If the weather cooperates, Cowichan LMG will be kicking off their bid for a third consecutive Jackson Cup championship this Saturday.
The Div. 1 soccer team is scheduled to play Comox at the Sherman Road turf at 5 p.m. in the first round of the Island championship tournament, which LMG won in 2015 and 2016, as well as in 2011 and 2012.
The Jackson Cup match preempts the scheduled Vancouver Island Soccer League game Cowichan was supposed to play against Saanich Fusion. Still in first place in Div. 1, Cowichan has five league games left to play, including four that have been postponed for a variety of reasons, mostly weather-related.
Those games will have to be in the books before the end of March because they have implications in who qualifies for the provincial tournament. The top two teams in the league and the two Jackson Cup finalists advance to provincials. If there is any overlap, the next-best league teams go to the B.C. tournament.
“We’ve got to do something,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “The league games have to be played. It will be some pretty crazy soccer scheduling.”
The top five teams in Div. 1 are all capable of contending for the provincial title, Martin feels, but only four teams can make it out of Island play.
“One or two strong teams will not be in provincials this year,” the coach said. “I have a funny feeling.”
Div. 2 entry Cowichan United also starts the Jackson Cup tournament this weekend. The second-place team in Div. 2 will take on Vic West, who sit second in Div. 1, at UVic at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Martin is familiar with all the Cowichan United players, and coaches against Vic West, so he knows what it will take for United to advance to the second round.
“The difference is quickness,” he said. “If they stick to their game plan, they should be good.”