The Mohawk Mountaineers staged a big rally but were nipped in the dying moments of overtime, 22-18, by Fleming College Knights of Peterborough, in an exciting bronze medal match at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association rugby championships at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham on Saturday (Nov. 10).
Fleming needed less than 10 minutes to lead 5-0 on a Josh Andrew try, but Mohawk’s Jeff Perssia tied the score as the Mountaineer pack pushed him over the goal line. However, the Knights got tries from Chad Carl and Jordan Wooldridge before the first half ended and appeared in control, leading last year’s OCAA champions 15-5 at the break.
But Mohawk had different ideas. Josh Jones scored on a dash down the right wing to make it 15-10 and then following a lineout, Keith Garbutt crashed over to tie the count at 15. Mountaineers’ leading scorer James Cumpson just missed the convert attempt which would have put in his team in front. So the teams went to a 10 minute overtime and Cumpson gave Mohawk an 18-15 lead with a penalty goal from a little more than 12 metres out. Time was at a premium for Fleming, but they marched down the field and after a few attempts finally got what proved to be the winning try by Eric Abbott. Kurtis Horn had the only successful conversion for either team in the game.
Mohawk started back up field but the final whistle ended their march and gave Fleming the bronze medal. Mountaineers’ coach Alex Paris gathered his team and praised their effort. “As I told the guys, you’re down at the half and you’re down a little bit of the second half and to come back and take the lead and go to overtime, that speaks volumes for the character of the guys on this team,” said Paris. “It’s a bounce here, a bounce there. We had possession the whole second half. It takes one solid run from the opposition and that’s what they were able to do.”
Paris said Fleming was a well coached team and Mohawk lost to a good club.
Meanwhile, Humber is the new OCAA rugby champs. Tied 13-13 with Seneca at half time, the Hawks exploded for 17 unanswered points in the second 40 minutes to beat the Sting 30-13 in the gold medal game. The OCAA’s leading scorer in the regular season, Adam Chianello, scored three tries and added two penalties for Humber.