After rattling off four straight wins, the Islanders 50-plus soccer team lost a heartbreaking quarter-final match to an Australian squad at the World Masters Games held this month in Turin, Italy.
The Vancouver Island squad, which included seven members of the Comox Valley Masters soccer club, opened the competition with a 5-0 win over Calgary, with locals Andy Marinus and Bruno Munger chipping in goals. The boys then defeated Edmonton and Okanagan 3-0 and 1-0 respectively.
In its final group game after clinching top spot in its pool, the Islanders were a bit slow out of the gate but beat an Australian team 3-1. After conceding its first goal of the tourney, the squad woke up with tallies from Munger, Ron Quilter and Mike Scott of Victoria.
“The last one was not pretty but a win is a win,” Munger said by e-mail. “Defence is playing absolutely great and midfield had three very strong games.”
In the quarter-final, the Sydney team scored an opening-minute goal, after which the Islanders were unable to find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss.
“Unreal the disappointment for us,” Munger said. “With a few guys limping and a short bench we just couldn’t pull it off against a very physical team playing with a lead wasting time all game long.”
There was one other pool of five teams in the 50-plus division.
The Islanders are comprised of members from the old Arbutus Athletics who partnered with players from Victoria Gorge and one member from Oceanside in Qualicum Beach. The squad competed at the 2009 Masters Games in Sydney, Australia, where it played well but lost to the eventual gold medal winner in the quarter-finals.
Held every four years, the World Masters Games are the biggest sporting competition in the world, comprised of 30 different sports. Sydney had 30,000 athletes participate.