Churchill Arms wins national senior men's soccer championship
© Photo by Heather Taweel
Jon Vos of Prince Edward Island's Churchill Arms carries the winning trophy to his jubilant teammates after the presentations at the BMO National Senior Championships on Monday in Charlottetown. Churchill Arms defeated B.C. 2-0 in the final.
Soccer on P.E.I. enjoyed its finest-ever day Monday.
The Churchill Arms team from the Charlottetown Abbies club captured the men’s Challenge Trophy at the BMO national senior championships before a huge crowd at UPEI.
The first-ever gold-medal victory by an Island team at a national soccer championship was achieved in dramatic fashion — a 2-0 overtime decision over Gorge FC of British Columbia.
It was fitting the goals were scored by two of the finest players ever produced by the province — Brett Norton and Ryan Anstey.
Norton scored on a first-time shot into the corner of the net after a slide-rule pass by Graham Ashworth in the 108th minute.
Anstey sealed the deal two minutes before the end, placing the ball into an empty net after Gorge had been caught on the break trying to net the tying goal.
“I ran to where I knew Graham was going to play it, caught it well and in it went,” said Norton. “It’s just amazing.
“The whole team and the fans were tremendous. You can’t describe the feeling.”
The game was an epic encounter, with both teams trying to attack while keepers Matt Lally of Churchill Arms and Dan Kilpatrick of Gorge showed sure hands and fine agility.
Kilpatrick made the save of the game in the 11th minute, turning a fierce Norton strike away while at full stretch.
Lally had to be constantly alert as the B.C. champions put together some fine approach play, most notably by player-of-the-game Will Moore.
Defences began to dominate as the game wore on, and it looked like penalty shots would decide a winner.
First, Michel Daoust-Wheatley made a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny a B.C. header destined for the corner, and then Norton sent the P.E.I. fans into a frenzy as his fine shot got by the outstretched Kilpatrick.
With the Gorge squad committed to attack for the equalizer in the final minutes, Anstey capitalized with a fine solo goal from a Churchill Arms breakaway.
The whole team and the fans were tremendous. You can’t describe the feeling. Brett Norton, member of the Churchill Arms team.
Delighted Churchill Arms head coach John Diamond was almost lost for words at the final whistle, acknowledging B.C. and praising the effort of his own players.
“Nobody deserves this more than John” said Churchill Arms assistant coach Dave Snowie. “To do it in Charlottetown, after the great week we’ve had, is just tremendous.
“A lot of effort has gone into making this event a real success, and the committee is to be congratulated.”
The second Island men’s representative, Hunter’s Ale House, went down 5-2 to Saskatchewan to finish in eighth place.
Jimmy Mayaleh and Robbie Diamond scored P.E.I.’s goals.
On the women’s side, the P.E.I.-champion Pilot House lost 4-0 to B.C.’s Surrey United in the bronze-medal game in Cornwall.
National team player Randee Hermus opened the scoring in the first minute, and her Canadian teammate Katie Thorlakson added a second just before the interval.
Hermus, with her second goal, and Chanelle Bradshaw added two quality strikes in the second half to leave P.E.I. a credible fourth place.
Nova Scotia’s Halifax Dunbrack won the women’s Jubilee Trophy, defeating Alberta’s Edmonton Victoria 2-1.
Islander Mel Clarke is a key member of the Dunbrack team, but she was forced to miss the final due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Leanne Huck and Kate MacDonald scored for Dunbrack.
Halifax Dunbrack defeated AEK London of Ontario 3-2 in the men’s bronze-medal game.
More tournament results at www.canadasoccer.com/nationals