Cowichan LMG earned a win over the weekend without having to set foot on the field, but that’s not how head coach Glen Martin likes to do things.
“I don’t like winning by forfeit,” he said. “It doesn’t help our team stay in shape. It doesn’t help prepare for the rest of the season.”
The V.I. Wave opted to forfeit the Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 match that was scheduled for Saturday evening, so it will go in the books as a 3-0 win in Cowichan’s favour. This isn’t the first time in recent years that the Wave have opted not to take the trip north.
Teams do have the option of changing the date of a match, or they can call up players from lower divisions on permits and show up with the minimum number of players. Cowichan has struggled with numbers once or twice this year, but hasn’t come close to pulling the plug like the Wave did on Friday.
“That shouldn’t be happening in a Div. 1 league,” Martin said. “There’s too many people to draw from in Victoria.”
First Division teams that forfeit two matches in a season automatically face relegation. That puts the Wave in a tight spot if they run into real roster issues later in the season.
“I wouldn’t want to give one away so early,” Martin said.
On an individual level, the unplayed game hurt Cowichan sniper Paddy Nelson, who didn’t have the opportunity to score and remains at nine goals on the season as he seeks another league scoring title. Daragh Fitzgerald scored four for Nanaimo on Friday and Ryan Andre scored two for Lakehill in the same game, putting them both at eight on the year.
LMG is now one third of the way through the season, sitting one point back of first-place Gorge and four points ahead of third-place Nanaimo. The next few games are huge.
“We hit the big boys now: Bays, Gorge and Vic West,” Martin said. “That will give us an idea of where we stand. Then we’ll be halfway through the season and we’ll really know where we’re at.”
Cowichan will visit Bays this Friday at the Oak Bay High School field. A perennial top-four team, Bays is currently ninth in the 10-team division, but is coming off a 3-3 tie with Vic West.