NEW YORK, NY – The Mystics took the long drive to Randall’s Island, NY knowing that they were considered the underdogs after Old Blue’s convincing 50-10 win at the Boston Irish Wolfhounds during the opening week of league play… it’s a feeling that the team seems to relish these days. Out of the gates, the Mystics looked solid in defense but made a critical lineout error that led to a quick try by Old Blue and 0-5 deficit. The Mystics then gave away a penalty inside their own half that led to another three points by Old Blue. The Mystics were able to keep their composure and continuously pinned the ball deep in enemy territory where they took advantage of three penalties beautifully converted by outside center, Mike Armstrong, to take a 9-8 lead. Just before the half, winger Nate Fox had a long run to the Old Blue 5 meter line before going down awkwardly with a twisted ankle. He was subbed off for Evin O’Driscoll, who has been nursing a foot injury of his own. Just before the half O’Driscoll was able to break through the Old Blue line for the first Mystic try of the game, giving the boys in blue a 16-8 half time lead.
The second half opened up similarly to the first where several Mystic errors led to two tries and a conversion. Old Blue moved out to a momentary 16-20 lead that was quickly overturned by more hard running from O’Driscoll. Despite being visibly hobbled by his foot, he ran in a second try to put the Mystics back out in front 23-20. The Mystics continued to put the New York squad under pressure with deep tactical kicks from flyhalf Tim Holkenborg and in an effort to relieve that pressure the Old Blue flyhalf attempted a kick that was blocked by flanker Mike Bozza. Scrumhalf Adam Tafau pounced on the loose ball for a diving try to put the Mystics up 28-20. After Old Blue answered with a penalty kick to draw within five points with about 5 minutes remaining, the Old Blue flyhalf threw an errant forward pass that was intercepted by Mike Armstrong with nothing but space in front of him… only the referee inadvertently blew the whistle on the forward pass, calling the boys back for a scrum and preventing the Mystic try. A long kick directly to touch on the scrum gave Old Blue great field position before the Mystics got on the wrong side of the referee in the last 4 minutes, receiving two yellow cards for repeated hands in the ruck. Old Blue took full advantage of the subsequent two man advantage and scored 17 points to hand the Mystics a 28-40 defeat.
It was a harsh loss for the Mystics, as they led for most of the game and only let the win slip out of their grasp at the very end. Despite coming away from the match without any points, it was still a confidence boost knowing that the boys in blue can compete with anyone in the Northeast. The Mystics now need to bounce back this Saturday when they host Middlesex at Pine Banks Park at 4PM.
More news: Match report from RugbyMag.com