Hartlepool rugby team return for Bangkok International Sevens

Hartlepool Rugby team manager John Bickerstaff and Hart Innovations Alby Pattison
Hartlepool Rugby team manager John Bickerstaff and Hart Innovations Alby Pattison

Hartlepool’s united rugby team are ready to make a belated crack at the Bangkok International Sevens.

The town side, built from the clubs in Hartlepool & District RFU, were due to take part in the tournament last November.

It was a good squad last season and it’s still a good squad now

JOHN BICKERSTAFF

However, the competition was scrapped at the 11th hour following the death of the King of Thailand after the country announced an indefinite period of national mourning.

But Hartlepool’s participation in the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens was merely postponed and not cancelled.

The venture was the inspiration of Rovers treasurer and boss of Hart Innovations, Alby Pattison, who says Hartlepool will compete in the Thai capital on November 11-12.

Team manager John Bickerstaff had hoped to announce the same 11-man squad will be on the plane, but Hartlepool’s Anthony Lawrence has been ruled out.

Livewire West flanker Lee Maddison has been brought in to fill the void.

“I think it goes without saying that everyone was disappointed that we did not get to play last year,” he said.

“It was only fair that the lads who were picked to represent the town then go now.

“Unfortunately, Anthony is unavailable but we have an excellent replacement.”

Hartlepool will be captained former England Sevens star Aaron Myers.

He will be joined by West team-mates, younger brother Eldon, Liam Bailey, Maddison and Liam Austwicke, who has left Rovers to switch to the Brinkburn outfit.

Rovers provide two players, Andrew Dring and Adam Smith, as do BBOB, in the shape of Peter Howe and Anthony Egglestone.

Jack McCallum (Horden) and Seaton Carew’s Cameron Lithgo make up the squad of 11.

“It was a good squad last season and it’s still a good squad now,” added Bickerstaff.

“Hartlepool & District’s clubs nominated some very good players and we’re happy to have them on board.

“We have good players and a fabulous skipper.

“Aaron is an incredible player and he won’t just be a great player, he’ll be a great leader and use those skills and his sevens expertise to coach and coax the lads.

“Last year was a false start, but the event simply could not go ahead.

“Thailand was in mourning for their king and the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens had to pay its respect, not just to the Thai teams but to the Thai people.”

Hartlepool were due to take part in the international section of the competition and last year three teams are involved from the host country, with two each from Australia and New Zealand, plus one from Kazakhstan.

“I think the organisers put out invitations last month so we’ll have to wait and see,” added Bickerstaff.