It’s a difficult job but someone has to do it and make a great individual sacrifice to spend a week in Thailand.
And on lavish exies I must add – 100 bahts a day, but the author of Kelly’s Eye is worth every penny of that £2.30 when Hartlepool’s rugby team jets out to the Bangkok International Sevens.
The trip is the inspiration of Hartlepool businessman, Alby Pattison.
Hartlepool are just 24 hours from heading off to the Thai capital for the adventure of a life-time ... and there’s a tournament to play in as well.
Your roving reporter will be on the flight to Thailand too to bring you every tackle, swerve and sidestep from the Thai capital – and that’s just manager John Bickerstaff’s efforts to avoid being the first to the bar.
Seriously – if that’s possible when using a sentence with Bicko’s name in it – the united town side is contesting the event this Saturday and Sunday.
Kelly’s Eye knows little about Bangkok, apart from four things – Murray Head’s song, One Night in Bangkok, the second film in the Hangover trilogy, Ladyboys and the fact Thailand is one of the few countries to drive on the left side of the road. Cue dodgy Michael Caine impression “not a lot of people know that”.
Hangover II is a hilarious comedy featuring the exploits of ‘the wolfpack’ of Stu, Phil and Alan and a tab-smoking capuchin monkey. Is the film a fair reflection of Thailand’s capital? I’m not sure but I’ll report back soon, providing the good Lord spares me.
That could be questionable if one of the movie’s famous lines has any substance to it “Bangkok has them now”, a reference to those lost on the streets of the city rarely escape. But don’t worry about little old Roy, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
The trip is the inspiration of Hartlepool businessman, Alby Pattison, allied with the aforementioned J Bickerstaff, a skilled former player and one of the funniest men on the planet.
Alby committed his company, Hart Innovations, not only to sponsor the event – now in its 22nd year – but to enter a team as well.
Five of Hartlepool & District’s clubs have backed the venture by supplying good players.
West have three players, the town’s skipper Liam Bailey, another Liam, Austwicke, and Lee Maddison, plus Horden & Peterlee’s Brad Green and Jack McCallum, and Rovers pair Alex Rochester and Adam Smith.
Peter Howe, from Boys Brigade Old Boys and Seaton Carew’s Cameron Lithgo complete Hartlepool’s ‘wolfpack’ though there are two guests from Hartlepool’s Hong Kong, Alex Bayliss and Bernard Reeves.
Rugby tours, of course, traditionally have another motive – the opportunity to go and drink another town or country dry.
However, to quote another comedy, this is “something completely different”.
Hartlepool have never been involved in anything like this before and they intend to go there and compete and why not, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
Will they win? Can they win? It’s hard to gauge, there is no form real form guide, though the reigning champs, the Pacific Barbarians, are in the opposite pool to them in Group B.
In the often parochial ‘world’ of Hartlepool & District rugby, rivalries have traditionally run deep, with families occasionally split down the middle.
But this week Hartlepool IS united as a team from five clubs undertake a ground-breaking venture.
It’s too good a chance to squander in the liquor houses of downtown Bangkok.
Save the hangover until Monday morning and hide the monkey’s tabs while you are at it.