D2 Barbarians return to NERFU Finals, ARP fall short to Ontario but move forward

This past weekend, Mystic River hosted its first and last triple-header of the spring season at Pine Banks. The Old Boys kicked the day off against the Greyhounds, followed by the NERFU Playoff match vs. the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, which was then followed by the first MLR match at Pine Banks vs. the Ontario Arrows.

The Old Boys came out and took it to the competitive Greyhounds side, 10-5, starting the day off with a Mystic victory! As fans trickled in throughout the game, and as the D2 Barbarians prepared for their match against the Hounds, the playoff rugby energy was felt throughout Pine Banks.

The D2 Barbarians came out ready for battle against the Wolfhounds as they looked to redeem themselves after dropping a tough 17-22 match in the fall. The Hounds came out ready to use their size in the forwards to their advantage, and put up the first points by driving a scrum across the goal line to make it 0-7. Then, Mystic turned things around quickly, as flyhalf Jon Feldman charged down a kick and center Adnan Kawuma touched it down to make the score even again. Once Mystic River found their tempo, they kept their foot on the gas, as prop Peter Haxton made way for center Aaron Smith under the posts, which was quickly followed by a try on the outside from wing Matt Dunleavy, making the score 21-7. Dunleavy found his way around the edge again before halftime after a quick penalty was taken by Mystic. The Hounds responded once more before halftime, and the score was 26-12.

In the second half, Dunleavy slipped through the Hounds’ defense as he scored his 3rd consecutive try on the day. The Hounds capitalized on a Mystic River mistake, bringing the score back to 33-19, until fullback Steve Diamantopoulos added another 3 points on after a penalty was awarded to Mystic just outside the Hounds end goal. Then it was wing Urban Iyo’s chance to display his speed, as he dusted the Hounds defense on the outside and finished for another Mystic 5, setting the score at 41-19. As the final moments of the game waned, Kawuma received a perfect ball from Haxton, giving him enough space in the open field to put some moves on and outpace the Hounds for Mystic’s final try of the day, giving him his second of the afternoon. Diamantopoulos went 6/8 on the day between conversions and his single penalty kick. The Hounds tallied one more but it wouldn’t matter, as Mystic River’s D2 Barbarians were once again triumphant in their NERFU Playoff Semifinal match, 48-26.

To close out the day, Mystic River’s ARP side faced off in their final home MLR exhibition match of the spring against the Ontario Arrows. Ontario had some size on Mystic River up front, so they kept the ball with their forwards for much of the first half. Ontario’s set pieces were their strongest asset, and due to this, the halftime score read 0-19.

Ontario scored a quick try once the second half started, making the score 0-24, but with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match, wing Vini Daley made his case heard as he powered his way across the line for Mystic’s first points of the match. Ontario found one more opportunity to extend their lead, setting the score at 5-29, but in the final 10 minutes of the match, Mystic got a second wind, scoring two converted tries. Tries were scored by flanker Dana Corcoran and fullback Jared Collinson, with one conversion from both flyhalf Santiago Bertranou and center Matias de Paolis, narrowing the margin to 10 points. However, it was just too little, too late, and Mystic River lost a tough match to Ontario, 19-29. The two teams will meet again on May 5th for a match in Ontario.

Now, for the big events this weekend! Mystic River has a home and away match on Saturday, April 28th. The D2 Barbarians travel to Newport RFC to defend the NERFU Title on Newport’s Joseph “Jay” Kirwin Memorial Rugby Pitch. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EDT and Mystic River aims to retain the title as NERFU Champions, so if you’re in the area and if you can make the short drive down to support the Barbarians, come out and watch these two teams take to the pitch as they face off for the 4th consecutive year in the NERFU Championship!

Meanwhile at Pine Banks, Mystic’s ARP side looks to sweep NYAC in their spring series, with the match slated for a 2 PM EDT kickoff. In their first match this year, Mystic River scored more tries at Travers Island than ever before, meaning NYAC will be looking to avenge the 66-7 beatdown handed to them two weeks ago. Post-match social details TBD.

Come out for this massive weekend, whether you’re in Malden or in Newport, and support the Monsters of Malden the only way you know how: BLEEDING BLUE!

Upcoming Schedule:
4/28 (SAT) 2:00 pm: Division 1/ARP v NYAC
4/28 (SAT) 1:00 pm: Division 2 @ Newport (NERFU Finals)