FAN’S VIEW: Momentum builds for Bath Rugby as Mears reaches the end of the road
Bath Rugby supporter Glyn Edwards gives his take on events at The Rec...
Monday’s shock news about Lee Mears served to put reaction to last Saturday’s win over Worcester - and the continuing speculation about new signings - firmly in the background, for a few days at least.
Lee’s association with Bath began when the Torquay-born schoolboy was first noticed by Andy Robinson at Colston’s and he was already in the club’s Academy when the Heineken Cup was won in 1998.
Now that he has been forced to retire from professional rugby on precautionary medical grounds, the last playing link from that famous day 15 years ago has finally been severed.
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While his retirement is certainly premature, in terms of form and appetite for rugby, all of his friends – and they number very many for this engagingly-chirpy sportsman – will be relieved that it was a screening process rather than an incident which ultimately revealed his condition.
Team-mates, opponents, coaches, and rugby supporters from well-beyond the boundaries of Bath will all reflect fondly on the career of a player whose considerable stature within the sport belied his relatively small frame – especially viewed alongside most of his fellow forwards.
Whether any new role will now be found for Mears to extend his long relationship with the club remains to be seen, but with flourishing business interests in the city his face is unlikely to be missing down at The Rec for long.
It was confirmed that another favourite son of the supporters, Brad Davis, had left the club at the end of last week, although he was present in the chairman’s box at the Worcester match – allowing the team to say goodbye with a late flourish and a win.
His significant contribution throughout the Steve Meehan years – and during the often tempestuous times of last season – has been well-documented by both press and pundits. He has always been appreciated by the supporters, who knew a good man - as well as a good coach - when they met one. Thanks, Brad!
Bruce Craig’s wide smile in the clubhouse afterwards showed that he clearly appreciated the expansive approach which produced second-half tries for two of his cavalier wings.
Tom Heathcote’s precise chip for Horacio ‘Nelson’ Agulla’s superb late finish was the gloss on a solid overall performance. Control from Peter Stringer, Stephen Donald and the pack ensured that the win was sensibly secured before style eventually replaced substance.
Further momentum was built upon the pleasing rout of Gloucester at Kingsholm, and progression towards the upper reaches of the Premiership – while going all out to win one of the two cups – would not be a bad season for Lee to remember as his last.