Graham Dobbs’ late try stood proved to be the game winner as the McMaster Marauders avenged their loss over the weekend and advanced to the Ontario University Athletics semi-finals with a 21-20 victory over the Western Mustangs in London Wednesday (Oct. 29).
There were three lead changes in a back-and-forth second half but Dobbs’ try would be the final scoring play from either team.
With the win, the Marauders now travel to Kingston on Saturday to battle the top OUA team – the Queen’s Gaels – in a semi-final. McMaster dealt Queen’s their only loss of the season in September, when they topped the Gaels 18-13 at Back 10 Field.
Western stormed out to an 8-0 lead early on Wednesday on the strength of a penalty goal and an unconverted try. Another try pushed the Mustang lead to 13-0, before the Marauders combined for an extended drive that ultimately crossed the end line to get the visitors on the board.
Mitch Santilli, fresh from a visit to Scotland over the weekend where he played Edinburgh as a member of the Ontario Blues, out-raced the Western defenders to slash the deficit further with McMaster’s second try of the night.
On the stroke of half time, Jamie Leveridge capped McMaster’s comeback by draining a penalty goal to level the teams at 13 apiece entering the break.
Leveridge was back at it to put McMaster ahead 16-13 with another penalty early in the second half, but Western responded by crossing the end line for their third try. It went unconverted, however, leaving the door open for Dobbs and the Marauders.
The veteran made the Mustangs pay for the miss when he stole the ball deep in McMaster territory and countered with pace, slashing through Western’s defenders to touch down at the end of an excellent individual move.
The counter attack gave McMaster a one-point lead, and the visitors would not relinquish it, holding Western off the board in the dying minutes to clinch the victory.