If Knackerfest, Cayman’s iconic oldies Rugbyfest Tournament, sponsored by RE/Max and Ogiers, had a motto it could be; ‘We may be old, but we’re not dead!’
Running for some 12 years now, it has been growing in popularity and shown to be completely indestructible, much like the men who play in it.
In November 2004, the year of Ivan, Knackerfest went ahead, although the game was actually played not against a visiting team but against their visiting jerseys, which had been air-freighted in for the occasion. Two Cayman teams took the field – one representing Cayman and the other representing the visitors – a unique way of keeping the tournament going.
This year Knackerfest is back to strength with three visiting teams – Wilmington, Delaware; Miami, Florida and Jamaica Old Crocs. Depending on whether the old war wounds act up, there is the possibility of two Cayman teams; RE/MAX Knackers and the Cayman Tarnished Turtles.
“This is the highlight in our oldies calendar,” says Shane Aquart, an oldies player. “We have matches all through the year including exciting games like the Over 30’s and Under 30’s series, but Knackerfest is rugby and pig roasts and visiting ‘Barbarians’.” James Bovell of RE/Max and Jim Bergstrom of Ogiers come out and play as well, taking their involvement well beyond just sponsoring the event.
The event is very social and welcoming, with some good rugby thrown in as well. Yet people come not only for the rugby, but to see old warhorses like Ron Arscot take the field, or see whether Chris Jackson is still being held together by the miracle of Duck tape.
Of course, nowhere is the adage ‘the older I get, the better I was’ more applicable, as tales like Larry Cayasso’s retelling of his 80-yard try in the 1970’s against the visiting ‘internationals’ are retold. Some have been as bold as to whisper that only last year it was still a 60-yard run.
This year Knackerfest falls on the weekend of 20 November, with socialising on the Friday evening combined with a visiting ladies team from the UK and men’s games and food and drink on the Saturday and Sunday. Games start at midday on Saturday at the Rugby Club in South Sound. WH