2004-10-01 / Sports

Rugby Fisheads Stomp Montclair In Home Opener

By Michael Thompson

Rockaway Rugby improved their record to 2-0.
Rockaway Rugby improved their record to 2-0. Every once in a while, the Rockaway Fisheads Rugby Club are involved in what is known, in common parlance, as a “laugher.” Last Saturday’s one-sided affair at Fort Tilden was just such an event, as the Fisheads put a lathering on visiting Montclair, crushing their guests 51-22 in a game that was not as close as the score.

The ageless wonders (Rockaway has the oldest Div. 2 side in U.S. Rugby today with 11 starters over the age of 35) turned back the clock again and collected their second win in as many weeks. It brought their fall record to 2-0 with the Village Lions (NYC) up next (Sat Oct 2, 1:00 p.m. at Randalls Island) for the surging locals.

Player coach “Rugby Bob” Johnson said it best when he opined: “Nice win, but we have lots to do and shouldn’t be patting our hiney’s just yet.”

Very true, for despite the score, the Fisheads have yet to play polished rugby for any extended period, irrespective of their 2-0 record. Rockaway got out of the gate quickly and overwhelmed Montclair, but Johnson sees much room for improvement.

“We are still making too many ball handling mistakes and our fitness is not where it should be. Our players are very experienced and are able to overcome a lot of mistakes. But if we want to return to the play-offs, and go further than we did last year, we must eliminate those mistakes and play good fundamental rugby”.

As for the match, Rockaway scored early and often and led 38-0 at the half. The Rockaway forwards inflicted a physical beating on the visitors and sapped their will to fight very early on.  The backs were able to run and kick their way down the field and scored almost at will. Wayne Fox continued to provide expert goal kicking and was flawless on conversion kicks during the first half.

Rockaway was imposing but flawed, as many passes were dropped and several miscues caused scoring chances to be missed. Still, the locals continued to batter Montclair in the second stanza and led 51-6 at one point. Wholesale substitutions by Rockaway allowed Montclair to narrow the gap to 51-22, but the outcome was never in doubt. G

Still, Rockaway did enough right to emerge with a spotless record and will go to Randalls Island this Saturday to battle their old foes, the Village Lions. Rockaway has won the last 5 meetings including tournament matches, and Bob Johnson is cautiously optimistic about a possible 3-0 start.

“ We should win this week, but hey, that doesn’t mean a thing. The Lions are a capable side and they certainly will be motivated. We have been handling them pretty well in our recent matches and I know they don’t like it. Come out and take anyone for granted in this sport and you will pay the price. We don’t want to make that mistake, and I don’t think we will.”  

Rugger Pluggers

The Biff McCaffrey wedding was a gala event, attended by many of his close friends, but not Boner Geraghty. Key injuries to the Fisheads: Phil Tufano-hip flexor, Becky Brouder-wisdom teeth, Tyrone Sperling-dart elbow, and Jimmy Coyne-dented chin. The Fisheads heartily welcome our new Kiwi friends Haden and Lee who arrived last week in time for saturdays match. They join burly front rower Kealin Smith of the mid lands, England (Wayne Fox’s home town) as our guests for the season. The Fisheads are on the road again next week travelling to Union, N.J. and will return home on 10/16 for Family Day with a 1p.m. start against Long Island.

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