Since returning from the Ireland Tour, my focus has been the Ivy League Championship. Dartmouth has a long history of success in this competition with 5 straight championship titles and it was my aim to add to that tally.
Ireland had been good for bonding the team and the spring break marked the return of some players to regular practice who had been out through academic commitments. Renergised, the coaches and players worked hard to get ready for the semi final against Princeton.
Our first competitive game of the season ended in a victory but our performance was sub par and our penalty count was way too high. 24 against, 5 for. Most were avoidable so we were in effect handicapping ourselves. The long winter break takes time to get out of our system. Before our game against Trinity in Ireland, the last time we played 15s together was October 20th. That is almost 5 months and it feels like starting a new season again. We use the winter break to develop our individual skills. Basics, like catching and passing may not seem very challenging but these core skills must be repeated over and over. Then they must be performed and executed under pressure. The only difference between a developing rugby player and a professional player is repetition. Professional rugby players have been repeating the same basic skills until they become second nature.
So were were through to the final where we would meet our nearest rivals in the Ivy League North Championship Brown University.
The day of the Final came and it didn’t start well, with a covering of snow (in April!!!) giving us a white field ahead of kick off.
By the time the game started there was a good crowd at Brophy Field, with players past and present gathered to watch the Big Green take on Brown University.
Amongst them was my father, Denis Hickie Snr. This was the first time he’d visited Hanover but he’d seen the boys play during our recent trip to Ireland. As a former Ireland international player, I wanted him to experience the Ivy League Final with us at Corey Ford Clubhouse.
During matches I watch from the hill behind the posts. This allows me to see the shape of our attack and defense and keeps my focus on the action away from the chatter of the fans or the bench. In the first half I saw some of the issues we’d had in the semi final return with unnecessary penalties giving Brown the first points on the board. Despite the errors in play we went in 8-3 ahead at the half.
I spoke to the boys at half time and then we were back again, this time without the high penalty count. The difference was immediately obvious and the scoreboard started to tick over. Brown’s numbers 9 and 10 who we knew were their danger men showed brief signs of a fightback but the damage was done. Dartmouth won 32-3.
So the 6th title in a row, 13th of the last 16. That is some record and I’m proud to have been part of adding to the legacy of success at Big Green.
This was the last home game for us this season and I wanted to make sure the senior players who hadn’t started had their chance on the field. Sentiment can have a place in sport. When the game is won of course.
Up next, Navy in the Varsity Cup next Saturday. The work never stops.
Dartmouth Ivy League Final Squad
1 – Matthew Robinson
2 – Chris Banks
3 – Lawrence Anfo-Whyte
4 – Shea Smith
5 – Dylan Jones
6 – Simon Greenberg
7 – Neil Greene
8 – Michael McDavid
9 – John Descalzi
10 – Owen Scannell
11 – Justin Ciambella
12 – Quinn Connell (c)
13 – Parker Gilbert
14 – Kevin Clark
15 – Madison Hughes
16 – Andrew Berson
17 – Zack Fowler
18 – Rob Bathe
19 – Tom Steventon
20 – Michael Urbach
21 – Tyler Morange
22 – Wilson Chockley
23 – Garrett Wymore
Ivy League Final Dartmouth v Brown Match Reviews
RugbyMag : Dartmouth Wins Ivies Again
Dartmouth College defeated Brown 32-3 Saturday at Dartmouth’s Brophy Field to win the Big Green’s 6th straight men’s Ivy League Championship.
Madison Hughes scored 27 of Dartmouth’s 32 points.
Brown battled Dartmouth to something of a standstill for the first quarter of the game, and led 3-0 after a penalty. But Hughes struck back with a kick of his own, and then torched Brown for a try when he fielded a kick at midfield and beat several defenders to touch down.
Hughes then took a pass from forward Matt Robinson to score another, adding a penalty after that for an 18-3 Dartmouth advantage.
Neil Greene was the forward to touch down after a snappy driving maul put the Big Green over the line. Hughes hit the conversion to make it 25-3, and then another forward, Dylan Jones, powered through a host of Brown defenders before finding Hughes in support for the final try.
Tries: Hughes 3, Greene
Convs: Hughes 3
Pens: Hughes 2
This is American Rugby : Dartmouth Big Green Captures their 5th (6th)Consecutive Ivy League Title
by Daniel Holzhauer
Dartmouth fullback Madison Hughes scored three tries and tallied 27 points to lead the Dartmouth Big Green to their fifth consecutive Ivy League Title and another undefeated league season by defeating Brown 32-3. The Big Green overcame sloppy play throughout the first half and scored 32 consecutive points on their way to victory.
Hughes scored the first try of the afternoon when he covered a kick from the Brown flyhalf just inside Dartmouth territory and scurried past defenders along the touch line. Hughes was caught at the try line, but he was just able to down the ball.
Brown showed tough defense in holding Dartmouth to just eight first-half points and had solid play from their flyhalf, but they also ran into problems with sloppy ball handling. Colin Schofield put them on the board with a penalty conversion early in the first-half but it would be the last time Brown scored.
Dartmouth picked up their intensity in the second half and broke through for a second Hughes try after Parker Gilbert kicked the ball deep into Brown territory. The Brown fullback had trouble handling the big bounce and Dartmouth took the ball quickly. Flyhalf Owen Scannell, Gilbert and prop Matt Robinson touched the ball before Hughes inserted into the line and finished the play. A Hughes conversion brought the score to 15-3.
Hughes took a break from scoring, after notching a second penalty kick, and it was the Dartmouth forwards that took control. The pack formed a long, driving maul off a lineout inside Brown territory. Neil Greene found himself at the end of the maul and when he peeled off, he found nothing but daylight. For the second straight week, a Dartmouth forward went in for a long try.
It wasn’t long before lock Dillon Jones attempted to replicate his feat from the Princeton semi-finals by making a break deep into Brown’s half. The Brown defender made a last second tackle to stop Jones just meters from the try line, but Hughes was in perfect position to finish the hat trick and put a stamp on the finals. Hughes’ third conversion made the game 32-3 and that’s where it stood at the final whistle.
Although the Darmouth Big Green have earned a trip to the D-IAA playoffs, they will move on to the inaugural Varsity Cup, where they will face the Navy Midshipmen in the opening round. This will open the door for Brown to join St. Bonaventure and Middlebury in the East Region of the D-IAA playoffs.