Rugby runs out of steam

Men fall to 22-6 to Badgers, win OUA silver medal

Gaels’ flyhalf Mike Simmons gets hit by OUA final MVP Ray Barkville of Brock Saturday.
Gaels’ flyhalf Mike Simmons gets hit by OUA final MVP Ray Barkville of Brock Saturday.

Despite passionate support from about 120 Gaels fans who made the two-and-a-half-hour-trip to Markham, the men’s rugby team couldn’t come up with a win in their OUA championship match against the Brock Badgers Saturday. The Badgers won their first-ever OUA championship, defeating the Gaels 22-6.

Head coach Peter Huigenbos said he thought the Gaels played well despite the loss.

“The boys stepped up to the challenge, but we had a few bad breaks,” he said. “Brock played a very solid game. My hat’s off to them, because their defence was solid and they took away our threats.”

Queen’s started strong, taking the lead only two minutes into the game when OUA East MVP Bryn Davies connected on a long penalty kick to give the Gaels a 3-0 lead. The teams then battled back and forth, but Brock was able to push in for a try midway through the half. The Badgers missed the conversion, making the score 5-3 Brock. Davies, who led the OUA in scoring this year, restored the lead for his team with another penalty kick, but Brock monopolized the scoring the rest of the way: the Badgers took a 10-6 lead into the half and added two more tries after the break to seal the victory.

Huigenbos said the travelling fans gave the team motivation to do well.

“They were very vocal and very supportive,” he said. “It was great support for Queen’s today, and it was a shame we couldn’t get the result.”

Huigenbos said he views the season as a success.

“We had a tremendous season,” he said. “To win the silver medal and come so close is tough … but it was a very good year for Queen’s rugby.”

Huigenbos said the team has strong foundations laid for next year.

“We have tremendous athletes in first and second year that we know will be playing for many years on the first team,” he said. “The future’s bright.”

Many Gaels won individual awards this year as well. In addition to Davies’ MVP award, team captain and centre James Potter, flankers Tim and Pat Richardson, fullback Colin Alexander and flanker Alistair Clark were all named to the OUA East all-star team.

Davies said the Gaels put in a complete effort.

“We poured our hearts out, but they were just a better team today,” he said. “I would have loved to have won today, but I’m still very proud of the guys.”

Centre Steve Shortly said the Badgers deserved the win.

“It was a tough loss, but you can’t take anything away from Brock. They played a solid game,” he said.

Shortly said the team was ready to face Brock but couldn’t follow through.

“We came in well-prepared and fired up,” he said. “We came in really confident, but we just didn’t execute where we wanted to today.”

Fourth-year flanker Zandre Nemetz-Sinchein said the defeat was tough for the team to handle.

“After such an unbelievable season, obviously it’s a heartbreaker,” he said. “We just didn’t come out like we have for the previous games.”

Nemetz-Sinchein said this year’s team was special for him.

“In my four years here, this is the most fun I’ve ever had,” he said. “The team’s just so cohesive, such a good group of friends, and it’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Potter said the team wasn’t content to just get the silver.

“Winning any medal in this league has to be looked upon as a great accomplishment, but I don’t think there’s one guy on this team who’s going to be happy with it,” he said.

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