Facing both a tough travel day that saw them leave Hanover before daybreak and a very good opponent in Brown, Dartmouth Rugby found themselves in a dogfight Saturday in Providence. But despite the difficulties posed by their itinerary and opponent, The Big Green still managed to tough it out and get the win 24-17. With the victory, the team moved to 4-0 in Ivy Rugby conference play, setting up a clash of unbeatens next weekend against Princeton.
While Dartmouth was hoping to have a more stellar performance, captain and No. 8 Paul Jarvis still believed the game was a valuable experience for what is still a fairly young team.
"The Brown match was an excellent test for the side and really showed the character of the current group of players,” he said, “We could point to several factors as contributing to the poor performance, but at the end of the day credit to a strong Brown side. We came out flat from the beginning, and it wasn't before we got in a hole that the urgency really arrived. Even then, technical execution was often lacking, and we put ourselves under additional pressure” He also went on to emphasize the importance of such a stern test before the matchup with the Tigers. “I'm certain that the boys will react well to the challenge as we prepare for Princeton and I'm proud that we were able to grind out a win.”
Dartmouth was under pressure almost immediately after the opening kick, as Brown had a lineout at the 5-meter line after a Big Green penalty. The Bears didn’t waste the opportunity, notching a score for the 5-0 lead. Dartmouth would bounce back quickly though, as wing Kevin Clark broke through several tackles alongside the touchline before offloading to fullback Madison Hughes in the try zone for the score. With the unsuccessful conversion, the score was tied at 5-5.
Brown would be the next to strike, getting a try a few minutes before halftime, bringing the score to 10-5. After the ensuing kickoff though, Dartmouth was able to quickly regain possession and take the ball right to the edge of the try line as the clock was winding down. It was then that Brown made a pivotal mistake, repeatedly trying to tackle Dartmouth players attempting to quick tap after a penalty without retreating back behind their own try line. The ref responded to this by awarding Dartmouth a penalty try, which along with the subsequent conversion by wing Justin Ciambella ‘13 gave them their first lead of the game at 12-10, just as time expired on the first half.
Play would continue to be very evenly matched in the second half. Brown would open the scoring about ten minutes in, getting another try to retake the lead 17-12. They would hold that advantage for a little while, before center Clark Judge ’12 hit hooker Chris MacNaughton ’13 on the off load for the try. With another conversion by Ciambella, Dartmouth regained the lead at 19-17. A few minutes after that, wing Kevin Clark would make the play of the game, picking up the ball from the ruck inside Dartmouth’s own 22 and motoring the rest of the way to extend the lead to 24-17. Despite several attempts by Brown to even things back up, The Big Green would hold onto that lead for the win.