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Grassroots rugby is alive and well in St Bathans.

People of all ages lined the town’s rugby field for the annual Wooden Cup match between Becks and St Bathans on Saturday.

The match could have been anyone’s game in the final quarter, but a late try gave Becks the margin it needed for a decisive 34-19 win.

Becks co-coach Steve Hore said although the team came away with a win, the game was about bringing the community together.

“We always go out to win and it is very competitive, but it’s more about the community.”

St Bathans coach Phil Smith agreed.

“It’s played pretty hard on the paddock, but they are all good mates.”

The match dates back to the goldmining era, when it was played between the Irish and Welsh goldminers.

Back then the tournament was a battle between Cambrians (Welsh) and St Bathans (Irish).

However, their fun ended when World War 1 started.

As Smith understood it, some of the players were sent to war and the tournament was not resurrected until 1948, thanks to the foresight of the Vulcan Hotel publican at the time, who had the Wooden Cup made.

It was at that time the tournament changed to become a Becks-St Bathans competition and rules were made to determine who could play for which team.

The main boundary was Woolshed Creek, Smith said.

“It’s a straight line from there across the valley.”

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz