The 2012 BC Provincial Cup kicked off this past weekend.
There were shocks, penalty shoot-outs, joy and heartbreak. There were also many entertaining matches, cracking goals and some pretty good talent on display on pitches all over the lower mainland and Vancouver island.
The Cup has a long and proud history, 121 years of it, and teams are battling in four categories for the 2012 mens’ titles: Mens A, Mens B, Masters and Under 21’s.
Clubs are taking part across the competitions from seven local leagues: Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL); Fraser Valley Soccer League (FVSL); Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL); North Shore Coaches League (NSCL); Richmond Senior Soccer Association (RSSA); Burnaby Men’s Soccer League (BMSL); and Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL).
Each section has sixteen teams competing, with the finals scheduled to be held at Burnaby Lake West pitches on Saturday May 12th. Eight finals will take place that day, four mens and four womens and the winning teams will then have the honour of representing British Columbia at the Canadian Club National Championships in Winnipeg from October 3rd to 8th.
As a lifelong supporter of lower league and non league football, it’s a competition that’s right up my street and there’s not a lot I love better when it comes to football than a cup tie. If you can give me a midweek one under the floodlights, then even better.
The 2012 competition kicked off on Friday night, and there was an immediate shock in store when reigning ‘A’ Cup holders, ICST Pegasus, went down 2-0 to fellow VMSL side Metro-Ford Wolves in Surrey.
The Horsemen had claimed the silver medal in last year’s nationals, but the repeat was not to be and a new champion will be crowned next month.
The competition is shaping up to be really fierce in each section and with so much great football promising to be on display, AFTN wanted to really get behind the Cup this season.
We’re going to feature a “tie of the round” in the ‘A’ Cup (and hopefully also the ‘B’ Cup), and then the plan is to follow the winners of each tie into the next round, right up to the final. Our very own “Road To
Wembley Burnaby Lake”.
For the Mens ‘A’ match, our needs were simple. We wanted to see a potential giant killing tie and ideally an island team.
Yesterday’s match between West Van FC of the VMSL and Bays United of the VISL was just the ticket.
Bays were our team of choice to support. They were the underdogs, they have a strong Scottish connection in their history and they even have a club crest that features a blue and white wave with a whitecap.
What more could we ask for? So off we headed to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, for what proved to be a highly entertaining game.
The home team were in the ascendency pretty quickly and their pressure paid off before the game had even reached the midway point of the first half.
Bays goalkeeper Elliott Mitrou let a long range effort bounce and spill through his hands for a corner, which Tim Perry scissor kicked home for the opener.
With West Van continuing to press, it looked like the islanders floodgates were going to open, but to their credit, they regathered their composure and settled in to a rhythm, taking the game to their hosts as the half reached the close.
All was still to play for, but it looked like it was game over for Bays when they conceded a penalty in the 54th minute. Up stepped former Vancouver Whitecaps captain Paul Dailly, but Mitrou made amends for his earlier lapse and produced a fantastic diving save to his right to keep it a one goal game.
The save spurred United on and they got their reward with fifteen minutes remaining when Dougie Joyce curled a 25 yard beauty past Brando Ciccone in the West Van goal for the equaliser.
The shock was now on, and the number two seeds, and recent Imperial Cup winners, were on the back foot and resorting to some robust challenges.
Bays United were the only team that looked like they were going to win the tie in normal time and were unlucky to see an effort crash off the post with five minutes remaining.
The game went into extra time and the additional period gave West Van a new lease of life.
They restored their lead just two minutes in when a Dailly shot deflected in off a Bays defender.
With time running out, Bays pushed forward, leaving themselves short at the back, and West Van could have killed the game off several times, three times blasting a cross over the bar from close range.
Bays had a late penalty claim turned down, and despite some strong pressure in the last few minutes, they were unable to pull of the cup shock, but can be proud of their performance. West Van won’t get many tougher games than this one this Cup run.
Check out our photo gallery of the match on our Flickr account.
West Van now advance to the quarter finals to face Surrey United Firefighters in an Imperial Cup rematch. Kick off is 2pm at Ambleside Park next Sunday and it’s sure to be a feisty affair, with the winners of the tie favourites to life the Cup and go on and represent BC at the nationals.
With this game going into extra time, having to pick the wife and dog up from Ambleside Beach, and then quickly grabbing something to eat, plans for taking in our chosen ‘B’ cup tie fell by the wayside, as we ran out of time.
Our chosen ‘B’ team is VMSL third tier (soon to be second tier) side NVFC Campobasso from North Vancouver, which is partly run by a Whitecaps supporter and Curva Collective member.
If we’d known the game was going to go to penalties, we could have caught the last few minutes of it, but as it was NVFC triumphed 3-1 on spot kicks over FVSL side North Coquitlam Blues, after a goalless game.
So we now hope to catch their quarter final tie against fellow VMSL D2 side Shaheen FC.
It’s great to have a competition of such heritage and local pride right here on our doorstep. We need to appreciate what we have and support it a bit better, if for no other reason than the quality of football on display is excellent.
If you fancy taking in any of the quarter final action, then check out the fixtures over on BCSoccer.net.
Hope to see you at one of the games next weekend.