The Cowichan Steelheads’ Yuta Yamato goes up against a Vic West player. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Yuta Yamato goes up against a Vic West player. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Shorthanded Cowichan 49ers shut out by UVic Alumni

Niners’ lead in standings reduced to single point

A small crew of brave soldiers from the Cowichan 49ers travelled south to Victoria last Friday for their first O35 men’s soccer game of 2022, and despite their best efforts, couldn’t hold off a fully staffed UVic Alumni squad in a 3-0 loss.

Hit by COVID-19, injuries, suspensions and work commitments, the 49ers could only muster 10 players for the match, while their archrivals from UVic had a whole side of 11 as well as a handful of subs.

“We actually gave them a bit of a go, but they bested us,” player-manager Neall Rowlings said. “The game was good-spirited and we are all friends the two teams. It’s been a hard year, but each week we are just happy to get a chance to get outside and play the sport we love.”

Rowlings expressed his pride in teammates Brett Hartmann, Darcy Penner, Darian Achurch, Chad Bastian, Todd Vass, Matthew James, Mike Minckler, Brad Archibald, Jordan Clarke and Tyler Hughes, who all gave it their best.

“They knew what were walking into, and they went into it with their heads held high,” Rowlings said.

The 49ers are now just one point ahead of UVic Alumni for first place in the masters A division, but UVic has a game in hand. The teams will meet one more time in league play and again in the first round of the Tony Grover Cup tournament.

The Niners are hoping for a better turnout this Saturday when they play host to Gorge on the Sherman Road turf at 6 p.m.

The Cowichan Steelheads also returned to action last weekend, falling 2-0 to Vic West at home. The Steelheads will be at home this Saturday as well, playing host to UVic at 8 p.m.

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