The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn

Soccer commnity comes together in midst of battle

The story of the Cowichan masters soccer derby between the 49ers and Steelheads should have been a tale of the rivalry between the Flynn brothers who were squaring off on opposite sides for the first time, Ryan on the 49ers and Curtis on the Steelheads.

Unfortunately, just 20 minutes into the match, Curtis Flynn’s leg was broken, and the story instead became one of the Cowichan masters soccer community coming together.

“The hard part is we are all one large soccer community competing but when something like this happens it puts it all into perspective,” reported Neall Rowlings, who manages both teams and plays for the 49ers.

“I am glad it was two Cowichan teams playing,” Flynn said. “The support on the field I received was amazing.”

Ryan Flynn ended up holding Curtis’s ankle and leg in place for nearly 40 minutes while they waited for the ambulance to arrive, while other 49ers — especially Todd Vass and Matt Arnett — were encouraging and supportive.

“My teammates were there for me and I appreciate all of them,” Curtis Flynn added. “Luke Massey and Ryan Connelly were there for me immediately and I appreciate all the messages and offers from every single one of the Cowichan soccer community.

“It was an emotional night and I think the hardest part for me was when I was on the stretcher about to get loaded into the ambulance. I broke down because I wouldn’t have any of these amazing humans around and it put into perspective what it means to be part of such an amazing sporting community.”

Flynn — Curtis, that is — gave himself a lot of the blame for the injury.

“It was mostly my fault as I made a bonehead error prior to the incident,” he reported. “I was subbing into centre midfield but the ref sent me back immediately to take my necklace off — this happened last week as well — so coach Billy [Keserich] had to put someone else into my position. I went on a few minutes later at left midfield and then when I went in for a 50/50 ball and I came out the loser of that challenge. Might have been the first time I ever lost a 50/50 ball. It was a pure soccer play and both of us players in the challenge were going in to win the ball. Any other day both of us would of got up and patted each other on the back and continued on.”

“Both players went in hard and no foul was called on the play,” Rowlings agreed.

Rowlings has been in Flynn’s cleats before, and knows he has an uphill climb ahead.

“I can say, having this happen three times in five years, it’s a long road to recovery and he will need the support of the Valley behind him. He owns Fresh Kenny’s downtown on Kenneth Street, and could definitely use any support possible.”

As for the game, it was won 7-0 by the 49ers, with one of those goals coming off the foot of Ryan Flynn. Tyler Hughes scored twice, and Rocket Rowlings, Arnett, Stu [Shake n Bake] Barker and George [Hagi] Thomas also found the net, with Darian Achurch recording the shutout. Jesse Winter looked strong in his first game on the Cowichan backline.

The 49ers will visit their arch rivals, UVic Alumni, this weekend, and the Steelheads will visit Gorge FC.

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