In a non-conference clash between two Penn Mutual Varsity Cup schools, Dartmouth edged UCLA 24-17 with a try in the final minutes. With the victory, Dartmouth completed a two week tour of California where it’s A-side defeated both UCLA and UCSD.
Spending two weeks out west gave the Big Green a chance to work on its fitness and game planning in a warmer climate as well as play several teams it does not normally square off with.
Dartmouth got off to a strong start against the Bruins, taking a 17-0 lead into the second half. It was the Max Parker show in the first half, with the fullback scoring a pair of tries and setting up the third with a 95 meter run. On the first two scores, Parker was the recipient of beautiful hands, allowing him to outflank the defense on both occasions.
“Max did especially well, particularly in attack,” said Dartmouth coach Gavin Hickie. “We got off to a great off the opening kickoff. We were up for the game and the boys were well in tune with it.”
UCLA looked to be answering back after hammering away at the Dartmouth line. The Big Green held firm however, and off a five meter lineout inside its own 22, Parker sprinted 95 meters before the ball went through hands for an Ollie Englehart score to extend the lead to 17-0.
Despite being a man up for the remaining 10 minutes of the half, UCLA could not crack the Dartmouth defense until the second stanza. The Bruins managed to score three consecutive tries to start the second half, though, with the game tying score coming via an intercept.
“We were pretty clinical early on but where we are with our conditioning and our focus, we slipped a little bit in the second half,” Hickie added.
The teams were evenly matched for the remainder of the game. With less than 10 to play, however, Dartmouth intercepted a pass and counter attacked. Dawit Workie, kicked the ball ahead and Dartmouth was able to field the ball and after a few phases score the game winning try.
“It was kind of messy but I am very grateful that we made the right decisions. That has been one of our continuous work on is making the right decision on any given situation,” Hickie said of the game winning score.
Both UCLA and Dartmouth will now turn their attention to the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. UCLA will host UVU while Dartmouth will travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers.