The Queen’s Gaels men’s rugby team capped a perfect season with a win over the Western Mustangs in the Ontario University Athletics championship on Saturday (Nov. 14) afternoon at Fletcher’s Fields.
The Gaels managed to hold on through five minutes of intense goal-line pressure to claim the 23-19 decision.
Western opened the scoring while one man down with a try from centre Marcus Mitchell (Ancaster) Wing Matthew Barrett (Lindsay) added one of his two conversions on the day for a quick 7-0 lead. Gaels’ winger Scott Kyle of Singapore brought the Tricolour to within striking distance with a try in the 19th minute, created by a tremendous run from centre Chris Barrett (Vancouver).
Less than 10 minutes later, Mustangs centre Connor Trainor (Vancouver) notched his side’s second try.
It looked as if the Gaels would go into the half trailing by nine points when winger Zach Pancer (Unionville) scored a try in injury time to bring Queen’s to within four.
The Mustangs came out swinging in the second half, and got on the board within five minutes of the opening kick with a try from fullback Matthew McLeod (Lindsay). The Gaels responded, though, within a penalty goal from lock Ryan Kruyne (Dunrobin), bringing Queen’s to within a try for the tie.
The penalty kick seemed to add life to a flat Gaels offence, and they responded with a try in the 17th minute from eight-man Pat Richardson (Vancouver), again scored after a 45-yard run from Barrett, bringing the Gaels to within one point at 19-18.
Barrett finally capped off his exceptional game halfway through the second half when he broke two Mustang tackles to score the Gaels third try of the day, putting them in front by four points. Less than a try behind, the Mustangs spent the rest of the game, down to the final whistle, applying pressure to the Gaels defence, but they wouldn’t break and held the scoreline in their advantage.
The win marks the first finals win for the Gaels in three straight attempts, and is the school’s 18th championship.
In the bronze medal game, the Brock Badgers defeated the McMaster Marauders 21-17. Each team scored three tries but the Badgers prevailed, thanks largely to Brock’s Rory McDonell (Brantford), as his three tries were the difference in victory. McDonell nailed each convert after two tries from Ryan MacSween (Toronto) and one from Matt Alexander (Oshawa), while McMaster’s Shawn Windsor (Stoney Creek) was only able to get one convert off three tries.
Other scorers from McMaster were Jeff McDiarmid (Oshawa), Ryan Fried (New Hamburg) and Mike Sheppard (Brampton).