1993 to 1994

by Peter Hall and Colin Gale



We include match summaries in honour of Mrs Joan Budge, who rendered invaluable assistance to Ken Johnstone, the Bath Club Press and Public Relations Officer. She kept the match statistics and provided short, pithy comments on each match – the Pressmen depended on her.


Major input towards Bath’s success must be attributed to the forward looking coaching triumvirate of Jack Rowell, Dave Robson and Tom Hudson.


Other support specialists came to occupy prime positions, such as Ged Roddy of Bath University, who intensified a fitness programme first introduced by Hudson. Each player had his personal fitness programme, which was closely monitored.




v Garryowen, Away. Won 38-8. Team:- Callard (4c), Swift (Tx2), de Glanville (Tx2), Catt, Lloyd, Barnes (Tx2), Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Mallett, McCoy, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Atkins, Sanders, Lewis, Ojomoh  Ref – Leo Mayne. Ground – Excellent. Weather – Sunny

A great start to a new season, with Bath playing an expansive and impressive fast game, much to the interest of the Limerick crowd, assembled to celebrate the opening of their new clubhouse.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

GARRYOWEN pushed the boat out as only the Irish can to mark the opening of a new clubhouse complex at their Dooradoyle headquarters in Limerick.

There were marching bands, a lavish pre-match reception, speeches from the Irish RFU president and other dignitaries but nothing graced the occasion like a five-star performance from Ben Clarke.

The England back row man, star of this summer’s Lions tour of New Zealand, turned in a performance of the highest quality, full of power, pace, commitment and awareness.

Garryowen have recently appointed as coach as astute a rugby man as you would find anywhere – David Leslie, skipper of the All Blacks during the mid-70s and more recently a consultant to the Irish Rugby Union.

“If you’re talking about world-class players, there’s none better than this man,” he said. “And he’ll get better and better.

“He’s the kind of honest-to-goodness forward we appreciate in New Zealand but he has a rare quality about him,” added Leslie, who was not so much disappointed at his own side’s display as delighted that Bath practised the rugby gospel he intends to preach in Ireland.

“I would say that there are only two or three club sides back home who can play the game the way Bath do. It’s an approach that seems sadly lacking in the British Isles but at least our players know now exactly what I’m aiming for.”

For the time being though they had to rely on traditional Irish virtues, even down the up-and-under tactic that bears the club’s name. A furious opening ten minutes was no more than Bath expected, however, and they rode the storm until it blew itself out.

For the remaining 70 minutes, the English champions were in control, largely through the efforts of the back row of Clarke, Andy Robinson and new skipper John Hall. The ball was circulated between forwards and backs with mesmerising speed and sleight of hand.

First try of the new season went to Stuart Barnes in the 19th minute, supporting Mike Catt and Tony Swift after Hall had set up a ruck. Jon Callard converted from in front of the posts.

The second was an altogether more spectacular affair, Clarke launching the move on his own 22 and launching Barnes on a 60-metre dash which was carried on by Swift who sent Phil de Glanville under the posts. Remarkably, Clarke was the other player in support.

Although Garryowen’s international backs, Phil Danaher and Richard Wallace, might have prised an opening, the final pass too often went astray and their only reward was a Kenny Smith penalty.

A quick heel, Clarke’s surge and a stiletto-sharp Barnes break 30 metres to the posts took the score to 21-3 after 50 minutes. Swift added a fourth try, squeezing in at the corner and the romp continued with de Glanville’s second, skipping round a tackle.

Callard chipped to the corner for Swift to touch down another but Garryowen roused themselves for a grandstand finish and forced flanker Dara O’Sullivan over the line in the closing seconds.



BATH FORM: commanding.

SCORERS: 19 mins – Barnes try, Callard conv, nil-7; 28 mins – de Glanville try, Callard conv, nil-14; 39 mins – Kenny Smith pen, 3-14; H-T – 3-14; 49 mins – Barnes try, Callard conv, 3-21; 62 mins – Swift try, 3-26; 69 mins – de Glanville try, Callard conv, 3-33; 77 mins – Swift try, 3-38; 79 mins – Der O’Sullivan try, 8-38.


GARRYOWEN: Larkin; Wallace, Danaher, Smith, Sheehan; Murphy, Barry; Spain, Cunningham, Ronan, Costello, Coughlan, Hogan, Cronin, O’Sullivan.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Mallett, Redman, McCoy, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: Leo Mayne (Munster).

CONDITIONS: weather – sunny; pitch – excellent



v Bristol, Away. Won 18-10. Team:- Callard (1p & 1c), Swift, de Glanville, Catt (Tx2), Lumsden, Barnes (1p), Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Beddow, Mallett, Sanders  Ref – David Matthews. Ground – Excellent. Weather – Sunny.

Typical dour local derby. Bath didn’t play well in the first half and there were a number of injuries. Things moved in the second half and Bristol ran out of steam and ideas, until Bath let them have a late and stupid try. My man of the match was Andy Robinson.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

THE records will forever show that Mike Catt, the latest recruit to Bath’s all-star band of rugby superheroes, was the man who decided a typically dour derby struggle at the Memorial Ground.

But those records will not tell anything like the real story. Bath won, yet again, not because their young South African centre ran in two well-taken tries but because the men at the other end of the age scale hit Bristol were it hurt most – up front.

Gareth Chilcott, Graham Dawe, Nigel Redman – these particular old hands had served a long sentence in the dark dungeon of the Bath scrum. They were, Bristol felt, ready to be picked off. Wrong. When the home pack went for the jugular in a bruising and exhausting first half, they found their opponents just as mean and grimly determined as ever. They were not prepared to curl up and die, not by a long


After enjoying the best of the opening 30 minutes, Bristol found the game beginning to shift on its psychological axis as the champions turned the tables in the line-out. By the end, the old stagers were also outscrummaging their younger and supposedly hungrier challengers.

It confirmed once more that Bath can win on desire alone for, truth to tell, they had a rotten day by their own awesome standards.

Richard Hill and Stuart Barnes were less than telepathic at half-back, Ben Clarke’s rampaging runs were repeatedly cut short by the magnificent Derek Eves and there was no scent of an opening for Tony Swift and Audley Lumsden on the wings.

“At the end of the season, we’ll look back on that and be very grateful for the two points we came out with,” said new skipper John Hall, fully aware that his side had played badly and got away with it.

Not that Bristol can consider themselves in any sense unlucky. Alastair Saverimutto showed flashes of inspiration in broken play and proved beyond doubt that he belongs at this level, but no-one else had much ammunition to unleash.

Their game plan, geared to forward dominance, worked well early on. Simon Shaw, who had another fine game, churned out some quality middle line-out ball and there were several threatening raids into Bath territory.

Rob Armstrong and Mark Regan joined forces with Eves to set up an inviting drop goal position while Paul Hull and Saverimutto sent Peter Stiff charging upfield to win a kickable penalty. Mark Tainton, though, was wide with both kicks.

The first big turning point came on the half-hour. Tainton produced a beautiful rolling kick that found touch six inches from the Bath line, but Martin Haag won vital two-handed ball under extreme pressure.

That gave the out-of-favour front jumper such a confidence boost that he proceeded to take a string of clean catches in important positions. Suddenly, Bristol’s supply line was shut off.

Haag also made a decisive contribution to Bath’s first try, cleverly making the extra man as the ball sped right from Andy Robinson’s lunge into the Bristol 22.

Catt, who had already produced a saving tackle on David John, just squeezed in at the corner.

Catt pulled off another desperate tackle 10 minutes after the break, stopping Tainton 12 metres out after excellent work from Saverimutto and Kyran Bracken.

Bristol’s last chance of glory had slipped away. When David Hinkins tumbled over the top at a ruck in front of the Bristol posts, Jon Callard had no difficulty in giving Bath a two-score cushion.

They tied it up 13 minutes from time when Catt charged down Dean Wring’s clearance, sped after the rebound and touched down inches in front of the dead ball line.

Bristol’s tackling, so strong all afternoon, stayed together sufficiently to deny Bath another score and, against the odds, they managed one of their own at the death.

Bracken’s quick tapped penalty allowed Eves to run full pelt through a rare gap in Bath’s midfield defence. The skipper galloped fully 35 metres, set up fast ruck ball and Saverimutto made the line with ease.

Match Facts.

Entertainment rating: two stars.

Bristol/Bath form – patchy.

Scorers: 4 mins – Barnes pen, 0-3; 10 mins – Tainton

pen, 3-3; 34 mins – Catt try, 3-8; H-T, 3-8; 58 mins –

Callard pen, 3-11; 67 mins – Catt try, Callard con,

3-18; 82 mins – Saverimutto try, Tainton con, 10-18.

Bristol: Hull; John, Wring, Saverimutto; Crossland; Tainton, Bracken; Sharp, Regan, Hinkins, Stiff, Shaw, Armstrong, Barrow, Eves.

Referee: David Matthews (Liverpool).

Conditions: Weather – bright, light breeze. Pitch – perfect.



GARETH Chilcott’s true influence on Bath’s latest league victory over their great local rivals only emerged after the game. The veteran loosehead prop, almost certainly making his final appearance at the Memorial Ground, called his forwards together after 30 minutes for a typical “Cooch”-style dressing down.

“We’d started terribly slowly and Bristol were getting right in there amongst us,” he said. “We weren’t giving it anything like enough. “I called everyone together and said: `You look as though you don’t want this one. Remember who you’re playing. I don’t want to lose to this lot and I don’t think you do either. But we will if we don’t get stuck in.’

“It seemed to do the trick. I think we were well on top come the end – when the Bristol forwards called a big scrum, we didn’t go anywhere. In fact, we put them up in the air at one point.”

Chilcott’s importance to the side was confirmed by front row partner Graham Dawe, who described him as “almost irreplaceable”. “I don’t suppose even Cooch would claim he gets around the field as much as he did, but he’ll always be the first name on my teamsheet,” said the Cornishman. “He makes my life so easy.

“We knew they were talking about coming at us in the front row, but they were never going to get the better of us in that department. Cooch told us what he wanted in the dressing room and, after a ropey start, we gave it to him on the pitch.”

Bath coach Jack Rowell held out more consolation for Bristol’s forwards, who he described as a “huge and formidable outfit”. “I thought Simon Shaw was outstanding – when Andy Blackmore returns, they really will have a line-out to compete with the best,’ he said.

“We continue to have trouble in the height department. These days, 6ft 5ins just isn’t tall enough. Bristol have genuine height and that makes them dangerous.

“I’m sure we’re all disappointed with our performance. That was a game we could have lost in playing the way we did. The two points are ours but we know we’ll have to improve a lot on that performance.”

Bristol skipper Derek Eves had no complaints at the result. “We just didn’t score points from good positions,” he admitted. “It was a typical derby – we made two mistakes and they scored two tries from them. I could see the first try coming from miles out – they got in behind us and we just couldn’t get the cover across.”

Perhaps the most salient comment on a disappointing game came from Stuart Barnes.” I had a feeling of deja vu out there,” said the Bath and England fly-half. “They kicked, we kicked, everyone tackled. So what’s new”



v Northampton, Home. Won 37-9. Team:- Callard (T, 4c & 3p), Swift, de Glanville, Lewis, Lumsden (Tx2), Barnes, Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke (T).  Replacements – Atkins, Ojomoh, Sanders   Ref – Jim Pearson. Ground – Excellent. Weather – Sunny.

A cracking game, with the team really getting into top gear. Callard outstanding, but everyone contrived to make Northampton look pretty ordinary. Bath now lead the League by one point.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

FOR those who saw Audley Lumsden suffer a broken neck on that fateful night in Plymouth three and a half years ago, his return to Courage League action was particularly poignant.

Many doubted whether Lumsden, still only 26, would ever regain the sharpness and zest for rugby which marked him out as one of the finest attacking talents in the game in the late 1980s.

As if recovery from such a life-threatening injury was not difficult enough, the comeback was cruelly interrupted by a twice-broken leg.

But this crushing victory over Northampton featured two tries from the Oxford Blue which oozed quality – the first a virtuoso effort, the second a team effort of bewildering speed and complexity.

Bath were already 3-nil up thanks to a Jon Callard penalty when a counter-attack launched left wing Lumsden inside his own half. Entering the 22, it took only the merest suggestion of a feint and change of pace to leave the final defender, England B scrum-half Matthew Dawson, sprawling in his wake.

Within three minutes it was 17-nil as Bath conjured quite the most breathtaking try. Skipper John Hall made a two-handed tap at the front of a line-out and, with fellow flanker Andy Robinson as the link in midfield, Callard, Tony Swift and Phil de Glanville ripped the defence apart to send Lumsden in at the corner.

“Northampton’s big mistake was to keep saying in the press how beatable we were,” said a smiling Lumsden, now a physics teacher at Millfield School. “That really got us going. They should have kept their mouths shut.”

A chastened Saints captain, John Olver, admitted afterwards: “Bath were exceptional today, just in two spells really, when they were scoring tries at will. When they’re on song, it’s very difficult to play against.

“We spent a lot of time in their half but they are very good at soaking up pressure and then killing you off.” Then he added soberly: “It’s back to the drawing board, I suppose.”

Nor was 6ft 10in Lions lock Martin Bayfield allowed to dominate the line-out in his customary fashion. And although Northampton coach Glenn Ross has talked about introducing a more dynamic approach, it is clear that they – and the other First Division sides – are light years behind the champions in this regard.

For instance, Bath regard every scrum outside their own 22 as an attacking platform.

The third try, from an unpromising position 20 metres inside the Bath half, demonstrated just why. Callard took Hill’s pass on the blindside, sent Tony Swift away down the touchline and Ben Clarke, an awesome sight in full cry, was on his inside to sprint the last 40 metres.

Five minutes later, a surge by the Lions back row man from a scrum on half-way was carried on by Robinson and Hill; Hall then set up the ruck for Hill and Clarke to send Callard in at the flag.

Callard had landed every one of the six kicks offered to him but this was by far the most difficult, out on the right touchline. The kick was perfect, however, leaving the full-back with a personal tally of 22 points, including three penalties.

Amazingly, Bath did not score again and Northampton sent flanker Craig Millhouse over for what everybody except Bristol touch judge Gerry Foley reckoned was a try. He had correctly spotted Olver punching and Bath gratefully accepted the penalty.


BATH FORM: deadly

SCORERS: 1 min – Callard pen, 3-nil; 9 mins – Lumsden try, Callard conv, 10-nil; 12 mins – Lumsden try, Callard conv, 17-nil; 14 mins – Grayson pen, 17-3; 18 mins – Callard pen, 20-3; 28 mins – Grayson pen, 20-6; H-T – 20-6; 55 mins – Clarke try, Callard conv, 27-6; 58 mins – Callard pen, 30-6; 60 mins – Callard try and conv, 37-6; 62 mins – Grayson pen, 37-9.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Lewis, Lumsden; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

NORTHAMPTON: Steele; Thorneycroft, Beal, Fielden, Packman; Grayson, Dawson; Baldwin, Olver, Pearce, Bayfield, Phillips, Walton, Rodber, Millhouse.

REFEREE: John Pearson (Durham Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – fine; pitch – excellent



v Orrell, Away. Won 18-15. Team:- Callard (T, 1c & 1p), Swift, de Glanville, Guscott (T), Lumsden, Barnes (1p), Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Adams replaced Callard (29 mins), Catt replaced Swift (8 mins) & Crompton  Ref – R Rees. Ground – Excellent. Weather – Sunny.

Typical rough, tough match against Orrell. Bath severely disrupted by injuries and finished up with Robinson playing on the wing. Callard received a head injury needing 14 stitches. All Orrell’s points were penalties. Referee could have been better.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH skipper John Hall made no attempt to hide his relief as the champions preserved their 100 per cent record in the Courage League.

Forced by injuries to shift flanker Andy Robinson out on to the wing for the last hour, they very nearly surrendered a 12-point lead as veteran centre Simon Langford landed five penalties.

But with two more points in the bag Hall can also be confident that, on their home ground, the no-nonsense Northerners are likely to be a tough proposition for Bath’s First Division rivals.

“Aside from the disruptions, I’m a little bit disappointed in the way we played,” he said. “We gave away too many penalties, made too many unforced errors. But a lot of sides are going to lose here. We didn’t – and that’s what counts.”

Bath have never found it easy to strut their stuff at Edgehall Road so it was all the more encouraging when their particular brand of pace and vision yielded two smart tries in the first quarter.

They had already lost prolific wing Tony Swift with a hamstring injury when Langford put Orrell ahead with a penalty. But the visitors were soon presented with a kickable chance on the right.

Quick-witted as ever, Jon Callard simply tapped the ball to himself and darted past a couple of surprised defenders to touch down near the corner.

A couple of minutes later, a sloppy Orrell clearance allowed lock Martin Haag and then Hall to set up rucks in midfield. Stuart Barnes darted left and cleverly found Jeremy Guscott who showed no sign of his groin injury as he sprinted in from 40 metres.

Callard’s conversion and a straightforward penalty shortly after put Bath 15-3 up but the full-back’s departure on the half hour with a gashed head proved a turning point.

With Mike Catt already on for Swift, flanker Gareth Adams was the obvious replacement, coming on for his league debut. However that entailed Robinson switching to the blindside wing while Audley Lumsden covered full-back.

The balance of the side thus altered, Bath lost their composure and gave away a string of penalties as tempers began to fray. Langford got close enough to reduce the margin to 15-6 only for Barnes to then bang one over from the half-way line on the stroke of half-time.

It was backs-to-the-wall in the second half as Orrell, chivvied by England and Lions scrum-half Dewi Morris, exploited the wind and slope through Gerry Ainscough’s boot to pin Bath in their own half. What they lacked however was the wit or pace to create try-scoring opportunities.

Langford kicked his fifth penalty in the 53rd minute but that was the end of the scoring as Bath settled into a defensive posture, confident in their tackling and in the ability of Haag to win his own line-out ball.


BATH FORM: resilient

SCORERS: 8 mins – Langford pen, 3-nil; 13 mins – Callard try, 3-5; 16 mins – Guscott try, Callard conv, 3-12; 19 mins – Callard pen, 3-15; 36 mins – Langford pen, 6-15; 40 mins – Barnes pen, 6-18; H-T – 6-18; 45 mins – Langford pen, 9-18; 48 mins – Langford pen, 12-18; 53 mins – Langford pen, 15-18.

ORRELL: Taberner; Naylor, Langford, Wynn, Hamer; Ainscough, Morris; Hynes, French, Southern, Cusani, Brierley, Cleary, Manley, Ashurst.

BATH: Callard (rep Adams, 31 mins); Swift (rep Catt, 8 mins), de Glanville, Guscott, Lumsden; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: Chris Rees (London Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – sunny; pitch – excellent.



v Gloucester, Home. Won 46-17. Team:- Callard (5c & 2p), Adebayo (T), de Glanville, Guscott (T), Lumsden, Catt, Hill (T), Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu (Tx2), Haag, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke (T).  Replacements – Ojomoh, Sanders, Mallett  Ref – Brian Campsall. Ground – Very Good. Weather – Fine.

Bath played excellently in patches, with some spectacular tries, but still giving away numbers of penalties. Gloucester immensely disappointing.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

IF anyone hoped that England’s top players would be offered any much-needed respite before facing the might of the All Blacks next month, they will have to think again.

Just seven days before the Twickenham international, the Courage League will stage its own showpiece in front of 12,000 at Welford Road. Leicester v Bath on November 20 will go a long way to deciding the destination of the championship.

“That could be the toughest of all; it looks like the crunch match,” said Gareth Chilcott after Bath made it four wins out of four over their hapless West Country rivals.

At the same time Leicester were establishing their credentials as prime challengers with a 38-6 win over Wasps, who play host to Bath on Saturday.

But front row veteran Chilcott, who retires in December, does not believe that record defeat will have served to soften up the Londoners. “Just the opposite,” he declared. “The `Waspies’ are dangerous animals when stirred up. It will just make things more difficult for us – but at least we’ll know what to expect.”

Certainly, Bath cannot afford to let their concentration waver as they did against Gloucester. The men from Kingsholm no longer strike fear into opponents but injured pride was avenged by two second-half tries as the home side sat back on a 32-3 lead.

However, there had never been any doubt about the outcome once Ben Clarke crossed in the corner as early as the third minute, a chance presented when Tim Smith spilled Jon Callard’s kick.

Callard, scalp swathed in a turban-like protective bandage, landed the touch-line conversion and went on to reinforce his claims for an England debut against the All Blacks with 16 points from five conversions and two penalties.

In cruelly stark contrast, Tim Smith and Paul Beech miss-hit all four chances presented in the first half.

On the half-hour Jeremy Guscott strode over for the second try after stand-in fly-half Mike Catt neatly pierced the cover. Gloucester knew there was no way back from 17-nil.

Much to skipper John Hall’s annoyance, Bath seemed to take a breather after half-time. Given their ability to strike whenever the need arises from any position on the field, it is perhaps understandable that they occasionally sit back and admire their work.

After Beech and Callard exchanged penalties, the champions stirred themselves again, prompted by some spectacular catching by the outstanding Nigel Redman. The result was a brace of close-range tries for tighthead Victor Ubogu, another with designs on an England place.

One blot on the Bath performance was again their tendency to concede penalties, 20 in all. Gloucester eventually capitalised by conjuring tries for centre Damian Cummins and impressive right wing Paul Holford.

Roused again, Bath worked Adedayo Adebayo over on the right – a superb individual effort – and finally rounded things off with a sixth try from scrum-half Richard Hill after Phil de Glanville had made a stunning 50-metre break.


BATH FORM: nonchalant

SCORERS: 3 mins – Clarke try, Callard conv, 7-nil; 24 mins – Callard pen, 10-nil; 31 mins – Guscott try, Callard conv, 17-nil; H-T: 17-nil; 42 mins – Beech pen, 17-3; 51 mins – Callard pen, 20-3; 54 mins – Ubogu try, Callard conv, 27-3; 58 mins – Ubogu try, 32-3; 66 mins – Cummins try, Smith conv, 32-10; 70 mins – Holford try, Beech conv – 32-17; 74 mins – Adebayo try, Callard conv, 39-17; 78 mins – Hill try, Callard conv, 46-17.

BATH: Callard; Adebayo, de Glanville, Guscott, Lumsden; Catt, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

GLOUCESTER: T Smith; Holford, Cummins, Caskie (rep Merchant, 19 mins), Nicholson; Beech, Hannaford; Phillips, Hawker, Jones, Sims, West, Ashmead, Masters, I Smith.

REFEREE: Brian Campsall (Yorkshire).

CONDITIONS: weather – overcast; pitch – well grassed.



v Wasps, Away. Won 19-13. Team:- Callard (3p), Adebayo, de Glanville, Catt (T), Lumsden, Barnes, Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Hall, Clarke (T).  Replacements – Ojomoh, Sanders, Atkins  Ref – G Black. Ground – Greasy. Weather – Breezy/Fine.

Bath played excellently in patches again, but almost let things slip in last ten minutes. Should have won by more.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

ALL Wasps’ complaints of dodgy refereeing decisions could not wipe the grin off John Hall’s face at Sudbury.

Hall has a 100 per cent record as Bath skipper so the champions are sitting pretty at the top of the Courage League table with a two-point lead after the first five matches.

Admittedly, there were doubts about their second try, credited to Ben Clarke, while Wasps captain Dean Ryan was vehement in his claim that he had crossed at the posts in injury time.

But in a programme of 18 matches, home and away, there are going to be occasions when luck plays its part. and Wasps had more than their fair share last season.

Each of Hall’s predecessors, Stuart Barnes and Andy Robinson, has achieved the double and the new captain has devised his own strategy to tackle the toughest domestic season in rugby history.

“The message I’ve tried to get over to the team – and they keep joking about it – is that we are trying to break the season down into digestible chunks,” said the England blindside.

“This was the first chunk. We’ve bitten that off and swallowed it,” he added with some satisfaction.

“Now we’ve got a pause while we’re off to the divisionals. That will be good for us. We can regroup, sort out the injuries and get ready for the next league matches.”

Bath were in control of this game until the last four minutes when Graham Childs, the centre who nearly joined them three years ago, cut through to score under the posts. Rob Andrew’s conversion set up a pulsating period of injury time when Ryan claimed his “score.”

Irish referee Gordon Black thought otherwise and awarded Bath a scrum from which Jon Callard cleared to touch to end the game.

It was Callard, being watched again by England manager Geoff Cooke, who laid the foundations for victory with three first-half penalties. He might have had a try too but for a superb cover tackle by Rob Andrew after nine minutes.

Other scoring opportunities were restricted by both sides’ inability to hang on to the ball.

Bath enjoyed a marked advantage in the scrums and also broke even in the line-out even though Wasps had 24 throws to the visitors’ ten. Again Martin Haag provided clean possession at the front while Hall and Clarke were effective predators at the back.

The Londoners turned round 9-3 down but with the setting sun and a stiff breeze behind them. At the restart however, Andrew kicked the ball dead and Jeff Probyn compounded the error by dropping the resulting scrum on halfway.

Stuart Barnes’s penalty took Bath within striking range and after a couple of rucks the fly-half darted through the narrowest of gaps to expose the home defence. Chris Oti tried to spoil the pass to Adedayo Adebayo but the impressive Andy Robinson swooped on the loose ball and Haag and Adebayo put Mike Catt over in the corner.

Rampaging runs by Clarke and Victor Ubogu should have been finished off too, but Clarke did take the score to 19-6 after Hall had robbed Ryan in the line-out. Ryan claimed with some justification that Clarke had grounded the ball short of the line.

It was only then that Wasps roused themselves for a pulsating finish. Their chance for revenge will come on March 12 at the Recreation Ground.


BATH FORM: combative

SCORERS: 10 mins – Callard pen, nil-3; 23 mins – Andrew pen, 3-3; 30 mins – Callard pen, 3-6; 36 mins – Callard pen, 3-9; H-T – 3-9; 42 mins – Catt try, 3-14; 60 mins – Andrew pen, 6-14; 67 mins – Clarke try, 6-19; 79 mins – Childs try, Andrew conv, 13-19.

WASPS: Buzza (rep Skinner, 67 mins); P Hopley, Childs, D Hopley, Oti (rep Dallaglio, 55 mins); Andrew, Bates; Holmes, Dunn, Probyn, Kinsey, Ryan, Greenwood, Wilkins, White.

BATH: Callard; Lumsden, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Ubogu, Dawe, Chilcott, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: Gordon Black (Irish RFU).

CONDITIONS: weather – sunny; pitch – lush.



v Llanelli, Away. Lost 19-27. Team:- Stuart, Lloyd, Webber, Fox, Tupman, Raymond (2c), Sanders, Hilton, Atkins (T), Crompton (T), Haag, McCoy, Adams, Maslen, Peters (T).  Replacements – Long replaced Lloyd. It was a 1st XV debut for Eric Peters.  Ref – K Brackston. Weather – Evening Game – cold.

Bath made a good start, but allowed a 19-5 lead to slip away owing to poor goal kicking and handling by the backs. Pack played well.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

ONLY Bath would even contemplate a trip to Llanelli in the knowledge that their 20 best players were not available.

But even they could not have dreamed that a second team liberally sprinkled with under-21s could lead for all of 80 minutes before being denied a famous victory by two injury-time tries.

It was a hugely encouraging performance from the next generation but among those players the reaction was one of acute disappointment.

None more so than scrum-half Ian Sanders whose clever overhead pass to debutant centre Danny Fox had opened up the home defence for a superb third try by hooker Colin Atkins.

Unfortunately, when Sanders tried the same thing again, his pass was intercepted by Matthew Wintle who sped 50 metres to the posts. Colin Stephens’ conversion left Llanelli just two points adrift with around ten minutes left.

“I felt I’d been playing well up to that point,” said Sanders. “That’s what makes it so disappointing. I should have gone back to the forwards or kicked it, but I suppose you learn by your mistakes. I certainly have.”

There was also a hint of ill fortune about the decisive score by centre Simon Davies, exploiting an overlap caused by the departure of left wing Mike Lloyd with a dislocated thumb. That was in the 80th minute and a second try to Wintle on the final whistle was rather flattering.

Llanelli, captained by ex-Wales skipper Phil Davies and with two other caps in Simon Davies and Phil May, certainly had enough experience and talent to have fashioned a handsome win.

But they reckoned without the spirit and teamwork of the Bath pack, well led by veteran back row Nick Maslen. Two rolling mauls yielded first-half tries for prop Darren Crompton and No 8 Eric Peters and flanker Gareth Adams was devastating throughout.

Llanelli, huffing and puffing to no real effect, had to make do with a try by Colin Stephens and found themselves 19-5 down soon after half-time. Bath should have been out of sight but wing Alex Tupman spurned a clear chance and, just as importantly, fly-half Craig Raymond missed two simple penalties.

Scorers: 23 mins – Crompton try, Raymond conv, nil-7; 34 mins – Stephens try, 5-7; 39 mins – Peters try, 5-12; 53 mins – Atkins

try, Raymond conv, 5-19; 60 mins – Thomas try, 10-19; 69 mins – Wintle try, Stephens conv, 17-19; 80 mins – Simon Davies try, 22-19; 83 mins – Wintle try, 27-19.

Llanelli: Ian W Jones; Thomas, S Davies, Wintle, Evans; Stephens, Harries; Joseph, Young, John, May, P Jones, P Pook, P Davies, G Jones.

Bath: Stuart; Tupman, Fox, Webber, Lloyd (rep Long, 81 mins); Raymond, Sanders; Hilton, Atkins, Crompton, Haag, McCoy, Adams, Maslen, Peters.

Referee: Ken Brackstone (WRU)



v Oxford University, Away. Won 21-8. Team:- Lumsden (T), Lloyd (T), Fox, Webber, Stuart, Catt (1c & 3p), Sanders, Hilton, Beddow, Crompton, Maslen, McCoy, Adams, Crane, Peters.  Replacements     Ref – R Bullock. Weather – Frosty.

A cold evening game in which the forwards, particularly Peters and Adams played well. Lumsden was all over the place.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH coach Jack Rowell is hopping mad over the way representative demands are wrecking the club programme.

Rowell has always been resigned to his top players being required for divisional duties. What he objects to is his reserve team being raided to fill the South West replacements’ bench. “They are bleeding us dry,” he said. “It’s getting to the stage where I don’t know if we will be able to field a side to play Nottingham on Saturday.”

He has a point. Of the side who achieved a comfortable win at Iffley Road last night, fly-half Mike Catt and forwards Darren Crompton and Gareth Adams will be on the bench at Gloucester with two other clubmates, Martin Haag and Marcus Olsen.

So Bath will attempt to pick a side knowing that some two dozen players are not available, either with the South West, resting or injured.

But Crompton, recently named as England Under-21 captain, feels that he and other up-and-coming players have benefited from being handed a “mission impossible” such as the trip to Llanelli last Friday and last night’s fixture against the students.

“It’s done us good to be thrown in at the deep end,” said the burly tighthead. “There is a tremendous spirit and we’ve had to learn quickly,” added Crompton who enjoyed a rare old tussle with the University’s own Bath representative, Chris Clark.

Once Audley Lumsden, an ex-Blue, had opened the scoring with a try converted by Catt and the fly-half had added a penalty on the stroke of half-time, Bath seemed fully in control.

But the students, who had not even ventured into the visitors’ 22 in the first half, were a different side after the break, galvanised by some powerful running in the centre from Ed Rayner.

His break led to a try by left wing Gary Allison and Canadian fly-half Gareth Rees, who turned out for Wasps against Bath in the 1985 John Player Cup final, added a penalty.

However, a timely interception try by left wing Mike Lloyd, his first for the club, quelled the comeback and two more penalties from Catt reasserted Bath’s control.

Scorers: 8 mins – Lumsden try, Catt conv, nil-8; 39 mins – Catt pen, nil-10; 42 mins – Allison try, 5-10; 49 mins – Rees pen, 8-10; 68 mins – Lloyd try, 8-15; 75 mins – Catt pen, 8-18; 82 mins – Catt pen, 8-21.

Oxford University: Joy; Dickinson, Boyle, Rayner, Allison; Rees, du Toit; Clark, Cooper (rep Henderson, 40 mins), Fennell, Daniell, Coveney, Ritchie, Aitken, Martin.

Bath: Lumsden; Stuart, Fox, Webber, Lloyd; Catt, Sanders; Hilton, Beddow, Crompton, McCoy, Crane, Adams, Peters, Maslen.

Referee: Richard Bullock (Leicestershire Soc)



v Nottingham, Home. Won 77-34. Team:- Lumsden (T), Stuart, Fox (T), Webber, Lloyd (Tx2), Raymond, Sanders (T), Hilton, Beddow, Chilcott, Crane (Tx2), McCoy, Peters, Maslen (Capt), Egerton (Tx4).  Replacements – Atkins, Johnson, Matthews  Ref – A Spreadbury. Ground – Perfect. Weather – Fine.

A 16 try romp. Nottingham’s backs more useful than their position would suggest, particularly the full back Gallagher. Outstanding players for Bath were Egerton on his return and Raymond.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

AMID all the concern about the burn-out risk to a world-class performer like Ben Clarke, it is often forgotten that Bath have another pedigree No 8 in their stable.

Ex-international David Egerton could not have given a more dramatic reminder of his value to the champions. He scored four of the 16 tries in this extraordinary game whose points aggregate was 111, a record at the Recreation Ground.

Egerton would walk into most other First Division sides but has politely rejected approaches.

“I’m 31 now and perhaps it’s too late for such an upheaval,” he said. “I enjoy playing at Bath and don’t see why I should switch clubs now.

“It’s exciting to see the new generation of players coming through. I was very impressed with Eric Peters, even though he was playing out of position on the open side.”

But it was Egerton who caught the eye and not just for the scoring ability which has brought him a highly respectable 67 tries in 155 senior appearances.

It is the less spectacular but equally valuable work that has earned the admiration of teammates over the years – deft touches at the back of the scrum, the all-enveloping tackle and the priceless knack of stealing possession when the opposition seem certain to score.

Slick combination with Peters and Mark Crane off the back of a scrum set things in motion and Egerton had two more in the next 20 minutes as Bath cruised into a 29-10 lead in even time.

Yet Nottingham were far from annihilated, finishing with five tries themselves – and no team has managed that at the Rec in recent times. Full-back Matt Gallagher, with a try, a dropped goal and three conversions in only his fifth first-team game, certainly marked himself out as a player of great potential.

But, if Bath’s defensive work was occasionally slip-shod, they held the whip hand up front and were racking up the scores at a point a minute. Left wing Mike Lloyd powered through for two as did lock Mark Crane, if at a more measured pace.

Audley Lumsden, supplying the finesse in the back-line, profited from nicely-judged passes by fly-half Craig Raymond and Andy Webber. The final tries fell to the other young centre, Danny Fox, and scrum-half Ian Sanders.

SCORERS: 6 mins – Egerton try, Raymond conv, 7-nil; 8 mins – Lloyd try, Raymond conv, 14-nil; 13 mins – Royer try, Gallagher conv, 14-7; 16 mins – Raymond pen, 17-7; 21 mins – Gallagher dropped goal, 17-10; 23 mins – Egerton try, Raymond conv, 24-10; 27 mins – Egerton try, 29-10; 30 mins – Gallagher try and conv, 29-17; 33 mins – Raymond pen, 32-17; 35 mins – Lloyd try, Raymond conv, 39-17 (H-T); 42 mins – Crane try, Raymond conv, 46-17; 45 mins – West try, 46-22; 47 mins – Lumsden try. 51-22; 50 mins – Gray try, Gallagher conv, 51-29; 55 mins – Egerton try, Raymond conv, 58-29; 60 mins – Crane try, Raymond conv, 65-29; 63 mins – Fox try, Raymond conv, 72-29; 71 mins – Smallwood try, 72-34; 78 mins – Sanders try, 77-34.

BATH: Lumsden; Stuart, Fox, Webber, Lloyd; Raymond, Sanders; Hilton, Beddow, Chilcott, Crane, McCoy, Peters, Egerton, Maslen.

NOTTINGHAM: Gallagher; Smallwood, Furley, Jones, Byrom; Musto, Royer; Jackson, West, Hallam, Gray, Robinson, Morris, Metcalf, Berry.

REFEREE: Tony Spreadbury (Somerset Soc).



v Loughborough Students, Home. Won 48-8. Team:- Bamsey, Swift, Fox (T), Webber, Stuart (T), Raymond (4c, 4p & 1dg), Sanders (T), Hilton (T), Atkins, Crompton (T), Maslen (Capt), Davis, Adams, Peters, Egerton.  Replacements – Deane, Clayton-Hibbert  Ground – Good. Weather – Cold but dry.

A Scrappy, rather unskilled contest belied by the score. Adams and Peters played well.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BRITISH Lion Andy Reed finally decided against testing out his damaged knee and Wayne Davies came in for his third game for the first XV.

The one bright spot of a listless game was Craig Raymond, 24 year old policeman and Bath stand off who claimed 23 points with four conversions, four penalty goals and a dropped goal. His last season’s tally in 12 games was nine conversions and five penalties.

After a 25 minutes pre-match workout the Students looked impressively fit but they were soon on the defence as Tony Swift playing his first game since going off early against Orrell four weeks ago with a hamstring injury, forced the pace in an attack which ended with a penalty taken successfully by Raymond.

Then Bath’s first try came from Danny Fox played at left centre, and this was converted by Raymond.

Steve Dyer kicked a penalty goal for Loughborough when Bath were penalised for being offside but at the time Raymond had already added a further three points when Loughborough were penalised on the 32nd minute he notched up another penalty.

Bath, however, failed to open up the game and seemed short of options at half back. The fire of last week, in the lineout, was missing and there was none of the backrow cohesion.

Peters and Adams, however, had good spells but generally it was a dour performance largely because of the Students scrum tactics.

Second half scores were Craig Raymond who kicked a penalty after ten minutes and kicked an immaculate dropped goal a few minutes later. Then Rob Stuart scored on the left wing for Bath but there was no conversion.

After some determined mauls Darren Crompton scored and Raymond converted and then Ian Sanders got over for a try which Raymond again converted as he did the try which followed by Dave Hilton.

In the dying moments the Students left centre, M Allen scored wide out the conversion failing.

Despite the glut of points there was little to cheer about on this performance. Gareth Adams needed attention and left the field for a gash on his forehead and Mark Crane replaced him until his return a few moments later.

Bath: J Bamsey, T Swift, A Webber, M Fox, R Stuart, C Raymond, I Sanders, D Hilton, C Atkins, D Crompton, N Maslen (captain), W Davis, E Peters, D Egerton, G, Adams.

Loughborough Students: N Stork, S Dyer, J Bell, M Allen, M Dawson, G Williams, R Stone, G Reynolds (captain) C Claydon, C Senabuyla, S Mellalieu, C Quinnell, D Rouse, P Atkinson, C Davies.

Attendance: 1,500.



v South African Barbarians, Home. Lost 23-34. Team:- Lumsden, Swift (T), Bamsey, Guscott, Lloyd, Raymond (2c & 3p), Hill, Hilton, Beddow, Chilcott (Capt), Haag, Reed, Adams, Clarke (T), Egerton.  Replacements – Sanders, Atkins, Maslen, Stuart, Webber  Ref – Bayliss. Ground – A bit tacky. Weather – Cold and overcast.

A tough and bruising battle, Bath’s scratch team being well beaten by a rough and uncompromising SA side. Van der Linde sent off.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

JEREMY Guscott collected four stitches in an eye wound on his return to first team rugby but flies out to Paris tomorrow with an even stiffer test in prospect.

The Lions centre guests for the French Barbarians against the Australians on Thursday, intending to prove beyond all doubt to the England management that he is ready to face New Zealand at the end of the month.

Restricted to just two senior appearances this season because of a groin injury, Guscott almost came through unscathed against the South African tourists, the first side to win at the Rec since April.

But in a vain attempt to prevent a 51st minute score by opposite number Christiaan Scholtz, a trailing boot caught him in the face, forcing him off the field for four minutes for running repairs.

“Just a few stitches,” he said. “Nothing serious really – and the other injury has cleared up well.”

Another wounded Lion making a reappearance was lock Andy Reed but perhaps too late to persuade the Scottish selectors his knee problems have cleared up in time for him to be included against the All Blacks on Saturday week.

It was no gentle reintroduction either. The South Africans completed their eight-match tour with a 100 per cent record but their abrasive approach inevitably resulted in the dismissal of prop `Toks’ van der Linde in the 74th minute.

He had apparently stamped on Dave Hilton’s head, but the most persistent offender was flanker Andrew Blakeway who was severely cautioned for splitting Martin Haag’s face with a punch. Even wing Tony Swift sported a rare black eye afterwards.

Although Ben Clarke filled in at short notice for tonsillitis victim Eric Peters, a makeshift Bath side found the tourists too much of a handful. Their strong-running backs created an early try for Pieter Hendricks, capped this year by South Africa, and the other wing Francois Naude jinked over on the half hour.

Craig Raymond kept the home side in touch with three penalties but skipper Rudolf Straueli wheeled through some weak tackling for the third try and Scholtz’s effort put the result beyond doubt.

Swift cut through expertly from the tapped penalty following van der Linde’s dismissal and Clarke rolled off a maul for the second try only for Gavin Lawless’s injury time penalty to end matters on a more upbeat note for the tourists.

Scorers: 8 mins – Hendriks try, Jannie de Beer conv, nil-7; 11 mins – Raymond pen, 3-7; 20 mins – de Beer pen, 3-10; 26 mins – Raymond pen, 6-10; 30 mins – Naude try, de Beer conv, 6-17; 37 mins – Raymond pen, 9-17 (H-T); 44 mins – Straueli try, de Beer conv, 9-24; 51 mins – Scholtz try, de Beer conv, 9-31; 74 mins – Swift try, Raymond conv, 16-31; 78 mins – Clarke try, Raymond conv, 23-31; 82 mins – Gavin Lawless pen, 23-34.

Bath: Lumsden; Swift, Bamsey, Guscott, Lloyd; Raymond, Hill; Hilton, Beddow, Chilcott, Haag, Reed, Adams, Egerton, Clarke.

South African Barbarians: Lawless; Naude, Scholtz, Mulder, Hendriks; de Beer (rep Muir, 65 mins), Roux; van der Linde, Roberts, Garvey, Opperman, Schutte, Straueli, Lotter, Blakeway.

Referee: Matt Bayliss (Gloucester).



v Combined Services, Home. Lost 3-20. Team:- Stuart, Sparkes, Fox, Webber, Lloyd, Bamsey (1p), Sanders, Hilton, Beddow, Crompton, McCoy, Reed, Adams, Maslen (Capt), Peters.  Replacements – Johnson, Haag  Ref – K Beaumont. Ground – Slippery. Weather – Wettish.

A really dire display by Bath in which a Combined Services team ran rings round everyone. Bath’s experienced pack were particularly disappointing.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

THREE Bristol players enjoyed the rare treat of victory at the Recreation Ground as Bath surrendered to the servicemen.

Wing Stuart Crossland scored the conclusive try and back row men Chris Moore and Rob Armstrong did as much as anyone to nullify the home pack.

Armstrong, the muscular Royal Marine, proved the main obstacle as Bath tried in vain to batter beyond the gain line.

“They played into our hands,” he said. “Tackling is my sort of game. At least it gave us plenty of practice for our game with the All Blacks next month.”

Many of the same Bath players had performed heroically at Llanelli recently but this time the performance was woeful and stand-in fly-half Jon Bamsey was off-target with all but one of his five kicks.

Armstrong and fellow flanker Steve Berryman made the initial thrust for the opening try, finished off by centre Dave Sibson and converted by fly-half Ashley Johnson.

Burly left wing Mike Lloyd was Bath’s most potent weapon and it was one of his bullocking runs that led to Bamsey’s sole success, but Johnson replied almost immediately to leave the score 10-3 at half-time.

Although the servicemen conceded a string of penalties themselves, Bamsey failed to convert those opportunities and appeared unhappy in the position where he once earned an England Colts cap.

Lacking penetration both up front and behind the scrum, Bath looked vulnerable in defence too. Crossland’s try came five minutes into the second half after Berryman broke a tackle in midfield.

It was only when Johnson made it 20-3 with another penalty that the home side began to show any urgency. Even then a succession of tapped penalties foundered on determined tackling with Armstrong, as ever, holding the line.

Scorers: 14 mins – Sibson try, Johnson conv, nil-7; 22 mins – Bamsey pen, 3-7; 27 mins – Johnson pen, 3-10 (H-T); 45 mins – Crossland try, Johnson conv, 3-17; 49 mins – Johnson pen, 3-20.

Bath: Stuart (rep Haig, 62 mins); Sparkes, Fox, Webber, Lloyd; Bamsey, Sanders (rep S Johnson, 21 mins); Hilton, Beddow, Crompton, McCoy, Reed, Adams, Peters, Maslen.

Combined Services: Lazenby; Bartliff, Sibson, Sharp, Crossland; Johnson, Worrall; Coughlan, Clay, Robson, Dahinton, Watson, Armstrong, Moore, Berryman.

Referee: Keith Beaumont (Devon)



v Newcastle Gosforth, Home. Won 46-3. Team:- Callard (2c & 5p), Swift, Catt, Bamsey (T), Lumsden (T), Barnes, Hill (T), Chilcott (1c), Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Ojomoh, Clarke (T), Hall.  Replacements – Hilton, Egerton, Sanders  Ref – J Burtenshaw. Ground – Muddy and Slippery. Weather – WET!!

Bath coped very well in atrocious conditions and in fine weather would have put on many more points. This game was Chilcott’s last appearance on the Rec.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

A GARETH Chilcott conversion on his farewell appearance at the Rec provided a moment of light relief as Bath resumed the serious business of winning the league again.

The folk-hero forward, who celebrates his 37th birthday at Leicester on Saturday, plays his last game at Harlequins the week after.

Yet if the champions are still unbeaten when he hangs up his boots, then the title race could be virtually over before they have to replace him.

Quins’ surprise win at Leicester has opened up a four-point gap and brought an even bigger smile to the face of Bath skipper John Hall. “That’s good news. It takes a little bit of the pressure off us,” he said.

Hall has played every weekend since the start of the season and admitted he had found it difficult to raise himself for this game. “I did feel a bit jaded to be honest. It will be quality rather than quantity in training this week though and the batteries will be recharged for Leicester.”

Newcastle-Gosforth were never likely to threaten Bath’s 100 per cent record although North lock John Fowler posed problems in the line-out.

More disruptive was the incessant rain which made the handling so difficult that even as accomplished a player as Victor Ubogu spilled the ball three times.

But, after a penalty apiece to Jon Callard and Tom Willcox, the Bath pack surged through from Nigel Redman’s line-out take to earn a try for Ben Clarke. There should have been another score from a five-metre scrum but, inexplicably, Chilcott was penalised for lowering as their opponents slithered backwards.

The Geordies’ scrum was on the retreat for most of the game but they tackled ruggedly and scrapped for every bit of possession in the loose and consequently were not too fussy about giving away penalties.

Callard landed three more kicks before half-time in addition to the conversion of Clarke’s score. Immediately after the restart, Richard Hill dived into the creaking Gosforth scrum for another try, converted by Callard who ended with a tidy 19 points.

Once the Bath forwards had got into their stride – Steve Ojomoh had an impressive game on his seasonal debut – it became a very one-sided affair.

But, with Jeremy Guscott again absent with his groin trouble and Phil de Glanville still not available, Bath lacked their customary poise in midfield.

Kicking therefore proved more productive than passing and after Callard’s fifth penalty had made it 29-3 a Stuart Barnes up-and-under produced a try for Jon Bamsey, converted memorably by Chilcott. It is the only successful place-kick of his career but, as Hall pointed out, he is now the only 100 per cent kicker in the First Division!

On the hour, Bath clicked impressively. Hooker Graham Dawe was the one to profit after a succession of rucks and some fine handling by Martin Haag in particular. The final score went to left wing Audley Lumsden on the blindside after the visitors had been shunted off their own heel.


BATH FORM: confident

SCORERS: 9 mins – Callard pen, 3-nil; 15 mins – Willcox pen, 3-3; 19 mins – Clarke try, Callard conv, 10-3; 28 mins – Callard pen, 13-3; 37 mins – Callard pen, 16-3; 41 mins – Callard pen, 19-3 (H-T); 42 mins – Hill try, Callard conv, 26-3; 54 mins – Callard pen, 29-3; 57 mins – Bamsey try, Chilcott conv, 36-3; 60 mins – Dawe try, 41-3; 76 mins – Lumsden try, 46-3.

BATH: Callard; Swift, Catt, Bamsey, Lumsden; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Ojomoh, Clarke, Hall.

NEWCASTLE-GOSFORTH: Bennett; White, Beattie, Merritt, Penn; Willcox, Douglas; Fraser, Frankland, Vanzandvliet, Fowler, Archer, Chick (rep Clarkson, 27 mins), Arnold, Nicholson.

REFEREE: John Burtenshaw (London).

CONDITIONS: weather – rain; pitch – muddy.



v Leicester, Away. Lost 6-9. Team:- Lumsden, Swift, Catt, de Glanville, Lloyd, Barnes (2p), Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Haag, Robinson, Hall, Egerton.  Replacements – Sanders, Atkins  Ref – J Pearson. Ground – A bit sticky. Weather – Cold.

Bath should have got this sewn up in the first half, but failed to take their chances. Leicester changed their game plan in the second half and narrowly deserved their win.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

STUART Barnes is 31 today but as far as the rugby goes there’s not a lot to celebrate.

Not only has he lost his England place to Rob Andrew but Leicester have taken Bath’s 100 per cent Courage League record with an 80th-minute penalty for which Barnes was held responsible.

Elation at charging down a Jez Harris dropped-goal attempt turned to despair when referee Jim Pearson whistled the fly-half up for offside and John Liley kicked the penalty.

Improbably, the Bath maestro was given an injury-time chance to level the scores from 45 metres but the ball dipped under the bar. It was the last kick of the game.

“I really thought that one was going over,” said Barnes after a trip to the treatment room to have 12 stitches behind his ear. “But it’s not been a very good week for me. Things often seem to go wrong around my birthday – even the electrics on my car froze this morning so my wife couldn’t get my present.

“But things are more often good than bad at Bath. We’ve just got to be man about it and come back even stronger. Good luck to Leicester but they’ve got to come to us yet and with our points difference I reckon we’ve effectively got a three-point lead on the rest.”

By his own admission, Barnes did not have the best of games and a succession of missed touches allowed Leicester to raise a fair old head of steam in the last quarter.

Yet Bath won enough possession in the first half to have put the issue beyond doubt. Fatally, they seemed unable to find the higher gear that accelerates them into a different class at home on the Rec.

For all the dominance of the tight forwards in scrum and line-out – Nigel Redman was again outstanding – they missed the extra cutting edge of Ben Clarke in the loose. On a couple of occasions Victor Ubogu barrelled right through Neil Back in midfield but the Tigers’ defence regrouped in time.

It was scrappy stuff and in old adversaries Dean Richards and David Egerton each side had a man adept at denying opponents possession. When the ball did emerge it was so slow that the backs were confronted by a line of defenders.

Injuries had forced a wholesale reshuffle of the Bath back line although Phil de Glanville’s return was a bonus. A half-fit Audley Lumsden shifted to fullback, giving Mike Lloyd a league debut on the left wing where he did give a glimpse of his running power.

In time Bath will use him more effectively but on Saturday the main tactic seemed to be Richard Hill’s box-kicks which, apart from forcing Barnes’s first penalty goal, met with varied success.

The longer the game went on without the champions achieving a significant breakthrough, the more likely it was that they would eventually find themselves on the defensive.

So it proved after they led by a mere 6-3 at half-time. Missed touches by Barnes and Gareth Chilcott, of all people, yielded a scrum in the Bath 22 from which Jez Harris dropped a goal to make it 6-6.

Roared on by almost all the 14,000 capacity crowd, Leicester built up the pressure inexorably by employing that devil-child of the lawmakers, the driving maul. With someone like Dean Richards controlling the beast, it cannot be stopped legally and Bath began to look uncharacteristically desperate.

They dropped one maul after 70 minutes but Liley skewed an angled penalty chance. When Leicester set up a similar position ten minutes later, it was the backs who were penalised and Liley could not miss from in front of the posts.


BATH FORM: unambitious

SCORERS: 3 mins – Liley pen, 3-nil; 7 mins – Barnes pen, 3-3; 25 mins – Barnes pen, 3-6; 59 mins – Harris dropped goal, 6-6; 80 mins – Liley pen, 9-6.

LEICESTER: Liley; Hackney, Potter, R Underwood, T Underwood; Harris, Kardooni; Rowntree, Cockerill, Garforth, Johnson, Poole, Wells, Richards, Back.

BATH: Lumsden; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Egerton, Hall.

REFEREE: Jim Pearson (Durham).

CONDITIONS: weather – dull, cold; pitch – good.



v London Scottish, Home. Won 35-8. Team:- Long, Sparkes (Tx2), Stuart, Fox, Lloyd, Catt (T, 2c & 2p), Sanders (Tx2), Crompton, Atkins, Mallett, Haag, Reed, Adams, Maslen (Capt), Egerton.  Replacements – Johnson replaced Fox (60 mins), Beddow, Hilton.   Ref – D Sainsbury. Ground – Good. Weather – Cold & Foggy

A sparse crowd on this foggy night (at one point you couldn’t see the far touchline at all) saw what was virtually a United/Spartans team beat a rather lacklustre Exiles team, whose backs occasionally flattered to deceive.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

It was just Martin Sparkes’ luck that fog blanketed the Recreation Ground on the night that he scored a rare brace of tries.

First team opportunities have been few and far between over the years so it was ironic that the 30-year-old wing’s first score went unnoticed by most of the crowd.

“Even those who could see through the fog didn’t seem to realise that I’d got the ball down in the tackle,” he said. “Fortunately there wasn’t any doubt about the second when I went over by the posts.”

Both tries were created by Mike Catt, a very late stand-in at fly-half and turning in a commendably energetic performance considering he had been playing against the All Blacks just 72 hours earlier.

“It’s a privilege playing with someone like Mike,” said Sparkes. “He makes space for those around him and delivers a hard, flat pass.”

With coach Jack Rowell casting a critical eye over proceedings, a largely second-string Bath side showed little of the slapdash lethargy that blighted their defeat by Combined Services recently.

Catt kicked two early penalties while Scottish, with Lions tourists Damian Cronin and Paul Burnell leading the forward effort, conjured a try for centre Ronnie Eriksson. As half-time approached scrum-half Ian Sanders finished off a forward drive to give Bath a six-point interval lead.

As Andy Reed began to win some ball against his international teammates in the middle of the line-out, the home side established control up front.

Sparkes crossed for his first try six minutes into the second half and Catt’s conversion kick somehow found its target through the fog. The Exiles’ defence grew more desperate and Bath wasted a number of chances before Sparkes burst through for his second.

With another successful conversion, the score rose to 25-5 and although Steve Wichary replied with a penalty, the lively Sanders cashed in when his forwards drove a maul through the Scottish pack.

SCORERS: 4 mins – Catt pen, 3-nil; 5 mins – Eriksson try, 3-5; 13 mins – Catt pen, 6-5; 37 mins – Sanders try, 11-5 (H-T); 46 mins – Sparkes try, Catt conv, 18-5; 59 mins – Sparkes try, Catt conv, 25-5; 64 mins – Catt try, 30-5; 66 mins – Wichary pen, 30-8; 69 mins – Sanders try, 35-8

BATH: Long; Sparkes, Stuart, Fox (rep Johnson, 66 mins), Lloyd; Catt, Sanders; Crompton, Atkins, Mallett, Haag, Reed, Adams, Egerton, Maslen.

LONDON SCOTTISH: Appleson; Wichary, Harrold, Eriksson, Dingwall; Walker, Troop; Burnell, Mair, Hillicks, Mackay, Cronin, Brown, Leckie (rep Robinson, 45 mins), Gray (rep Johnson, 32 mins).

REFEREE: David Sainsbury (London Soc)



v Harlequins, Away. Won 14-12. Team:- Lumsden, Stuart, Catt (1p), de Glanville, Lloyd, Barnes (2p), Hill, Chilcott, Dawe, Mallett, Haag, Redman, Robinson (T), Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Sanders  Ref – S Piercey. Ground – Good. Weather – Cold & Blowy

Coochie’s last ever game. A tight game which could have gone either way and in some ways we were lucky to win, owing to some very wayward goal kicking. Bath not helped by lacking a number of first team players, including late withdrawal of Callard.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

HOW appropriate that Gareth Chilcott’s farewell performance should offer a timely reminder that that scrummaging still wins matches.

The only try of this Courage League One match came after seven minutes when the back row wheeled off a scrum to earn a touchdown for Andy Robinson.

The score was unconverted but Chilcott and Co never let up the pressure on the Quins eight, a fact the veteran prop emphasised with some satisfaction before going off “to burn my boots.”

“At Bath we have never regarded the scrum as just a way of restarting the game,” he said. “It’s an attacking ploy which disrupts opponents and saps their strength.

“Quins had four put-ins on our line and went back a couple of yards each time. At the end you could look in their eyes and see that they’d had enough,” he grinned.

All this was achieved without England hero Victor Ubogu, nursing an elbow injury, but John Mallett, one of the Emerging Players’ successes against the All Blacks recently, was a more than capable deputy on the tighthead.

If anything, the line-out work was even more impressive considering Quins had twice as many throw-ins and won less than 40 per cent of them. But they could point to the absence of key forwards in Alex Snow and Richard Langhorn as well as Will Carling.

If Bath had a problem it was in the threequarters where Tony Swift’s late withdrawal with hamstring trouble meant a league debut for 21-year-old student Robbie Stuart. Then England fullback Jon Callard decided in the dressing room that he had not recovered sufficiently from a virus so Audley Lumsden took over.

Mike Lloyd almost muscled his way over a couple of times but, with a makeshift back line and facing a defence as well organised as their own, it was always likely the issue would be decided by the packs and the kickers.

Two close-range penalties by full-back Kent Bray actually put the Londoners in front after 16 minutes but Stuart Barnes chipped over a similarly straightforward chance to give his side an 8-6 interval lead.

Barnes had been in the wars, taking a bang on his left knee in tackling 17-stone back row Mark Russell and then aggravated the injury, falling awkwardly in Brian Moore’s tackle.

But the little man is nothing if not gutsy and he proceeded to give a superlative display of tactical and defensive kicking so that Quins were repulsed whenever they threatened to gain a toe-hold.

After adding a second penalty from out on the left touch-line, he saw Bray again cut the deficit to two points but it was left to Mike Catt to land the third while Barnes was again receiving treatment.

Bray’s fourth successful kick came too late to give Quins a realistic chance of breaking the Bath hoodoo that has dogged them since leagues began in 1987.


BATH FORM: controlled

SCORERS: 7 mins – Robinson try, nil-5; 12 mins – Bray pen, 3-5; 16 mins – Bray pen, 6-5; 32 mins – Barnes pen, 6-8 (H-T); 47 mins – Barnes pen, 6-11; 57 mins – Bray pen, 9-11; 62 mins – Catt pen, 9-14; 78 mins – Bray pen, 12-14.

HARLEQUINS: Bray; O’Leary, Keyter, Thompson, Alexander; Challinor, Glenister; Hobley, Moore, Mullins, Coker, Dear, Russell, Sheasby, Pepper (rep D Thresher, 30 mins).

BATH: Lumsden; Stuart, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd; Barnes, Hill; Chilcott, Dawe, Mallett, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: Stuart Piercy (Yorkshire).

CONDITIONS: weather – fine; pitch – good.



v London Irish, Home. Won 28-8. Team:- Callard (2p), Lumsden, Bamsey, de Glanville (T), Lloyd (T), Catt (T), Sanders, Crompton, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Adams, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Hill replaced Bamsey & scored a try, Atkins, Egerton Ref – S Landers. Ground – Good. Weather – Cold & blustery

This was the day we branded the Teacher’s stand. An in-and-out game, not helped by a lot of niggles and some odd refereeing. Never really got up to full speed and stayed there. We should have won by miles.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH’S most capped player, Richard Hill, believes Ian Sanders has what it takes to succeed him as the champions’ scrum-half.

Hill, who retires at the end of the season, took a break on the replacements’ bench to see how the young Cornishman shaped up on his home league debut.

Eager to see his protege do well but not intending to give up that No 9 shirt just yet, Hill admitted to watching with mixed feelings.

“I said to him in the dressing room `Have a good game but don’t go scoring four or five tries!’. That wouldn’t have been so good for me,” he laughed.

“It wasn’t the ideal game because there wasn’t a lot of good ruck ball and we were pretty static at times, but he did well.”

Although lacking Hill’s experience, Sanders is far more of a threat around the fringes, making the kind of darting breaks that his mentor made in his younger days. And he compared very favourably with his opposite number, 11 times-capped Rob Saunders.

Hill actually had the opportunity of a closer look in the last quarter, coming on in the centre for Jon Bamsey, and accepting a long pass from Sanders to score the final try in injury time.

It was by no means a vintage Bath performance but as an opportunity to blood the new generation of players such as Sanders, Darren Crompton and Gareth Adams, it represented a valuable investment.

With Stuart Barnes’s bruised knee forcing him to join the lengthening casualty list and others granted a well-earned rest, the league leaders began the game with less than half their first-choice line-up.

Adams scavenged so effectively however, that Ben Clarke was able to roam increasingly freely. An early surge from a tapped free kick by the Lions back row star led to Mike Catt nipping over for the opening try, converted by Jon Callard.

And Clarke launched the most spectacular move of the game some ten minutes later from a 22 drop-out. He took off with skipper John Hall and Victor Ubogu in support but the backs failed to finish it off and were forced into touch near the flag.

No matter, a leaping Pat McCoy stole the Irish line-out throw and, after a driving maul sucked in the defence, Sanders’ long pass allowed Bamsey and Audley Lumsden to release Mike Lloyd for a try on the left.

The only remaining scores of an occasionally niggly first half were penalties apiece for Mike Corcoran and Callard but at 15-3 Bath seemed well placed to step up a gear after the interval.

That was easier said than done although Lloyd, fast becoming the terrace supporters’ favourite, earned the loudest cheers for his strong running, so reminiscent of the fondly remembered Jim Fallon.

They had to wait until the 57th minute for the next try. Clarke swooped on a poor line-out tap to get behind the Irish defence and Phil de Glanville eventually finished off in the left corner, courtesy of an intelligent pass by Sanders.

So many sides just accept what’s coming to them at the Rec but the Irish responded spiritedly, answering a second Callard penalty with a try by skipper Paul Collins. Hill’s late try at least ensured Bath had the last word.


BATH FORM: disjointed

SCORERS: 6 mins – Catt try, Callard conv, 7-nil; 19 mins – Lloyd try, 12-nil; 28 mins – Corcoran pen, 12-3; 33 mins – Callard pen, 15-3 (H-T); 57 mins – de Glanville try, 20-3; 63 mins – Callard pen, 23-3; 65 mins – Collins try, 23-8; 84 mins – Hill try, 28-8.

BATH: Callard; Lumsden, Bamsey (rep Hill, 61 mins), de Glanville, Lloyd; Catt, Sanders; Crompton, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Adams, Clarke, Hall.

LONDON IRISH: Hennessey; Corcoran, Geoghegan, Burns, Staples; Cobbe, Saunders; Donovan, Kellam, Halpin, Higgins, Domoni, Collins, Lambe (rep Verling, 43 mins), Jenkins.

REFEREE: Steve Lander (Lancashire Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – blustery, cold; pitch – soft.



v Wasps, Home. Won 24-11. Team:- Callard (3c), Lumsden (T), de Glanville, Catt (T), Lloyd, Barnes (1dg), Sanders (T), Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Atkins, Crompton, Hill  Ref – B Campsall. Ground – Sticky & wet. Weather – Awful!

A fast and furious cup tie – Wasps were never in it and Bath mastered the conditions far better. On to the fifth round!

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH’S unrivalled cup tradition is such that they happily blooded five players into the crackling atmosphere of this fourth round tie and it was hardly noticed.

It’s ten seasons since the first of seven Twickenham triumphs. Players and sponsors may come and go but Bath’s passionate attachment to knock-out rugby endures.

John Hall, now skipper, is currently the only survivor from that first cup final win over Bristol but he was not in the least surprised at how easily players like try-scorer Ian Sanders slipped into the cup routine.

“I’ve been reading all these things about Bath being under pressure, with so many players out,” he said. “It’s rather foolhardy to dismiss us like that, especially here where we are so difficult to beat.

“We’re a good cup side; we’ve proved that over the last ten years and we are looking to put our name on it again.

“Even if some of the players have not experienced anything like this before, they have played in league matches and it’s all credit to the coaching staff and the players themselves that they can slot in so that it causes very little disruption.”

Wasps came a cropper at the Rec ten years ago at the quarter-final stage. For all the brave noises from that direction and doubts about Bath’s ability to maintain a cup challenge on top of their league superiority, this victory was utterly conclusive.

Touted as a match-winner, Lions fly-half Rob Andrew had a stinker. He did kick a second minute penalty after being late-tackled by England colleague Victor Ubogu and dropped a goal but the rest of his game gradually fell apart before he had to be helped off following a collision.

Bath were never headed once the excellent Mike Catt had squeezed in at the corner after his forwards had capitalised on a line-out drive to set up a ruck under the posts. Quick passing did the rest.

In the 22nd minute, Ben Clarke charged on to a quick free-kick tap from Sanders and although the big No 8 was held on the line, the scrum-half nipped through a gap carelessly left by the Wasps back row. Callard made his second conversion but both he and Andrew missed penalties before the interval and it took a fine tackle by Wasps skipper Dean Ryan to deny Catt a second try.

Bath then edged into a 17-6 lead in the first minute of the second half with a Barnes dropped goal which owed as much to Graham Dawe’s alertness in getting out of the way as to the fly-half’s kicking skills.

Wasps’ pedigree as one of English rugby’s premier sides cannot be argued but they have no-one like Clarke or Ubogu, able to make those all-important dents in the opposition’s armour.

And it was Ubogu whose surge led to the third try, marvellously crafted by Barnes and Catt, who glided into space to send Audley Lumsden over. It was a remarkable score considering the conditions.

Huw Davies skipped away for a consolation try five minutes from time but Bath were never in danger of being caught. In this mood there are not many sides who will be able to interrupt their smooth progress to Twickenham for the eighth time in ten years.


BATH FORM: dominant

SCORERS: 2 mins – Andrew pen, nil-3; 12 mins – Catt try, Callard conv, 7-3; 16 mins – Andrew dropped goal, 7-6; 22 mins – Sanders try, Callard conv, 14-6 (H-T); 41 mins – Barnes dropped goal, 17-6; 70 mins – Lumsden try, Callard conv, 24-6; 75 mins – Davies try, 24-11.

BATH: Callard; Lumsden, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd; Barnes, Sanders; Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

WASPS: P Hopley; Wedderburn, Childs, Davies, Hunter; Andrew (rep Wright, 64 mins), Bates; Holmes, Dunn, Probyn, Kinsey, Shortland, Greenwood, Ryan, Wilkins.

REFEREE: Brian Campsall (Yorkshire).

CONDITIONS: weather – blustery, raining; pitch – heavy.



v Toulouse, Home. Lost 9-24. Team:- Lumsden, Woodman, Rayner, Long (2p), Lloyd, Webber (1p), Hill (Capt), Hilton, Atkins, Crompton, Yandell, McCoy, Ojomoh, Maslen, Peters.  Replacements –    Ref – Ashley Reay. Ground – Boggy. Weather – Cold & blowy.

After a bright start, the almost third string Bath team, a lot of youngsters, found it difficult to cope with the more organised and stronger Frenchmen.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH fielded far too weak a side to trouble Toulouse but may send the stars to France next September to show who is really boss.

Pressure of domestic competition has made it increasingly difficult

for England’s champion club to maintain contacts with continental and overseas opposition even though Jack Rowell has always seen it as an essential part of his players’ education.

But the first Saturday of next season may be the ideal opportunity for several days’ high-quality training and a rematch with a side who embody the true spirit of French rugby. Discussions are under way.

There were barely 2,000 at the Recreation Ground for the clubs’ fifth meeting in seven seasons yet they were privileged to witness a virtuoso performance by centre Christophe Deylaud.

If the French selectors can so easily discard such a player after three caps against Argentina and South Africa last year, their reserves of talent must be boundless.

An eccentric goalkicking style brought him two penalty goals but it was his perfectly-balanced running and handling on a sticky and unforgiving pitch that marked him out from the rest.

The teams were level at 6-6 when Deylaud combined sweetly with fullback Hugo Mola just after half-time to send fellow centre Olivier Carbonneau in for a try at the right corner.

Four minutes later he grabbed a second after fullback Audley Lumsden, entering a little too rashly into the spirit of the occasion, had a pass intercepted by Deylaud on the Bath 22.

As Toulouse embarked on a string of substitutions their close-passing game which had proved so effective in the first hour faded away and the game became disappointingly scrappy. Flanker Steve Ojomoh repeatedly battered into the midfield defences but all Bath had to show for their efforts was another Long penalty.

Richard Hill, captaining the side from scrum-half, probed and chivvied but there was little wrong with the Frenchmen’s defensive technique against a makeshift Bath backline in which Oxford University centre Ed Rayner guested.

The Carbonneau family monopoly on try-scoring continued with a late try for brother Philippe at scrum-half as his strong-scrummaging forwards shunted the Bath eight over the line.

SCORERS: 2 mins – Andy Webber pen, 3-nil; 16 mins – Deylaud pen, 3-3; 23 mins – Long pen, 6-3; 38 mins – Deylaud pen, 6-6 (H-T); 44 mins – Olivier Carbonneau try, 6-11; 48 mins – Olivier Carbonneau try, 6-16; 58 mins – Long pen, 9-16; 72 mins – Philippe Carbonneau try, Mola conv, 9-23.

BATH: Lumsden; Lloyd, Long, Rayner, Woodman; Webber, Hill; Hilton, Atkins, Crompton, Yandell, McCoy, Ojomoh, Peters, Maslen.

TOULOUSE: Mola; Legrand, Deylaud (rep Barre, 72 mins), O Carbonneau (rep Darricarrere, 55 mins), Woodman; Castaignede, P Carbonneau; Diniz (rep Pueyo, 51 mins), Lasserre (rep Guiter, 40 mins), Califano, Miorin, Cadieu (rep Foltrand, 40 mins), Cester, Cigagna, Sonnes (rep Lacroix, 64 mins).

REFEREE: Ashley Reay (Somerset).



v Cardiff, Home. Won 24-20. Team:- Long, Woodman (Tx2), Webber, Rayner, Lloyd, Catt (2c), Hill (Capt), Hilton, Atkins, Crompton (T), Haag, Yandell, Adams, Maslen, Peters.  Replacements – Matthews replaced Yandell, Sanders, Yates  Ref – A Savage. Ground – Appalling. Weather – Wet & windy

May well be the best game we will see on the Rec this year. Great spirit from both teams and much skill despite really revolting conditions. Roll on the Anglo-Welsh!

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

THIS mudlark proved you do not need perfect conditions and two star-studded teams to guarantee an entertaining rugby match.

With virtually all the big names absent for one reason or another and the Recreation Ground pitch glistening with liquid mud, the prospects were not too promising.

But, as Bath coach Jack Rowell pointed out: “There is something magical about the Bath-Cardiff fixture.

“I had my doubts when I saw the weather in the morning but the quality of rugby was extraordinary and Cardiff could well have snatched it at the end.”

By that stage, however, both sets of forwards were unrecognisable even after the home side had donned a fresh set of jerseys at half-time.

Bath were indebted to fly-half Mike Catt who turned up at short notice demanding to play and was slotted in when Adedayo Adebayo’s train was late. Catt’s defensive display in the last quarter was of the highest order, as much for his tackling as his kicking.

After Bristol University student Chris John opened the scoring with a penalty, Bath racked up 19 points in 13 minutes to take control.

First try went to right wing Mark Woodman, a man who has made quite an impact since his arrival from Devon junior club Crediton. And prop Dave Hilton slithered over for the next score after Eric Peters’ pick-up and drive had been taken on by Martin Haag.

Catt’s perfect kick to the corner flag set up another for tighthead Darren Crompton, who burrowed over after Haag had made a two-handed catch at the line-out. The fly-half finished off what he had started by improbably heaving the conversion kick out of the mud near the touchline and between the posts.

Skipper Andy Moore went over at periscope level for the Welshmen in first-half injury time for a try converted by John who then added a penalty immediately after the interval.

And even though centre Ed Rayner swooped on a loose ball to extend Bath’s lead to 24-13, wing Steven John dived over in the left corner and Chris John converted to keep Cardiff in touch.

The appalling conditions might have rendered the last ten minutes absolutely farcical had it not been for the remarkable skill and endeavour of both teams.


SCORERS: 3 mins – Chris John pen, nil-3; 11 mins – Woodman try, 5-3; 16 mins – Hilton try, Catt conv, 12-3; 24 mins – Crompton try, Catt conv, 19-3; 43 mins – Moore try, Chris John conv, 19-10 (H-T); 45 mins – Chris John pen, 19-13; 48 mins – Rayner try, 24-13; 64 mins – Steven John try, Chris John conv, 24-20.

BATH: Long; Woodman, Webber, Rayner, Lloyd; Catt, Hill; Hilton, Atkins, Crompton, Haag, Yandell (rep Matthews, 54 mins), Adams, Peters, Maslen.

CARDIFF: Davies; Hurford, Price, Laity, S John; C John, Moore; Lewis (rep Johnson, 36 mins), Bevan, Matthews, Wakeford, Roy, Mills, Agar, Bennett.

REFEREE: Arthur Savage (Telford).

CONDITIONS: weather – rain; pitch – very heavy.



v Bristol, Home. Won 9-0. Team:- Callard (3p), Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd, Barnes, Sanders, Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.

Replacements – Hill, Hilton, Atkins  Ref – D Leslie. Ground – Sticky & muddy. Weather – Cloudy

This was the ‘on-off’ game that the RFU insisted Bath play, despite the pitch, or forfeit two points. It was a dour struggle, played on a glue-pot of a pitch. Bath showed more flair, Bristol forwards acted better in the going. A close run thing.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

The Recreation Ground remains unbreached, but Bristol will return there in 12 days time convinced that cracks are beginning to appear in the ramparts of Fortress Bath.

Thanks to a massive performance from their tight forwards, who really could not have done any more to force a watershed victory in the first part of this epic New Year double-header, the visitors drove back down the A4 with their self belief in tact.

Cynics might say that Bath will not be caught cold a second time when Pilkington Cup day arrives, that given a dry surface their diamond edged midfield will run the visitors ragged.

They might also express the view that if Bristol cannot win with the amount of ball they hoovered up on Saturday, they never will.

Bristol, though, will look at things more optimistically. If they can get an extra 20 per cent from their backs and, crucially kick their goals, there is still a chance of glory.

“Perhaps we were too predictable outside and took a couple of wrong options,” admitted skipper Derek Eves. “Too often, our final pass let us down as well. “But we beat them up front – Alan Sharp’s scrummaging was magnificent – and I would say that they are more worried about us now than we are about them.”

Heavy underfoot conditions ensured that the game never touched any great heights, although Bristol’s insistence that the surface was eminently playable was borne out by events. There were, however, some passages of real excitement.

Bath’s withering pace and adventure in midfield lit up a dank afternoon; Mike Catt’s contribution in attack was of the highest calibre and only some tremendous last ditch tackling by Bristol’s back three kept the ship afloat.

But the real tension came in the final quarter. Bath’s front five had been creaking throughout and now, under a sustained onslaught at the set piece, they fell apart.

Time and again Sharp, David Hinkins and the wonderfully athletic Simon Shaw battered their way up field to allow Eves the sort of space he thrives on.

At times, it seemed that Ben Clarke was playing Bristol on his own. Largely neutralised as an attacking threat, he still made a huge impact by strangling Bristol’s backline moves at birth. He really is some player.

Nevertheless, there were chances. Eves might have scored from a surging, churning maul with a little more self control while Alastair Saverimutto was twice thumped down inches from the line by the superb Catt.

It was a sweet combination of Clarke’s ball-winning and Catt’s dynamism that set up the last decisive Bath score a third confident pressure penalty from Jon Callard that finally put the champions a score plus in front.

Bristol had already felt hard done by on 17 minutes when Ralph Knibbs was harshly penalised for hanging on to the ball a split second too long at a ruck.

Although Callard added a second goal just after the break, there was still a way back for the visitors. But after Catt’s raid down the right, Mark Tainton was astonished to be pulled up for an unlikely stamp on his own goal line. The three points were a formality.

Tainton did not enjoy the happiest of days, failing with three vital penalty shot. All of them were awkward and two went agonisingly close but if Bristol are to end the Bath jinx once and for all on Saturday week, those near misses will have to become surefire hits.

Bath form: determined.

Bristol form: encouraging.

SCORERS: 17 mins – Callard pen, 3-nil (H-T); 47 mins – Callard pen, 6-nil; 74 mins – Callard pen, 9-nil.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Lloyd; Barnes, Sanders; Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, McCoy, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

BRISTOL: Hull; John, Saverimutto, Knibbs, Crossland; Tainton, Kitchin; Sharp, Regan, Hinkins, Shaw, Blackmore, Eves, Barrow, Armstrong.

REFEREE: David Leslie (Scotland RFU).

CONDITIONS: weather – dark, cold; pitch – very heavy.



v Northampton, Away. Won 30-9. Team:- Callard (2c & 2p), Swift (Tx2), Catt, de Glanville (T), Adebayo, Barnes, Hill, Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Ojomoh, Hall, Clarke.  Penalty try awarded to Bath.  Replacements – Sanders, Atkins, Crompton.  Ref – D Matthews. Ground – Wet & muddy. Weather – Wet & windy

Northampton were never really in this one and Batch played a much sharper game than against Bristol last week. Barnes was outstanding. First game for Ojomoh and Reed for the 1st team for quite some time.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

WHAT difference a week makes! All that was wrong with the champions’ approach against Bristol was put to rights with a vengeance at Northampton.

The backs, for instance, rediscovered their sharpness to conjure stunning tries for Tony Swift – two more took his club total to 147 – and England centre Phil de Glanville.

And the scrummaging, so heavily criticised after the derby match, improved to such an extent that Northampton conceded a penalty try by collapsing a 5-metre scrum.

However, the vital ingredient identified by skipper John Hall was less tangible – passion. “We didn’t have it against Bristol but it was there today,” he said.

“The atmosphere in the changing room was so different to what it was the previous week. We only had to remind ourselves of how badly we played the week before – and also of our defeat here last season.”

That score was settled so emphatically that the Saints suffered their heaviest home league defeat since returning to the top flight in 1990.

Undoubtedly, they were caught unawares by the league leaders’ rip-roaring start which saw them run a penalty from their own half after six minutes, despite the slippery conditions.

Using Steve Ojomoh’s power and pace first to set up a ruck in midfield, Jon Callard was launched on a 40-metre into the Northampton 22 before being forced into touch.

Bath stole the line-out and Stuart Barnes orchestrated a bewildering midfield move involving a diagonal burst from the left wing by Adedayo Adebayo before Callard’s swivel sent Swift over on the right.

The England fullback converted and Saints skipper John Steele replied with a penalty before Bath forced another line-out near the home line. A careless tap left Matthew Dawson with no option but to concede the scrum and when marched back, Pearce and Co all too predictably hit the deck to concede seven points.

The score mounted to 19-3 by the 28th minute when Victor Ubogu peeled round a line-out and two quick rucks led to de Glanville stealing over in the corner. Steele and Callard exchanged penalties before the interval but as a chilling, heavy drizzle descended, those were the only scores until the last quarter.

Bath had 6ft 7in Andy Reed back in the side to challenge 6ft 10in fellow-Lion Martin Bayfield in the line-out. Yet Bayfield, for all the first touches he got to the ball, tapped so much rubbish to Dawson that it became a liability.

A cannier and less courageous player would have washed his hands of it all but Dawson manfully did his best until a particularly reckless tap on the hour arrived at the same time as Graham Dawe and Ubogu. There was a three-minute break while the scrum-half was stretchered off to hospital for X-rays on his chest.

As at Bath back in September, when Northampton crashed 37-9, they had plenty of territorial possession but seldom looked like creating an opening. Barnes again kicked immaculately out of defence.

Frustration on both sides made for fractious exchanges and lectures for Dawe, Baldwin and Reed but a third Steele penalty broke the spell. Callard replied from short range to maintain the 16-point advantage and just when it seemed the game was drifting to its close, Bath exploded from a scrum on their own 10-metre line.

Ojomoh took out the midfield defence and Hall flipped the ball up to Richard Hill who launched a move going right. De Glanville made the telling break before Catt and Barnes, with a speculative overhead lob from the wing, found Swift who juggled with the ball before racing over.


BATH FORM: commanding

SCORERS: 7 mins – Swift try, Callard conv, nil-7; 11 mins – Steele pen, 3-14; 14 mins – Penalty try, Callard conv, 3-14; 28 mins – de Glanville try, 3-19; 30 mins – Steele pen, 6-19; 40 mins – Callard pen, 6-22 (H-T); 67 mins – Steele pen, 9-22; 68 mins – Callard pen, 9-25; 77 mins – Swift try, 9-30.

NORTHAMPTON: Hunter; Morgan, Fletcher, Fielden, Beal; Steele, Dawson (rep Taylor, 60 mins); Baldwin, Clarke, Pearce, Phillips, Bayfield, Walton, Steffert, Millhouse.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Ojomoh, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: David Matthews (Liverpool).

CONDITIONS: weather – cold, heavy drizzle; pitch – sodden.



v Bristol, Home. Won 14-9. Team:- Lumsden, Swift, de Glanville, Catt (T), Adebayo, Barnes (2c), Hill, Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Ojomoh (T), Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Beddow, Sanders, Hilton  Ref – S Piercy. Ground – Cloggy. Weather – Fine

A fairly typical Bath/Bristol cup match, with Bath showing their class only occasionally. Lumsden had excellent game in absence of Callard (hamstring), but the continued absence of Redman was crucial in getting a bettering in the set pieces.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

STUART Barnes was, as usual, brutally honest in his summing-up of another desperately close Pilkington Cup derby that left Bristol shedding yet more tears of bitter frustration.

“If you’d put our backs with their forwards, it would have been 50 points at least,” said the Bath fly-half. “That may be painful for Bristol to contemplate, but it’s true.

“You have to feel sorry for their pack. Someone over there has to start asking a serious question or two. How can you win that amount of ball yet lose the game?”

Barnes knows full well how it happened, of course. He was generally responsible for the odd lightning flash of creative genius that separated these two bitter rivals.

Despite suffering a thoroughly embarrassing day with his goal kicking – he was lumbered with the job when hamstrung full-back Jon Callard cried off at the last minute – Barnes was at the heart of Bath’s one real purple patch. It lasted only eight minutes but it was enough to edge the favourites home in an absolute belter of a cup tie.

Steve Ojomoh’s close range try – there was a hint of a knock-on by Richard Hill but referee Stewart Piercy missed it – gave Bath a seven point cushion agains the run of first half play.

Suddenly, Bristol were under the cosh. The excellent Rob Kitchin produced a classic cover tackle to snuff out one bewildering move down the left but when Andy Reed produced rare clean ball from the resulting line-out, Barnes ripped into overdrive.

He sped between Derek Eves and Mark Tainton, unloaded to Phil de Glanville at precisely the right moment and Mike Catt raced over in imperious style. that very much appeared to be that.

Yet Bristol did almost everything right from then on. Andy Blackmore and a half-fit Simon Shaw were unstoppable at the line-out in front of England manager Geoff Cooke while Alan Sharp confirmed his international credentials with another mighty display that must have pleased Scottish selector Richie Dixon no end.

And then there was Rob Armstrong, Bristol’s teak-hard blindside flanker. What a game he had. If there was a big tackle to make, a loose ball to sweep up or a drive to set in motion, the big Royal Marine was first to volunteer for duty.

On the back of this remarkable forward effort, Bristol slowly clawed their way back into contention. Their tactical kicking had been sound all afternoon and now Tainton was chipping over awkward penalties with real confidence.

Back to within a score, Bristol knew the game was in the melting pot. One flicker of inspiration was all that was needed in that final, pulsating quarter.

It didn’t come. Ralph Knibbs was wide with a dropped goal attempt, Ojomoh hit Craig Barrow with the original ten-ton tackle to wreck a promising Bristol raid while Paul Hull and Stuart Crossland both broke free from deep but just failed to breach the last line of defence.

Hull had another dynamic game but he was matched, defensively at least, by the recalled Audley Lumsden. Bristol threw the kitchen sink at him, but never once did he look like faltering.

If anything Bath finished the stronger, battering away at the Bristol line as the clock ticked down. But they had been taken right to the wire and Bristol, beaten but unbowed, will fear them no more.


BATH FORM: inconsistent

BRISTOL FORM: courageous

SCORERS: 24 mins – Ojomoh try, Barnes conv, 7-nil; 32 mins – Catt try, Barnes conv, 14-nil; 40 mins – Tainton pen, 14-3 (H-T); 41 mins – Tainton pen, 14-6; 53 mins – Tainton pen, 14-9.

BATH: Lumsden; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Ojomoh, Clarke, Hall.

BRISTOL: Hull; John, Saverimutto, Knibbs, Crossland; Tainton, Kitchin; Sharp, Regan, Hinkins, Shaw, Blackmore, Armstrong, Barrow, Eves.

REFEREE: Stewart Piercy (Yorkshire).

CONDITIONS: pitch – soft, sandy; weather – fine.

Attendance: 9,000-plus



One look at the relieved expression on the face of Bath skipper John Hall confirmed just how close Bristol had come to ending his dream of a league and cup double. “We expected a really tough game up front and that’s exactly what we got,” said the former England flanker. “Bristol must be one of the best line-out teams in the world. that’s no exaggeration. they could win ball against anyone.

“Given quick, clean possession we were confident of scoring tries. But we did struggle for ball and we know we’ll have to improve on that aspect of our play if we’re going to win trophies this season.”

Hall would not be drawn on the burning selection debate at The Rec – the tussle between Steve Ojomoh and Andy Robinson for the openside flanker’s berth.

Ojomoh certainly contributed his quota of big hits and gave Bath an important extra option at the line-out. Yet the amount of ball Bristol secured on the floor

suggested that the home side missed Robinson’s relentless presence down there in the mud and bullets.

“They’re very different players,” said Bristol’s Mark Tainton, who has faced both men inside a fortnight. “Ojomoh is very explosive but I felt I had more time today because he wasn’t in my face all afternoon like Robinson would have been. It’s a difficult choice between the two.”

Bristol coach Brian Hanlon paid a glowing tribute to his outstanding forwards but also singled out scrum-half Rob Kitchin for special praise.

“When you consider how little Rob has played since getting injured back in September, that was a performance of real quality,” he said.

“I would say we have the strongest bank of scrum halves in the country. We know Kyran Bracken is international class. Rob has that sort of potential, too.”

Skipper Derek Eves, meanwhile, offered the simplest of summaries.

“We were close to winning here two weeks ago and closer again today. It’s still not enough but the gap is nowhere near as wide as it was even a year ago. We’re getting there.”



v Orrell, Home. Won 13-7. Team:- Callard (1c & 2p), Swift (T), de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo, Barnes, Hill, Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Ojomoh.  Replacements – Sanders, Beddow, Crompton Ref – E Morrison. Ground – Heavy & muddy. Weather – Drizzle

A really awful game. Probably Bath’s worst performance this year. Lucky to get by, really.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

THE Recreation Ground is such a gluepot these days that prolific wing Tony Swift reckons Bath would be better off playing away from home.

“It’s impossible to play any rugby on our pitch,” he complained after snatching the try that saved the champions from an embarrassing defeat.

“You just sink into the mud and end up relying on brawn and effort. It’s impossible to achieve the level of sophistication we aim for.

“I’d honestly prefer to play away from home at the moment – even Gloucester,” added Swift, still poaching the tries although he is now nearer his 35th birthday than his 34th.

The latest – No 148 in 212 appearances for the champions – came as a huge relief, particularly after Swift had helped to gift international scrum-half Dewi Morris a shock try five minutes from half-time.

With typical tenacity, Morris charged down a clearance by Stuart Barnes; Swift only had to gather the ball and touch it down behind the try-line – but he fluffed it and Morris pounced.

Simon Langford’s conversion made it 7-3 to Orrell at the interval and Bath could hardly argue with that. Apart from an early Jon Callard penalty, one scintillating break from deep involving ten passes and an outstanding all-round performance from centre Mike Catt, they had offered little.

Time, then, for a few home truths from skipper John Hall. That seemed to have the desired effect on his forwards and a sustained assault led to a second Callard penalty.

And if Stuart Barnes’s attacking skills had been blunted by the cloying mud, his defensive kicking was still of the highest order. One clearance from deep in his 22 found touch on the Orrell 10-metre line.

Bath were beginning to force the pace, finally getting Victor Ubogu and Steve Ojomoh running at the midfield, but the clinching score came from a line-out deep in their own half on the hour.

Barnes sent the hard-running Catt through a gap with a suspiciously forward pass and the move was taken on with such pace by centre partner Phil de Glanville, Chris Clark and Ojomoh that when the ball went loose, Swift merely had to hack through and dive on the ball.

That made amends for the earlier blunder and Andy Reed even began to turn the tables in the line-out, but there were no more scores despite Orrell’s tendency to give away penalties as their frustration boiled over.

Callard missed two more kicks, finishing with a below-par strike rate of three from seven. This time however the culprit seemed to be the pitch rather than his dodgy hamstring.

Next stop in the quest for a fourth successive Courage League title is Kingsholm on February 12 and the next home game is not until a month after that, with a visit from Wasps. Perhaps the Rec will have dried out by then.

Entertainment rating – one star

BATH FORM: unconvincing

SCORERS: 7 mins – Callard pen, 3-nil; 35 mins – Morris try, Langford conv, 3-7 (H-T); 48 mins – Callard pen, 6-7; 60 mins – Swift try, Callard conv, 13-7.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Clark, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Reed, Robinson, Ojomoh, Hall.

ORRELL: Langford; Naylor, Wynn, Farr, Hamer; Taberner, Morris; Hynes, French, Southern, Cusani, Cooper, Manley, Hayter, Cleary.

REFEREE: Ed Morrison (Bristol Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – drizzle; pitch – very sticky.



v Newbridge, Home. Won 20-18. Team:- Long (5p), Woodman, Stuart, Bamsey, Lloyd (T), Rayner, Olsen, Hilton, Beddow, Yates, McCoy, Matthews, Robinson (Capt), Maslen, Egerton.  Replacements –     Ref – P Murgatroyd. Ground – Still boggy. Weather – Fine

A lively game in which Bath’s group of youngsters played pretty well. First sight of Olsen (tiny but nippy). Beddow improving fast.

Bath certainly needed old hands Robinson, Hilton, Egerton and Maslen, to hold this young side together. Newbridge came close to winning it, but their injury time penalty attempt just tipped below the Bath cross-bar. Aussie, Haydn Long was more successful with his kicking, chalking up five penalties. However, all present were astonished when referee Murgatroyd, allowed a charge-down, just as Long was shaping-up to convert Mike Lloyd’s try.



v Gloucester, Away. Won 16-6. Team:- Callard (1c & 3p), Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo, Barnes, Sanders, Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Ojomoh (T).  Replacements – Olsen, Beddow, Clark  Ref – J Pearson. Ground – Good. Weather – Cold but fine

Bath still not playing well and failed yet agin to get good ball from the line out. Back row were the pick of the bunch.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

ENGLAND squad member Steve Ojomoh confirmed that his future lies with Bath after scoring the try that helped keep them top of the Courage League.

Only last month rumours abounded that the Nigerian-born flanker was so upset at being unable to win a first team place that he was considering a move to a rival club.

But, with the registration deadline for next season only six days away, 23-year-old Ojomoh is staying put.

“I wasn’t a happy man, it’s true,” he admitted. “I was playing a lot of second team rugby but being picked for the South West as well – still performing but not getting a chance to show what I could do for Bath.”

“It crossed my mind that I should leave. But there’s no chance of that now.

“My aim at the start of the season was to get on this summer’s South African tour with England. Being on the bench for the Five Nations is a big bonus,” added Ojomoh, who is replacement again for next weekend’s Twickenham clash with the Irish.

At 6ft 2in and close on 16 stones, he is a blueprint for the hard-running, big-hitting, ball-playing athlete that modern rugby coaches are looking for. Playing at No 8, Ojomoh displayed all those qualities at Kingsholm and, just as importantly, an appetite for the less glamorous work at close quarters.

Fly-half Damian Cummins had just drop-kicked Gloucester into a fifth-minute lead when Bath delivered a stunning riposte after a loose clearance by Tim Smith.

Victor Ubogu committed several defenders and when Ian Sanders eventually dug the ball out, Stuart Barnes launched a double-miss move which released Tony Swift on the right wing.

With an exquisite sidestep, Swift opened up the defence to find flanker Andy Robinson in support and Ojomoh took his pass to touch down behind the posts.

England fullback Jon Callard converted and although he missed a simple penalty on 22 minutes, a 45-metre effort on the stroke of half-time and two more successful kicks in the second half confirmed Bath’s superiority.

However the champions were never allowed to slip into the kind of majestic form which carried all before them earlier in the season. The line-out was a shambles, mainly due to Graham Dawe’s inability to find his jumpers. “Couldn’t hit one of his own barn doors today,” joked a teammate, although it is fair to point out that the Cornish farmer has been carrying a shoulder injury.

Others were not blameless either. Callard fumbled one rolling kick and was involved with another mix-up under a high ball with Sanders, all of which drew hoots of derision from a typically unforgiving crowd of near 9,000.

Gloucester, themselves disrupted by the loss of hooker John Hawker with a broken leg and centre Simon Morris, exerted plenty of pressure in the Bath 22 but seldom looked like scoring a try.

And apart from Mike Catt’s recklessly high tackle on Tim Smith after 46 minutes, suitably punished by the fullback, Bath never transgressed within kicking range either.

With Dave Hilton bringing solidity to the front row, Bath were content to play a tighter game in the last quarter, mauling their way upfield 30 metres at a time. It was hardly pretty but a 12th win from 13 games was justification alone.


BATH FORM: determined

SCORERS: 5 mins – Cummins dropped goal, 3-nil; 7 mins – Ojomoh try, Callard conv, 3-7; 40 mins – Callard pen, 3-10 (H-T); 46 mins – T Smith pen, 6-10; 61 mins – Callard pen, 6-13; 78 mins – Callard pen, 6-16.

GLOUCESTER: T Smith; Holford, Morris (rep I Morgan, 14 mins), Maslen, Nicholson; Cummins, Fenley; Windo, Hawker (rep Kearsey, 10 mins), Deacon, Devereux, West, Glanville, Sims, I Smith.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Sanders; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Ojomoh, Hall.

REFEREE: Jim Pearson (Durham).

CONDITIONS: weather – bright; pitch – good.



v Pontypool, Home. Lost 6-15. Team:- Lumsden, Woodman, Stuart, Long (1p), Lloyd, Bamsey, Sanders (1dg), Hilton, Beddow, Crompton, Haag, McCoy, Robinson (Capt), Maslen, Peters.  Replacements –                        Ref – A Melrose. Ground – Not bad. Weather – Cold but fine

Heavens, what a ghastly game. Bath never fired one even one cylinder, let alone all.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

PROP Dave Hilton is in danger of missing Bath’s Pilkington Cup quarter-final at Saracens next Saturday.

Hilton, currently holding down the loosehead position ahead of England prospects Chris Clark and Darren Crompton, pulled a hamstring ten minutes from the end of this defeat by Pontypool.

As if to prove his value in the scrums, Bath conceded a pushover try four minutes later, which cost them a rare home defeat.

“Would you believe it!” said Hilton afterwards. “I force my way into the first team after all this time and then get injured.

“I won’t really know how bad it is though until Monday night when I get some more treatment on it. It’s the first time I’ve had an injury like this,” said the 23-year-old Bristol butcher.

Pontypool were able to field a full-strength line-up against a scratch Bath side and fully deserved their win.

Star of the show was former international fly-half Mark Ring, who teased opponents and prodded his own side forward with a wonderful repertoire of audacious chips, booming touch-finders and the occasional elusive run.

It was Ring who slipped centre Martin Daly through a gap on the Bath line for the first try after just two minutes and that remained the only score of a tedious first half.

While the Bath forwards occasionally won some useable possession, it was invariably too far out to present the backs with a clear-cut scoring opportunity. The trouble was that the tactical kicking was so poor, they could not get within striking range.

Five minutes into the second half, thrusts by Eric Peters and Mike Lloyd forced a penalty which was converted by centre Haydn Long from 40 metres. And some ten minutes later, an Ian Sanders dropped goal raised hopes of an unlikely home win.

But, awarded a succession of penalties on the Bath line, all of which were taken as scrums, Pontypool eventually earned a pushover try for flanker Paul Hewett. Ring converted and then kicked a penalty to put the issue beyond doubt.

Scorers: 2 mins – Daly try, nil-5 (H-T); 45 mins – Long pen, 3-5; 54 mins – Sanders dropped goal, 6-5; 73 mins – Hewett try, Ring conv, 6-12; 76 mins – Ring pen, 6-15.

Bath: Lumsden; Woodman, Stuart, Long, Lloyd; Bamsey, Sanders; Hilton (rep Crane, 69 mins), Beddow, Crompton, Haag, McCoy, Robinson, Peters, Maslen.

Pontypool: Williams; White, Taylor, Daly, Carr; Ring, de Maid; Thomas, Rogers, Phillips, Keenan, Stewart, Newbury, Taylor, Hewett.

Referee: Andrew Melrose (Gloucestershire Soc)



v Saracens, Away. Won 23-6. Team:- Callard (2c & 3p), Swift, de Glanville (T), Catt, Adebayo (T), Barnes, Sanders, Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Ojomoh.  Replacements – Beddow, Olsen, Clark   Ref – S Lander. Ground – Gluey. Weather – Fine & mild.

A typical frenetic cup game against Saracens which Bath made rather hard work of winning. However, the ground was heavy and sticky and very tiring.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

ENGLAND A wing Adedayo Adebayo finished the Londoners off with a typically slick try, his first in cup competition, to send Bath into the semi-finals for the eighth time in ten years.

It is an astonishing record and their rivals will be all too aware that once within sight of Twickenham, Bath seemingly cannot be denied. All the previous appearances in the last four were away from home but they eventually lifted the trophy.

Adebayo’s score after 65 minutes stemmed from a well-rehearsed set-piece move, orchestrated by Stuart Barnes and Mike Catt, who twice switched the direction of the attack to send him through to the posts.

“It’s always satisfying to score from planned moves,” said Adebayo, who was in the cup final line-up four years ago when Gloucester were demolished 48-6.

“But we were particularly pleased with our defence today,” he added. “No team has been able to score a try against us in our three cup ties this season – Wasps, Bristol or Saracens today.

“It’s a matter of being organised, always having a spare man to cover, just in case. It’s also an attitude of mind, refusing to let them past.”

That was never better illustrated than when burly Saracens flanker Richard Hill powered down the touchline in the 16th minute only to be hurled into touch at the corner, to the relief of 1,500 travelling Bath fans in the crowd of 5,000.

And the man to save the day was none other than right wing Tony Swift, nearing his 35th birthday but burning to make his sixth Twickenham cup final appearance.

Bath already had a 10-nil lead after an early Jon Callard penalty and his conversion of a 12th minute try by England centre Phil de Glanville, cleverly put through a gap by Barnes’s pass.

But Saracens, confident of a quick return to the top flight after relegation last season, grabbed the initiative during the second quarter. England A No 8 Tony Diprose spearheaded a spirited forward effort but Bath defended their goal-line with grim resolve and the only reward was two penalties for fullback Andy Tunningley.

Luck was not on their side either when Malcolm Kemp was harshly penalised for a late tackle on Callard and the fullback landed the goal to give the cup favourites a 13-6 half-time lead. A third penalty three minutes into the second half restored the ten-point advantage.

Still the Second Division side would not lie down. Diprose very nearly capitalised on a succession of five-metre scrums but he ran into John Hall on the goal-line, conceding a crucial turnover.

As Saracens battled for every scrap of possession and the playing surface began to cut up, Bath increasingly resorted to the blunt instrument of the driving maul to wrest control of the game.

But – as England coach Dick Best will have noted – Bath continually vary their options and Adebayo’s stunning try came as a sharp reminder that even on a gluepot pitch their backs are never shut out of the game.

The last quarter was virtually all Saracens, who ran a string of kickable penalties as they stormed the Bath line but that remarkable defence held firm right through to the seventh minute of injury time.


BATH FORM: resolute

SCORERS: 3 mins – Callard pen, nil-3; 12 mins – de Glanville try, Callard conv, nil-10; 18 mins – Tunningley pen, 3-10; 35 mins – Tunningley pen, 6-10; 36 mins – Callard pen, 6-13 (H-T); 43 mins – Callard pen, 6-16; 65 mins – Adebayo try, Callard conv, 6-23.

SARACENS: Tunningley; Kemp, Buckton, Ravenscroft, Butler; Lee, Davies; Andrews, Botterman, Wilson, Langley, Burrow, Green, Diprose, Hill.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Sanders; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Ojomoh, Hall.

REFEREE: Steve Lander (Liverpool Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – dry; pitch – sticky.



v Rugby, Away. Lost 11-21. Team:- Lumsden, Iacono, Stuart (T), Bamsey, Lloyd, Book(2P), Olsen, Hilton, Adams, Crompton, Matthews, McCoy, Amphlett, Haag, Maslen (Capt).  Ref – E Forrester.

Apparently an evening game dreary beyond belief.

Stuart got the try and Book two penalties. It is as well here to mention Clive Book, Captain of the Spartans, and as true a Club Member as you would find. A durable player and useful outside-half, he was appropriately honoured with ‘Player of the Year,’ during Mr. Roger Berry’s period of Chairmanship.



v Wasps, Home. Won 24-8. Team:- Callard (Tx2, 1c & 3p), Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo, Barnes (1dg), Sanders, Hilton, Dawe, Mallett, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Beddow, Olsen, Crompton  Ref – G Davis. Ground – Heavy. Weather – Overcast.

A pretty awful game completely ruined by the referee who gave 49 penalties in all.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH, after stuttering and stumbling to the dreariest of victories, can now feel the hot breath of Tigers breathing down their necks.

Leicester’s 66-5 demolition of Newcastle-Gosforth confirmed the Geordies’ relegation and reduced Bath’s advantage in points difference to just five.

Although the champions must trek up to the North East on Saturday week, the big showdown is the home clash with Leicester on April 9 and it no longer appears that points difference alone will keep Dean Richards’s men at bay.

“Well, we’re not relying on that. We’re relying on beating them,” declared Bath skipper John Hall.

“That’s the only way to look at it. We lost up there and if we were to lose to them again, but still took the league, then we would consider that as a moral victory to them.

“So we’ve just got to win all our games,” added Hall, whose side maintained the two-point gap over Leicester by ending third-placed Wasps’ purely mathematical chance of snatching the title.

But this was arguably the poorest competitive match ever seen on the Recreation Ground, memorable only for the remarkable tally of 48 penalties and free-kicks.

“There seemed to be penalty after penalty,” said Hall. “It was very frustrating for me, both as a player and as a captain. I don’t know how it can be remedied other than by changing the laws.”

Referee Geraint Davies, criticised by players and barracked by the crowd, was unrepentant. “The laws are there and the players break them. I don’t give away penalties, they do.”

A fair point, but 7,000 spectators have a right to expect the advantage rule to be employed whenever possible and for sensible dialogue between captains and referee. Both were at a premium so the contest became more and more fractious and fractured.

Bath never really looked in danger of losing, thanks to Jon Callard’s haul of 21 points. He succeeded with only four kicks out of ten attempts – Wasps’ Phil Hopley fared even worse – but scored both tries.

After 17 minutes scrum-half Ian Sanders quickly tapped a penalty near the line and when the ball finally emerged, Stuart Barnes’s flat pass put the fullback over.

With a 14-3 half-time lead, Bath tried to lift the pace but Wasps responded by working left wing Simon Hunter over for a shock try, rewarding some ferocious ball-winning by Dean Ryan and his fellow forwards and a perceptive pass by Huw Davies.

Callard’s second try in the 62nd minute followed one of the few worthwhile passages of play in the game, line-out possession from Andy Reed being recycled three times before Callard exploited an overlap on the right.

Still the niggle continued though, with Ryan, Hall and Francis Emeruwa being warned. It was left to Barnes to draw a welcome veil over proceedings with a late dropped goal.


BATH FORM: uninspired

SCORERS: 5 mins – Callard pen, 3-nil; 17 mins – Callard try, 8 nil; 27 mins – Callard pen, 11-nil; 32 mins – P Hopley pen, 11-3; 38 mins – Callard pen, 14-3 (H-T); 51 mins – Hunter try, 14-8; 62 mins – Callard try and conv, 21-8; 77 mins – Barnes dropped goal, 24-8.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Sanders; Hilton, Dawe, Mallett, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

WASPS: Maddock; P Hopley, D Hopley, Childs, Hunter; Davies, Bates; Holmes, Delaney, Probyn, Kinsey, Greenwood, Emeruwa, Ryan, White.

REFEREE: Geraint Davies (Liverpool Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – bright; pitch – good.



v Newcastle Gosforth, Away. Won 29-5. Team:- Callard (3c & 1p), Swift, Rayner, Catt (T), Adebayo, Barnes, Sanders (T), Hilton, Dawe, Mallett, Redman, Haag, Robinson, Hall, Ojomoh.  Replacements – Atkins, Olsen, Crompton  Ref – D Chapman. Ground – Firm. Weather – Fair & sunny.

Terrible game marred by fisticuffs. Bath should have piled on more points.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BATH were indebted to one of the “forgotten men,” Martin Haag, for two tries that settled their nerves.

The big Cornishman was virtually ever-present in the double-winning side of 1992 but has since been squeezed out by the emergence of Scotland and Lions lock Andy Reed.

Haag, called up at short notice for the sick Reed, certainly made the most of his chance. “It’s been a disappointing season so I was just pleased to be able to show what I can do,” he said.

“I’d love to be in the semi-final side against Harlequins next Saturday,” he added. “I can’t do any more now, though. It’s just a matter of seeing what team they pick.”

Bath had fallen behind in the 12th minute to a shock try in the left corner by Martin Corry, an impressively athletic flanker who had captained Northumbria’s students to victory in the UAU final just three days before.

In a niggly first quarter, with the packs earning stern warnings for a succession of punch-ups, Bath struggled to impose themselves on a side who needed a first league win to avoid the certainty of relegation.

Deposed England full-back Jon Callard missed two penalties from 30 metres before Haag made his mark. He won a short line-out and drove deep into the Newcastle 22 to set up a ruck; when the ball eventually came back, courtesy of Stuart Barnes’s switch, Haag plunged over in the corner and Callard landed the conversion.

Just before half-time, Bath lost left wing Adedayo Adebayo with a bruised knee, to be replaced by diminutive scrum-half Marcus Olsen. Like centre Ed Rayner, he was making his league debut.

Most of the action, however, was up front where the home side were repeatedly penalised for dropping scrums near their line. Bath’s only reward was a Callard penalty early in the second half.

Corry threatened again with a rampaging run down the left touchline but John Hall saved a certain try with a superb tackle on the other Newcastle flanker, Rob Hoole.

Gradually, Bath established control and new England cap Mike Catt burst through on a flat pass by Barnes to score by the posts. Callard’s conversion took the score to 17-5 and Haag soon collected his second try, a straightforward run-in from a tapped penalty.

Unusually, the league leaders had to replace their indestructible hooker, Graham Dawe, for the last ten minutes but his problem was diagnosed as a minor calf strain. It should not affect his availability for the cup game.

Amid all this disruption, Bath struggled to find the rhythm and continuity for which they are renowned. They were content with just one more score, achieved when scrum-half Ian Sanders nipped over from a maul on the line.

Supporters who had made the long trip to the North East grumbled about the quality of entertainment, but it was Newcastle-Gosforth’s heaviest league home defeat. And Bath could be forgiven for thinking about bigger fish to fry.


BATH FORM: disjointed

SCORERS: 12 mins – Corry try, 5-nil; 26 mins – Haag try, Callard conv, 5-7 (H-T); 48 mins – Callard pen, 5-10; 58 mins – Catt try, Callard conv, 5-17; 64 mins – Haag try, 5-22; 75 mins – Sanders try, Callard conv, 5-29.

NEWCASTLE-GOSFORTH: Bennett; Cadado, Chandler, Tetlow, Wilkinson; Johnson, Douglas; Fraser, Hetherington, Vanzandfliet, Mitchell, Metcalf (rep Clark, 46 mins), Corry, Arnold, Hoole.

BATH: Callard; Swift, Rayner, Catt, Adebayo (rep Olsen, 34 mins); Barnes, Sanders; Hilton, Dawe (rep Atkins, 68 mins), Mallett, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Ojomoh, Hall.

REFEREE: Doug Chapman (Yorkshire Society).

CONDITIONS: weather – fine; pitch – hard, sandy.



v Harlequins, Away. Won 26-25. Team:- Callard (T & 3c), Swift (Tx2), de Glanville, Catt, Lumsden, Barnes (T), Hill, Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Haag, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Atkins, Mallett, Peters, Sanders, Reed, Rayner  Ref – B Campsall. Ground – OK. Weather – Freezing, windy and hail.

This magnificent Easter Saturday game was probably the best PC tie ever played. Bath 19-0 up, then Harlequins 25-19, then Bath 26-25!! What a game. Notably some very good refereeing and the whole thing live on TV!

Skipper – John Hall’s comment: “Last week’s semi-final was the best game of Rugby I’ve ever had. It was a thrilling gut-busting experience and I can only say that our lads were magnificent.”

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

TONY Swift will be 14 days short of his 35th birthday when he runs out in front of a capacity 68,000 crowd for the Pilkington Cup final against Leicester on May 7.

Retirement is not far away, and there will be increased competition for wing places next season from Ireland star Simon Geoghegan and Barbarians speedster Jon Sleightholme.

But, for sheer match-winning, try-sniffing ability Swift is still in a class of his own, even after 15 seasons in the first-class game.

He has been with Bath since 1985 but even he cannot recall scoring such a dramatic try as the one that snatched victory from Harlequins after the Londoners had clawed back from 19-nil down to lead 25-19 with only minutes left.

Swift’s second try of an extraordinary semi-final – also his 150th for the club – came in the 76th minute when English rugby’s greatest cup fighters looked out for the count.

Suddenly, Mike Catt carved down the short side, Jon Callard cut infield and Swift, wriggling out of a tissue-paper tackle by Quins full-back Kent Bray, had the line at his mercy.

Many wingers would have flopped over the line but the canny Lancastrian had the presence of mind to make the all-important conversion that much easier for Callard.

“Once I was through I knew I had to get near the posts,” said Swift. “But in a situation like that you can’t let people come across and knock the ball out of your grasp,” he added.

“I had more kisses today than in my whole life – which wasn’t a terribly pleasant experience. I think the first came from Graham Dawe,” laughed Swift, who wished his grizzled hooker had had the good grace to have a pre-match shave.

Of course, Swift has done it before in similar circumstances. When they last played in the semi-finals, two years ago, it took his try three minutes from the end of extra time to swing the match. They went on to beat Quins in the final with a dropped goal in the dying seconds from Stuart Barnes.

Amid the elation of victory and satisfaction in a first-half display which touched new heights of athleticism, power and vision, Swift did not hide his concern at the way Bath had almost thrown the match away.

“When the emotion of the day disappears we will be analysing how we can play so well for 25-30 minutes and then let it go like that,” he said. “In terms of rugby ability, this is the best Bath side I’ve ever played in but we seem to have trouble in focussing in on the game for 80 minutes.”

The first try, after just three minutes, rounded off a breathtaking opening sequence of nine rucks and 23 passes from a line-out take by Nigel Redman. It lasted one minute 23 seconds and virtually every Bath player was involved before Swift turned up on the `wrong’ wing to finish off.

When Quins did get within striking distance, Paul Challinor missed a penalty and then, attempting an up-and-under, had the kick charged down by Andy Robinson. To Quins’ horror, Stuart Barnes caught the rebound and sped away the full 70 metres to the line.

Callard converted and jubilantly put Bath 19 points ahead after 23 minutes, supporting Catt’s break through midfield and then converting his own try.

So how or why did it all go wrong? Quins, after all, lost centre Gavin Thompson with an ankle problem and No 8 Chris Sheasby with a dislocated knee.

However, Justin Cassell was an effective back row replacement and Challinor kicked beautifully with the wind in the second half. Callard could only clear to touch and Alex Snow won oceans of ball at the front of the line-out.

Challinor’s 47th minute penalty made a dent in the deficit and Bray’s touchline run created the space for a try by flanker Martin Pepper.

Bath’s descent from sublime to ridiculous was summed up by a 55th minute penalty try which was pure slapstick. With Barnes receiving treatment for a back injury, Catt had a clearance kick charged down; the ball rebounded between Callard’s legs and he hauled down Challinor, who was denied a try himself but added the conversion.

Challinor also hit the post with a penalty but converted a Cassell try from a rolling maul and then dropped a goal. Quite where Bath found the strength and will to come back from there is a mystery, even to the players themselves.


BATH FORM: indomitable

SCORERS: 3 mins – Swift try, nil-5; 13 mins – Barnes try, Callard conv, nil-12; 23 mins – Callard try & conv, nil-19; H-T – nil-19; 47 mins – Challinor pen, 3-19; 52 mins – Pepper try, 8-19; 55 mins – penalty try, Challinor conv, 15-19; 69 mins – Cassell try, Challinor conv, 22-19; 72 mins – Challinor dropped goal, 25-19; 76 mins – Swift try, Callard conv, 25-26.

HARLEQUINS: Bray; Keyter, Carling, Thompson (rep Alexander, 40 mins), O’Leary; Challinor, Luxton; Leonard, Moore, Mullins, Snow, Thresher, Pepper, Sheasby (rep Cassell, 40 mins), Russell.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Lumsden; Barnes, Hill; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Haag, Redman, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

REFEREE: Brian Campsall (Yorkshire Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – hail and showers; pitch – excellent



v Leicester, Home. Won 14-6. Team:- Callard (3p), Swift (T), de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo, Barnes, Hill, Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.  Replacements – Sanders, Atkins, Mallett   Ref – D Leslie. Ground – Mudbath. Weather – Terrible.

Despite the appalling weather conditions, Bath put up a marvellous display to virtually clinch this year’s Courage League title.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

LEICESTER came to deny Bath a fourth successive Courage League title and like all the other pretenders to the crown over the last decade, were simply chewed up and spat out.

In fact they were saved from a heavier defeat by the appalling weather and underfoot conditions which prevented the home side really rubbing in their obvious superiority.

Bath now need just one point to wrap things up but skipper John Hall wants convincing wins against Harlequins and London Irish to silence all those who suspected, or hoped, that Bath were losing their hunger for success.

Yet he acknowledged there had been a grim awareness among the players that a second league defeat against Leicester might be a sign that the golden era was coming to an end.

“They way I was billing it in the changing room, this was one of the biggest games we’ve ever had,” said Hall.

“This could have been a massive turning point for the club. If we had lost, we could have lost the league too and gone into the cup final feeling down and psychologically on the back foot,” he added.

“I have played with these guys for so long, you just want the team to do well and that’s why we have been so successful over the last ten years.

“Expansive rugby was not on the cards but there was only one team in it,” declared Hall. “It was a superb pack performance – and for the full 80-minutes.

“There was a lot of talk about their rolling maul and how dangerous it was, but it really didn’t come into play. We proved that we are the boys in that department.”

Leicester’s young bucks were indeed touted as the fresher, hungrier outfit with a pack that could win line-out, scrummage and especially maul their opponents off the park.

That was a brave hope and, typically, Bath set about destroying their opponents in those very areas. It was ruthless, efficient and so utterly successful that the challengers’ ambitions deflated as rapidly as the hot air balloon tethered nearby on the rain-sodden Rec.

A first-minute penalty by Jez Harris may have had the away fans licking their lips in anticipation but Bath quickly had the Tiger by the tail – or, more properly, the throat.

Callard equalised from 24 metres, then rewarded a soul-sapping scrummage drive with a second successful kick. All the while, the Bath forwards were driving and mauling like men possessed, denying Leicester any platform.

If there was a turning point in the match, it came on the half-hour when Rory Underwood, deputising at full-back for late withdrawal Wayne Kilford, sensed an opening. A try seemed on until Phil de Glanville brought down his England teammate, Ben Clarke scavenged the loose ball and the Bath pack grouped round the ball carrier to drive arrogantly 20 metres away from the try-line.

Five minutes later Bath extended their lead when a Leicester attack broke down, the ball was hacked upfield and Tony Underwood conceded the throw-in. Tony Swift quickly fed Clarke and, after Mike Catt and de Glanville carried the move on, the old campaigner was on hand again to squeeze over in the corner.

There were only penalties apiece for Callard and Harris in the second half but, with Hall standing at the front of the line-out to block out the threat posed by Martin Johnson, there was no doubt about the outcome. Instead it was Nigel Redman whose clean catching did most to establish Bath’s supremacy in that department.

Bath v Leicester at Twickenham is another day, another game, but the double is now in sight.


BATH FORM: champion

SCORERS: 1 min – Harris pen, nil-3; 18 mins – Callard pen, 3-3; 25 mins – Callard pen, 6-3; 36 mins Swift try, 11-3; H-T – 11-3; 48 mins – Callard pen, 14-3; 63 mins – Harris pen, 14-6.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

LEICESTER: R Underwood; Hackney, Potter, Boyle, T Underwood; Harris, Kardooni; Rowntree, Cockerill, Garforth, Johnson, Poole, Wells, Richards, Drake-Lee.

REFEREE: David Leslie (Manchester Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – cold, heavy showers; pitch – waterlogged.



v Bedford, Away. Won 18-13. Team:- Lumsden, Iacono, Webber, Fox, Lloyd, Rayner (T, 1c & 2p), Sanders (T), Atkins, McCarthy, Haag, Maslen (Capt), Sweett, Egerton, Peters.  Ref – D Grasshoff.

The Bath half-backs had a comparatively easy ride behind a dominant pack. They were certainly well placed to share the try scoring effort as the scrum bludgeoned its way forward. Both did enough for consideration for the Cup Final squad. However, Rayner did miss three of his six goal kicking attempts. It was a 1st XV debut for Neil McCarthy.

Very much a Bath second string just overcame Bedford by the work of their dominant pack.



v Harlequins, Home. Won 32-13. Team:- Callard (3c & 2p), Swift, de Glanville (T), Adebayo, Lumsden, Barnes, Hill, Hilton (T), Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall (T), Clarke (T).  Replacements – Sanders, Crompton, Atkins   Ref – J Pearson. Ground – OK. Weather – Fine & sunny.

This was the game in which we trounced Harlequins and gained the Championship for the fourth successive year. Jack Rowell’s and Richard Hill’s farewell games on the Rec. The pack were magnificent!

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

JACK Rowell’s eyes welled with emotion as he reluctantly picked up the microphone to address the thousands of Bath fans celebrating a fourth successive league championship.

They hung on his every word, aware that his last home match as coach before devoting himself to the England cause represents the passing of an astonishing era.

But the big man, paying tribute to all those who had contributed to “the sensation that has gone on here for ten, 15 years or more,” refuses to believe that the successes will end here.

“This has great momentum,” he told them. “We have an outstanding squad of players and what I want to say, with no arrogance at all, is that what we’ve seen and are celebrating today is but a milestone in the best journey of any rugby club at any time.”

His parting “Thank you,” was drowned in deafening applause from all those massed in front of the West Stand where John Hall had received the Courage Clubs Championship moments before.

In the last ten years, Bath have won 12 of the 17 domestic trophies on offer – and there is still the Pilkington Cup final against Leicester to come on Saturday week.

Nobody has ever matched that overweening appetite for silverware and there was never any real likelihood that Harlequins, very much bit players despite the presence of England captain Will Carling, would spoil the feast.

Nigel Redman and Andy Reed ensured they did not win a line-out until the 28th minute, by which time they were trailing to ninth-minute try by Ben Clarke, crossing unopposed in the left corner, closely followed by a Jon Callard penalty.

Underpinning the whole Bath effort was another commanding performance by the pack who dominated the scrums as comprehensively as they did the line-out. They also mauled and rucked with a rare determination, effectively blotting out the Quins eight for long periods of the game. And when they did lose the ball, Andy Robinson regularly filched it back.

Tellingly, the second try came with a strike against the head on the visitors’ line. Richard Hill, also making his farewell appearance on the Rec, whipped out a reverse pass to Stuart Barnes and his floated effort gave Phil de Glanville the sight of the line he needed.

Kent Bray pulled back three points on the stroke of half-time but, with Barnes kicking immaculately out of hand, there was no prospect of the Londoners staging a comeback to rival that extraordinary cup-tie earlier this month.

Instead, Bath hit them with 14 points in ten minutes. First, Clarke rocketed off the back of a scrum through Martin Pepper’s tackle, and Hall was in support for a popular try.

Bray’s second penalty then stirred the champions into an outrageous riposte, thumbing their noses at those who would wish to outlaw the driving maul.

It began with a two-handed catch by Redman at a line-out 35 metres out and the juggernaut, relentlessly rolling and driving for well over a minute, earned a touchdown for a jubilant Dave Hilton.

Callard kicked his third conversion and added a penalty to establish a 32-6 lead. For once, Bath loosened their grip and Quins roused themselves for a late try by Gavin Thompson.


BATH FORM: masterful

SCORERS: 9 mins – Clarke try, 5-nil; 14 mins – Callard pen, 8-nil; 39 mins – de Glanville try, Callard conv, 15-nil; 40 mins – Bray pen, 15-3; H-T – 15-3; 49 mins – Hall try, Callard conv, 22-3; 55 mins – Bray pen, 22-6; 59 mins – Hilton try, Callard conv, 29-6; 68 mins – Callard pen, 32-6; 75 mins – Thompson try, Bray conv, 32-13.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Adebayo, Lumsden; Barnes, Hill; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Clarke, Hall.

HARLEQUINS: Bray; Keyter, Carling, Thompson, O’Leary; Challinor, Luxton; Brown, Hamilton-Smith, Mullins, Snow, Coker, Russell, Cassell, Pepper.

REFEREE: Jim Pearson (Durham).

CONDITIONS: weather – fine; pitch – firm, well grassed.

Kevin Coughlan – Bristol Evening Post

BATH, “the Rolls-Royce of rugby clubs” according to coach Jack Rowell are celebrating a fourth successive league championship.

Now, only Pilkington Cup final opponents Leicester stand between them and a third “double” in six seasons.

The league title was settled with a 32-13 win over Harlequins in front of 8,000 delirious supporters at the Recreation Ground, continuing the club’s remarkable dominance of English rugby in the last decade.

Saturday’s celebrations were especially emotional for Rowell and scrum-half Richard Hill, both of whom were bidding farewell to the Rec faithful.

Rowell is giving up his role as chief coach after 17 years to devote himself to the England manager’s job and preparations for next summer’s World Cup. Hill is retiring after a 12-year career which saw him become England’s most capped scrum-half but he is staying with the club as an assistant coach.

Rowell believes that the Bath machine will continue to churn out trophies, even after his departure.

“We have built a Rolls-Royce and as long as there is a little preventative maintenance now and again, it will run smoothly,” he said.

The cup final, already a 68,000 sell-out, will establish a world record attendance for a club match.


v London Irish, Away. Won 32-31. Team:- Lumsden, Lloyd, Fox, Bamsey, Woodman (T), Rayner (1c, 4p & 1dg), Sanders, Yates (T), Atkins, Crompton, Haag, Maslen, Adams, Peters, Egerton (T).

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

BY a quirk of the fixture list, Simon Geoghegan was to play his last match for the Exiles against the club he is joining this summer.

But when the dashing Ireland wing reported to the ground eager to turn out despite a foot injury, coach Hika Reid told him he was not playing after all.

Bemused Bath were then treated to a remarkable display of club politics as all the festering discontent among the relegated Irish broke into the open.

Fellow internationals Jim Staples and Gary Halpin protested by refusing to take the field for their final match in the First Division and skipper Paul Collins contracted a mystery flu virus.

Geoghegan, no doubt looking forward more than ever to his move, adopted a diplomatic stance. “There are no hard feelings,” he said. “I would have liked to play in this game but now I can only wish the lads all the best for next season.”

He then flew to Dublin for an Irish squad session, preparing for this month’s tour of Australia.

Meanwhile, Bath were overjoyed at pulling off their 17th win in 18 matches without any of their Pilkington Cup final players.

This was the second string’s big day and, although the Irish were always in contention, the champions deserved the points.

Key man was Oxford Blue Ed Rayner, playing at fly-half rather than his customary position of centre. He landed a dropped goal, four penalties and a conversion while his opposite number, Steve Cathcart, missed eight kicks, also hitting the post from straight in front when attempting the conversion of his own charge-down try.

On a pitch baked hard by the hot sun, there were any number of handling errors on both sides but the Bath pack, in which tighthead Darren Crompton was outstanding, ruled the tight.

David Egerton, the only capped player in the side, grabbed the first try from a close-range penalty and the lively Kevin Yates collected another from a driving maul on the half-time whistle.

A lovely Cathcart chip provided a spectacular score for centre Rob Henderson in reply and for two minutes the Irish held the lead at 19-18. Rayner banged over two more penalties but the Exiles came back again to draw level with a fall-over-the-line effort by middle jumper Aiden Higgins.

If the rugby was a little loose for the purist, it was great entertainment. Into the last ten minutes and Bath stepped up the pace through flankers Eric Peters and Gareth Adams, forcing Rayner’s fifth successful penalty.

Then with the Exiles’ scrum under severe pressure, scrum-half Nick Briers made a desperate clearance behind his own line, but his low kick scudded into the arms of wing Mark Woodman who only had to dive over in the corner.

With an eight-point margin, Bath could afford to concede an injury time try to loosehead Neil Donovan, converted by Cathcart.


BATH FORM: encouraging

SCORERS: 13 mins – Rayner dropped goal, nil-3; 15 mins – Cathcart pen, 3-3; 21 mins – Egerton try, Rayner conv, 3-10; 24 mins – Cathcart try, 8-10; 33 mins – Rayner pen, 8-13; 40 mins – Yates try, 8-18 (H-T); 42 mins – Cathcart pen, 11-18; 52 mins – Cathcart pen, 14-18; 58 mins – Henderson try, 19-18; 60 mins – Rayner pen, 19-21; 66 mins – Rayner pen, 19-24; 68 mins – Higgins try, 24-24; 72 mins – Rayner pen, 24-27; 77 mins – Woodman try, 24-32; 83 mins – Donovan try, Cathcart conv, 31-32.

LONDON WELSH: Walsh; Dalton, Henderson, Curtis, Nolan; Cathcart, Briers; Donovan, McFarland, McCormack, Sussam, Higgins, Bird, Hall, Jenkins.

BATH: Lumsden; Lloyd, Fox, Bamsey, Woodman; Rayner, Sanders; Yates, Atkins (rep Beddow, 10 mins), Crompton, Maslen, Haag, Adams, Egerton, Peters.

REFEREE: G Hughes (RFU).



v Leicester, Pilkington Cup Final. Won 21-9. Team:- Callard (1c & 3p), Swift (T), de Glanville, Catt (T), Adebayo, Barnes, Hill, Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson, Hall, Clarke.

Kevin Coughlan Match Report – Bristol Evening Post

JOHN Hall, rocked by the sudden threat of a challenge to his leadership, took control of his own rugby destiny with an inspirational performance at Twickenham.

If great players produce their best form in the face of adversity, the long-serving Bath blindside fulfilled all the criteria in an over-physical and, at times, unpleasant Pilkington final.

In moments of triumph, Bath love to emphasise the value of their “family spirit.” But make no mistake. As far as Hall was concerned, this one was personal.

Well aware that back row colleague Ben Clarke had, willingly or otherwise, been thrust into the captaincy frame, Hall knew the time had come to reassert his right to a second year at the helm.

It seems inconceivable that anyone will argue the toss now.

Departing coach Jack Rowell had no hesitation in endorsing Hall’s claim. “He is a breath-taking player with a heart to match,” said the new England manager.

“As the All Blacks were forced to admit in 1985, he is a world-class blindside. I told the players in the dressing room before the game that it was a privilege to follow John Hall on to a rugby pitch.”

For Hall, the emotion was very nearly too much to bear.

“I feel massive relief,” he said, reflecting on his new status as the third Bath captain to land a league and cup double.

“I’m mentally drained and, if I’m honest, glad it’s all over.

“Yes, I’d like a second term and, while nothing will be resolved until our England contingent return from South Africa, I would hope now that the mood is positive.”

Thanks to a woefully limited Leicester game plan, Hall emerged as the key figure in a contest more noteworthy for its all-in wrestling than its free-flowing rugby.

It was not an edifying spectacle to lay before a record 68,000 crowd. Yet Hall’s close-quarter expertise and invaluable line-out work ensured at least some entertainment for the connoisseur.

If the Tigers thought Dean Richards would hoover up the loose ball and organise the mauls to their advantage, they had another think coming.

Hall, with Graham Dawe and Dave Hilton never far from his shoulder, simply swept aside the England No 8.

Hall’s work-rate at the very epicentre of a rumbling forward conflict was crucial. Only towards the end of a bitterly-fought first half did Leicester come close to gaining the upper hand.

Three points adrift and desperate to make something happen, they twice sent Tony Underwood ripping through the Bath midfield.

Nigel Redman’s tackle slammed the door on the first raid. But when the England wing made the running a second time, Andy Reed was penalised for hauling down Stuart Potter by the scruff of his neck and Jez Harris promptly levelled at 9-9.

“Game on” thought the crowd. No such luck.

That little flurry of adventure proved the limit of the holders’ attacking ambitions. And once Bath had resisted some guileless huffing and puffing from the Tigers’ pack after the break, there was only one winner.

Tony Swift’s opening try came directly from another batch of Leicester wrong options as both Wayne Kilford and Aadel Kardooni ran headlong into Bath traffic miles behind the gain line.

Hilton cleverly pilfered a priceless ball at the ruck, found an alert pass off the ground and Phil de Glanville kicked perfectly across field as Swift raced into a gap the size of the Rec.

Had Harris been in any sort of kicking form, Leicester might have found a way back. But the folk hero fly-half from Welford Road managed to fluff gilt-edged chances on 59 and 68 minutes.

As usual, it was Bath who had the final say. After more posturing and handbag swinging up front, Hall took another clean line-out to set Clarke and de Glanville tearing into the Leicester 22.

Jon Callard, sound enough under pressure on this occasion, ran the ball right, Darren Garforth flung out his tight-head’s right paw in a vain attempt at an interception and Mike Catt took the rebound to score at the flag.

Eight cup final victories in eight attempts. The game itself might have been a let-down but the achievement remains astonishing.

SCORERS: 4 mins – Callard pen, 3-nil; 11 mins – Harris pen, 3-3; 21 mins – Callard pen, 6-3; 25 mins Callard pen, 9-3; 34 mins – Harris pen, 9-6; 42 mins – Harris pen, 9-9 (H-T); 48 mins – Swift try, 14-9; 75 mins – Catt try, Callard conv, 21-9.

BATH: Callard; Swift, de Glanville, Catt, Adebayo; Barnes, Hill; Hilton, Dawe, Ubogu, Redman, Reed, Robinson (rep Ojomoh, 46 mins), Clarke, Hall.

LEICESTER: Kilford; T Underwood, Boyle, Potter, R Underwood; Harris, Kardooni; Rowntree, Cockerill, Garforth, Johnson, Poole, Wells, Richards, Back.

REFEREE: Ed Morrison (Bristol Soc).

CONDITIONS: weather – persistent drizzle; pitch – perfect.

STUART Barnes, who never really managed to stamp his personality on a game fought out almost exclusively amongst the warring forwards, offered a typically mischievous appraisal.

“All that talk about the Tigers being the team of the 90s has been confirmed as precisely that – talk. They showed us nothing out there.

“All they tried to do was work us into the corners and beat us on penalties. You might label them a very English side, in the worst sense of that.”

But for Dave Hilton, playing his first cup final, the moans and groans about the nature of the game could not have been further from his mind.

“I’m just so happy to have been involved in something like this,” he said.

“There were some antics up front, but I thought we scrummaged pretty well. The most important thing from my point of view is that I’ve finally justified my move from Bristol.”

Hooker Graham Dawe, the third member of a Bath front row at the centre of so much of Saturday’s action, was suitably unimpressed by the Leicester tight approach.

“They’ll never beat us in a million years with those tactics,” he said. “Yes it was niggly. But, speaking personally, I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Hero wing Tony Swift said: “It wasn’t a great score, but it’s one I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”

BATH prop Victor Ubogu accused Leicester of provoking the violence that punctuated a distinctly ordinary final.

Ubogu, in fact, came closest to being sent off when he leapt up from a ruck and flung a haymaker at England teammate Martin Johnson.

But Bristol referee Ed Morrison was satisfied with a warning which seemed a lot less condemnatory than the lecture that Ubogu received from his skipper John Hall as Jez Harris kicked the penalty.

“It was quite niggly,” said Ubogu, with a rugby player’s sense of understatement. “But being sent off never crossed my mind. It was heat of the moment stuff.

“It was all aggravated, which was what flared me up a bit. It’s not my game to hit someone cold,” said Ubogu. TV replays showed that Johnson had repeatedly punched the Bath player in the melee.

And Ubogu elaborated: “It was provoked by Leicester, quite frankly. They came out and got quite niggly. It’s not in Bath’s nature to go out to niggle; we go out to play and win.

“They just provoked us. Why? You’d better ask Leicester about that. There was just an undercurrent throughout the whole game.”

The only casualty in all this skirmishing was Bath flanker Andy Robinson, who went off early in the second half with damaged knee ligaments.

Although the injury was caused quite innocently in the first half when his leg was caught between two players, he struggled on until a Leicester forward stamped all over it.

Losing skipper Dean Richards said: “When you get the two best sides in England playing against each other I think there’s always going to be a certain amount of tension. And with it being a physical contact game it’s always going to blow up, but there was nothing outstandingly serious there.”



Middlesex 7s. Winners – beating London Scottish, Loughborough Students, Saracens and Orrell on the way. Team:- Callard (Capt), Rayner, Lumsden, Sanders, Peters, Adams, Haag.



Welsh Worthington Sevens, For the Snelling Trophy.  – Winners, at Cardiff Arms Park.

Squad:- Peters, Adams, Haag, Ojomoh, Lloyd, Lumsden, Geoghegan, Callard, Sanders and Catt.


Club stalwart Nick Watson led a party to the Madrid Sevens. They were beaten in the Final 35 –7 by Leicester. The Club was represented by:- Eric Peters, Gareth Adams, Colin Morley, Mike Lloyd, Ed Rayner, Tony Iacano, Rob Amphlett, Jon Bamsey and Mark Woodman.

Nick (at an advance, but undisclosed age), also played for the English Classicals alongside Paul Simpson, Martin Sparkes, David Trick and Chalkie Wardle.

Main sponsors – Aguila Brewery looked after the inner man!


Here ended Jack Rowell’s term at Bath.

Under his inspirational leadership, the Club had experienced a decade of seemingly unsurpassable success. It had been the stuff of dreams!



This page was added on 19/09/2014.

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