The 31st edition of the Ensign Cup provided its share of bumps, laughs, good-natured ribbing and even some late drama Saturday afternoon on the Parkinson Rec Centre fields.
The annual charity match between the over-30s and under-30s squads came down the dying seconds before finally ending in a 26-26 draw.
The ‘Old Guys’ as the over-30s are also known, still hold a slim lead in the all-time series—14 wins to 13, with four games ending in ties.
“It was fantastic, there was suspense right to the end,” said Rusty Ensign. “The tie also means the young guys are undefeated in four straight games, so they’ve had the upper hand lately.”
With more than 200 fans on hand to watch and about 45 players suiting up for the two teams, Ensign said there were accusations of both lying and cheating from the two sides during the game, but it was, of course, “all in good fun.”
Ensign directed special recognition George Curran’s way for being the only player over 50 years old to suit up for the match.
Now a longstanding tradition in Kelowna, Ensign said the annual event continues to bring people together.
“It was most enjoyable,” he said. “There are always faces you haven’t seen for five or 10 years, so that’s nice. It’s become a ritual.”
An injury suffered during a rugby match in 1983 rendered Ensign a quadriplegic.
The first Ensign Cup was held that year to assist in the renovation of Rusty’s home.
All subsequent games have been used as fundraisers for various causes in the Central Okanagan.
This year, the game raised $1,800 for charity, with $1,000 going to CORE (Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts) and the remaining $800 to local youth rugby.