1987 – 1988
JOHN HALL’S KNEE
An Evening Post article dated 25th July 1987, focused on John Hall’s knee injury problem. He had been selected for England’s World Cup squad, but suffered a major disappointment, with cartilage damage before training had really got under way. He was obliged to take the earliest plane home. Hall had an operation on the same knee a year previously and faced a long slog back to full match fitness.
Unfortunately, he had to carry this injury for the rest of his playing career.
v South Wales Police, Home, Won 59-3. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer, P Cue, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, J Hall, A Robinson, D Egerton. Replacements – D Trick and I Davies – Davies replaced Lee
Richard Lee returned as first choice prop, following David Sole’s move to Edinburgh Academicals.
Bath scored nine tries and Stuart Barnes amassed a personal tally of 27 points, comprised of a try, a drop goal, 2 penalties and 7 conversions. Other Bath tries from Dawe, Hall, Egerton, Palmer, Swift, Cue and Lumsden. Writhlington School teacher, Andy Robinson did not score, but certainly deserved to. His phenomenal work rate allowed him to pounce on virtually every scrape of loose ball. The Police side, which included internationals Steve Sutton and Bleddyn Bowen, responded with a penalty by Hembury. Chilcott coped admirably with much of the ‘heavy’ stuff up-front.
v Pontypool, Home, Lost 12-14. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer, J Bamsey, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, K Withey, A Robinson, N Maslen. Replacements – S Knight and I Davies
After a 59-3 romp against South Wales Police, Bath came down with a bump in a bad tempered ‘friendly.’ Bath were weakened by the absence of John Hall, away on business, and David Egerton. (bruised buttock) Pontypool benefited from the return of scrum half David Bishop, whilst Mark Ring, recently returned from Cardiff, plied his trade at fly-half. Barnes kept Bath’s end up with 4 penalties, while Pontypool scored tries through Huish and Watkins, with Ring kicking 2 penalties. Bath struggled and also felt they fared badly from some of Roger Quittenton’s refereeing decisions.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 13-24. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, S Halliday, A Swift, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Referee – Fred Howard (LIVERPOOL) Replacements – A Lumsden and T Harris.
Bath lost control at Leicester and occupied themselves with a degree of petty niggling. Both Dawe and Martin incurred the referee’s wrath, as Bath gave away penalty opportunities. Leicester were in good shape, having just returned from a ‘warm-up’ tour of Australia. Their tries stemmed from Dexter, Cusworth and Harris. Hare kicked three penalties and Cusworth dropped a goal. Hall and Barnes scored tries for Bath, Barnes converting one, landing a penalty and dropped a goal.
Bath were severely handicapped by the loss of Halliday, with an eye injury on half time, whilst Andy Robinson went off with a bruised hip, in the 60th minute.
Not a good start for the first Courage League fixture!
Predictably, it was ‘Access Barred’ to the changing room, as Jack Rowell delivered collective and individual verbal lashings for at least half an hour. Jack did not pull punches and for any under-performer – there was no place to hide. Gradually the browbeaten players emerged into the outer world. At the very least, they could soothe out any self doubts with a pint or two of the strong stuff.
They did have the last laugh however. Jack had stormed off to attend an R.F.U. Coaching seminar.
He found the game under analysis – that day’s Leicester v Bath!
v Moseley, Home, Won 14-0. C Martin, D Trick, J Palmer, J Guscott, A Swift (T), P Cue (2pg), R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Egerton, K Withey, J Hall, P Simpson (T) Replacements – S Knight and C Lilley – Knight replaced Hill
It was Bath’s first Courage League win, but not much to shout about, as they only marginally improved on their Pontypool and Leicester performances. Added to this, they picked up a crop of injuries. Steve Knight replaced Hill after 52 minutes, as he withdrew with a blow to the kidneys. In a game punctuated by flare-ups, there had been a trail of casualties:- Egerton (head), Hall (leg) and Palmer (groin strain).
Only Redman and Hall generated the necessary power and aggression to keep the Midlanders in check.
“If Bath’s approach was disjointed, Moseley seemed to have no other tactic than to attack the blind side, which was meat and drink to Hall.”
“At No. 8 was Paul Simpson, clearly enjoying his first senior outing. Not only did he touch down a pushover try in the tenth minute, but also had a short spell at scrum-half before Hill went off for good.”
“The second half was a bore, enlivened only by sporadic scuffles which referee David Matthews was incapable of sorting out, despite innumerable warnings.” (Kevin Coughlan – Evening Post)
Redman and Egerton had ensured a goodly supply of line-out ball and were solid in the second row.
Cue had opened with his first penalty and Simpson’s try made it 7-0. There was an anonymous 25 minute period when nothing seemed to be happening, then a sweeping movement in which the ball travelled through 11 players’ hands, ended with Swift grounding the ball on his opposite wing.
Cue kicked a second penalty in the 67th minute.
v Llanelli, Away, Lost 14-27. C Martin, D Trick, J Guscott, A Janes, A Swift, P Cue, K Plummer, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, M Haag, N Redman, A Robinson, N Maslen, P Simpson. This was the 125th Bath – Llanelli fixture, Bath having won 31 games and Llanelli 88.
Just two minutes into the game and J Bamsey replaced Chris Martin, who was plagued by a re-occurring shoulder injury. Hill and Hall had been late withdrawals and the Team Secretary had the greatest difficulty in scratching around for replacements. Although they put on a brave show, the makeshift back division were no match for a Llanelli side containing four Davies’s – N., S., C. and P, and Griffiths’s J. and A. Phil Davies, in particular, put in an international class performance, to blot out Bath possession. It was a 1st XV debut for Martin Haag.
“But Chilcott rallied his pack. The ferociously competitive Andy Robinson could have been reported to the Monopolies Commission for his refusal to allow anyone else a chance at the loose ball, and Paul Simpson combined sweetly with an inspired Keith Plummer, Bath’s third-string scrum-half, to peg back the Welshmen.” (Chris Hewett Evening Post)
Guscott and Trick (2) got Bath’s tries and Cue converted one. Llanelli scored 5 tries, and Lewis converted two and kicked a penalty.
v London Irish, Home, Won 32-15. A Janes, D Trick, J Guscott, P Cue, A Swift, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – P Blackett and T Harris
As yet, Bath had not been able to emulate the previous season’s fluent style, but this game went some way towards restoring confidence. They had been unable to replicate concerted forward drive, and the backs’ performance also suffered from a lack of cohesion. Perhaps they were trying too hard.
Nevertheless, they ran in tries by Swift (2), Barnes (2), Egerton, Knight and Withey, with Barnes converting two.
v Aberavon, Away, Lost 13-16. A Janes, D Trick, J Guscott, P Cue, A Swift, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott (Capt), G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – M Sparkes and C Lilley
Frequent bad tempered flare-ups had ensured a plentiful supply of penalty awards. It was therefore a game of lost opportunities as Barnes (3) and Cue (2) were off target with penalty attempts. At the end, up stepped Trick, cool as a cucumber to convert Phil Cue’s injury time try. It left them to reflect on what might have been if they had put their faith in the enigmatic winger. Barnes had kicked one penalty, followed by a storming try by former Cardiffian, Nigel Redman.
It was Bath’s fourth defeat in seven games.
v Nottingham, Away, Lost 15-25. A Janes, D Trick, J Palmer, J Guscott, A Swift, P Cue, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, D Egerton. Replacements – I Davies replaced Chilcott
This was a classic Moore to Dawe confrontation, but it was the boot of Simon Hodgkinson which decided the issue. Bath scored tries through Robinson, Cronin and Swift, plus a Phil Cue penalty. By contrast, Nottingham only managed two tries through Cook, but augmented their score-card, with Hodgkinson’s conversion, drop goal and 4 penalties. Referee Tony Trigg awarded penalties in a ratio of 15 to 4 in Nottingham’s favour. Allegedly, his interpretation of the ruck and maul laws, left the Bath camp wishing: “the London-based whistler had stuck with his original appointment on Saturday – the Bristol v Wasps game.” (Evening Post)
v Bristol, Home, Won 15-9. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Swift, J Palmer, R Hill, I Davies, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, N Maslen, D Egerton. Referee – S K Trevithick (CORNWALL) Attendance 7000. It was Bath’s tenth victory in the last ten ‘Derbies.’
Replacements – M Sparkes and J Deane
This was Bristol’s Centenary Year and they nurtured high hopes of ending a ten match run of losses against their local rivals. Martin was still incapacitated, but notably, near veteran Phil Cue ex Bristol, was the preferred full back, rather than young student Audley Lumsden. Cue enjoyed himself against his former club, contributing two conversions and a penalty goal. Hill and Halliday got the tries. Bristol try scorer was Dun, with a conversion and penalty by Jonathan Webb. Many considered that Bristol were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try, when Bath collapsed on their line.
In the absence of Barnes, Palmer had come in at outside half. He brought all his 14 years experience to bear, and conducted affairs in a confident, and schoolmasterly fashion. Following an early season strain, he had intended to opt out until Christmas so that he could concentrate on his charges at King Edward’s School. He helped to restore much of Bath’s self-belief.
v Newport, Away, Won 24-7. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Swift, S Barnes, R Hill, C Lilley, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, N Maslen, D Egerton. Referee – Clive Norling (SWANSEA). Replacements – A Janes and T Harris
A Tony Swift hat trick at Rodney Parade! Jonathan Callard played fullback for Newport.
Bath looked like their old selves again, but Richard Hill still considered a need to sharpen up on a few points. He called for increased fitness levels in advance of their Championship game with Wasps. Newport, no mean side, were rocked back on their heels when Halliday’s chip ahead produced the first of Swift’s three tries in under a minute. John Widdecombe’s try brought Newport into the game after 15 minutes. Jonathan Callard missed the conversion, but made amends with a well-taken penalty in the 22nd minute. Newport were then 7-4 in the lead. That was the end of Newport’s contribution to the score board; hereon, Halliday made a superb break supported by Swift, to send in the ever present Andy Robinson. Newport were subjected to tremendous pressure, as evidenced by the normally reliable Callard missing three penalty opportunities, one from in front of the posts. Halliday continued to call the shots in midfield and two tries followed from Swift and a final one from Cue. Barnes converted two.
v Cheltenham, Home, Won 46-3. P Cue, A Swift, J Guscott, B Cundy, P Blackett, S Barnes, C Stanley, C Lilley, J Deane, T Harris, P Miles, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – M Westcott and K Singh – Singh replaced Lilley
Chris Stanley, now back with Walcot Old Boys, enjoyed this one-sided run-about. He had an easy task behind a commanding pack, in which lock Peter Miles had an outstanding game. Four regulars helped to steady this youthful side, and Barnes profited greatly from Stanley’s streamlined service.
Swift scored another hat trick. The remainder of the ten tries flowed from:- Guscott, Blackett, Stanley, Mark Jones (2), Maslen and Simpson. Barnes converted three.
v Vale of Lune, Home, Won 20-16. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, P Blackett, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott (Capt), J Deane, R Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, K Withey, N Maslen, D Egerton. Replacements –B Cundy and C Lilley – Cundy replaced Blackett
Around 2000 supporters were in attendance for this ‘run of the mill’ match. The subdued atmosphere served to focus attention on Gareth Chilcott’s strident team instructions, as he deputised for skipper Richard Hill. A constant dialogue, delivered in his broad Bristol accent, served the dual roll of entertaining the crowd as well as enjoining his players to greater effort. As he commented to the Evening Post’s Peter Godsiff: “I don’t talk softly, I’ve got a big mouth so everyone knows what I want.”
Whatever public image he projected, Chilcott was no fool. He knew his rugby, he was always in the thick of the action, and was greatly respected by friend and foe alike. Off the field, he was a happy, friendly gregarious type. Thoroughly entertaining company, he often had more academic types, such as David Trick, enthralled by his quick wit and stream of anecdotes. Stories of his antics ‘On Tour’ remain highly classified: “What goes on Tour – stays on Tour!” He was one of Bath’s greatest clubmen.
For the record, Bath tries by Trick, Guscott, Maslen (2) and Blackett.
v Newbridge, Away, Won 17-6. M Westcott, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott (Capt), G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – J Bamsey and K Singh
The Newbridge front row were subjected to the combined pressure of Chilcott, Dawe and Lee. Tight head, Terry Rogers was unable to cope with Chilcott, and popped up in the first three scrummages. After a fourth tangle, he retired with damaged ribs!
Halliday was at the peak of his form and had the Newbridge midfield in all sorts of trouble. Enforced penalty awards enabled Barnes to nudge Bath 9-6 ahead early in the second half. Redman, Simpson and Robinson drove forward relentlessly, and tries followed from Morrison and Swift.
v Wasps, Away, Lost 15-19. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Swift, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. .Replacements – S Knight and K Singh.
This was another crucial loss in the newly formed Courage League.
Bath were off-song at this crucial stage, and expressed some of their frustration with a distinct testiness
up-front. They felt a ‘bit hard done by,’ at some of the referee’s decisions. There seemed little equity in his administration of the Laws, and Bath players felt that Wasps should have been penalised for lying on the ball and diving into the rucks. The crowd certainly voiced their frustration when Chilcott, packing opposite Probyn, was penalised for collapsing the scrum right on the Bath line. Fortunes deteriorated further in the end game and Egerton’s late try served only to narrow the gap. Barnes’s conversion added to three earlier penalties.
v Coventry, Away, Drawn 9-9. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Swift, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Lee departed with a gashed head at the end of the first quarter and Knight replaced Barnes in the 23rd minute.
Bath were made to work hard for a draw. Much of the enterprise had disappeared from Bath’s play. Richard Hill was not in his best form, and when Barnes withdrew with a cheekbone injury, Bath looked distinctly unfocussed. The pack seemed unable to stamp their usual authority on the game.
Bath and Coventry swopped penalties in the opening minutes.
Later, Chilcott came in for close attention for slipping his binding and a penalty try was awarded. Coochie looked suitably mystified and queried the try award: “I asked what it was for,” said the England prop. “He said ‘You were trying to stop them scoring’ to which I replied of course “That’s my job.”” (Kevin Coughlan Evening Post)
A few wayward remarks from Hill, brought Bath back from a scoring position, but he later found Halliday, who sent out a long pass for Swift to touch down, and for Cue to convert.
v Exeter University, Home, Won 45-6. B Whitehead, M Stevens, M Westcott, J Bamsey, C Gabbitass, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane, K Singh, M Jones, C Blake, K Withey, N Maslen (Capt), P Miles.
A team of reserves put on an exhibition of running rugby. United skipper, Nick Maslen led by example. Replacements – A Lumsden replaced Bamsey. Attendance 1800.
Bath trampled through weak opposition as they gave the back-up squad an opportunity to show their metal. Barry Whitehead enjoyed a notable debut with two touch-downs; other tries by Stevens (2), Bamsey (2), and Miles (2), with Westcott converting one and landing a penalty goal and four conversions by Charles Gabittass. For the University, Tim Reeman, destined for a posting to Kingswood School Bath, kicked two penalties
v Gloucester (evening match), Away, Won 16-9. P Cue, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Swift, J Palmer, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Referee – R Parks (STAFFS) Attendance 7000.
Replacements – S Knight and I Davies.
This was something of a triumph in adversity, as Bath resurrected their competitive edge. Hill linked with Halliday for Bath’s first score. Egerton’s late try and Palmer’s drop goal clinched an intense match in front of the Kingsholm faithful. Cue kicked a conversion and a penalty. Bath were back in business!
v London Scottish, Home, Won 23-13. P Cue, M Stevens, B Cundy, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, J Palmer, R Hill, I Davies, J Deane, K Singh, M Jones, P Miles, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – B Whitehead and S Kipling. Whitehead replaced Palmer.
Bath had nine players on Divisional duty and their reserves certainly came up trumps. Evergreen, Nick Maslen opened the scoring and tries followed from Guscott, Trevaskis, and replacement Whitehead. Cue obliged with two conversions and a penalty.
v Waterloo, Home, Lost 10-17. B Whitehead, M Stevens, J Guscott, A Lumsden,P Blackett, P Cue, R Hill, C Lilley, J Deane, R Lee, P Miles, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, and P Simpson. Replacements – K Hoskin and I Davies
Bath were again, severely depleted by Divisional calls. They could have asked for a postponement, but nevertheless elected to play, gaining one Courage League point in the process. This was Waterloo’s 16th win, with fly-half Aitcheson’s right foot at the hub of their success. Cue dropped a goal and kicked a penalty; late on, Kevin Withey sent Richard Hill in for Bath’s solitary try. Kevin Withey and Peter Miles were the Bath successes.
v Saracens, Away, Lost 10-13. K Hoskin, M Stevens, B Cundy, J Guscott (T), A Lumsden, P Cue, R Hill, I Davies, A Smith, R Lee, M Jones, P Miles, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson.
Sean Robinson, brother of Andy, showed a similar family trait – the ability to serve up block-busting tackles throughout the game. Andy was away, playing for the South West Division, and a third brother, Peter, was in the Somerset side for the Colts Final at Twickenham.
Richard Lee scored an early try, which Cue converted, Saracens came back with a penalty and a sweeping three-quarter move produced a try for Sean Robinson. Jeremy Guscott completed Bath’s scoring with a clever solo effort, winning a kick and chase for the touchdown. Saracens clinched the game with two more penalties.
Paul Simpson was at the centre of a Bath rally, but Robinson was on hand for a try saving tackle.
v Clifton, Home, Won 26-10. B Whitehead (T), I Palmer, B Cundy, K Hoskin, A Lumsden, C Book, S Knight, C Lilley, B Gilchrist, I Davies, J Morrison, D Cronin, K Withey, N Maslen (Capt), P Miles. Replacement – K Singh
In these days, it was the traditional Boxing Day fixture, and the holiday spirit was well in evidence. Whitehead and Cronin scored unconverted tries. Jon Morrison’s try was described as ‘a cracker,’ by the P/A announcer. It followed 35 minutes into the game, involving an 80 metre passing movement in which ten players took a hand. Clive Book kicked the first of his three conversions. Withey and Lumsden scored the other tries.
v Cardiff, Away, Lost 9-38. B Whitehead, D Trick, J Guscott, A Lumsden, A Swift, K Hoskin, R Hill, C Lilley, B Gilchrist, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, J Hall Replacements – G Miller and I Davies. What a day for John Hall to come back and test out his fitness!
Bath started on the wrong foot, as they had failed to link up with Phil Cue on the journey down, and were obliged to play Keith Hoskin as a makeshift fly-half. The centre pairing of Guscott and Lumsden looked particularly fragile in defence. Guscott compensated with a brave dash for the Cardiff line, but was brought to ground by Gerald Cordle. Richard Hill essayed a drop goal to give Bath a brief lead, but Mike Rayer levelled with a penalty for Hall’s injudicious haymaker, inflicted on his former England partner John Scott. Guscott glided in on the 63rd minute and Trick, after missing two previous penalty attempts, majored comfortably. Despite valiant individual efforts, Cardiff dominated, finally running in 6 tries, added to Rayer’s 4 conversions and 2 penalties.
v London Welsh, Away, Won 35-11. P Cue, D Trick, J Guscott, K Hoskin, A Swift, J Palmer, R Hill, C Lilley, B Gilchrist, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, J Hall. Replacements – B Whitehead replaced Swift
Playing without eight of their current internationals, Bath were still able to dominate play at Old Deer Park. John Palmer had a brilliant game at outside-half, aided and abetted by marauding team-mate John Hall.
“Although Bath have 13 caps, Palmer and Hall are essential for their vision and practical astuteness which puts them on a higher plain and lifts the performances of their colleagues.” (Tony Bodley)
Tries by Swift (2), Trick, Morrison (2) Jones and Maslen. Cue converted two and kicked a penalty.
v Metropolitan Police, Home, Won 45-7. P Cue, D Trick, J Guscott, S Halliday, A Swift, J Palmer (Capt), S Knight, C Lilley, B Gilchrist, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, J Hall. Replacements – K Hoskin and S Kipling – Kipling replaced Lilley
Bath tries by Knight, Trick (2), Swift, Morrison, Hall and Guscott. Cue converted all seven and secured
a penalty, for a total of 17 points. In Phil Cue’s words: “It was a very useful work-out.”
Simon Halliday returned after his enforced lay-off with a hamstring injury. The back division clicked into maximum fluency under the steadying influence of John Palmer.
Guscott’s injury-time try was a foretaste of great things to come. In the earliest days he was something of an enigma. The opposition, his teammates and perhaps, himself, never knew what he was going to do next! His portfolio of silky moves developed as the seasons rolled on. He had indifferent days when his mind appeared to be in other pastures, but so did his mentor David Trick. However, it is sufficient to say that ‘Tricky’ dispensed some crisp, home spun advice to Jeremy, at a critical time in his development. For this, Guscott and the rest of the rugby world were to become eternally grateful, as he blossomed into a prince among the aristocracy of centres.
In this particular game: “The centre broke from his own 22, dummied his way behind the first line of defence, sold another in the Police half and touched down between the posts.” Cue rounded things off with his seventh conversion.
v Streatham-Croydon, Home, Won 84-0. P Cue (Tx2 and 7c), D Trick (T and 3c), J Guscott (Tx2), S Halliday (Tx3), A Lumsden (Tx2), J Palmer, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe (T), R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson (Tx2), J Hall (T), D Egerton (T). Cronin replaced Dawe and Knight replaced Hill
Poor S-C ! They stepped in as a late replacement for the postponed Lichfield tie. They encountered a fired up Bath outfit, anxious for a full team run-out. There was keen competition for Cup team places, and players nearly fell over themselves in an avalanche of 16 tries and 10 conversions. The visitors relished the opportunity to play against so many internationals and accepted their overwhelming defeat with good grace. Their most impressive player was Mike Dick, an ex Avon player.
‘The boys’ looked after their visitors in the Clubhouse!
v Lichfield, Away, Won 43-3. John Player Special Cup – Third Round. P Cue (1pg), D Trick (2C), J Guscott (Tx2), S Halliday, A Swift (Tx2), J Palmer, R Hill (T), G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee (T), J Morrison (T), N Redman, A Robinson (T), J Hall, D Egerton. Ref – D Leslie (LANCS) Replacements – S Knight and D Cronin – Cronin replaced Redman. Penalty try.
In bad weather, Bath amassed nine tries, only two converted, to commence their Cup campaign. Guscott, Halliday and Hall looked particularly sharp and Swift impressed with a try in each half. At the line-out, Graham Dawe did particularly well to maintain a straight throw-in. John Palmer controlled operations, angling his kicks for players to run on to the ball. In contrast, Lichfield’s siege gun kicks upfield proved to be ineffective. However, the home side’s tackling never wavered and full back Potter fielded some awkward balls in a swirling wind. Bath’s non-stop pressure eventually yielded a penalty try. Nigel Redman sustained a rib injury, which kept him out for a couple of weeks.
v Rosslyn Park, Home, Won 19-15. P Cue, A Swift, J Guscott , A Lumsden, J Bamsey, R Hill, S Kipling, J Deane, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – K Hoskin and T Murnane – Murnane replaced Morrison
RED NOSE DAY!
It was ‘Comic Relief Week,’ and the Bath players took the field wearing red noses! “A well-conceived try by left wing Audley Lumsden after just 53 seconds raised hopes of a runaway win, but apart from the odd touch of inspiration from centre Jeremy Guscott, it was mostly slapstick.” (Kevin Coughlan – Evening Post) Worryingly, Bath showed a marked lack of concentration and commitment in advance of their Fourth Round Cup date with Leicester. They also gave away an inordinate amount of penalties.
The Bath scorers were:- Tries by Lumsden (20 and Guscott. Conversions Cue and Guscott. Penalty Guscott. Graves kicked 5 penalties for Rosslyn Park.
v Leicester, Away, Won 13-6. John Player Special Cup – Fourth Round. P Cue (2pg), D Trick, J Guscott, S Halliday, A Swift, J Palmer (1dg), R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton (T). Attendance 12,000. Replacements – S Knight and J Morrison
Scottish cap Damian Cronin preferred to John Morrison.
Ref – R Parks (N. MIDS). .
John Palmer outplayed Les Cusworth with a faultless display of tactical kicking. This, coupled with an awesome forward display, sowed the seeds for a Cup win at Welford Road. Leicester were routed in the line-out, where Redman creamed-off the short throw, while the towering Cronin was equally effective ‘midships.’ Egerton and Hall cleaned up the rest. All eight of the pack, revelled in ferocious driving play, which had the Tigers on the back foot throughout. But such was Leicester’s commitment to dogged defence, that it took Bath 63 minutes for Egerton to lunge over for their only try. Palmer had earlier succeeded with a drop goal after a driving set-up by Gareth Chilcott. Dusty Hare missed four penalty kicks, but Leicester were so generally outplayed, that Bath deserved to go forward.
v Gloucester, Home, Drawn 26-26. P Cue (2pg and 1g), D Trick, J Guscott (Tx2, 1pg and 1dg), S Halliday, A Lumsden, J Palmer, R Hill, G Chilcott, R Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones (T), K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Referee – I Bullerwell (E. MIDS)
Replacements – J Bamsey and P Mills.
Bath pulled back from a 9-19 deficit, but Gloucester’s late try squared the game in final minutes. Amid deadly silence, the normally reliable Smith hit the near post with his conversion attempt. ‘Twas but a friendly!
v Moseley, Away, lost 3-4. John Player Special Cup – Quarter Final. P Cue (1pg), D Trick, J Guscott, S Halliday, A Swift, J Palmer, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Referee– A Turner (MANCHESTER) Replacements – S Knight and J Morrison – Morrison replaced Hall.
Bath fielded 10 Internationals – Moseley one. (Nick Jeavons)
It was a kicker’s nightmare!
Cup aspirations were shattered by the narrowest of margins, as an over-tensed Bath side got little right. Two thousand travelling supporters had something to cheer about when Phil Cue kicked a 40-metre penalty, when the very first scrum was collapsed. Then Moseley’s Peter Shillingford grounded from a pushover within 13 minutes, and despite a massive Bath effort – there the score stagnated.
John Hall carried a hamstring injury from the 22nd minute; Graham Dawe was handicapped with ankle ligament problems, but battled on gamely. Andy Robinson suffered in a sickening head-on collision, which rendered him comparatively ineffective.
Though all this, the tension mounted, as kick after kick missed its mark. Cue missed two penalties in three minutes, Guscott mis-kicked a couple more and John Palmer was off course with three second half drop-kick attempts. Many sympathised with David Trick, who inherited the kicking ‘chalice’ in the 66th minute. On the day, he was third choice kicker. Forty metres out, he struck the ball cleanly, but it fell short. The tension was almost too much to bear. Then again, a match winning opportunity, as yet another penalty was awarded. So two minutes from time, poor Trick was again to step forward. He kicked well enough, but he and all Bath supporters had the mortification of seeing it bounce back off the posts. Teammate Chilcott could not bear to look!
If drop goal attempts are included, Bath final tale of woe was – 13 attempted kicks – 1 penalty goal success! Heads down, Bath literally, bowed out of the Cup!
JACK GIVES THANKS
Jack Rowell had the unenviable task of approaching the post-match dressing room. As with most occasions, Jack was equal to the situation:
“The giant Geordie told his dejected team: “It’s been a pleasure working with such a great bunch of players.
Don’t think of losing this game…look back and realise what a unique experience it has been.”
He later confessed:
“The Bath dressing- room does tend to be a little quiet after a defeat. The first few minutes seemed like hours. After all, the Cup has become a way of life. You are bound to get withdrawal symptoms.
“Given the territorial advantage, given the chances, we should have won. The run wasn’t going to go on for ever but for it to end like that was heart-breaking.” (Bath Chronicle)
Bath were out of the Cup and had no chance of winning the League.
v Exeter, Away, Won 32-3. P Cue, D Trick, K Hoskin, J Guscott, P Blackett, S Barnes (Capt), S Knight, S Kipling, M Searle, K Singh, M Haag, M Jones, P Raven, N Maslen, P Simpson. . Palmer replaced Blackett and Blake replaced Simpson
What a sting in the ‘tale!’ Barnsie returned from injury and hoisted 3 penalties, 2 conversions, a drop goal, and laid on a try for Keith Hoskin, from a smartly taken drop-out.
Other Bath tries by Knight (2), and Cue. There were good performances from Bath hopefuls Mark Searle, Ian Palmer and Pete Blackett.
v Plymouth Albion, Home, Won 36-10. P Cue, I Palmer, B Cundy, J Guscott, D Trick, J Palmer (Capt), S Knight, J Deane, K Singh, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – C Book and P Raven – Raven replaced Morrison.
Ian Palmer came in as replacement for Tony Swift and notched up a hat trick of tries to help overwhelm the pride of Plymouth. Bath tries by Withey (2), Jones, Trick and Palmer (3). Cue and Trick both converted twice. Steve Walklin, back in Plymouth colours, had a generally unhappy evening, but scored a fine individual try after 70 minutes. Centre, Ben Cundy played against his brother Dominic, who was appearing at fly-half for the Albion. Dominic converted Walkin’s try.
v Swansea, Away, Won 28-23. J Palmer, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Lumsden, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, S Kipling, N Redman, J Morrison, A Robinson, N Maslen, D Egerton. Replacements – B Cundy and D Cronin
Jeremy Guscott provided another glimpse of his extraordinary inventive talents with two solo tries to bring his season’s tally up to 16. His beautifully balanced, gliding runs, with subtle changes in direction and pace, had his opponents clutching at air. Bath tries by Hill, Guscott (2) and Halliday. Barnes converted three and dropped two goals. Swansea countered with four tries, two conversions and a penalty. The match was full of interest, and in exciting running rugby, six of the eight tries were scored by centres.
v Bridgend, Home, Lost 15-39. J Palmer, S Walklin, J Guscott, J Bamsey, D Trick, S Barnes (Capt), D Rule, S Kipling, J Deane, R Lee, D Cronin, J Morrison, K Withey, J Hall, N Maslen. Replacements – B Cundy and P Craven
It was miserable evening’s viewing for the spectators and a demoralising performance for the Bath players. No longer in a Cup run, and out of the reckoning in the League, Bath looked woefully out of sorts in pretty much all departments. While Bridgend managed tries by Darke (2), Devereux, Holding, Kawulok, and Owain Williams, and 3 conversions and 3 penalties by Sutton, Bath’s only response came from 5 successive penalty successes by Stuart Barnes. John Hall did bring off one spine-juddering crash tackle on Devereux, but this was but one gesture of defiance in an otherwise pitiful team display.
v Liverpool St Helens, Home, Won 30-0. M Westcott, S Walklin, J Bamsey, K Hoskin, F Sagoe, S Barnes (Capt), S Knight, S Kipling, M Searle, R Lee, A Jones, J Morrison, K Withey, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – J Rees and N Maslen
Steve Walklin and Fred Sagoe were given a bit more room to move, and obliged with two tries each and might well have managed hat tricks. Jack Rowell and Stuart Barnes were suitably impressed. Barnes comment: “It says a lot for our approach that the wings scored two tries each in dreadful conditions.” Handling was generally difficult, so Barnes was content to advance the Bath cause by way of touchline kicks. Bath tries from Sagoe (2), Walklin (2), Simpson and Barnes. Barnes kicked three conversions.
Fourteen of the players accepted clean jerseys at the interval. The exception was Jon Hall. He had spent so much time labouring at mud level, that this senior war-horse judged that he would be just as dirty again in two minutes. On the hour, the players had the bonus of a short break, while Simpson, once again, searched for his dislodged contact lens!
v Orrell, Home, Won 23-18. P Cue, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, A Lumsden, J Palmer, S Knight, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, N Redman, J Morrison, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – K Hoskin and N Maslen.
Bath were at full strength, but something was still amiss with the combined team effort. Orrell had the added spur of fighting off relegation, and their singleness of purpose generated 15 points in ten minutes and at one stage they were 20-3 in the lead. Orrell were quick to frustrate Bath possession and were particularly adept at disrupting Steve Knight’s service. Redman clattered through after Cue and Langford had exchanged penalties. Next, hard work by Robinson and Hall allowed them to send in Tony Swift to bring the score up to 14-3. Maslen replaced Chilcott in the front row and soon Halliday picked up in broken play and found Palmer, who gave a perfect feed for Audley Lumsden to touch down behind the posts for Cue to convert. Orrell came back strongly and cut Bath’s lead to two points.
Amid jangling nerves, Cue consolidated Bath’s position with a 45metre penalty.
v Bristol, Away, Lost 15-16. A Lumsden, S Walklin, J Palmer, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott (Capt), G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton. Referee – Fred Howard (LANCS) Replacements – P Cue and P Miles. Lumsden displaced Cue.
Sagoe scored the try. Barnes converted and added 3 penalties. Redman, Morrison and Egerton dominated in the line out, but Bristol were shaping up for the John Player Final and their lively commitment and understandably partisan support, appeared to browbeat Bath into the one point deficit.
v North Devon, Home, Drawn 18-18. A Buzza, S Walklin, R Slater, K Hoskin, P Blackett, J Bamsey, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane, C Folland, C Blake, M Haag, K Withey, N Maslen, P Mills. Replacements – C Book and K Singh
Last minute replacement club, North Devon, took on a near United side and were delighted to hold them to an eighteen all draw. Bath tries from Walklin, Blackett, Knight and Mills, with Richard Slater managing one conversion. Most of the visitors stemmed from the Barnstaple club
A BLOODY ENCOUNTER
v Harlequins, Home, Won 21-9. A Lumsden, D Trick, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – K Hoskin and N Maslen
Elsewhere described as a “bloody” encounter, the game was a niggling affair, with both sides involved in settling personal scores. Simon Halliday took a particularly nasty raking to the head, which left him nursing a torn ear. Through this mayhem, Bath led 7-0 at half time and held the edge on their visitors.
Jon Hall eclipsed Skinner, his England successor and his all round superior performance, included a thundering charge, which set up Bath’s first score.
However, the Quins fought back, but Stuart Barnes dropped a goal in the final minute to widen the final margin. (Shades of a Cup Final to come- a few years hence!)
Bath tries from Chilcott, Redman and Egerton, with Barnes landing two penalties and a drop goal.
v Newport, Home, Won 22-7. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, N Maslen. Replacements – S Knight and P Miles
Graham Dawe celebrated his call to the England squad with a fine all round performance, which included the lion’s share of possession from the scrums. Newport started in the same adventurous manner as Bath, but it was the homesters who had chalked up the first try after just 42 seconds. Mark Jones secured from a lineout, and Barnes sent Halliday away on a blindside run, to hand on to Sagoe for a fine opening try. Jon Hall was quick to add another and Barnes made it 11-0 with a penalty after barely fifteen minutes play. Newport continued to move the ball about and John Callard sent Mark Hayter over in the corner. Barnes added another penalty to make it 14-4. Again Mark Jones was in the action, stealing line-out ball for Halliday to penetrate the first line of cover; Guscott appeared, as if from nowhere and left Callard grasping at air, for a 50 metre run in. Newport came back with a penalty, but it was a mere hiccup, before full-back Audley Lumsden, latched on to Guscott’s grubber kick for a fourth and final try.
v Llanelli, Home, Drawn 9-9. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, N Maslen. Replacements – M Westcott and M Jones
Fred Sagoe succeeded in dislodging David Trick, and put in a creditable performance against Wales’s Ieuan Evans. Trick would certainly not have relished this hard slog on a rain drenched pitch.
The scoreboard operator need not have arrived until 3-45, as there was nothing to record. Both sides looked out of touch. No doubt, Llanelli’s collective mind was on the forthcoming Welsh Cup Final against arch rivals Neath. There was still an intriguing dual between Barnes and Jonathan Davies and the final scoreline makes interesting reading……..
Bath – Barnes try, conversion and penalty.
Llanelli – Jones try, Jonathan Davies conversion and penalty.
Bath tended to place too much reliance on Hall and Redman, but they battled on. Hall started the match with his thigh voluminously strapped after a nasty grazing against Newport. He ended this confrontation with a shoulder equally heavily strapped! For both he and Redman, it looked as if the end of the season could not come quickly enough!
v Clifton, Away, Won 43-0. B Whitehead, S Walklin, J Guscott, J Bamsey, B Trevaskis, P Cue, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane, R Lee, C Blake, P Miles, K Withey, N Maslen (Capt), T Murnane. Replacements – R Slater and N Riou
Bath’s largely second string, exposed the yawning gap between the Courage League high flyers and the less blessed clubs. Seniors had made unilateral progress in coaching and standards of fitness, raising skill levels away and above anything that could be contemplated by lesser lights. However, the institution of R.F.U. Coaching schemes and League promotion incentive eventually achieved the aim of upgrading standards, as well as popularising the game.
On the day, none of these profundities concerned the Bath youngsters, who ran in tries by Trevaskis, Withey, Murnane, Maslen (2), Slater and Deane. Cue converted 6 out of 7 and added a penalty for good measure.
v Bedford, Home, Won 35-9. A Lumsden, S Walklin, J Guscott, J Bamsey, F Sagoe, J Horton, R Hill, S Kipling, J Deane, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, J Hall, N Maslen. Replacements – B Whitehead and T Murnane. Bath tries by Walklin (2), Guscott (2), Sagoe and Withey. Horton kicked a drop goal and a conversion, and Guscott converted three.
John Horton played as a guest and obliged an admiring crowd with a conversion and a drop goal.
After the game, Jack Rowell presented Horton with an inscribed tankard, to commemorate his immeasurable contribution to Club successes over the years. Old rancour, real or imaginary was eradicated with this typical Bath ‘family’ gesture.
v Sale, Away, Won 46-17. A Lumsden, B Whitehead, J Guscott, J Palmer, F Sagoe, J Bamsey, R Hill, S Kipling, J Deane, R Lee, J Morrison, M Jones, K Withey, N Maslen, P Miles. Replacement – M Westcott
For a change, the curtain did not come down with a trip to Bedford, but Bath faced up to an equally arduous trek to Manchester. Bath tries from Guscott, Sagoe, Bamsey, Hill, Kipling, Lee and Withey (2). Guscott converted five and Palmer two.
Certainly, the long run of 44 fixtures ended on a high note, but the early denial of Cup and League aspirations, served to weaken Bath’s resolve. They could only ‘play for pride’ in the latter stages, and frequently demonstrated that they could raise their game to beat the best.
FOR THE RECORD
Stuart Barnes again topped the points with 6 Tries, 26 Conversions, 30 Penalties and 6 Drop Goals totalling 184 in 19 games.
Next was Phil Cue (6 Tries, 35 Conversions, 19 Penalties, 1 Dropped Goal in 28 games) 154, Jeremy Guscott (21 Tries, 9 Conversions, 2 Penalties and 1 Drop Goal in 37 games) 111, Tony Swift (19 Tries in 26 games) 76, David Trick (8 Tries, 9 Conversions in 24 games) 50.
NOTHING IN THE TROPHY CABINET
There was a slide down the merit tables – 10th in the English-Welsh, Sunday Telegraph Table, and 5th in the English Club rankings. Bath’s first season in Courage League had yielded 6 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses. In the League, there was a paucity of tries amongst the backs; Trick, Halliday and Palmer scored none, Guscott one, and Swift was top scorer with just three!
By any standard, it was not a good season.
There followed a close season Tour to Malaysia and Thailand. The itinerary included matches against Royal Bangkok Sports Club XV, Malaysian Combined Services XV, in Penang, and a Malaysian National XV in the final game at Kuala Lumpur. The actual matches were not very serious affairs as Bath rattled up an aggregate 192 points. In contrast, the training, in high humidity, was taken very seriously and was to stand them in good stead for the next season.
As somebody said: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Bath compensated most admirably. A suitably be-wigged, Mr. Justice Chilcott presided over a deviously contrived ‘Players’ Court,’ where the scales of equity tilted distinctly out of balance at every sitting. Ostensibly, convened for the setting of standards and maintenance of discipline, the ‘Star Chamber’ inquisitor was none other than Fred Sagoe, a barrister by profession. The hapless defendants fell back on the services of ‘the peoples’ friend,’ a Mr. Richard Lee. The Wellington farmer was not renowned for eloquent and reasoned conversation and generally entered a plea of “No defence.”
It was all very hysterical unless you were the accused. Justice Chilcott passed judgement and dispensed a variety of punishments, which we will screen from the eyes of the reader, partly for the sake of the transgressor, and partly to escape the wrath of the Court of Human Rights!
(Freely adapted from an article by Kevin Coughlan)
The happy squad returned via Holland for a four sided tournament in Leiden (12-14th August), where they were augmented by Halliday and Palmer. It included a particularly torrid play-off against French Champions Toulonaise which Bath won 28-7.
ANGLO-FRENCH WAR 1988
Chilcott, Robinson, Hall & Co. were outstanding, acquitting themselves most handsomely during some extremely bruising encounters: “There was a huge brawl after eight minutes when John Hall was attacked off the ball by at least three opponents. Another broke out on the opposite touch line six minutes later. Just when the referee had sorted things out Toulon flanker Thierry Louvet planted a haymaker on the unsuspecting Jon Morrison behind the official’s back. The big lock was not able to retaliate, even if he had wanted to. But Bath skipper Stuart Barnes had already ordered his players not to exact retribution.
“It would have got completely out of hand,” said the fly-half. “But the discipline we built up on the tour in the Far East over the last fortnight stood us in good stead.
We concentrated on our rugby and that approach paid off. The French, I’m glad to say, were totally demoralised.”
Unfortunately the violence erupted sporadically throughout the game, Hall being a particular target, riding more punches than Mike Tyson in an average fight.”
Jimmy Deane was on for only three minutes at the end but was booted in the face and needed seven stitches in his forehead.” (Kevin Coughlan Evening Post)
Through all this carnage, Bath gradually took control; Cronin and Simpson scored tries, a penalty try was awarded and Barnes converted all three and kicked 2 penalties. Toulon scored a try and a penalty.
I don’t think there was much mixing after the match!
The host side was Dutch Champions D.I.O.K., and the other club was Castricumse.