Mountaineers don’t hold lead, rugby bronze medal slips away

PETERBOROUGH – On a day ideal for rugby, the Trent Excalibur men’s rugby team earned an ideal result. Trent captured its first Ontario Colleges Athletic Association medal in school history with a 27-20 win over the Mohawk Mountaineers on Saturday (Nov. 12).

Trent received scoring from fifth-year lock Matt Murray, rookie Tyler Bromshaw and two scores from OCAA all-star Adam Anderson. Graham Abbott converted two tries and added a penalty goal to seal the win and the bronze medal.

Two tries from Joel Clarke and single scores from Graham McKelvey and OCAA all-star Phil Jackson accounted for the Mohawk scoring.

It was the visiting Mountaineers who made the scoreboard first. Clarke slipped past the Trent defence to score the unconverted try in the game’s fifth minute.

Murray pulled the Excalibur even 10 minutes later when he drove his way over the try line for the score in his final collegiate contest.

The feeling of elation was short-lived as McKelvey responded with a Mohawk try just two minutes later to restore the five-point lead.

Trent used an exciting 25-metre run to once again even the score. The Excalibur pieced together a series of short runs and offloads before Abbott dumped a switchback pass to Bromshaw who scampered past the Mountaineer defence for the highlight reel score.

Like every other time throughout the game, the Mountaineers quickly responded. In the 38th minute, Jackson was able to plow over the Trent defence at the goal line to give Mohawk a 15-10 lead heading into the half.

On the opening kick-off of the second half, Trent took its first lead of the game. With Abbott kicking off for the Excalibur he lofted a ball deep into Mohawk territory. The ball took a high bounce and landed in the arms of Anderson who tumbled into the end zone for the score. The convert gave Trent a brief 17-15 lead.

Clarke added his second try of the game in the 56th minute to restore the Mohawk lead. The Mountaineers methodically marched the ball down the field until Clarke sprung loose and rumbled 10 metres for the unconverted score to put his squad up 20-17.

Anderson would once again play hero for the Excalibur. The second-year flanker would put the Excalibur in the lead for good when he was able to burst though the defence and touch the ball down between the posts in the 64th minute. Abbott would add the convert for a four-point lead and would count a late penalty goal to seal the 27-20 victory.

For his two-try effort Anderson was named Trent’s man of the match, while Clarke was recognized as the man of the match for Mohawk based on his own two-try performance.

With the win, the Excalibur collect their first OCAA medal in school history after falling in consecutive years in the bronze medal game. Trent head coach Dave McCully earned the third place finish in his first year leading the charges.