It is a rivalry that spans decades.

Since the early 19th century a friendly competition has been taking place between tiny Maniototo settlements.

The story goes a rugby match took place between the Irish goldminers of St Bathans and the Welsh goldminers from the nearby Cambrian settlement during the gold rush.

The match became an annual event.

However, many of the young potential rugby players were killed during World War 1, and the match was halted.

In 1948, the publican at the Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans asked a local carpenter on the railway to make a cup to be contested again.

The Vulcan Cup, affectionately known in the area as the Wooden Cup, is now contested across two codes, rugby and hockey. Each sport has its own wooden cup.

A humble prize . . . Wooden cups for women’s hockey and men’s rugby have been vied for by St Bathans and Becks since 1948.

As the populations in St Bathans and Cambrian declined, the battle was changed to a match between St Bathans and Becks with a boundary line drawn at Woolshed Creek — those to the north were eligible to play for St Bathans, and those south played for Becks.

Seventy-five years on since the cups were first introduced, the rivalry is still going strong, albeit friendly.

The Wooden Cup is set to be played at the Becks Memorial Hall grounds on Saturday.

Children’s rugby games will begin the festivities at 12.30pm followed by hockey at 1.30pm.

The big rugby match starts at 2.30pm followed by a cake cutting with some of the game’s oldest former players.