In three regular season North Okanagan Soccer League meetings, Vernon’s North Enderby Timber and Salmon Arm’s Hideaway Liquor Store Beer Badgers were even.
They split the three games; each winning 3-2 and there was a 2-2 draw. Each scored seven goals total.
NET (15-1-2) won the regular season pennant by two points over the Badgers (14-2-2). So, fittingly, the top two teams met in the league’s Gibson Cup playoff championship Saturday at MacDonald Park.
And NET won.
By seven goals.
The reigning playoff champs won their second straight Gibson Cup men’s soccer league title with a convincing 8-1 romp over the expansion Beer Badgers, a team that dropped down from the Okanagan Men’s 35+ league to play in the seven-team NOSL in 2019, fielding a roster with 10 players aged 40 and higher.
On Saturday, the older legs gave out against the much-younger NET, who jumped out to a 3-0 first-half lead.
Gabby Price opened the scoring for NET, converting a corner kick from Billy Pilkington with a beautiful header past Hideaway veteran keeper Brad Young less than 10 minutes in.
Brent Poulsen scored the first of his two goals, converting a feed from Kyle Fertile on a two-on-one for an easy tap in at 31 minutes, and Evan Frederick made it 3-0 champs on a spot kick late in the first half after Price was taken down in the box.
After the break, Pilkington scored the goal of the night from a lengthy free kick near the right sideline, his long, looping shot evading Young and finding the far left top corner for a 4-0 NET lead.
Fertile made it 5-0 minutes later. Off the ensuing face-off, the Beer Badgers took the ball downfield where a shot was cleared off the line by an NET defender, right onto the right boot of Dave Fleming, who made no mistake to give Hideaway a bit of life.
That momentum was lost shortly after as forward Cam Richardson was sent off with a red card for disputing an official’s call, leaving Hideaway to finish with 10 men, and a goal that would have made it 5-2 NET was disallowed for offside, vehemently contested by the Shuswap squad.
Poulsen scored his second of the night on a rebound of his original shot that was stopped by Young. Liam Glennon, off the post and in, and Xander Sladen, from a spot kick on the game’s final play, completed the NET scoring.