This past weekend, Mystic River Rugby Club opened up its fall 2017 season with matches on both Saturday and Sunday, against long-time local rival, Boston RFC, and a touring side from Oxford University. On Saturday, Mystic River’s Division 2 Barbarian side hosted Boston RFC in a highly-anticipated matchup. After bumping down to Division 2, Boston came to Pine Banks with the smell of vengeance under their noses after losing to the Mystic ARP side 86-0 & 87-0 in the fall 2016 season.
Mystic’s D2 Barbarians came out the gates with a hot start, as winger John Spooney found space on the outside to score the first two tries of the day, with both conversions to follow from fullback Stephen Diamantopoulos, setting the score at 14-0. Flanker Sean Burgess making a comeback in the Mystic Blue was a blood sub for flanker Jeff Laflamme and made an immediate impact after storming his way across the try line for 5. Diamantopoulos knocked it through the uprights again, setting the score at 21-0. After the restart, Boston took it right to Mystic, spinning the ball wide for a long, unconverted try, making it 21-5, but it didn’t take long for Burgess to barrel his way in for his 2nd try of the afternoon. Diamantopoulos split the posts, continuing his perfect start to the season. With the score 28-0, Mystic River continued to apply pressure on the attacking side, and as hooker Dana Corcoran dipped & dived towards the goal line, wing Aki Raymond burst in off the hip of Corcoran to spring himself free for another converted try. Mystic River put together a couple of long plays before halftime, as 8 man Alex Appel finished off a 60-meter phase and Spooney split the defenders to dot down his 3rd try of the afternoon.
Mystic kept their foot on the pedal to start the 2nd half, as Raymond touched it down for a Mystic try, but Boston quickly responded with a try of their own, making it 54-10. After another good series of phases from Mystic, the ball was swung wide to none other than Raymond who joined Spooney with a hat trick of his own. Before you could even blink, Mystic was again, pounding the ball deep into Boston territory, ending with 5 from Raymond, capping his try total on the day at 4. Boston scored once more, and the final whistle sounded, giving Mystic’s D2 Barbarians a 64-15 victory over Boston in the NERFU home opener.
Despite the D2 match being the only rugby on the conventional Saturday afternoon, there was still a game to be played on Sunday, as Mystic’s ARP side hosted the gentlemen of Oxford University. Starting the game off on a high note, Mystic took it to the Oxford boys as they stormed down the field, ending in a try from flyhalf Brent Hamlin, with the conversion good from wing Mike Armstrong. As soon as Oxford got their chance, they capitalized with a converted try, evening the score at 7-7. Mystic River drove the ball back down to Oxford’s 22-meter line, and although they were unable to break through the Oxford defense, an infringement around the breakdown led to a penalty, which Armstrong sent soaring through the uprights once again, making the game 10-7. Oxford shifted momentum their way heading into the half by dotting down another try and taking the lead, 10-12.
With nothing to lose, Oxford came out of the half with an aggressive defensive mindset. Mystic River found themselves with another chance to go for points, and Armstrong put it over the posts to regain the lead once again, 13-12. After back-and-forth play for both sides, center Dimitri Efthimou put on the burners to touch down another for the Monsters of Malden, followed by another Armstrong conversion. Oxford never played as if the 8-point deficit was out of reach, and with the patience they exemplified most of the afternoon, three unanswered tries in Oxford’s advantage resulted in a 20-31 final score.
This Saturday, 19 Crimes is presenting a Mystic River doubleheader at Pine Banks Park! The Division 2 Barbarians face off against Worcester in a rematch of the 2017 NERFU semifinals, where Barbarians triumphed in overtime, 34-20! D2 kicks off at 11:00 AM! A Division 2 B-side match will kickoff after the match. Then, the ARP match, one we’ve been waiting for since the teams met in the Elite 8 this spring, where NYAC defeated Mystic 14-32, is slated to kick off at 2:00 PM. Come out and support the Monsters of Malden as they go into their first doubleheader of league matches!
9/16 (SAT) 11:00 AM – D2 vs. Worcester
9/16 (SAT) 12:30 PM – B-side vs. Worcester
9/16 (SAT) 2:00 PM – ARP vs. NYAC