Rugby Fires It Up With New Clubhouse
By Thomas Monahan | Friday, October 7, 2005
The first weekend of the term was a gala weekend for the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club. After decades of planning, fundraising, and lobbying, the team finally has a permanent home in the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse. The clubhouse is the centerpiece of one of the premier rugby facilities in the nation. The facility is surrounded by Battle Practice Field and the Brophy Pitch, which will be home to some of the most significant and competitive rugby in the Northeastern Rugby Union for years to come.
The facility was dedicated on Friday as Trustee and former Dartmouth rugger Michael Chu '68 accepted the facility on behalf of the College. The formal acceptance of the facility was followed by a few words from College President James Wright who praised rugby's winning tradition. Other notable speakers included James N. Perkins '55, a Dartmouth rugby player and close personal friend to Corey Ford, and former player and coach Wayne Young '72. The evening celebrated the many great alumni who contributed to this great leap forward in the stature of the club—especially Corey Ford, an esteemed writer who was a friend and coach to Dartmouth Rugby. Ford's home was bequeathed to the club in his will as a means to find a permanent home for Dartmouth Rugby. After years of work, it is finally a reality.
On Saturday, the speeches and sentiments gave way to a hard-fought game of rugby as Dartmouth faced off against perennial rival and defending Northeast Champion, Army. Over a thousand people gathered for the inauguration of the beatiful Brophy Field. The screams of alumni, friends, parents, and students engulfed teh hills surrounding the pitch on a day befitting such an occasion.
The game kicked off at three o'clock and the men in green rose to the supreme challenge of competing with one of the best rugby sides in the nation. The scoring opened in favor of Dartmouth as an early penalty by Army in their territory came in the 4th minute, giving fullback Andrew Caspary '06 the opportunity to kick three points for Dartmouth. Army answered back, however, as the Black Knights' fullback scored a try in the corner making the score 3 – 5. The lead did not last as Caspary was again given the opportunity to kick for points off an Army penalty; again he was true.
Dartmouth then found firm footing in the match in the 23rd minute as a well-run lineout in Army territory resulted in an overlap in the Army defense. The back line exploited this opportunity—ultimately resulting in a try and conversion again, by Andrew Caspary, making the score 13 – 5. Army answered back when a quick tap penalty allowed Army to make the score 13 – 10. In the closing minutes of the half, Army kicked for points off of a penalty, making the score at halftime 13 – 13.
The half began with Dartmouth receiving the ball, but sloppy handling gave possession to Army in Dartmouth territory and the Black Knights exploited an overlap in the defense as their wing scored in the corner. But Dartmouth quickly answered as a line break got the ball to Captain Jesse Blom '06 in the open field tying the score again at 18 – 18.
However, Army began to make serious headway as tries in the 20th and 31st, minute both without conversions, made the score 18 – 30. At this point, the crowd and the atmosphere were at a fever pitch as chants of "Let's Go Dartmouth!" erupted from the hills surrounding Brophy Field. The Dartmouth men answered in the 36th minute as a crashing ball by lock Josh Weinberg '07 was quickly rucked and spun wide to Aziz Sayigh '07, who scored a spectacular try. The conversion by Caspary made the score 25 – 30. Dartmouth quickly took the ball and marched down the pitch with determination, looking for the equalizer in the closing minutes. The Indians soon found themselves five meters from the Army tryline desperate to push the ball in for the score. Army committed two penalties giving Dartmouth a set platform to push the ball in, but the Army defense engulfed the Dartmouth players just short of their goal. As phase play continued with desperation, Dartmouth was ultimately penalized for holding on to the ball and Army kicked the ball to touch, ending the game with the final score at 25 – 30. Though the game ended on a sour note, the men in green showed their salt.
The following Satuday in Putnam, Connecticut, Dartmouth Rugby (1 – 1) kicked off against the University of Connecticut Huskies (0 – 2). While the Dartmouth team was never behind in the contest, their victory was not truly certain until the final whistle sounded.
The opening kickoff saw the sinbinning of a UConn player for unsportsmanlike conduct and carrying on after the whistle. The men in green made made the first strike in the 10th minute as Co-Captain prop Joe Boswell turned a masterful poach into a quick 30-meter line break. Boswell quickly dished the ball to lock Josh Weinberg who dashed the remaining 15m for the score. A missed conversion made it 5 – 0.
In the 12th minute, another UConn player found himself binned for foul play and the men in green again had a man advantage. The unsportsmanlike conduct from the Huskies would continue throughout the match as punches in the rucks and other ungentlemanly acts were commonplace. However, the Indians team kept their cool and continued to dominate both their own lineouts as well as UConn's. The Dartmouth pack began to find their rhythm against a strong UConn scrum, and in the 36th minute a quick strike from the Dartmouth backline off of a scrum on the UConn 10-meter gave center Mark Goodson the second score of the match. Fullback Andrew Caspary's conversion made the score 12 -0. With time in the first half expiring, a UConn wing made an excellent chip kick and fielded on the 1-meter for the try. This made the score 12 – 7 at the half and left the Huskies hungry for more.
The second half continued as much of the first did with Dartmouth's dynamic wide attack hindered by handling errors and UConn's powerful forward attack broken by punishing Dartmouth tacklers. In the 53rd minute of the match Dartmouth was awarded a penalty under the posts and Caspary punched in what would be the deciding factor making the score 15 – 7.
In the 60th minute, UConn strung together several phases with crashing balls to the forwards and eventually spun the ball out wide to the wing for a score making it a one point match at 15 – 14. The remaining 20 minutes became a battle of wills as each team pressed relentlessly for another score. The Dartmouth defense remained dominant in this endeavor as UConn was rarely allowed to move the ball out of their half. The match ended with Dartmouth pressuring the Huskies deep in their territory with the final result being a 15 – 14 victory. The Dartmouth team now looks ahead to a strong Boston College side that will meet this Saturday in Hanover at the team's new Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse.
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