1986 – 1987
v Pontypool, Away, Won 23-10. C Martin, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, M Jones, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson.Replacements – Roy Palmer and Ian Davies
It was the first win at Pontypool Park, by an English Club in four years.
Bath’s opener provided five tries to Ponty’s one. Any thoughts of long-term conditioning were thrust aside, as England’s top club tore into a Welsh side who had only lost twice at home in 104 matches!
Clive Norling’s refereeing was a positive contribution encouraging Bath’s adventurous style of play
The ‘ever smiling’ Paul Simpson had a field day, weighing in with two tries, accompanied by a set of ‘outrageous’ dummies, which got him past at least three defenders. Mark Jones and Damian Cronin did the solid work in the second row and cries of ‘Pooler’ soon became muted, when their famed pack was pushed backwards from the very first scrum-down. It was Mark Jones who supplied the tap-down for a ‘lean and mean looking’ Chilcott to dive through for the opening try. After 30 minutes, a superb handling session involving Swift, Barnes, Halliday and Martin sent Trevaskis hurtling over in the corner. In total, Guscott missed four conversion attempts, but did succeed with a penalty goal. Barnes set up Swift early in the second half and was again instrumental by linking with Graham Dawe, who sent Simpson in for his second try.
The England selectors were encouraged to pencil-in a number of Bath players for the oncoming England versus Japan game.
v Plymouth Albion, Away, Won 41-10. C Martin, A Swift (T), A Janes, R E Palmer, B Trevaskis, P Cue, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – M Sparkes and K Withey – Sparkes replaced Martin
Penalty try awarded to Bath
David Sole made a welcome return, dispelling any doubts as to his zest for the game. He had been out since the Moseley game on February 8th 1986, when Steve Boyle’s elbow, allegedly, made contact with his cheekbone. He returned – a bundle of energy and ready to claim back his Scotland place. Bath’s makeshift selection materialised as a three-quarter line composed entirely of natural wingers.
Bath pushed the Albion all over the place, and early pressure forced them to yield a penalty try, which Cue converted. Andy Janes added a monstrous penalty from well inside the Bath half. A memorable try from Plymouth’s Ray Westlake was worthy of note. It was the culmination of a movement covering a good 80 metres. Janes struck back with another penalty, Dawe scored the first of his two tries and Roy Palmer converted for an interval score of 18-6 to Bath. Richard Hill was instrumental in sending in the hard-working Andy Robinson*. Palmer added another penalty and tries followed from Swift, Dawe’s second, and Martin Sparkes. Roy Palmer kicked three conversions.
* Robinson’s ‘all action’ performance was relayed to his father, Ray. Now almost totally blind, he still maintained a lively interest in Andy’s progress since his son’s days as captain of Loughborough Colleges. Ray had been no mean athlete in his time, gaining county honours at rugby and cricket.
Coach Jack Rowell was already eulogising on Robinson’s potential. There were very few open side forwards capable of keeping up his work-rate. His story of success was to be mirrored by many other Bath players destined to reach the highest echelons of the rugby world.
Bath’s burgeoning support had forced the local council to place an 8,000 limit on crowd size. Of everlasting memory, some 10,000 souls had crowded into the previous October’s evening epic against Cardiff.
v Leicester, Home, Won 6-3. P Cue, D Trick, J Palmer, S Halliday, A Swift, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – A Janes and D Sole – Janes replaced Palmer and Sole replaced Chilcott.
Involved in a try-saving tackle, John Palmer sustained a sickening neck injury and, although he was breathing normally, he had no movement in his limbs. He was closely attended by the likes of Surgeon Philip Bliss, Doctor David Protheroe and Physio – Gareth George. The St. John’s Ambulance, was rushed to the bottom, river side of the pitch..
The match was held up for 15 minutes, as Palmer was fitted with a surgical collar, then the crowd fell silent in communal anxiety, as the vehicle slowly pulled away. It transpired that Palmer had sustained severe bruising and was extremely fortunate that it was not a permanently disabling injury.
It is an appropriate time to pay tribute to the dedicated medical team, who game on game, gave so freely of their professional services
Bath played a forward-orientated game, but it was Palmer’s first half penalties that saw them through. Andy Robinson was on his home debut and combined with Simpson and Hall to devastating effect. Damian Cronin and Nigel Redman cleaned up in the line- out.
David Trick returned for this one game and then took a sabbatical away from Rugby, to see a bit of the world and pursue his declared preference for athletics.
v Moseley, Away, Won 36-0. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, S Halliday, M Sparkes, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – P Cue and N Maslen
Writers had exhausted superlatives as to the quality of Bath’s play, and this was another six tries – six conversions bonanza. Bath’s peerless pack swept all before them and tries flowed from Chilcott, Hall, Guscott (2), Barnes and Swift. Barnsie converted all six – and this with a badly inflamed toe!
‘Super sub’ Nick Maslen replaced John Hall, who withdrew with a leg injury.
v Newport, Away, Won 33-6. C Martin, A Swift, S Halliday, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, R Spurrell, A Robinson, P Simpson. Replacements – C Stanley and I Davies
Penalty try awarded to Bath. Reserve centre, 22 year old Ben Cundy stepped up into the limelight, crowning his re-appearance with a second-half try. He had been putting in some good performances for the United and the Spartans, since his first XV debut against Exeter University the previous season. Cundy’s selection was illustrative of the growing strength in depth that the Bath Club could now muster. It was a very necessary back-up for a Club facing a crowded fixture list and frequent demands for their International players.
This was their second success against a Welsh club, with tries by Halliday (2), Cundy, Barnes and Redman. Stuart Barnes, a product of Newport’s Bassaleg School and a Welsh Secondary Schools cap, also converted three and landed a penalty.
v Llanelli, Home, Lost 6-9. C Martin, A Swift, S Halliday, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, M Jones, D Cronin, R Spurrell, A Robinson, J Hall Replacements – M Sparkes and K Withey – Sparkes replaced Halliday
Arguably, Bath’s complacency allowed Llanelli to take the ‘Rag Doll’ back to Stradey Park. More particularly, Phil Davies got the better of Mark Jones in the line-out; Bath’s lighter pack lost three strikes against the head and were often forced on to the back foot. The other inescapable factor was whether any team could continue playing to the recent high peaks, week-in week-out. The game was played at a breathtaking pace; the visitors scored a converted try and a penalty to Stuart Barnes’s two penalties.
Bath really lost it up-front and only Halliday and Hill seemed capable of making inroads into a solid Llanelli defence. The back-row re-shuffle, putting Hall at number 8, Robinson blind-side and Spurrell open-side, did not prove to be effective.
v Aberavon, Away, Won 26-6. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, D Sole, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – P Cue and R Spurrell. Another Welsh win!
John Palmer made a most welcome re-appearance following his neck injury and Ben Cundy deputised for Halliday, who was still recovering from a gashed ankle. Tries by Martin, Simpson, Palmer and Redman. Barnes kicked two conversions and two penalties.
Graham Dawe received the news of his selection as England Reserve versus Japan. He more than justified this honour, with a highly competitive performance against Welsh hooker Billy James.
v South Wales Police, Home, Won 23-12. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, P Cue, C Stanley, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, D Churchill, D Cronin, R Spurrell (Capt), N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – A Janes and I Davies – Janes replaced Palmer
Roger Spurrell captained the side for this, his last game, in a colourful career stretching back over seven years. His contribution to Bath’s success was incalculable. It would be fair to attribute much of Bath’s ‘hard edge’ to the influence of this ex Royal Marine Commando and his uncompromising attitude.
Off the field, he was a very nice fellow and the writer of this note remembers him as a pleasant weekend guest, totally immersed in sorting out a Christmas puzzle game, ‘The Hobbit,’ so many years ago.
It was a debut game for David Churchill, who played on his wrong side in the second row, jumped at an unaccustomed number two in the line-out – and was suffering with a sprained ankle! Nevertheless, he performed creditably and Bath were again fortunate that they could bring in youngsters to replace and rest some of their more illustrious squad members. Tries by Simpson (2), and Trevaskis. Palmer converted one and kicked three penalties.
v Liverpool St Helens, Away, Won 29-19. C Martin, A Swift, A Thomas, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, P Cue (Capt), C Stanley, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, D Tugwell, D Cronin, A Robinson, K Withey, N Maslen. This was an amalgamation of the Liverpool and St. Helens Clubs.
Replacements – F Sagoe and T Murnane – Murnane replaced Martin and Sagoe (Debut appearance) replaced Cundy. Bath had seven players on duty at the England v Japan game, but the makeshift side still dominated throughout. Trevaskis was the first to score, followed by Robinson, Stanley and Martin. Cue kicked three conversions and a penalty.
England beat Japan, with a side which included Halliday, Barnes, Hill, Chilcott, Redman and Hall. Dawe was on the bench.
v Bristol, Away, Won 21-18. P Cue, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, G Chilcott, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – C Stanley and R Lee
Bath’s pack power at its best. Just before half time, a dramatic phase of play saw Bristol suffering the ignominy of being shoved back at speed – some 20 metres to their own line. The inevitable collapse yielded a penalty try to Bath. Trevaskis scored a second half try and Barnes paved the way with three penalties and two conversions. Bristol scored two converted tries and two penalties. Watched by some 8,000 people, there was excitement throughout and the usual degree of skulduggery in the forward department. Bristol’s Kevin Bogira was fired up from the start and whilst Bath’s Chilcott thrived on the pressure, he freely admitted that Bristol’s second half fight back had him worried.
v United Services (Portsmouth), Home, Won 66-14. P Cue, F Sagoe, J Palmer (Capt), S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Carter, C Stanley, D Sole, G Bess, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, J Hall, K Withey, N Maslen. Replacements – A Janes replaced Trevaskis
This time, the Services were the butt of the J.P. Cup holders’ aggression. Bath ran in 13 tries, including four by ‘bow-tied barrister,’ Fred Sagoe, and a hat trick for John Hall. Other tries from Cronin, Lee, Bess, Trevaskis, Stanley and Sole. Phil Cue converted seven of them. The back row of Hall, Withey and Maslen ruled the roost and the backs enjoyed a plethora of possession.
v Cardiff, Home, Won 28-9. P Cue, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Referee – G C Cromwell (GLOS). Replacements – C Stanley and I Davies
A great exhibition against the light blue and blacks, with Bath scoring five memorable tries to Cardiff’s one. John Palmer gave an outstanding mid-field display, which brought the best out of Simon Halliday.
John Palmer announced that he was quitting the England Rugby stage, to concentrate on and enjoy his Club rugby. He treated the 8,000 crowd to an exhibition of his artistry. On three successive occasions, his silky skills laid on tries for Simpson, Halliday, and Dawe. He left the best to the end. From a ruck, Barnes switched direction and fed Palmer. From his ever-open portfolio of skills, he produced an outrageous dummy, which sent classy Cardiff players lunging in the wrong direction. So much so that Jon Morrison was able to speed through a yawning gap for one of many spectacular tries.
“Bath, in fact, produced their most expansive rugby for probably two seasons, capping even some of their fine displays in Wales recently, but wobbled briefly after the interval before sweeping on to an impressive victory. “ (Bath Chronicle)
Tries were scored by Sagoe, Simpson, Dawe, Halliday and Morrison. Barnes converted four.
v Newbridge, Home, Won 10-6. P Cue, A Swift, J Palmer (Capt), B Cundy, P Blackett, S Carter, C Stanley, I Davies, J Deane, B Kenny, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, K Withey, N Maslen. Replacements – A Janes and A Burr
This was something of an anti-climax after Cardiff had been taken apart midweek. All but four first choice players were rested and even these found it hard going and were content to ‘go through the motions.’ Bath had been gifted a head start with Chris Stanley’s early try, but Newbridge snatched a lead ten minutes after the interval. Cue at last got on song and kicked two penalties and Bath had done just enough to claw their way out of trouble.
v Wasps Home, Won 22-6. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Attendance 7,500. Replacements – A Janes and K Withey
Bath held a monopoly on possession in all phases of play. Stuart Barnes opened the score card with a penalty, quickly followed by Andy Robinson’s try, courtesy of a big ‘heave-ho’ from back row partner John Hall. Barnes added the conversion for Bath to lead 9-0 at the interval. Robinson was again in the action and touched down from a five-metre scrum and again Barnes added the extras. Rob Andrew had a decidedly off game with the boot, missing easy chances in five attempts. In contrast, Barnes slotted another penalty with his usual aplomb. Wasps revived briefly, with a Kevin Simms try, which Andrews converted, but this was but a small hiccup in Bath’s workmanlike demolition. It was all done and dusted when Chris Martin hacked on at speed and won the race for a final try.
v Coventry, Home, Won 38-13. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, S Halliday, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – B Cundy and I Davies. Ian Davies came on when Chilcott sustained a leg injury.
Tries by Dawe (2), Redman, Swift (2) and Barnes, and 2 penalties and 4 conversions by Barnes, speeded Bath through this John Smith’s Merit Table match. It was another dominating performance for the Bath pack. They relaxed slightly in the second half, but comfortably completed a run of nine wins. Bath had hit the 400 points mark, with only 15 games played. They had scored 64 tries, converted 37. And added 26 penalties.
v Fiji Barbarians, Home, Won 35-4. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson (T). Replacements – J Guscott and I Davies – Guscott replaced Sagoe and Davies replaced Hall
Bath provided a superior exhibition of rugby on a rain-swept pitch.
Ref – R Quittenton (LONDON)-
Fijian Rugby was officially founded in 1913, but their first match was recorded as 1884. Police force players predominated. Early ‘overseas’ opposition was occasionally provided by the Royal Navy.
Some 600 clubs were affiliated at this time, representing 11,000 players.
Heavy conditions should have been a leveller, but despite difficult times in the line-out and losing a couple of strikes, Bath eased the tourists out of contention. Bath tries from Swift (2), Hill, Sole, Simpson and Guscott. Barnes kicked a penalty and four amazing touchline conversions.
v Gloucester, Home, Lost 9-12. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, B Cundy, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, I Davies, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson Replacements – P Cue and G Bess
Bath’s fortunes suffered a downturn, with the ignominy of being outplayed by Gloucester on home ground. For once, Gadd, Teague and Smith had the edge on Robinson, Simpson and Hall and were demonstrably faster and smarter in the loose. Bath had plenty of line-out ball, but they missed the talents of Halliday and Palmer in the backs. Barnes scored three penalties, but Gloucester’s response of a drop goal, penalty and converted penalty try, allowed them to hold out for a frantic quarter hour, to win a bruising encounter.
v Neath, Away, Lost 9-26. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson Replacements – P Cue and I Davies. A bumper attendance estimated at 9000.
This was not a good game from Bath’s point of view. The back row of Robinson, Hall ands Simpson could not get near the in-form Jonathan Davies, who added to Bath’s discomfort with a brilliant try.
The Welsh wizard appeared to shape up for a drop at goal and suddenly, his blind-side break left all and sundry trailing in his wake. He dived over in characteristic style. Thorburn had opened with a penalty when Chilcott was caught off-side. Davies proceeded to torment Bath, dodging tackles and gaining yards with his accurate touch finding. Next, Steve Powell broke a tackle and Richard Griffiths was driven across the Bath line. Barnes and Thorburn exchanged penalty successes. Barnes added a second penalty to narrow the gap to 6-10. This small gain was thrown away by a wayward pass, which allowed Elgin Rees to intercept and speed over for Thorburn to convert. The Welsh full-back added another penalty for a half time lead of 19-6. Jonathan Davies slipped into top gear for the second spell and his mesmerising play left the Bath defence floundering. He added a smartly taken drop-goal to his brilliant try, whilst Barnes’s third penalty just about reminded the Neath faithful that Bath were in attendance.
v London Scottish, Away, Drawn 12-12. A Janes, P Blackett, J Guscott, J Palmer (Capt), G Stanton, P Cue, S Knight, D Sole, G Bess, B Kenny, D Cronin, C Bevan, K Withey, A Burr, R Lye. Replacements – S Carter and C Lilley
With no fewer than fourteen players on Divisional duty, it was left to Phil Cue to contribute three penalties and a drop goal to save the game. Bath were trailing 9-12 at the interval and his third penalty levelled matters near the end. Andy Janes put in a fine performance at full-back, and Withey, Cronin and Sole featured in much of the positive play.
v Harlequins, Away, Lost 9-25. A Janes, G Stanton, B Cundy, J Guscott, P Blackett, P Cue (Capt), S Knight, C Lilley, J Deane, C Folland, C Blake, D Cronin, K Withey, C Bevan, A Burr. Replacements – J Bamsey and N Riou
Bath ‘Reserves’ put up a brave fight against the Quins. Phil Cue established an early lead with a drop goal, but this was soon negated by Garrett’s penalty. There was one particularly bright passage of play, when Knight and Cue generated some good running rugby, ending in a try for hooker Jimmy Deane. Cue converted from near the touchline. Harlequins settled the issue with two penalties and a brace of converted tries.
v Clifton, Home, Won 38-9. P Cue, G Stanton , B Cundy, J Guscott, P Blackett, S Carter, S Knight, K Singh, J Deane, C Folland, P Miles, C Blake, K Withey, N Maslen (Capt), A Burr. Replacements – C Book and R Lye
Bath’s second string profited from the experience and generalship of full-back Phil Cue to outplay a spirited Clifton outfit. Simon Carter and Steve Knight combined well to make inroads into the Clifton defence. As the young backs gained in confidence, Clifton were played out of the game.
Tries from George Stanton (2), Cundy, Guscott, Withey and Blackett. Cue landed 4 conversions and 2 penalties.
v Northampton, Away, Won 12-10. A Lumsden, A Swift, A Buzza, P Cue, P Blackett, S Carter, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, C Blake, J Hall, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton.
Bath scraped home at Franklin Gardens and it took an injury-time try by prop Richard Lee to turn the game. Despite adequate possession, Richard Hill looked sadly out of touch without Barnes as his partner. A makeshift forward permutation had John Hall playing in the second row. Northampton, fielding a lively bunch, had won five games in a row and led with a Mynard penalty at the interval. Bath eventually drew level with Cue’s penalty, but the Saints were quick to respond with a superb try by Frank Packman. Cue kicked another penalty ten minutes from time, followed by Bath’s sweeping 60 yard surge, ending with Lee under the posts. Phil Cue steadied himself for the winning conversion.
v Cardiff, Away, lost 21-32. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer (Capt), A Buzza, P Blackett, P Cue, S Knight, C Lilley, G Bess, C Folland, D Cronin, C Blake, K Withey, Colin Bevan, N Maslen. Replacement – J Guscott replaced Blackett
This was a creditable New Year’s Day performance, from a very under-strength side. However, it was not nice to once again lose at Cardiff!
Despite the loss, there were some stirring performances from Bath’s weakened side. Cue had given Bath an early lead with a drop goal, but Cardiff were quick to respond with a try by Cardus. Next Chris Martin’s chip ahead bounced just out of reach for winger Pete Blackett. Bath tried again and this time Knight worked the ball to Palmer, who kicked on for Swift to score in fine style. Other Bath tries came from new number 8 Colin Bevan and Damian Cronin crossed near the end. However, Bath successes had stirred the home side into action and Bath were once more despatched with tries by Roberts (2), Cordle, Cardus, Donovan and Lakin. Geraint John kicked 4 conversions.
AN OVERDOSE OF GOODWILL
Some considered that Clive Norling refereed with an excess of holiday spirit. He ignored a stream of technical offences. In fact, he did not award a penalty until four minutes into injury time.
It may have been a public holiday, but Norling’s contribution to the ‘entertainment,’ was quite extraordinary
v Waterloo, Away, lost 26-28. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer (Capt), J Guscott, B Trevaskis, P Cue, S Knight, C Lilley, G Bess, C Folland, P Miles, D Cronin, N Maslen, C Bevan, N Riou
Bath possibly underestimated Waterloo’s potential; they had, in fact, enjoyed a string of 13 consecutive wins. However, Bath were without 12 of their first choice players and despite Bath’s first half advantage, the home side worked their way back into the game for an injury-time success.
In an exciting climax, Aitcheson converted Hackett’s try with a superb touch-line kick.
Bath tries by Trevaskis, Knight and Cronin (2). Cue converted two and kicked two penalties.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 53-16. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, D Cronin, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton Replacements – P Cue and C Bevan – Cue replaced Palmer and Bevan replaced Bess
Tries by Swift (2), Halliday (2), Martin (2), Robinson, Redman, Hall, and Cronin, five conversions and a penalty by Barnes, were quite enough to swamp Bath’s one time J.P. Cup opponents. Redman collected a gashed eyebrow and Greg Bess went off with suspected fractured ribs, from a scrum collapse. There was little to check Bath’s dominance in all departments and they were in good shape for their cup tie with Plymouth.
v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 32-10. John Player Special Cup – Third Round.
Team:- C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson
Replacements – S Knight and R Lee. Winger, Steve Walklin showed well for Plymouth and was shortly to try his hand with Bath.
Tries by Hill, Barnes, Swift, Hall and Morrison (2), with Barnes converting four.
Plymouth could do little to stop Bath’s progress, although they did score creditable tries by Walklin and Westlake. Walklin was a gangly and deceptively speedy runner. Notably, John Morrison kept him out on one occasion, but following another bludgeoning run, he managed to ride Chris Martin’s tackle for Plymouth’s first try. In the latter stages Palmer and Halliday were carrying injuries so the forwards obligingly took a hand. First, John Hall barged his way over for Bath’s fourth try, followed by two late successes by the outstanding Jon Morrison.
v Sale, Home, Won 46-13. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Chilcott, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, J Hall, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – A Lumsden and J Deane. Graham Dawe was rested in advance of his first Cap.
Perhaps Bath were getting a whiff of possible Cup success, or had possibly been coasting for one or two games, but this was the start of the serious stuff and the Champions put in a majestic performance.
Seven splendid tries were dished up to ecstatic spectators; Stuart Barnes blessed the occasion with a try, a penalty, a drop goal and 6 conversions. Other tries, all individual gems, descended upon Sale from Halliday (2), Swift, Hill, Morrison and Palmer. Hall was back to his England form and Morrison had a ‘cracker’ of a game. His 63rd minute try sent Coach Jack Rowell into something of a paroxysm of ecstasy!
“It came in the 63rd minute when Bath were already 30-7 ahead. Richard Hill fed Barnes from a ruck on the touch line and a breathtaking bout of interpassing between David Sole, Paul Simpson, Hall and Morrison in that narrow corridor between the tramlines led to the big lock breaking a tackle and charging 20 metres to the line.” (Kevin Coughlan – Evening Post)
v Royal Air Force, Home, Won 38-6. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, A Lumsden, P Cue, S Knight, C Lilley, J Deane, R Lee, P Miles, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, D Egerton. Replacements – P Blackett and C Bevan
Phil Cue’s move from Bristol had brought inestimable value to the club, not only for his place- kicking prowess, but also his tactical kicking out-of-hand and generalship in both the fly-half and full-back positions. In this game he landed 4 conversions out of 6 attempts and 4 penalties brought his season total to 100 points in 14 1st XV games. Of similar ilk was Nick Maslen, popularly referred to as ‘Super Sub.’ These were but two stalwarts epitomising Bath’s strength in depth – a Club necessity for continued Squad success. The current Internationals were rested in advance of the Ireland game, but this posed no problems for try scorers Knight, Swift (2), Egerton, Palmer and Guscott.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Won 25-9. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer (Capt), J Guscott, A Lumsden, P Cue, S Knight, C Lilley, J Deane, R Lee, P Miles, N Maslen, D Sole, A Robinson, D Egerton. Replacements – J Bamsey and J Morrison (late arrival)
Bath were without eight players on International duty and Trialist Jon Morrison was delayed in traffic. A pack reshuffle saw David Sole give an authoritative performance at wing forward. Again, Phil Cue was the controlling influence. Jeremy Guscott was beginning to stretch his legs and a 40 yard movement led to his try. Noticeably, young winger Audley Lumsden got amongst the tries. In the end game, both sides played with spirit, but there was no holding Bath – they were on a roll.
The total try count was:- Guscott, Lumsden, Knight and Egerton, with Cue converting three and adding a penalty.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 33-4. John Player Special Cup – Fourth Round. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight and D Sole
BATH CLOSE THE NET
“London Welsh, prompted by international scrum-half Mark Douglas, proved as elusive as butterflies in attack and defence but once the net closed they had no chance.” (Kevin Coughlan – Evening Post)
Bath commenced to throw the ball about and their first half, two penalty lead, was quickly augmented by tries from Sagoe, Swift, Barnes and finally – Palmer.
Palmer’s try was a stunner! Running from deep, Sagoe, Halliday, Palmer, Barnes, and Morrison handled, before sending in Palmer five minutes from time.
Barnes converted one try and landed 4 penalties.
David Egerton was called up into the England Squad.
20th February 1987 England ‘B’ International staged on the Rec. versus France. Andy Robinson gained a ‘B’ Cap along with Nigel Redman, who had suffered the indignity of being dropped from the England Premier team.
v Moseley, Home, Won 12-3. John Player Special Cup – Quarter Final. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – S Knight and R Lee.
Bath were awarded a penalty try.
Bath were fortunate that Moseley’s Ian Metcalfe had an off-day with the boot. He missed six out of seven penalty attempts. Although Barnes had scored a drop goal in the 20th minute, the match was fiercely contested and the issue was not settled until the final quarter. Moseley were finally worn down by constant pressure emanating from the likes of Hall, Redman and Sole. Barnes was a steadying influence and kept Bath going forward and contributed a penalty. He then converted from a penalty try, awarded when Moseley were adjudged to have kicked the ball out of the Bath back row, when they were surging towards the Moseley line.
In background to this activity, and fed up with sitting on the bench, Stuart Barnes had announced his non-availability for England.
Additionally, Bath had a surfeit of forwards and attempted to run a rota system.
Nevertheless, Paul Simpson fell victim, when there was an override of selection ‘on current merit.’
v Nottingham, Home, Won 15-6. P Cue, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, C Martin, S Barnes, S Knight, C Lilley, J Deane, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – P Blackett and C Bevan
Cronin came in at the expense of Jon Morrison and scored a second-half try which Barnes converted. He generally put himself about in the line-out and his long legs permitted considerable mobility in the loose. The in-form Simpson had lunged over just before the interval and Barnes’s conversion and penalty had put Bath 9-6 ahead at half time.
v Swansea, Home, Won 30-8. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, J Hall, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – A Lumsden and I Davies
Bath started as they wished to continue. Ignoring a possible three point starter, they ran the penalty to give their backs a high- speed warm up. Then a heel against the head, Trevaskis passed back to Simpson and he smashed across the Swansea line, with a modicum of assistance from partner John Hall. Barnes provided the first of four conversions and two penalties. Swansea’s Maurice Colclough gave Damian Cronin a hard time in the line out and was difficult to fell in surging open play. Tony Swift was delighted to score a try against his old club and further tries stemmed from Trevaskis and Halliday.
v Cheltenham, Away, Won 43-3. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, P Cue, B Trevaskis, S Carter, S Knight, C Lilley, G Bess, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, P Simpson (Capt), D Egerton. Replacements – F Sagoe and C Bevan
This was a South West Merit Table game, but Bath were content to coast to a comfortable victory. Bath tries from Guscott (2), Swift, Trevaskis, Carter (2) and Robinson. Cue converted 6 and landed a penalty. With one eye on a Cup Semi place, Trevaskis was grateful to receive a plentiful supply of ball and add yet another try to his CV.
v Orrell, Away, Won 31-7. John Player Special Cup – Semi Final. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight, R Lee, P Cue, P Simpson, J Guscott, G Bess
Tries by Hall (2), Egerton (2), Hill and Robinson. Barnes converted two and kicked a penalty.
Bath’s front row attacked their opposites with gusto, while Redman, Morrison, Egerton and Hall gave Cusani and the mighty Kimmins, a tactical lesson in the line-out.
With a supreme ‘peak form,’ team performance, Bath ran in six tries. They were a credit – first to themselves, to Richard Hill as skipper, and to the Club Coaches. Notably, Bath’s back row of Robinson, Egerton and Hall shared 5 tries between them. Who could stop them?
The travelling support sang all the way home!
v Pontypool, Home, Won 28-13. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, and P Simpson. Replacements – P Cue replaced Hill and C Lilley replaced Cronin
CHILCOTT – OMNIPRESENT
Bath ‘toughed it out’ with some of the best of the Welsh. England discards Chilcott and Dawe were outstanding, once again disrupting the long time nursery of Principality front rows. Dawe got two tries to Chilcott’s one, but this last named was here, there and everywhere, dispensing line-out instructions, giving unsolicited advice to replacement scrum-half Phil Cue, acting as chief negotiator in front row flare-ups, pushing his considerable weight in the scrum, popping up in the wing position to lay on a score and contributing a try of his own to crown an exceptional performance.
Also in attendance were try scorers Trevaskis, Simpson and Swift. Barnes converted two.
v London Irish, Away, Won 36-13. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Guscott, B Cundy, F Sagoe, J Palmer (Capt), S Knight, G Chilcott, G Bess, R Lee, J Morrison, P Miles, A Robinson, K Withey, N Maslen. Replacements – A Janes and I Davies
A plethora of tries from Lumsden, Swift (2), Guscott (2), Sagoe, Palmer and Morrison. Palmer and Knight converted one each.
v Clifton, Away, Won 23-6. A Lumsden, F Sagoe, B Cundy, J Bamsey, S Walklin, P Cue, S Knight, C Lilley, G Bess, I Davies, P Miles, C Blake, K Withey, N Maslen (Capt). and C Bevan. Replacements – S Carter and R Lye – Carter replaced Lumsden. It was Steve Walklin’s debut.
The Bath backs were too hot to handle, despite the cooling effect of ankle deep mud and accumulations of water. It was just over a minute, when Fred Sagoe touched down against his former club. Cue’s penalty followed on the quarter hour and Bath were seven points up and warming to their task. Steve Knight made light of the adverse conditions and a quick break, four minutes on, sent in Kevin Withey.
Clifton responded with the first of their two penalties and then Knight was at it again, starting and finished his try scoring dash after 30 minutes play. Ten minutes into the second half, Audley Lumsden showed his mettle with a magnificent try from an 80-metre dash. Cue converted.
v Newport, Home, Won 34-8. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, C Lilley, G Dawe, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – A Janes and I Davies
There were days when Newport would have been a fearsome proposition, but in this match they were eventually brushed aside with Bath in rampant mode. Chief figure in this surge of energy was a ‘born again’ Richard Hill. With all thoughts of his England debacle behind him, he weighed in with two tries and kept his backs supplied with his crisp service from the base of the scrum. There was much ado in the front row department. Chris Lilley began to struggle against Wales’s Rhys Morgan and, obligingly, Chilcott laid on some distraction over on his side. There were some pretty heavy exchanges just before the interval, resulting in a good tongue-wagging from referee Jim Coulson. Chilcott looked suitably contrite and shaped up for the next clash of heads!
Guscott began to unfold his silky skills and contributed to some slick handling movements and switches in direction. Thus tries were generated for Hill (2), Guscott, Halliday and Swift. Barnes converted four out of five and landed two penalties.
v Bridgend, Away, Won 38-24. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, C Lilley, G Dawe, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – S Knight and C Bevan
Bridgend outclassed at the Brewery! Bath’s thirst for success remained unquenched.
“Bath swept arrogantly and elegantly into a 12-nil lead inside the opening 14 minutes without breaking into a sweat. The destroyer was rapier centre Simon Halliday, slicing through flimsy cover for two breathtaking tries.”
” Individually, however, players like Halliday, Nigel Redman, John Hall and Gareth Chilcott never fell far below their very best.” (Chris Ducker – Evening Post)
Although Bridgend recovered briefly, Bath stepped up a notch and further tries flowed from Simpson, Trevaskis, Dawe, Hill and Swift. Barnes converted two and kicked a penalty and a drop goal.
v Bristol, Home, Won 30-8. C Martin, A Swift, J Guscott, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes (Capt), S Knight, C Lilley, G Bess, I Davies, J Morrison, P Miles,
A Robinson, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – F Sagoe and C Bevan
Bath faced one more serious game before the Final and selected the best combination available. Both Bath and Bristol were depleted by England’s demand for training in warmer climes!
It was a pretty useful outfit to face their local rivals and tries came from Swift, Trevaskis, Knight, Morrison and Maslen. Barnes converted twice and added two penalties.
v North Devon, Home, Won 19-4. A Lumsden, F Sagoe, P Cue, J Bamsey, M Stevens, S Carter, S Knight, C Lilley, J Deane, I Davies, C Blake, P Miles, N Maslen (Capt), K Withey, C Bevan. Replacements – C Book and R Lye
This game was a bit of an add-on, and the back-up squad coped adequately with the North Devon hopefuls. Phil Cue, this time at centre, scored a try, converted two and landed a penalty. John Bamsey and Jimmy Deane accompanied him on the try list.
v Bedford, Away, Lost 6-47. C Book, G Stanton, B Cundy, J Bamsey, P Blackett, S Carter, P Smith, K Singh, J Deane, I Davies, C Bevan, C Blake, A Burr, N Maslen (Capt), K Withey
Bath came seriously adrift at Bedford. It was always ‘a game too far,’ and at this stage ‘a game too much.’ However, apart from a slight nudge to collective Club pride, it did not effect any Cup Final aspirants – and even fewer supporters. Teams under the Bath banner had gone an incredible 18 games without a loss. Former Gloucester giant, John Orwin, led his side to a six-try victory. Incredibly, some of the home support voiced disappointment at the absence of Bath’s J.P. Cup stars. Bedford had last ‘put it over’ Bath some ten years previously. It was Bath’s heaviest defeat of the season, but the United/Spartans combination, God bless-em, did their best. Evergreen Clive Book scored and converted his own try.
v Wasps, Won 19-12. John Player Special Cup – Final. C Martin, A Swift, J Palmer, S Halliday, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, D Sole, G Dawe, G Chilcott, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight, R Lee, P Cue, P Simpson, J Guscott, G Bess
Bath fielded eleven internationals; Robinson and Egerton were destined to be capped later. Jeremy Guscott replaced Swift after half-time.
Referee – Fred Howard (LIVERPOOL)
It was John Palmer’s 300th game and his cumulative points total stood at 1289.
Hill unleashed a long pass to Halliday for the decisive try of this match. Redman’s second try came seven minutes into injury time. Barnes converted twice and scored a penalty.
There followed some very anxious and confusing moments. Many thought the referee had blown for no-side. Unfortunately, and in a confusing situation, a large number of delirious supporters invaded the pitch. Many present thought that the result might be in jeopardy, but a few seconds later the referee blew up and the game was concluded. Bath had clinched the J.P. Cup for a 4th consecutive season.
The premature pitch invasion prompted a stream of journalistic invective over succeeding days. It was something that the anti-Bath lobby could at last latch on to. Whether or not, borne out of pique at Bath’s winning ways – it mattered little. Bath came home with the Silverware.
FOR THE RECORD
Bath were second to Neath in the Sunday Telegraph English-Welsh table, Winners of the John Smith’s Merit Table A, and South West Merit Table.
There were just 7 games lost out of 44. Of these, only two were lost by a representative 1st XV. viz. Neath and Gloucester.
The results were even more commendable, considering the International calls on so many major players. Significantly, Bath were obliged to utilise 59 players to fulfil their Club commitments.
Bath scored 184 tries. Tony Swift was top try scorer with 23 and also notched up most appearances, playing in 36 of the 44 games.
Player of the Year – Graham Dawe.
The points tally of 1167 was the second highest in their history to date.
Top points scorers:- Stuart Barnes 6 Tries, 64 Conversions, 36