Vale Ben Cookson
After a courageous battle, Research Eltham Collegians Cricket Club Captain and Coach, Ben Cookson, lost his battle with cancer, in the early morning hours of Saturday 20th June 2015.
Ben had returned to the Club at the start of the 2013/14 season to take up the role of Captain Coach for three seasons, following a long and distinguished career at District/Premier level First eleven that comprised 141 appearances for Ringwood and Hawthorn Monash Cricket Clubs, the latter where he was Captain, as a Keeper/Batsman. Ben was previously a Club junior at Under 16 level and had always said he would return to the RECCC and nowhere else, should he return to play in the DVCA again.
Ben’s off field battle began in late March 2014 when after ongoing back pain issues and countless testing, he was diagnosed with cancer.
We were all delighted to hear, however, that Ben wanted to and was given the all clear to not only coach, but also play for the 2014/15 season. From the moment Ben indicated his intention to play, we witnessed courage and determination. The reality for Ben was a week-to-week proposition; with his chemotherapy treatments and the related side effects, Ben was in no condition to set foot on a ground, let alone participate for five hours on a Saturday summer afternoon, but somehow he found the strength to do it and compete as only Ben could.
Ben was the first to admit it was a battle most of the time, but the strength he got from fighting his way through on a Saturday, helped him believe that he could fight and win his other battle for life.
To initial jubilation, Ben’s cancer fight seemed to be on a winning course in late February when scans revealed no visible signs of the disease he had fought so hard to eliminate. Unfortunately, reality once again set in weeks later, when it was revealed that the cancer had returned. True to his mindset, Ben remained positive and hopeful that he could once again beat it. He talked of the season ahead for cricket, perhaps only playing and not coaching because he didn’t know if he could commit to both roles. He also talked about having a good sledge worked out for an opposing player when they crossed paths again. Sadly, it is not going to be.
The DVCA wishes to send our heartfelt condolences to the Cookson family; Shane, Joanne, Marcus and Daniel, Ben’s friends & RECCC.
Ben’s legacy is one of inspiration in the face of adversity and as a cricket community we stand in awe of what he was able to do and how cricket inspired him.
R.I.P Ben always loved and greatly missed.