Bangkok International Rugby Sevens: Meet Hartlepool’s sqaud

Hartlepool player Peter Howe scores a try for BBOB
Hartlepool player Peter Howe scores a try for BBOB

Hartlepool’s rugby team jetted out to Thailand today to take their first crack at the Bangkok International Sevens.

Meet the players who will be representing the united town team.


Name: Liam Austwicke

Age: 24

Club: West Hartlepool

Job: NDT technician.

Position: Centre/ full-back

When and why you started playing rugby: Started playing at Rovers at the age of about six. Both my grandad and uncle played so this is what got me involved.

Best rugby moment: Representing Newcastle Falcons academy.

Worst: Fracturing my jaw.

Best attributes: I would consider myself a strong attacker and a player that reads the game well

Worst: I must admit I do like to mess about at training now and then ... playing a few pranks.

Rugby hero: Jonny Wilkinson.

Sporting hero: Jermain Defoe

Name: Liam Bailey (capt)

Age: 25

Job: Mechanical Engineer

Position: Hooker/Back row/Centre/Anywhere really

When and why you started playing rugby: Age 12-ish, my uncle was coach of Seaton Carew at the time and I couldn’t play footy.

Your Best rugby moment: Promotions with West

Your worst: Playing Horden at the age of 16, eye opener

Best attributes as a player: Love to tackle

Worst: Can’t kick, couldn’t hit a barn door

Rugby hero: Lawrence Dallaglio

Sporting hero: Chris Hoy

Name: Brad Green

Age: 25

Club: Horden & Peterlee

Job: Joiner

Position: Scrum-half, centre

When and why you started playing rugby: Under-6s I started because my cousins played. I’ve actually played with team-mate Jack McCallum since then and now we’re going to Bangkok together

Your Best rugby moment: I played sevens in New Zealand

Your worst: When I first started adult rugby I dived like a footballer to try to win a penalty. Everyone just laughed

Best attributes as a player: Ball handling and running with ball in hand

Worst: Hot-headed

Your rugby hero: Ben Cohen

Sporting hero: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Name: Peter Howe

Age: 30

Club: Boys Brigade Old Boys

Job: Laboratory Analyst

Position: Centre

When and why you started playing rugby: At 11 years old when I started secondary school

Best rugby moment: BBOB league and cup double season.

Worst: Two knee surgeries which meant I couldn’t play for a year

Best attributes as a player: The ability to create something from nothing

Worst: Frustration with refereeing decisions

Your rugby hero: Brian O’Driscoll

Sporting hero: Usain Bolt

Name: Cameron Lithgo

Age: 20

Club: Seaton Carew

Position: Fly-half/ full-back

When and why you started playing: To play alongside my dad/uncle/cousins.

Best rugby moment: Scored two identical tries last season, side-stepping the same bloke twice in five minutes.

Worst: Being relegated.

Rugby hero: Jonny Wilkinson

Sporting hero: Kevin Phillips

Name: Jack McCallum

Age: 24

Club: Horden & Peterlee

Job: Crane Service Engineer

Position: Centre

When and why you started playing rugby: Dad and uncle both played rugby

Best rugby moment: Beating West 27-25 three seasons ago playing for Horden in North One East.

Worst: Losing the Durham junior cup final against Bishop Auckland while playing for Seaham.

Best attributes as a player: Good reader of the game, very good ability to run good lines and get through gaps in defence.

Worst: Kicking

Your rugby hero: Jason Robinson

Sporting hero: Phil Taylor

Name: Lee Maddison

Age: 24

Club: West Hartlepool

Job: Mechanical Design Engineer

Position: Flanker

When and why you started playing rugby: Inspired when England won 2003 World Cup.

Best rugby moment: Senior rugby debut.

Worst: Losing county cup final three years in a row.

Best attributes as a player: Being a nuisance at breakdowns.

Worst: Sidestepping and other jinky stuff.

Rugby hero: Neil Back

Sporting hero: Roger Federer

Name: Alex Rochester

Age: 19

Club: Hartlepool Rovers

Occupation: Student

Position: Full-back/ fly-half

When and why started: A friend introduced me on my 9th birthday in 2007

Best rugby moment: Becoming the youngest first team player in the last decade for Rovers

Worst: Losing Durham Cup final in my first senior season

Best attributes: passing, catching, pace and step

Worst: competitiveness

Rugby hero: Telusa Veainu

Sporting hero: Andrew Taylor

Name: Adam Smith

Age: 24

Club: Hartlepool Rovers

Job: IT Infrastructure Technician

Position: Wing

When and why you started playing rugby: No good at football so thought I’d give rugby a go.

Best rugby moment: Making my first XV debut for Rovers with a win against Horden

Worst: Losing Durham Intermediate Cup Final three years in a row

Best attributes as a player: Pace

Worst: Kicking

Rugby hero: Sonny Bill Williams

Sporting hero: Alex Ferguson

Team manager

Name: John Bickerstaff

Age: 59

Club: Hartlepool Rovers

Job: Security Consultant

Position: Lock/ back-row

When and why you started playing rugby: Back in 1976 when I was approached by a player from a nearby club and I thought I would give it a try. The rest as they say is...generally made up.

Best rugby moment: Sat at home having a cup of tea with Gareth Edwards; playing in front of 10,000 spectators at Welford Road against Leicester; captaining a Hartlepool Legends side against Wasps Legends on behalf of Hartlepool Hospice.

Worst: Rugby is a sport where these are often forgotten quickly, so none.

Best attributes as a player: Speed and good hands

Worst: My fellow players often said I didn’t have any.

Rugby hero: Martin Johnson

Sporting hero: Denise Lewis