In the end, age and experience carried the day.
In the 36th edition of the Ensign Cup benefit rugby game, the over 30s prevailed 61-33 against the under 30s on Saturday afternoon at Kelowna’s Parkinson Recreation Centre.
The youngsters started strong when Rick Schouten put the under 30s on the board on first.
But the Old Boys, as they are affectionately known, replied quickly and often with two trys from Richard Brewer and one each from Jake Illichmann, former captain Blair Williams and Derek Dempsey.
The under 30s scored a late try by Sammy Stringer, making the score 33-14 for the over 30s at the half.
In the second half, the Old Boys continued to widen the gap with two scores from former captain Reece Evans, and one each from Daryl Cadman and Ben Pellatt.
The young fellas responded two trys from Jared Curry and another from Rick Schouten to round out the scoring. Rich Brewer was successful on eight of nine kicks.
The all-time series now stands at 18 wins for the over 30s, 15 victories for the under 30s, with three games ending in draw.
The history of the Ensign Cup dates back to 1983 when Rusty Ensign suffered a broken neck on the rugby pitch, rendering him a paraplegic.
Proceeds from the game’s the first two years were used to cover Rusty’s rehabilitation expenses. The game has continued on as a charity event ever since, with this year’s proceeds of $1,200 going to Kelowna Youth Rugby.
“The game has become a kind of annual reunion for former players,” said Rusty Ensign. “Adam Lamont and Nathan Chang travelled up from the coast to play for the under 30s. Several of the old guys only play one game a year, this being the game.”
Danny Illichmann turned 30 this year and played with his brother Jake.
Johab Campbell played against his brother Kaleb and, as promised, Johab delivered a legal hit, knocking the wind out of his younger sibling.
This year’s Ensign Cup was part of a full day of rugby events at the Parkinson pitch, including a U14 7s tournament, a touch rugby match and the Priest Valley Vicars old timers taking on the Twilighters.
“Special thanks to Marshall Corbett for organizing the event and Jenifer Hawthorne with the fundraising,” Ensign added.
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