It was an entertaining / surprising / inspiring weekend of soccer here on the Island as the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) prepares for Cup Finals Day on Saturday March 26, at Starlight Stadium.
Both Jackson Cup semi-finals were played last weekend and in the top half of the draw, Nanaimo United beat Gorge FC on Friday night, and it took sudden death penalty kicks to do it at Hampton Park.
In an action packed match that saw the number two ranked team take on the number seven ranked side, it was a battle that was all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes. Gorge took the lead from a 27th minute goal from Steven Barnes, but Colin Jacques tied things up from the spot for Nanaimo midway through the second half.
That was how it finished at the end of the 90, so an extra 30 minutes of soccer were played with both teams having chances to win it, but no goals were scored, forcing penalty kicks to decide a winner.
The standard five kicks each still had things all level, so it needed four more shooters – in sudden death style. Nanaimo were able to take it when it was all said and done and an excellent match was celebrated by both teams in the clubhouse post game.
Nanaimo are through to the final, and will be the ‘home’ team.
The bottom side of the draw was also decided on Friday night and in a rather surprising scoreline, Bays United defeated Cowichan FC at Sherman Road Turf in North Cowichan by a scoreline of 3-0.
Bays went up very short staffed as some of their players had other commitments, but they were able to overcome that curveball to advance on against a pesky Cowichan team.
Bays’ goals all came in the first half with Mark Ashlee putting them ahead eight minutes in. Patrick Nelson doubled their lead on the half hour mark, with Donald Straith putting the game to bed on the stroke of half time. Earning the shutout was reserve Keeper, who is typically an outfield player, Rhys Foster.
A huge win for the boys from Oak Bay – always finding a way to pull out a result under the toughest of circumstances at times.
Bays United are now through to the final and will be facing a very strong Nanaimo team.
Here’s how both sides of the draw have played out so far in Jackson Cup action:
All four major VISL cup finals have now been decided, and here is the overall picture:
Sir John Jackson Cup – Nanaimo United vs Bays United
Tony Grover Masters Cup – Cowichan 49ers vs Vic West FC
George Pearkes Challenge Cup – Juan de Fuca Kings vs Gorge Us-Guys
George Smith U21 Cup – Nanaimo United vs Lakehill FC
Overall, it was an amazing weekend of local soccer and there will have been some tired men in the workplace this week after they battled. It will make the coffee breaks all the more interesting!
But before those finals, there’s a weekend of mixed emotions coming up.
The last hurrah for some, a warm up for others, a quiet goodbye as well. Here is what is happening for the upcoming weekend, no doubt some things to fight for still.
A game result from earlier in this week saw JDF take down Comox 2-0. That result has set up an interesting weekend with regards to who will finish in 10th place in the Island’s top division.
This is important, as that team may face a “Challenge Match” from Prospect Lake of Division 2 – with the winner keeping the Division 1 spot.
Friday will see Bays United host Lakehill at Oak Bay High. The result of the game itself will not make any difference in the standings, but there will be some bragging rights on the line as the race for the Golden Boot title will be confirmed. Look for Lakehill to come out firing, and Bays to rest any players who might be trying to heal up before next weeks Jackson Cup final.
Saturday gets a little more serious as Powell River Villa host Gorge FC at Timberlane Park. Villa will need just one point to ensure no challenge match comes their way – keeping Comox in 10th place. Gorge are coming off a tough loss and will want to end their season on a continued positive note.
Saturday also sees Westcastle hosting Comox. Westcastle’s fate has been sealed, but Comox will need a win and some Gorge help to get out of their predicament. This will be a tough match up and will be Westcastle’s last match before the beginning of the spring/summer season they enter.
To get a better understanding of the points and the overall table, here is how it looks going into the final weekend of league play.
You can find all the latest results, standings, and fixtures across all of the VISL divisions and cups at VISL.org.
Thanks for supporting local grassroots soccer, and people in your community.