Growing up in rival Primary Schools in next door villages we were both, unknowing of each other at this point, dominating our year group in most sports by year 6. Then a quiet shy winger joined the village under 11s side I captained, put in a few decent crosses for me to nod in from centre-back, but other than that I thought little of it.

Turns out that this Max put my name on the four-name list you gave Secondary School for who you wanted to be in your year 7 tutor. The start of what should have been a lifelong friendship but tragically only lasted eight years, despite us cramming in what felt like more than 80 years of memories.

We both represented the school in every team sport possible for our five heyday years at Uffculme, positively challenging each other in the sports field and in the classroom. By year 11 and as senior prefects, our headteacher still could not tell us apart. Simply we were best mates who did as much as possible together, and just coincidentally looked pretty similar too.

Weekdays of summer would be spent down Sampford Peverell Recreational field for a net followed by a couple sets of tennis. ‘Rest days’ could be spent with our Tres’ hit squad membership watching Somerset in Taunton or round his house watching test matches-the start of my now cricket obsession.

We were close to being split for sixth form. We both could have got academic scholarships for Blundell’s but he was being scouted for sport too. By this time he was England U18s hockey and I was still jack of all trades master of none, changing my clubs from football to rugby to hockey to cricket to tennis each year.

By this time we were playing second team men’s cricket together when Max wasn’t off at the Futures Cup in Belgium or Spain. We drifted apart a little at college with him being a bit more sociable than me, chatting to girls in his frees and lunches whilst I would spend all my free time cricketing, eating my lunch whilst dragging my kit bag across Taunton. My life was cricket and A-levels for two years, he managed to fit in hockey and becoming a ladies man pretty well.

At 18 I went off to New Zealand for what was the best year of my life so far, all was well when I left, but our first FaceTime devastatingly informed me of the start of the end for Max Ansell.

Set with the AAA to get him into studying medicine at Bristol, even the hour away had proven a hard move for the strong family man. Whilst I couldn’t wait to not see my family for a year, he had grown up with his Nan (and Grandad until a couple of years previously), mum, dad and sister and struggled without them every night. Having pulled out of Uni before Christmas, he seemed to get back on track working in his parents’ pharmacy over the winter and even signing up for a life changing cross-States trip in the US for the summer.

By this time he had joined Instagram and started spiking his hair up, pictures I later saw of this trip showed him with a backward cap on too-a Max I’d never before seen. Come July we were back together, even at 19 living the same summer of nets, tennis, golf and Somerset for about five weeks. Until out of nowhere he said he wanted to tone down the competitive sport of which we were renowned for. He stopped playing men’s cricket and didn’t want to score if playing golf or even darts in my garden anymore.

Mum says she noticed no difference the last time he was round, a tiny bit shier and quieter at most.

Monday 1st September 2015, I got a call from his mum in tears, Max was in Musgrove. I didn’t have a car at this point but my instant reaction was to grab Mum’s keys and bomb it up the M5 to be there with him.

She told me she didn’t want me to see Max as he was, wanted me to remember the smiling young man on the sports field which I do. The kindest hearted of Mums you could imagine even thinking of my best in the most tragic of circumstances.

People talk about the different stages of grief. After a couple days, to a week, of almost constant crying, I eventually almost ran out of tears as though I cannot cry about it anymore however low I may be feeling about his loss at any moment.

There are times when, out of nowhere, I completely lose the plot for no apparent reason. Sometimes this is blind rage or anger and fortunately I have learnt to sometimes feel this coming and where possible try and go for a mega long run to put my body through pain, to tire myself out when the emotion just needs to explode out of my stratovolcano. Sadly my head cannot allow lava to be flung out of it, to rid my body of horrible thoughts.

Particularly when I cannot sleep so many thoughts spin around my head, I have occasionally, often briefly, attempted yoga or meditation that has been recommended to me to help, but not yet managed to get into either. I have learnt to realise that roughly every fortnight or so (particularly in the winter) I will have a hellish night of the devil taking over my brain. I try and get through these like Harry Potter trying to keep Voldemort out. But in the daytime using sport to allow these things to be emitted in a channelled, controlled way I do think is particularly helpful.

I have been angry at sports clubs and schools we both attended not commemorating Max better (if at all) but maybe the sad state of things is that so many young people have mental health battles that get the better of them that these institutions feel they cannot pay tribute to all…