Burgess Hill Rugby Club’s memorial match hailed a huge success

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

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More than 60 players at Burgess Hill Rugby Club pulled on a shirt and took to the field in celebration of the lives of two Sussex All Blacks players, taken from us earlier this year.

Mark Stenning and Jack Cook were both true Sussex All Blacks who tragically lost their lives this year and will be hugely missed by all at the club.

Mark Stenning and Jack Cook

Mark Stenning and Jack Cook

Mark Stenning was practically part of the furniture in the clubhouse, having represented his club colours on the field and also spearheading the mini and junior section for many years. Jack Cook was a young player in the prime of life, who everyone remembers as being totally fearless on the park, and the nicest person you could ever meet off it.

Following a respectful minutes’ silence, players from clubs including Ditchling, Plumpton and Newick played as a Baa-Baas team against the Sussex all Blacks squad, which was made up of over 40 players across the full 80 minutes. Despite the challenging muddy conditions, the game was played in great spirits and the score was even-stevens at the break. The players then enjoyed a small snifter of sherry as a half time livener, laid on by Director of Rugby Ross Hallifax who himself got his boots muddy in a rare, albeit brief second half appearance. At the final whistle, the Baa-Baas, who had not enjoyed the same number of substitutes, were absolutely spent, leaving the All-Blacks to come out as eventual victors.

After the game the clubhouse could barely cope with the swell as players and spectators alike piled in to raise a glass in tribute to our fallen brothers. In total approximately £1’500 was raised for charity throughout the day, and the club would like to extend their gratitude to organisers, players, spectators, caterers, bar staff and everyone else who made the event possible.

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Mark Stenning and Jack Cook

Mark Stenning and Jack Cook

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Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

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Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn

Memorial match at Burgess Hill Rugby Club for Mark Stenning and Jack Cook. Picture by Steve Blanthorn