Late try secures championship for Gaels

Queen’s beats Guelph 27-18, win OUA gold for third straight year

Sam Ibbotson scores.
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Sam Ibbotson frolics.
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The men’s rugby team won a hard-fought battle against the Guelph Gryphons to cap off an undefeated season in OUA play, securing Queen’s third consecutive provincial championship. The Gaels will now move on to nationals, where they’ve earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

The game’s scoring opened off of a Guelph penalty goal, the first time this season that Queen’s didn’t strike first. Just two minutes later, however, the Gaels took the lead with a try from OUA MVP Dylan Young.

Guelph responded in kind, scoring two consecutive tries to bring the score to 15 – 5 in their favour. They missed the conversion kick on the second try, providing Queen’s with an opening for a comeback.

The Gaels moved purposefully, and Sam Ibbotson scored a try after a series of successful rucks following a Queen’s lineout. With a difficult ball spot, Young nearly hit the conversion but just missed, doinking it off the post. The score was now 15 – 10 for the Gryphons with five minutes left in the half.

The Gryphons had the opportunity to re-extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty kick. However, the kick sliced wide and appeared to hit a spectator, judging by the flying popcorn.

With the first half drawing to an end, the Gaels were determined to regain the lead. Following a prolonged possession, Trevor Helgasson leapt towards the try line and tied the game up in stoppage time. Dylan Young hit on the conversion, and the first half ended with Queen’s on top, 17 – 15.

The second half started as a defensive stand-off between the two teams. It was déjà vu all over again when Guelph, as in the first half, opened up the scoring off a penalty kick. The score was now 18-17 for the Gryphons with only 13 minutes remaining in the match.

Undeterred, the Gaels pushed on. Finally, it was their turn for a penalty kick and Dylan Young delivered, putting Queen’s in the lead with a narrow 20 – 18 lead. In the 79th minute, Ibbotson came through again and scored off a massive run, sealing the match 27 – 18.

“The expectation was that it was going to be a hard game. Guelph is a quality outfit, so it was never going to be an easy game,” Coach Butcher told The Journal after the medals were awarded.

“Both sides played excellent rugby. They put a massive amount of pressure on us. It was the first time we’d really come under adversity, so we’ll definitely use that as a tool to move forward with. I couldn’t have asked for more from the guys”.

The Gaels will head to Montreal on Tuesday where they will kick off the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship against the No. 7 McGill Redmen.

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