Rugby Union: Bath resignations

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The Independent Online
BATH are as habitually troubled off the field as they are untroubled on it and yesterday, with the Courage Championship about to commence, the club chairman and another leading official resigned, writes Steve Bale.

It is understood that there was a vote of no confidence in the chairman, Roger Berry, at a management committee meeting on Monday night and that John Roberts, the grounds committee chairman, resigned in sympathy. Both will be replaced next week.

There is habitual tension at the Recreation Ground between players and committee, the professional approach on the field contrasting with a perceived amateurishness off it being demonstrated when the club made a loss last season despite winning both league and cup.

The resignations appear to be the culmination of a struggle between the old guard and more modern-minded people concerned at Bath's poor administrative image, with the clincher against Berry and Roberts apparently being the new Recreation Ground press box of all things. This had been due to be in use at Saturday's First Division game against Harlequins but will not now be ready until the visit of Orrell on 24 October at the earliest.

Stuart Barnes, the England B captain, has been passed fit to play at stand-off after a leg injury, Bath's only changes from last season's champion team being Sean O'Leary at lock and Adedayo Adebayo on the wing. Barnes missed Bath's Italian tour because of a calf injury for which he seems to have found a miracle cure.

Phil Blakeway, 41, an England prop of long ago, will make his league debut when Moseley play Bedford in the Second Division on Saturday seven years after retiring from rugby. Both he and Mike Teague, another Gloucester old boy who has somehow been persuaded to ply the M5 to Birmingham, have recovered from injury.