Radcliffe | Williams | UMass | Brown | Boston College | Buffalo
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Dartmouth 5 vs. Radcliffe 14
On Saturday, September 24 the members of DWRC marched onto Brophy Field to take on traditional rivals, Radcliffe. With pride in our hearts, a swagger in our step and the alchemy of rugby on our minds we readied ourselves to show everyone watching what it means to be a part of the Dartmouth Women's Rugby Club. Intensity marked the beginning of the game with strong vertical attacks by the forwards allowing for amazing continuity. DWRC kept possession of the ball throughout most of the game due to strong rucks and mauls by the forwards.
On defense, although quick to get into position, we tended to get sucked in around rucks leaving large overloads on the outside, which Radcliffe failed to notice until the second half. Radcliffe successfully took advantage of the inexperience of the back three and their offensive overloads on the outside by kicking over our heads to the side of the field, where they then proceeded to recover it and score a converted try. The backline had problems running onto the ball making the game more horizontal than vertical. Radcliffe seized an opportunity to cherry pick the ball from a badly aimed pass in the backline, sprint up the pitch, and score a second try which was also converted.
Dartmouth rallied and kept pressure on the Radcliffe tryline with good continuity with the forwards. Then with a quick pass to the fullback we succeeded in scoring against Radcliffe. Despite complete domination by our forwards and constant possession of the ball, we were plagued by knock-ons and aggravating penalties near the tryline rendering us unable to score another try.
Dartmouth 20 vs. Williams 0
The beginning of the game was marked by a copious amount of knock-ons by both our forwards and backs. We were able to see and create space well but would all too often be unprepared to catch a pass or drop the ball in contact. Dartmouth scrums were able to drive Williams skillfully as long as we were perfectly prepared to take the mark.
We had trouble gaining ground in the backline because we were neither running onto the ball nor staying deep enough. To change things up we began a kick and chase game to help avoid our knock ons.
At the half we decided to stick with the kicking game to minimize knock ons and vowed to be more solid in rucks and in contact. It was obvious that an effort was made to clean up the ball when going into contact: fewer sloppy or impossible passes were made and people were not afraid to deliver the ball smoothly to the ground.
Dartmouth 0 vs. UMass 20
On the cold, wet, yet still gorgeous Brophy Field, Dartmouth came out hard in the first ten minutes of the game, retrieving the ball back after the kick off in a strong ruck. Our scrums were perfectly controlled making clean ball for the backs. Due to the rainy, dismal conditions UMass began kicking early in the game. Dartmouth was constantly retreating until the ball was finally kicked into the tryzone.
Whenever DWRC did attempt to kick, a lack of chasers resulted in lost possession. Because of the wet, the ball was difficult to hang onto for both teams meaning many scrums and many more dropped passes. UMass remained in possession of the ball because Dartmouth could not stay low enough in rucks, and slowly but steadily made their way up the pitch until at the tryline where they managed to eke by and score a try.
Our attempts to kick did not improve when we sent the ball directly to their fullback who then passed to the wing on the blindside who scored, brining the score to 20-0.
Dartmouth 5 vs. Boston College 3
Large gaps on the outside spurred the Dartmouth backs to pass the ball out quickly to score the first (and only) try within ten minutes of kick off. The play was continuously stalled by knock-ons and bringing the ball down in mauls resulting in just under 50 scrums through the duration of the match. Yet Dartmouth scrums were sturdy and able to drive BC well.
The Dartmouth centers, Julia Jacobsen '08 and Katie Moerlein '08, ran aggressively onto the ball and broke though several defensive players but due to pressure from BC failed to get it out wide to the wings where there was ample space to run. BC inched its way towards Dartmouth's defensive tryline and kicked for points off of an unfortunate penalty bringing the score to 5-3.
At the beginning of the second half the backline still had trouble getting the ball out wide but smooth integration by forwards into the line produced a beautiful vertical game. Dartmouth quickly learned the importance of knowing how to adjust on the field to the other teams and the ref's playing style and made conscious efforts to set less mauls that could be turned into rucks in the hope of sparing the forwards any more scrums.
Dartmouth 7 vs. Buffalo 36
After a tiring journey down to Buffalo, NY, the Dartmouth Women's Rugby Club arrived at University of Buffalo prepared to show the Flying Squirrels how aggressive the Big Green can be. Shaking off the memories of a broken down bus and pizza for breakfast, DWRC came out hard in the first minute of the match by kicking-off and promptly regaining possession in a ruck. Buffalo countered hard in the second minute and swiftly scored and converted a try. Dartmouth's strong rucking was only weakened by poor tackling, allowing Buffalo more than their fair share of breakaways.
Forwards truly embodied the idea of moving forward in brilliant scrums and crashes, while the backs showed that they were not afraid of a little contact or a lot of rucking. The backline became increasingly more disorganized as more backs went into rucks and forwards failed to recycle into the line giving Buffalo a chance to break through the centers and score another converted try. Dartmouth failed to come forward on defense and began to await the arrival of Buffalo with the ball.
The second half of the match was marked by quick transfer passes out to the wings and solid tackles by the back three. An unfortunate penalty committed by Dartmouth near the try line gave Buffalo the chance to show off their kicking skills by successfully kicking for points.
Dartmouth played hard until the last minute of the game, keeping the ball close to the try line and keeping hard pressure on Buffalo. Dartmouth unfortunately finally lost possession of the ball and Buffalo scored one last try before the close of the match, making the final score 7-36.