2000-10-07 / Sports

Scrum Down News Rockaway Rugby Club Struggling

Scrum Down News
Rockaway Rugby Club Struggling

Rockaway Rugby Fisheads dropped games three and four of their season to drop to a record of 1-3.

After an embarrassing defeat in week two, the Fisheads came back and played a strong game in week three against a formidable Manhattan Rugby side.

On a soggy, wet Saturday afternoon the Fisheads traveled to Randall's Island with less than great numbers. Shocking is the only word to describe the deplorable condition of the Manhattan pitch, hard
dirt in the middle with high grass along the sidelines and the entire field heavily sloped toward one try zone. Rockaway faced the first half uphill and against the wind. Considering the conditions, trailing 16-9 at half time could be considered optimistic.

In the second stanza, Rockaway stormed forward scoring three tries. The first try was a rolling maul pushover that was downed in the try zone by Mike the American. Larry the Park Ranger scored the second try of the half by fielding a Manhattan kick and returning it through the Manhattan backfield
single handily. All this after he had been in the game for less than two minutes. The third score was bought in along the sideline after a successful wing play. Not exactly sure who brought it across we'll give it to Johnny Oak Connor.

At this point Rockaway lead by a score of 26-16 and all appeared
well. Whether it was lack of fitness, mental breakdown, or a combination of both Rockaway was tagged with countless penalties in the final 15 minutes. These penalties awar-ded Manhattan precious yardage and provided fresh starts and scoring opportunities after Manhattan's forward progress had been stopped. Due to Rockaway’s collapse, Manhattan came back to squeak out a 27-26 victory. This was a taxing, heart breaking, exhausting defeat for the

The following Saturday at Riis Park, Rockaway faced off against a much improved side from Bayonne. Another very poor turnout for Rockaway put the Fisheads at an immediate disadvantage. Without any regular A-side players in attendance, Rockaway used the team that they had on hand and unfortunately they were no match for Bayonne. There is really nothing positive to write about this game. Rockaway fell behind in the early going and Bayonne added to the lead throughout. The final was 40-0.

A special Fishead thank you goes out to Kelly, the wife of new Fishead member Tom the Thespian. Kelly not only drove a wounded Fishead to the hospital for some sutures but when she came back she took a walk around the field and found the referee's keys in the back of the endzone in the high grass where G. Rocket had dropped them while lining the field.

This Saturday, October 7, Rockaway has a home match at the Riis Park Football Field at 1 p.m. versus Montauk. Consider this a calling all hands request for players to turn out for the game. The following week is a by-week to rest up. Any fan support would be greatly appreciated as well.

In place of Rugger Pluggers this week we will print a letter from Team Captain Kermit Egan:


To all present, former, and occasional Fisheads: The fall 2000 season started off with a great win over Long Island, a large
loss to North Jersey, a one-point loss to Manhattan, and another large loss to Bayonne. The two big losses came on weeks where many players were at weddings, work, injured, etc. and we did not have the depth to replace/substitute as needed. (I know I wasn't there, but I heard). This 1-3 record leaves us in a dangerous position of being dropped to division three as the toughest part of our schedule remains: Montauk, Monmouth, and Conn. Yankees. Team moral is low and many of us are questioning the future of the Fisheads after this season.

I believe that the team will survive and this is just a down year. The problem is that if we drop to D.3, it will really put the club on life support as it will become much more difficult to recruit younger players as they are already difficult to recruit from going to D.1 teams. Our current roster of players are getting older and older and I give them all the credit in the world for keeping this club alive by continuing to make the effort to
make practice and games. We are by far the oldest team in D.2 and it is catching up. Our recent fall isn't due to the lack of talent, but the lack of numbers and youth joining the club. We are not replacing the players that have stopped playing.
What I am asking is that if possible, please make a commitment to help the club for the remainder of the fall season and into the future. There are a select few and it has been the same few who run the club and spend hours on end trying to recruit, organize the team, clubhouse, fundraisers, and other
events, and consistently show up to practice and games. Our numbers at practice are extremely low and this doesn't allow us to work on the things you need for games. Turnout for games are low and we never know who is playing until we see who shows up 10-minutes before kick off and it is difficult to fill a B-side without the help of many players playing a second game and/or another team coming to play it for us.

We have the talent to be one of the better teams in D2, but we seem to be unable to put that talent together at the same time. Commitment can be: going to practice and playing games; unable to make practice but coming to the game for B-side and possibly getting a go on the A-side because of injury; retired, on probation with work, etc. but coming to practice to get out of
the house and throw the ball around; lose some weight for wife/girlfriend/lover. This would allow us to have enough people to practice the things we need to work on for the games and some of you veterans can teach the newer
players a thing or two (practice has less contact then two on two basketball games, wrestling with your kids, etc.).

I am as guilty as anyone as I have missed two games for weddings out of town. I understand that we all have commitments with family, work, weddings, etc., but if you do have a couple of free hours on a Thursday Night (7 p.m. at the
Fort) or on Saturday the club can really use your support. Even if you can only make the B-game, or half of the A-game it will help.

Remaining schedule 10/7 Montauk at home (Riis Park Football Field at Beach 150 street and
Rockaway Beach Boulevard) at 1 p.m. Be at the field by noon or earlier to setup field; 10/21 Conn. Yankees at home; and 10/29 Monmouth away.

This is a club that we have all put in the time, energy, sweat, money, etc. for the joy and love of playing rugby. We have all gained memories, friendships, scars, and scary images (OOCH BELLY SLIDING) that will last lifetime. It would be terrible for a club with 25-years of history and success to fold.

Jim "Kermit" Egan
Treasurer and Field Captain

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