Under 30s prevail in high-scoring Ensign Cup

Young boys outscore the overs 30s on Saturday in annual match in Kelowna which raised $1,800

A fired-up Ryan McAvena takes charge for the old boys during the Ensign Cup charity rugby match Saturday at the Parkinson fields in Kelowna.

After missing out last year on a chance to even the all-time series, the under 30s got one back on Saturday with hard-fought win over the old boys (over 30s) in the 34th annual Ensign Cup Charity rugby match.

In warm, windy conditions at the Parkinson fields, there appeared to be strength in numbers for the old boys who had 27 players compared to 17 for the under 30s.

But when all was said and done in the wide-open affair, the youngsters prevailed 62-50.

Aging referees Chris Ward and Jeff Townsend split the duties, each officiating two quarters.

With little defence to speak of, it was an exciting game with lots of field-length try runs by the fast young backs and driving rucks, and mauls over the line by the heavier, older forwards.

The under 30s started fast, grabbing a 36-24 lead by half time.

The over 30s bounced back to make a game of it 50 minutes in, tying it up 36-36.

After trading tries back and forth the under 30s struck for three tries and the old boys were forced to start cheating.

Catching the over 30s with an extra man on the field, the referee threatened to quit with five minutes left.

In the end, the teams combined for 112 points, the highest scoring match in Ensign Cup history.

Chuck Bullock was a machine for the old boys kicking 6-for-7 in the wind, while Eddie Pye went 6-for-10 for the kids.

Jeff Lohse led the under 30s with two tries, with others coming from Sammy Stringer, Wes Black and Barak Pauls.

For the old boys, Ryan Nixon had two, with Bob Monihan and Barry Ebl being rewarded for solid play with a try each. Young sub Lilu Jagger made the best run of the day.

Mark Klotz played hard at the age of 62, while the Priest Valley Vicars old boys were represented by 58-year-old Frank Byl.

Game honouree Rusty Ensign also made note the play of George Curran from the over 30s.

“Sadly, at 54, George Curran, the Pretender, still had to get out there,” Ensign wrote. “He got shamed as the last man back with a missed tackle. It’s not all bad, his mother still loves him.”

The series now stands at 16 wins for the old fellas, 15 for the young guys, with three games ending in ties.

The match, held annually for charity and in recognition of Rusty Ensign, raised $1,800 in funds for the development of Kelowna Youth Rugby.

Ensign was rendered a quadriplegic after being injured in a rugby game in 1983.


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