Rugby mauls UMass, will take on All-Stars

by Kevin Demoff | 5/7/98 5:00am

The Dartmouth men's rugby club will conclude its season with a match against the New England Collegiate All-Stars at 1:00 on Saturday at Sachem Field.

The annual game matches the New England Premier League champions against an all-star team made up of the best players from other New England universities. Dartmouth (20-5-1) won its fourth consecutive New England championship in the Fall season. The Big Green also won the Ivy League championship in April and advanced to the national round of eight before losing to Cal-Berkeley two weeks ago. Cal went on to win their eighth consecutive national championship.

New England is captained by Cory Cook of Norwich University and will have three All-Americans in the team including prop Arlen Gerritsen of UMass and flyhalf Brendan Mullin of UConn. Dartmouth beat the All-Stars 29-14 a year ago.

"This weekend's match is going to be tough, as they will feel like they have something to prove in response to our victory last year," Captain Mark Oldham '99 said. "I am very excited as it is going to give us our first indication of the potential for next year as we are again playing quality opposition."

Last weekend at Amherst, Oldham came on in the second half to lead Dartmouth to a 45-15 comeback win over UMass in a friendly match between league rivals.

Center Alex Kline '99 had 15 points on three tries and fullback Scott Whiting '99 had 15 points on a try and five of seven conversions for Dartmouth.

At 13 minutes, the Dartmouth forwards won several rucks. As a result, Kline burst through the UMass centers for the try. Whiting's conversion gave Dartmouth an early 7-0 lead.

A few minutes later, flyhalf Alex Ray '00 ran a switch with Kline and the big center went in for his second try of the afternoon. Whiting's conversion extended the Big Green's lead to 14-0 over the Minutemen.

However, at 30 minutes, UMass closed the gap to 14-5 as the Minutemen capitalized on several Big Green mistakes, including a couple of missed tackles by Dartmouth.

Just before halftime, Dartmouth elected to run a penalty in front of the posts in injury time but were stopped short of the goal line. UMass recovered and broke out. Dartmouth was penalized at the halfway point of the field, giving UMass a low percentage chance to narrow the Big Green's lead. Then, UMass kicked a monster 50-meter penalty at the whistle. So instead of possibly taking a 17-5 lead to the locker room, Dartmouth only led by six points, 14-8, heading into the second half.

UMass kept the momentum they had gained late in the first half early in the third period. A UMass try and the subsequent conversion gave UMass their 15th unanswered point in row and more importantly, a 15-14 lead with just over 20 minutes left.

That was all UMass would get, though. Oldham, who had sat out the previous month with a knee injury, had a performance ignited the Big Green offense, as the Dartmouth offense put together five tries in the next 20 minutes, a run that would hand the Big Green the game handily.

Kline got his third opportunity of the afternoon from a five-meter scrumfrom a five-meter scrum then chipped into the box and recovered the kick for a try. When allwas done, the Big Green had gone from 14-15 to the 45-15 win.

"I guess it was good to see that even without the experience of playing together, we still found the ability to dig ourselves out of a hole. We were able to use our trademark pull away from the opposition as the game draws on," Oldham said.