Ponoka minor soccer was represented by eight competitive teams at the 2016 edition of the Central Alberta Soccer Association’s provincial qualifier tournament in Rocky Mountain House over the weekend of June 25/26.
Weather continued to be a factor of nuisance throughout the weekend with many games being interrupted, and some even suspended or called off completely because of the thundery spells.
Of the four Ponoka teams that made to the final game in their categories, the very promising U12 United had to surrender the title because of the sheer weakness in their numbers: They played the final with only eight players and lost to Camrose 4-2.
The U14 girls played against Stettler in their final and lost narrowly with a score of 1-0 when they conceded in the last 20 minutes of the game.
U18 girls claimed the tournament title after handsomely defeating Camrose with 4-2 score.
As for the U18 boys, the controversial situations which marked the last few games with Lacombe continued over the weekend. Ponoka boys won their first game against Camrose 2-0. In their second game against Lacombe, referee suspended the game just as the second half was about to begin and Ponoka was in the lead with 1-0. The long interruption caused the fatigue from the earlier game to set in among Ponoka boys and when the second half finally started, Lacombe scored twice in quick succession. As the play was going on, Lewis McDowell of the Storm collided with a Lacombe player and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after he reported terrible pain in his knee. His first X rays were reported to show no serious damage.
After the suspension of the game due to to the collision between the players, the play resumed and as the Storm were trying to respond, the game was stopped once again due to rain and this time referees called off the rest of the match on grounds that 70 percent of the game time had already been played.
After that, Ponoka and Lacombe were supposed to play the championship title game of the tournament but association officials decided to cancel that game on grounds that both teams had already qualified for provincials.
U14 boys, for their part, made it as far as the semi-final of the “B” division, where they lost an exciting match in a penalty shoot out.
Next soccer action is the Alberta Soccer Association Tier IV Outdoor Rural Provincials for U18 boys and girls, which Ponoka Minor Soccer is hosting. Twenty-one teams from various districts will be attending the tournament July 8-10.
As for the Ponoka FC playing in the Battle River men’s league, they narrowly missed having to forfeit another game, the second this season, when they could muster seven players, enough to field a team for their away game in Stettler on Sunday, June 26. They played but lost with a score of 4-0. They take on Manluk at home on Sunday, July 3.