The local lads of Bob’s House United are happy campers after winning their U14/U15 year end playdowns in Nanaimo.
In action at Merle Logan turf fields last weekend, the local side had to shake the rust off in a hurry.
BHU finished the regular sitting first in their seven team league at 10-1-1, “but the regular season finished about a month ago. We had a number of guys move on to basketball and we hadn’t practiced so we were not in particularly good form going into the tournament but they were very focused and very determined,” said BHU coach Dave Robinson. “We had to very quickly get our Mojo back ,” he chuckled.
Finishing first in league play gave Oceanside the bye in the opening round and put them straight through to the semi-final, which wasn’t exactly an advantage.
“It would have been nice to have a quarter final game to get the guys warmed up, so they had to be ready and they hit the ground running.”
And that they did.
Bobs House United buzzed Team Italy from Nanaimo 4-nil in their opener.
“It wasn’t as easy as the score might indicate,” said Robinson, explaining the game was tied nil-nil for much of the first half until striker Josh Jai slotted one home just before the break.
“That definitely relieved some of the pressure the guys were feeling,” he said.
BHU’s Tony Trozzo upped it to 2-0 early in the second half, “and that was a beautiful goal. He passed the ball around one of their best defenders to himself — to himself — and then ripped a shot just inside the left post.”
That was all Oceanside needed, as the defence and two more goals from Garrick Waite and Sean Becker sealed the deal.
Rookie keeper Ayden Holme was solid when called upon, but the calling card of the Oceanside team this season said Reynolds “is our defence, which has been really good all year. I have some big boys that get it done, that have played really smart defence for us all year.”
Earning props for their defensive process this season was Rob McIntosh, Jacob Barker and Nicholas Conway.
Saturday’s win put Oceanside in the championship final Sunday afternoon against their rivals the Midisle Spartans.
Bob’s House United lost 1-0 to the Spartans Feb. 24 in Island Invitational Cup action played out in Ladysmith.
The IIC is a series of games tailored for strong house teams.
“It’s a tournament that’s been around for over 40 years,” Robinson said of the IIC, which ultimately pits the winners of the North and South Island in an annual final with a trophy on the line.
“We had a very strong team this year, and I was looking to challenge them with some extra games,” said Reynolds.
Fast forward to last Sunday’s final and Oceanside exacted some revenge in a hard-fought 2-0 win.
“Beautiful goal,” said Robinson. “Timing is everything.”
The defence dug in and Lucas Sposato salted the win late in the game off a great corner kick from Trozzo.
“All year whenever there was a cross or a corner kick into a big scrum of players in front of the net our players would say ‘just pop it into the blender, just pop it into the blender,’ and that’s exactly what it was like, the ball bounced around in amongst a bunch of bodies and Lucas basically ripped it home and finished it off,” said Reynolds.
“Very exciting,” he said, adding “it was rewarding, and really well deserved. I was happy for them; like I said, they hadn’t played a lot, so to come together as a team and get that result was great. We were the best passing team in the tournament,” he said, “and that’s something we worked on all year long was our passing drills, so it was nice to see.”
The core group of the team has been together for a number of seasons.
As for the the recent announcement by Harbour City Football Club that starting next year they will no longer compete in the Mid-Island league, Reynolds confirmed the decision has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the year-end playdowns.
“For sure,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about what the league is going to look like next year, so like I said to the boys before the tournament started, you don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring; you never know how many finals you’re going to make, so I told them to really enjoy themselves, and they did.”
Oceanside Youth Soccer’s Mike Cochrane said there has been no further developments on the issue of separation.
The Upper Island Soccer Association no longer recognizes the Nanaimo and District Youth Soccer Association (NDYSA), as it was known 40 years.
“For the past two seasons it was officially recognized as the Oceanside Youth Soccer League (OYSL) and that encompasses the permits that NDYSA used to cover, which is Mid-Isle (Ladysmith), Gabriola Island, Nanaimo and Oceanside.
The OYSL, which includes U11 to U18 (boys and girls) numbers 37 teams in U11/U12 alone, and 81 teams in all (four of the seven teams in the U15 Boys division were from Nanaimo), will be a much smaller league if Nanaimo — which accounts for about 75 per cent of the teams — withdraws.
“We’ve been in contact with Port Alberni and with Comox and they’ve indicated they’ll join OYSL, but most of those teams only do the fall season and not the winter season,” said Cochrane.