2004-04-16 / Sports

Rotten Fish Stink It Up In Home loss to Manhattan

By Phil Tufano

Rotten Fish Stink It Up In Home loss to Manhattan

By Phil Tufano

What’s wrong with the Rockaway Fisheads Rugby Club? The answer may be everything...or nothing. The Fisheads dropped their second match in a row this past Saturday by a count of 16-10 to the Manhattan Rugby Club. Combined with last week’s loss at Danbury, the once high-flying Fisheads appear to be "floundering" at the outset of their Spring season. Saturdays match appears to have been a repeat performance of the previous week’s sub- par effort and has many in Fisheads and Met Rugby Union circles wondering: Was the Fall success real, or was it a "fluke"? This week will tell the tale, but first a re-cap of Saturday’s match.

Manhattan combined their personnel with the New York Rugby Club’s for the spring season and showed up with a stacked side. The Fisheads defeated Manhattan by a staggering 55-17 score when it counted in the fall. Saturday’s turnabout was more a result of the Fisheads missing key players in the scrum and not having practiced well to date. The spring season is an exhibition/developmental time, which is the equivalent of the NFL pre-season. It does not count in the standings. Up to now, Rockaway has treated it as such and the results are indicative of the club’s lack of urgency.

The Rockaway forwards played well at the outset, but tired in the second half much like they did at Danbury the previous week. Sloppy passing and poor ball handling also played a part, no doubt a result of poorly attended practices and a generally lazy mentality which has infected the clubhouse of late. To their credit, the Fisheads led for most of this low scoring affair and had done enough to neutralize Manhattan.

Leading 10-9 with a few ticks left on the clock, Manhattan penetrated into Rockaway territory and pressed the action. Rockaway fought them off for a time, but Manhattan hit pay dirt, scoring a late try to win the match. Manhattan deserved the win because

they seem to have wanted it more than the talented but underachieving Fisheads. So what’s wrong with the Rockaway Fisheads Rugby Club?

This reporter and Rockaway Fisheads player says: NOTHING AT ALL. Although losing is unacceptable even in the spring, coach Bob Johnson has used the first two games well by using younger "B" side players to fill in for missing starters will no doubt pay dividends in the fall, when it counts for real. The young Fisheads are gaining valuable "A" side experience and have played very well to date. With Rockaway fielding, by far, the oldest "A" side in the division, these matches may prove to have been a blessing in disguise. Patchwork sides have nearly beaten two very good teams in Danbury and the Manhattan/New York combined side. With a changing of the guard on the not-too-distant horizon, these 2 losses may yet prove to have been wins for the future of the club.

This week the Fisheads.... THE REAL FISHEADS, travel to Newport Rhode Island for a Fall Play-off with the Newport Rugby Club. This one is for real and all of the Fisheads starters will be ready to go. This week will feature 2 practices instead of the usual 1, and a new, more determined attitude will prevail by week’s end. Even though this is week 3, look for the Rockaway Fisheads to make their actual spring debut in Newport this week. Sometimes a close defeat can be more useful than a convincing win when leading up to an important match. The Fisheads will win at Newport... YOU HEARD IT HERE.

Rugger Pluggers;

The Fish doesn’t rot from the head down here. Coach Bob Johnson doing his usual great work. Grouch McCann spotted on  Rockaway Beach Blvd. shouting at homeless people. Callahan filling in well at 2nd row and making a name for himself. KEMLY!!! returned from FDNY football for some B-side action. His full time rugby career awaits. Wayne Fox out of therapy and back on the pitch. No longer seeing Shamrocks and Frenchman lurking around every corner. Tim Kelly unable to influence opposing kickers no matter what he believes.

From the world of the way too sensitive.... The Fisheads would like to apologize to FDNY Hoops scribe John "Jumbo" Miller for recently commenting on his bulging waistline. We hear he was quite upset and offer a full-fledged apology. After reading his weekly rants in the basketball article, you’d think he be able to handle a little taste of the medicine he dishes out...oh well

"Win a Date with Wrafter" contest entries rolling in. Local ladies man Tyrone Sperling a bit concerned. Kevin Stony Brook and Jason look to be the future of the Rockaway Back Line. Where is Berseker? George "The Icon" Johnson  back in ction. Bill "ding" Kelly returns at prop this week. So long and out!!!                    


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