Port Hardy U18 goalkeeper Ethan Shaw steels himself for a point-blank shot by Port McNeill's Jenna Cowan Saturday during the annual Mud Bowl soccer tournament in Port McNeill.

Port Hardy U18 goalkeeper Ethan Shaw steels himself for a point-blank shot by Port McNeill's Jenna Cowan Saturday during the annual Mud Bowl soccer tournament in Port McNeill.

Mud and mayhem on the pitch

PORT McNEILL-More than 650 North Island Youth take part in annual Mud Bowl soccer tournament

PORT McNEILL—Racing to contest a ball at the edge of the penalty box in front of the Port Hardy Yellowjackets’ goal, Sagel Wilson of Port Hardy and Avory Collins of Port McNeill collided and went to the turf.

Collins slid on his knees and quickly regained his footing, but Wilson landed in a full spread-eagle before getting up to glare at his formerly bright yellow jersey, now splattered brown.

Say what you will, but the Mud Bowl comes by its name honestly.

Port McNeill’s annual youth soccer extravaganza, the kickoff to the spring tournament season, has seen worst days. Though a deluge greeted Friday night’s opening U-15 game, much of the weekend was spent under a mix of cloudy skies broken up by occasional sun breaks, with only a few light showers.

The three-day tourney drew more than 650 players for 96 games on eight fields. The younger crowd played for ribbons or small trophies and cheers, while the older, divisional players competed for age-group championships and winners’ T-shirts.

All of the finals went to teams from Port Hardy and Port McNeill.

Port Hardy swept the U12 division, with the Blue Turtles topping Port McNeill 5-2 in their final and the Spartans claiming the girls title over Port McNeill Team 2.

Port McNeill Team 1 claimed the U15 girls championship by edging Port McNeill 2 in a crosstown matchup, 1-0. The U15 boys title went to Port Hardy, which shaded Port McNeill 3-2 on Kristian Jensen’s tiebreaking goal in the second half. Port Hardy jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead, but Port McNeill drew even with two quick goals early shortly after intermission.

In the U18 final, Port McNeill blanked Port Hardy, 2-0.