This past weekend the DRFC hosted Navy and previous Dartmouth head coach, Gavin Hickie, made his return to Hanover, in what proved to be a physical and defensive battle on the pitch throughout. The game was broadcast with commentary by The Rugby Channel, as part of being featured as The Rugby Channel’s collegiate match of the week and was Dartmouth’s second and final out of conference match of the fall season.
The first quarter of play was back and forth. Both teams exchanged possession and battled for territory in the middle of the field, as both forward packs played tough and physical. Both sides saw their chances as well until finally, Navy’s fly-half broke through the Dartmouth defensive line on the first phase following a scrum and put Navy up 5 - 0, about 17 minutes into the match. The next several minutes were filled with scoring chances for Dartmouth, who had multiple lineouts and a penalty from Navy’s 5-meter line. However, Navy’s goal line defense was strong, and Dartmouth was unable to punch in the ball. Navy regained possession and kicked the ball downfield when Navy’s wing committed a penalty for a dangerous tackle on Jack Badenhausen’19. Badenhausen, an important force in Dartmouth’s back three, would have to exit as a result, although the Navy player was sent to the sin bin with a yellow card for the hit. Not long after Liam Morris’19 would be sent to the bin for unbinding early from a scrum, and 14 on 14 play ensued. Navy pushed the ball toward Dartmouth’s red zone and scored off a scrum, converting the try for a 12 - 0 lead late in the first half. Dartmouth responded quickly by regaining possession shortly after the restart and gaining a penalty for a Navy player coming into the side of the ruck as well as another not rolling away, in the first phase following a line out. Patrick Sheehy’20 nailed the kick for goal to send both teams into halftime with a score of 12 - 3, Navy.
The second half saw more physical play and great defense by both teams. Navy retained possession for most of the half and scored early on, a few phases after a Navy center intercepted a pass at midfield, bringing the score to 19 - 3. However, the second half saw a few great goal-line stands from Dartmouth with some defensive highlights, including an interception by wing Chris Nkoy’18. Dartmouth also had a great scoring chance, when Struan Coleman’19 broke through the Navy line before he was tackled all the way down at Navy's 5-meter line. Dartmouth was unable to convert on the opportunity, but minutes later a Luke Bienstock line break set up a play the next phase with a great offload from Mason Koch ’20 to Coleman to co-captain Steve Hinshaw’18, who appeared to dot down a Dartmouth try in the corner. However, the referee blew his whistle and indicated that the exchange from Coleman to Henshaw was a forward pass. Not long after, a smart play from co-captain Oliver Engelhart’18, who passed the ball into an offsides Navy player, resulted in another converted Sheehy penalty, making him two for two on the day and cutting the Navy lead to 19 - 6. The final minutes of the contest saw yet another Dartmouth goal line stance with a Gyorgy Brevnov’20 tackle forcing a turnover. The score would remain 19 - 6, Navy, until the blow of the final whistle.