Jackie Tittley had an important mission on Wednesday night at Concordia stadium. The women’s rugby captain was responsible for keeping the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup safely in her grip, and out of McGill’s hands. “I have to keep it safe, it’s an important piece,” she joked as she cradled the glass trophy. “It’s under very high security.”
Tittley and the Concordia Stingers squeaked by the McGill Martlets 3-0 to bring home the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup for the second consecutive year.
The game is played in memory of Kelly-Anne Drummond, a member of the Stingers’ rugby squad who was murdered in 2004. Her boyfriend was found guilty of the murder in 2006. The friendly is played against McGill because Drummond loved the game and the cross-town rivalry.
“Kelly-Anne loved playing rugby, she loved being at Concordia, she loved the competition, she loved the feeling of winning,” said Doreen Haddad, Drummond’s mother. “Kelly-Anne was like all the girls on both squads that were here this evening. They were team players, spirited, she was the same way. I just want [the players] to know her, know what she was like.”
Drummond’s spirit of competition was certainly present as the game was a hard fought contest. Both squads were a mix of rookies, second-stringers and starters as the game had no bearing on conference standings, but was used as an opportunity for players to prove themselves.
The Stingers set the tone early, penetrating deep into McGill territory and testing the Martlet defence. Concordia was working like a well-oiled machine with scrum half Jessie Lapointe alternating between backs and forwards plays.
The Martlets were back on their heels when a punishing tackle on Concordia’s Ariane Beaulieu brought the game to a screeching halt. Beaulieu suffered a dislocated hip and was taken away by ambulance.
“I thought we had a great game up until Ariane got hurt,” said head coach Graeme McGravie. “For both teams, that just took the wind out of the sails, we both really struggled to get going after that.”
The second half was a grittier back-and-forth game. Both teams were struggling to generate a consistent offence and every ball was fought for with tooth and nail. Penalties plagued both squads as valuable territory was just given away.
However, there were strokes of brilliance in the second half. Fly half Erika Hamilton made up for a fumbled pass by weaving through the Martlets for a 15 yard run, Jessica Beaudry broke through tackles on a solo run and fullback Jenna Giuliani was near perfect in her kick returns.
“I personally don’t think we played a very good game as a squad but we had some really good individual efforts,” said Tittley post-game, citing the second half heroics.
With only seven minutes to play and the score still 0-0, Concordia had their chance. Back-to-back McGill penalties put Tittley in range for a penalty kick. From 37 yards out, she put the ball between the uprights to put the Stingers ahead by three. “Those kicks are routine kicks for me, I knew it was going in,” she said.
Despite a late onslaught by the Martlets, that’s how the score would remain. Their last-minute hopes were squandered by a missed penalty kick opportunity.
After the game, Haddad addressed both teams, telling them how much they all seemed to follow Kelly-Anne’s spirit towards rugby and encouraged them to continue playing with integrity.
Although there was no entry charge for the game, money raised at the entrance through a raffle and will be donated to Women Aware, a Montreal non-profit organization for women and children facing domestic violence.
According to Haddad’s blog, over $1,500 was raised, a slight increase from last year’s tally.