After residing at Queen’s for the past three years, the Turner Trophy is making its return to Guelph.
On Nov. 6, the Guelph Gryphons defeated the Gaels 37-26 in the 2021 men’s Rugby OUA Championship final.
The Gryphons were predicted to be the Gael’s toughest matchup of the season, and needless to say, they lived up to the expectation.
It was a balmy Saturday afternoon at Nixon Field—ideal conditions for the hotly-contested gold medal match. Busloads of Guelph fans occupied the stands and cheered along with the Queen’s faithful.
With both teams entering the final with an undefeated record, the matchup was an even contest on the sheets. On the field, it was a different story.
Guelph took a strong lead in the first half and Queen’s never caught up.
Queen’s opened the scoring with an intercepted try by third-year flanker William Matthews.
Alex Williamson of Guelph, answered moments later with a try from a hard-driven play that ensued after a Queen’s penalty.
The rest of the half was a defensive battle on both sides, but penalties taken by Queen’s gave Guelph more room to capitalize on their own momentum. A second try from Williamson gave Guelph the lead. Two more Guelph pushover tries—one scored by Evan Raymond, and the other by fullback Colin Lynch—brought the score to 22-7 by halftime.
In the second half, Guelph didn’t let up, either. They controlled their possessions, the Gaels on their heels. Another try from Alex Williamson — his third of the game — stretched both the scoreboard and the odds of a successful Queen’s comeback.
Down four tries with less than 15 minutes to go, Queen’s finally began knocking on the door at Guelph’s try line. In a spirited effort, they pushed through the stout defense to score three late tries.
Unfortunately, the final whistle blow came before Queen’s was able generate a true comeback, and the game ended with the Gryphons as the victors, 37-26.
“Guelph turned up and they were the better team on the day,” head coach, David Butcher, told The Journal after the medals were handed out.
“We took five pretty significant errors in the first half that were all on us. I’ve got no complaints about the final outcome.”
Both Guelph and Queen’s will compete in the U Sports National Championships in Kingston from Nov. 24-28.
Ahead of the tournament, Butcher is focused on eliminating the mistakes that proved costly this game.
“Nothing really much to change in terms of the way we want to play. It will purely just be trying to eliminate those errors that plagued us a little bit this year.”
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