In a battle of the hometown Masters, the league-leading Cowichan 49ers played host to the not-quite-but-nearly cellar-dweller Cowichan Steelheads on Oct. 8 at the Sherman Road turf.
While both teams are managed by the irreplaceable Neall Rowlings, it was clear only one team had his on-field skills. “Rocket” Rowlings scored twice in the tilt to lead the 49ers to a decisive 5-0 victory over the Steelheads.
Rowlings is now tied for first in league scoring.
“The game started off very spirited and fun,” Rowlings noted.
His game-opening goal came on a ball in from Matt Arnett at the 27-minute mark.
It took some time for the ball to find the back of the net again.
In the 41st minute, Ryan (Fish) Fusick was brought down in the box and Brad Thorne stepped up and slotted the penalty kick home.
It was 2-0 at the half with more to come from the 49ers.
Roughly 10 minutes into the second half, Doug Nestor headed in the first of his season. Then Brad (Archie) Archibald scored a left footer at the 62 minute mark.
Rowlings himself capped off the scoring with his second of the game.
Once again, Darian Achurch earned the shutout, his fourth consecutive clean sheet.
“The team is playing very well,” Rowlings said, noting they’re getting 21 guys out at each game making decisions tricky for the head coach.
“Our coach Kevin James is getting everyone on the field and putting guys in the right spots.”
The 49ers now sit atop the league standings with a 4-0 record and still zero goals against while the Steelheads are currently sixth of eight with a 1-3 record and 15 goals against.
The 49ers head south to play their arch-rivals, the second-ranked UVic Alumni squad, on Saturday afternoon.
“This game is to honour our shared late soccer friend David Ravenhill,” Rowlings said. “Also, our two teams will be playing for top spot in the masters A division. We are prepared and know this game is going to be a battle.”
The Steelheads host the Fernwood Dragons at home that night at the Sherman Road turf.