1988 – 1989
v Pontypool, Away, Won 50-9. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – K Hoskin & K Withey
Bath started as they obviously meant to continue. A win in Wales was always a welcome bonus, but to pile 50 points on the previous season’s Welsh Merit Table Champions, was awe inspiring. Pontypool had lost just two games in 1997-98, and did not concede 50 points in the entire programme of home fixtures. It was difficult to find another set of superlatives to heap upon so many talented Bath players. The knowledgeable home crowd voiced ungrudging approval when Guscott’s combination with Lumsden gifted Barnes the best try on the day. Bath ran ‘Ponty’ off their own park, with tries by Lumsden (2), Swift, Halliday, Guscott, Barnes (2), Redman and Hall. Barnes also kicked 4 conversions and 2 penalties for a personal total of 22 points.
It was an amazing start to a season, which would see an unbeaten – 30 match run. (Two drawn), through until 17th February 1989.
v Harlequins, Away, Won 26-9. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton.
It was Bath’s First Courage League game of the season, now played on fixed dates.
Referee G Simmonds (Welsh RFU), sent Richard Hill off for retaliation – a corker of a punch to Richard Moon’s eye, after an elbowing for delaying a Quin’s tap-penalty. It was but one moment of petulance resulting in the first sending off of his illustrious career.
It distracted little from an impressive victory in which the Bath forwards dictated play. Bath led 6-3 on penalties at half time. After the interval, Thresher launched a counter attack and Jamie Salmon had the Bath defence on the wrong foot, enabling Harriman to race over in the corner. Salmon converted. Quins held their lead for three minutes, before Hill constructed a move, which sent Tony Swift speeding over for Bath’s first try. This heralded a massive forward effort in which the Harlequins were crushed out of contention. Behind such a pack, the backs could not fail and Guscott made easy work of a try in the 53rd minute. Next, Egerton finessed the ball to Hall for a third touch down and Dawe put Harlequins out of sight with the final try. Barnes converted the last two and had kicked two first half penalties.
Jon Morrison was selected for the South West XV v Leinster. He had long given outstanding service to the Bath Club, but somehow international honours continued to elude him.
v London Welsh, Home, Won 40-3. A Lumsden, D Trick, K Hoskin, J Bamsey, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott, S Melbourne, M Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – F Sagoe & S Kipling
John Morrison was a late withdrawal, but no glimmer of hope for the Exciles, as he was immediately replaced by the equally competitive Nigel Redman. Bath front five tore into their opponents, providing high quality possession for a grateful Steve Knight at scrum-half. Everything went right thereafter. Barnes was in devastating form. Portents of an onslaught arrived in the shape of the ever smiling Paul Simpson. Within three minutes, Cronin took a simple lineout ball, Knight moved it forward and the smiling Simpson was on hand to pick up and score in the corner. Kevin Withey was here there and everywhere and it was not long before tries flowed through Audley Lumsden and David Trick; Withey got his own try and second half scores followed from Knight, Redman, Egerton and the irrepressible Trick.
Barnes kicked 4 conversions. Commander got the Exciles penalty.
v Gloucester, Home, Won 19-9. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – C Martin & V Obogu. Attendance 8000 approx.
It was aptly named the ‘Courage’ league, and both sides had this a’plenty in this full-blooded encounter.
A forward struggle was anticipated, and a massive swelling under Chilcott’s eye provided some indicator of the intensity of the struggle. He was obliged to leave the field for stitches, but signalled his return, by forcing his opposing prop Pascall, to pop up out of a scrum. By no-side, Gloucester had taken a terrific pounding and their renowned pack had suffered the indignity of being shoved hither and thither all afternoon. Barnes had scored an early penalty and Guscott showed his silky skills with a try on the 17th minute. Mike Teague was incurring the wrath of referee Griffiths, and arguably, Jim Breeze was lucky to stay on the pitch after some injudicious footwork in the region of the Trevaskis scalp.
Another huge shove yielded a try to Egerton and Barnes converted. Tim Smith kicked his second penalty, and then Bath delivered the coup de grace, when Morrison smashed over from a tap penalty. Smith’s late penalty success was but a reminder that Gloucester were alive and kicking.
v Clifton, Away, Won 22-6. A Lumsden, D Trick, J Bamsey, K Hoskin, F Sagoe, P Cue, K Plummer, S Kipling, J Deane, V Obogu, M Haag, C Blake, N Maslen (Capt), A Bick, P Miles. Replacements – T Reeman & R Singh
Victor Ubogu, the Oxford University prop, took his 1st XV bow and celebrated with a second half try and showed promising mobility in the process. Other Bath tries from Jimmy Deane and Martin Haag, with 2 conversions and 2 penalties by Phil Cue.
v Aberavon, Home, Won 24-13. A Lumsden, D Trick, K Hoskin, J Guscott, C Martin, J Bamsey, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane, G Chilcott (Capt), J Morrison, D Cronin, N Maslen, J Hall, D Egerton K Plummer replaced Martin. (Re-occurring shoulder dislocation). Melbourne replaced Egerton
Aberavon’s fortunes had plummeted in recent years and they arrived at Bath with seven players on permit from other clubs. Bath were, perhaps, lulled into a false sense of security and put very little effort into their early game. Nevertheless, Bath scored 4 tries to Aberavon’s two. Damian Cronin dominated the line out and the scrum was solid. However, the ‘Wizards’ were first to score after an Audley Lumsden fumble. David Trick restored Bath’s fortunes with two penalties, then Steve Knight stole away on the blind side and raced 20 metres for a fine solo try. Egerton withdrew with a bruised calf muscle and later Chris Martin dislocated his shoulder in a tackle. Aberavon came back with another try and it was 10-10 at half time. Cronin was quick to score upon resumption and Trick converted. Near the end, Bath abandoned all thoughts of finesse, and the combined bulk of Chilcott, Cronin, Morrison and Hall, resulted in this last named claiming a try. Aberavon responded with a penalty and finally, Bamsey stole over on the blindside for Bath’s fourth try.
v Rosslyn Park, Away, Won 19-6. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, S Knight, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Cronin. Replacements – K Plummer & N Maslen – Maslen replaced Morrison
Bath were certainly not at their best and several players were carrying injuries. Rosslyn Park proved to be obstinate opponents and Bath felt aggrieved with referee Colin High’s, leniency with his offside interpretations. There were occasional flashes of brilliance from Guscott and Lumsden, but otherwise, it was rather a drab affair. Bath tries scored by Guscott, Swift and Chilcott. Barnes converted 2 and added a penalty.
v Public School Wanderers, Home, Won 54-44.
The original team selection included an entire XV of capped players. In the event, David Sole (Scotland) was not available and Richard Lee (England B), played in his place. Team (All England unless indicated): Stuart Barnes (6g&T), David Trick (T), Simon Halliday, John Palmer (Tx2), Chris Martin (T), John Horton (T&1g), Richard Hill, Gareth Chilcott, Graham Dawe (T), Richard Lee (Not full Cap), Nigel Redman, Damian Cronin (Scotland), Andy Robinson, John Hall (Tx2), Paul Simpson.
It was John Horton’s 380th and final game, having scored 908 points during his Bath playing career.
Internationals to be – Jeremy Guscott and David Egerton were the subs, and Guscott actually came on for Halliday.
PUBLIC SCHOOL WANDERERS Selected team:- Mark Wyatt (Wales), Ian Williams (Australia0, David Irwin (Ireland), Roger Baird (Scotland), Matt Duncan (Scotland), Malcolm Dacey (Wales), Ray Giles (Wales), Norrie Rowan (Scotland), Steve Smith (Ireland), Jim McCoy (Ireland), Steve Sutton (Wales), Willie Anderson (Scotland), Richie Collins (Wales), Willie Duggan (Ireland), Mark Jones (Wales).
Watched by a surprisingly small crowd of around 3500 spectators, the Bath faithful were treated to a thrilling exhibition of running rugby, which produced 18 tries and nigh on 100 points. Twenty eight internationals contributed to the enjoyment, with not inconsiderable ‘sympathy’ from celebrity referee Clive Norling.
37 year old, John Horton made a welcome re-appearance, contributing a try and a conversion. He benefited greatly from Hill’s long service and had a hand in at least ten of the tries. Barnes’s final tally was a try and six conversions, and not to be outdone – Gareth Chilcott put another one between the posts. Proceeds went to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Bath tries by Hall (2), Trick, Palmer (2), Guscott, Barnes, Dawe, Horton and Martin. Barnes converted 6 and Horton 1.
v Bedford, Away, Won 16-10. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Guscott, B Cundy, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, J Deane, M Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, N Maslen, Finnear, P Miles
Bath’s winning ways continued, but their rather makeshift side were made to work for it. Darren Finnear was drafted in from Bath’s third string. Skipper John Orwin and his Bedford side defended stoutly. Barnes’s four penalties kept Bath ahead. One particularly fine effort was from some 50 metres.
Audley Lumsden’s try settled the match, after a barnstorming run by Cronin. From the ensuing ruck, the ball was swiftly moved through Barnes, Guscott and Cundy for fullback Lumsden to cruise in. Bedford made a last ditch effort, but the Bath’s well-organised defence held out. Attendance 1800
v Bristol, Home, Won 16-9. A Lumsden, D Trick, S Halliday, J Palmer, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight & P Simpson Attendance near 9000.
Bristol full-back Jonathan Webb had a nightmare of an opening game; his kick-off went directly into touch and he went on to miss three out of four penalty chances. There were enough opportunities for Bristol to win this encounter, but it will remain a game of missed chances. Skuse and Blackmore had eclipsed Cronin and Redman in the lineout. The visitors tackled assiduously, had three quarters of the possession – but also made the most mistakes!
Bath made better use of their opportunities, starting with Richard Hill burrowing through for the one and only try. Barnes landed two penalties and, in turn, Hogg kicked two 45-metre penalties for Bristol. Hogg’s successes probably added to Webb’s frustration. Barnes came back with his third penalty and Bath were leading 13-9 on the hour.
The game took a dramatic change, when Bath’s line-out jumpers warmed to their task. Cronin and Egerton won four clean takes and Bath were camped near the Bristol line. Hill extricated the ball from a ruck and sent a glorious reverse pass to Barnes, who dropped the simplest of goals to put Bath out of sight. For Bristol, Hogg kicked two penalties and Webb one.
v Toulouse, Home, Drawn 24-24. A Lumsden, A Hobbs, J Guscott, J Bamsey, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Referee – Colin High (MANCHESTER) Attendance 5000
Replacements – N Pratt & N Maslen. Stand-ins, Hobbs, Bamsey and Blackett acquitted themselves well against very strong opposition.
This was a cracker of a game! Toulouse were without Charvet, Bonneval and Janik, but there was enough mercurial French talent on view to make it something of a classic. Bath were without Halliday, Swift, Trevaskis, Trick and Palmer, but they made up for it in the forwards, where the back row of Robinson, Hall and Egerton dominated.
Stade Toulousain, headed by Pierre Villepreux, shared Bath’s ambition for organised European Competition. It was a few years a’coming, but these clubs were already on the right track.
The spectators loved it, as the scene was set from the kick-off, when Toulouse counter attacked from their own line. Within three minutes they had scored with a 75 metre run by their winger Stephen Ougier. The home forward machine then clicked into action and a drive by Jon Morrison yielded a penalty, which was kicked by Barnes. Toulouse came back at them again and scrum-half Jerome Cazalbou was the next to touch down. More French pressure and a magnificent 40 metre run by Claude Portolan, led to a penalty by Ougier. Bath’s unbeaten record looked under distinct threat.
At last, Bath sprung to life and No. 8 Egerton touched down following a surging scrum. Barnes converted. Ougier kicked a second penalty for the visitors and thereafter their share of possession seemed to dry up. Bath kept it close and a bludgeoning forward drive ended with Richard Lee scoring a try, for Barnes to convert and add a later penalty. Just before the interval, Hall and Robinson combined, for the latter to score a final try, which Barnes converted. (Half-time 24-14)
The French restarted with fresh determination and constructed a fine try, finished off by the outstanding Codorniou. Five minutes later, the French pulled up with a try by Codorniou’s centre partner Jean-Philip Canavy. Ougier levelled the epic struggle with the final conversion kick.
v Combined Services, Home, Won 20-7. M Westcott, P Blackett, J Bamsey, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, P Cue, R Hill (Capt), S Kipling, J Deane, M Lee, M Haag, D Cronin, P Miles, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – N Pratt & D Finnear – Pratt replaced Blackett
Cronin and Haag cleaned up in the lineout and Bath’s scrummagers dominated. Phil Cue landed a penalty in the second minute and a splendid try by Guscott followed in the 23rd minutes. Cue converted. Second half tries followed from Hill and Deane and Cue kicked a second penalty.
Simon Halliday, Andy Robinson and David Egerton selected for England v Australia.
v Llanelli, Away, Won 25-12. A Lumsden, F Sagoe, J Bamsey, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, V Ubogu, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, J Hall, A Bick, P Simpson. Referee – C Norling (Swansea) Replacements Mark Westcott and Jimmy Dean.
With four first teamers at Twickenham, Bath still held on to their unbeaten record – no mean achievement at Stradey Park at the best of times! The game opened at a breathtaking pace, as the Bath back row caused havoc in the Llanelli defence. Llanelli managed a penalty by Colin Stephens. Then Victor Ubogu again showed his speed and was on station to cross for Bath’s first try. Barnes converted and shortly afterwards, executed a neatly taken drop goal. Later, Fred Sagoe snapped up a loose ball and crossed near the Llanelli posts for Barnes to again convert. Stephens and Barnes exchanged penalties. Next, Trevaskis pounced on another mistake and crossed for an unconverted try. Right on half-time, the Scarlets responded with a converted try. (22-12)
Llanelli achieved line-out parity in the second half, but there was no more scoring until Stuart Barnes landed a second penalty. John Bamsey gave a sparkling performance at centre.
v Moseley, Away, Won 38-0. A Lumsden, F Sagoe, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, P Cue, R Hill, G Chilcott (Capt), G Dawe, M Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight & V Ubogu – Knight replaced Halliday
A shattering League defeat for Moseley. For Bath – retribution for last season’s Cup debacle. Bath were certainly reminded of the previous season’s 4-3 defeat at the Reddings. Chilcott’s exhortation to: “Remember, Remember!” was suitable conditioning. The problem of inconsistent goal kicking still haunted the team. Bath missed five conversion attempts out of eight and Cue fluffed a penalty chance in the third minute. However, Bath displayed no other frailties and Hall’s 11th minute try heralded an avalanche of tries from Guscott (3), Egerton, Robinson, Hall again and Lumsden. Guscott converted three.
v Orrell, Home, Won 36-12. A Lumsden, F Sagoe, J Palmer, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight & V Ubogu
Orrell arrived, replete with the giant lock Bob Kimmins, his competitive line-out partner Cusani, kicking ace Gerry Ainscough, and a bag of meat pies to cover the ‘goodwill aspect.’ All were enthusiastically gobbled up by their Bath hosts. Jon Morrison was outstanding in the line-out and Orrell were matched in the set scrums. Possession, once obtained – was retained and Orrell were simply, unable to compete. Orrell’s scoring contribution came from penalties:- Ainscough (3) and Langford.
In contrast, Bath ran in tries by Guscott (2), Sagoe, Trevaskis, and Lumsden. Barnes converted 2 and kicked 4 penalties.
v Wasps, Home, Won 16-6. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, D Egerton. One penalty try awarded to Bath. Replacements – S Knight & V Ubogu
A solid front row platform provided the necessary edge and Bath’s ‘mean machine’ ground Wasps down for the first quarter. Pressure yielded a penalty and Barnes opened the scoring. In the 28th minute Egerton picked up from the back of the scrum, interchanged with Withey and Hall leaving Morrison to lunge over for an unconverted try. Wasps pulled back with two penalties. Richard Lee gave Paul Rendall a hard time in the front row, and non-stop pressure forced Wasps to concede a penalty try. Barnes kicked another after Sagoe was obstructed.
v Exeter University, Home, Won 30-4. A Hobbs, D Trick, J Bamsey, B Cundy, B Trevaskis, P Cue, N Pratt, V Ubogu, J Deane, S Kipling, M Haag, P Miles, A Bick, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – J Reeman A largely reserve side demonstrated strength in depth with a five try bonanza against the Exeter students. There was a 1st XV debut for Nick Pratt.
Tries by Trevaskis, Pratt, Ubogu, Kipling and Simpson. Cue converted two and kicked 2 penalties.
v London Scottish, Away, Won 27-19. A Hobbs, D Trick, J Bamsey, B Cundy, F Sagoe, P Cue, S Knight, V Obogu, J Deane, S Kipling, D Cronin, M Haag, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson (Capt)
More success for ‘the reserves.’ Phil Cue chalked up a personal tally of 19 points, with a try, 3 conversions and 3 penalties. Other tries scored by Hobbs and Simpson. Gavin Hastings scored a try, 2 conversions and a penalty for the Exciles.
v Newport, Away, Drawn 21-21. A Hobbs, D Trick, J Bamsey, A Westcott, F Sagoe, P Cue, N Pratt, V Obogu, J Deane, G Chilcott (Capt), M Haag, P Miles, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Replacements – C Book & A Bick
Bath held on to preserve their unbeaten run, with an impressive second-half revival. They had trailed 6-18 at the interval. Bath tries secured by Simpson, Maslen, and Trick, with Cue converting all three and adding a penalty. It was a considerable achievement for a side which included only two first choice players.
v Saracens, Home, Won 24-6. A Hobbs, D Trick, J Bamsey, J Palmer, F Sagoe, P Cue, S Knight, G Chilcott (Capt), J Deane, M Lee, M Haag, N Maslen, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – B Cundy & J Old
Bath tries by Bamsey, Egerton (2), and Simpson, with Cue contributing a conversion, a drop goal and a penalty. Saracens responded with two penalties by Kennedy.
Egerton made a welcome return after injury in the Divisional championship. Apart from scoring two tries, he played a significant roll in the other. He was back in his No. 8 scrum position, but performed well as middle jumper in the line-out. Saracen’s Dick Malone tended to clean up at the front, but Egerton was back to his old form and hungry for some competition.
v Newbridge, Away, Won 22-18. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Bamsey, M Westcott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, N Redman, D Cronin, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Replacements – K Hoskin & V Ubogu
Two players excelled in this game. Paul Turner was a superb director of operations in the Newbridge outside-half position. He converted two tries and dropped a gaol. The other was Graham Dawe, who charged down Turner’s uncharacteristically weak kick to touch, gathered the ball and dived over for an outstanding individualistic try. Swift and Bamsey also scored tries and Barnes converted two and kicked two penalties. Bamsey’s match winning try came just three minutes from no-side.
v Clifton, Home, Won 57-6. A Lumsden, P Blackett, M Westcott, J Bamsey, F Sagoe, S Barnes, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane, G Chilcott, M Crane, C Blake, A Bick, N Maslen, P Simpson.
It was a debut appearance for Bristol ‘defector,’ Mark Crane. He was attracted to the sophisticated coaching set-up, and was prepared to play second fiddle to Bath’s established front row heavies. He employed his not inconsiderable bulk and mobility to advantage and scored two tries out of ten. Other scorers were Blackett (2), Sagoe, Simpson, Adrian Bick, Lumsden, Knight and Chilcott.
Barnes converted seven and added a penalty. Chilcott’s try generated the loudest applause of the afternoon. Lumsden had an effective game at full-back; his devastating pace enabling him to link in with three-quarter movements, and a try was a fair reward for his efforts.
v Northampton, Home, Won 58-3. A Hobbs, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, P Blackett, J Palmer, R Hill, S Kipling, G Dawe, M Lee, M Haag, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall (Capt), D Egerton. Replacements – P Cue & K Withey
Ref – B Riley (Liverpool)
A 12 try romp. Bath scores from Hobbs (3), Swift (2), Halliday, Guscott, Blackett, Palmer, Hill, and Hall (2), with conversions by Guscott (2), Hobbs (2) and Palmer. Every player in the Bath back division scored at least one try. Bath were truly ‘on song.’
v Cheltenham, Away, Won 31-6. A Hobbs, D Trick, J Bamsey, M Westcott, P Blackett, P Cue, N Pratt, S Kipling, J Deane, V Ubogu, M Haag, C Blake, N Maslen (Capt), A Bick, P Simpson
This was another run-away victory with six Bath tries scored by Maslen (2), Pratt (2), Deane and Kipling. Conversions by Trick, and Cue, who also added a penalty. Cheltenham were outclassed, but responded with two penalties by Williamson.
v Cardiff, Home, Won 35-4. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, S Kipling, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, P Simpson. Replacements – M Westcott & M Crank – Westcott replaced Barnes
Internationals Halliday, Robinson, Chilcott and Egerton, were all away on England’s training session in Portugal, and Cardiff were similarly affected by loss of players. Bath’s shortages hardly showed, as the home side gave a stunning performance to chalk up their biggest win against one of Wales’ greatest clubs. “It was Hall who set things rolling with a try after 72 seconds, supporting Kevin Withey and Graham Dawe after Jeremy Guscott split the Cardiff ranks with a mixture of power and subtlety.” (Evening Post and following) Barnes converted and added a 45 metre penalty five minutes later. Later, a dazzling run initiated by Palmer sent Swift over in the 24th minute, and Barnes converted.
“Full-back Audley Lumsden came into the line at such speed that he broke two tackles before being swept over the line by Hall and the rest. Hall was also the prime moving force for the next try, in the first minute of the second half. Scrum half Richard Hill took the pass to score and Barnes landed his third conversion.”
Lumsden secured his second try, and Cardiff responded with a try by Gerald Cordle.
Eleven minutes later Barnes scored and converted his own try.
For Cardiff – it was a rare and humbling experience.
v Liverpool St Helens, Away, Won 21-6. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Referee – D Hudson (MANCHESTER) Replacements – J Palmer & N Maslen – Maslen replaced Morrison
Bath were comfortably sitting at the top of the Courage League, and achieved their eighth win in eight encounters, with another demonstration of the will to win. It wasn’t particularly pretty, but rather a workmanlike show of strength in all areas of play. This was amply demonstrated by England discard, John Hall: “It was Hall’s strength in the loose that gave Bath their second try. Somehow resisting two tackles on the touchline he lofted a pass inside to David Egerton who caught the ball at full stretch and thundered over at the corner.”
Other Bath tries from Guscott (2) and a second one from Egerton. Barnes converted one and added a penalty. Liverpool St. H replied with a try by Rabbitt and a penalty by Askew. Morrison left the field with a knee injury.
v Metropolitan Police, Away, Won 64-21. A Lumsden (Tx2), D Trick (2g & Tx2), S Halliday (T), J Guscott (Tx4), P Blackett (T), P Cue (6g), N Pratt, G Chilcott (Capt), J Deane, M Lee, P Miles (T), C Blake (T), K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson. Ref – N Cousins (LONDON)
In brilliant sunshine, against moderate opposition, Bath rattled up 12 tries for their highest score to date. Guscott, Halliday, Trick and Lumsden were in a class of their own. With an extraordinary display of elusive running, Guscott scored four to raise this season’s try tally to 18. Lumsden merged well into the speedy back division and scored twice – one of them from nigh on 70 yards out. Phil Cue added 6 conversions and directed operations from fly half, whilst Paul Simpson dominated from the back row.
Bath players then moved on the Lanzerote for ‘warm weather’ training, which was to put them in good shape for the Cup campaign.
v Oxford, Home, Won 82-9. Pilkington Cup. Team:- A Lumsden (Tx4), A Swift (Tx4), S Halliday (Tx2), J Guscott (T), F Sagoe (Tx3), S Barnes (9c), R Hill (T), G Chilcott (T), G Dawe, M Lee, D Cronin, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Referee – D J Wilson (YORKS) Replacements – K Hoskin & M Haag.
A Third Round ‘miss-match.’ A glorious four tries each, from Lumsden and Swift, and Fred Sagoe with three. Barnes improved on nine of them. There was not much time to fit in penalties!
Cup Statistics (Supplied by the then Honorary Secretary Clive Howard):-
“Although Gloucester hold the record score of 87-3 against Exeter in 1985/86, our win against Oxford means that we jointly with Gloucester hold the record of 16 tries in one game. Stuart Barnes now holds the record of most conversions in one match (9) and Audley Lumsden and Tony Swift with 4 tries each join four other players in scoring the most tries in one match.”
v Llanelli, Away, Won 20-4. A Lumsden, A Swift, J Palmer, J Bamsey, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, S Kipling, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, D Egerton.
Bath steamrollered on and the redoubtable Llanelli were swept aside at Stradey in the presence of Lion’s selector Derek Quinnell. He showed more than a passing interest in the performance of, in form, Richard Hill. “A quick, snappy service and astute tactical kicking ensured that not one ounce of his forwards’ solid effort was wasted.
And in the 68th minute he combined slickly with No 8 David Egerton at the back of a scrum before nipping between two defenders and then side-stepping full-back Peter Williams to touch down.
Barnes’s conversion put Bath 16-0 ahead and ensured that they became the first side to defeat the Welsh Cup holders since November 5 – when they last visited Stradey Park.” (Evening Post)
Other tries by Lumsden and Sagoe, with Barnes converting one and adding two penalties.
Bath showed too much class. Never ones to dodge self criticism, Hill thought they might be getting a bit complacent: “That point was made in the dressing room before the game when we suddenly realised there was too much laughing and joking.”
v Hereford, Home, Won 48-0. Pilkington Cup – Fourth Round. A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Replacements – S Knight & K Withey
For the Rugby purist, a slightly distasteful tendency towards ‘soccer style ’ finger pointing, from a section of the Hereford support. Post match hospitality eased the visitors’ pain!
Hereford certainly made a fight of it. Their dedicated tackling and non stop harassing soon knocked any complacency out of the Bath ranks. Unbridled aggression, soon brought forward clashes and Bath’s front five, were playing it ‘pretty rough’ in the set scrums. Andy Robinson was lectured by referee George Seddon, and Coach Jack Rowell was up out of his seat on more than one occasion.
Bath stepped up their game after the interval and with John Hall punching gaping holes in their defence, the plucky visitors were blown away.
Bath tries from Sagoe (4), Lumsden, Hall (2), Swift (2), and Morrison. Conversions Barnes (2) and Halliday.
v Gloucester, Away, Lost 12-18. Team:- A Lumsden, A Swift, J Guscott, J Bamsey, F Sagoe, J Palmer, R Hill (Capt), S Kipling, G Dawe, M Lee, D Cronin, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall, D Egerton.
Gloucester broke Bath’s unbeaten run of 37 matches. It was a clash of two ‘in-form’ teams. Gloucester had seven successive victories and only one defeat in their last 13 matches.
Bath, were without Barnes, Halliday, Chilcott and Robinson, for this ‘Friendly’ at Kingsholm.
Replacements – K Hoskin & J Deane. Attendance 8500
Tim Smith and John Palmer traded 4 penalties apiece. Ian Smith scored the vital try, which Tim Smith converted. The Bath try-scoring machine was contained, and there were rumblings that Jon Morrison would have been more competitive than Damian Cronin. In the words of David Egerton: We won little clean ball and they smothered what possession we did manage to obtain.”
For once, the half back pairing of Hill and Palmer looked out of sorts and Palmer was forced to play it tight – to the detriment of his backs. It reminded many of the previous season’s Moseley disaster.
v Bristol, Home, Won 14-12. Pilkington Cup – Quarter-Final. Team:- A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott (T), B Trevaskis, S Barnes (2pg), R Hill (T),
G Chilcott, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton, Ref – A Mason (LONDON). Audley Lumsden’s 50th game. Tony Swift’s 100th game. Replacements – S Knight & V Ubogu
THE BATH – BRISTOL SHOWDOWN!
Played in pouring rain, this was arguably the most intense Cup-Tie ever witnessed on the Rec.
There was little promise of Spring, as bedraggled spectators huddled together on the exposed flowerpot side, only the multi-coloured umbrellas adding a semblance of cheer to an otherwise dismal afternoon.
The pitch was awash hours before the start, and Stuart Barnes did not want the match played. Bristol’s skipper Dun, saw advantage in the conditions, and referee Mason was left to arbitrate. Whether he was swayed by the vociferous spectators standing their ground in the deluge, or the noisy lot up in the Johnston Street ‘gallery,’ will never be known. Significantly, his decision to play was greeted by a deafening roar from all present. Rugby Special’s Nigel Starmer Smith described Bristol as kicking off “with the tide!”
Jonathan Webb opened with a penalty after 5 minutes play and Bristol were off to a great start.
Redman was conspicuous in line-out work, and took an early opportunity to bustle into Blackmore. However, it was Bristol who settled better into the dreadful conditions. Full-backs Webb and Lumsden were both outstanding in defence. Noticeably Lumsden was able to recover after an initial fumble from a high ball. However, Webb’s competent line-kicking frequently sent his forwards back in to Bath territory. On one of these occasions, Webb caught Bath napping to steal over for a good try and Bristol were nine points up.
Guscott’s ‘splash-down’ try clawed Bath back into the reckoning at 4 points to 9. John Hall had secured possession and a quick feed to Barnes and on to Halliday, enabled Guscott to slide through from near the try line through to the advertising boards! This score brought Bath to 1000 points for the season.
In the 36th minute Webb came back with a penalty after a full-blooded drive through on Lumsden.
(Bath were trailing 4-12 at half time)
A change of jerseys and a Jack Rowell pep talk signalled Bath’s second half revival, as Barnes clawed back a penalty. (7-12)
At this stage, Bath were profiting from prodigious touch-finding kicks from Richard Hill. Barnes came again with a successful penalty and Bath were closing at 10-12. There followed a succession of dramatic scrums on the Bristol line, but try as they may, Bath could not get over.
Then, an inch perfect kick from Barnes and a rare Webb slip, left the ball within a metre of the Bristol line. Fortuitously, the ball squirted out on the Bath side and Richard Hill, almost unrecognisable in a sea of mud, lunged forward to ground a match-winning try. For Bath – a courageous and unforgettable win. Nigel Starmer Smith called it: “The Houdini Act of all time by Bath.”
A feature of this most memorable of mudlarks, was the outstanding performance of both full backs and scrum halves, who superimposed pattern, over and above the trench warfare up front.
Here’s Mud in your Eye!
v Swansea, Home, Lost 13-15. K Hoskin, D Trick, J Palmer, J Bamsey, B Trevaskis, P Cue, S Knight, V Ubogu, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, J Hall (Capt), P Simpson. Replacements – M Westcott & M Crane – Mark Crane replaced Hall
John Hall went off with an ankle injury in the 23rd minute, thereby reducing the number of first team regulars to four. Robert Jones, Swansea’s scrum-half, put in a virtuoso performance with an impeccable display of tackling, tactical kicking, swift passing and the ability to make an incisive break. It was Jones who secured Swansea’s first try after a blindside link with Stuart Davies. Prop Mark Crane replaced Hall, and although he strove manfully, he could not match the penetration generated by Hall.
Swansea took an 8-0 lead, when Emyr scored right on half time.
At the restart, Cue narrowed the gap with a penalty, only for Stuart Davies and Jones to combine again and send in Paul Moriarty. Late on, the Bath support had the pleasure of seeing David Trick round Emyr for the touch-down. Cue missed with the kick. Clement dropped a goal after 64 minutes and
Swansea proceeded to close the game down. Right on time, Steve Knight took a tapped penalty and made an heroic lunge for the line: “Unfortunately, the scrum-half’s head struck his opposite number’s knee and he was led off as Cue kicked the conversion to end the match.” (Evening Post)
v Nottingham, Home, Won 22-16. A Lumsden (T), A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes (3pg, 1dg, 1g), R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton (T). Ref – D W Matthews (LIVERPOOL) Replacements – S Knight & V Ubogu
Bath’s victory put them in an unassailable position, to clinch the Courage League title. The Trophy was presented by the R.F.U. Treasurer, Mr. Sandy Sanders. Stuart Barnes led his team on a lap of honour in front of ecstatic fans.
A capacity crowd shared some anxious moments, as Nottingham proved themselves worthy of their 5th from the top placing. Nottingham flanker Gary Rees epitomised Nottingham’s competitive spirit, with some forthright tackling and rampaging in the loose. It was left to Stuart Barnes to prop up the scorecard, with a personal kicking contribution of 14 points. Lumsden’s try materialised after something of an attacking blunder. Barnes broke on the blind side, expecting Guscott to follow. Hill then received with no one in support. Eventually Barnes returned to his side and switched play back across the field to link with Halliday. A perfectly timed pass, allowed Lumsden to accelerate on to the ball, and race away for a fine try, which Barnes converted.
Later, with the score tied at 16-16, a Nottingham player was caught pulling at Chilcott’s jersey, and Barnes put Bath 3 points ahead. Barnes clinched proceedings with well taken drop goal.
Scottish International Damian Cronin had an outstanding game in both line-out and loose.
Bath cried off from a scheduled ‘Friendly’ with Bristol, and an unpleasant exchange of words was to follow. Bath were days away from a crucial Semi-Final at Gloucester, and did not wish to expose a depleted squad to further injury. Although relations remained soured for some time afterwards, Bath felt that their offer to forfeit home advantage for their next encounter was adequate recompense for Bristol’s loss of sponsorship income.
v Ebbw Vale, Home, Won 55-0. A Lumsden , A Swift, J Palmer, K Hoskin, F Sagoe, P Cue, S Knight, V Ubogu, J Deane, S Kipling, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, P Simpson, D Egerton. Referee – A Savage (N. MIDS). Replacements – M Westcott & M Haag – Westcott replaced Palmer
John Palmer was the genius who masterminded operations, until injury forced his withdrawal in the 68th minute. Swift got a hat-trick of tries. His first following a neat inside break, which left Hooker Jimmy Deane for the run in. Then it was Simpson’s turn in the 25th Minute. Deane scored again, and soon after, Fred Sagoe sent in Audley Lumsden. Lumsden scored his second try after a huge pass from Knight. Swift scored again in the 67 and 78th minutes. Flanker, Kevin Withey had a good game, and was adjudged to have scored the best try of the match, in a move initiated by Steve Knight.
Phil Cue kicked two conversions and Palmer slotted four. Bath again demonstrated their enormous wealth of rugby talent, whist Ebbw Vale left the field confused and devastated.
v Gloucester, Away, Won 6-3. Pilkington Cup – Semi-Final. Team:- A Lumsden, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, B Trevaskis, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, N Redman, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton Referee – R Quittenton (LONDON). Replacements – J Palmer, P Simpson, S Knight, D Cronin, J Deane & V Ubogu.
Bath had a previous loss at Gloucester to avenge, a great deal of pride, and a determination to see another Twickenham Final.
For Gloucester – there was the Kingsholm factor. On the day, Gloucester barely deserved any local support, playing a largely sterile game and failing to take advantage of opportunities.
In injury time, they were awarded a penalty in the Bath half, and to the ‘Shed’s’ utter despair, Hamlin elected to kick for touch. Referee Quittenton blew for no side and the two Barnes penalties had seen them through!
Richard Lee’s comment: “That was a bruiser… the sort of affair when, even by Monday morning, you wake up knowing instantly you have been in one hell of a game.”
v Plymouth Albion, Away, Won 32-19. A Lumsden, D Trick, B Cundy, J Guscott, F Sagoe, P Cue, R Hill, V Ubogu, J Deane, S Kipling, C Blake, D Cronin, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson (Capt) Replacements – K Plummer & M Crane – Plummer replaced Lumsden.
Some might say this was a game too many. Bath put in an indifferent performance against the Division III leaders. Bath tries were scored by Sagoe, Ubogu, Hill and Guscott. Conversion Trick (2), Penalties Cue (2), and Cue additionally dropped a goal.
LUMSDEN’S NECK INJURY
In the 76th minute, Albion centre Meakin was allowed to break through the Bath cover, and Audley Lumsden denied him access with a try saving head-on tackle.
In the process, he sustained a very serious neck injury, understood to be two fractured vertebrae, and many thought it was an end to his rugby career. It was to be a very long journey back – but he was destined to make it.
v Bridgend, Away, Lost 3-23. K Hoskin, D Trick, B Cundy, J Guscott, F Sagoe, P Cue (1pg), S Knight, V Ubogu, J Deane, S Kipling, J Morrison, N Redman, K Withey, N Maslen, P Simpson (Capt) . Replacements – M Westcott & M Crane
This game was an embarrassment to the players – an embarrassment to the travelling support.
The selected side contained only three of the probable Cup Final contestants, and they played with little enthusiasm, and even less expectation of success. There were one or two stubborn performances, notably prop Steve Kipling (ex Keynsham), who refused to cave in under Bridgend pressure. Cue’s penalty was the only counter to Bridgend’s 4 tries, 2 conversions and a penalty. Thankfully, Bridgend did not see fit to raise their game to any significant heights.
v Newport, Home, Lost 13-17. K Hoskin, D Trick, P De Glanville, M Westcott, F Sagoe, P Cue, S Knight, V Ubogu, J Deane, S Kipling, M Haag, D Cronin, A Bick, K Withey, P Simpson (Capt) Referee – D K Reordan (USA). Phil de Glanville’s debut game. Replacements – C Book & N Maslen
Sagoe still had his eye on a Cup Final place and he took his scoring chance for Bath’s try. Although there was little but honour at stake, the game assumed a dramatic aspect when Sagoe touched down, reducing Newport’s lead to 10-17. David Trick kicked a penalty and the stage was set for the final frantic minutes. However, Newport were able to close ranks and Bath went down to their fourth defeat of the season and second in succession. For Newport, John Callard scored a try and kicked three penalties. Booth got the other try.
Bath’s eyes were still on the main chance.
v Waterloo, Home, Won 38-9. K Hoskin, A Swift, S Halliday, M Westcott, F Sagoe, S Barnes, R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, P Simpson, D Egerton Replacements – K Plummer & V Ubogu – Ubogu replaced Morrison
Competition was intense for a Pilkington Cup appearance, and the second row was no exception. Damian Cronin gave the selectors a timely reminder with two good tries and line-out mastery.
Bath tries by Simpson, Cronin (2), Hill, Hoskin, Halliday, Westcott and Swift. Conversions:- Barnes (2), and Halliday. Waterloo were already condemned to second division rugby, and there was little they could do but enjoy Cooley’s consolation try, which Angell converted. He had also kicked a penalty.
v South Wales Police, Away, Lost 4-37. J Palmer, P Blackett, K Hoskin, M Westcott, B Trevaskis, C Book, K Plummer, S Kipling, J Deane, M Crane, M Haag, C Blake, A Bick, N Maslen, M Jones.
Trevaskis injured again. It was his first senior game since the Gloucester Semi Final. Bath sank to another heavy defeat, but it provided much needed full-back practice for likely finalist John Palmer. Played out in a cold squall, it was certainly testing conditions for any aspiring full back, let alone a player counting down to Cup Final day. The Bath cover was weak and Palmer was vainly trying to plug holes in the defence. Palmer also provided the impetus for Bath’s only try. His quickly taken tap penalty sent Trevaskis away. When he was stopped, Crane rumbled on for the line.
For the rest, the Police exploited Bath’s fragile defence and scored 7 tries, 3 conversions and a penalty.
v Llanelli, Home, Won 43-25. J Palmer (1C), A Swift (T), S Halliday, J Guscott (Tx4), F Sagoe, S Barnes (2C & 3pg), R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall (T), P Simpson (T). Replacements K Hoskin & M Crane
68 POINTS FOR J.P.’s COMMAND PERFORMANCE
A rousing reception greeted John Palmer, as he led the team out for his last ‘official’ game on the Rec.
It was a suitably memorable match marking the departure of one of Bath’s greatest servants.
Playing at full-back, Palmer wrong-footed the opposition on the 22 metre line, initiating a swift handling movement, ending with John Hall grounding the ball.
There were similar tries in abundance, with Guscott giving free reign to his talents, with his final tally of four. His best effort was in the second half, when he ‘showed’ the ball to his opposite numbers, turned on his exceptional pace, and rounded the Scarlets’ defence with deceptive ease. Appropriately, John Palmer was called up to kick the final conversion.
After this stunning display, Richard Hill’s only concern was that the backs had not really clicked in recent weeks, and the team had been slow to get into their stride. On this performance they need have no fears.
v Leicester, Away, Lost 12-15. Team:- A Westcott, M Sparkes, J Bamsey (T), B Cundy, K Weeks, P Cue, S Knight, S Kipling, J Deane (T), M Crane, M Haag, M Jones, N Maslen (Capt) (T), P Simpson, A Bick .
There was nothing at stake; the League Cup had been in the trophy cabinet since March.
Amid protests from the Senior Clubs’ Association, both sides fielded second string XV’s.
The young Bath side acquitted themselves well, scoring three tries to Leicester’s one. However, Liley’s kicking was the decisive factor, and Bath lost their one game in a brilliant Courage League season.
The try count was 3:1 in Bath’s favour. A young fellow named Martin Johnston played for the Tigers.
v Leicester, Won 10-6. Pilkington Cup – Final. Team:- J Palmer, A Swift, S Halliday, J Guscott, F Sagoe, S Barnes (T & 2pg), R Hill, G Chilcott, G Dawe, M Lee, J Morrison, D Cronin, A Robinson, J Hall, D Egerton. Ref – F Howard (LIVERPOOL)
Attendance 59,300, which was a World Record for a Club game. The Bath Club itself, commissioned two trains and 31 buses. There were countless coaches run on an independent basis, very many of them associated with a particular pub. If one added the Leicester travellers, there must have been very little transport left for a day out at Weston, or an evening mystery trip to the Mendips.
Replacements – K Hoskin, P Simpson, S Knight, N Redman, J Deane & V Ubogu
Despite being short of match practice at top level, veteran Palmer was nonetheless the preferred full-back. He fully justified selection with a typically silky break midway through the second half. Fred Sagoe came in at wing for the injured Trevaskis.
This was far from a classic encounter, but nevertheless a highly intense affair as two well organised outfits battled for supremacy. Forward momentum was obtained by conquering the ‘hard yards’ against well organised defences. Damian Cronin vied with Dean Richards as the most penetrative forward; Cronin’s line-out work was quite outstanding. Following two Hare penalties, Bath were 0-6 down at half time.
Paul Simpson, had come on for Egerton in the 53rd minute, and this signalled a Bath rally. Cronin grabbed line-out possession no less than seven times in the final twenty minutes. With two Barnes penalties, the sides were all square at 6-6 at the 70th minute. The coup de grace followed a dart forward by Hill, then Leicester defended heroically to keep out Simpson, only for Hall to pick up the forward momentum. Then again, Hill was on hand to feed Barnes for the match winning try.
It was a farewell appearance for Leicester legend Dusty Hare, and for Bath’s own stalwart John Palmer.
It had been tough – very tough, but not spectacular by both team’s free-flowing standards.
As Jack would say – it’s all about winning!
A Bath Double – Pilkington Cup and Courage League Championship.
Second to Neath in the English-Welsh Table.
Barnes way out in front with 5 Tries, 60 Conversions, 42 Penalties and 3 Drop Goals – 275 points in 25 games.
Next – Phil Cue 1 Try, 22 Conversions, 20 Penalties, 2 Drop Goals – 114 points in 15 games, Jeremy Guscott 25 Tries, 5 Conversions – 110 points in 27 games, Audley Lumsden 20 Tries – 80 points in 28 games, Tony Swift 18 Tries – 72 points in 21 games, John Hall 13 Tries – 52 points in 24 games.
At this stage Bath had three outside halves with this level of experience!
John Palmer ( Half-back and Centre) Career total 1343 games
John Horton Career total 908 games
Stuart Barnes Career total 958 games
FRANCE – AUGUST 1989
Bath mustered all available players for what turned out to be a four sided tournament of Champions in France’s Dordogne Region. After some uncertainty, visitors discovered that the competition was billed as – The Rugby Tournoi du Bas Limousin. The combatants were club giants: Bath, Brive, Toulouse and Neath.
Friday 11/8/1989 Bath v Brive at Brive. Won 16-10. Team:- Westcott, Walklin, Saverimutto, Hoskin, Blackett, Barnes, Hill, Ubogu, Jones, Lee, Morrison, Haag, Robinson, Williams and Withey.
For the first match, a makeshift side performed heroics against a smart French outfit. Bath were superbly led by Stuart Barnes. There were five of the Cup Final squad on the field and while Richard Lee played a vital roll of stabilising the front five in the set scrums, Morrison operated from the front of the line-out, providing an effective link with the half-back partnership. In this, Bath possessed the basic structure for a positive game. Barnes opened with a penalty after two minutes; Brive’s penalty equalised briefly, then Barnes, who had been off with a finger dislocation, was on hand to find the middle the uprights from 45 metres out. With play hotting-up, Brive came back with a try by Loic van der Linden and continued to hammer away at the Bath line. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty and Bath were 6-10 down. In the dying minutes of the first half, Bath hit back when Barnes broke away on his own. His reverse pass sent winger Walklin speeding away upfield; Ubogu and Withey handled to put Pete Blackett away and over.
Bath endured siege conditions for the last 40 minutes and brought off a number of try saving tackles. Both sides were pretty fired up at one stage and Bath were awarded a penalty after a prolonged ‘free for all.’ Barnes slotted this with his usual aplomb and added another seven minutes from time.
Bath held on bravely. Near the end Blackett saved the Bath line with valuable defensive work.
Bath had battled through, and all credit to their enduring spirit and refusal to accept defeat.
12/8/1989 Toulouse defeated Neath 34-10 on the Saturday evening, on the nearby Lubersac ground.
THE LOW SPOT
14/8/1989 Brive v Neath at Pompadour, early evening.
It was difficult to keep abreast of stadium activity when things started to go wrong.
An extraordinarily aggressive game was 36 minutes old when Neath walked off, ostensibly, objecting to the standard of refereeing. After a particularly vicious punching session, both Neath’s second row forwards appeared to have had their marching orders, along with a Brive player. A Neath and a Brive player started to come off but the third stayed put. Amid an enormous clamour, the first Neath player made to come back on as various officials took to the field. At the height of all this confusion and apparently on instructions of their management, the whole of the Neath team quit the ‘battlefield’ en bloc.
The atmosphere was extremely unpleasant and threatening. So much so, that Bath supporters sought to disassociate with the bedlam, for fear of a load of verbals – or worse, from the incensed French support.
After an agonising delay, it was in some trepidation, that Bath players and support prepared for the final showdown…………..
14/8/1989 v Toulouse, at Pompadour, late evening. Won 16-11 Team:- M Westcott, S Walklin, A Saverimutto, K Hoskin, P Blackett, S Barnes, R Hill, V Ubogu, G Dawe, R Lee, J Morrison, M Haag, A Bick, P Miles and K Withey.
Attendance – 4000. i.e. 3950 ‘partisans’ and 50 approx. of the Bath faithful.
Bath were supported by approximately 35 fans who had travelled through France on a Stones 53-seater coach; a few had flown down and there was a sprinkling of exiles from here and there. The atmosphere had to be experienced to be believed. Some thought things might be improved by a short spell of community singing. A group of friends were cajoled into accompanying the writer of these notes in the old Mini Rugby song:
“When I go out walking,
people often ask me.
Where the hell are you from?
And this is what I tell them.
I’m from Bath – lovely, lovely Bath.
And if they can’t hear me,
I sing a little louder.
I’m from Bath, lovely, lovely Bath” etc
Unfortunately they dried up. Astonishingly, there was a polite clap when the ditty was finished! Perhaps it did calm the jagged nerves after all!
The game kicked off just before midnight.
Was it stiflingly hot – or were we all terribly tensed up?
Steve Walklin was sent off in this game. It was in the 65th minute for dissent, following Cazalbou’s try. In the context of the previous game’s mayhem, it was but a trifling offence.
Bath’s achievement – a win over the French Champions on French soil is deserving of highest praise. To say the atmosphere was electric is a sizeable understatement. To the faint hearted – it was terrifying!
Bath fielded five senior players, and the balance was made up of United and Spartans regulars. This makeshift collection denied Toulouse ball for the first half hour. Barnes had missed two early penalty chances, when Hill lofted a ball and forced N’Tamack into an error. From the loose ball, Barnes coolly dropped a goal. Five minutes later, Walklin grounded for an unconverted try. N’Tamack missed a penalty, but Eric Bonneval took over and was successful from an easy position.
After the interval, Peter Blackett got away, but was felled near the corner flag, but Peter Miles was on hand to score. Barnes converted from far out and soon added a 40-metre penalty. In the 65th minute the French were awarded their first try: “Not down ref.,” shouted Walklin,” and the ex Plymouth winger was sent for an early bain. Suitably encouraged, the Frenchmen scored a second unconverted try – but Bath held out. A great win – but a frightening game.
Bath’s over all Tournament success was utterly stunning! An immortal chapter in the annuls of our great Club.