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Century-old rugby rivalry revived in James Bay

James Bay Athletic Association and Vancouver Rowing Club squads face off for a trio of cups

After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, one of Canada’s oldest rugby rivalries returned to MacDonald Park on Saturday as teams from the James Bay Athletic Association and Vancouver Rowing Club faced off for a trio of cups.

Since 1908, the two clubs have met every year to compete for the Ferguson Cup for first division teams, and the Cox Cup for Premier League teams. For the first time in the long-standing rivalry, a third cup was being played for.

Called the Yano Cup in honour of the late Niki Yano, it is awarded to the winning women’s team. Yano was a long time member of the JBAA Bettys women’s rugby team and died of cancer three years ago.

“It’s so great to be back out here. It’s really great to see everyone out playing again, it’s been a long time so it’s great to have people back at the field,” said JBAA president John de Goede. “It just reinforces the value of sport in people’s lives … we really believe young men and women need to be physically active, and sport can also be a great diversion from all the bad stuff going on in the world.”

Andrew Donn, chairman of Vancouver Rowing Club rugby, said the two-year gap in playing for the cup was tough, making it even sweeter to be back at it again this year.

“It’s especially good today since we’ve got the women’s teams as well as the men’s teams,” said Donn. “We’ve added to the tradition of this rivalry. It’s always good to make this trip, and it’s just a good day for sport.”

Dozens of spectators joined the teams on the field to take in the afternoon action on Saturday.

READ MORE: Langford welcomes Canada’s sole pro-rugby team to Starlight Stadium


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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