Back in 2003, the Pot-Bellied Pigs played Guangzhou Rams for no other reason that it seemed a good idea and an ideal precursor to some alcoholic indulgence. During the game a svelte back rower for the Rams ran in four tries and was asked, “Why don’t you come and play for Kowloon?” Enter the Flagon; Trigger Baynes was on his way to becoming a true Kowloon legend and Kowloon were way ahead of the times with their Greater Bay Area project.
Some of you who have had to decipher Trigger’s emails over the years may have been fooled into thinking that he isn’t quite the full shilling but this lad has always been “market aware” and he knew that it wasn’t always easy to fit into a new place and new club so he brought his own cheerleaders, “Trigger’s Angels” and was immediately the most popular player in the second team (“Pussies”) as the Devil’s Advocate and its surroundings made Fashion TV look tame by comparison. Even Ze was jealous! As previously mentioned, this Trigger is no fool and he kept an Angel for himself. Maria drew what turned out to be the long straw.
In recent conversations many of us were reminiscing, as we do more and more, about games gone by and friends met and kept and Trigger voiced the opinion that his progress to becoming a Hong Kong international had been hampered by his captain who kept him in the second team for three years and hid him from the first team. That may be true but experience lets us know that we travel different paths and Trigger made his international debut at the Asian Rugby Championships, albeit for Macau. Played one, won one is Trigger’s international record as Pakistan were dispatched.
However, it has to be admitted that Trigger’s allegations of his playing potential being impeded by his captain were not entirely wrong. We needed good players in the twos and Trigger was definitely that, but there was also a score to be settled. More on that later.
As mentioned, post-match, indeed pre-match occasionally, festivities were raised to a new level by Trigger and his Angels. He even brought them to after match parties at the Police Ground where their old bar saw more than one evening go past eight hours of revelry with Trigger always leading the singing. Granty of the Day usually awarded by Paul Mallen, chicken suits and vast amounts of alcohol and gaiety with Trigger always at the centre of it. However, it has to be said that thorough risk assessments were not always carried out.
As well as being a great player for Kowloon, probably having played for every senior team and for many years, despite being held back, for the Firsts, Trigger has been a brilliant Club man. He has done huge amounts for the Club and is a huge advocate for Kowloon. It has to be said that Robbie has been known to dodge him late of an evening when Trigger has had a wee bee in his bonnet about a real or perceived injustice perpetrated upon his beloved Kowloon but no-one would ever question his commitment to the cause and that cause is The Loon.
It is likely that Triger’s doctor will miss the revenue with his impending departure to London as the man has broken himself many times on behalf of the club. There has never been a bigger club man and many ex-Loonies in London will be in trepidation over his enthusiastic and imminent arrival. Trigger singing, Pinky reciting, Brownie telling tales, Northy getting tearful, Cheech fuelling the carnage, the list goes on.
Trigger is leaving his family behind so we should see him as he returns regularly to be sorted out by Maria and hopefully we shall get Aodhan on the pitch with him sometime next year. Aodhan has been a great supporter, linesman and spy on opposition tactics this last year. Sadly, when he tells us that the opposition are going to run it wide via some random twenty-year-olds and Samoan ringers, our response has been along the lines of “move Marshy to centre”. I think that we can promise Trigger that for his first guest appearance back next year we shall source the Macau wrecking ball Ricky and ageing sex symbol Ze Best, along with a pretty boy Marin or two, Bondy and others along with the regular masochists to have one more big win to remember. Really, he does not need that win as he has been himself a symbol of all that is good about our rugby club and win, lose or draw will always be the true Legend of Loon, Trigger Baynes! His picture below from a very early Pigs match, could be of Aodhan they are so alike. Pinno was always too pretty.
There is so much more that could be said but we’ll have many more chances to do that. For the moment, safe travels Trigger and Haste Ye Back! PS If I spelt Maria or Aodhan’s name incorrectly, it is only revenge for your emails which made James Joyce Ulysses easy reading by comparison.
Finally, why did his captain hold him back? What foul action deserved such treatment? I present the evidence from Police Club. He even had the audacity, years later to ask for his pith helmet back!