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Former Matson fly-half Mike Bayliss and pals are calling the tunes

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 09:00

Mike Bayliss, back row, centre, has been belting out the tunes in recent months Mike Bayliss, back row, centre, has been belting out the tunes in recent months

So, here’s a question for you, what do you call a collection of singers?

The quiz enthusiasts out there will probably say “choir” and, of course, that’s a good answer.

So here’s another question for you.

If a collection of singers is a choir, does that make long-time Matson stalwart Mike Bayliss a chorister?

That question may be more difficult to answer but it has plenty of relevance because the soon-to-be 55-year-old Bayliss has been getting together a group of like-minded rugby people and visiting various rugby clubs where, among other things, they’ve been belting out a few old rugby tunes.

“We go along and have a good old sing-song,” said Bayliss, a fly-half back in the day. “The youngsters of today don’t know how to sing!”

So far Bayliss and his band of brothers – that sounds like a good name for the group! – have visited Widden Old Boys, Spartans and Matson and, at the time of writing, were looking forward to a trip to Brockworth.

“There’s about 25 of us but I’m hoping we’ll get more in the future,” added Bayliss. “We go out once a month to a club, watch a game, have a few beers and enjoy a sing-song.

“It’s been great. I’ve asked every club in the North Gloucestershire Combination to send along a representative.

“We’ve had people like Wes Hall and Mike Hamlin turn up. We all used to play against each other in years gone by. We hated each other on the pitch but were best mates afterwards.”

Hall is a big supporter of the get-togethers, saying: “They’re brilliant, it’s great fun catching up with the older players.

“The brothers Garry, Martin and Kevin Lock have all gone along as have the likes of Gary Fowke, Steve Goode and Kev Gyde.”

And while those former players are certainly enjoying the reunions it’s been good for the host club as well because it fills up their clubhouse and swells the coffers.

“We’re hoping to continue meeting up during the summer as well,” said Bayliss, who was speaking before the coronavirus outbreak, “because clubhouses don’t get used so much in the off-season. I love the banter, every rugby club is full of characters.”

Bayliss is very well known around the North Gloucestershire Combination, of course. He played very successfully for Matson’s 1st XV for many years and is still a regular spectator at the club today.

“I got 13 cup winners’ medals,” he said, “and a couple of losers’ medals.

“I played with my son Lee in a Junior Cup final when we beat Gloucester Old Boys.”

Lee was a prop and these days Bayliss senior is enjoying watching his grandson Kian playing on the wing.

Bayliss senior has been going to Matson all his life.

“I used to watch my brother Andrew play for Matson when I was growing up,” said Bayliss, who is the nephew of former top referee Matt Bayliss. “He was a lot older than me. He used to play scrum-half and he was my hero.”

And while Andrew Bayliss was calling the tune back in the day, it’s tunes of a different kind that can be heard post-match in clubs in and around Gloucester when Mike Bayliss and the boys – another possible name for the group? - get together.

Wes Hall reckons he’s “up there” among the best singers but who does Bayliss think is the best singer in the group?

“Steve Goode,” he said, “but Garry Lock knows the most rugby songs, I don’t think there’s a rugby song he doesn’t know!”

Anyone who would like to suggest a name for Mike Bayliss’ singers can email sport@thelocalanswer.co.uk

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