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The John Sullivan Memorial Game

James Sullivan reports back from this weekend’s charity rugby match in memory of his brother John.  A fitting tribute to a very special man.

NEW: Listen to match report on Rugby League Down South podcast HERE
(starts 40mins in)

St Mary’s Old Boys vs Broncos Old Boys

HT  0-10

FT  14-36


A return to the hallowed grounds of the University the majority of the players from both teams played for during their time was a fitting tribute to a man whose flair and tenacity, both on and off the field, won him a legion of friends and admirers dedicated to honouring his life the way he would have wanted.

While the game itself was still competitive in nature, with a number of ferocious hits landed, there was an obvious sense of camaraderie between the opposing teams that highlighted the overall message of the day.

The game itself did not take long to spark into life, former Bronco and Simmie Matt Carter taking only 3 minutes to find a gap between the otherwise resilient Simmies defence to score after a great spell of passing.  Both teams defences then held strong until just before the half when the Broncos extended their lead, Jack Malin producing a beautifully weighted grubber kick for Sam Druce to pounce on, sprinting the remaining 20 metres to score between the posts and send the Broncos into half time smiling.


Whatever was said to the Simmies at half time appeared to rejuvenate them entirely as they immediately scored from the restart, Johnny Rivans showing quick reflexes to be the first to dive on the loose ball in the Broncos try area following a fantastic kick through from Chris “Hickey” Hillier.  The Broncos boys were quick to respond though and began to rapidly turn the screws scoring 4 unanswered tries in a manic 15 minutes, Alex Newbury leading the charge with a try of his own from some fancy footwork before turning provider for Malin to score one of his own.

Druce was able to add a second showing some serious strength to overpower the Simmies defence before the try of the game was scored in response.  Mark Sullivan channeling the spirit of his beloved son to burst through the line and gallop 60 metres down the pitch to rapturous applause from both sets of fans and players.

The Broncos wanted to have one more word though and were rewarded with a fine try by Dennis Tuffour as he found space on the wing before rounding flailing defensive arms to eventually score between the posts.

Although the Simmies could not win the game they were determined to have the last say, James Sullivan scoring the final try of the game following a quick tap from a penalty, juking his way through the Broncos defence to score between the posts reminiscent of his brothers playing days.

Although the game had a winner, the final score was never an aspect anyone cared about, the day was held to commemorate the life of a man that had touched all our hearts in some way and who we all miss terribly and will continue to remember with this annual game.

John Sullivan 1986-2014


A message from The Sullivan Family…

Saturday 4th April 2015 was a memorable day for us celebrating John Sullivan’s love for the game of rugby and the lasting friendships he made on and off the field.

The game between St. Mary’s University Old Boys and a London Broncos Select Team was conceived by his teammates, which gained overwhelming support for a memorial game with all proceeds going to CALM.

So many people contributed to the success of the day with fundraising and support from friends, teammates, local traders and parents. A big thank you goes to St. Mary’s University, who kindly allowed the use of their ground for the day, and Hummingbird Bakery in Richmond for the marvellous array of cupcakes they donated.

The days fundraising reached a massive £923, which has been donated to CALM via the Just Giving page

Further fund raising events in the memory of John Sullivan for CALM are still being collected and include:

Alex and Marcus Wolf running the Brighton marathon on Sunday 12th April 2015 –

Scarlet Guest – London Marathon on Sunday 26th April 2015 and Team John – Tough Mudder on Saturday 26th September 2015 –

John was truly loved by many people. He listened and gave time to others but like so many other young people he did not discuss his own feelings and seek help through the trust of others.

We dearly miss John and although not alone in our quest to understand why, supporting other young people and families through CALM can only but help to raise awareness of this unrelenting killer.

The Sullivan Family.

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