Hugh Stroyan, Bill McCartie, Gavin Gordon, Colin Steward and John Barton were playing for the Evergreens when Stroyan ran in to Jack Cole, who was coaching the Pocomos. Several beers later the rallying cry of “Let’s start our own team!” was heard, and the decision was made that another team was needed as the Evergreens roster was swollen. An inaugural practice was called at Bear Creek Park in Surrey in September, 1975, with Hugh, Bill, Colin, Gavin, Jack, Christie, John and Bruce MacIntosh showing.
In 1975, Hugh Stroyan, Bill McCartie and Jack Cole were persistent. “We’re forming an over-40 side to play against Ebb Tide of Victoria and Whoi Whoi (now Evergreens) of Vancouver. “What position do you wanna play?” They asked this question repeatedly, until enough ex-players gave a dubious “yes” or a definite “maybe”.
And so the Twilighters began. Early days: scrounge a field… with or without posts. Change in your car or behind a bush. Bring the gals along to the games and away trips. Life is fun again, life has begun again. We’re rookies in over-40 rugby.
Our first game was against Ebb Tide in Victoria. We’re off and running. In 1976 our first Japanese game against Wak Wak under the lights at Swanguard Stadium with honest-to-God spectators! Let’s buy a bus! Let’s go to England/Scotland for a major tour in 1980. Let’s build a clubhouse so George Agnew doesn’t have to bring beer to the changing rooms on practise nights. What enthusiasm! What fun! What work!
We’re off to Seattle in ’75 for our first dose of chili, weak beer and narrow fields. Over to Langley to play the newly-formed Valley Vintage, who “spun off” from our club. A Nanaimo team came and went. In ’83 we “toured” Kamloops for the first time, ran into Ian Gray and sunstroke and saw the Silver Sage get born. Ebb Tide and Nanaimo players formed a short-lived Duncan team, and have seen the North Vancouver Snowcaps, Semiahmoo Old Boys, Vancouver Legends and Priest Valley of Vernon come on the scene.
And through it all, we worked and partied together. Beer bouncers at the drunken Empire Stadium football games, casino nights, the $2,000 reverse draw, work parties, scrounging materials, money and effort for the clubhouse and for social events, ladies’ appreciation night, pool parties, corn feed and President’s Night with Phil Narod’s unique awards. All are now part of our history and tradition.
New players are joining. By ’82 the clubhouse is finished and our little shirt-tail group has big-club administrative problems and duties. But the go-for-broke spirit is still there: let’s go to Japan in ’86! And Australia/New Zealand in 1990! Japan again in 1995 and France in 1998! And so we did.
Twilighters have changed and evolved. Time has taken its toll on the original group and we have new blood, new ideas, new places to visit. So away we go, headfirst and hell-bent into our next 25 years.
And the old dogs (over 50 and 60) throw the torch and the challenge to younger players coming up: it’s been a great 31 years. Players got a lot from the club because they gave a lot to it.
And to departed teammates, fond memories and RIP lads.
[Ken Cartwright, Harry Purdy, Charlie Dillon, Dougall Jackson, Mike Johnson, Gary Primeau, Vic Coulter, Wally Lorz, Roger Ruddy, John Barton, Jack Ford, Brian Carano, Dave Mercier, Peter Popovich, Gerry Taylor, Phil Sullivan, Don Steen, Greg Gilding, Gary Miller, Gary Sabin]
“Our Little Old Man” was designed in1979 by Mort Graham, a commercial artist of great renown. He is one of our club’s finest symbols, and we hope he never changes.