After the long holiday break, the Cowichan 49ers masters soccer team was back in action on Jan. 14. The 49ers started the back half of their season against second place Vic West FC and more than just pride was on the line. With a win, the 49ers would clinch the Dave Ravenhill League Championship trophy.
So the men set to work doing just that.
Neall Rowlings opened the scoring converting on a penalty kick just five minutes in. Tyler Hughes converted his first of two top corner strikes to make it 2-0 Cowichan at the game’s halfway point.
Before the second half began, the two teams shared a moment of silence honouring the late Cowichan club member Bill Keserich Jr.
“We miss him so much,” Rowlings said. “He did so much and was selfless. A giant hole has been left in the soccer community, we can’t even keep up to all the work and joy he brought us.”
Vic West made a game of it in the second half. Following some near 49er misses, Vic West’s Shaun Gurney finished a strong volley to make it 2-1.
Relatively unaccustomed to being scored on, having only allowed four goals all season up to that point, Cowichan put their heads down and let their skills propel them ahead once again.
The momentum shifted quickly when team captain, Richard Lord, following a long layoff due to injury, made his presence felt by delivering a perfect right-wing cross that found the head of Stuart Barker. The beauty of the play made it 3-1 for Cowichan.
Then, Hughes added his second and Super Sub Alex Canales scored two more to make it a 6-1 final and give the 49ers the Dave Ravenhill League Championship trophy.
“We have a special group,” said the team’s Adam Taft. “The competition in the masters A division is the strongest it has been since we formed the team. Lifting the league trophy is a great accomplishment.”
While they’ve already clinched the league, the 49ers aren’t done their season.
Up next for the lads is a Feb. 3 re-match with Vic West at 7:30 p.m. at the Sherman Road turf.