Difference makers

Bench players step up, lead Gaels in home win

Queen’s will face Guelph on Oct. 26 to determine first place in the OUA.
Queen’s will face Guelph on Oct. 26 to determine first place in the OUA.

The undermanned Gaels overpowered the Brock Badgers 55-10 on Saturday.

The victory pushes them to 6-1, second in the OUA behind Guelph (7-0).

Canadian national team players Liam Underwood and Jacob Rumball were missing in action, but Queen’s bench provided more than adequate alternatives.

Rookie fly half Adam McQueen stepped up again to fill Underwood’s spot with 15 points — one drop goal in the fourth minute followed by six conversion kicks.

Taking Rumball’s spot was third-year James Dent — another player who’s worked his way up from the Gaels’ seven-team club system.

“[Dent’s] a guy who’s put in hours on the field, in the gym, in the summer to get to where he is so he could have a game like that,” said fourth-year forward Matt Kelly. “It’s great to see and I was really happy for him.”

Dent stepped into Rumball’s position at lock, playing through injury to earn a try in the 58th minute of play.

“[Dent] was unreal under the high balls off the kick offs — he returned everything he got,” Kelly said. “He took a knock on his leg at the end of the game and still kept playing through it.”

Scrum half Brendan McGovern, flanker Tim Richardson, prop Dave Merrithew and centre Jeffery McDonald scored second half tries — each followed by conversions from McQueen.

Kelly said the team’s still not over-confident, with the playoffs yet to begin.

“We’re just going to keep putting in the same work, day in and day out. We’re going to keep getting better and better, and just build on this every day.”

Next Friday’s road game against Guelph will decide the Gaels’ playoff position. A win with four tries scored is ideal, but the Gryphons boast a win over the Western Mustangs in their record to date.

Head coach Peter Huigenbos said Guelph’s always been a tough opponent.

“They’re well coached and they have some Junior Canadian players,” he said.

Underwood and Rumball will return to the line-up this week, which puts Queen’s in a good position to end the season on a strong note.

With files from Peter Morrow

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