Jackson Cup final a motivator

Title chase: Cowichan pleased to be back in the prestigious game, but nothing less than a victory over the Saanich Fusion will suffice

Dan Cato

Dan Cato

Cowichan LMG Pringle is going back to the Jackson Cup soccer final for the fourth time in five years.

LMG went to overtime with Bays United Liquor Plus in the semifinal Friday night at Victoria’s Hampton Park and emerged with a 2-0 victory.

After 90 minutes of scoreless play, Cowichan counted twice in the first 15-minute overtime and then held off Bays through the final 15 to seal the victory.

“The first half they probably had a little more possession and territory — not much,’’ said Cowichan coach Glen Martin.

“The second half we started to take it to them. It was 0-0, but you could sense the guys could feel we were coming on.’’

The first goal came five minutes into the overtime with Bays somewhat incensed because they felt Cowichan should have passed the ball back to them after their goalkeeper was shaken up.

Martin didn’t think Bays really believed that because they lined up for an ensuing corner kick. Tyler Hughes sent a short corner to Dan Citra, who put it back to him, and Hughes nailed a shot that found the top corner.

A couple of minutes later, “we caught them a little flustered,’’ said Martin.

Dan Cato let a shot go that hit the bottom corner.

Cowichan made its first trip to the Jackson Cup final in many years in 2010, but was beaten by a powerhouse Gorge squad.

In 2011, Cowichan broke its long Jackson Cup drought with a victory over Juan de Fuca and made it back-to-back titles with a win over Bays in the 2012 final.

Bays exacted revenge in 2013 with a win over Cowichan when the two powerful squads met in a first-round bad luck of the draw game.

Now, it was Cowichan’s turn to oust Bays and it moves on to face the Saanich Fusion for the title this year on Sunday, March 30 at 2:30 p.m. at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park.

“It’s hard to get back,’’ conceded Martin, but his troops were able to recover from last year’s early devastating defeat.

“These Cups, they’re hard to win. You’re always going to have to beat some tough team to get there. We’re not going to be just happy to be there this year.’’

Cowichan has lost twice to the Fusion this season but has the edge in experience with only three players making their Jackson Cup final debuts — Cato, Ben Robson and Connor Crichton.