Barbarians Continue to Storm, Division 1 Falls to NYAC

A couple weekends ago, Mystic River Rugby Club hosted Worcester & NYAC for the first doubleheader of the season.  Mystic River’s Division 2 Barbarian side hosted Worcester RFC in their first meeting since the spring playoff match in Worcester, where the Barbarians stood triumphant after 100 minutes of rugby, 34-20.  With redemption in the hearts & minds of Worcester, Mystic showed up knowing that there was a target on their back.  Following the Worcester matchup, which included a B-side showdown, Mystic River’s ARP side took to the pitch opposite ARP-rival, NYAC.  The last time these two teams had met was also a spring playoff match, in the Elite 8 in Pittsburgh, where Mystic was defeated 14-32.

Mystic’s D2 Barbarians stormed the pitch and took immediate control, as center Mikey Rudzinsky split a gap, blowing by a couple defenders on his way across the line, centering the ball for any easy conversion from fullback Stephen Diamantopoulos.  With the score 7-0, Mystic continued to apply pressure, as scrum half Adam Tafau had a quick take off the back of a ruck, showing his quickness & speed with a 22-meter try.  Diamantopoulos converted the kick, and with the score at 14-0, Mystic had no plans to take the foot off the pedal.  Mystic drove back downfield, and after spotting the overlap, moved the ball through hands, ending with a try from 8 man Alex Appel in the corner.  With the score at 19-0, Worcester found themselves in Mystic’s territory for the first time, until Mystic’s defensive prowess resulted in a poached ball from flyhalf Nick Vettese, then making its way through the hands to wing Aki Raymond who dusted the Worcester defense for another try under the posts, making it easy to convert for Diamantopoulos.  Worcester responded to the 26-0 deficit, and after taking advantage of several Mystic penalties, they found themselves over the line for the first time of the match, narrowing the gap, 26-5.  Raymond wasn’t done making his presence known, as he caught the ball with just enough space to turn the defender inside out and dash down the sideline for another long try, making it 31-5, Mystic.  Worcester drove the ball into Mystic territory, and after several penalties and ultimately, a Mystic River yellow card, they managed to dot one down, closing the margin, 31-10 heading into the half.

Mystic came out of halftime guns-a-blazing, as Raymond burst off the hip of Rudzinsky, going untouched under the posts for a converted try.  With Mystic still down a man, they continued to apply pressure both defensively and offensively, driving the ball deep into Worcester territory where center Aaron Smith found wing John Spooney on the width, giving him enough space to fly by the defense and center the ball under the posts, allowing Mystic to extend the lead, 45-10.  Spooney dotted down another one after he received an errant pass near midfield and cut through Worcester’s defense untouched, resulting in another converted try.  With the score at 52-10, Mystic had no plan to slow down their attack, and after a Worcester turnover inside Mystic’s 5-meter line, the ball was shifted through hands to the width, landing in Raymond’s hands, where no one would catch him, setting up another easy conversion for Diamantopoulos to give Mystic the 59-10 lead.  Worcester was still there to play rugby, however, and managed to sneak across the goal line with their first points of the 2nd half, making the score 59-17.  Forward Nick “Beardo” St. Germain decided he wanted in on the scoring frenzy, as he masterfully took an inside ball for another converted try.  66-17 wasn’t nearly enough for the Barbarians though, as Raymond knifed his way through the Worcester defense for his 5th try of the match, setting the score at 73-17.  To end the match, center Matt Dunleavy found some space off of Smith’s hip, and made it easy for another conversion from Diamantopoulos.  The final whistle was blown, and Mystic River’s D2 Barbarians found themselves victorious for a second week in a row, but this time, upping the ante and making a statement with the 80-17 result over Worcester.

The B-side took to the pitch against Worcester after the D2 match, and almost immediately, the forwards found themselves driving across Worcester’s goal line, putting Mystic up 5-0.  Center KC Gordon found some space on his own, and managed to touch one down shortly after the first try, setting up an easy conversion for flyhalf John Daly.  Dunleavy, taking the field for some more footy, broke the gain line and found himself under the posts with ease, setting up another Daly conversion, to make it 19-0.  Scrumhalf Josh Marotske then called his own number, finishing the play in the corner of the endgoal, with a beautiful conversion from Daly to follow, setting the score at 26-0.  Going into the half, Mystic’s B-side showed lots of energy, and they carried it right over into the 2nd half.

Daly found Dunleavy for a 30-meter try on a tight line from the center, extending the lead to 33 points.  Forward Daryl Wilson then stormed his way through the Worcester defense, and changing his angle towards the ball carrier, Jon “Maddog” Tolen put the exclamation point on the play, allowing Mystic to put up another 7.  At this point in the match, Dunleavy was hell-bent on fighting his way in for another 5, and sure enough, he capitalized the 50-meter line break and touched the ball down under the posts, making the score 47-0, where the match would end, setting the bar high for Mystic’s ARP side after the 2-0 start to the day.

Mystic’s ARP side took on the long-standing rival, NYAC.  As possession changed hands for the first 20 minutes, Mystic found themselves in good field position to take advantage of a penalty, which was then converted by flanker Jon Kokinda.  With injuries playing a large part in the match, NYAC played much of the first half in Mystic territory, finding themselves just short of scoring, until the final play of the half, where they were able to capitalize and take the lead, 3-7.

Coming out in the 2nd half, NYAC put up 3 unanswered tries, with a 4th to follow, putting them up, 3-33.  Hooker Dana Corcoran then showed that his value off the bench was much-needed, as he tap-danced his way towards the goal line, flipping a backhanded-offload to center Adnan Kawuma for a try and a Kokinda conversion.  With time ticking, and Mystic playing for the crest on their chest, flyhalf Brent Hamlin hit center Dimitri Efthimou on a hard line, giving Efthimou the space to stride it out for the final score of the match.  NYAC came out on top, 15-33, giving Mystic River a tough game in tough conditions.

This past Saturday, Mystic River’s ARP team was away in Glendale, Colorado to play the Merlins, while the D2 Barbarians travelled to Albany, New York for another league match!  Division 2 kicked off at 1 PM ET while the ARP side kicked off at 5 PM ET!  Match reports coming!

Past & Future Schedule:

9/23 – D2 @ Albany – W 68-10

9/23 – ARP @ Glendale Merlins – L 7-64

9/30 (SAT) 1:00 PM – D2 vs. Portland

9/30 (SAT) 1:00 PM – ARP @ Old Blue