Provincial Cup kicks off

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By Michael Booth, Surrey Now

April 12, 2013, Surrey, BC – The luck of the draw was not on the side of the Delta United Hurricanes when the schedule for the 2013 Provincial Cup schedule was announced last week.

The Provincial Cup tournament features the top men’s premier club teams from the VMSL, the Fraser Valley Soccer League, the Pacific Coast Soccer League and the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

Fresh off a magical run to the Vancouver Metro Soccer League’s Imperial Cup title, in which the Hurricanes knocked off premier league powers ICST Pegasus, Surrey United Firefighters and league champion Columbus, Delta is faced with another stern test to open the Provincial Cup tourney. Perennial VMSL premier powerhouse West Van will be the visitors when the Hurricanes open play at 2 p.m. Saturday at John Oliver Park.

“Talk about an unfavourable draw,” lamented Delta manager Billy Dhaliwal. “We’re one of only two games in the first round between VMSL teams let alone having to play West Van. Whenever we play them the games are close, but they are definitely a team we struggle with. Just with the way they play, it makes it a tough game for us.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game, but we have to keep playing the way we did on our Imperial Cup run with solid defence and hope to get our share of the breaks offensively.”

Elsewhere, 2012 Provincial Cup champion Surrey United Firefighters will open defence of their title on the road against Saanich Fusion on Vancouver Island Sunday.

The Firemen have been idle for six weeks since being ousted from the Imperial Cup tourney by Delta, but the extra time off may be a good thing. The defending champs have been able to heal up some injuries while welcoming key veterans Brad Peetoom, Jeff Buchanan and Rob Wilson back to the fold.

Provincial Cup play kicks off on Friday night at Newton Athletic Park where ICST Pegasus will host Estrella de Chile at 8 p.m.

In women’s Provincial Cup play, eight-time defending champion Surrey United has a bye through the opening round.

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