Mike Poitras controls ball for the Bateman alumni squad in a match-up with the Heritage Park Secondary alumni on Saturday morning game at the Gobbler Tournament. Twelve men's and five women's teams participated in this year's event.

Mike Poitras controls ball for the Bateman alumni squad in a match-up with the Heritage Park Secondary alumni on Saturday morning game at the Gobbler Tournament. Twelve men's and five women's teams participated in this year's event.

Local rugby teams triumph at turkey-time tourney

Almost as much as turkey and dressing, the Gobbler Tournament is a Thanksgiving staple in Abbotsford.

Almost as much as turkey and dressing, the Gobbler Tournament is a Thanksgiving staple in Abbotsford.

The Abbotsford Rugby Football Club’s annual event celebrated its 35th anniversary on the weekend, drawing 12 men’s teams and five women’s teams from B.C., Alberta and Washington to the Exhibition Park pitches.

In the end, a pair of local teams finished atop the heap.

The alumni squad from Robert Bateman Secondary claimed first place in the men’s division, knocking off Edson (Alta.) 24-12 in the final.

On the women’s side, the ARFC entry reigned supreme, clinching the title by beating another Alberta squad, Leduc, 32-10.

Tourney organizer Doug Primrose pointed out that the Gobbler has had a major impact on the local club over the decades, both financially and culturally.

“It definitely provides us with the ability to run our operations,” Primrose said, noting that the event raised upwards of $10,000 once again this year.

“And it’s just got such a good history that it brings out a lot of past members. Some people, you see them once a year, and that’s at the Gobbler. It’s a fun social tournament.”