Assuming warming weather trends continue and the snow on the Sherman Road turf disappears, the hotly anticipated second chapter of the Cowichan Derby will take place this weekend.
The Cowichan 49ers took the first round of the local competition in October, beating the Steelheads 2-0, and the teams will take the pitch again this Saturday at 6 p.m. for another shot at bragging rights.
The Niners sit second in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s masters A division, with 10 wins, two draws and two losses. The Steelheads are close behind, in fourth place with nine wins and five losses. The 49ers have outscored their opponents 47-13 over 14 games, while the Steelheads hold a 26-16 margin.
The real tale of the tape comes down to discipline. The Steelheads have accumulated 22 yellow cards so far, with 13 different players responsible. The 49ers have seen nine different players awarded a total of 10 yellows and two reds.
“So the 49ers are just a little meaner, and the Steelheads are more rounded with their fouls,” said the conflicted Neall Rowlings, a player with the 49ers and manager with both teams.
Beyond just chest-thumping, there are valuable points at stake in this game, as both teams have a chance to finish as high as second place in the division.
Both teams will also be without key players while at the same time welcoming back valuable members to the lineup.
Recent 49ers signing Matt Arnett is suspended after accumulating too many yellow cards in Div. 1 prior to joining the masters club, but his team will have George Thomas back in the ranks. Steelheads “Minute Man” and leading scorer Kevin Smith is sidelined after surgery, but that team has brought back stalwart George White.
It will be the 49ers’ turn to cater the post-game meal this time, and Rowlings promises that “gourmet hexagon burgers” will once again be on the menu.