Hartlepool rugby side’s link up with Hong Kong

John Bickerstaff and Alby Pattison.
John Bickerstaff and Alby Pattison.

Hartlepool‘s rugby team have established an “exciting” link up with Hong Kong ahead of the Bangkok International Sevens.

The town team, the inspiration of Hartlepool rugby figure and businessman, Alby Pattison, have added two players to their squad from the former UK territory.

Alex Baylis and Bernard Reeves will be in the party for the event in Thailand’s capital on November 11-12

Team manager, John Bickerstaff, told SportMail that the association between Hartlepool and Hong Kong is one he feels will be good, not just for this tournament but for the townn in general.

“It’s an exciting venture,” he said.

“We lost a couple of players because of unavailibility, which is understandable, we entered with this team last year and then it was called off late on.

“Some people’s circumstances change so it was a big ask to have the exact same squad.

“We’ve brought in two talented young fellas from Hong Kong Football Club and we’re looking forward to meeting up with them.

“The link with Hong Kong comes via Billy Mason, who has been a teacher out there for 35 years and is a former Boys Brigade Old Boys lad.

“It’s nice to have the benefit of two good young players who play to a high standard out there.

“But it’s also potentially good for the development for Hartlepool rugby.

“Alex and Bernard will be representing Hartlepool and it gets the town name into Hong Kong.

“Everyone knows what a vibrant place it is but Hong Kong Football Club is an amazing operation.

“They have played ruby there for 130 years but the club does every sport, football, bowls, hockey, tennis you name it.

“It’s great for Hartlepool rugby to have an association with it, and we are grateful for their co-operation, but it’s also good for the town.”

Hartlepool will be entering the renowned Bangkok International Sevens for the first time.

The idea came from Rovers treasurer Pattison, whose company, Hart Innovations, is a tournament sponsor.

Pool’s squad is formed from players from five of Hartlepool & District RFU’s clubs.