Shady Rest Eagles FC is nearing the end of another season, its 39th to be exact, making it one of the oldest football clubs on Vancouver Island.
On Sunday up at Kwalikum Secondary School under ideal conditions Shady Rest’s O55 side stormed back from two goals down to win the 27th annual Manly Cup against the Oak Bay Old Boys 6-3.
Formed in 1974 and originally known as Parksville/Qualicum United, the club took on its sponsor’s name in the early 80s.
The Manly Cup, which dates back to 1986, is an annual home-and-away with each team taking turns hosting it.
Sunday’s match held course with tradition as both teams left it all on the field in a fiercely contested match.
The time-honoured trophy presentation took place later as always at The Shady Waterfront Restaurant & Pub in QB.
“We put a lunch on for the Old Boys and they reciprocate when we go down there,” Jim Cameron, former player and club president said after.
The Old Boys won the Manly Cup on their turf back in November in a 2-nil final “and actually we’ve lost the last three or four cup games in Victoria, but we’ve one the last three or four up here, so I guess we’re homers,” he chuckled.
On Sunday at KSS the Old Boys opened the scoring about five minutes in when one of their strikers jumped on a rebound in close and blasted it past Eagles’ keeper Ian Miller, who never had a chance. Miller would go on to make a number of clutch saves in the first half that kept his team in the game.
The Shadies tied it up 1-1 at about the 20 minute mark when Keith Watson finished off a nice play set up by Jim Mitchell and Willem Jonkman.
Oak Bay scored with about two minutes left in the opening half and the Eagles went into the break trailing 2-1.
The visitors struck again early in the second half to go up 3-1, which woke the Eagles up as they stormed back with three goals in under five minutes, and added two more down the stretch.
Watson, named Man of the Match, led the charge for Shady Rest FC, scoring two goals and helping set up two others. Gary Richardson started the onslaught when he took the ball in from the side of the box and ripped one home far side low to the corner. Ian Borthwick brought the Eagles back even at 3-3 when he converted a nice pass in the box from Richardson, and Peter Roland, one of the smaller players on the team, scored what would prove to be the winner when he went up and headed in a corner kick from Richardson. ‘The Bomber’, Terry Brown, also had “a very strong game” with a goal and two helpers.
“I thought throughout the game we dominated possession, and particularly in the first half, we could have been up four goals had it not been for the play of their keeper.”
It was, confirmed Cameron, a member of the club since 1988, “probably the best soccer we’ve played all year, a very impressive performance.”
IN KEEPING WITH the times, Shady Rest Eagles FC is hoping a new website will help get the word.
On the sidelines taking photos and supporting the O55 Eagles Sunday was Ravi Mohabeer, manager of the O35 Eagles team and club booster.
“Some of these guys have been playing with the club since ‘74,” he explained, adding “and many others have joined along the way.”
Shady Rest Eagles FC currently has teams in three different age divisions: they have an Over 35 side as well as an O45 and O55 teams.
The North Island Oldtimers Soccer League, which all three teams compete in, will be changing its age divisions come the fall; staying with the O35 division, but changing the other two to O48 and O60.
Shady Rest Eagles FC currently lists about 50 players, but there is always room for more.
“Always,” said Cameron. “We’re need some new blood in the club, we’re really welcoming new players.”
The long-running six-aside summer league put on by the RDN in conjunction with the Shady Rest Eagles FC, is a great place for players interested in soccer to start.
“Some people start in the summer league and don’t realize there’s opportunities to play at a higher level throughout the year.
The Eagles, he points out, play from October through April with at least one game a week, “so there’s always an opportunity.”
Beyond that Shady Rest Eagles FC also continues to work with Oceanside Youth Soccer in an effort to make soccer a truly community game.
For more information on the local club go to shadyresteaglesfc.com.