Morning Star Staff
They hired a bus and driver in hopes of celebrating the Kelowna Tree Brewing Men’s 35+ Soccer League playoff championship Sunday at Mission Sports Field #14.
Turned out to be an intelligent plan as Vernon Kal Tire brushed back Alves Bros. of Kelowna 4-3 in extra time in the thrilling final.
Winger Jeff Nice, known as The Mailman to his teammates, swiped the ball 10 minutes into the second 15-minute session and finished with a sweet shot past Wayne Logan.
The first 15 went by scoreless with Ryan Sharp of Vernon hammering a free kick that wrung off both posts before being cleared.
“The game was tight (as tight as 4-3 final could be) but we had confidence in the knowledge that Alves hadn’t beaten us year and we had trust that our key guys would deliver,” said winger Rodney Goodchild. “Even when we went behind we didn’t panic – just kept going.
“The Mailman had a great game – but everyone did. Even Mark Budgen stood on his head in goal.”
The Tiremen took the regular-season crown at 15-3-3, while Alves Bros. placed third at 10-7-4.
Kal Tire opened the scoring when Nice nailed a shot that the Alves keeper mishandled, allowing Glenn Allan to run in for the easy tap-in.
Alves came back with two, one on a corner that snuck through to the foot of a forward, and the next on a similar play from the wing into an Alves foot in the middle.
Kal Tire came back just before half when Goodchild hit a corner that found the head of Geoff Straight, who found the back of the net over his 6-foot-5 check.
In the second half, Darren Nobrega shielded a ball that went through to Allan, cruised in on a breakaway and buried with a left foot.
Alves levelled the score about 10 minutes later on another scramble off a corner.
Jeremy Luypen, Dave Crawford and an own goal accounted for the Kelowna offence.
With time dying in regulation, Budgen stopped a hard shot from the 18-yard box to keep the tie.
Kal Tire receive bold defence from Sharp, Graeme Magee, Jason Beck, Tyler Johnson and Okanagan Spirits Man of the match Damian Adams, who kept league-leading scorer Morgan Marrs off the sheet.
Johnson, Rod Valdevieso, Michael Arding, Jesse Knight and Tim McGowan also represented Kal Tire in the championship tilt. Missing the final were: Iain Butler, Brian Schenker, Pedro Garro, Dave Dobernigg and Duane Dennis.
Knight and Sharp played the Division 3A final right after the noon 35+ match and helped Discovery Glass/Topline stop Watson Bros. Rented Mules 2-0. Knight and Vernon’s Brent Poulsen supplied the goals.
Goodchild and Vernon’s Greg Routley boosted the Division 3B Rhinos to a 1-0 final win Saturday over Sterling United.
Meanwhile, the Okanagan Spring Brewery Camels of Vernon are through to the Capri Insurance Men’s 45+ League semifinals.
The Humpbacks got deuces from Mike Daly and Johnny Orton as they bounced Brandt’s Creek 5-0 Monday night at MacDonald Park. Spring will meet host Penticton United in the semifinals Monday night under the lights. Second-place Penticton iced Sunshine Pools 2-1.
Orton converted from Gord Howard at 22 minutes for the Camels, who lost burlymidfielder Brian Williamson with a red card for a slide tackle six minutes later.
Orton made it 2-0 in the 57th minute on a feed down the wing by Zane Klym. Daly then recorded the goal-of-the-night when he struck a mid-volley free kick by Paul Morgan at the far post at 65 minutes.
Daly converted with a low 10-yard shot down the flank, assisted by Morgan, in the 80th minute. Morgan turned two defenders and drilled a 15-yarder to complete the Spring offence at 84 minutes.
Dave Dutcher made a few tough stops early in the first half for the shutout. Howard left the game in the 75th minute with a pulled calf muscle and never returned.
Brown Benefits won 1-0 by forfeit over Silver Stars, who couldn’t field a team.
Doug Nicholas pulled the hat trick as North Country Appraisals Kickers edged RPM Auto 3-2. Roger Russell had both RPM goals.
The Kickers face Browns next Monday.