Jai Irvine (right) scored the Cowichan 49ers’ lone goal in a rare loss to Castaways Juniors last Sunday. (Todd Blumel photo)

Rare setback for Cowichan 49ers

Masters team suffers unusual loss to Castaways Juniors

Stymied early and exhausted down the stretch, the Cowichan 49ers played to their first loss of the Vancouver Island Soccer League over-35 men’s soccer season last Sunday, falling 2-1 to Castaways Juniors at Blanshard Park.

Plagued by injuries and a lack of bodies this season, the Niners took four subs to Victoria on Sunday, but had used up the bench less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Cowichan dominated the first part of the match, but failed to capitalize on their opportunities.

“We had our chances to bury them very early,” player/manager Neall Rowlings reported. “Myself included on a few simple shots.”

After the 49ers’ eighth clear scoring chance, Castaways made their way down the field and scored on a beautiful shot from about 25 yards out in the 34th minute. Cowichan pushed for the equalizer for the rest of the game, giving up another one against the flow in the 70th minute. Jai Irvine, the 49ers’ oldest player, finally stepped up and scored for Cowichan with a minute left in regular play.

Despite the loss, Rowlings still found a silver lining.

“The positive for us: no yellow cards,” he commented. “We are still in the top three and it’s time to train hard and have some fun doing it.”

Perfect through the first seven games of the year, the 49ers have now given up points in two straight, including a 2-2 tie with the Cordova Bay Bobcats the previous weekend. They will look to get back in the winning track this Saturday when they host Lakehill on the Sherman Road turf at 6 p.m.

“We beat them 6-2 last time, but the game was closer than the outcome,” Rowlings said. “Four goals were scored in six minutes. We are hungry and looking to rebuild at our home park.”

The Cowichan Steelheads also lost last weekend, 1-0 to Cordova Bay at Sherman Road on Saturday. They will visit Vic West this Sunday.

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