Mystic Barbarians Clinch Sweet 16 Berth

AMESBURY, MA – The Mystics came out all guns blazing in the D2 NERFU Championship against Newport on Sunday morning, but had to dig deep in the second half to claim a hard-fought 20-17 victory and extend their unbeaten record out to 11-0-1. After their grueling Sunday, the Mystics deserve some time off, but will need to be back at work come Saturday, as they head to Albany, NY to take on the Village Lions of New York in the D2 National Round of 16. Full match report after the jump.

The Mystics drew first blood through an Alex Appel penalty but couldn’t extend their lead beyond 3-0 for the next ten minutes. Nick Fujiwara pounced on a ball that was kicked through to extend the lead to 8-0, but the teams continued to trade blows without conceding any points. Fujiwara was then instrumental in setting up a try from Matt Maloney that was then converted by Appel to take the Mystics into a 15-0 lead. It wasn’t to last, however, as Newport struck back off a quick tap to bring the score back to 15-7. The Mystics then lost Matt Maloney to a yellow card as the half wound to a close, but managed to keep their 15-7 lead intact after 40 minutes.

The Mystics then weathered the storm after the half until Maloney’s return, but both defenses managed to keep points off the board for a lengthy period. Newport managed to break through first through an unconverted try, and pulled themselves to within 3 points at 12-15. A few minutes later, the Newport hooker was shown a yellow card, but Newport launched a counter-attack off a deep Mystic kick and scored a try to take a 17-15 lead. A few minutes later, a second Newport player was handed a yellow card, this time for a high tackle, but time was winding down and the Mystics were trailing. Another high tackle saw the Mystics awarded a penalty, but Appel’s attempt didn’t make it, leaving the Mystics desperate for points. The Barbarians stuck it out, and were awarded a five meter scrum. Jeff “Bluey” LaFlamme picked from the back of the scrum and didn’t quite reach the try-line, but allowed Pete “Jiggles” Haxton to squeeze over the line for a try and a 20-17 lead. The Mystics held on for the last few minutes to claim the NERFU D2 Championship and keep their unbeaten season rolling.