Local sporting ‘gentleman’ Eddie Bayliss dies after short illness

EDDIE Bayliss, a well-known and highly respected local sporting figure, has died aged 83 in a nursing home in Chadderton following a short illness.

He was chairman of the Saddleworth and District Cricket League between 2002 and 2015 when it merged with the CLL to become the Pennine League. And he also doubled up as an umpire.

Eddie Bayliss

Eddie, who latterly lived in Springhead, continued to stand as an umpire in the Pennine League for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, eventually retiring at the age of 80 after officiating for more than 20 years.

Trevor Harrison, former Saddleworth League secretary, led the tributes describing Eddie as a “gentleman of the old school”.

He said: “Eddie always did things properly and was courteous to everyone he met.

“He worked hard and had lots of ideas to raise the profile of the league.”

Trevor added it was through Eddie that he became involved as a league administer.

He continued: “I first came across Eddie when he was umpiring and I was still playing.

“When he became chairman of the league, he asked me to join the committee as registrations secretary in 2004 and three years later league secretary.”

Greenfield Cricket Club posted on social media: “Really sad to hear of the death of Eddie Bayliss.

“Long-time chairman of the SDCL and umpire. Old school proper gentleman. Never saw without a tie on. Will always remember his catch phrase at the end of every over in a loud and kind voice ‘that’s over gentlemen’,”.

Eddie Bayliss

Son Lee also received a call from Lawrie McMenemy, the former Southampton manager and England assistant, who was a firm friend of Eddie having served together for three years in the Coldstream Guards, mainly in Germany.

Cricket was not only Eddie’s passion as he was also a former committee man at Oldham Rugby League Club.

Eddie’s interest in rugby was no surprise as he was raised closed to their Watersheddings ground.

He was a talented cricketer at Oldham, an all-rounder who made his first-team debut aged 14 and played alongside legendary Aussie professional Cec Pepper.

After serving in the Coldstream Guards, for whom he played cricket, and later as a police cadet, Eddie spent 36 years working in the brewery business for Watneys who later became Wilsons.

He played for the brewery cricket team and was once invited for a trial at Lancashire. And in one game Eddie played alongside his two young sons Lee and Brett.

Eddie was still working as an usher at Oldham Magistrates Court into his 70s.

It was through Lee that Eddie became an umpire.

He explained: “When dad retired from playing there was a gap when he had no involvement in the game.

“I was at Austerlands at the time and asked him to come and watch me playing. He got the bug back and signed up for an umpires’ course.

“In fact, he umpired quite a few games I was involved in. He was always fair and saw it as it was. There was never any bias towards me, and he even gave me out once.”

Eddie Bayliss, right, with Cec Wright

Lee is still playing aged 48 having appeared for Oldham, Austerlands, Friarmere, Shaw and Saddleworth and currently at Springhead.

And there is a further generation as Lee’s eight-year-old son Connor is also a talented cricketer already playing Under-13s cricket.

For several years Eddie had a regular slot on Oldham Community Radio in his capacity as Saddleworth League chairman which made him well known to listeners.

Eddie, who died on Tuesday, April 7, leaves his wife Carol, sons Brett and Lee, stepdaughter Deborah, grandchildren Connor, James, Thomas, Georgia and Jacob and great grandchild Rose.

His funeral is on Thursday, April 16 at Oldham Crematorium. Attendance is restricted to 10 family members because of social distancing, but the family will be having a church service and a wake to celebrate Eddie’s life at a date when life is back to normal.

In the meantime, cards and messages of sympathy and condolences can be sent to Mrs C Bayliss at 33, Old Mill House, Old Mill House Lane, Springhead, Oldham OL4 5TS.

  • Former Saddleworth Rangers rugby player Donald Wood died at Tameside Hospital on April 1 after a long illness. He was 83.

Donald, who was from Greenfield, played for Rangers in his youth and remained a keen rugby fan throughout his life.

Well-known in the village, Donald spent his career as a teacher.

He leaves wife Margaret, son Richard and daughter Sarah. His funeral is on Friday, April 17 at Dukinfield Crematorium.

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