Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.


Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.


Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!


Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.


Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/

It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.


Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.


Rugby league and a rainbow - Bath & Wiltshire Romans v Swindon St George on 27 April 2016

13th August 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans on the wrong side of a 62-12 scoreline against Southampton Spitfires in the West of England League plate semi-final. A fruitless diversion to Amesbury, an enormous jam at one of the Stonehenge roundabouts caused simply by rubberneckers and the 61-mile journey from Corsham took two-and-a-half hours with arrival ten minutes before kick-off. One of our supporters was on the road for four hours, having travelled from Exeter. A rapidly increasing population, hundreds of thousands of new homes proposed across the country (close to a thousand in Corsham alone) and this situation is set to get much worse. The answer - slow down the pace of life, reopen lost railway lines and take the train. Take the example of our referee for today's match, Stuart Aldridge, and take a look at the map of the Midland and South West Junction Railway below. In 1960, Stuart could have travelled from his home in Gloucester all the way to Redbridge (see bottom-right of map) by train, read a good part of War and Peace, taken a couple of naps, gone to the toilet at will (not be dying for a pee stuck in a traffic jam!) and hired a pony and trap to/from the stations at both ends. Heaven!

Bath & Wiltshire Romans' bruised, battered but still upbeat squad following the defeat against Southampton Spitfires on 13th August 2016

Back row L-R: Oliver Russell, Matt Warnock, Ash Salter, Chris Barter, Stevan Randall, Aaron Knowles, Lewis Atkinson, Chris Chatten. Front row L-R: Jake Morris, James Noott, Jack Dixon, David Parkin, Tom Plance, Ryan Willcox

Bath & Wiltshire Romans' Frome trio: Matt Warnock, Stevan Randall and Aaron Knowles following the plate semi-final
A first game of rugby league for Jake Morris and this is the thanks he gets - a bloodied nose

6th August 2016 - Romans travel to Swindon St George for a West of England League cross-pool fixture (there are two West of England League pools and two cross-pool fixtures are scheduled for each team in the season along with the normal intra-pool matches).


I could sense that this was 'one of those days'. The journey to Swindon took in a stop-off at Chippenham railway station, aka Nerd Central, to see a classic steam engine pass through. Nerds, including me of course, had cameras at the ready. There was a shout of "here it comes" and I took a couple of zoomed shots when the camera reported 'FULL" (I had loaned it to a relative yesterday and she, apparently, took hundreds of pictures). Aaaaaarg ... so back-up, compact camera was hurriedly shifted from my pocket and in the shifting its setting moved from 'auto' to 'filter'. This resulted in only one shot being possible and that with a yellow filter applied. As I said ... aaaaaargh.

LMS 4-6-2 Pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland drifts through Chippenham along with its support coach; two nerds at end of platform

Bath & Wiltshire Romans won the cup and league double last season but this season they are 'doing a Leeds'. Last season, Leeds won the treble but this season will win nothing; they have been at or near the bottom of the table all year. But, as someone once said, it's not the winning etc. In July alone, in the South West and West of England leagues, eight matches were awarded as walkovers because opposition clubs could not field a team. However, even though Romans have been struggling to field a side, every fixture has been fulfilled. And the consequence has been that Romans have been on the receiving end of some big scores .. this week's was:

Swindon St George 66, Bath & Wiltshire Romans 20


The principal reason that Romans, notably, have completed every fixture is down to one man, Chris Chatten the chairman. Chris somehow, each week, by hook or by crook and by means of scores of emails and telephone calls, manages to assemble a squad. And, aye up, this is achieved not from a local base but from the wrong side of the Pennines, Yorkshire. And then, in round-trips of at least 460 miles (550 miles in the case of Portsmouth) he comes to every match and performs all or most of the matchday and after-match chores: sorting out the playing kit and ancillary stuff like water bottles, running on with the kicking tee, washing the kit (or perhaps this is 'delegated'!) and so on. If he had given a back-hander to David Cameron, he could have been in the House of Lords by now.


Let's have a look at some pictures from this week's match:

30th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans lose at home to Bristol Sonics and also suffer blowback disqualification at the Man of the Match drinking competition. Men of the match were Mike Perry of Romans and George Burnie of Sonics. Mark Samwell, Romans' sponsor and committee member, was also shanghaied into taking part as a 'thank you' (!) for all the good work he has put in throughout the season.

After a decent first-half performance, Romans trailed by just ten points at the break. However, Romans' defensive frailties were exposed in the second-half when Sonics rattled up 30 points with only 6 in reply to leave a final score of Bath & Wiltshire Romans 22, Bristol Sonics 56

There was a good crowd in for the match at Corsham RFC's Lacock Road ground. What more could you want ... a beautiful summer day, rugby league, a pint or three, the bells of St Bartholomew's ringing out ... I mentioned to Bristol's polymath supporter (see next picture) that I had already been to heaven at Wilderspool (Warrington) in the 50s when we had Brian Bevan performing his magic on the pitch and the London and North Western Railway running past the Railway End (would you believe!) with mainly Black 5s or 8Fs in charge of  goods trains on the Liverpool - Stockport line. I recall that during one match, a Black 5 was 'parked' at the railway end with its driver and fireman taking an avid interest in the match. 

Bristol's manager Matt Anniss gives a time check to Monsieur Polymath (apologies, I don't yet know his name) while Bristol's Blues Brothers are engrossed in the match. Monsieur Polymath is a regular at West of England rugby league matches throughout our region from the Forest of Dean through Cheltenham and Gloucester to Swindon; his knowledge of the local and wider game is encyclopaedic and insightful.

Looks like a bad hair day needs an urgent fix in the clubhouse while there's a bit of a lull in play

Sonics are starting them young ... one of the nursery squad receiving instruction from the RL coaching manual


Local rugby union stalwart Tim Unwin enjoying the entertainment provided by the other code. Now, what else happened on this beautiful summer afternoon ... ah yes, the rugby ...

16th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans suffer massive second-half reversal at Oxford Cavaliers


In red kite country (we spotted five in and around Abingdon) at Tilsley Park in Abingdon, having led at half-time by 18 points to 16, Romans suffered a massive second-half reversal in losing by 60 points to 18! Was the wind to blame (in the meteorological sense) which blew strongly in Cavaliers' favour in the second-half or was it just that Cavaliers came on strong? This was a disappointing result in view of the fact that it was a '4-pointer' (the winner would take four league points) as the reverse fixture was abandoned following a serious injury.

Cheltenham referee Melvin Betteridge asserts his authority over Romans' Sam Goulding who appears suitably contrite

9th July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans' first league win of the season at Gloucester Warriors


The second of three consecutive away league fixtures saw Bath & Wiltshire Romans triumph, by 58 points to 30, at Gloucester Warriors Gordon League ground in Hempsted Lane, Gloucester. Why 'Gordon League' I hear you ask? Well here's the story from the Warriors' website.


The Gloucester Gordon League was launched on the 5th of December 1885. It was founded in common with many other Gordon Boys Clubs throughout Britain, as a living memory to General Charles Gordon, who died when the besieged city of Khartoum fell to the fanatical followers of Muhammad Ahmed, The Mahdi. 
Local Government's initial enthusiasm for the Gordon Youth movement soon waned, possibly due to the political in-fighting over the Khartoum Affair, and they withdrew their financial backing. Many of the clubs were forced to disband, but in the City of Gloucester, thanks to the intervention of a remarkable woman this was not the case. Miss Agnes Jane Waddy, believed to be a volunteer tea lady in the early days of the club, simply took control and enlisted the support of local businesses and individuals to save the club.

In 1888 Miss Waddy and a young assistant named Ernest Browning founded The Gordon League Rugby Football Club as an integral part of the existing Boys Club. The 'League' played it's first match in the September of that year, beating Barton Rangers by one try and one minor to one minor. Young Ernest scored that winning try and went on to serve the Club as a player and as an official for a total of 59 years.

Our club has since been well served by very many members in the best 'Browning' tradition but, had it not been for a frail Victorian Lady who refused to abandon an ideal, The Gloucester Gordon League Rugby Football Club would have never existed.


And I now hear you ask ... what is the Browning tradition? Let's put that on hold and look at some photos of the Warriors/Romans match.

Bruce Vuetanatotoka on his way to scoring Romans' fourth try. Nine of Romans' ten tries were converted, seven by Bruce

Back row L-R: Mark Samwell (sponsorship manager), Sam Goulding, Tom Culshaw, Chris Barter, Bruce Vuetanatotoka (Captain), Matt Warnock, Richard Carlisle, Luke Panting, Alex Clark, Chris Chatten (chairman), Jimmy Godfrey

Front row L-R: Huw Parks, Matt Bodey, Nick Parks, Tom Plance, Adam Almond, Luke Cador, Ryan Willcox, Hollie Bailey (physio)

Romans' press release on the match with details of scorers may be found in the following file 'link':

Press release Warriors v Romans Jul 2016[...]
Microsoft Word document [16.9 KB]

The RFL South West Rugby League website with community news, fixtures, results, tables etc is here:

2nd July 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans travel to Portsmouth for a West of England League fixture


HMS Temeraire and its £1/2million 3G artificial pitch was the venue for this match against Portsmouth Navy Seahawks and our fine railway system was the method of travel for some. The 10:47 left Bradford-on-Avon at 11:35 and arrived at Portsmouth Harbour at 13:58, one hour and six minutes late. The poster below was displayed at Bradford-on-Avon station - "celebrating" 40 years of the High Speed Train

The HSTs were designed and built by British Railways Engineering at Derby and Crewe. Because of their fine design, they are still the workhorses of our inter-city routes. Spot the irony here? Privatisation has brought no new money, no infrastructure, no new trains and certainly no engineering expertise so we "celebrate" using forty-year-old trains! The £5billion electrification of the Great Western (London - Bristol) main line will use taxpayers' money and should have been done in British Railways days. The poster below is from Fareham station where we had to make an unscheduled train change - money is spent on superficial stuff like retail units while railway infrastructure crumbles.

Aaah yes ... the rugby ... a second-half scrum, with the East Side Plaza Building (designed to look like a ship's funnel) and Emirates (odd isn't it that Brexiters who "want their country back" think nothing of our prostitution to Arab states) Spinnaker Tower beyond, is shown below and the picture gallery follows. Despite many regulars being unavailable, Romans put in a spirited performance, particularly in the second half, before going down by 42 points to 26. There were a number of spectators watching the match from outside the security fence, one of whom asked "What is this game?". 

15th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans host Oxford Cavaliers in the West of England League.


Prior to the match a one-minute round of applause was held by both teams in memory of Ronan Costello, a Huddersfield academy player who died following injuries sustained in a match last Saturday.

Bath & Wiltshire Romans and Oxford Cavaliers players, along with the referee, conduct a round of applause in memory of Ronan Costello

In a tight affair, with Oxford Cavaliers leading by fourteen points to six, the match was abandoned after 51 minutes following a serious injury sustained by Romans' winger Jimmy Godfrey. Photos of the abandoned game follow:

It's a family affair - Russ Preston & Son turned out for the Romans against Oxford Cavaliers in the abandoned match on 15th June

7th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans press release on the Sonics match last Saturday


The events of this Saturday almost reversed those of two weeks earlier at home to Portsmouth Navy Seahawks. Then, Seahawks raced into a 28-0 lead after about twenty minutes; this week, it was Romans turn to race into a 26-6 lead but they still managed to lose the match by 48 points to 56 in a 19 try thriller, against local rivals Bristol Sonics. 


Bath & Wiltshire Romans RLFC started quickly, with stand-off Paul Riley twice scything through Bristol’s shaky defence in the opening ten minutes to score dazzling long range tries, both of which were converted with ease by Fijian centre Bruce Vuetanaotoka.
Bristol hit back on the first significant attack of the game on 15 minutes, quick hands sending the ball wide to winger Jonny Mawer to crash over. Dom Swann slotted over a remarkable touchline conversion to reduce the arrears to six points, but with 10 minutes the visitors had extended their lead to 20 points.
First Riley completed his hat-trick with another mazy, long-range run, before Vuetanaotoka did the same. Fellow centre Ben Brierley was then put through a gap by Riley and raced away to score. Although Vuetanaotoka could only add one conversion, the Romans were 26-6 ahead and sitting pretty.
On the back of a series of penalties, the Sonics roared back into the game. Tries from Johan Schoeman – following a scintillating break and offload from replacement prop Curtis Asante – and Wes Long, the latter converted by Swann, brought the home side back within 10 points. When hooker Charlie Geary squeezed over for a try, again converted by Swann, the Sonics trailed by just 4 points. There was still time for a twist before half time, though, with the excellent Vuetanaotoka once again crossing the whitewash for a try he converted himself. At half time, the Romans remained ten points ahead at 32-22, but there was still all to play for.
After a quiet opening to the second half, Roman’s Paul Riley scored another trademark score, converted by Vuetanaotoka, and many thought the Sonics had too much to do.
Now 16 points in arrears, Bristol needed a big response. They got it when Kieran Harvey somehow managed to bulldoze his way over from 10 metres out, Swann adding the extras, and prop Simon Bannistern scooting over out wide. Bristol were only within a converted score for a matter of minutes, though, before Ben Brierley grabbed his second try of the afternoon. Joe Knight’s conversion put Bath 12 points ahead with 18 minutes remaining.
The Sonics surged forward looking to make amends, and worked the ball wide to Elliot Nightingale. He spun away from a high tackle, stepped back inside and crashed over, Swann making no mistake with the conversion. With 76 minutes on the clock, Bristol finally levelled the scores. Prop forward Byron Jerome was hauled down close to the line, bit stretched out his arm and somehow managed to ground the ball close to the posts. Swann slotted over the conversion, and suddenly it was anyone’s game. With 10 minutes remaining, the ball was thrown wide to second rower Jack Harbirdge, who marked his Bristol debut by racing clear of some tired defenders to touch down. Swann’s conversion put the Sonics six points ahead for the first time.
There were still further twists to come. The Romans showed champion form to get up on the canvas and reply, hooker Leigh Wheatley capping a fine game with a much-needed score. With Vuetanaotoka off the pitch, Paul Riley stepped up to attempt the conversion. His kick floated well wide, meaning that Bristol still held a slender two-point advantage.
With just over five minutes to go, Bristol once again worked the ball wide to Harbridge, who broke clear before getting as near as he could to the posts before touching down. Swann calmly converted, giving the Sonics a vital eight-point advantage.
The Romans threw everything at the Sonics line in the closing minutes, but for once the home side’s defence held firm.
Chris Chatten, Chairman, commented "It was a game that was certainly exciting for the spectators with plenty of tries for both sides, but I am sure tackling practice will be high on the agenda at training this week. A win is sure to be just around the corner with a 4 point loss in our first game and an 8 point loss this week against last years beaten finalists, we now look forward to giving a Romans welcome back to the West of England League for Oxford Cavaliers on Wednesday 15th June. If you have not see Rugby League before I would encourage you to come along to Corsham RU Club on  the 15th June it really is an exhilarating sport".

The Romans are based at Corsham Rugby Union Club, Lacock Road, Corsham and are keen to welcome new players aged 16+ of all abilities to training currently on Wednesday evenings from 7pm. The club are also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to sponsor the club in 2016 and have packages available for all budgets.


The Romans are next in action when they take on Oxford Cavaliers at their Corsham RU Club, Lacock Road, home on Wednesday 15th June, 7pm kick off.

T: Jonny Mawer, Johan Schoeman, Wesley Long, Charlie Geary, Kieran Harvey, Simon Bannister, Elliot Nightingale, Byron Edwards, Jack Harbridge 2
G: Dom Swann 8 (from 10)
T: Paul Riley 4, Bruce Vuetanaotoka 2, Ben Brierley 2, Leigh Wheatley
G: Bruce Vuetanaotoka 5 (from 7), Joe Knight 1 (from 1)
Sonics: Mike Gaston (centre)
Romans: Paul Riley (stand off)
Half-time score: 22-32
Referee: Ian Waters
For further information and updates:

Chris Chatten, Chairman Tel: 07810 552196

Twitter: @RomansRLFC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/romansRLFC/

4th June 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans first West of England away league fixture took place at the home of Dings Crusaders RFC against Bristol Sonics. This rugby league season and the forthcoming rugby union season will be the last at Dings' Lockleaze ground after 68 years. Sports pitches as well as farmland are falling prey to the current god of development at any cost. Dings' pitch and surrounding training areas are to be developed by Redrow, the same company that will be responsible for the wasting of 24 acres of farmland at Pickwick.


Taking the train from Bath to Filton Abbey Wood, I drifted off to sleep and awoke to be finding myself in the subcontinent ... but after clearing my eyes saw that we had stopped at Stapleton Road where, in its former incarnation, my dad bought a Mk 9 Jag from the garage under the railway bridge.

Confirming that we had not passed through a space-time warp, Filton Abbey Wood was reached just a few minutes later. The three-quarters of a mile walk from the station to Dings RFC skirts MoD Abbey Wood and runs across the grounds of Bishopston RFC and Ashley Down Old Boys RFC. But turning into Dings RFC, another space-time warp beckoned across the pitch ... we had drifted into the American Midwest ... yeeeeee-hah.

Now to the rugby ... the events of this Saturday almost reversed those of two weeks earlier at home to Portsmouth Navy Seahawks. Then, Seahawks raced into a 28-0 lead after about twenty minutes; this week, it was Romans turn to race into a 26-6 lead but they still managed to lose the match by 48 points to 56.

What the hell is fixing the attention of all the Romans players?
Could it have been Bristol's Man Mountain doing his own version of the Haka?

In more genteel, civil, cultured times (the 60s and 70s) many referees, whether rugby or football, would penalise a team for using foul language. The ref would often inform the team captains before kick-off that this was his intention. However, effing now, effing foul language is effing used as effing punctuation no matter the presence of children. This effing state of affairs appears to have effing crept up on us to become effing acceptable behaviour. However, it shouldn't effing well be accepted. Referees have it in their power to stamp it out by means of the penalty in rugby and the free kick in football.

21st May 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans first West of England league fixture at Lacock Road, Corsham against Portsmouth Navy Seahawks resulted in a 30 points to 34 defeat.This result, whilst disappointing, does not reflect the tremendous fightback made by the Romans who were 28 points in arrears after the first half-hour.

The Romans 'press release' following this first match of the new season was as follows:


The Romans commenced their West of England League campaign and first competitive fixture at new home Corsham Rugby Union Club with a 34-30 defeat to United Services Portsmouth Navy Seahawks. Portsmouth had some big forwards who made telling breaks up the middle and Romans were 28-0 down half way through the first half before they started to play or have much of the ball. Once the Romans had ball, they started to show what they could do in poor weather conditions with it raining for the majority of the game. Romans played some good attacking rugby and pulled the half time score back to 28-18. Debutant winger Chris Barter signed from Devizes RUFC showed some speed to go over for the first try before Romans stalwarts Jimmy Godfrey and Mike Perry went over for further scores. Mike Perry's was the try of the match and he won the man of the match award with a number of weaving attacking plays throughout the game.
In the second half Portsmouth only scored once, with Romans winning the half 12-6. Chris Barter went over for a second debut try before experienced Fijian ex-forces international Bruce Vuetanatotoka went over for the final score, Vuetanatotoka converted 4 from 4 tries with half back Matthew Bodey slotting over the final conversion. Vuetanatotoka went close to scoring close to the sticks in the final minute of the game but was wrapped up by 3 defenders and the whistle for full time was blown after that tackle.
Chris Chatten, Chairman, commented "I believe if the game had gone on a few minutes longer we would have won the game, but we need to start games better, we lacked a bit of 'grunt up front' but it was a new team and we will take time to gel. The way the players fought back almost to a winning position showed strength of character and we now have two weeks in training before the next game to get some more fluidity".

The Romans are based at Corsham Rugby Union Club, Lacock Road, Corsham and are keen to welcome new players 16+ of all abilities to training currently on Wednesday evenings from 7pm. The club is also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to sponsor Romans in 2016 and has packages available for all budgets. The Romans are next in action when they take on Bristol Sonics at Dings RFC on Saturday 4th June, 2.30pm kick off.

Romans look remarkably fresh following the encounter with Portsmouth Navy Seahawks at Corsham RU's Lacock Road ground on 21st May
In the second half, Mike Perry scoots away from two Seahawks defenders but is tackled just short of the line
A Romans attack in the Swindon St George friendly
3rd May 2016 - Bath & Wiltshire Romans press release
Bath & Wiltshire Romans Rugby League hooker Tom Plance, also of University of Bath Broncos, has signed professional forms with South Wales Scorpions turning out for their under 20s development side. On Sunday 1st May, he played for Scotland Students rugby league side against the British Police side in Newcastle.
Tom came off the bench after 20 minutes and played in the centre for 60 minutes. He was playing with fellow University of Bath Broncos colleague, Jamie Parks who was at scrum-half. Tom commented that "he made the most tackles he has ever made against a big, strong Police outfit". Tom made some strong carries from scrum sets in attack before they finally went down 40 points to 10. 

Chris Chatten, Romans Chairman commented "Tom played for us last season in our founding campaign after forging close links with University of Bath Broncos student side, and starred at hooker. We are keen to continue to help develop Tom along the player pathway and hopefully another West of England League campaign will aid his development further."
The Romans will be at the West of England 9s on Saturday 7th May at Swindon St. George's Supermarine Ground, before the West of England League campaign gets underway the following Saturday away at Gloucestershire Warriors. The Romans have their first home league fixture on Saturday 21st May, Kick off 2.30pm against US Portsmouth Navy Sea Hawks and would like to thank match ball sponsor DA Archives Ltd for supporting the club.
The club are still seeking new players as they have ambitions to field a team in the Conference League South next season, and develop a second team to develop players before 'blooding' them in the first team squad. Anyone interesting in playing open age rugby league should contact Chairman, Chris Chatten on Tel: 07810 552196 or via the clubs social media channels @RomansRLFC  or https://www.facebook.com/romansRLFC/
A rugby league scrum - over in a flash! And the scrum-half isn't even feeding the second-row!

Bath & Wiltshire Romans took on Swindon St George in the first friendly of the new season on 28th April 2016 at Corsham RFC's Lacock Road ground. This will be home to the Romans throughout the 2016 season in the West of England League. The match was played in four 20-minute quarters in order to allow as many players as possible to take part. Romans ran out winners by 42 points to 32 in a tightly-fought contest. Images from the match are shown above and in the gallery below.

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