A four-goal effort against Saanich Fusion Forest on Saturday evening paid off for the Cowichan 49ers.
Tied with UVic Alumni atop the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s masters men’s league, the 49ers needed as many goals at they could muster in order to take the goal-differential tiebreaker.
Cowichan took a three-goal edge into the weekend, then added four in the 4-0 win over Saanich, and even when UVic beat Vic West 6-1 in their season finale on Sunday, it was enough for Cowichan to hold on to first place and claim their second consecutive league title.
Recently added goalkeeper Chris Muller earned the shutout and Man of the Match honours, rising to the occasion when he needed to. Stu Barker and Neall (Rocket) Rowlings each scored twice: Barker on a chip over the Saanich keeper and a penalty kick, and Rowlings on what he claimed was his “first header goal in a decade” and a breakaway.
The Niners were missing several key players, in addition to head coach Kevin James.
“It was noticeable to be missing our coach,” Rowlings said. “He quells a lot of egos and animosity on the field and is the glue that takes us to the next level.”
The 49ers will play for their third consecutive Tony Grover Cup title this coming Sunday at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park, taking on Gorge in a rematch of the 2018 final.
“We will only be missing three of our roster of 25 next Sunday,” Rowlings commented. “So we are fully prepared.”
Cowichan scarves are available for the cup final by emailing email@example.com. The first 20 are free.
“We need some support as we know Gorge will be hungry,” Rowlings said.