Tragic loss felt by clubs

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TRIBUTES have poured in for a sportsman described as ‘the life and soul’ of the dressing room.

Josh Rix was only 23 when he died of a suspected seizure in Australia last Thursday and will forever be remembered as a character at both Sudbury Rugby Club and Hadleigh Cricket Club.

The tragedy came just days after Rix, who scored two tries in his last game for Sudbury in a derby against Stowmarket, had learned of his mother Julie’s death from the effects of a stroke on the way to visiting her in Perth.

Sudbury Rugby Club were due to host Norwich in London 3NE at Whittome Field on Saturday, but after hearing of their player’s death, the club postponed all their senior games as a mark of respect to their prop.

The game will now be played on Saturday (2.15pm) with the players and officials observing a minute’s silence before kick-off.

Club chairman Mike Beckett told the Free Press: “The players are devastated. Training was cancelled but everybody still turned up as they wanted to talk about Josh.

“For the short time I knew him, he was a delight to know, very friendly and a Sudbury player through and through.

“He was the largest player on the park and he was larger than life. When he wasn’t in the team they suffered badly. To say he will be sorely missed would be an understatement.”

Hadleigh Cricket Club chairman Gary Girling said everyone’s thoughts at the club were with Rix’s family.

“Everyone at Hadleigh Cricket Club was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Josh at such a young age,” he said, as part of a statement released by the club.

“Josh was an extremely popular member of the club who loved his cricket.

“He had played for our senior teams since the age of 13 alongside his elder brother Tim and developed into a very good player. He was a hard-hitting and powerful batsman and exceptional close catcher, and was a regular for our second XI and Sunday XI.”

He added: “Josh was the life and soul of any team he played for, both in the dressing room and on the field.”

Sudbury joint first-team coach Lee Cooper, said: “Josh was an excellent player and person. He was a big part of the team and a great person to have around – it is such a loss.”

He leaves behind a partner and young son.