2004-04-09 / Sports

Rockaway Fisheads "Hat Tricked" In Loss At Danbury

By Phil Tufano
Rockaway Fisheads "Hat Tricked" In Loss At Danbury

Rockaway Fisheads "Hat Tricked" In Loss At Danbury

By Phil Tufano

The Rockaway Fisheads are learning two of the oldest lessons in sports very early in their Spring developmental/exhibition season:

1. Getting to the top isn’t nearly as difficult as staying there.

2. All glory is fleeting.

After an outstanding Fall Play-off season, the Rockaway Fisheads Rugby Club stumbled out of the gate last week and dropped their first test of the Spring 34-21 to an inspired and deserving Danbury Mad Hatters side. The match was a tale of two halves, with Rockaway having their way in the first stanza and Danbury snatching the momentum and the match in the second.

The Mad Hatters, still smarting from a 17-10 loss at Rockaway last Spring, were able to find a soft spot in the Rockaway defense and took full ad vantage of it with speedy play by their backs.

A young crew of Rockaway centers filled in for John "Red Card" O’Connor and Wayne " The Bloom is off the Rose" Fox, with Rugby Bob Johnson also stepping up to plug the hole on the inside.

The patchwork held up for the first half and Rockaway used their trademark bruising forward play to great effect. The locals jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and kept the ball inside the safe confines of their thundering herd of forwards. Second Rower (And Rockaway’s Man of the Match) Irish Pat suffered a 23 stitch gash over his eye, but bandaged up and carried on, looking like the "Spirit Of 76". With Irish Pat and "Grouch" McCann dominating the lineouts, the Fisheads were able to score an impressive 15 meter driving try off of a throw in. Phil Tufano tucked the ball away and followed the pack into the try zone, touching down another score.

Things looked to be well in hand. Kevin Wrafter was kicking brilliantly and the Fisheads seemed to be covering their liabilities well. Still, the Mad Hatters were determined and did just enough to hang around in front of their home crowd. A try and a penalty goal allowed them to remain in striking distance at 16-10 as the first half expired.

The second half would prove to be the FisheadsA0undoing. The Mad Hatt ers gave up trying to play smashmouth with the stronger Fisheads, opting instead to use outside speed to tire out Rockaway’s big men.

That change in strategy did the trick as the Fisheads were unable to match speed with the Hatters and an inexperienced back line was exposed. Al though the young Fisheads played gamely and did a lot of good things throughout the match, Danbury’s ex perience and athleticism proved to be the deciding factor.

The match was well played, hard hitting and competitive throughout but the Mad Hatters eventually pulled away. When the final whistle blew, the Mad Hatters owned a 34-21 advantage and claimed a much deserved victory.

Kudos to the young Fisheads, especially Sean Calhoun who showed flashes of brilliance that bode well for the future. Local Ladies Man Tyrone Sperling had his usual great game as did the great Kermit Egan. Tim "CHARGE!!!"

Kelly was also a force and the great Barry Cow Head and Mike the Russian did their usual steady work. HOWEVER: Wake up time for the Fisheads is past due as the Newport Rhode Island play-off is fast approaching. A

re the Fisheads a great side or just another version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? WE SHALL SEE.A0

This Saturday, the Fisheads are home at Ft. Tilden for a 1pm match with Manhattan RFC. Please come down and give us your support.

Ruggers Pluggers:

Thoughts are being gathered for the upcoming adventure that will be George Johnson’s bachelor party. So far, the best idea seems to be an afternoon at a local skateboard park. Also being considered is a trip to Kelly Slater Fantasy Surfing Camp.

From the believe it or not category.. Cliff Shevlin missed the big Superbowl party at Robbie O’s to attend the Ballet with his girlfriend..... Newport Rhode Island is only 1 week away so get to practice!!!

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