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Mark Hoskins

Mark Hoskins writes

Posted Monday, May 16th 2022

Obituary: Mike Pegler

Bristol Bears regret to announce the death of former player and committeeman Mike Pegler. A prop forward, he made 46 Bristol first team appearances between 1961 and 1964, scoring one try, and he served for some years as the club’s chairman of selectors.

Michael James Pegler was of good rugby stock. His uncle was the great Sam Tucker, Bristol’s pre-war hooker and England captain, while he himself was the uncle of another Bristol great, Mike Rafter. The son of a police officer, he was educated at the Pro-Cathedral School and St Brendan’s College. He learnt rugby at the latter, but by his own admission was not totally committed to the game during his school days and only occasionally played for the First XV.

It was at St Brendan’s Old Boys that he really took to rugby, and he carried on playing the game during three years of National Service. Mike served in the Gloucestershire Regiment, and he played for both his regiment and the Army South & South West XV, as well as being a reserve for the full Army side.

On his return to civilian life, Mike was invited to a Bristol trial. He played 19 matches for Bristol United in the 1960-61 season, and it was during this time that Bert Macdonald, the United captain, persuaded him to play at prop. Previously he had been a second row forward. He won his United cap the following season, and he made his first team debut at Esher in November 1961. Mike’s main season of first team rugby was in 1963-64, when he played in 21 matches. This was also the season in which he was selected for Gloucestershire, playing in six County Championship games during the campaign.

Mike scored his only first team try in his penultimate match, a home victory over Bath in October 1964. His last Bristol game was at Clifton at the end of the following month. Business then took him away from the area, and he joined Dudley Kingswinford, whom he captained. He later played second team rugby for Sale, and he finished his rugby-playing days back with St Brendan’s on his return to Bristol. He joined the Bristol committee in 1972-73 and served for a decade, latterly as chairman of selectors. His son, David, played for the club in the early 1980s before going on to have a successful career with Wasps. Mike kept in touch with his playing contemporaries, and he regularly attended reunions organised by Bristol Rugby Former Players. All at Bristol Bears send their sincere sympathy to Mike’s family at this sad time.


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