Dartmouth Rugby wrapped up its spring tour to the Cayman Islands Saturday night by beating the Cayman National team for the second time in a week, this time by a score of 28-18. Despite the margin of victory, the local side gave another tremendous effort, holding onto the lead for much of the game. But as was the case throughout the tour, Dartmouth proved to be the better team in the final 20 minutes, making another late comeback to secure the win and a perfect record for the 1st XV on the trip.
The victory proved a fitting cap to a productive tour for The Big Green in the eyes of Captain and No.8 Paul Jarvis ’12. “It was both a competitive and enjoyable series with the Cayman National Team. They play a brand of rugby similar to what we expect to face in the National Playoffs, and the lessons learned from this tour will be very valuable this spring. We still have a great deal of room to improve, but I was particularly pleased with the character and resiliency the team displayed.”
Dartmouth didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts, as a series of mistakes allowed the hosts to kick through an easy penalty to go up 3-0. The Cayman team continued putting on the pressure, notching a try a few minutes later to increase their lead to 10-0. However, Dartmouth began to bounce back soon after, with wing Justin Ciambella ’13 scoring the first Big Green try of the day to make the score 10-5. While fullback Madison Hughes ’15 couldn’t hit on the conversion, he quickly redeemed himself by knocking through a penalty a few minutes later to cut the lead to 10-8. Unfortunately though, the home team would be the last to score in the half as they scored another try to bring their lead to 15-8 going into the intermission.
They would continue push forward in the 2nd half, adding another penalty to make the score 18-8. It was at this point though that the Dartmouth defense began to strike back, completely stifling the Cayman attack so that the hosts wouldn’t score for the rest of the game. Using their stingy defense as a catalyst, The Big Green began their comeback, with flyhalf Will Lehmann ’12 getting the try after a great run from center Clark Judge ’12. Hughes would make the conversion to tighten things up at 18-15.
Moments later, he would add another penalty to make it a tie game at 18 all. The game winning score would come about 5 minutes later, with wing Kevin Clark ’14 going in for what would be the deciding score. Hughes would add another conversions to make the score 25-18 and then mere minutes later he would make his third penalty of the day to extend the lead to 28-18. The penalty would bring his point total to 13 for the day, and by making it a two-score game, ensure the victory.
Cayman rugby would not go completely winless on the day though, as the Cayman Selects side got a 25-17 win over the Dartmouth 2nd XV earlier in the day. The loss marked the end to a somewhat sour tour for the second Big Green side, as they also suffered a 43-0 defeat on Thursday night to the Cayman U-21 side.
Dartmouth Rugby will be back on the pitch Saturday, March 31st as four sides go to the University of New Hampshire 7s tournament in Durham, NH. The Big Green will return to 1st XV action April 14-15th in the Ivy Wildcard Championship, which will be hosted by Princeton.