Cowichan Valley will be the site of a prestigious double fixture this Saturday, May 26th, with the McKechnie Cup and Dunbar Keg being contested by regional teams from Vancouver Island (Crimson Tide) and Vancouver (Wave). The McKechnie Cup is the Senior Men’s match kicking off at 2:30pm, while the Dunbar Keg will be contested by teams of U23 players and will start at 12:45pm.
The McKechnie Cup, one of the oldest contested trophies in the province, dates back over 120 years to 1896. Both teams have a strong reputation in the historic cup, with Vancouver Wave looking to defend their 2017 title. While Vancouver Island Crimson Tide may not have secured the trophy in the last 6 contests, they have won it 5 times out of the last 15 contested years (Vancouver Wave claiming just two wins in that time, Fraser Valley 7).
Named after Dr Robert McKechnie, a Nanaimo physician who donated the trophy to the BC Rugby Union, the trophy was originally contested by club teams from the likes of Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and UBC. As rugby flourished in the decades following WW2, increasingly the competition saw teams representing whole regions bidding for glory. In the modern era, the McKechnie Cup, along with the Dunbar Keg and Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup (Senior Women’s competition) between them represent the highest accolade that a regional rugby team can achieve in BC.
In a testament to the quality of rugby on both the island and mainland, a total of 22 clubs, universities and schools are represented by players across the two matches. In addition to the silver wear on offer, players on both sides will be hoping to put in a good performance in hope of being selected for this summer’s BC U23 and BC Bears teams. Expect a significant amount of passion, grit and determination to be displayed when the games kick off at Cowichan Valley RFC on Saturday.