Two second-half goals by Mario Grbeja led the Shady Rest Eagles to a 3-1 win over Oak Bay Old Boys from Victoria and helped return home the Manly Cup on Sunday, June 23.
The 38th Annual Manly Cup was scheduled to be played at the Kwalikum Secondary soccer field but the poor condition of the pitch forced the Eagles to transfer the venue to the Qualicum Beach Community soccer field at the last minute. They were able to do it with the help of the Regional District of Nanaimo recreation department and the Town of Qualicum Beach, who, according to head coach Jim Cameron, went out of their way to get the field ready for the match.
The Eagles played with added inspiration on Sunday when they had one of the founders of the Manly Cup, Gunter Beyer, watching the match. They had territorial advantage early and pressuring the Old Boys defence.
The Eagles opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game when Bill Zinovich booted the ball towards the Old Boys goal from midfield with striker Dietmar Quint chasing it down on the right wing. Quint slipped it past the rushing Old Boys goalie to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Old Boys quickly bounced back. Ten minutes later the Old Boys capitalized on a defensive error by the Eagles to even the match 1-1. It stayed tied at the end of the half.
In the second half, the Old Boys went all out and had a couple of scoring opportunities that were thwarted by Eagles goalie Rob Gregson.
The Eagles were able to regain the lead when they awarded a free kick from 30 yards out 15 minutes into the second half. Striker Mario Grbeja struck the ball perfectly and it sailed into the right corner as the Old Boys goalie could only watch in disbelief.
Late in the second half, Grbeja was on target again as he took a cross from Roger Jinks and weaved his way into the Old Boys goal area where he easily slipped the ball into the net to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead, which they never relinquished.
“It was an excellent game for the Eagles,” said Cameron. “Overall, they played well and everyone contributed. We are so happy to win the cup with the founder Gunter watching.”
Beyer said he’s pleased to see the Cup still being played today.
“We started this in 1976 and it took 10 years in the making,” Beyer recalled. “We only had the first game in 1986. That’s how long it took.”
Beyer was a former Oak Bay player before he moved to Parksville Qualicum Beach where he joined the Shady Rest Eagles.
That’s when Beyer and his colleagues from Oak Bay decided to start the Cup and made it a home-and-away series between the two clubs.
“It’s called the Manly Cup because we are manly alright,” Beyer quipped. “It’s nice to see both teams continue to play and I am certainly happy about it.”