The Cowichan 49ers masters soccer team began their defence of the Tony Grover Memorial Trophy on the road Saturday against the Cordova Bay Bobcats.
“We expected a difficult game against the bobcats,” said Adam Taft, team spokesperson. “They have always played us tough, and they are very familiar with our team.”
A team that emphasizes defence, the Bobcats matched the 49ers work ethic in the first half. The few good scoring opportunities the 49ers had were turned away by Bobcats keeper, Chris Davies and the game was 0-0 at the halfway point.
Taft said at the half, 49ers head coach Kevin James motivated the team with one of his classic speeches.
The coach’s words hit home. In the 68th minute, Man of the Match, Stu Barker’s head connected with a long free kick at the top of the box, chipping the ball over a defender and onrushing keeper to score the 49ers first.
Ten minutes later, Barker cleaned up a dangerous corner kick from Tyler Hughes, scoring his second of the game to extend the 49ers lead to 2-0. Kayle Haley scored a third Cowichan goal after some nice build up from Hughes and Doug Nestor. The game wrapped up with a 3-0 in favour of the 49ers.
The 49ers are back in action at home against Gorge in league play this coming Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Sherman Road turf, followed by another Grover Cup matchup in two weeks against division rival UVic, again at home.
“We are looking forward to this one,” Taft said.
Cowichan’s other masters team, the Steelheads, fell 9-0 to Vic West FC on Feb. 11 in their Tony Grover Cup match. Up next for the Steelheads is a game against JDP Pacific on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. at the turf.
Meanwhile, division 1 Cowichan Axis FC beat Powell River Villa 1-0 — in a shootout — in Sir John Jackson Cup play. Up next they visit Comox Valley United Feb. 18 at Vanier Turf.