VISL Round-up: Top three Division 1 sides set-up top notch Jackson Cup semi-finals
Unfortunately we’ve had so much on to start the year that our weekly local soccer round-ups had sadly gone out the window. But they’re back from this week and we’ll kick them off by rounding up what’s happened in the 2023 Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Jackson Cup so far this year.
The Jackson Cup is the most prestigious trophy in the VISL, and has been competed for since 1915. It used to be open to any in the League who wanted to register, but now it is strictly for the top two divisions on the Island.
The beautiful sterling silver trophy was donated by the Jackson Construction Company who built Ogden Point. While it has been slightly damaged or temporarily lost; the same trophy has been competed for every year. It has a decorated past does this trophy including the “fall” over a BC Ferries boat en route to Powell River, thankfully the diving team that was hired by the team was able to locate it!
The competition has been in play every year since it started except for two years – 1917 and 2020. This year’s final will take place on Saturday March 25th at Starlight Stadium.
This year’s tournament kicked off with Play-In Round matches on February 3rd and 4th and there were some big scores around, with the four games producing a staggering 31 goals between them, with a couple of serious gulfs in quality between teams as you can see from the results below.
James Cameron hit a hat-trick for Gorge in their win, while Salem Almardy got a hat-trick in Vic West’s big victory. The standout performance of the round, however, was from the Highlanders Zidane Mwinyi, who put in a performance his namesake would have been proud of, scoring a double hat-trick in his side’s win.
The Round of 16 games took place over February 10th and 11th and they were much more evenly contested affairs, with three of the ties needing penalties to settle them.
Vic West (Div 1) and Gorge (Div 1) were both victorious over Div 2 opponents Gorge & Saltspring – both with score lines of 4-0. Kaelan Cooke led Vic West with a couple goals and doing the same for Gorge was Hussen Sayed.
In Powell River, visiting Cowichan defeated the hosts in penalty kicks in an all-Division 1 battle. It took seven rounds to determine a winner, while Gorge United Division 2 defeat Lakehill Division 2 by score of 1-0.
Division 1 Lakehill were also victorious as they shell shocked Prospect Lake (Div 2) 5-0.
Patrick Nelson and Chris Peereboom led the way with 2 goals apiece. While a tight North Island battle saw Comox (Div 1) defeat Campbell River (Div 2) 2-1.
Saturday night in Langford got interesting as Westcastle Lakers (Div 1) needed penalties to slip by Nanaimo’s Division 2 side, with the top flight side only able to get there after a goal from Aiden Grew at the 88′ mark squared things up.
Nanaimo’s Division 1 defeated Victoria Highlanders and it took penalty kicks as well.
A goal from Vasilos Bagiopoulos in the 88th minute was needed to save the day for the defending champions Nanaimo United, but their victory saw the chance of back-to-back cup lifting still very much alive.
So all of that brings us right up to date to the quarter-finals action that took place this past weekend.
There’s nothing like a little bit of snow to really make a weekend of soccer complete, but three of the four quarter-final ties were able to be played over the weekend.
Friday started out with league champs Lakehill slipping by Cowichan 2-1. Surprisingly, the game could not be played on grass and had to be moved to the turf field! Lakehill had goals by Blair Sturrock and the game winner by Tarnvir Bhandal. Cowichan’s lone goal was scored by Connor Crichton.
Next up on Friday; Vic West defeated Westcastle 2-1, with the game moving from Starlight to Braefoot as there was too much snow in the Westshore. Vic West had goals by MacKenzie Cole and a match-winning goal just before the final whistle from Kaelan Cooke. Westcastle’s only goal was scored by Matteo Hilton.
Saturday saw an exciting game at Hampton Park as Gorge defeated Comox Valley 2-0.
Gorge goals were had by Hussen Sayed and Bryce Marinus.
The match between Nanaimo and Gorge Utd, the only remaining Division 2 side, was postponed as there was too much snow in Nanaimo. It will be made up this week on Friday night. Nanaimo is favored to take the match, but the Gorge Utd team is no pushover. This will be an interesting game to take in.
Those results set-up a couple of interesting semi-finals next weekend.
Gorge will host Vic West, in a battle between the 2nd and 3rd placed sides in the league, while league champions Lakehill will host either last season’s cup winners or the last remaining Division 2 side in the competition. Tasty stuff!