Kathy Wilkens, to the left of centre, with the Town v Country trophy after last week's inaugural fixture at Saxton Field. Photo: Supplied.

Hockey stalwart remembered with Town v Country game


A Nelson hockey stalwart was the inspiration behind a new Town v Country fixture.

Mark Wilkens died while playing hockey at Saxton Field in 2015. Last week a new trophy named in his memory was up for grabs in the inaugural Town v Country game at Saxton Field.

The teams were split with “town” players coming from Nelson and the “country” players from Stoke and Richmond.

The teams were mixed with some younger and older players, with the country team coming out on top 3-2.

The trophy was commissioned by Jamie Brown and created by Kieran Cleary, both teachers at Nelson College where Mark attended in the mid-1970s. Jamie says it was a great way to remember a man who had given so much to the game, both in Nelson and at a national level.

“We wanted to play a game in Mark’s honour which we think he would have appreciated, and thought this annual Town vs Country concept was a great way for players to get together and compete, who did not necessarily belong to the same clubs,” he says.

“Although a trophy was up for grabs, the game was played in such high spirits and fair play which I think Mark would have appreciated. I am sure all players are looking forward to this event continuing and the friendly rematches that will occur in the years to come”.

After the game, the trophy was presented by Kathy Wilkens, Mark’s widow.