Second loss knocks Mac from podium chance

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – The Ontario champion Guelph Gryphons opened their pursuit of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national women’s rugby championship with a win over the McMaster Marauders. The Gryphons downed the Marauders, 53-19, on Friday (Nov. 4) in a rematch of the Ontario University Athletic’s final.

Guelph used its high powered attack to get on the board early. Hook Mary Jane Kirby (Brampton, Ont.) powered her way through the McMaster defence for a third minute try, which Stephanie Tibelius (Ottawa) converted for a 7-0 lead.

Ten minutes later the Marauders responded when CIS Rookie of the Year Cindy Nelles (Belleville, Ont.) found her way over the try line for the unconverted score.

Following the McMaster try, Guelph’s veteran back Britt Benn (Napanee, Ont.) made her presence known by scoring back-to-back tries in the 15th and 25th minutes, one of which was converted, for a 19-5 lead. Caitlin McNally (Guelph) added an unconverted try for Guelph in the 30th minute.

With time winding down in the half, Allison McFadden (Barrie, Ont.) used a powerful run to bowl over the Guelph defenders and score a converted try, making the score 24-12 at the midway point of the contest.

It was in the second half when the Gryphons pulled away. Tibelius scored a penalty goal in the 39th minute which opened the floodgates for three consecutive tries to put the game out of reach. McNally scored her second try of the game, while Brittany Sammut (Port Colborne, Ont.) and Morganne Linthwaite (Guelph) scored their first tries.

With eight minutes remaining, McMaster’s third year centre Lynsay Turner (Mississauga, Ont.) brought some excitement to the contest as she streaked down the sideline, scoring a try on a 35m run, accelerating past the Gryphon defense in the process.

Guelph’s Stephanie DeVries (Arris, Ont.) added a final try in the 67th minute to make the final score 53-19.

“I thought the girls made great decisions on attack throughout the game,” said Guelph head coach Collette McAuley. “We stuck to the game plan we laid out and used that to get the jitters out in our first game at the championship. The nerves are gone and we’re looking to carry momentum into our game (today).”

Britt Benn’s two-try performance garnered her player of the game honours for Guelph, while scrum half Kim Ngai (Markham, Ont.) was named McMaster’s player of the game

Guelph (1-0) returns to action on Saturday when they take on the Laval Rouge et Or for a 1:30 p.m. kick-off. It will be the final Pool-B game for both teams. McMaster falls to 0-2 with the loss and will play at 10 a.m. Sunday against the host Trent Excalibur in the fifth place game.