Bath Voice Sport

BATH VOICE SPORTS OPINION: Bath Rugby: what’s being said about what went wrong this season – compared to the glory days when Bath were triumphant

The photograph will bring back memories for many a rugby fan – and is in contrast to the current predicament of Bath Rugby Club. That aside the club has a long and illustrious history and there have been other ups and downs – not just the ones of the glory days or today’s situation.
In the early days the team didn’t have a regular ground playing at Claverton Down, Lambridge Meadows, Taylor’s Field and Henrietta Park.
And in the war the team lost 17 players in the service of their country and the Rec was hit by German bombs. So there have been many more dark days in the club’s past – as well as the successes as shown in the photo above.

By Harry Mottram: Even the loyalist fans of Bath Rugby accept the 2021-2022 season has been one of the worst in terms for results in the club’s history.
The heavy defeats to Gloucester seemed to sum up everything that had gone wrong – and an experience that is so in contrast to the glory days of the 80s and 90s.
Everyone at the club and who follows the team’s fortunes have their own take on what has happened and how to turn things around, so it’s interesting to see what people have been saying.
In The Guardian last month Andy Bull wrote about questions raised over the director of rugby, Stuart Hooper, and “whether he was under-qualified for the job.”
And he said that owner Bruce Craig, “has had a reputation for meddling in selection and with signings, but who has now decided to step down as chairman and let Griffiths take over.” He also picked up on the training base at Farleigh House, which he said had been criticised as to whether it was suitable.
Liam Heagney for Ruby Pass quoted ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton as saying about Hooper: “I am going to say it frankly and I feel awful saying it because it is easy to judge and say you would be doing this, you should be doing that – Bath need to get rid of Hooper, they do.”
Following the latest defeat by the Cherries the media picked up on an apparent bust up between Bath’s Tom Dunn and Hooper in which Dunn appeared to take the director of rugby to task with some expletives according to some.
After the 0-64 loss in Gloucester head coach Neal Hatley said the team was lacking confidence. In the first 20 minutes he felt (even with only 14 men) the team were ‘in a contest’ but they didn’t do that for the last 60 minutes. Hatley also said there wasn’t a single player who wasn’t trying hard when questioned over the team’s collective desire to win.
Unsurprisingly criticism has come from the fans with many venting their fury on social media.
Many have put the blame on Hooper and Hatley and suggested that relegation to the Championship would help to refocus the club – although thankfully that won’t happen this season despite the club sitting at the bottom of the table.
The fact there is no relegation this season has for some been one reason why the club faded in the Gloucester game as failure didn’t have a consequence.
To turn things around the club have announced that England international Piers Francis will join the club from Northampton Saints while Dave Attwood will rejoin from Bristol Bears along with more signings to be announced.
And for some supporters the ongoing concerns about the Rec itself is a factor in the slump.
Back in the glory days Bath was on a par with their rivals – essentially the inheritors of the amateur status when many clubs played their rugby on local authority owned grounds and finances were on a far humbler level.
When professionalism arrived initially Bath were fine as insiders will tell you they were semi professional in terms of players receiving remuneration when they were supposed to be amateurs.
However clubs such as Exeter built new stadiums with new income streams from hospitality or moved to ground share like Bristol and Wasps.
So the issue of the stadium does have an effect on the club’s finances as it limits capacity and obviously the club can’t expand their offering with a hotel and more hospitality.
With a three year extension for the temporary stands there’s a breathing space – but the arguments rumble on. Lambridge would have been a possible site for a new ground but it’s a long walk up London Road and the attraction of the Rec is the central location.
One thing is for sure and that’s the loyalty of the fans – one of the few absolute pillars that hold up the club and maintain its high status.
At the time of going to press it is hard to know how things will pan out at the club this month and during the summer but one thing is for certain and that is that confidence must return and that will only happen with victories.

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Bath Sport in June

Netball: Team Bath will hopefully be in the knock out stages of the Vitality Superleague competition this month which take place on the 3rd of June with the final on Sunday 5th June at the Copper Box Arena.
Netball 2: The Royal High School is host to a thriving netball league on Wednesday evenings – ideal for beginners as well as those of a higher standard. See https://www.play-netball.co.uk/bath/ for details of how to take part.
Cricket 1: Bath Bear Flat Cricket Club play at the Glasshouse Playing Fields. Established in 1982, the Club played friendly matches during that first season and having joined the North Somerset Cricket League in the autumn of 1982 the Club first played league matches in 1983.
Bear Flat CC also known as “The Bears” play in Division 1 of the Wiltshire County Cricket League on Saturdays; in Division 7 Blue of the Somerset Monmouth League on Saturdays; friendlies against clubs based in Somerset/Wiltshire on Sundays; T20 games against clubs based in Somerset/Wiltshire midweek; and participation in the Somerset Knock Out cup.
On Saturday 4 June the 1st XI play at home against Swindon Nalgo with another home fixture on June 18th when they entertain Marlborough. Away games in June are Purton on the 11th and Avebury on the 25th.
Cricket 2: Bath Cricket Club play at North Parade Bridge Road with their First XI taking on Thornbury on Saturday, June 11 in the West of England Premier League (WEPL), having played Potterne away the week before. They then face Bedminster at North Parade on Saturday 25th June with an away game up the hill at Lansdown on the 18th.
In April the 1st XI won all their friendlies so a good omen for another successful season. The club also features a second, third and fourth eleven, as well as two teams of Wanderers plus there is number of youth teams for boys and girls and a women’s XI. To join visit www.bathcricket.com
Cricket 3: Somerset County Cricket. Many in Bath remain loyal to Somerset when the city was fully part of the county.
The County Championship returns to a two-division structure with the opening seven rounds of the County Championship played from Thursday to Sunday on successive weeks during June and July with the final round in September. Somerset are in Division one and play Surrey on Sunday 12 June in the only county match in the championship in June.
In the Vitality Blast competition they play Sussex in Taunton on June 1, and Glamorgan on June 3. They travel to Nevil Road in Bristol on the 9th to play Gloucestershire and play a return fixture in Taunton on the 17th June. There’s more Vitality Blast action for the team when they play Essex away on the 19th and travel to the Oval to play Surrey on the 21st. Then it’s back to Taunton for Hampshire on the 23rd before away games against Glamorgan on the 24th and Middlesex on the 1st of July. The final match in the competition is on July 3rd back in Taunton when they will know if they will progress further.
The T20 Blast, currently named the Vitality Blast for sponsorship reasons is a professional Twenty20 cricket competition for English and Welsh first-class counties. The competition was established by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003 as the first professional Twenty20 league in the world.
Tennis: Bloomfield Tennis Club was founded in 1927 and is located at 98 Wellsway, Bath. The club welcomes new members. To join visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/BloomfieldTennisClub
Tennis 2: Bath Tennis Club is at
Park Lane, Weston, and bills itself at a friendly club. The club has a number of membership categories ranging from pay as you go to full membership at £275 for the year. For details visit www.bathtc.co.uk
Swimming: Bath Sports and Leisure Centre at North Parade features a 25 metre pool and a new teaching pool for beginners.
Cycling: Bath Cycle Club have various Club Runs for all levels of fitness.
They also have members who compete in local National B, Regional A and Regional B races, with several 2nd Cat, 3rd Cats, new and upcoming 4th Cat riders.
They are blessed with the many local criterium races with the purpose built circuit at Odd Down in Bath as well as weekly races at Castle Combe, Thruxton, and at Maindy – it is possible to race 2 or 3 times a week through the season.
New members welcome – of all abilities. Visit bathcc.net for details.

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Bath Sport in May

Bath Rugby Club: The club play in the Gallagher English Premiership – a slightly uphill task at the moment – but hope springs eternal. They square up to London Irish on May 21 at the Rec with a match away at Worcester Warriors on June 4. The once invincible team sit at the bottom of the league table however there is no relegation this of next season with the league expanded to 14 teams. In the 2022-23 season there will be a play-off between the top team in the Championship and the bottom team in the Premiership with automatic relegation in the following season – assuming the RFU does not change its mind.
Bath Rugby Ladies: The women have three 15s with the first team in the Women’s Championship South 1 – the second tier of the league system. Training is at Lambridge training ground, and the club welcomes new players and those interested in the sport but have never played.
Bath City FC: The Romans play in the Vanarama National League Division South at their home in Twerton Park. They conclude the season with a home match on Saturday, May 7, against Oxford City. KO 3pm.
Bath City Youth Women FC: The Bath City Youth Women play in the Wiltshire County Women & Girls League. The next home fixture is also the last this season when the women take on Chippenham at the Odd Down Sports Ground on pitch number one on May 1. KO 2pm.
Bear Flat FC: The Bears look to consolidate their position in the third division of the Bath and District Sunday League with wins against Keynsham Rangers and Team Nathan AFC reserves.
Netball: Team Bath have a home game this month in the Vitality Super League against Wasps on Friday 20th May, otherwise they have away matches against Manchester, Loughborough and Saracens.
Netball 2: The Royal High School is host to a thriving netball league on Wednesday evenings – ideal for beginners as well as those of a higher standard. See https://www.play-netball.co.uk/bath/ for details of how to take part.
Cricket 1: Bath Bear Flat Cricket Club play at the Glasshouse Playing Fields. They play Calne on the 14th and are away to Malmesbury on the 7th May.
Cricket 2: Bath Cricket Club play at North Parade Bridge Road with their First XI taking on this month at home: Clevedon 7th; and Chippenham on the 28th May.
Cricket 3: Somerset County Cricket. Many in Bath remain loyal to Somerset when the city was fully part of the county.
The County Championship returns to a two-division structure with the opening seven rounds of the County Championship played from Thursday to Sunday on successive weeks during June and July with the final round in September. Somerset are in Division one and play Hampshire at home on May 19 in the LV Insurance County Championship. They are away to Gloucester in the championship on the 12th – just a short trip up the M5 for fans.
On Friday May 27th they play a Development XI from Sri Lanka reviving memories of the World Cup clash with England at the county ground in 1983.
In the Vitality Blast competition they play Essex Eagles on Sunday 29th May, and Hampshire away the following day with Sussex at home on June 1 and Glamorgan also at Neville Road on June 3.
Tennis: Bloomfield Tennis Club was founded in 1927 and is located at 98 Wellsway, Bath. The club welcomes new members. To join visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/BloomfieldTennisClub
Tennis 2: Bath Tennis Club is at
Park Lane, Weston, and bills itself at a friendly club. The club has a number of membership categories ranging from pay as you go to full membership at £275 for the year. For details visit www.bathtc.co.uk
Swimming: Bath Sports and Leisure Centre at North Parade features a 25 metre pool and a new teaching pool for beginners.
Cycling: Bath Cycle Club have various Club Runs for all levels of fitness.
They also have members who compete in local National B, Regional A and Regional B races, with several 2nd Cat, 3rd Cats, new and upcoming 4th Cat riders.
They are blessed with the many local criterium races with the purpose built circuit at Odd Down in Bath as well as weekly races at Castle Combe, Thruxton, and at Maindy – it is possible to race 2 or 3 times a week through the season.
New members welcome – of all abilities. Visit bathcc.net for details.

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BATH VOICE MONTHLY NEWS MAGZINE: the sport they’ve been playing on the Recreation Ground since Victorian times – and a sport you can play into your 90s

The members gather for a winter meeting – it’s a 12 months of the year sport

They’ve been playing croquet on the Rec in Bath since the 1860s when there was a craze for the sport.

Ball and mallet games date back centuries but in the mid 19th century the rules of croquet become formalised and the game flourished. The reasons were many but it was a sport women could play in long skirts without getting hot and sweaty and they could play men on even terms.

Also lawns were kept in good condition and well trimmed with advent of hand pushed lawn mowers and rollers.

And there was a growing fashion for croquet parties for the fashionable and wealthy.

The middle classes and less wealthy took up the sport in public places like Bath’s Recreation Ground where anyone could play the sport.

The current club at the Rec dates to only 1976 when enthusiasts restored the sport which now has around 100 members.

The club house is an attractive and modern home for the players complete with cuttings from previous decades, photos of past players from the 1920s and a prized cup dating back to the sport’s glory days.

Lynne Passfield is the club’s Chairman and clearly loves hitting balls through hoops.

“My neighbour in Bristol was always nagging me to play, so when I retired as a primary school teacher I thought I’d have a go,” she said, “I love it here, I love the setting and when you are playing on a summer’s evening and the sun goes down over the Abbey in the distance it is such a wonderful place to be.

”The sport has been dogged by the cliche of only being played on the lawns of rectories by genteel folk but in reality it is a fiercely competitive and highly skilled sport. It is played across the country under the rules of The Croquet Association UK with Bath playing under the SW Federation pitched against teams from South Wales, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. This season (which lasts 12 months) will feature free taster sessions for those interested.

The first one is on Saturday, April 23rd, details at https://www.bathcroquet.com/

The latest issue of Bath Voice Monthly News Magazine is out now. Free to thousands of Bath residents it can also be read online: https://issuu.com/bathvoice

Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park & wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Or email him at harryfmottram@gmail.com

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Top girls: Bath Women Lacrosse Team

January 2022

Bath Rugby: An away fixture against London Irish on January 3, in the Gallagher English Premiership kicks off the New Year when a repeat of the same fixture in 2019 would be appreciated when Bath ran out 10-38 winners. Irish are struggling alongside Bath so this is a crucial one for the Blue Black and Whites to win. On January 9, Bath have their first home game at the Rec with another premiership clash this time with Worcester Warriors, while on January 15 they are away to La Rochelle in the European Championships Cup. Another cup game sees the team welcoming Leinster to Bath on January 22 with a league clash with Harlequins at the Rec on January 28. It is crunch time for the team as if things continue to slide then relegation to the Championship is a looming possibility.

Bath City FC: The Romans play in the Vanarama National League Division South with a series of games this month that could define their season. First up is local rivals Chippenham Town on January 2, with an away game on Saturday January 8 against chelmsford City. They head off up the M4 agains to Hemel Hempstead Town on January 15and again on the 25th January when they square up to Hampton and Richmond. There are also home games on January 22 with Eastbourne Borough and January 29 when they play Braintree Town at Twerton Park in what is a very busy month. If you’ve never been then pop along to the park for a game every bit as exciting as the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool but with a distinct Bathonian flavour and cheer on the Romans to victory.

Bear Flat FC: The Bears look to consolidate their position in the third division of the Bath and District Sunday League. In January they play at home at the Sulis Club on the 9th against Lansdown Reserves and on the 16th when they entertain Heritage United Reserves. There’s an away game at Tormarton CC when they face Heritage United reserves on the 30th and a sort of away game back at Sulis Club when they play Two Weir Town.

Netball: Team Bath face up to Surrey storm a the Team Bath Arena on February 18th as the new 2022 Vitality Superleague gets underway. The competition is reverting to a home and away format for the new campaign and season and individual match-day tickets are now on sale. See https://netball.teambath.com/2021/11/03/vitality-netball-superleague-tickets/

Hockey: Team Bath Buccaneers Hockey Club is a club for everyone whose strength is built on the diversity of its playing membership, its partnership with Bath University and the quality of the coaching and facilities that it has access to. the club has strong representation amongst Club, Student and Youth players and has strength in depth in playing numbers with 8 Mens, 5 Ladies, 2 Masters, 2 Indoor, 5 Summer League and 17 Junior teams. The Buccaneers are based at The University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY. See https://www.teambathbuccaneers.co.uk/about-the-club/ to join and pick up a stick and hit a ball.

Swimming: Based at Bath Leisure Centre and established in 1899, Bath Dolphin Swimming Club (BDSC) is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the South West.

Tennis: Bloomfield Tennis Club founded in 1927 and is located at 98 Wellsway in Bath. Members have full access to club facilities, those who are Adult British Tennis members are also eligible to enter the club ballot for Wimbledon tickets that takes place each year. All funds from club memberships go directly into the running of the club. Bloomfield offers a wide range of membership options including:
Senior, Family, Junior and Student, along with Daytime only versions. to join visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/BloomfieldTennisClub

Cycling: Bath Cycle Club have several are informal rides, mostly organised on email. If you want to join the group please contact Mark markpearson99@hotmail.com to be added to the Email list.
To join visit www.bathcc.net and start cycling.

Bath Lacrosse Club: There are no games until January 15th when the team play Bristol Bombers in Cotswold division 1. They play at Odd Down Playing fields, Bloomfield Road, Bath BA2 2PR and to join see http://bathlacrosse.com/wp/

For more on Bath visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/bath-voice/bath-news/

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More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at https://issuu.com/bathvoice