These Five Guys Were Unlucky


Spurrell: best uncapped?
By P G Tips
May 12 2020

Looking back over Bath’s illustrious list of past players I found five who were desperately unlucky. Some will say that they were in fact fortunate, being able to play rugby at first class level, extremely durably in some cases – three of the five represented Bath for a decade or more – and sharing in 18 first class trophies between them. However, despite striking fear into opponents and becoming Bath legends they all missed out on international recognition. Here they are.

Roger Spurrell

Roger was unlucky to hit his peak when England already had two established “blonde bombshell” opensides in Peter Winterbottom and David Cooke. Winterbottom was named one of New Zealand’s five Players of the Year in 1983 for his performances in the weakest Lions team ever to visit their country. Cooke led the England pack in 1985, but neither had the impact on the club game that Roger did. Let England and Bath scrum half Richard Hill sum it up:

 “The best player never to represent England. He did not fit into their type of player because he was too ‘rough’! As captain, he was a driving force behind Bath becoming the best team in England.” Roger epitomised the never say die attitude instilled in Bath by Jack Rowell: his combination of personal example, drive and ferocity when the going got tough seeming to change the course of games by sheer strength of will. Captained Bath from 1981-85, including the club’s first two honours: John Player Cup wins in 1984 & 1985.

 

Audley Lumsden

If Spurrell was the best player never to represent England, surely Lumsden was the best overlooked back. As naturally talented as Jeremy Guscott or Mike Catt, he had similar levels of self -belief and racked up 64 tries from fullback in his 120 games for Bath over 10 seasons. Four other Bath men occupied the England 15 shirt during that time, but it was horrendous luck with injury that restricted Audley to England Students and England B honours. He broke his neck so badly that he had to wear a steel cage to prevent him turning his head, then just as he seemed certain to be capped, fractured an ankle and then his leg in the same season. As at home on the wing or outside centre as at full back, he always played with a smile on his face and was a delight to watch, his change of pace, body swerve and footwork making nonsense of the meanest defences.

 

Richard Lee

Another in the Spurrell mould, from the same era. Farmer Lee was an immensely strong tight head prop. A hard man in a pack full of enforcers, he was capped at B level but could not force his way past first Gary Pearce and later Jeff Probyn for a full England cap. More mobile than either, he was often involved in handling moves and scored 30 tries in Bath colours. He played in 4 winning Cup Finals and collected 3 league winners’ medals during his 13 seasons for Bath. During that time he appeared in Blue, Black and White 363 times, which puts him in the top ten for club appearances.

 

Jim Fallon

In his brief initial career with Bath Fallon appeared set for stardom. A bustling 15 stone plus winger who was as happy to run through opponents as around them, he could often be seen scoring with defenders clinging to him as he drove for the line. In only 45 matches he chalked up 30 tries for the club. With his combination of physicality, pace and willingness to attack, he was spoken of as a strong candidate for the 1993 Lions tour to New Zealand, only to stun Bath and England by signing for Leeds RL at the end of the 1992 season. Enjoyed a brief return to Bath in the professional era but was forced to retire, uncapped when he suffered a detached retina in 1998.

 

Andy Beattie

Looked as if he could be the heavy duty backrow ball carrier England needed to takeover as Lawrence Dallaglio faded, only to break his leg in a bizarre accident against France A at the Rec in early 2005. He continued in Bath colours at No8, flank or lock until 2012, but the injury robbed him of the pace that had made him such an attacking threat. A further ankle injury brought his 11year Bath career to an end in 2012. He will be remembered for his fearsome commitment, lineout work and implacable defence.

 

Those are five Bath men I believe could, indeed should have played for England but were denied –either by selectorial blindness, injury or sheer ill-luck with timing. There were of course other worthy candidates, Matt Garvey and Nathan Catt of the current squad were certainly in contention a few seasons ago, and many thought Adam Vander would break through before injury cut his career cruelly short. What about Carl Fearns, or another injury plagued forward Scott Hobson? Apart from England, there were three Rec favourites who came frustratingly close to Australian honours- Shaun Berne, Matt Carraro and Julian Salvi.

 

So- let’s hear your selection of five Bath players who did not get the breaks their talent and effort deserved.

 



 

pqs: qs:
These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Comeonmylovers.co.uk (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 09:09

What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:05:26:13:27:14 by P G Tips.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 11:27

John Palmer was the best fly half England never had

The Rodney Marsh of English rugby. Supremely, naturally gifted and sadly massively overlooked

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bath Supporter Jack (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 11:40

PG as I started reading above I thought I am going to put in Andy Beattie because I bet most people won't think of him so imagine my delight when I got to the end!!!

Also a really, really nice bloke!thumbs down

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 11:42

Quote:
gaz59
John Palmer was the best fly half England never had
The Rodney Marsh of English rugby. Supremely, naturally gifted and sadly massively overlooked

Although he did get a couple of caps as a centre - on an ill-fated tour of SA. That was an era when England's selectors were in a real muddle.

PG

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: shipwrecked (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 12:04

Quote:
P G Tips
Quote:
gaz59
John Palmer was the best fly half England never had
The Rodney Marsh of English rugby. Supremely, naturally gifted and sadly massively overlooked

Although he did get a couple of caps as a centre - on an ill-fated tour of SA. That was an era when England's selectors were in a real muddle.

PG

Did they ever get out of that muddle PG?



https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Kaapstad (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 14:18

'Guys"

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Mike the Taxi (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 14:46

.weren't named Mo

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bod (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 14:57

Paul Simpson comes to mind - him and Spurrell were an indomitable double act, although Simmo got a couple of caps if I recall correctly



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:05:12:14:58:59 by Bod.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 15:17

Yes Bod- he got 3 1983-1987.

PG

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bod (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 15:25

Graham Dawe as well PGT
How many times did Moore go missing for the club encounters (probably for perceived health reasons)?

(Sm3)

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 12/05/2020 16:33

Agreed Bod- but the main premise was those who did not get a cap they deserved.

Graham did at least get to play a few full internationals, including a World Cup.

PG

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Optimist (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 10:03

Quote:
Bod
Graham Dawe as well PGT
How many times did Moore go missing for the club encounters (probably for perceived health reasons)?

(Sm3)

At a wild guess, i'd probably say zero times, apart from in the apocryphal rememberings of partisan Bath fans. Moore was as much a part of England going from national embarrassment in 1987 to within-a-Campese-deliberate knock-on of World Champions in 1991, as anyone. A genuine prototype for the modern hooker.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: P G Tips (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 11:04

Fair point Opti.

Moore epitomised the spirit of that England team- especially it's pack.

Dawe was actually in a 3 way fight for the England shirt as John Olver of Quins had his moments in the early 90s. Where his luck failed him I believe was bearing some of the blame for the battle of Cardiff in 1987. Moore took his chance and Dawe then had to play catch up at international level.

PG

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Pop stand fan (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 12:02

Bob Orledge, played 171 times for Bath but never for England despite playing in 5 England trials and travelling as a reserve 8 times.
Ian Duckworth a trialist who missed the call to play for England because he was climbing a mountain.
Simon Jones and Gerry Parsons, also trialists who probably came within an injury of playing for England.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: DanWiley (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 12:06

Maybe not a player that "if only X, Y or Z weren't around" or the coach just didn't like the look of your face, bu tTom Dunn must have been as close to a cap as its possible and not get one: 80min on the bench as a hooker these days then the 6N game against Italy (surely in that game?) cancelled due to a virus.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: CoochieCoo (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 12:08

Comment from Dave Egerton on our FB page

Quote:
Dave Egerton
I dont like to label players as hard or not , but Roger redefined the meaning . His ability to lead ( along with Jack of course ) was the only reason Bath are in the top flight today.



https://pbflaa.by.files.1drv.com/y4mToRbTHGUTg0zWMi8LNeOlOmx4tZHsH3crYbASv0X_qWBw8j30S9KV-RiZIf_AWoOZXD7D3Rjy1tYRAKXykpZSHuOObVQBiovPpB6PnDUuBM6xlx2F1yOjKpEBmWUfMru3SCm255j3p-CnndC7J9ZUG29r1BtfFWHHj-MdzDOpzBuTRTPqNaco8ctf1svZyW0?width=106&height=160&cropmode=none
https://pbfkaa.by.files.1drv.com/y4mhxY1k8zrLn92LwcIYgSd1KcA6zBGX-Wgw2dNz8Us0xA71EhjMmL2tc-ggx7OlsBDECw8eAZ_oAWnNyh5doimzOEics5H87cuh5Q-Sb-ViPD6Pt6QUBneu5F2tlWLltGQZ8pd5qFmsZwbKB39L5Dki21gJfnsiaxLiCiuWPCZUjkXp4EttajzFAgcCl6YuDDF?width=160&height=107&cropmode=none

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bath Supporter Jack (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 13:52

That's a serious endorsement!

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 14:02

Quote:
CoochieCoo
Comment from Dave Egerton on our FB page
Quote:
Dave Egerton
I dont like to label players as hard or not , but Roger redefined the meaning . His ability to lead ( along with Jack of course ) was the only reason Bath are in the top flight today.

My recollection, which is always hazy at best is that there were strong suggestions around at the time that there was significant medical assistance in his leadership qualities which didn't play well with the RFU top brass.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bepetas (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 22:38

I think Nick Abendanon is worth a mention. It was a joy watching him play in BB&W.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 13/05/2020 22:51

Quote:
Bepetas
I think Nick Abendanon is worth a mention. It was a joy watching him play in BB&W.

Apart from that he got 2 caps in 2007:

- 11 Aug 2007: Home vs France
- 02 Jun 2007: away vs South Africa



[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: DanWiley (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 07:52

Yeah, sadly I've got a vague memory of him being run over by chebal and the writing already being in the wall.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: shipwrecked (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 08:37

Quote:
DanWiley
Yeah, sadly I've got a vague memory of him being run over by chebal and the writing already being in the wall.

I don't know if you have seen any of his games in France but he has made some pretty impressive last ditch tackles over there.



https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bepetas (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 09:46

Quote:
BathMatt53
Quote:
Bepetas
I think Nick Abendanon is worth a mention. It was a joy watching him play in BB&W.

Apart from that he got 2 caps in 2007:

- 11 Aug 2007: Home vs France
- 02 Jun 2007: away vs South Africa

Despite his two caps, in my opinion, Nick Abendanon didn't get the international recognition his talent deserved. Hence worth a mention rather than should be one of the unlucky five.

Interesting comments from Mike Umaga [www.ruck.co.uk] about the size of players. It is crazy if players like Nick Abendanon and James Simpson-Daniel are deemed too small and their attacking skills are ignored. Both Nick Abendanon and James Simpson-Daniel are about the same size as Christian Cullen who has to be one of, if not the, best fullback to play the game.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 10:10

Quote:
Bepetas
Despite his two caps, in my opinion, Nick Abendanon didn't get the international recognition his talent deserved. Hence worth a mention rather than should be one of the unlucky five.

Yes, big long list of some very talented players with only a small handful of caps, such as our very own Roko.



[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Optimist (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 11:44

Quote:
Bepetas
Interesting comments from Mike Umaga [www.ruck.co.uk] about the size of players. It is crazy if players like Nick Abendanon and James Simpson-Daniel are deemed too small and their attacking skills are ignored. Both Nick Abendanon and James Simpson-Daniel are about the same size as Christian Cullen who has to be one of, if not the, best fullback to play the game.

... and yet there they are - 3 small, skilful guys who all played international rugby. JS-D was plagued by injury - which could well have been an outcome of being relatively small? Of course, smaller players have to have exceptional skills to compensate against the big guys - but that is why smaller players don't always make it through - because very few have absolutely 'exceptional' skills - and if they do, they'll get noticed eventually. Of course there are a few narrow-minded coaches out there, but for every narrow-minded one there are progressive ones in droves.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 11:49

Cheslin Kolbe seems to be doing OK.



[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: shipwrecked (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 12:32

As did Shane Williams.



https://i.ibb.co/gjWyP09/Unknown-1-2.jpg


Beno Obano Age 25 years, Loosehead prop, 5ft 8ins 18st 12lbs 'Mauls are like Transformers' they change form to become more powerful!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:05:14:12:33:57 by shipwrecked.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Mike the Taxi (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 14:52

...and Jonny Wilkinson. He got 'cloths lined' by a large SA player, and came back with a determination to tackle!

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Rinkadink (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 18:23

A forward thinking coach should be looking at those smaller players who can get really low to the ground right now; they present great problems for bigger men who are unable to adjust without conceding yards. See Thacker at Bristol and Kolbe at the world cup amongst many others.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Old Bath Tub (IP Logged)
Date: 14/05/2020 18:28

And Jason Robinson !



Adopted Player 2018/19 Ross Batty
Adopted Player 2019/20 Jack Davies

"AN OUNCE OF ACTION IS WORTH A TON OF THEORY"
FRIEDRICH ENGELS

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: joethefanatic (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2020 06:16

Also contained in that Mike Umaga interview was a reference to the physical disadvantages suffered by players born at the end of the academic year. A creative recruitment strategy would recognize an opportunity there.



... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 15/05/2020 07:23

Some countries have 2-year age groups I think, like some of the girls rugby in England. That must make the difference even more marked.



[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: John Tee (IP Logged)
Date: 18/05/2020 14:23

Quote:
Optimist
Quote:
Bod
Graham Dawe as well PGT
How many times did Moore go missing for the club encounters (probably for perceived health reasons)?

(Sm3)

At a wild guess, i'd probably say zero times, apart from in the apocryphal rememberings of partisan Bath fans. Moore was as much a part of England going from national embarrassment in 1987 to within-a-Campese-deliberate knock-on of World Champions in 1991, as anyone. A genuine prototype for the modern hooker.

I dont know your player that could have been in the frame but England fans loved Moore, iirc, especially his French wind-ups, which always seemed to work..lol.

So to get past Moore, he would have been some player...

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: A different view (IP Logged)
Date: 23/05/2020 06:53

Adam Vander - suffered a horrible foot injury playing for England A (against France?) which ended his professional career just as he was starting to get wider recognition. A lovely guy, too.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bath Supporter Jack (IP Logged)
Date: 23/05/2020 10:33

Yes A different View I forgot about him.

As I recall a hybrid of Flouw and Sam, and maybe better hands than either of them........as I recall.

Does anyone know what he is doing now?

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Mike the Taxi (IP Logged)
Date: 23/05/2020 14:44

[www.theargus.co.uk] - Haywards Heath 2009

[en.espn.co.uk] - seems to have gone quiet

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: cb2 (IP Logged)
Date: 25/05/2020 12:02

For a club with such a history, our international greats are few and far between. Guscott apart, and not including those like Evans and Robinson, who would have a claim for a place in the best of British International side of the past 40 years? Watson might in a few years.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: gaz59 (IP Logged)
Date: 25/05/2020 13:55

Quote:
cb2
For a club with such a history, our international greats are few and far between. Guscott apart, and not including those like Evans and Robinson, who would have a claim for a place in the best of British International side of the past 40 years? Watson might in a few years.

In such a side any premiership club would be exceptionally lucky to have any more than 1 player surely and some won't have any

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: joethefanatic (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 07:14

Quote:
cb2
For a club with such a history, our international greats are few and far between. Guscott apart, and not including those like Evans and Robinson, who would have a claim for a place in the best of British International side of the past 40 years? Watson might in a few years.

Ant is very good but "Best of British" of the last 40 years? I doubt it. Who do we have to look at? They'd have to be a Lion to even be considered so that gives us, since 1980, the following BBW players (some very fleeting)

Ieuan Evans
Gareth Chilcott
Jerry Guscott
Andy Robinson
Dave Egerton
Damian Cronin
Stuart Barnes
Ben Clarke
Richard Webster
Andy Reed
Richard Hill
Mark Regan
Mike Catt
Nigel Redman
Danny Grewcock
Iain Balshaw
Matt Perry
Jason Robinson
Gareth Cooper
Lewis Moody
Gavin Henson
Matt Stevens
Jamie Roberts
Lee Mears
Taulupe Faletau
Jonathan Joseph
Anthony Watson
Rhys Webb(!)

Of these, the three I would nominate as being in with a shout would be Stuart Barnes, Jason Robinson and Ben Clarke. But I don't think any of them would get a wider nod. Even from BBW aficionados.



... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2020:05:26:07:44:34 by joethefanatic.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: BathMatt53 (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 07:19

Only Jason Robinson for me from that list.



[Adoptee 19 / 20: The High ball and counter attack meister, Tom Homer]

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Pop stand fan (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 09:43

Not our Richard Hill. He was up against some quality rivals in the 1980s Terry Holmes, Robert Jones, Gary Armstrong, Nigel Melville.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: joethefanatic (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 09:51

Quote:
Pop stand fan
Not our Richard Hill. He was up against some quality rivals in the 1980s Terry Holmes, Robert Jones, Gary Armstrong, Nigel Melville.

Good point, thanks. That Richard Hill might indeed make the Best of British team.



... IMHO, of course.

Now in Honolulu

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Never In Doubt (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 11:20

Barry Trevaskis .... got close but never quite a full cap.

Re: These Five Guys Were Unlucky
Posted by: Bod (IP Logged)
Date: 26/05/2020 11:58

Quote:
Never In Doubt
Barry Trevaskis .... got close but never quite a full cap.

thumbs down

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing abuse@sportnetwork.net