A RUGBY team, flying the flag for Hartlepool, the North-East and Prostate Cancer UK will return home today clutching more silverware.

Hartlepool United, a team made up of players from four town and district clubs, finished an excellent third place at the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens.

The side produced a brilliant effort in heat and humidity in the Thai capital to, beat Spanish side, Wiss, 21-12 in the Bowl final to decide the third and fourth positions.

Hartlepool manager John Bickerstaff said: “These players have done our town and area proud.

“We came here last year for the first time and it was a bit of a step into the unknown.

“Our aim was to better our seventh place from 2017 and to have finished third is a great achievement.”

Hartlepool enjoyed a stunning opening day by winning all three games in Group B.

The squad, sponsored by Hart Biologicals, J&B Recycling and Seymour Civil Engineering and sporting the Prostate Cancer UK Logo on their kit, scored 10 tries, all converted by Ryan Foreman, in victories over Almaty, from Kazakhstan, (21-7), Queensland Dingoes (28-14) and Thailand team All for One (21-7).

In Sunday's International semi-final, the Michael Ainslie-coached team gave it their all against tough French side Confrerie Occitan, who came out on top 14-5, with Green scoring for Hartlepool.

That brought them up against Wiss in the Bowl final and it began badly when the Spaniards scored a converted try in the opening minute to go 7-0 up.

Hartlepool pulled level when Aidan Jackson-Smith bulldozed hos way through to set up a converted Taz Pelser try.

It got even better at the start of the second half when Sean McCallum, Peter Youll and Green combined to find Callum Whitehead who scored after a terrific run to make it 14-7.

Wiss pulled back an unconverted try to cut the gap to two points but Hartlepool took glory with Lee Maddison’s try, with Foreman’s third conversion sealing the victory 21-12.

The squad have been raising money for Prostate Cancer UK and carried the famous PCUK logo on their jerseys.

“The players felt strongly about supporting Prostate Cancer UK,’’ said Bickerstaff. “As the stats say, one of the pack will suffer from prostate cancer and we want to play our small part in trying to beat this disease.

“Prostate Cancer UK are putting millions into research and promoting awareness and we felt in Movember, the month when so many people grow moustaches to raise money, that we can do our bit in Thailand.”