Glen Martin’s latest diamond-inthe-rough discovery had a huge debut as Cowichan FC played its first Vancouver Island Soccer League game of 2014.
Ben Robson scored the first two goals, which included the eventual game-winner, in Cowichan’s 4-0 win over Castaways in Ladysmith last Saturday.
Robson played for Vancouver Island University in the fall, and Martin spotted him – playing back – when Cowichan played the Mariners in an exhibition game. Finding out he didn’t have a club affiliation, Martin snapped him up and converted him to striker, a move that paid off immediately. Robson scored in the 16th and 23rd minutes against Castaways, sparking an easy but vital win for the squad.
"It was a good start to the New Year," Martin said.
Veteran Steve Scott scored a huge goal in the 45th minute to put Cowichan up by three goals, but that wasn’t quite enough to put Castaways down for good.
"They came back and played hard in the second half," Martin said of the visitors.
Kevin Jones iced the game in the 87th minute, capping off a strong half in which Cowichan had dominated play but hadn’t been able to generate any offence.
"We were playing well," Martin said. "We had lots of chances and lots of possession."
Filling in for Joel Wilson, who remains sidelined with a concussion, goalkeeper Darian Achurch collected the shutout.
"He didn’t have to make any saves, but he had to handle the ball a few times," Martin commented.
Cowichan United’s Div. 2 game against Saanich Fusion 2 on Friday night got off to a rough start when player/coach Neall Rowlings suffered a broken leg early in the match. According to Martin, who was on hand for the game, the injury happened when Rowlings went in on a 50/50 ball with the Saanich goalie, who it was estimated outweighs the him by about 100 pounds.
"They crashed, and Neall lost the mathematical battle," Martin said.
The injury happened to come on the same weekend that Rowlings was named Footballer of the Week by United Football, a joint program of the VISL, Lower Island Soccer Association and Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association.
Even without their skipper, United managed to hand Saanich their first loss, winning 1-0 on a goal by Jordan Korven and the goal keeping of Achurch, who earned his first of what would be two shutouts on the weekend.
The Div. 1 squad will be in action this Friday, hosting Vic West in Ladysmith at 7:30 p.m. Cowichan and Vic West are battling with Saanich Fusion 1 for the top two spots and guaranteed berths in the provincial tournament.
"It’s a really big game," Martin said. "It’s the game of the year – for both teams."
Cowichan United will visit Nanaimo’s Div. 2 team on Saturday.