Globetrotting rugby players praised by mayor ahead of Far East trip

Hartlepool rugby team representatives with Mayor, Rob Cook. From the left, Andrew Drng, Alby Pattison, Liam Austwicke, Coun Rob Cook, John Bickerstaff,Michael Ainslie, John Dove, Peter Howe

Hartlepool rugby team representatives with Mayor, Rob Cook. From the left, Andrew Drng, Alby Pattison, Liam Austwicke, Coun Rob Cook, John Bickerstaff,Michael Ainslie, John Dove, Peter Howe

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Hartlepool’s globetrotting rugby players have been given the seal of approval by the town’s mayor ahead of their big venture.

Councillor Rob Cook welcomed players and officials from the Hartlepool squad, which will be competing in the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens tournament on November 12-13, to the Civic Centre.

Hartlepool rugby manager John Bickerstaff (left) with Mayor, Rob Cook and team sponsor Alby Pattison (right)

Hartlepool rugby manager John Bickerstaff (left) with Mayor, Rob Cook and team sponsor Alby Pattison (right)

It is the first time a united town side, featuring players from Hartlepool and Horden, have entered the world-renowned championship which also features clubs from Australia and New Zealand.

Coun Cook, the Mayor of Hartlepool, said: “Hartlepool has a long and proud tradition as a rugby town and it is tremendous that the town will be represented at the Bangkok Sevens.

“The tournament presents an opportunity to further promote Hartlepool around the globe.

“I am sure that the Hartlepool & District representative side will be very competitive and represent the town with pride.”

Hartlepool rugby team sponsor Alby Pattison at Hartlepool Civic Centre

Hartlepool rugby team sponsor Alby Pattison at Hartlepool Civic Centre

The venture is the inspiration of local rugby figures, Alby Pattison, the boss of Hart Innovations, and John Bickerstaff, who will lead the squad.

Alby says the squad which will be captained by West Hartlepool’s former England Sevens star, Aaron Myers, will provide coaching to some of the Asian sides there.

“We are very grateful to the support of Hartlepool Borough Council.

“They have provided valuable help and it was nice of the Mayor to invite us to the Parlour and give us a look around the Civic Centre.

Hartlepool rugby team sponsor Alby Pattison with Hartlepool's Mayor,  Coun Rob Cook

Hartlepool rugby team sponsor Alby Pattison with Hartlepool's Mayor, Coun Rob Cook

“He presented us with a Hartlepool plaque which we will take with us to Bangkok.

“We are proud to be representing our area out there not just on the field but off it.

“The squad will be taking part in some coaching work with local players in Thailand.

“We want Hartlepool to do well in the tournament but we also feel it’s important we make our contribution to not just the event but the game in general.”