Tricky’s Tales

1 January 2012

David Trick, Club President and Bath and England legend gave us his views on all things Bath - past and present, prior to Sundays game against London Irish.

As I wish you all a Happy New Year, please spare a thought for the players of both sides taking to the pitch on New Year's Day entertain us. Believe me, playing on 1 January is not ideal from a players perspective although I fully appreciate how exciting it is for supporters, many of whom will stagger to the Recreation Ground nursing severe hangovers, desperately trying to remember what their resolutions of a few hours ago were and wondering how many they've already broken.

I have a vivid memory of a New Year's Day fixture in 1985 at Kingsholm (home of Gloucester Rugby) when the South West of England took on Romania in the final match prior to the announcement of the full England team to play Romania on the 5th January at Twickenham. Having made selection for the SW side I was obviously going to be sensible on New Year's Eve. I chose my party wisely - it was a black tie affair hosted by the secretary of Bath Rugby at the time, David Lamb. Most of the guests were a generation older than me so I naively assumed the party would be more sedentary than those I'd attended in previous years – wrong.

By 11.00pm I was feeling no pain following several glasses of David's 'fruit based' punch. Things started to go wrong for me when Jack Rowell arrived shortly before midnight. For those of you who are relatively new to Bath Rugby, Jack was coach of Bath from the late 70's – mid 90's, more worryingly for me; he was also coach of the South West at the time. I had spies in every room keeping me in touch with Jack's movements. Wherever he was – I wasn't.

At 2.30am I was in the kitchen (all the best people at parties end up in the kitchen). Someone raced in to inform me Jack was on his way, so naturally I hid in the larder. Jack was thanking the host and saying goodbye to various people while I searched the shelves for some 'nibbles'. As he walked out of the kitchen door into the night, I heard him say, "Tricks, I dare you to arrive at the team bus in your black tie later this morning." Not only did Jack know I was at the party, he knew I was hiding in the larder. Still, a dare's a dare. At 11.00am I boarded the coach in Great Pulteney Street looking resplendent in my black tie. Jack merely raised his eyes skyward as I walked between the seats towards the 'card school' at the back.

For the record, by my standards I had a more than decent match, the highlight being an 80 metre break from our try line during which I beat a few Romanians and delivered a try scoring pass to our full back Chris Martin with less than two minute remaining.

I jogged back towards the halfway line confident of my impending selection for England. Sadly, as I crossed the halfway line I began to feel as though I'd eaten a 'dodgy' prawn at the party the night before. Seconds later my fears were confirmed as I emptied the contents of my stomach in front of 12,000 spectators and a slightly larger TV audience on Rugby Special later the same day.

Following my shower and a thorough clean of my teeth, I left the changing rooms and passed Derek Morgan, Chairman of England Selectors. He probably saw an expectant look on my face and for the second time within a few hours someone looked at me and raised their eyes skyward. Needless to say the right wing berth for England was awarded to Simon Smith of Wasps, who had presumably also been to a New Year's Eve party but cleverly avoided 'throwing up' in front of the Chairman of Selectors and BBC viewers!

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