Rugby Defeats Two, Lose In Close Semi-Final
The Long Island Tournament, traditionally held on Mothers Day Weekend each year, provided some exciting rugby last weekend in Lido Beach/Pt. Lookout. Weather conditions were ideal for a rugby match with no sun or wind and dampen air.
The first match of the day was Montauk Rugby, an old rival before they started buying players at a New Zealand yard sale. Rockaway was ready and eager to play the latest team from Suffolk County minus their imports.
The Fisheads attacked first to the 5meter line where an opposing scrum had formed. The ball hooked through the flanker’s foot, causing John McCann to challenge Montauk’s #9, Rich Brieley for sloppy ball. McCann won control and dove for the try line and 5 pts. A conversion by Wayne Fox gave the Fisheads an early 7-0 lead. After exchanging kicks for the better part of the first half.
The referee awarded a penalty to the blue shirts just inside the 10 meter line. Instead of the patented line out, drive & score call, Rockaway optioned to fake to the backs and hit forward Phil "Shek" Tufano down the sideline. As the Montauk Sharks took the fake bait, Tufano, also a linebacker for the FDNY football team, drove head first thru defenders until he tasted chalk. Try awarded! Montauk came back, scoring on 3rd phase ball thru mid-field. Fisheads were up 12-7 at the half.
In the 2nd half, the forwards decided to let the backs play with the ball for a little bit…. just a little bit. After the backs came up empty on several attempts for goal, the forwards joined the back-line on 3rd phase ball creating an overload and a scoring opportunity. The back-line of Fox-Wrafter-O’Connor was supported by McCann and visiting Martin of Scotland. Martin took a pass and outraced Montauk’s winger for a corner-flag try and a 17-7 lead. Rockaway tasted victory but needed another score with 12 mins. to whistle.
Wayne Fox lifted a kick deep into Montauk’s end resulting in a ruck. Montauk’s Frank Bristran was called for "hands in the ruck" which gave Rockaway a penalty play on the 5 meter. John McCann took a fast penalty to the corner but was stopped at the goal line. Charging 2nd rower, Mike Annicelli accepted a pop pass from McCann for the try. Montauk answered back with another try. Rockaway counter attacked with a drop kick from Wayne Fox, 25 meter out. Final score 25-14.
The 2nd match of the day was against, Metropolitan All-Stars, a combination of Kings Point, Columbia U. and Old Blue players. Rockaway came out fast and scored at will in the opening minutes. The blue backs had experience, size and opportunity on their side, as they scored up the middle and 3rd phase overloads. Kevin Wrafter, Stony Brook Kevin and Tyrone Sperling all scored before entering the half with a 21-0 lead.
Met All-stars scored down the sideline with a kick and chase. The Fisheads answered back with 3 more trys. Martin of Scotland, Phil Tufano and Mike the Russian scored for the blue shirts. Wayne Fox had an above average day hitting 6 of 7 conversions and subbing for an ailing Wrafter on touch kicks. Final 47-12.
Rockaway, with 2 wins, were line up to play Morris RFC in the semi finals, minutes after their last game. Without rest, Rockaway took the field against a forward style club on a very small field. Forwards vs. Forwards was the headline. Morris attacked first with a back try and a forward try straight away. Rockaway regrouped and took a penalty play to Phil Tufano who carried two players piggy back thru the post for a try. Rockaway was back in the game as the halftime whistle blew. Morris led 12-7.
The second half was lineout after lineout, due to the small field. Morris did manage to "knock on" for a try up the middle. The referee, stealing a line from T.A Fitzpatrick, mumbled, "nothing seen blue, play on". Score 19-7 with 15 minutes to play. Rockaway pressured and Morris played prevent "D". The forwards controlled the ball has they moved toward goal. Ruck and roll was the call as the blue shirts moved the ball left and right until an opening near the post became available for Mike "Annicelli" to squeeze through. With Rockaway now down by 5 pts, they went "full throttle". The backs ran hard but with no space to move the forwards push forward to the opposing try line. Both sides battled with rucks and mauls, near the 30meter line until a Morris back picked up and kicked for touch ending the match. Morris 19, Rockaway 14.
Old Blue II beat Morris in the Open final 12-3. Action photos from the LI tourney can be viewed at RMH pho to.com
The Rockaway Fishead’s record is 7-2 (including tournament) this spring. Today, May 17th is family day against the Village Lions for a season ending match; 1pm. All are welcome 113-00 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
After much argument, the attraction of Ooch’s Bellybutton Shots (milk for the kids) will be taken off the family day agenda. Phil Tufano’s dad, Mr. Tufano is challenging Mr. Bender for Fan of the Year honors. Mr. Bender is currently in the lead.
Curley, Lynch, Trevor and a few others all missed the LI Tournament due to their senior prom. Now, that’s a first for this club!
Dave Lonergan would like to thank the rugby club for his night of honor last fall, by coaching the L.I. Gaels Irish Football team this spring. Co-Honoree Kevin Slakas in now a referee. 2002 Forward of the Year, Chris Cingari has missed every game this year. "B" Player of the Year (sunny/ home games only) Micky Martinez has not been seen yet in 2003. As a result of these occurrences, THERE WILL BE NO AWARDS DINNER in the near future.
Overheard on the Sideline: Watching the Met All-stars U23 team: "youth is wasted on the young".
CORRECTION: Phil and Matt never drank from Ooch’s bellybutton so technically they were never on the club so therefore only Andy can receive that TITLE. Midway thru LI Tournament, the Fisheads played; "Where in the World did Bob Johnson go?" Answer: Poukeepsie, NY. Granted….. Bob, he did tried to make it back before someone noticed. We are still stuck on Tippy’s whereabouts.
Video cameras’ are a must this Sat. as Phil Tufano preforms his Howard Cossell impersonation while roaming the sidelines.
The Fisheads would like to thank Martin of Scotland, visiting here on business, for playing on short notice and Ratman of Long Island, there to support his rugby teammates once again. DISCLAIMER: These rugby pluggers are attempts at humor by one club member and NOT necessarily the opinion of other club members, especially Bob.
Family Day @ the Rugby Clubhouse 12 noon Meet @ Field, 1:00 pm- A game 2:30 pm–B game (Travel to the clubhouse) 4:30 pm–Funhouse Balloon Bounce Ride, Cotton Candy & Tattoos Petting Zoo, 5:00pm- BBQ & Pizza 6:00pm- Horeseshoe Contest, 7:00pm- Dodgeball Challenge (rugby players).