Mystic River Struggles Against Old Blue

MALDEN, MA – The Mystics made too many mistakes this Saturday in their match against Old Blue and fell to 2-5 for the season after a disappointing 5-39 loss. The Mystics really struggled in the scrums, losing a number of balls against the head, and the backs lacked penetration, making it very difficult to build a platform to attack from.

Old Blue played with both the wind and the late afternoon sun at their backs in the first half, and took full advantage of both to keep the Mystics pinned back. The Mystics managed to soak up most of the pressure in the first twenty five minutes, but Old Blue managed to score a converted try and two penalties from their incursions into Mystic territory, leaving the Mystics within reach at 0-13. The Mystics then lost concentration for a few minutes, and Old Blue pounced on the opportunity, scoring two quick tries to take a commanding 25 point lead. The Mystics managed to regain their focus and put a mid-field penalty into touch inside the Old Blue 22. The Mystics then mauled in from the lineout to give Chris O’Donnell the try and the Mystics a 5-25 deficit going into half time.

In the second half, the Mystics had the lowering sun and a slightly gentler breeze at their backs, but didn’t make use of either to put Old Blue under pressure. While there were short periods of promising play for the Mystics early in the second half, Old Blue held firm and kept the Mystics from scoring. Old Blue’s eighth man, who had been shrugging off tackles all game, then put the game beyond the Mystics’ reach with his third try. The Mystics kept going, but couldn’t build much momentum and didn’t threaten the Old Blue line despite periods of play in the Old Blue 22. Old Blue scored one final try as the game wound down, leaving the final score at 5-39.

The Mystics did not have a good day at the office, and need to address some major points of concern. The scrums need work to make sure we win our own ball, never mind move forward. The backs need to work on keeping the ball in tighter, as well as working on their tactical kicking from the back as well as from the half-backs. The whole team definitely needs to work on their one-on-one tackles, as Old Blue made a number of long runs straight through traffic.

The B’s played Boston’s B side as the sun started going down and Pine Banks started to get chilly. The Mystics got themselves well ahead with a 19 point lead, but Boston managed to fight their way back to a 24-24 draw at the final whistle. It was great to get both teams a match given that Old Blue didn’t bring a B side and Boston had a bye weekend.

Next week sees the Mystics host the Irish Wolfhounds for the Briar Cup. Both teams are coming off big home losses to New York teams, and are hungry to improve on last year’s frustrating 10-10 draw in Canton. Both teams have a lot to play for and it should be a great derby with some passionate rugby.

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