MALDEN, MA — Saturday saw the Mystics in fine form for their home opener. The Mystic Barbarians beat Worcester 36 – 29 to move into the next round of playoffs, where they will be taking on New Haven in the national round of 32. The D1 side took advantage of the great weather and played some great rugby to put up a convincing 103 – 10 win over Amoskeag.
The Mystic Barbarians started off the day’s play in their playoff match at noon. They got off to a great start with a close range try from Adam Tafau only three minutes in. Alex Appel converted to give the Barbarians an early 7 – 0 lead. Ten minutes later, Mike Lyons and Mike Spiro combined for a long-range run that set up Adam Tafau for his second try. Alex Appel converted to move the Mystics into a 14 – 0 lead. After some great phase play, captain Nick St. Germain scored the Barbarians’ third try to extend their lead to 19 – 0. With a few minutes to go before the half, flyhalf Nick Vettese put number 8 Alex Appel in for a try that Appel converted to take the Mystics into a commanding 26 – 0 lead. Worcester finally got rolling and managed to put together some tight phases to get on the scoreboard with a try on the stroke of half time, leaving the Barbarians with a 26 – 5 lead.
A few minutes into the second half, both sides got issued a yellow card, but the Mystics came away with a penalty kick from Alex Appel that saw the Mystics move into a 29 – 5 lead. Ten minutes later, Worcester hit back with their second try to move the score to 29 – 12. Scrumhalf Adam Tafau then stole a ball from the back of the Worcester scrum and fed it to flanker Andrew Burns who ran in a long range try. Alex Appel converted to move the Mystics into a commanding 36 – 12 lead with just under 30 minutes to play. That was the status quo until fifteen minutes to go, when Worcester scored a converted try to bring the score to 36 – 19. With only a few minutes to Worcester pulled even closer with a second converted try, leaving them ten points behind at 36 – 26. With a minute to go, Worcester slotted a penalty to bring them within a single score, but the Barbarians closed out the match and kept their playoff run alive.
The Barbarians now move onto the New England D2 Final, which also serves as the national D2 round of 32. They will have their work cut out for them against New Haven, who were the only team to beat the Barbarians in the fall and also made it to the national D2 semifinal where they lost by a point to the eventual national champions. We will post more information on this pivotal match as it becomes available.
The D1 Mystics came out all guns blazing against Amoskeag. Vini Daley scored the first match of the day immediately after the kickoff, and the Mystics made it a LONG day at the office for Amoskead. That was the first of 17 Mystic tries, with 11 different scorers. The following players all dotted down: Vini Daley (2), Diego Maquiera, Jon Feldman (3), Nate Fox (2), Evin O’Driscoll (2), Sean Rafferty, Pono Haitsuka (2), Jared Collinson, Kayne Bubb, Stephen Diamantopoulos, Matt Charest. Jon Kokinda made nine conversions. The Mystics dominated from start to finish and maintained their scoring pace throughout the game — they put up 57 points in the first half and 50 in the second, and only let in one try in each half. Major credit is due to Amoskeag — they kept at it and scored their second try late in the game well after the game was decided. It’s not often that a team reaches anything close to three figures in a match, so congratulations are definitely due to all members of the team, especially the subs who made sure that the intensity didn’t fall off.
The D1 Mystics will be looking to maintain their level of play as they host White Plains this coming weekend. The D1 side still has two more league matches before playoffs start, but this win should get them moving in the right direction for the remainder of the spring.
The B side rounded out the day’s play with a convincing 26 – 5 win over Amoskeag. It really capped off a great day of Mystic rugby.