Arnett Brothers score to win Jackson Cup

April 1st, 2012

VIU Mariners current and past hoist the Jackson Cup !!

Read more in the Times Colonist ....

Arnetts come out flying as FC Cowichan repeats as Island soccer's Jackson Cup champs

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

On the pitch at Royal Athletic Park and doing pretty well, if you must ask.

Chris Arnett scored at 65 minutes and older sibling Matt Arnett at 72 minutes to give defending champion Cowichan FC a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Bays United FC Liquor Plus in the 2012 Jackson Cup final Sunday afternoon before a lively gallery.

The Jackson Cup, first awarded in 1914, is the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s amateur equivalent of the English FA Cup and has been won by Canadian national team players such as Bob Bolitho, Brian Robinson, George Pakos and Jamie Lowery.

The Cowichan players gathered around the Jackson Cup and chanted in unison: “Keep the Cup, Keep the Cup …”

Which they intend to do.

In 2010, Cowichan FC became the first team from the valley to make it to the Cup final since 1965 but saw Gorge FC win its sixth-consecutive title. Last year, the Cowichan club defeated Juan de Fuca in the final and became the first team from the valley to capture the Cup since the Duncan Native Sons in 1933. And on Sunday, the valley boys repeated, thanks to the brothers they have nicknamed the Flying Arnetts.

“This feels incredible because all my life I’ve wanted to play alongside my brother but never got the chance before this season because he is six years older,” said Chris Arnett, a member of the 2010 Vancouver Island University Mariners national championship team.

“The Jackson Cup is the oldest soccer trophy in B.C. and to win it with my brother feels amazing.”

A first-half goal by Dan Cumming gave the Bays the lead at the break.

“We went into the dressing room and sorted it out and said to ourselves, ‘We can do this,’ ” said Chris Arnett, raised with his brother in Ladysmith.

“We kept the faith, basically. And this crowd [with many fans down from Duncan] was amazing in cheering us on.”

There was a mix-up in the post-game MVP award presentations, with Chris Arnett actually winning the award but Matt Arnett accepting it.

“As long as we win the big trophy [Jackson Cup], it doesn’t matter who wins the MVP,” said Chris Arnett, 21.

Big brother concurred.

“We couldn’t have scripted it any better,” said Matt Arnett, 27.

Now with back-to-back Cup victories, this group is talking possible dynasty.

“We look at what Gorge and Vantreights of old did and use that as a measuring stick and as our goal,” said Matt Arnett, who is also the physical therapist for the Victoria Highlanders of the United Soccer League Premier Development League.

For Bays, it’s the difference between making it and biting around the edges.

“It was a really competitive, physical match-up and Cowichan kept attacking and pushing, and we couldn’t hold them off as they buried two in the second half,” said Bays head coach Rich Fast.

“We just missed on two opportunities at the end,” Fast said of Bays flicks and headers that just sailed past posts in the waning moments.

“I’m proud of our team’s effort. We showed a lot of heart.”

The top-four finishers in Island First Division regular-season league play — Cowichan, Bays United, Vic West and regular-season champion Gordon Head Applebees — now enter play for the Province Cup, with the draw to be made Monday in Vancouver.