Dartmouth University kicked off their spring tour to the Cayman Islands with the Dartmouth Second XV taking on a Cayman Club side select made up of good mix of Iguana, Buccaneer, Pigs Trotter and Cayman Storm players.
The Club Select Side, captained by Chris Kennedy started well and with good ball retention found themselves 10-0 up before the tide turned firmly in favour of the young Americans as speed and agility overtook the more experienced Cayman side.
Three unanswered Dartmouth tries shocked Cayman into gear who changed tactics and played a much more forward dominated game. The Cayman “pick n go” from the base of the rucks kept Dartmouth on the back foot and the college students could not compete at the breakdown due to the size and weight of the Cayman forwards. Whilst the Dartmouth Seconds never gave up the Cayman select maintained the lead and built towards a 41-27 victory.
The top billing on Saturday was the Cayman National Men’s XV against Dartmouth First XV match. The National Side suffered an embarrassing setback to their 2015 World Cup qualifying preparations with a 29-25 loss. The cavernous difference in quality of play between the Dartmouth 1st and 2nd team was evident as Dartmouth started strongly and kept the Caymanians camped in their own half for the first 40 minutes and built up a 15 point lead before Cayman finally responded.
The Cayman National Side featured a mixture of experience and size up front and youth out wide with four of Cayman’s Under-19 Caribbean Champion players in the back line.
Whilst Cayman were pegged in their own half, attempts to relieve pressure by kicking the ball deep only resulted in feeding the ball directly to the Dartmouth fullback who had little difficulty in running the ball directly back into Cayman territory.
Eventually Cayman found some reprieve when their first venture into Dartmouth territory resulted in a Tom Mann try in the corner which Morgan Hayward duly converted.
Cayman started a comeback which featured two Ben Blair tries but the Dartmouth composure under a new found Cayman resilience belied their youth.
Whilst Cayman did come close to getting a comeback win it was Dartmouth who lead from beginning to end and gave Cayman much to ponder on before they had a second chance to take on one of the best college rugby teams in the United States on Tuesday.
Thursday 22 March:
5pm KO – Dartmouth 2nd XV v Cayman U21s XV
Saturday 24 March:
3pm KO – Dartmouth 2nd XV v Cayman Club Select XV
5pm KO – Dartmouth 1st XV v Cayman National XV