Westcastle United win their first Jackson Cup as VISL’s Finals weekend does not disappoint

Westcastle United win their first Jackson Cup as VISL’s Finals weekend does not disappoint

The Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) held their Cup Final Weekend on Saturday and Sunday with four games over the two days deciding who took home this year’s silverware.

The action got underway at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park on Saturday afternoon with the George Pearkes Challenge Cup clash between two Division 3B sides – defending champs Gorge Us-Guys and first time finalists Hellas FC.

The two teams finished first and second in their Division, with both league encounters between the teams ending in draws, but there had to be a winner in this one it was Gorge who got off to the better start. Steve Gateley gave Gorge a 14th minute lead and they doubled it in first half stoppage time through John Bakowski.

When a Hellas own goal made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute it looked like game over but the fought back in the closing stages. Paulo De Almeida reduced Gorge’s lead to two in the 79th minute and then Andrew Brinkworth reduced it further with six minutes remaining.

Hellas couldn’t produce a comeback worthy of Ancient Greece myth and Gorge held on for the 3-2 victory.

Gorge’s Brendan Andrews won the Kjeld Brodsgaard Award for Man of the Match.

Saturday’s second final was for the George Smith U21 Cup.

This one saw U21 League champions Mid Isle Mariners take on first time finalists and fourth place league finishers Castaways FC.

The teams were separated by 12 points in the league campaign and Mid Isle proved the stronger side once again in this one, running out 3-1 winners.

Stephon Kriegel put Mid Isle into a 35th minute lead and Hunter Banting’s second a minute before half time put the Mariners firmly in control. That was cemented further when Mark Kazanowski made it three on the hour mark.

Ayo Ade grabbed a late consolation for Castaways with four minutes remaining, but it was a comfortable win for Mid Isle in the end.

The Mariners first goalscorer, Kriegel, won the Walter Craveiro award for Man of the Match.

The action moved into Sunday and it kicked off with a repeat of last year’s Tony Grover Masters A Cup final between Gorge FC and Cowichan 49ers.

Cowichan won last year’s final and were top of this year’s Masters Division in the league, finishing 21 points ahead of third placed Gorge and losing just one match all season. That made them strong favourites heading into this one, but they were made to work very hard to retain their trophy.

Neall Rowlings had put Cowichan ahead in the 20th minute, but an own goal seconds later saw the teams head into the break tied at one apiece.

Stu Barker fired Cowichan ahead five minutes after the restart, however, and that proved to be the deciding goal, earning the 49ers a 2-1 victory and Barker the Alex Hylan Memorial Award for Man of the Match.

Those appetizers simply served to set up the main course – the battle for the 104 year old Sir John Jackson Cup.

The Jackson Cup is the island’s longest standing cup competition, first being competed for in 1915. This year’s final pitted the young guns of first time finalists, and VISL Division 1 runners up, Westcastle United against one of the most in-form teams in the second half of the league season, Bays United, who were looking to win the trophy for the first time since 2013.

This was a match that watchers felt could go either way, but it was Westcastle who jumped out into a first half lead through Joshua Walter’s 35th minute goal. Goteh Ntignee made it 2-0 for Westcastle in the 55th minute, only for Bays to go up the pitch and reduce the deficit back to one through Patrick Nelson.

That set up a high tempo finale, but Westcastle finally game themselves a bit of breathing space five minutes from time through a Simon Stacey goal to seal a 3-1 victory.

Westcastle’s Ntignee won the Denny Girvin Memorial Award for the Man of the Match.

Congratulations to all, and next up for the island teams will be this year’s Provincial Cups, which kick off this weekend with Preliminary Round B Cup matches.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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