Together Again - Rovers’ reunion was a real success

SCORES of former rugby players descended on their old club for a reunion.

Around 50 ex-rugby players from Hartlepool Rovers Rugby Club gathered at the team’s clubhouse, in West View Road, for a timely get-together.

Former players, including Mac Robinson, Graham Dixon, Nigel Bennett, Keith Stone and Kenny Brahams, a fireman who now plays for Seaton Rugby Club, attended the successful event.

The reunion was organised by Mick Henderson, a former player who is now a member of the team’s management committee. The get-together coincided with a game of the present team against Old Brodleians, which the home team lost 19-5.

But that didn’t spoil the sentiment of the day, which saw a good time had by all.

Mick, a 40-year-old watch manager for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of town, said: “We had a great day.

“The clubhouse was choc-a-bloc until about 10pm, especially with three teams playing at home, and with the reunion taking place. It was great to see some old faces we hadn’t seen in the club for a long time.

“We reminisced about a three-legged race we used to have from the club and around the Headland.

“The last time it was held was in 1985 – apparently there is still a trophy knocking about.

“To be honest, we talked more about our exploits off the pitch rather than on it.

“We are talking about making it an annual event, to be held around the same time next year.”

People who went along to the gathering also watched a presentation for Liam Austwicke and Chris Atkins, who have just been accepted onto the England Colleges Rugby Squad.

The presentation was made by club chairman Phil Mitchell.

Ex-players are expected to head to the 132-year-old club in April for the annual RF Oakes memorial match.

The game is held in memory of the club’s most famous player, Bob Oakes, who was president of the Yorkshire Rugby Football Union and president of the Rugby Football Union.

A veterans’ match against players from Cleveland Fire Brigade is also lined up in the coming months.