The grudge match between the Kitsilano Blue Demons and Lord Byng Grey Ghosts isn’t over yet — far from it.
On Tuesday afternoon at Memorial South Park, the Demons defeated the Ghosts 4-0 to hoist the Arnie Evanson trophy as the No. 1 Lower Mainland senior boys soccer team. A Byng supporter even hurled an insult, calling the Demons “classless clowns,” when they delayed playing the ball out of bounds after a player went down.
A dozen teenage fans from both schools, some waving flags and carrying pompoms, cheered from the sidelines with parents.
Kitsilano head coach Randy Coutts remembered the long-standing rivalry.
“Back 30, 35 years ago, the Byng and Kits rivalry was huge. Having the fans here tonight was huge.”
Both West Side teams draw from community soccer leagues, said Coutts, who also praised Byng’s coach Andy Johnston. “It’s a contribution from Dunbar soccer, Kerrisdale soccer, Point Grey soccer and all the parents who help out. Vancouver will be well represented at the provincials. “
Ten days earlier, Kitsilano opened their old rival’s wounds with a 2-0 overtime win to claim the city championships. Their deep bench will be an advantage at the B.C. tournament.
“Kits wore us down,” said Byng’s coach Johnston. “They have more skill and they make us run a lot more.”
On Tuesday playing for Lower Mainland No. 1, Byng dominated early but could not finalize an attack. It proved a problem they couldn’t solve. Despite a frenzied effort, they could not find the touches they needed and managed only five shots on net.
The Demons scored in the 15th minute on a fast-breaking counter-attack after a failed Grey Ghost free kick. The Kits defence cleared the ball to Renato Curak, who held off two challengers to break free and score.
“It really swung the momentum,” said Noah de Rappard, the tall Kitsilano forward who scored the winning overtime goal in the city final. “We got a lot of energy from it. We really just fed off it.”
Less than two minutes after, he gave the Demons a 2-0 advantage when he headed home a cross off a corner kick.
“It came in from the right side of the box, I tried to attack it as hard as I could and get my head on it.”
Byng came close to scoring minutes before half time, but two free kicks sailed over the crossbar. Hugh Grady was excellent in net for Byng, his athleticism transferring to soccer despite little formal training.
Kitsilano scored two more, including a magnificent strike from 40 yards by Aidan Camfield. The shot sailed over Grady’s outstretched hand and dipped under the iron.
James Soulsbury added a fourth goal for Kitsilano.
Johnston, Byng’s coach, said the Ghosts played a tough, gritty game and gave a better showing than the city final Oct. 25 but couldn’t match the experience of the Demons, which he described as one of the strongest teams he’s seen from Kitsilano in decades.
“Their back line plays with the ball, our back line is more of a team to pound it up the field and find some gaps,” he said. “Then we started missing open passes.”
On the other side of the draw, four more teams were playing for the third and final berth to provincials.
Vancouver College defeated McMath of Richmond 3-2 in a shootout. The Point Grey Greyhounds handed Eric Hamber a 2-0 loss.
The two winners met Thursday to determine the No. 3 Lower Mainland team. Results were not known before the Courier’s print deadline.
The Lower Mainland senior boys soccer trophy is named for Arnie Evanson, a respected, long-time coach at Van Tech and with Vancouver Youth Soccer Association.