Do you know the answers? Test your knowledge or learn something that you didn't know about your Club - part of our 150th Anniversary celebration.
The question of who formed the Club has never been definitely answered. Reports from the time say it was ‘formed by a few gentlemen of the city’. Others believe the founders were members of Lansdown Cricket Club, whose colours are blue, black and white, looking for something to do in the winter.
The Club was known at first as Bath Zouaves, then Rovers, then Wanderers. The Zouaves were an elite infantry corps in the French army drawn from the tribes of one of its colonies, Algeria. They wore dark blue jackets and a red Fez. The Club then became known as Bath Football Club, until rugby became professional, when the name Bath Rugby Club stuck.
The first set of colours the Club played in was blue shirts and white shorts, with red caps being worn off the field, and sometimes on it. Then black joined blue until 1906. A year later, white shirts were worn, before blue, white and black were combined in 1908/09 to create the hoops synonymous with the Club today. During the 1920s, Bath mostly wore red socks and were known as the red socks in some parts. It wasn’t until the 1930s that blue, black and white hooped socks became the norm.
On October 27 1888 the first derby game between Bath and Bristol took place, with Bath taking the local bragging rights.
Frank ‘Buster’ Soane is the Club’s longest serving captain, wearing the armband from 1890-1898.
In 1899, the Bath and West Evening Chronicle reported that following a celebratory night out in London following an away match, the players managed to return to Bath Spa train station with two newly wedded grooms amongst the group!
Bath Rugby Winger Vincent Coates, a Cambridge Blue and England International, won the Military Cross for gallantry at the Battle of Somme in 1916, as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
In 1921 an unusual tradition started for matches between Llanelli and Bath. The ritual saw a rag doll tied to one of the crossbars before a game. The winning club would claim it and have the right to dress it in their colours until the next encounter.
In January 1920, Bath’s Clifford Walwin died after colliding with a Cross Keys player. He had been wearing the number 13 shirt that day and from then until the advent of professionalism that ‘unlucky’ numbered shirt was not worn by the first team. Outside centres tended to wear 14, right wingers 15 and the full-back 16.
The old West stand was built in the 1930s, and catered for 1,150 spectators.
The Rec suffered extensive damage when in April 1942 the city was hit by a particularly devastating German bombing raid. By the end of it, the West stand was destroyed and the North stand severely damaged.
Immediately after the war, from 1946-68, while the changing facilities at the Rec were being re-built, the players of the hosts and visitors changed in the Cross Baths at the end of Bath Street, now part of the Thermae Bath Spa.
Bath Rugby Captain, Major Ronald Gerrard, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for gallantry in North Africa in 1942. Tragically, he was killed in action just three months later.
One of Bath’s most well-known presidents was the actor Arnold Ridley, better known as Private Godfrey from Dad’s Army.
Mollie Gerrard, the wife of the late Bath Rugby Captain Major Ronald A Gerrard D.S.O, became the first female President of Bath Rugby and indeed, any rugby club that we know of. A local architect, Mrs Gerrard was heavily involved in the design of the current West Stand.
Peter Sibley, who Captained Bath from 1966 to 1969, was responsible for changing the way in which Bath played the game, as the first to develop the ethos for fast, attacking rugby – the ‘Bath Way’.
Ian Balding LVO, winning steeplechase jockey and world-famous horse trainer for HM The Queen from 1964-99, amassed more than 100 first-team appearances for Bath. He is the father of broadcaster Clare Balding. He is pictured here on The Quiet Man, who romped home at 100-8 at Wincanton on October 1957, just hours before Ian turned out for Bath in an evening fixture against Clifton!
The then record 42-0 mauling of Leicester Tigers at the Rec on January 6 1973 featured three brothers – Brian Jenkins and twins Peter and David – all of whom got on the scoresheet that day.
The Recreation Ground’s first floodlit match was on January 15, 1975, with the Royal Navy providing the opposition.
In 1985 Bath Rugby topped the Sunday Telegraph’s English Club table with 14 wins out of 14 games played.
Bath scored 205 tries in the 1982/83 season – a club record at the time.
Hooker Graham Dawe used to make a 300-mile round trip from his farm in Cornwall for training.
In the 1988-89 season, Gareth Chilcott was voted captain by the players, but he felt Stuart Barnes was the best man for the job and so the fly-half took the armband.
Club President David Trick once spent the night before a game sleeping in the boot of a car on Great Pulteney Street. He went on to score five tries the day after.
The Hall family are connected to Bath Rugby throughout the generations - John Hall’s grandfather Harry Vowels was a great captain of the 1920s, his father Peter player in the 50s and become club president, and Uncle Tom Smith was a powerful prop of the 40s and 50s.
John Hall is the most prolific forward in terms of try scoring in Bath’s history – 87 in 277 1st XV appearances.
The 80s were a series of Bath setting the trends. They were the first team to change from the traditional half-time oranges or lemons to energy drinks, the first to stay away on a Friday night ahead of a Saturday away game, and the first to take mid-season hot weather training camps in places like Lanzarote.
On 21st September 1991 Bath beat Cardiff on Welsh soil for the first time in 67 years. The final score was 9-10 to the visitors.
In December 1995, Bath scored 99 points in a single month – 15 tries and 12 conversions from Jon Callard
John Hall became Bath’s first Director of Rugby ahead of the 1995/95 season.
Most people know that Neil Back infamously pushed over referee Steve Lander (earning himself a six month suspension in the process), but it’s not so well remembered that it was against Bath! The two old rivals were competing in the Pilkington Cup final in 1996, and Back took exception to Lander awarding Bath a penalty try. Bath went on to win the game 16-15.
Bath were the first British club to win the Heineken Cup in 1998, however they were unable to defend their title after the English clubs boycotted the competition the following year.
Jon Callard scored all the points the 1998 European Cup Final victory – four penalties, a try and a conversion.
In 1997, Lee Mears was planning a career in the RAF but as the game turned professional, he was offered a contract with the Club. Since retiring, he has been learning to fly.
Steve Borthwick, Bath captain for three years, retired from the game as the most capped player in Premiership history with 265 appearances in total. Prop David Barnes holds the Club record for Premiership appearances, having made 183 in the Blue, Black and White. He made 266 appearances in all.
Bath scored 49 tries in 2009/10 season - more tries than any other team in the Premiership that year.
No one has scored more Premiership tries for Bath than Matt Banahan (44).
Stuart Hooper started playing rugby as a full-back. He made his senior debut for Saracens alongside former Bath Captain and now Academy Director, Danny Grewcock. A little known fact is that one summer he joined the circus and is now a very good juggler!
Bath made history in the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup by being the first team to top their pool having lost the first two fixtures in the tournament. The victories included a memorable 18-35 victory over Toulouse in the South of France.
Bath Rugby beat Leicester Tigers a record 45-0 in 2014-15. Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Peter Stringer and Olly Woodburn scored the tries, with George Ford kicking 20 points against his former club.
Matt Banahan became the first player from any Premiership club to score a hat-trick in an Aviva Premiership semi-final against Leicester in May 2015.
Continue exploring our 150th Anniversary pages.