CANADIAN TOUR 16-30 AUGUST 1984 – 5 matches.
The playing party of 25 included:- R Spurrell, J Palmer, N Redman, N Maslen, J P Hall, N Gaymond, C Lilley, P Turner, R Hakin, J Horton, C Martin, C Stanley, G Chilcott, I Davies, S Jones, R Hill, D Sole, R Cunningham, K Prosser, A Rees, D Trick, A Gunner, A C Thomas, K Adams, J Morrison, P Drewitt, and G Bess. Jack Rowell (Coach), Gareth George (Physio)
Whilst the majority of the tourists would be looking forward to a relaxing, jolly time, there were one or two others, anxious to make their mark and achieve serious consideration for a regular place in the Senior XV. One of these was Ian ‘Taff’ Davies, but he would face tough opposition with the news that David Sole was expected to be regularly available.
1st game v Alberta XV in Calgary Won 26-12
This opening match brought a personal tragedy for hooker Kevin Adams. He was helped off the field after five minutes with a recurrence of the shoulder dislocation that he had sufferred the previous October at Newbridge. He would not play again on tour and was to return to UK to have the bone pinned.
Greg Bess came on as replacement and Bath eventually cruised to a comfortable win, comparatively untroubled by the 4000 feet altitude. The Canadians could not cope with Bath’s rucking style and tries came from Tony Gunner, and Jon Palmer, who bagged two apiece, Chris Martin and Roger Spurrell. Palmer added a conversion. Bath eventually tired, and Alberta’s Mark Schieffler kicked three penalties and drop goal.
Okanagan Representative XV. Won 47-12. Bath proved far too strong for the Representative side. John Palmer’s personal tally was 3 tries, 3 conversions and a penalty.
25/8/1984 v Crimsontide, (on Vancouver Island) Won 24-12. The Canadians, including 5 internationals, were determined to match Bath up front, and the game degenerated into a number of ugly brawls. Simon Jones late tackle allowed Crimsontide a penalty, but Palmer levelled when Hill, in turn, was tackled without the ball. Nigel Redman scored from a tap penalty and Palmer converted from a difficult angle. (Half-time 9-3)
Palmer and Wyatt again exchanged 2 penalties apiece. Next, Hall bullocked over from a five yard scrum, for Palmer to add the extras. Palmer landed another long range penalty to clinch a bruising encounter.
v Frazer Valley. “The tourists only defeat had come in Sunday’s rough-house against Frazer Valley in which a pair of Redman tries provided scant consolation from an unpleasant experience.”
v Vancouver Representative XV. Won 19-12. John Horton opened the scoring with a 30 yard drop goal. A push-over try by Ronnie Hakin, converted by Palmer, gave Bath a 9-0 lead at half time.
Vancouver’s McLean and Jon Palmer exchanged penalties. Then a superb try by David Trick and another Horton drop goal, ensured success against McLean’s final tally of four penalties ensured Bath’s success.
v Plymouth Albion, Away, Won 26-10. Team:- C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, J Morrison, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – A Robinson replaced Spurrell and P Drewitt replaced Chilcott
Perhaps it was jet lag, for despite fielding seven internationals, Bath took a while to warm to the new domestic season. Nevertheless, there were some encouraging aspects of play, particularly in the forwards, who rucked and mauled expertly, providing a solid base for half-backs Hill and Horton.
Spurrell, Hall and Simpson were in excellent form, until Spurrell was forced to retire through injury. Andy Robinson replaced him and gave an early indication of Bath’s strength in depth in the back row department. Not all was sweetness and light; there was an uncharacteristic lack of pace at centre and winger David Trick did not get a pass for the whole afternoon. He was reduced to exchanging pleasantries with touchline spectators! Hill looked remarkably fit and strong and scored the first of his two tries, with one of his darts from the base of the scrum. Paul Simpson got a try. Martin kicked three penalties, and Palmer took over kicking duties when Martin sustained a hip injury. Palmer succeeded with a conversion and a penalty.
v South Wales Police, Home, Drawn 10-10.A Watkins, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Cunningham, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, S Jones, N Maslen. Replacements – A Robinson and C Stanley.
This would have been an embarrassing defeat, coming as it did, with Bath’s first appearance on the Rec. since winning the John Player Cup in April. “only four minutes remained when Trick finished off a determined but desperately late rally by showing both his pace and determination as he thrust down the right wing to score the try which earned a draw.” The visitors had looked far sharper for this early season game. In the second half, International Bleddyn Bowen, had twice made nonsense of the Bath cover, to touch down for two brilliant solo tries, one of which was converted by Neil Harris. Palmer had given Bath a first half lead with two penalties. Bowen left Bath trailing by 6 points to 10, but Spurrell kept his side plugging away. The forwards never really mastered the Police scrummagers and International Steve Sutton reigned supreme in the line-out. Nevertheless, there were fine forward performances from Maslen, Jones, Hakin and Spurrell. Palmer and Horton showed touches of class, and Hill his blistering pace, before David Trick ran in with the score that mattered.
v Leicester, Home, Won 17-6.C Martin, P Simmons, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, J Dean, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – M Sparkes and N Maslen – Maslen replaced Spurrell
Leicester had no answer to Bath’s forward dominance. Although Dean Richards, in particular, competed in the line out, they were unable to cope with the rampaging activities of Spurrell, Hall and Simpson, and the form of Hakin in the line-out. The Bath midfield had space to run at Tigers’ beleaguered defence, although they erred somewhat, in neglecting their wingmen. Bath tries by Simpson, Rees and Trevaskis, with Martin kicking a conversion and a penalty.
v Moseley, Away, Won 19-6. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer (Capt), A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, David Russell, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, N Maslen, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – A Thomas replaced J Palmer and A Burr replaced J Hall. It was a debut appearance for hooker, David Russell and he contributed to several heels against the head. However, Bath made dreadfully hard work of the game generally, and were far from satisfied with their performance. Excessive kicking by half-backs Hill and Horton, destroyed the game as a spectacle. Potential match-winners Trick and Trevaskis were almost ignored. Bath missed Palmer’s attacking flare, when he limped off with a calf strain.
Bath eventually scrambled home with Horton dropping two goals and Martin succeeding with a penalty. “But it was anyone’s game until the closing stages when Bath made their forward pressure tell and in quick succession flanker Nick Maslen flopped over from a line-out and Lee charged through from a tap penalty to grab the tries that mattered.”
v Llanelli, Away, Won 27-9.C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer (Capt), A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, J Deane, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, N Maslen, S Jones, P Simpson. This was Bath’s biggest win at Stradey Park and the first away triumph since 1959. Replacements – M Plummer and A Marriott
For the Scarlets, it was their fourth defeat in eight games. Rhys Thomas was sent off after 60 minutes, for over generous use of the boot. Llanelli forward David Pickering was outstanding in an otherwise subdued team performance. Martin Gravelle’s three penalties were Llanelli’s only reward for a hard afternoon’s rugby. Horton kicked an early drop goal and Palmer and Rees combined for Martin’s first half try. Hakin and Palmer had outstanding games and collected a try apiece. Palmer converted all three and added two penalties.
v Neath, Away, Lost 13-28.C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, C Stanley, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, N Maslen, P Simpson . Replacements – D Padfield and P Turner. Neath wreaked revenge for last season’s 67-0 drubbing. There was no doubt their dander was up as they ran in tries by Jones, Tucker, James and Jacob. Thorburn converted three and landed a penalty. Davies dropped a goal. Bath had tended to panic in the face of their host’s onslaught. There was some revival, when Palmer managed a second half try. He also contributed two penalties and Horton dropped a goal.
v Aberavon, Home, Won 37-16.C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – A Watkins and S Jones – Jones replaced Spurrell.
This was a good win against Welsh opposition, Bath running in 7 tries, 3 converted and a penalty to a try and 2 penalty goals. Palmer had an unusually off day with the boot, missing three conversions and four penalties, otherwise the score could have been nearer the 50 mark. The Bath try scorers were:- Hill, Trick, Gaymond, Horton, Trevaskis, Lee and Hall. Palmer converted one and added a penalty, then handed duties to Trick, who contributed two penalties. Bath scored 25 points in 35 minutes, then Aberavon’s troubles were compounded with the departure of their captain and international hooker, Billy James, with a suspected collarbone fracture. Good work by Hakin and Gaymond ensured that Allan Martin was ‘contained’ in the line-out.
v Liverpool, Away, Lost 16-22. A Watkins, M Plummer, A Thomas, S Halliday, R Palmer, C Gabbitass, C Stanley, D Sole, J Deane, C Folland, N Redman, N Gaymond, A Burr, P Turner, N Maslen. A largely Reserve selection put up a fine performance, but suffered for lack of pace on the wings. In contrast, the Liverpool wingers were in outstanding form, both scoring excellent tries, ably backed up with two conversion successes of outside-half Micky Killen, who also struck home with two penalties. Scrum-half McHugh scored their second half try.
Bath’s front five were responsible for shoving their opponents back yards, on several occasions. Bath opened their scoring with a try by Ireland B international Roy Palmer, who went over in the corner. Simon Halliday and Andy Thomas combined well in the centre. It was Halliday’s break, which sent away Nigel Redman for his richly deserved try. He trundled 15 yards, with the entire Liverpool pack unable to stop him. Acting skipper Nigel Gaymond was equally difficult to handle and one of his surges was rewarded with a penalty, well taken by outside-half Charlie Gabbitass. This last named put in an authoritative and mature performance. His overall tally was two penalties and a conversion.
Unfortunately, Bath’s rally came too late to overhaul the home lead, but Liverpool were relieved to hear the final whistle.
v Bristol, Away, Won 18-16. Roy Palmer, M Plummer, Dean Padfield, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, D Sole, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – A Watkins and N Maslen.
This was the 170th Bristol-Bath encounter.
A chilly evening match, with 7500 in attendance. It will be remembered as a half-back ‘shoot out’ between England’s discarded John Horton, against the young pretender Stuart Barnes. (Barnes gained his first cap against Australia two weeks later.)
In the final twenty minutes, Bath were trailing 6-16. (Horton drop goal, Palmer penalty)
Horton put in a deft ‘inch perfect’ kick to the far left corner, enabling Trevaskis to race in for a try, and Roy Palmer added the extras. Palmer followed with a penalty goal and Bath were just one point behind. The penultimate moment came when Horton dropped a neat goal after a forward charge.
The ultimate and debilitating moment for Bristol came when they were presented with a late penalty opportunity.
Then, shades of the previous year’s Bath-Bristol Cup Final – Barnes again missed!
v United Services (Portsmouth), Home, Won 46-0. A Watkins, M Plummer, S Halliday, D Padfield, S Simpson, C Gabbitass, C Stanley, C Lilley, J Deane, C Folland, N Gaymond (Capt), M Jones, A Burr, P Turner, N Maslen Replacements – A Thomas and T Collins
“…..Bath virtually queued up to cross a Service line which was wide open from the start.” Bath’s reserve strength overwhelmed their visitors, as they romped to the biggest win of the season to date.
“They were led home by flanker Nick Maslen who scored his first try hat-trick of his career to shade the honours from right winger Mark Plummer who also scored two crackers.” Nigel Gaymond and Mark Jones dominated the line-out and combined well in the second row. Bath won ball at will.
The full try count was:- Maslen (3), Plummer (2), Watkins, Halliday and Turner. Watkins kicked two conversions and Gabbitass two. Gabbitass also landed a penalty goal. Chris Stanley completed the scoring with a drop goal. Halliday’s try was a real delight, as he finished off a break by Gabbitass, with a scorching 40 yard race.
v Maesteg, Away, Lost 9-16. J Palmer (Capt), D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, C Gabbitass, R Hill, D Sole, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, P Turner, N Maslen, P Simpson. Bath went back into their shell as errors proliferated. They bowed to a lively set of Welsh forwards and the generalship of Gwyn Evans at outside-half. Maesteg got off to the best of starts, punishing Bath’s indiscretions with two penalties. Bath’s front five of Sole, Cunningham, Lee, Hakin and Gaymond buckled the opposition and a pushover try would have been a just reward. The hosts again looked vulnerable, when Trick was stopped just short of the line. However, another Bath lapse allowed scrum-half Gazzi to skate over for an unconverted try and the initiative was handed back to the Welshmen. Gabbitass kept Bath in the game with three excellent penalties. Bath then made the mistake of holding the ball in the back row, and their back division talent became redundant. Even more Bath errors led to two further penalties by Measteg. Bath made a belated attempt to move the ball among the backs and twice came near to scoring. They were left to reflect on their costly errors which left Maesteg as worthy winners by a try and four penalties to Bath’s three penalties.
v Newbridge, Home, Won 32-9. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, C Stanley, D Sole, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – C Gabbitass and A Burr – Burr replaced Spurrell, who retired with a recurrence of his shoulder injury.
“Bath’s place-kicking plummeted to new depths as John Palmer and Chris Martin made the art look an absolute chore and John Horton compounded it all at the end trying a drop kick conversion and missing that as well.” [John Stevens – Bath Chronicle.]
Despite this, Bath won at a canter with tries by Trick, Stanley, Gaymond and Simpson, with Martin and Palmer both converting one and adding a penalty. Horton kicked two drop-goals. Chris Stanley had one of his best games for Bath. For Newbridge, Paul Turner had a fine game, his darting runs frequently exposing Bath’s defensive limitations.
v Coventry, Home, Won 23-6. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer (Capt), A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, B Jones, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – C Gabbitass and N Maslen.
“Neil Macfarlane, the Minister for Sport, watched Saturday’s match on Bath Recreation Ground and said afterwards: “I think I have been watching the best side in England.” (Bath Chronicle)
Coventry were demolished – Bath fielded eight internationals for the first time in their history. Coventry’s line-out specialist, Kidner, was stifled by Redman and Hall and Simpson dominated the loose. John Horton dropped an early goal, which heralded crisp handling within an in-form back division. Chris Martin came up into the line to send Trick away for the first try, which Palmer converted. The Bath forwards dominated proceedings, as the second half got under way, and soon Richard Hill was successful after a 30 yard dash from the base of the scrum, Palmer adding the extras. Alun Rees had a fine game at centre, taking an inside pass from Palmer, he took a long run to the opposing full back, for a timely feed to the speeding Trevaskis, who touched down in the corner. Rees again left Coventry trailing, with his own try after a glorious run by Palmer. The visitors’ reply was two second half penalties.
v London Scottish, Away, Won 21-3. C Martin, B Trevaskis, J Palmer, A Rees, P Drewitt, J Horton, R Hill, C Lilley, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, J Hall, P Turner, P Simpson. Replacements – M Plummer and T Collins
Bath were just too good for London Scottish in this English Merit Table clash. Tries by Drewitt and Hill; Horton dropped a goal and Palmer converted both and added two penalties.
v Exeter, Home, Won 64-3. A Watkins, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Palmer, R Hill, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, N Maslen, D Egerton. Replacements –D Padfield and P Turner
Bath fielded a number of reserves, but were still able to roam at will, in the general direction of the Exeter line. Poor tackling led to a procession of 14 tries. Notably four each by wingers Trick and Trevaskis. Other tries by Halliday, Hill (2), Gaymond, Maslen and Egerton (on debut game). Watkins converted two, Palmer and Trick one.
v Gloucester, Home, Won 19-9. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – C Stanley and J Dean – Dean replaced Cunningham
Bath worked hard for this win, but it was John Palmer’s kicking which pulled them through. He slotted 5 penalties in 6 attempts, leaving Gloucester to rue their indiscretions. The Spurrell, Hall and Simpson encounters with Gloucester’s Teague and Gadd were, to say the very least – abrasive!
Trick combined to send in Hill for the only try of the match. Gloucester’s Smith scored 2 penalties and Mogg managed a drop kick.
v Harlequins, Away, Won 21-12. C Martin, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Palmer, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – D Padfield and P Turner – Turner replaced Hall.
TRICK GOES AIRCRAFT SPOTTING
This was Bath’s 13th victory in 17 games, and the visitor’s to HQ were somewhat unlucky that their stout forward effort, was not complemented by constructive back play. Their enthusiasm for the game seemed to be dissipated by the cavernous near empty Twickenham stands. Wingers Trevaskis and Trick were left out in the cold. The good-natured Trick, characteristically, with hands in his pockets, occupied his time watching the Heathrow approaches. In the second half, when the ball did come the wingers’ way, they both fluffed their chances – probably out of astonishment!
The triangle of Rees, Halliday and Palmer were frequently guilty of over-elaborating in mid-field. Conditions were slippery, and Richard Hill had a rare off-day. The whole of the Bath eight played well and, notably, Gaymond crashed over for two tries. Martin and Simpson scored the others, with Palmer converting one and adding a penalty.
v Sale, Home, Lost 7-25. N Devonold, P Drewitt, D Padfield, J Guscott, M Plummer, A Watkins, C Stanley, C Lilley (Capt), J Deane, C Folland, J Morrison, R F Hakin, P Turner, T Collins, D Egerton. Replacements – B Cundy
It was a First XV debut for nineteen year old Jeremy Guscott.
Chris Lilley captained a United Side playing under the First team banner. They were unfortunate to be confronted with an in-form side, which included English internationals Tony Bond, Steve Smith and Andy Simpson. Sale opened their scoring portfolio with a winger’s try after 15 minutes and two further first-half tries, a conversion and a penalty. Bath responded after the break, when locks Hakin, Morrison and No 8 Egerton raised the tempo of their game. Bath pressure was repaid with a penalty for Watkins and hooker Jimmy Deane stole through for sparkling try. However, tries by Steve Smith and Mike Kenrick assured the visitors of a deserved win against plucky opposition.
v Pontypool, Away, Lost 10-18. C Martin, D Trick, S Halliday, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Referee – C Norling (SWANSEA). Replacements – A Rees and N Maslen. Horton’s return had necessitated relegating Alun Rees to the bench, as Bath adopted a rota system for their backs, in order to accommodate their wealth of talent outside the scrum. Bath fielded all eight of their internationals.
Bath lost out to the previous season’s Welsh Champions. It may not have been pretty rugby, but the combination of a totally efficient fiery pack and David Bishop at the base of the scrum was too much for many a side. Drizzly rain suited their tactics, as handling became increasingly difficult. Bath started strongly as Hall forced his way over after 10 minutes and Palmer converted. Pontypool came back immediately with a try by Geoff Davies after Geoff Squire’s line-out win. He added a penalty when Bath collapsed a scrum. The wily Bishop scored two similar tries within eight minutes. With set scrums five yards out, the Bath back row found Bishop unstoppable. Again Bath were penalised for collapsing and Lewis kicked a second penalty. There was some consolation when Simpson scored a late try from a five-yard scrum.
v Clifton, Home, Won 22-9. J Orzabel, P Blackett, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, A Watkins, C Stanley, C Lilley, J Deane, C Folland, J Morrison, R F Hakin, N Maslen, P Turner, D Egerton. Replacements – J Guscott and T Collins
A heavy pitch and visitors stretching the off-side laws to the limit was a Christmas recipe for a frustrating uninspiring game. There were very occasional flashes of running rugby from Trevaskis and Halliday, but Bath stunted the scoreline with woeful place kicking. Watkins, Stanley and even Hakin, tried their luck with penalties or conversion attempts, but only Stanley had any success, when he converted the second of Bath’s five tries. Bath tries were scored by Hakin, Egerton, Watkins, Blackett and Stanley.
v Northampton, Away, Won 20-9. J Palmer, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, R F Hakin, P Turner, J Hall, D Egerton. Bath halted Northampton’s home run of seven in a row with a display of fast flowing football. David Trick gave early warning of things to come, scoring a scorching try after just three minutes. He also made the running for his centre, Halliday, a few minutes later. Palmer landed the first of his two conversions. Saints revived to some extent and England prop Pearce, gave Chilcott a torrid time in the front row department. Mike Greenhalgh kicked three penalties from eight attempts. Near the end, Chilcott touched down a loose ball on Northampton’s line out and finally Richard Hill put Bath well and truly out of sight with a fine solo try.
v Waterloo, Away, Won 23-13. C Martin, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, J Horton, C Stanley, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, J Morrison, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, P Turner, D Egerton. Referee – S Griffiths (N. MIDS) Replacements – P Drewitt and N Maslen.
This was the first meeting between the two clubs. Waterloo were the current Northern Merit table leaders, and Bath led the South West area. Trevaskis scored two tries. Horton kicked a long-range drop goal and Guscott landed four penalties.
Jeremy Guscott came in for the injured Alun Rees, and showed early promise in open play. He made several ‘silky’ breaks, including a complete ‘get-away,’ only to drop the ball as he crossed the line. Add to this, his four penalty goals, and it was a pretty impressive performance. There was something special about this young fella!
v Royal Navy, Home, Won 49-0. J Palmer, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – J Guscott and D Egerton
Harry Barstow’s Programme Notes, reminded us that we had been playing Navy sides since 1919. At that time the United Services (Portsmouth) included the legendary England half backs Kershaw and Davies. Tries by Trevaskis (3), Trick (2), Redman, Hall and Simpson, with Palmer converting five and kicking a penalty.
v Berry Hill, Home, Won 24-3. John Player Special Cup – Third Round. J Palmer, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Cunningham, R Lee, N Redman, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson Replacements – C Stanley and G Bess – Bess replaced Cunningham (arm fracture) and Stanley replaced Hakin
This was a great day in the annals of this small Gloucestershire club, and a performance for which they remain justly proud. They were having a successful season and had previously beaten Havant in the 2nd Round. Nevertheless, Bath’s ‘big guns’ were too much for this junior club and a series of stylish passing moves brought tries from Hall. Palmer, Stanley and Lee. Palmer converted one and added a penalty. Horton dropped a goal and Bath were in the serious business of another Cup run.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Won 28-9. J Palmer, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, C Stanley, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, P Simpson, D Egerton Replacements – J Guscott and D Sole – Guscott replaced Palmer and Sole replaced Rees. Both went off with minor injuries. Notably, Sole came on as a makeshift wing threequarter.
Bath’s rampaging pack hammered their visitors into the ground, but wayward goal-kicking allowed at least 15 points go begging. By way of contrast, Park full-back Graves, kicked three penalties with his three attempts. Starting from the 5th minute, Bath tries were scored by Trick (2), Spurrell and Simpson. Palmer converted two and Guscott one. Stanley landed a penalty.
Redman reigned supreme in the line-out, while Spurrell, Simpson and Egerton led a superb display of rucking and support work. Trick was audacious and unstoppable.
A Bath XV v Brixham, Away. Lost 6-9. This was an extra fixture to provide much needed match practice. Of the first choice selections, only Hall, Simpson and Cunningham were absent. Brixham brought off an astonishing victory, which will live long in the annals of their Club history.
For Bath – it was best forgotten! Perhaps it served to brace Bath for the Blackheath bashing the following Saturday, and again, this was another game that was best forgotten……………..
v Blackheath, Home, Won 37-3. John Player Special Cup – Fourth Round. Team:- C Martin (T), D Trick (T), S Halliday, J Palmer (2c and 3pg), B Trevaskis (Tx3), J Horton, R Hill (T), G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – C Stanley and J Deane
Ref – F Howard (LANCS).
Bath fielded 9 Internationals – a club record at that time. Trevaskis scored a notable hat trick.
Bath’s back row of Spurrell, Hall and Simpson wrecked any chance of Blackheath constructive play.
Blackheath returned home from this bruising encounter. Hooker Bobby Howe needed four stitches in his head, after an alleged encounter with Gareth Chilcott. He later suffered from delayed concussion. Blackheath’s captain Bodenham, was furious about the match: “Someone tried to rip my lip off while I was lying at the bottom of a ruck. It was probably the worst game I’ve ever played in for the frequency of violence. The violence went on through 80 minutes.” He said.
“Some of our players had their eyes gouged, and others were stamped on. I’m annoyed my players were hurt like this. It makes me wonder whether it is worth playing the game if we have to go home looking like we’ve been in a war.”
v Exeter University, Home, Won 17-3. Roy Palmer, D Trick, J Guscott, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson Replacements – P Simmons and C Lilley – Lilley replaced Chilcott
“Motivation was conspicuous by its absence” as seasoned Bath players made desperately hard work of beating a team of students. Bath’s superiority in weight ensured that almost the whole game was played out in Exeter’s territory. Spurrell, Hall and Simpson foraged for every loose ball, but somehow, Bath’s star-studded outfit could not produce the anticipated glut of scoring. Only John Horton, showed any sense of purpose, as his colleagues spluttered from one missed opportunity to another. Both Bath centres had very poor games. Palmer opened with a penalty in the middle of the first half and he contributed to a try by Trevaskis. It was well into the second period, before Gaymond scored a typical try from a tap penalty, for his six try of the season. Finally Spurrell set up a try for young Guscott, which Palmer converted. Opposing full-back, Noble finished a fine all-round display by dropping a goal from 30 yards out. It was a score they deserved, after demonstrating their willingness to throw the ball about.
v Redruth, Away, Won 67-0. C Martin, D Trick , S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, C Stanley, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson.
It was a Bath Club record for an away score. It was Bath’s sixth successive win in the South West Merit table. Replacements – M Plummer and T Collins – Collins replaced Simpson
Bath’s Cornish contingent of Martin, Trevaskis and Spurrell, were particularly happy with this score and it was ironic that they played a major role in Redruth’s annihilation.
The final scorecard was, Tries:- Trevaskis (5), Martin (3), Simpson (2), and Trick. A penalty try was awarded. Conversions by Trick (7), and Martin. Penalty Martin. Bath certainly gave the ball plenty of air, as evidenced by the fact that Paul Simpson was the only forward to score, amongst some glorious three-quarter movements. Nevertheless, the Bath pack put on a powerful display, combining with the backs to completely outclass their Cornish hosts.
v Sale, Away, Won 25-15. John Player Special Cup – Quarter Final. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – C Stanley and J Deane – Stanley replaced Halliday
A comfortable move through to the next round. Bath put on a devastating display of forward power. In combination with Horton and Hill, the back row of Spurrell, Hall and Simpson ruled the game. Sale knew they were in trouble, from the moment Paul Simpson bludgeoned his way over for a blindside try in the 26th minute. The second try was initiated by Richard Hill, who ran wide to ‘scissor’ with the speeding David Trick, who left all opposition clutching at air. Trick also took over some of the kicking duties and landed three penalties. John Palmer kicked a conversion and a penalty, and John Horton, playing against his former teammates was content to drop a goal. It was a formidable performance and Bath moved forward in good shape for the Semi- Final.
v Ebbw Vale, Away, Won 15-10. R Palmer, P Simmons, J Guscott, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, R F Hakin, R Spurrell, N Maslen, P Simpson Replacements – D Padfield and D Egerton – Egerton replaced Gaymond
Bath won their third away game in a row in toppling this tough, ‘heads of valley’ side. Ebbw Vale included the talented Andrew Davies at full-back, and Steve Lewis, who kicked a first half penalty, at centre. Bath pulled back from a 0-3 deficit, two minutes from the re-start; an unstoppable forward surge provided quick ball for Richard Hill. His swift pass enabled Horton to land a beautiful drop goal plumb in the middle of the posts. Next, Ronnie Hakin won line-out possession: “allowing Bath to feed stand-in centre Jeremy Guscott 35 yards out. In what seemed a flash, the speedy young player had sliced through the Vale defence for a scintillating try, which Roy Palmer effortlessly converted.”
The Bath eight proceeded to give the Welshmen a thoroughly uncomfortable afternoon in set piece play. Davies and Palmer exchanged long range penalties, before debutante David Wigley secured a try for the home side.
Spurrell’s men helped to settle the issue in the final ten minutes. Another magnificent forward surge allowed Horton time to line up another towering drop kick, to complete a thoroughly competent performance by the whole of the Bath team.
v Gloucester, Away, Won 12-11. John Player Special Cup – Semi Final. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson Replacements – C Stanley, J Guscott, R Palmer, J Deane, D Sole and D Egerton.
On team matters there were spectres of last season, with Ronnie Hakin refusing selection to the bench. Nigel Redman had again been the committee’s choice, to partner Nigel Gaymond in the second row.
Tim Smith scored two tries for Gloucester, to Bath’s one by Richard Hill. In the final frantic stages, Bath just managed to survive after three major Gloucester incursions. Tragically for Gloucester, Tim Smith failed with a last minute penalty attempt. John Horton had slotted an early drop goal. John Palmer converted Hill’s try and added a penalty. Both sets of back-rows were outstanding, but on this occasion, Mike Teague had to defer to Bath’s John Hall, who performed as an omnipresent destroyer wherever the action was thickest. Spurrell and Simpson had vital roles and Gloucester’s Gadd and Smith had significant input in this epic head-to-head.
Albeit by one point, it was certainly a Cup Triumph, but Bath were lucky – very lucky! The faithful travelling support was ecstatic – the ‘Shed’ was silent! Laurie Prideaux stated that it was a pleasure to referee and the game was, indeed, totally absorbing and fascinating, and the result in doubt to the very end.
Spurrell and Hall were photographed in muddy embrace.
v Cheltenham, Away, Lost 10-21. J Guscott, D Trick, D Padfield, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Palmer (Capt), C Stanley, D Sole, J Deane, G Chilcott, J Morrison, R F Hakin, T Collins, K Withey, N Maslen. Replacement – R Lye
A changed, but reasonably strong side, four away wins in a row, and all looked set fair for another win at Cheltenham. However, several promising movements broke down and Bath’s fortunes took a serious reverse, when wing forward Nick Maslen was sent off early in the second half. Cheltenham had taken a third-minute lead when Paul Boyle landed a penalty. There seemed little to alarm Bath and Trick was soon to cross for his 100th try of the season. Then Cheltenham applied sustained pressure, resulting in tries for Andy White, converted and Chris Scott. Maslen’s dismissal now made it an uphill struggle, although John Palmer narrowed the gap with two well-taken penalties. Two further Cheltenham tries were to follow as a result of fluid handling movements, which stretched the Bath defence to breaking point.
v London Irish, Away, Won 35-3. J Guscott, D Trick, D Padfield, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Horton (Capt), C Stanley, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – P Drewitt replaced Padfield
A third minute penalty by O’Donnell ensured the Exiles had an entry on the scoreboard. Thereafter, it tended to be one way traffic as Bath got back to their winning ways. Playing with a strong wind at their backs, Sole, Bess, Lee, Gaymond, Redman and Co., took an iron grip in the scrummages. Guscott, playing at full-back, landed a first-half penalty, but it was the second half, before Bath’s all round superiority was brought to bear. Horton’s generalship ensured a plentiful distribution of the ball and Trevaskis was soon in for the first try. “Next the irrepressible Simpson bludgeoned through a cluster of despairing tackles from a line-out five yards out, before fellow flanker Kevin Withey did a repeat performance minutes later, after another line-out following a huge Horton 60-yard touch.
Not to be outdone, Trevaskis punted a huge kick deep into Irish territory, from which giant No 8 David Egerton plunged over from the ensuing line-out.” Tries followed from Alun Rees, and Dean Padfield, converted by Trick and a late try by hooker Greg Bess, which David Sole converted.
v Bristol, Away, Won 25-3. C Martin, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, R Spurrell, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – M Plummer and K Withey
Bath led 13-3 at half time and although there was something of a Bristol revival, they could do little to counter a highly effective performance from the Bath forwards and an outstanding display by scrum half Richard Hill. Hill’s matchless contribution came in short aggressive thrusts in combination with the back row forwards. David Trick opened the scoring with a penalty. Bath’s first try followed a line out. Halliday carved through midfield and found Hall in support. The England flanker was felled just short of the line, but Bath won the ruck and Hill darted through a pile of bodies for his try. Hill also had a hand in Bath’s second try. Taking a quick tap penalty, he handed to Nigel Gaymond and he was propelled across the line with most of the Bath pack in attendance. Bath’s best try came near the end, when Hill threw an extraordinarily long pass to Martin, who sent Trick away for a memorable touch down. Trick converted, adding to an earlier success and three penalties, for a personal tally of 17 points.
Bristol were without Internationals Richard Harding and Bob Hesford. They were off on an all-expenses paid trip to Bermuda, to appear for an International XV versus an Irish XV.
v West Hartlepool, Home, Won 23-16. M Plummer, B Trevaskis, B Cundy, S Halliday (Capt), P Drewitt, C Gabbitass, C Stanley, D Sole, J Deane, G Chilcott, J Morrison, R F Hakin, K Withey, P Turner, D Egerton. Replacements – P Blackett and C Lilley .
It was Ronnie Hakin’s last game. It was a sad farewell after an illustrious career at Bath.
Bath relaxed when they were 17-6 ahead, midway through the second half. West Hartlepool gratefully took advantage and pulled back to a point of Bath. It took an injury time try by Jon Morrison to secure the game for Bath. It was entertaining holiday fare for the Easter Monday crowd. West Hartlepool were a bustling side and took advantage of Bath’s all too frequent handling errors. A penalty by Gabbitass opened Bath’s scoring, followed by tries by Chris Stanley and Jimmy Deane. Gabbitass converted Deane’s try. Next, acting captain Simon Halliday, picked up a loose ball and raced down the left wing for a third try. Two tries to the visitors brought them back into contention. Then the greatest indignity, as the Bath forwards were shunted back 10 yards over their line, for Clark to touch down and Groves to convert. (17-16) Right on the finish, a Hartlepool’s fumble enabled Trevaskis to counter attack deep into their territory and good support by Morrison was rewarded with the vital try, which Gabbitass converted.
v Newport, Away, Lost 0-11. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, R Spurrell, P Simpson, D Egerton
No need to look for the Bath scorers – there weren’t any, as a strong selection slumped to a seventh defeat of the season. Perhaps they had the oncoming John Player Final on their minds, but this was the first major match without a Bath score since a loss to Swansea back in March 1982.
Newport’s fiery pack dictated terms from start to finish. Bath were eclipsed in the line-out by Widdecombe, Perry and Waters, whilst Bath’s back row were hard pressed to shore up gaps in a shaky defence. Flanker, Richie Collins was a tower of strength in opposition. John Horton gained yards with long raking touch-finders, only for their hosts to regain clean possession from the ensuing line-outs. Newport’s bombardment of high up-and-unders had both Horton and Martin looking jittery.
For Newport, Watkins and Pitt scored the tries and James landed a drop-goal.
v Clifton, Away, Lost 11-12. J Orzabel, P Simmons, D Padfield, A Thomas, P Blackett, Mark Plummer, Keith Plummer, C Lilley (Capt), J Deane, B Kenny, M Jones, D Cronin, P Turner, T Collins, R Lye.
With the probable Cup squad ‘in cotton wool,’ an unfamiliar selection from the United and Spartans were nudged out by Clifton. Peter Blackett had scored Bath’s two tries, with fine runs down his left wing. Fullback Julian Orzabel, had one penalty success from several attempts. In turn, Bath were punished for their indiscretions, with Clifton’s four penalty successes.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 21-10. J Guscott, D Trick, S Halliday, A Rees, B Trevaskis, J Palmer (Capt), C Stanley, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Gaymond, N Redman, K Withey, A Robinson, P Simpson. Replacements – D Padfield and D Sole
Bath fielded many of their ‘top guns’ for a stiff pre-Cup tester. They spasmodically hit good form, to complete a first ever, double over Llanelli. Both sides became irritated by the referee’s excessive whistle blowing, and their frustration boiled over into ill-tempered flare-ups. Both sides were lucky to finish with their full complement. Onlookers breathed a sigh of relief when a severe warning was deemed sufficient sanction for Kevin Withey’s retaliatory ‘haymaker.’ It was a generally untidy game, littered with penalty awards. Bath tries were scored by Halliday and Gaymond. A penalty try was awarded to Bath when Trevaskis fly kicked over the line, only to be checked by someone holding his jersey. Palmer kicked all three conversions and added a penalty.
On the morning of 27th April 1985 – The City of Bath witnessed a mass exodus by coach and train.
v London Welsh, Won 24-15. John Player Special Cup – Final.
Team:- C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, J Horton, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, N Redman, N Gaymond, R Spurrell, J Hall, P Simpson
Referee – R Quittenton (LONDON) Replacements – C Stanley, J Guscott, A Rees, J Deane, D Sole and D Egerton . Of the classy bench replacements, only Guscott took the field, when he replaced Trevaskis.
Looking back over Bath successes, this was probably the least challenging Final Bath were to encounter. Many supporters seemed disappointed with the nine point margin. Nevertheless, Bath had prepared well, and the back row effectively blotted out Mark Douglas at scrum half. Players of the calibre of Clive Rees and Robert Ackerman were given little opportunity to impact on the game.
The opening try by David Trick was memorable, as he received a pass from Halliday and sped past his man in a scorching outside break. Chilcott added to his folk hero status, bundling over for his try, after a pass from Hill. John Palmer had a great day with the boot, slotting both conversions and four penalty goals. Spurrell, Hall and Simpson pounced on any loose ball and all opposition was virtually blotted out. Hall’s comment: “Whatever the Welsh tried, we knocked them back. It was all down to careful preparation and the build up from Friday night. Coach Jack Rowell stressed that we were like one big family who could pull together when it really mattered – and that’s what happened.”
BARNES IN – HORTON OUT
29/4/1985 Chris Ducker of the Bristol Evening Post carried the sensational news that Stuart Barnes was joining Bath.
This was bad news for Horton, who had originally spoken of retiring, then warming to Bath’s success, had been enjoying his rugby and was reportedly, looking forward to another season.
Not happy to contemplate some 2nd XV rugby, the ‘problem’ was resolved in the close season, when Horton swapped over to Bristol. Horton had been a loyal servant for twelve years, since his first appearance against Terenure on 29th September 1973. He played in 380 games, scored 90 tries, 12 conversions, 125 drop goals and 8 penalties, with a total points score of 908. He partnered some 15 scrum halves in an outstanding career, which brought him 13 England caps.
Horton made two guest appearances on 23/4/1988 and 12/10/1988
At roughly the same time, Alun Rees took a job move to Gloucester, which further consolidated Halliday’s position at centre.
John Player Cup Winners
Bath ended third in the Daily Mail Pennant Final Table, Second in the Sunday Telegraph English-Welsh Merit Table and top of the English Club Table.
Leading points scorers were:- John Palmer 172, David Trick 120, Barry Trevaskis 92, Chris Martin 53, John Horton 52, Richard Hill 48, Paul Simpson 44.
.John Palmer scored 3 tries, 32 Conversions and 32 Penalties.
Trevaskis scored 23 tries in 35 games, and David Trick 19 tries in 29 games