In a similar fashion to Yeovil Town, it has been a season of underachievement for Bath City this season.
The Romans finished their National League South season with a 3-3 draw at Twerton Park last weekend and ended the campaign fourth from bottom – which is even more disappointing than the (anticipated by most people – see last week’s poll) mid-table finish the Glovers are heading for.
The Somerset Premier Cup therefore offers them something to finish the campaign with a flourish having beaten Clevedon Town (definitely nowhere near Bristol!), Portishead, Welton Rovers and Frome Town on their way to the final.
It has been more than 20 years since the sides last met when a double from Demba and a goal from Michael McIndoe earned Gary Johnson’s Yeovil a 3-1 FA Cup replay win having drawn 1-1 in the first game.
You have to go back to January 1996 to find the last time Bath were victorious in a competitive fixture, a 3-2 win in the FA Trophy, but in SPC finals they have won the last four encounters between these two sides – the last being in March 1994. If you’re interested, you can see the full history of results between the sides – here.
But, if you thought W*ymouth was the only historic rivalry we had, think again. Bath have visited Yeovil more than any other town in their history with more than 130 visits albeit only four in the past 26 years.
The two sides also share the record for the most successful SPC campaigns with 24 wins each. Bath’s last coming in 2008 with Yeovil’s three years earlier.
Are we making this sound more like there’s something to play for?
FROM THE MANAGER
Bath manager Jerry Gill is a man with a foot in both camps having made the move from Twerton to Huish Park back in 1996, spending a successful season in Somerset before getting his big move to Birmingham City.
His post-match comments after the weekend’s final league fixture suggest Romans’ fans have not let him forget it, he said: “Back in the day, this was a huge rivalry when I was playing here and I know I got my move from here to Yeovil and a lot of people don’t thank me for that.
“It’s a wonderful club down there as well, so I am going to enjoy it first and foremost, but we are going down there to win.
“I have spoken to a lot of fans here and a lot of people are going down to watch the game, and we’ll be competitive, it’s no good going to a cup final if you don’t go and win it.
“So we’ll give it everything we have got to go and win that game and hopefully get some good backing.”
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
As you’d imagine given the proximity, there’s been quite a few down the years. The most obvious one is Bath City manager Jerry Gill.
Gill was a star player at full-back for City in the mid-1990s when he made the switch along with midfielder Rob Cousins joining Graham Roberts’ Yeovil in the summer of 1996.
Both players went on to be the a major part of the side which romped to the ICIS League Premier Division (now National League South) title and returned to the Conference in 1997.
His form that campaign caught the eye of Birmingham City, then a First Division (now Championship) side, and made the move for £30,000 with a further £10,000 payable after he played ten first-team games.
Both he and Howard Forinton, the star striker whose goals first Roberts’ side to the title that year, moved to St Andrews but it was Gill who was more successful, playing 60 times for the Blues.
He returned to Twerton Park as manager in 2017 after a spell in charge at W*ymouth (oh Jerry, how could you?) and coaching roles at Kidderminster Harriers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Cousins stayed at Huish Park upon promotion back to the Conference and remained until the summer of 2001 when he moved to Forest Green Rovers.
Another player from that era who made the move south was striker Dean Birkby who joined Roberts’ revolution earlier than Gill and Cousins, joining midway through the 1995-96 campaign.
Having signed for £10,000 he went on to score 31 goals in 90 appearances alongside the likes of Warren Patmore and Forinton before leaving to join Forest Green in the summer of 2000.
More recently, Exeter City defender Jordan Dyer has had spells with both clubs. His time with Yeovil consisted of the final minute of the 2-0 home win over Woking in October, but he did have two spells with Bath making 21 appearances.