Rugby teams dominate at Dartmouth

Queen’s converges on the ball at the Dartmouth Invitational tournament.
Queen’s converges on the ball at the Dartmouth Invitational tournament.
Photo courtesy

After a disappointing semi-final loss to Western in last year’s OUA playoffs, the Queen’s men’s rugby team is set to rebound with a strong 2005-2006 season. The team capped off a four-day training camp by winning both divisions in the inaugural Dartmouth Invitational tournament in New Hampshire this past weekend.

With a strong turnout of more than 80 players at camp, the coaches put the players through two-a-day sessions. The camp ended in a full trial match to finalize three rosters for the coming season.

The Gaels arrived in New Hampshire with a complement of 41 players, including 10 rookies. Both the first team and second team squads opened the tournament against units from Penn State, which consistently rank among the top 10 teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The first team match featured strong squads on both sides, and the Gaels found themselves trailing the Nittany Lions 18-8 midway through the second half. To make matters worse, veteran prop Ramsey Ida went out with a foot injury.

Nick Hodgson and James Potter both scored tries for the Gaels to even the score before the end of regulation time, and Hodgson followed his try with a 35-yard penalty in the first overtime period—his second of the game—to make it 21-18.

The Lions responded with a 30-yard penalty, but fortunately for the Gaels the attempt failed.

The Queen’s second team had an exceptional debut, soundly defeating the Lions 60-5. Rookie forward Josh Chambers was awarded Man of the Match for his contribution of three tries to the winning effort. Rookie Michael Readshaw also added a try with a tremendous individual display. Other scorers include Ryan Howard and veterans Graham Watt, Viet Tran, and Colin Frenke. Evan Glowacki and Graham Hatelid had two conversions each.

These two strong showings gave the Gaels berths in both the I and II championship finals, taking on squads from McGill, who had previously dispatched Dartmouth in the other semi-finals.

The Queen’s second team repeated their strong performance from the opening game, dominating the Redmen 57-7. In addition to Graham Watt’s strong play at the eight position, veteran wing/fullback Chris Sager scored two tries in the winning effort.

In the A-side championship, the Gaels exploded out of the gates, with James Potter scoring a try seven minutes in before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. The Gaels further pressed the Redmen, with fly half Geoff Carran tallying a try 10 minutes later.

McGill responded with a penalty, but fell further behind after the Queen’s backline worked to score a brilliant try, with some accomplished back-and-forth play between centre Jordan Foley and winger Nick Hodgson. Though the Redmen managed to post a late try, the Gaels ultimately emerged victorious, 21-8.

Eight starters return to the first squad, including club captain Kiel Perchinig. Various players said that the new squad is smaller but quicker than last year’s, which could be advantageous against larger, slower teams.

The Gaels open the regular schedule with the second and third teams hosting Ottawa University on Kingston Field at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and the first team plays at RMC on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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