Crichton hat trick leads to Jackson Cup semis
From now on, Cowichan LMG Pringle will be playing with the big boys.
Cowichan completed a Jackson Cup sweep of Div. 2 Island Soccer League clubs in the first three rounds of the Jackson Cup competition with a 5-2 win over Saanich Fusion Div. 2 Saturday night at the Ladysmith Turf.
Now all that’s left is rival Div. 1 powerhouses Bays United Liquor Plus and Saanich Fusion as well as upstart but unlikely challenger Nanaimo United Div. 2 in the semifinal round.
Cowichan plays Bays United Friday at Victoria’s Hampton Park. The Div. 1 Fusion will likely await the winner in the final March 30 at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park, barring a huge upset by Nanaimo.
LMG has only lost three games all season — two against Bays and one to the Fusion.
“It’s time to pay them back,’’ said Cowichan coach Glen Martin. “We’re coming together at the right time.’’
Cowichan is scoring goals again after a long drought, albeit against Div. 2 competition, and it’ll have to crank up the attack to have the same success against Bays or Saanich.
Connor Crichton got it going for Cowichan in the quarterfinal at 15 minutes off a Tyler Hughes corner. Dan Cato converted a header on a nice set-up from Hughes and Ben Robson made it 3-0 at 39 minutes.
“We were kind of all over them and looking good,’’ said Martin. “We had a lapse on the last play of the half.’’
But Crichton restored the three-goal lead again quickly after the break and completed the hat trick in the 60th minute. Saanich scored once more after Martin inserted some overly enthusiastic subs into the game and they forgot about defence.
Div. 2 Cowichan United lost 1-0 to Nanaimo United Div. 2 Sunday evening in Ladysmith. Cowichan got caught out of position on a blocked free kick that led to the lone goal of the game.
“I thought they played well enough to win,’’ said Martin, who watched the game.