Neall (Rocket) Rowlings separates a UVic Alumni player from the ball during a 49ers game at the Sherman Road turf earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Neall (Rocket) Rowlings separates a UVic Alumni player from the ball during a 49ers game at the Sherman Road turf earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan 49ers move to the top of masters soccer table

Steelheads pick up first win of the season

The Cowichan 49ers moved to the top of the table in the Vancouver Island Soccer League O35 division, while the Cowichan Steelheads picked up their first win of the year on Saturday night.

The 49ers beat Gorge FC 4-1 at Hampton Park on Saturday to collect their third win of the season to go along with a tie (against the Steelheads), putting themselves two points ahead of UVic Alumni, who have three wins and one loss (against the 49ers).

Neall (Rocket) Rowlings opened the scoring in the seventh minute with his long-awaited first of the season when he headed in a corner kick from Tyler Hughes.

“This doesn’t happen often,” Rowlings said, laughing. “Tyler joked it was in without my head, but I’m claiming it.”

Gorge tied the score on a penalty kick shortly before halftime, but George (Hagi) Thomas restored Cowichan’s lead in the first minute after the break.

“Hagi nutmegged a defender at the top of the box and went around two more to slot one of the nicest goals I’ve ever seen in the top corner,” Rowlings reported.

Hard-working Jai Irvine scored off a scramble off another corner, and Stu Barker slotted Cowichan’s fourth of the night into the top corner from about 17 yards out. Jordan Clarke worked hard all match, and Matthew James made his debut for the 49ers in the centre of the park, providing a calm influence.

“Big team win, and we are taking it week by week,” Rowlings said. “Lots of injuries piling up.”

The 49ers are home to Fernwood Dragons this Saturday at 6 p.m.

The Steelheads beat Juan de Fuca 3-0 at Royal Bay Secondary School on Saturday night for their first win of the year to go with one loss and a pair of draws. Dennis Atkins, Marshall Wilkins and Nick Zuback did the scoring for Cowichan. Zuback took a beautiful through ball from Alan Kane, then made a couple of cuts before striking the ball with his right foot to beat the JDF keeper in the top left corner. Jesse Davis posted the clean sheet for the Steelheads, who play at home against UVic Alumni next Saturday at 8 p.m.

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