-4. J S Waterman, D Wyatt, M C Beese, J Palmer, J Davies, J Horton, D Murphy, S Luxmoore, J M Meddick, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – G Parsons and M Sutton – Parsons replaced S Jones
Leicester included such luminaries as Dusty Hare, Clive Woodward. Paul Dodge, Les Cusworth and Steve Redfern.
John Davies landed two valuable penalties to supplement the activities of Bath’s fiery pack, led by Roger Spurrell, and the line-out supremacy of Van der Loos and Andy Marriott. Dusty Hare had a rare off-day and it was his miss-kicked drop-out that enabled John Horton to drop a goal to put Bath nine points in the lead. Bath’s defence was reinforced by some superb tackling by Mike Beese. Leicester’s Paul Dodge had scored the first try, only for Hare to miss a comparatively easy conversion. Later, Bath won from a maul and Murphy’s blindside burst opened a path for Wyatt to touch down.
v Moseley, Away, Won 7-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, M Sutton, C Ralston, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, J M Meddick, M Van der Loos, S Jeffries, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – C Bird and R Stead – not used
The Bath forwards played the Moseley eight out of the game: “They can seldom have performed better in recent seasons, with a powerful display of scrummaging, line-out domination and supreme rucking technique to which the tireless Spurrell contributed so much. Moseley hardly got out of their own half as Lye and Parsons joined in the impressive loose play, and the shrewd kicking of Murphy and Horton at half-back kept them driving forward.” Wyatt latched on to Horton’s diagonal put for Bath’s try. Davies finally landed a penalty goal after several near misses. The make-shift centre pairing of Ralston and Sutton lacked something in pace and the narrow margin did not do justice to the magnificent effort up front. “There were signs of panic at times, but fortunately Horton, Waterman and Ralston kept their cool and played important parts in blunting the edge of Moseley’s enthusiasm in the closing stages to help their side on for victory.”
v Llanelli, Away, Lost 4-17. J S Waterman, J Davies, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and C Harry – not used
The Bath players were less than complimentary about the Cardiff- based referee. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, they had failed to take their chances when their visitors were in disarray. Benefiting from the van der Loos line-out play and the speed around the field of Lye, Spurrell and Parsons, Bath produced the best running rugby of the season. From all this, they produced just one try from Damian Murphy’s blind side burst. A principle factor was the comparative lack of pace of Bath’s wingers, Davies and Wyatt. Beese and Palmer resorted to more and more kicking away of possession and Bath lost an opportunity for their first win at Stradey for 20 years.
v Clifton, Away, Won 22-3. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye
Replacements – N Hopkins and R McCarthy – Hopkins replaced Horton (depressed fracture of cheek bone), McCarthy replaced Sutton (hamstring). Clifton stretched the off-side laws to the limit, as their back-row stood in the faces of the Bath back division. It was a scrambling, disjointed match, which put two key players out of action. In a season crammed with 50 games, this was one that they could have done without. Sutton sought to punish Clifton’s transgressions with three penalties. Replacement Hopkins also landed one. Murphy stole a first half try by diving through on a sluggish heel, for Sutton to convert. Van der Loos led a forward drive which ended in Derek Wyatt finding a gap for Bath’s second.
v Aberavon, Home, Won 19-13. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, C Ralston, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, D Barry, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – N Hopkins and P Turner – not used
Aberavon’s line-out tactics did not please referee Abrahams and a string of penalties ensued. Ralston was successful with three. He also converted Simmon’s 18th- minute try with a splendid kick from near the touchline. “Grit, in fact, was the name of Bath’s game for though they were subjected to a lot of pressure at times from their well-organised opponents, they stuck grimly to their task.”
Murphy was heroic in defence and tactical kicking. Spurrell and Marriott were superb in the forwards.
Late on, a powerful break by Ralston, set the speedy Beese in motion and Chris Bird was on hand to take the scoring pass. Horton was on the touchline to savour Bath’s win. In the morning he had seen his Kingswood School XV beat Bryanston – he enjoyed his day!
v Maesteg, Home, Won 25-22. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, M Sutton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M van der Loos, P Turner, G Parsons, R Lye. Lye performed well, at makeshift scrum-half, when Murphy withdrew with an ankle injury.
Replacements – A Janes and R Stead – Janes replaced Waterman (dead leg) at half time and Stead replaced Murphy for the final 5 mins.
This evening game was Jim Waterman’s 400th appearance for Bath. Unfortunately he could not see out the game as he was forced off with thigh bruising after 40 minutes. It was an exciting game with the lead changing a number of times. Mark Sutton kicked the winning penalty with just three minutes remaining, thus preserving the unbeaten home record. There were exchanges of penalties, with Sutton finally landing three and converting both Trevaskis tries. Parsons got the other try after exploiting an untidy heel.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 3-16. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, M C Beese, C Bird, D Wyatt, C Ralston (1pg), D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye
Headline:- SORRELL’S BOOT MAKES BATH PAY HEAVY PENALTY.
Bristol’s well-drilled pack kept a grip on proceedings as Bath generally came off second best. Astonishingly, this intense all-action match could only produce a try apiece, scored by Ralston and Morley respectively. Mike Rafter was perceived to have knocked on before feeding on to his skipper, but Bath could hardly complain, as they conceded a plethora of penalties contributing to their own downfall. This local Derby included individual incidents of niggle and nastiness, but something of the team passion and will to win was missing. It was left to Sorrell to sort that out.
v Plymouth Albion, Away, Drawn 9-9. A Janes, B Trevaskis, D Trick, N Hopkins, D Wyatt, C Ralston, D Murphy, C Lilley, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye
Replacements – C Martin and J Roberts – Martin replaced Wyatt at half time
In the dying minutes, Bath saw victory snatched away from them as Plymouth were awarded a penalty try for Bath dropping the scrum. Fly-half Gibbens slotted an easy conversion and on the run of play, it seemed a fair result. Uncharacteristically, the Bath forwards had a poor game against their well-motivated opponents. Spurrell, Lye and Jones had been successful with spoiling tactics, but they had given away a number of penalties. Bath had led 9-3 with Murphy’s drop goal and two Ralston penalties. Wyatt went off with a groin strain, but new recruit Chris Martin had a promising debut.
He and Trevaskis, both Cornishmen, posed repeated problems for the Plymouth defence.
Bath’s final effort was rewarded with a penalty opportunity, but Ralston’s long range attempt sailed just wide of the posts.
v United Services (Portsmouth), Home, Won 51-0. J Janes, D Trick, M C Beese, J Davies, P Simmons, C Ralston, P Smith, C Lilley, A Mason, R Lee, A Marriott, D Barry, P Turner, S Jones, C Harry
Replacements –R Stead and N Timbrell – not used
Bath rattled up 27 points in the first 20 minutes. They slackened off slightly, but their final tally of 8 tries, 8 conversions and a penalty was the highest score of that season to date. Ralston had the distinction of converting all eight, after opening the scoring with a penalty. Bath tries from Trick (3), Simon Jones (3), Simmons and Paul Smith.
v Cheltenham, Home, Won 13-0. C Ralston, P Simmons, M C Beese, C Bird, J Davies, J Palmer, P Smith, J M Meddick, A Mason, R Lee, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and P Turner
“Cheltenham hardly offered in attack but by forthright spoiling, unwavering touchline kicking and determined tackling, they made Bath work hard for victory without ever threatening their unbeaten home record.” It was not pretty to watch. After 20 minutes, the Bath back row just about got the measure of the Cheltenham onslaught and began to drive forward. John Palmer controlled affairs from fly-half and, eventually, Paul Smith made a flat run across the Cheltenham defenders, sending in Paul Simmons on the right. Bath gradually took command when Spurrell pounced on a loose ball for a second try, which Ralston converted. Seven minutes from time, Ralston added a penalty.
v Harlequins, Away, Lost 20-25. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Palmer, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – J Davies and C Harry – not used
Bath dropped passes and missed tackles all afternoon and Quins must have thought Christmas had come early! At 10-25 down, Bath did try to pull back some arrears: “Bath’s only consolation was that seldom collectively can they play quite so badly again against such modest opposition.”
The singular exception was in Gerry Parsons, who had a storming game in the pack. “But outside the scrum where Bath have built their reputation over recent years, this time they were little short of a complete disaster with the dreadful handling by Beese and Bird in midfield and by Ralston when he came into the line reducing it to a shambles.”
Quins deserved victory, if only for their disciplined pack and a back division which made fewer errors.
Bath tries by Simmons and Palmer, with Ralston kicking 4 penalties.
v Newbridge, Away, Lost 3-23. C Ralston (1pg), P Simmons, M C Beese (Capt), M Sutton, D Wyatt, J Davies, P Smith, C Lilley, A Mason, R Lee, D Barry, S Jones, C Harry, P Turner, A Marriott
Replacements – A Janes and J Roberts – Janes replaced Ralston at half time and Roberts replaced Harry
Bath’s makeshift side were completely outplayed by the well-organised Welshmen. “They drove forward as a unit to the breakdown either to regain possession or to win it back from Bath whose techniques were not in the same class. The outcome was inevitable.” Bath’s only success was a long range penalty goal by Ralston, who was later forced to retire with a shoulder injury. Paul Turner conducted operations and Bath suffered the ignominy of giving away a penalty try for an alleged obstruction.
v Coventry, Home, Won 19-14. C Martin, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer (Capt), P Simmons, M Sutton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, D Barry, R Spurrell, G Parsons, S Jones.
Replacements – C Bird replaced Palmer and R McCarthy replaced Murphy.
CHRIS MARTIN MAKES HIS MARK
This was a match in which nineteen year old Chris Martin stamped his authority, and left the Committee pondering on selections.
“In fact it took him some 20 minutes to announce his arrival in earnest. Then he scored perhaps the best try Bath have managed this season – and from that point there was no stopping him.
Martin launched the move from deep in his own half and then demonstrated his pace by being up to take an inside pass from John Palmer before running round behind the posts and converting.
It was a real gem and by the end Martin had the crowd virtually eating out of his hand for his general zest to get involved in everything, his massive line-kicking and his ability to put over important goals”.
Tries by Martin and Trick. Martin converted one and added 2 penalties. Palmer dropped a goal.
v Exeter, Home, Drawn 3-3. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, M Sutton, P Smith, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye. Replacements – N Hopkins and S Jones. It was a tame draw in muddy conditions, but left Bath with a hard slog if they were to qualify for the following season’s John Player Cup. Ralston contributed a single penalty, but he missed a few, including a “woeful blunder from an easy position.”
Webb equalled for Exeter. Bad conditions were a great leveller, but it was Exeter who came nearest to scoring a try.
v Neath, Away, Won 13-6. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons (T), J Davies, P Smith, Kelvin Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, S Jones, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – J S Waterman and G Parsons
This was an excellent win, Bath’s first in five visits to the Principality. John Palmer was rested and, notably, John Davies came in at outside half. Roger Spurrell was here, there and everywhere and was appropriately named as ‘man of the match.’ It was a brutally hard encounter in which skipper Robbie Lye received a heavy punch to the eye and was forced to withdraw for stitches. Things got rougher as Neath missed a succession of penalties. Bath were a little more constructive and Ralston marked one of his best games so far by putting Bath level with a penalty and then producing a break which sent in Simmons with a fine try just before half time. After the interval, he kicked a second penalty. “Neath were held by magnificent Bath defence in which Ralston was a tower of strength and the tackling of Beese and Smith in particular, was quite devastating.” Time and again Neath moved forward and each time they were felled. Then Bath made one final surge into Neath territory and Davies crowned a fine afternoon’s play with a smartly taken drop goal.
England trialist Simon Jones fractured his right hand and would be out for two months.
v London Scottish, Away, Lost 6-15. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, P Simmons, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, G Parsons, R Lye.
Replacements – A Janes replaced Horton after 36 mins. A Marriott replaced R Spurrell at half time
Horton withdrew with a pulled hamstring; it was his comeback match after fracturing his cheekbone on October 1st.
Thereafter, Bath never regained their rhythm and the Scots were happy to retain their unbeaten home record. The Bath forwards performed well enough, particularly Gareth Chilcott, Michel van der Loos and Roger Spurrell. (until injured)
“Paul Smith took so long to wind up his pass that his midfield players got man and ball at the same time and the speed of Trick and Simmons was completely wasted.” Ralston kicked two penalties from four attempts.
v Gloucester, Home, Lost 0-19. N Hopkins, D Trick, M Sutton, C Bird, B Trevaskis, C Ralston (Capt), P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, P Turner. Replacements – D M Wyatt and R Stead
Bath crashed to their first home defeat of the season. “That vital spark and experience, which might have been provided by the injured Horton, Beese and Palmer, was sadly missing and with Ralston wasting four crucial penalties, Bath’s effort gradually faded out.”
Well- organised Gloucester won at a canter with two goals, a try and a penalty to nothing tangible from Bath; van der Loos and Williams were the only couple to dent Gloucester’s confidence in the line out.
v Harlequins, Home, Won 16-0. J S Waterman, P Simmons, J Palmer, C Bird, B Trevaskis, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams,
M van der Loos, G Parsons, R Lye, P Turner. Replacements – N Hopkins and G Paul.
Headline:- RETURN OF THE OLD BRIGADE TRANSFORMS BATH
John Horton played heavily strapped, to protect his hamstring injury. He played well enough with an exhibition of polished tactical kicking: “It kept his pack happy with the ball in front of them, and when they won it and fed it back again, Palmer with his scintillating running, and Waterman with his timely interventions into attack, transformed the Bath back division.
Young scrum-half Paul Smith also emerged in a far better light and with his pack excelling for more than an hour, Quins were given a real hard time.” (Bath Chronicle)
Van der Loos and Nigel Williams cleaned up most of the line-out ball. John Palmer also made a welcome reappearance after his collarbone injury in mid November.
Bath tries by Waterman (2). Palmer converted one and added two penalties.
v Clifton, Home, Won 22-4. J S Waterman, D Wyatt, J Palmer, C Bird, P Simmons, J Horton, P Smith, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Lye, P Turner. Replacements – A Janes and J Roberts
This was a comfortable double over Clifton. The typical Boxing Day fare included tries by Wyatt (3), Simmons, and Turner. Palmer kicked one conversion.
v Northampton, Away, Lost 6-12. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, C Bird, P Simmons, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, P Turner, R Lye. Replacements – A Wakefield and Collins – not used
It was an afternoon when brawn and strength reigned supreme. Nevertheless, the silky Horton skills came within an ace of providing tries from both Trick, twice, and Simmons, only to be thwarted in the final strides. The first of Ralston’s penalties put Bath level at the interval and he was again on target near the end. Bath were very disappointed as they missed the opportunity for a first win at Franklin Gardens since the 1931-32 season. A careless tap back had given Paul Smith no chance to handle, before he was flattened by Saints’ oncoming forwards. It left hooker Raphael with a simple try, which Ebsworth converted. He also kicked penalties in the first and second half.
v Nuneaton, Away, Won 26-10. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Davies, P Smith, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye
Replacements – G Townsend and S Jeffries – not used
In the early stages, the Bath backs found it difficult to escape Nuneaton’s close marking. Salvation came from the close supporting back row of Parsons, Spurrell and Lye. This opened up Bath’s options and enabled them to establish a 16- point lead by the interval. Ralston was the first to penetrate, when he eluded the close cover, Palmer fielded a difficult pass and Beese linked to send Trevaskis over in the corner. Next, a chip from Davies was picked up by Palmer and finally Parsons bulldozed over for Bath’s second, for Davies to convert. Richard Lee showed the way to the line, as he powered through for Bath’s third. Nuneaton touched down just before the interval. This further bestirred the Bath eight and Williams forced his way over for Davies to again convert. Later, Palmer’s diagonal kick sent Trick away at great speed, to gather the ball and cross on the right. Late on, Nuneaton responded with a try by Ellis, converted by Savage. Davies converted three of the five tries.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 11-13. N Hopkins, B Trevaskis, C Bird, M C Beese, P Simmons, J Davies, P Smith, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye Replacements – P Turner and A Janes – not used
WE WUZ ROBBED! (Bert scored)
Bath were just short of landing a double over Leicester, having a try denied early in the second half, and a late success for Tiger’s by flanker Ian Smith. Bath’s van der Loos had been taking most of the line-out ball, and the back row of Parsons, Lye and Spurrell continually harassed Leicester off the ball. Bath just missed with first a penalty attempt and again with a drop at goal in the last minutes of an exciting game. Bath tries by Simmons and Smith, with Davies opening Bath’s account with a penalty. Bath were pretty upset at the disallowed try. Prop Bert Meddick had dived over the line and a score seemed certain. “We thought it was perfectly fair, but the referee said he didn’t see it,” said Bath skipper Robbie Lye.”
A Bath XV v Jayhawks (Kansas):- A Janes, A Collins, C Book, J Davis, N Munnings, N Hopkins, P Bartman, J Jackson, B Price, S Paul (Captain), D Barry, S Jefferies, G Norman, J Hall and P Turner.
v Royal Navy, Home, Won 21-13. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, J Davies, T Marjot, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams,
M Van der Loos, R Spurrell, R Lye, P Turner. Replacements – P Simmons and A Marriott – not used
John Davies missed four penalties, failed to convert any tries, but his 3 drop goals got him into the record books as he equalled John Horton’s drop goal record.
Bath threatened to run the Navy off their feet, but eased up unaccountably on the half-hour.
Williams pounced on a miss-kick to score after five minutes, Davies dropped two goals and a cricket score looked in prospect. Williams and van der Loos dominated the line-out, and Tim Marjot was operating comfortably behind a solid scrum. Suddenly mid-field activities became muddled and wingers Trick and Trevaskis were left, hands in pockets, trying to keep warm whilst in total isolation.
Davies dropped his third goal ten minutes after the interval. Waterman made a classic burst from deep and Beese registered his first try of the season. Lee powered over for the final home try.
“But the Navy going down with all guns blazing,” had the last word with a try by Penfold, converted by Tomlin.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 24-10. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, C Ralston, P Smith, J M Meddick, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – J Davies and C Harry – not used
Bath comprehensively beat the Welsh Exiles with a fine all-round team display, orchestrated by sterling support work from the ubiquitous back row. In a game full of vivid movement, Ralston opened Bath’s account with a touchline penalty. There followed a hectic period in which four scores to each side brought changes of lead. “Welsh scrum-half George’s blind-side break set up the first try for sprightly right wing Titley, only for Luxmoore’s crucial heel against the head to expose their defensive disorder as crisp handling to the left enabled Trevaskis to touch down for Bath and Ralston to convert.
As the pendulum swung again, a well-timed burst by full-back Haydn Davies created Titley’s second try which George converted and though Ralston’s snap drop-goal gave Bath the lead at the interval, few at that stage would like to have forecast the outcome.”
Bath gave the Welsh a pounding from the restart and a superb bout of inter-passing sent Trick over on the right. Next, Ralston created a second for Trick and converted both of the tries.
“The honours deservedly went to Bath whose entire side deserved a pat on the back, but among whom there were outstanding displays from Spurrell, who was everywhere, Ralston who held it all together and for the speedy Trick who at times made Clive Rees, the British Lion, look a real novice in defence.”
v Metropolitan Police, Home, Won 34-3. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, C Ralston, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, A Marriott, N Williams, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton and J Roberts
Bath ran in six spectacular tries, which was a useful rehearsal for the following week’s Cup match.
Beese was top try scorer with three. Trick scored two and Trevaskis one. Ralston converted five out of six, thereby completing his first 100 points for the Club.
LEFT WING LUCK
Trevaskis was extremely grateful for his try. It originated from a passage of play when Trick was haring for the line. He lost the ball and Police left winger Illidge, picked up and broke to his 25, then inexplicably cross-kicked straight into the arms of Beese, who simply handed on for Trevaskis to race over.
v Richmond, Away, Won 12-6 Third Round John Player Cup. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – C Ralston and P Turner – not used. It was Robbie Lye’s 400th game.
Richmond were not enjoying a particularly good season; they had a reputation for a beefy set of forwards and it was anticipated that they might give Bath a hard time. In the end, Bath won more comfortably than the score-line suggested, although the only bright spot was a single try by John Palmer engineered by John Horton: “Full-back Jim Waterman gathered under pressure and managed to slip the ball inside to Horton who set off on a bewildering run. He side-stepped off both feet as he went through the visiting pack and past Preston before transferring to Palmer who raced through for a try at the posts which he also converted.” Richmond were never quite the same after this effort!
Palmer totted up 12 match points with his converted try and two penalty goals. Bath were beginning to warm to Cup competition.
v Ebbw Vale, Away, Lost 9-13. J S Waterman, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, J Horton, P Smith, K Neale, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton and J Roberts – Sutton replaced Horton for final 10 mins.
Bath lost Horton late on. Bath had been trying desperately to get on terms in a game they could have won. They gave away a soft try and a 9-9 draw looked probable. Then disaster, as Waterman miss-fielded an opposition chip ahead and Vale’s Wayne Bow gathered and dived over for the winning try.
Palmer had missed two ‘sitters’ in the first quarter hour and another early in the second half. It was the 65th minute before he succeeded with the most difficult of his four attempts. In the first half, Horton had jinked his way in for a fine solo try, which Palmer converted. “Horton used his boot and all sorts of slick tactics to keep his side in the game……….” Palmer, an otherwise outstanding player, had a sadly off-day with the boot.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Won 17-10 C Ralston, D Trick, J Palmer, M C Beese, B Trevaskis, N Hopkins, S Lewis, R Lee, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye Replacements C Bird and C Harry – not used.
A Friday evening game and thoroughly entertaining. Bath deserved their win.
Paul Ackford, Phil Keith-Roach, N Mantell and Andy Ripley were included in the visiting side, but the Bath forwards squared up to them magnificently. The Londoners were disrupted at every turn and Bath’s solid scrum base and excellent line-out work enabled Steve Lewis and ex Rosslyn Park player, Charles Ralston, manoeuvre Bath home. A slick handling movement ended with Lewis sending Parsons crashing for the line, and his two penalties either side of half time put Bath in the lead. There was an immediate response as Dermot Cullen nipped in for the visitors. Unfortunately, he dislocated his shoulder in the process and had to quit the field. The Bath pack pulled out all the stops as exchanges became overheated. Ralston was successful with another penalty award. Later, a long pass from van der Loos sent Trick over in the corner. Montgomery had kicked two penalties for the Park.
v RAF, Home, Won 28-6 C Ralston, D Trick, C Bird, M C Beese, C Martin, N Hopkins, S Lewis, R Lee, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – B Trevaskis and A Marriott – Trevaskis replaced Beese for final 5 minutes.
“The club’s leading try scorer lifted his side out of their early lethargy after half an hour, when, ironically, lock forward van der Loos gave him his first decent pass, straight from a ruck.
Trick, on the blind-side, had almost 40 yards to go, but he was over the R.A.F. line before a defender got anywhere near him.”
He had another amazing 60 yard run, when Ralston put him away after the interval. Other tries came from Parsons, and van der Loos (2), with Ralston converting three and Martin one.
v Gloucester, Away, lost 10-15. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, S Lewis, R Lee, S Luxmoore, G Chilcott, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – C Martin and S Jones – Martin replaced Horton. (hamstring)
Horton’s injury came after just nineteen minutes. The Gloucester pack immediately renewed their efforts to deny ball to the otherwise eager Bath back division. The Bath pack were outplayed in most departments, but exhibited considerable tenacity in holding Gloucester to the one try.
Trick secured Bath’s try and Ralston kicked two penalties. Gloucester completed the double over Bath, thereby threatening Bath’s qualification for the next year’s Cup competition. The day belonged to Gloucester and particularly to their awesome front five, who took a strangle-hold on possession.
v Exeter University, Home, Won 24-6. J S Waterman, P Simmons, M Sutton, C Martin, D Wyatt, J Palmer (Capt), S Lewis, K Neale, A Mason, R Lee, A Marriott, N Williams, S Jones, G Parsons, P Turner. Replacements – S Bird and S Jeffries – not used
The students put on a plucky performance, but there was no way in which they could match Bath’s superiority in weight, height and experience. Bath monopolised possession and a procession of tries followed for Parsons, Wyatt, Martin and Turner. Martin converted all four, including one towering kick from the touchline.
v Bridgend, Away, Lost 13-29. C Martin, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, C Ralston, S Lewis, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, R Lee, A Marriott, M Van der Loos, S Jones, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – J Waterman and P Turner – Jones off (concussion), Turner substituted.
Bath met with the very best – and were found wanting. Steve Fenwick and J P R Williams had recently been dropped from the Wales team, and took the opportunity to show the selectors what they were missing. The whole Bridgend team operated as a unit, their pack was superb, and their support play was just too much for Bath. Ian Hall had dropped a goal within a minute. He was injured 15 minutes later, but his deputy Clive Barber was equally effective. Actually, Chris Martin matched Hall’s kick with an even better drop from near the touchline, but Bridgend’s monopoly of possession was soon to reap rewards. Dazzling inter-passing from one wing to the other, ended in Ffrangcon Owen touching down. Then Fenwick chipped ahead for Chris Williams to score the second, and so the pattern continued. Ralston narrowed the gap with two penalties and a further rally ended with Palmer galloping over for Bath’s only try. The win brought Bridgend up to the 1000 points mark for the season.
v Nottingham, Away, Lost 3-4. John Player Cup – Round 4. Team:-C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, S Lewis, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, M Van der Loos, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – C Martin and P Turner
Bath drowned in Nottingham mud; their only contribution was a penalty by Ralston. The closely fought game turned on one error. Both Parsons and Ralston moved to field Nottingham’s ‘up and under.’ Between them – they lost it, and winger Clive Pitts hacked on for the decisive score. It was a match in which mud was the great leveller, and Bath’s portfolio of silky skills could not be employed. As an example, two of Horton’s beautifully judged punts in the direction of his wingmen simply sunk in the mud with barely a bounce. A degree of panic set in during the last few minutes, as Bath tried to throw the ball about in what was now a quagmire. It was a disappointing end to Cup aspirations.
v Pontypridd, Home, Lost 3-12. C Martin, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, D Wyatt, J Horton, S Lewis, K Neale, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – M Sutton and J Roberts. Pontpridd were led by the renowned Welsh flanker, Tommy David. This time Bath’s pitch was in glue-pot condition. For a while, Horton was able mesmerise his opposition with a series of breaks and kicks and Trick was able to make some threatening runs. As conditions deteriorated, the visitors took control. Just before half-time, a massive scrummaging surge led to Pontypridd’s John Poole striding through under the posts for Hodgkinson to convert. Hodgkinson added two penalties to Martin’s one and Bath were beaten and demoralised.
It was the first time Bath had lost at home to a Welsh side since October 1978, and only the second home defeat of the season.
v Camborne, Home, Won 52-0. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, S Lewis, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – J Waterman and S Jeffries – Jeffries replaced Parsons
It was David Trick’s 50th game and his 5 try performance was nothing short of remarkable. His astonishing changes of pace and speed had Camborne grasping at air. At this stage, the 20 year old had scored 45 tries in 53 games.
The team were confronted with a sea of mud for the third game in a row. Nevertheless, they romped home with their biggest win of the season, winning back their self respect, and moving up an important notch in the South West Merit table. Bath tries by Trick (5), Lye, Trevaskis, Palmer, Beese, Ralston. Ralston converted 4 and Trick 2.
v Wasps, Home, Lost 12-27. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, M Sutton, C Martin, J Horton, S Lewis, G Chilcott, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – B Trevaskis and S Jones – Jones replaced Spurrell after 26 mins.
Bath’s in and out form continued as they crashed at home to Wasps. Trick scored Bath’s two second half tries and Ralston contributed the conversions, but Bath could not match Wasp’s superior handling skills. The visitors overcame the muddy conditions and scored five tries in 20 minutes. The first half loss of Roger Spurrell was a significant factor, but again Bath did not seem capable of adapting. Wasp’s scrum-half Nigel Melville was at the heart of all the best play. With the loss of Spurrell, Bath’s tackling deteriorated and Wasps’ sharp attacks initiated close to the scrum led to a succession of tries.
v London Irish, Home, Won 13-4. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, C Martin, B Trevaskis, J Horton, S Lewis, K Neale, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – P Simmons and P Turner – not used
In the second half, Lye picked up from the back of the scrum and handed to Parsons. In turn, he provided a perfect pass to Martin, who sent in Lewis for the opening try, which Ralston converted. Later, Trick again demonstrated his extraordinary pace for the second of Bath’s tries. Ralston kicked a penalty, his fifth attempt, in the final minute. There was little else to report from this niggling and scrappy encounter. It was rated as the least memorable match of the season. Enough said!
v Cheltenham, Away, Won 22-14. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, C Martin, P Simmons, C Ralston, S Lewis, K Neale, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, P Turner, S Jones, R Lye. Replacements – J Davies and J Roberts – not used.
Bath almost threw this match away. Veteran Scottish international. Lewis Dick, led a home revival and very quickly overhauled their visitors. It took a last minute try by Steve Lewis to clinch a victory.
“Bath simply went from the sublime to the ridiculous on this their last visit to the Athletic Ground playing some fluent open rugby at times, but looking utterly devoid of discipline, organisation and commitment at others.” On the plus side, Trick scored two more tries to bring his season tally to 22.
Ralston converted both tries and added two penalties.
Flanker Simon Jones made a farewell appearance before departing to Australia, where he was to join Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Club.
v Richmond, Home, Lost 13-25. C Ralston, P Simmons, M C Beese, J Palmer, C Martin, J Horton, S Lewis, K Neale, S Luxmoore, R Lee, N Williams, A Marriott, G Parsons, P Turner, R Lye. Replacements – McCarthy came on for Neale. Davies came on for Simmons.
J McKenzie (Richmond) was sent off by referee Clive Leek (East Midlands)
WORST FOR A DECADE
It was a poor performance from the Bath pack, which brought changes for the following week. One report rated it the worst display for a decade.
Added to this there was an horrendous crop of injuries:- Paul Simmons (jaw), Richard Lee (neck), and Kelvin Neale (knee). It was a surprise revenge for their home defeat in January.
“Their forwards, admirably led by skipper Mike Hess, exposed Bath’s woeful limitations, their lack of commitment, and of leadership and by dominating possession the visitors gradually applied pressure from which there was no escape.”
Lye and Parsons set up a try for Lee in the first five minutes. Two penalty goals were contributed by Ralston and one by Martin, but apart from these, Bath were in decline. Powerful scrummaging disrupted the Bath effort, whilst Ray and Pritchard applied pressure with astute tactical kicking.
“Bath’s line-out problems became so bad they could only compete illegally and were punished with two penalties by Pritchard which put Richmond on the path to victory.” Bath’s handling errors made things all too easy for Hamilton to cross for Richmond’s first try. Ralston’s penalties served only to narrow the gap. “It goes without saying that Trick and Spurrell were badly missed, but on such a day it was perhaps more important to talk about basics than individual players. Everything Bath did was wrong.”
v Newport, Home, Won 9-3. C Ralston , D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, C Martin, J Horton, D Murphy, J M Meddick, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, N Williams, G Parsons, P Turner, R Lye. Replacements – A Marriott and N Hopkins
Stalwarts Bert Meddick, Derek Barry and Tony Mason were elevated to the 1st XV, and Bath revelled in a well deserved victory. Damian Murphy returned to the side and in partnership with John Horton did much to aid Bath’s revival. This win was a great confidence booster and the whole side produced a “fighting and spirited performance.” Full-back Charlie Ralston showed a determination to tackle just about anything that moved! Horton launched Bath’s try from the home 25, then Ralston sent David Trick away along the right wing. He was still on hand to take the return pass and handed on for Lye to score. Ralston also converted. Horton marked his 250th appearance with a drop goal after Murphy’s tapped free-kick.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 16-3. C Ralston, C Martin, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, N Williams, P Turner, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – S Jeffries and S Bird
John Horton renewed his acquaintance with the Llanelli back-row, including his old adversary Paul Ringer, who had been sent off during England v Wales 1980
The Horton/Murphy partnership again paid dividends and there was a marked improvement in the forwards, brilliantly led by Roger Spurrell: “They dominated every phase almost throughout and if the finishing, not to mention the place kicking, had been up to norm it wouldn’t have been far short of a rout.” Martin scored an unconverted try from Horton’s diagonal cross-field punt. Ralston and Martin both missed with three penalty attempts, although Ralston succeeded in converting Murphy’s try and Horton kicked two drop goals, his second came ten minutes from the end to put a timely end to Llanelli’s late revival. For Llanelli, there had been occasional flashes from Paul Ringer and David Pickering. Mark Douglas and Ray Gravelle had unusually quiet games. Full-back Bowen and fly half Martin Gravelle did good work in defence. Bath retained the Rag Doll.
v South Wales Police, Home, Won 21-3. J S Waterman, J Davies, C Perry, C Bird, B Trevaskis, C Ralston, T Marjot, J Jackson, S Luxmoore, C Lilley, A Marriott, D Barry, G Norman, J Roberts, M Patching. Replacements – C Stanley and S Richards – Stanley made a First XV debut, replacing John Davies (hamstring) after five minutes.
A product of Walcot Old Boys, Chris Stanley enjoyed a dream debut when Jim Waterman came into the line and sent Stanley over in the 61st minute. This followed tries by Tim Marjot, Ralston, and Trevaskis. Ralston converted one and kicked a penalty. First-time tackling of centres Chris Bird and Chris Perry (Oldfield O.B.’s), disrupted the visitors’ rhythm.
v Bristol, Home, Won 12-6. C Ralston, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, C Martin, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, N Williams, P Turner, R Spurrell, R Lye. Replacements – S Jeffries and B Trevaskis – Jeffries replaced Spurrell after 15 mins, Trevaskis replaced Ralston.
Bath secured a place in next season’s John Player Cup and they owed much to Horton’s superb second half performance. Bristol had taken a six point lead. While others panicked, Horton calmly dropped a goal from 40 yards out and just three minutes later, fielded his own chip ahead to touch down near the posts. Martin converted with ease. Bristol rallied, but four minutes from time, Horton gave a repeat performance, dropping a match-winning goal from a more difficult position.
v New Brighton, Home, Won 44-13. J S Waterman, D Wyatt, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, S Jeffries, A Marriott, M Patching, P Turner, R Lye. Replacements –S Bird and J Roberts – Roberts came on for Murphy.
John Palmer led a scoring spree, his personal contribution of 21 points, with three tries, three conversions and a penalty goal. Other tries by Waterman, Wyatt, Beese, Trevaskis and Horton. (all backs), with Horton additionally dropping a goal. The visitors managed one late try by prop Steve Miles. Waterman was the home crowd favourite, frequently initiating movements from deep positions, and bringing off some try saving tackles.
v Cardiff, Home, Won 18-11. C Martin, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, N Williams, P Turner, N Patching, R Lye. Replacements – A Janes and J Roberts.
Trick’s 23rd try of the season came 10 minutes from the end. It set the seal on a memorable victory over one of Wales best. “Fly-half John Horton in fact launched it from his own 25 and his well-times pass enabled full-back Chris Martin to show his not inconsiderable pace on the burst.
For once Cardiff’s defence was caught flat-footed and Martin also judged his pass to perfection before sending Trick away on a run which took him inside full-back Rhys Williams and then 50 yards to the posts.
It was a move worthy of winning a match and understandably nearly brought the house down.”
Bath did extremely well to counter Cardiff’s forward momentum. The backs tackled superbly and the half-back pairing of Horton and Murphy tidied up any loose ends. At times the tension was almost unbearable, as Bath resisted attack after attack. Horton had scored earlier, following one of his delicate chips ahead and Martin converted both and added two penalties.
v Bedford, Away, Won 6-3. J S Waterman, B Trevaskis, S Bird, C Martin, A Collins, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, N Williams, P Turner, N Patching, R Lye. Steve Bird, brother of Chris had a debut game at centre. Replacements –Stanley and J Roberts – Murphy went off and Stanley came on for final 5 mins
The game was marred by the sending off of Phil Turner (Bath) and Nick Young (Bedford). Many thought referee Fred Howard’s decisions a little harsh. Turner got his marching orders from elbowing Youngs. In turn, Youngs departed for allegedly kicking an opponent on the ground. It was a generally sub-standard match, played out in freezing wind and rain. It was reported that Howard handed out a stream of penalties for petty offences. It was a long journey to make for so little enjoyment.
It was, nevertheless a win, but it took Horton to save the game with a spectacular drop goal two minutes from no-side. Graves and Martin exchanged first half penalties.
v J Kendall Carpenter XV, Away, Lost 13-43. J S Waterman, D Trick, M C Beese, J Palmer, C Martin, J Horton, D Murphy, G Chilcott, A Mason, C Lilley, D Barry, J Roberts, N Williams, N Patching, R Lye. Match to raise funds for the forthcoming tour of Miami.
Ref – A Richards (WELSH RFU)
Replacements – B Trevaskis, J M Meddick – Chilcott off, to be replaced by Meddick.
R.F.U. President’s XV: P Cue (England Trials), C Rees (Wales), J Gossman (Scotland), A Bond (England), L Dick (Scotland), K Prosser (England Schools), R Harding (England B), A Sheppard (England), J Cantrell (Ireland), M Fitzpatrick (Ireland), D Gray (Scotland), R Hakin (Ireland), J Watkins (England) D Spring (Ireland), N Pomphrey (England Under-23)
It was farewell to Mike Beese (316 games) and Bert Meddick (334 games) who had given sterling service to the Club. Local favourite, David Gay came on as sub for the President’s XV.
Despite dazzling rain, the sides combined to give a refreshingly entertaining display of open rugby. No penalties were taken. Bath tries by Williams and Horton. Martin converted one and Horton added his almost customary drop goal.
Club skipper, Robbie Lye, completed a difficult season with a career tally of 419 1st XV appearances.
John Palmer received many honours, including selection as an England replacement.
It had been something of a frustrating season. Several top clubs were beaten, but significantly, these were in the first or last few weeks when Horton and Murphy were available. Without these first choice link-men, the attack had been largely stultified. David Trick’s pace had frequently been the deciding factor. Waterman, aged 36, still had the ability of entry into sweeping three-quarter movements, but Ralston had become first choice for the full-back position. Chris Martin was an exciting prospect in the same position. In the forwards, Roger Spurrell had played some outstanding games, demonstrating much of his Cornish grit and speed to the breakdown. The former Clifton pair of Simon Luxmoore and Nick Williams had made useful contributions. Dutchman Michel van der Loos had been outstanding in lineout play. “Skipper Robbie Lye worked tirelessly, though responsibilities hung heavily on his shoulders, Gerry Parsons was seldom far from the action and several of the props, Gareth Chilcott, Richard Lee and belatedly Chris Lilley all learned more of their demanding trade and late on Tony Mason returned at hooker to explode a few myths.”
Bath scored 115 Tries, 61 Conversions, 18 Drop Goals, and 61 Penalties.
Try scorers:- Trick 23, Wyatt 10, Simmons 9, Trevaskis and Palmer 8, Parsons 7, Beese and Horton 6, Jones 5, Martin 4, Lee, Murphy, Waterman and Williams 3, Lewis, Lye, Ralston, Smith, Turner, van Der Loos 2, C Bird, Meddick, Marriot, Spurrell, and Stanley 1.
Principle attendances from:- Lye 44, Beese 40, Chilcott and Luxmoore 38, Parsons 37, Ralston and Spurrell 31, Marriott, Palmer, Trick and Williams 29, Horton and van Der Loos 27, Trevaskis 25, Waterman 23, Meddick 21, Murphy and Simmons 20.